Hybrids are finally shaping up to be what engineers envisioned them to be. With some new driving techniques, many models are achieving the mileage estimates which the makers advertised. The batteries, which the hybrid relies upon for their electric energy source, are now coming with longer warranties and replaceable modules, which keep one from having to replace the entire battery. The waiting lists and prices are slowly going down, too, as more makers come up with their own versions of the hybrid car or SUV. All of these factors are changing the way that people think of hybrids; however, the journey of the hybrid into the mainstream auto industry has not been without some very bumpy moments.
There is a population of hybrid owners who have not had their expectations met. One of the biggest problems which hybrid owners have is not getting the mileage which they believe they should or would. Some hybrids claiming that they will get 50 mpg are only getting 30 mpg. Drivers are frustrated as they attempt to actually relearn how to drive a car. This includes learning how to "pulse and glide," which helps balance the car's use of electric and gas when in speeds ranging from 30 to 40 mph. A combination of fancy pedal work and watching arrows on the dashboard, make many drivers feel like they are learning how to drive manual or worse.
The other factor that comes into play is how fast one likes to accelerate. Although many of the new hybrids are getting great acceleration performance, punching the gas on a hybrid also reduces one's mileage performance. If one wants to get great gas mileage on a hybrid, then they have to learn how to drive with more overall patience.
There has to be less hard breaking and careful attention to pressure on the gas pedal to get the most out of one's hybrid. Complaints of hybrids performing badly in certain weather conditions have also changed some owners' opinions about their environmentally friendly vehicle. Apparently, the car battery used in hybrids needs some warming up. In full hybrids (or hybrids which can operate completely in either electric or gas mode without needing the other), this problem appears to have worked out to near nonexistence. For mild hybrids, which cannot have the electric or gas components work independently from one another, there have been cases of the hybrid performing poorly or much under expectations in cold weather. Too much heat has been known to wear down on a hybrid's battery as well, but this is being counteracted with thermal protection systems.
Stalling has also made Toyota have to contact Prius owners. Apparently, stalling or unexpected shutdowns of the engine may affect some drivers due to a software problem. The stalling sounds like a frightening prospect, but Toyota took precautions by inviting owners of that specific Prius to head to dealerships for a free repair. The news was also minimal in affecting opinion about the Prius since only a small number of drivers ever had to submit any complaints.
Some people have been known to complain about one of the strange side-effects of driving a hybrid: the silence. Because of the efficiency of the engine, the engine can drop to near silence when idling. Many say that although motorcycles and some models of regular cars are too loud, at least you can hear them. The silence of the hybrid poses a problem for the deaf and for children who are often too wrapped up in playing to pay attention to cars to begin with. It is no wonder that makers are already considering ways to put the noise pollution back into hybrids to ensure that pedestrians are not the victims of new technology. For many, it is no surprise that hybrids have been plagued with various glitches.
The fact that many non-hybrid vehicles have had their share of recalls despite years of engineers working on them does not make hybrid owners feel better. Consumers who are willing to take the chance with a hybrid purchase are already wondering if their car will be obsolete in a couple years like a laptop computer. There is some comfort, however, that the glitches have not been as numerous as some expected and that the benefits are beginning to outweigh the negatives.
Gregg Hall is a business consultant and author for many online and offline businesses and lives in Navarre Florida with his 16 year old son. For the best in car care products for your car go to http://www.5starshine.com