Hybrid-Electric Cars: How They Work, Battery Technology and More

The Toyota Prius is the best-selling hybrid in the US
Which hybrid cars can you buy?
There are currently eight hybrid cars available: Toyota Prius, Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Honda Civic, Lexus GS 450h, Lexus LS 600h L, Saturn Aura Green Line and Nissan Altima; the Honda Insight has been retired, but many are still on the road. Additionally, there are five hybrid SUVs and minivans available: Toyota Highlander, Lexus RX 400h, Ford Escape, Mercury Mariner and Saturn Vue Green Line. A handful of other hybrid cars, SUVs, minivans and pick-up trucks are expected to go into production and be available in the next two or three years.

Here's an illustration of the basic operation of a hybrid car

Increasingly, though, the future of hybrids looks to be in the "series hybrid" or "plug-in hybrid electric vehicles" (PHEV); keep reading for details on when the future might arrive.

Hybrid-Electric Cars: How They Work, Battery Technology and More
Ed. note: This is now the fifth post in the Green Basics series of posts that TreeHugger is writing to provide basic information about important ideas, materials and technologies for new greenies (or those who just need a quick refresher). Read on and

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