Hybrid vehicles are fairly commonplace on the roads now, and many automotive manufacturers have several lines of cars that include a hybrid version. In 2009 alone, even during an economic downturn, more than 290,000 new hybrid vehicles were sold in the United States [source: Hybrid Cars]. The demand for hybrids doesn't seem be dropping off, and as more manufacturers build hybrids, the technology is getting better and better, forcing traditional hybrids to make way for more advanced hybrid systems.
Advanced hybrid systems still take aim at achieving the best gas mileage and getting improved efficiency out of the vehicle, but they do so by incorporating new or improved technologies that traditional hybrids have yet to completely utilize. Advanced hybrids make more use of electrical engineering efforts and bring hybrids one more step away from the gasoline engine and just little a bit closer to an all-electric vehicle.
You can think of hybrid systems like math class. First, you have to learn the basics like addition, subtraction, division and multiplication. Then, you move on to more advanced mathematics like algebra, geometry, trigonometry and calculus. Just like in math, hybrids build on the current information and then move into more advanced areas. For advanced hybrids, the benefits are more powerful batteries, longer range without gasoline, new ways of recharging the batteries and even new ways of harnessing power.
Hybrids that are just coming onto the market now may not look much different than previous versions, but they include advancements that have been made possible by the last few years of mass-produced hybrid technology.
On the next page, we'll take look at some of the new and improved technologies in advanced hybrids systems and see how they're changing our current definition of a hybrid vehicle.