Hybrid cars are commonly somewhat incorrectly thought of as only vehicles with both a piston engine and an electric motor. However, a hybrid car can be that, or any combonation of two different sources of power. For example, if a vehicle is designed to be powered by an electric motor, and there are a hydrogen fuel cell and a gasoline-powered engine on board to recharge the batteries, this would be a hybrid car.
What Are The Benefits of a Hybrid Car?
A hybrid is able to run on multiple forms of energy, so the cost of any one form of energy shouldn't impact the owner/driver as much. Also, some hybrids can generate their own energy, such as when a hybrid that runs partially on electricity uses regenerative braking to recharge its battery.
What Are The Drawbacks of a Hybrid Car?
A hybrid has to carry all the things needed to convert two or more forms of energy into motion. When a gasoline powered vehicle is made into a hybrid, it has the added weight of a battery, electric motor, thick wiring, and a control unit for the new source of power. Added weight makes both forms of energy less efficient. While the weight does actually help regenerative braking generate more energy (since the added weight is more difficult to stop), that benefit doesn't offset the extra energy required to get the vehicle up to speed.
The added components also add a considerable cost to the vehicle, not just up front, but with maintenance, too.