As hybrid vehicles become more mainstream, we are learning more about them all the time. But some myths persist. Here are the three most commonly asked questions about hybrids:
Do you have to plug in a hybrid car?
No. Hybrid car batteries are recharged entirely by braking energy in combination with the internal combustion gasoline engine, and never have to be plugged in. (However plug-in hybrid advocates, e.g. calcars.org, have converted regular hybrids to plug-in hybrids—PHEVs—to significantly increase mileage.)
Do you have to replace the batteries every few years?
No, the Honda and Toyota hybrid batteries are designed to last for the life of the vehicle.
Will hybrids reach the EPA–rated mileage?
No. EPA MPG ratings are under ideal conditions and will not be reached by the hybrids in real life. However, the same applies to all other cars rated under the system. Therefore, EPA mileage ratings are still a good way to determine the relative fuel efficiency performance of cars, including hybrids.
Adapted from The Carbon Busters Home Energy Handbook by Godo Stoyke (New Society Publishers, 2007)