Hybrids are still the new kids on the block, and as such, people tend to ask many questions about how do they operate and what they can and can not do. In order to remove any confusion, it is safe to say that the vast majority of hybrids can not drive without a battery, but a few of them sort of can.
Most hybrids these days are built in a way in which the combustion engine and the electric engine rely on each other at all times. These cars can not drive without a battery because this tends to cause serious damage to the hybrid system.
On the other hand, hybrids built on a so-called ‘’parallel system’’ can drive without a battery, the Toyota Prius is a prime example. The parallel hybrid system works in a manner in which the combustion engine and the electric engine work separately, and they can drive without a battery but only for a short while.
Be that as it may, Toyota reckons that driving your hybrid with 0% percent of battery is only for situations where you don’t have any choice. If that does happen, you should only drive the car to a safe location or a service shop in order not to damage the hybrid system.
The essentials of a hybrid powertrain
A hybrid is a car that uses an electric engine and a combustion engine in order to maximize efficiency through regenerative braking and clever engine management systems. This means that a hybrid works best in an urban environment filled with lots of stop-and-go traffic.
A great benefit of a hybrid car is the fact that you are not relying on the friction brakes in most cases because a hybrid comes equipped with friction motors that slow the car down and store that energy for future use. As such, you are only using your friction brakes when you need to make a sudden stop.
Some hybrid vehicles use the high-voltage battery pack to start the combustion engine, which means that you will not be able to drive such cars without a battery. While driving, a functional hybrid system should switch between the combustion engine and the electric engine for maximum efficiency.
It’s worth mentioning that hybrids should be bought by people who spend the majority of their driving time in the city. However, if you are mostly doing long-distance highway cruising, the most efficient engine option is a large diesel engine with lots of torque.
Driving a hybrid with a dead battery
As mentioned previously, if you own a car that uses the ‘’parallel hybrid system’’ you can drive the car without relying on the battery. This is because the electric engine and the combustion engine don’t rely on each other to work, which means you might also be able to drive such cars without any gasoline.
However, such scenarios should be avoided because they are not recommended by any manufacturer who makes a hybrid capable of driving without a battery. Because some hybrids use the high-voltage battery to start the car up, if you turn off your combustion engine, you might not be able to start it up again.
Furthermore, driving without a battery makes the car extremely uncomfortable to drive and rather slow because the system is not designed to work without a battery. The best course of action would be to find a safe spot to pull over and call a flatbed.
Driving a hybrid without gas
Most hybrids are completely unusable without gas, however, others like the Chevy Volt can be driven without a single drop of gasoline in the tank. The reasoning for this is simple, without gasoline, a hybrid car loses its primary source of energy which makes the car slow and extremely jittery.
If for example, you own a hybrid Nissan Altima, you will not be able to drive it without gasoline because the car will shut down immediately. As previously stated, some hybrids use their electrical systems to start up the combustion engine when needed, and if you don’t have any gasoline, this might even damage your battery.
That’s the main reason why most hybrids can not be driven without gasoline because it can cause irreparable damage to the hybrid system. If you own a hybrid that can drive without gasoline, be sure not to rely on this option and use it if only necessary.
Do you have to replace the battery on a hybrid?
Most hybrid car batteries should last at least 100k miles, but many of them can last more than twice that much. However, if you own a high-mileage hybrid with its original battery, chances are that you ought to change it eventually.
An average new hybrid battery costs as much as $6000 depending on the car and the size of the battery, and that’s without considering labor costs. Be sure to check the warranty as some car manufacturers sometimes cover their batteries for as much as 100k miles.
Are diesel and gasoline cars going to be banned in the future?
According to recent statements made by many governments and international organizations officials, in a decade or two, diesel cars are expected to cease production entirely. While still yet unclear, chances are that gasoline cars should also stop production.
For a cleaner future, we are all going to drive hybrids and electric cars. These estimates are not 100% correct, and we will have to wait and see what happens. It is worth mentioning that you will not have to scarp existing diesel and gasoline cars as the ban is only going to affect new cars.
Is it worth buying a hybrid right now?
If you can use the hybrid for what it is, then it is. If you are not able or willing to use a hybrid for what it is, then it is not worth it. Hybrids are made for city stop-and-go traffic because you can rely on regenerative braking as opposed to friction braking.
Regen braking is designed to capture lost energy while slowing down in order to store it in the battery for later use. This means that hybrids are not made for highway driving, and you should skip them for now if that’s what you do most of the time.