How Hybrid Cars Work - Limited Number of Tax Credits
- What to Look For When Buying a Hybrid-Electric Vehicle - Honda Insight and
April 1st 2006
Why are hybrid
cars better than traditional all-gasoline powered cars? Unlike the
all-gasoline powered cars, hybrids use both electric batteries and
gasoline. Unlike electric cars, hybrids do not need to be
plugged-in at night, and you fill up with gasoline at the filling
station just as you do now.
Hybrids have both
a small gas motor and an electric motor. The electric motor is
powered by a set of batteries that are charged when the car is
decelerating and sometimes while stopped. Essentially, the hybrid
is an electric car with a built-in recharger for longer range.
The big advantage
is gas mileage. If gas prices continue to rise, hybrid owners will
save substantially more money at the pump than all-gasoline powered
Not all hybrids
are the same. For instance, the Honda Insight uses a larger
gasoline engine that connects directly to the drive train. Other
hybrids may have the electric motor attached to the drive train, but
Honda decided to lighten the vehicle by making the generator and
electric motor smaller.
Other hybrids may
have a smaller gas motor that runs at one speed only. The electric
motors will supply the bulk of the power while the gas motors just
supplement the power. The Insight works the opposite, and since the
gasoline motor works at varying speeds, it may be less fuel
The Energy Policy
Act of 2005 created new tax credits for purchasers of hybrid
vehicles. The Feds have allocated each qualifying manufacturer a
set number of tax credits. In other words, after the automaker
sells 60,000 qualifying vehicles, there will be no more tax credits
available for that manufacturer’s cars.
Although the tax
credits will be offered through 2010, the manufacturers will likely
exhaust their share of credits well before that year. In fact, we
have heard that Toyota will likely exhaust their allotted vehicle
tax credits before the end of 2006.
With gas prices
on the rise and a limited quantity of tax credits, this may be the
“year of the hybrid”.
By Dan Wilson
Keywords and misspellings: hibrid car electric pryus acord