A hybrid vehicle is a vehicle using an on-board Rechargeable energy
storage system (RESS) and a fueled propulsion power source for vehicle
propulsion. They are low-polluting and low-petrol consuming cars.
The different propulsion power systems may have common subsystems
The term most commonly refers to petroleum-electric hybrid vehicles,
which use gasoline (petrol) or diesel to power internal-combustion
engines (ICEs), and electric batteries to power electric motors.
Modern mass-produced hybrids, such as the Toyota Prius, recharge
their batteries by capturing kinetic energy via regenerative braking.
As well, when cruising or in other situations where just light thrust
is needed, "full" hybrids such as the Prius can use the
combustion engine to generate electricity by spinning a generator
(often a second electric motor) to either recharge the battery
or directly feed power to an electric motor that drives the vehicle.
This contrasts with all-electric cars which use batteries charged
by an external source such as the grid, or a range extending trailer.
Nearly all hybrids still require gasoline and diesel as their sole
fuel source though other fuels such as ethanol or plant based oils
have also seen occasional use. Hybrid cars also use Hydrogen gas.
The term hybrid when used in relation with cars also has other uses.
Prior to its modern meaning of hybrid propulsion, the word hybrid
was used in the United States to mean a vehicle of mixed national
origin; generally, a European car fitted with American mechanical
components. This meaning has fallen out of use. In the import scene,
hybrid was often used to describe an engine swap, such as the common
Honda B16 engine into a Honda Civic. Some have also referred to
flexible-fuel vehicles as hybrids because they can use a mixture
of different fuels — typically gasoline and ethanol alcohol
fuel. There are not diesel flexible-fuel vehicles, because nowadays
diesel cars can use petroleum and biodiesel at the same time.