How to Drive a Hybrid Efficiently - everything new owners need to know
Hybrid vehicles have come a long way since they were first introduced over a decade ago and there are now makes and models to suit any lifestyle. If you’re considering making the switch from a petrol to a hybrid vehicle, read on for some basic insights and tips on how to get the best fuel economy from mountain driving to running errands around town.
What do I need to know before I buy a hybrid?
Before buying a hybrid, you need to do your research just as you would with any other vehicle. Although some hybrid vehicles may be a little more costly upfront than their petrol-fuelled competitors, often the money you save over a few years in increased fuel efficiency and lower fuel costs will make up for the difference. Of course, cost isn’t the only consideration. When it comes to environmental factors, hybrid vehicles are much greener than traditional vehicles, and are excellent for city driving as they are able to run on electric power which is much cleaner. Over time, hybrid batteries will need to be replaced. However, on newer vehicles, they should last between 100,000 - 150,000km and are generally covered by the vehicle’s warranty.
How do I get the best mileage in a hybrid?
The best way to maximise fuel economy in a hybrid is to keep the battery charged. This allows the vehicle to use less petrol and more electricity. When it comes to stopping, braking gently is not only the safer way to go but also the more efficient option when driving a hybrid. Gradual braking generates power back to the battery because when the brakes are applied, the electric motor converts the energy from braking into electricity which is then stored in the battery.
What is the best way to drive a hybrid on the highway?
Whether you’re sailing down the highway at top speeds or stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic, it’s important to know how to drive your hybrid efficiently. When cruising at higher speeds or when overtaking another vehicle, both the petrol engine and the electric motor will work together for optimal power. Luckily, the driver doesn't have to do anything manually to make this happen - the vehicle knows how to make the best use of both engines most efficiently. However, everyone who’s travelled on the Bruce Highway on a holiday weekend knows that cruising along at the speed limit isn’t always an option. At low speeds, and when you’re gently accelerating or coasting to a stop, the electric motor kicks in so you don’t waste fuel (in other words - free travel!). In these circumstances, if you’re stuck in gridlock traffic, hybrid vehicles have a big advantage.
For hillier drives - like in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland - quick accelerations will normally engage the petrol engine in combination with the electric motor to get the car in motion. However, if you accelerate slowly, the electric motor should be the main power source until you reach a higher speed. At that point, once again, the two engines work together with the electric motor providing additional power to assist the petrol engine for maximum efficiency.
Do hybrid cars need to be driven regularly - or can you drive them too much?
Hybrid vehicles don’t need to be driven more frequently than other vehicles but should be serviced regularly just like any other car. If you’re concerned about how to drive a hybrid efficiently - or driving it too little or too much - don’t be. Hybrids are perfect for running around all day doing errands in town, and offer a smooth, efficient drive when out on the open road.
Which Toyota Hybrids are available on the Sunshine Coast?
Toyota was a pioneer in hybrid vehicles and is continuously adding to their hybrid range. Currently the list of Toyota models available on the Sunshine Coast includes:
How do I know which hybrid is right for me?
Now that hybrid vehicles are no longer limited to compact cars, there are more options to fit your lifestyle. Today’s hybrids come in many different body styles and offer more power than ever before.
Contact Ken Mills Toyota to learn more about how to drive a hybrid efficiently and to discover how a new hybrid vehicle could be the right fit for your family!