Editor’s note: Naturalist Don Hendershot is writing a series of columns exploring the use of alternative energy and fuels.
Hybrids are supposed to offer the best of both worlds, quiet electrical propulsion for stop-and-go driving and the power of internal combustion for those interstate cruises. The electric motor uses no energy when idling and produces no tailpipe emissions. At higher speeds the internal combustion engine kicks in for power and the acceleration American drivers have grown accustomed to.
Most people tend to think of electric (EVs) and hybrid (HEVs) vehicles in the same sphere, but the two are quite different with their own sets of pros and cons. Electric cars are powered solely by batteries that must be charged from an outside power source whereas hybrids run on a combination of battery power and internal combustion.
Greenies, tree-huggers, granolas and old hippies are mothers, dads and grandmoms too. And there is a sincere desire to live and raise our children in a cleaner, safer, sustainable world. But until we greenies achieve the economical and political clout of Exxon-Mobile, Toyota and/or the governments of the G8 countries, face it, it will be utility, power and profit that will fuel the move to alternative energy.