You still don’t know what hybrid cars are? If you are one of the few people living on the planet who still doesn’t know what a hybrid car is, don’t worry.

We will tell you that a car of these characteristics is supported by an engine that combines propulsion with a classic part of combustion and another electric part, hence its name of hybrid… Wasn’t it hard to imagine?

What may be more to note is to know who was the father of the hybrid car. Well, the pioneer for the development of this type of combined vehicles was the electrical engineer Victor Wouk, who already in 1942 gave the keys for this type of cars with his thesis Static Electricity generated during the distribution of gasoline.

We took advantage of this date of 1942 to jump 30 years forward and make a wink to Woody Allen’s film of 1972 and that has served as inspiration for us to give name to this article. I’m sure you know what it is.

So if you want to find out more about the hybrid cars currently on the market and also the models to come, stay with Qualitas Auto and share this review of the present and future of hybrids.

Since always with the hybrid car

Years ago the detractors of hybrid cars claimed problems of weight and extra cost in the production of this type of cars.

They also complained that the useful life of electric batteries, having a greater use than in a car with a simple combustion engine, was more limited, and that in the long run the repair of an electric car would be more expensive since spare parts and replacement parts were more difficult to find. But today these initial problems (logical, on the other hand) have been overcome.

Brands such as Toyota have contributed to overcoming these problems and to the general evolution of the electric car. The Toyota Prius was the first hybrid built in series in 1997 and since then in Spain we have at our disposal in the dealerships up to 30 different models of hybrid cars, of which 6 belong to Toyota.

Since Toyota’s strategy decided to bet wisely on this type of cars, the Japanese brand has already sold more than 5.2 million hybrids worldwide. With this figure we have to bear in mind that the hybrid cars of Lexus, also belonging to the Toyota group, are included.

The figures in our country are clear: Of the 10,000 hybrid cars sold each year in Spain, three quarters are Toyota. However, we must not be deceived and stop observing that in Spain, of the total number of cars sold, only 1.4% are hybrids.

A figure that is increasing but still seems less. In fact, only a few days ago it was known that Honda withdrew from the Spanish catalogue two of its three hybrid models (the Honda CR-Z and the Honda Insight) due to poor sales figures: only 8 CR-Z and 6 Insight were sold so far in 2013. Time to time.

Types of hybrids

How many types of hybrid cars are there? Anyone who is not an expert in the field may be able to ask this question. To think that there is only one type of hybrid car, the one that combines in the same engine a combustion part and an electric part, is to fall into reductionism.

Therefore, within this technological advance we can find up to three classifications of hybrid vehicles, always according to their type of engine:

Classical/conventional hybrids: They were the first to reach the market and are, as we have said before, those cars that combine a gasoline combustion engine associated with an electric motor. The function of the electric part in this case is to support the combustion part in certain moments of driving in order to reduce emissions but also consumption.

Through a technique of energy storage of braking and decelerations, these engines are able to give energy “without working”, simply managing loads that before, in a normal combustion engine, were lost without remedy.

In addition, this type of hybrid engine can run on time in 100% electric mode as long as a certain speed is not exceeded (about 50 km/h, such as during a traffic light or in a traffic jam). This type of conventional hybrids are the most visible on the roads, as could be the aforementioned Toyota Prius.

Diesel + electric: If the classic engine of the hybrids had a combustion part that worked exclusively with gasoline, an intelligent person thought to combine the philosophy of a hybrid, but with diesel fuel.

Its operation is similar to the previous one, but adds the peculiarity of a half diesel engine that makes the car really pollute little and consumes even less. This is a newer technology, and therefore more expensive.

Peugeot’s alliance with Citroën has pioneered this field by mass-producing diesel hybrid cars such as the Peugeot 3008 Hybrid4, the Peugeot 508 Hybrid4 and the Citroën DS5 Hybrid. Another good example is the Mercedes-Benz E-Class 300 BlueTEC Hybrid.

Plug-in hybrids: Plug-in cars, as their name suggests, are those that can be plugged into the mains via a cable (like plugging a lamp into the wall, bridging distances).

This model is also known as a plug-in hybrid. The lack of a photolary network or electrical points on the road that extend the autonomy of these vehicles is a point against which this type of car is increasingly being surpassed.

However, both car brands and state agencies are working in this direction so that sooner rather than later plug-in hybrids have electric refueling points in various parts of the national geography.

In this type of hybrids the emissions have been reduced to the minimum expression, reaching the magic figure of zero pollution when they are fully using electrical energy. Examples of these hybridizations are the Toyota Prius in its Plug-In version or the luxurious new Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid, a supercar that does not give up sportsmanship despite having a very low consumption.

Belonging to the type of diesel hybrids we find the 3 Range Rover Hybrid that recently achieved the feat of crossing the Silk Road: 16,583 kilometers through 13 countries.

Obtaining a consumption performance of 7.7 l/100 km. Who said hybrids are not capable of achieving the impossible?