How Do Hybrid Cars Work?

Have you ever wondered how a Hybrid car works when in action? Well, find out below just exactly how a Hybrid car works with images and descriptions to help cover all the nitty gritty detail on how these conventional petrol and electric motors work together in different circumstances to give you the best possible drive.

Hybrid internal function view

1. Electric Motor

2. 1.3 kWh NiHM battery pack

3. power split-transmission

4. Electric motor/generator

5. Fuel tank

6. Small petrol engine (1.8) litre

Hybrid electric motor positioning
Hybrid generator
Both the petrol and electric engines work together

1. How does a Hybrid car work when pulling away from a stop?​

The electric motor powers the car, drawing on the battery ​for the power which is one of the reasons why Hybrid cars are more efficient for city driving. Up to 15mph, the vehicle will only use the electric motor for power.

2. How does a Hybrid engine work during normal cruising?

The engine can also power the generator when cruising, this produces electricity and stores in the batteries ready for later use. This is exactly when the petrol engine is used at its most efficient.​

3. How do Hybrid cars work during heavy acceleration​?

Both the petrol and electric engines work together to increase the power to the wheels. The petrol engine then powers the generator at the same time when the electric motor​ uses electricity from the batteries and generator when needed.

Toyota Hybrid cars use a clever system called 'regenerative braking' when you brake or take your foot off the gas
Both engines are switched off and the car switches to battery power to run everything it needs to.
Toyota Prius

4. How do Hybrid cars work during braking and cruising?

Toyota Hybrid cars use a clever system called 'regenerative braking' when you brake or take your foot off the gas. The car no longer needs to apply power to the wheels therefore it allows the spinning wheels to power the vehicles generator that produces electricity and stores it in the batter for later use. ​

5. How do Hybrids cars work when reaching a complete stop?

Both the engines are switched off and the car switches to battery power to run everything it needs to - such as radio, air conditioning, lights etc.

Some facts about Prius - Toyota's most popular Hybrid!

The Prius's regenerative braking system has been updated now introducing a new active hydraulic booster which is designed to be quiet and give a more natural feel to the brake pedal.

The design is based on the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA). TNGA helps Toyota build cars by using standardised platforms, powertrains and major components to make cars that have fewer resources to build to give a safer and more enjoyable drive with even greater fuel efficiency.

The powertrain is the new updated version of the existing combination of a 1.8-litre petrol engine and electric motors as outlined above. This features a more compact nickel-metal Hybrid battery pack that is quicker to charge.