Fuel economy

Hybrid cars have become more popular and mainstream over the years and aren’t just for hipsters and staunch environmentalists anymore. In fact, over 4.5 million were sold worldwide in 2012 alone. Though more drivers are choosing to opt for a hybrid, much about the way the cars work is still understood. To understand how a hybrid works, you really need to understand the battery. Here’s a short fool-proof guide to batteries in hybrid cars.

What are they, exactly?
There are two batteries in hybrid cars. One of them is the same traditional battery drivers are used to seeing in internal combustion engine cars — a lead-acid battery for a 12 volt system. The other battery, however, is usually a lithium-ion battery, which has a better capacity for recharging.

How do they work?
Put simply, hybrid car batteries work through a process called regenerative braking. When the driver of the car applies the brakes, a small amount of energy is put back into the battery for later use. Hybrids get such good fuel economy because the car is sometimes powered by the electric battery and sometimes from gasoline fuel. The transition between the two power sources is pretty seamless, and most drivers don’t realize when it happens.

How much does hybrid battery replacement cost?
One of the things that most people do know about hybrid car batteries is that they’re pretty pricey to replace. The average cost of a new hybrid battery in the United States is between $3,000 and $4,000, but there are actually a few different options for replacement. Rather than being limited to having to buy a new battery from the dealership, you can also opt to look for third party aftermarket providers.

Do you have any other questions about batteries in hybrid cars? Feel free to ask us in the comments section below!