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How do hybrid cars work?

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Quick Answer

An internal combustion engine and a battery-powered electric engine combine to allow a hybrid car to run. Features of hybrid cars include improved fuel economy and increased power.

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Hybrid cars feature advanced technologies that traditional cars don't have. Regenerative braking reduces brake friction by using the electric motor to assist in stopping the car. This process generates electricity that's stored in the chemical battery for later use during high-speed travel. The power assist ability gives extra power to the engine to aid in accelerating, passing or traversing hills. Power assist makes it possible for the car to house a smaller and more effective gas engine. The automatic start and shutoff system turns the engine off when the car stops and reengages it when the driver pushes the accelerator. This prevents wasted energy and provides better fuel economy. The idea of the hybrid car has existed since the early 1900s. Ferdinand Porsche presented a car at the Paris Exposition of 1900 that was able to run solely on electricity for 38 miles. He later included an internal combustion engine to power a generator to charge batteries. The car could only reach a speed of 35 miles per hour, but it was the first protohybrid.

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