Sunday,17 February, 2019
Current issue | Issue 1321, (24 - 30 November 2016)
Sunday,17 February, 2019
Issue 1321, (24 - 30 November 2016)

Ahram Weekly

Is it time for a Hybrid?

Fuel prices are going up and hours stuck in traffic jams are increasing. Are hybrid cars the ultimate solution?

Going around a problem was never an effective solution. Instead, facing the problem head on and eliminating it is probably the fastest way to reach your destination.

Can you take driving an electric car? If you love cars and driving, you probably would not like driving an electric car. But what about a Hybrid? It’s not what it sounds like. First off, what’s the main difference between a completely electric car and a hybrid car? An electric car is one with an electric motor and mighty lithium batteries which you charge to power the electric motor so it can run. When the batteries are out of juice the car stops.

How do hybrid cars work? It’s a long story since each manufacturer tries to develop his own combination of an internal combustion engine and the electrical side in which the difference is dramatic. The common blend in the hybrid cars is an internal combustion engine that feeds the wheels with power as well as a generator which charges the batteries which powers the car. So you get power generated from the normal engine and power out of the electric batteries.

Normally, the electric batteries power the car at low speeds like rush hour traffic, until you exceed a specific speed, like 25km/h in the Toyota Prius. Then the internal combustion engine takes over at cruising speed on the highway, and keeps on feeding the generator so it can charge the batteries. In aggressive driving, both the batteries and the internal combustion engine are working together to give the car all the power it needs, so performance is never sacrificed.

Car companies are always trying to develop the hybrid system to make it more efficient. For example, they developed a technology that saves electrical power generated from the braking system. So it is a win, win and win situation where you save the planet and extend its running time with low emissions coming out of your vehicle, pay less on fuel, and get the performance you want under your feet.

Hybrid is not for boring cars. The world’s most expensive hypercars are almost all hybrid, using electric engines to add more power to the already powerful machine, like the Ferrari LaFerrari, Porsche 918 and McLaren P1. So it’s not that you’re driving a car designed for a pensioned elderly going shopping; consider it stepping on the reality called winning, not losing. And don’t worry. You won’t be forced to choose among unknown Chinese brands. You can still stick to your favourite make. Nearly every manufacturer has built a hybrid car or even several models.

Going out to the Egyptian market to look for a hybrid car? You probably won’t find many. Honestly, the reason is not clear. Markets in Europe, America and even the Gulf all have many choices of hybrid cars and governments encourage people to buy them by making them tax free, which means you pay almost no tariffs on the car and almost no running tax because you are saving fuel for the country and not harming the environment. This all adds to the economic status of the country at the end of the day. So why doesn’t Egypt start hybriding its streets?

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