When hybrid cars first hit the market, they were especially attractive to people who were conscious about the environment. Many skeptics, on the other hand, held off on buying these so-called fuel-efficient cars, wondering whether they’d ever pay off, or even whether they actually worked as car manufacturers said they did.
If recent statistics released by Ford are any indication, hybrid owners have benefited just as much from their cars as the environment has, WardsAuto reported. In the past 15 years, Ford’s regenerative-brake system – a method that converts kinetic energy into electric energy – has saved drivers an estimated 100 million gallons of gas, which equates to about 100,000 trips around the world.
“We’re recapturing up to 95 percent of kinetic energy that would otherwise go to waste,” said Dale Crombez, a Ford technical expert on regenerative braking systems. That figure, he said, trumps the “30 percent to 50 percent for some other automakers.”
Ford developed its first full-series regenerative brakes in 2004, and the company has continued to improve the system ever since. Ford hybrid vehicles now use a lithium-ion battery, which has the ability to store energy more efficiently, to power an electric motor to complement the gas engine.
According to Ford’s research, cars that run on the most advanced hybrid technology have the potential to be up to 30 percent more fuel-efficient than less advanced vehicles. Crombez believes these solutions are getting closer to reaching mainstream status.
“We keep seeing significant gains, especially when compared to mature technologies where you try and only get a few percentage points in improvements year-over-year,” Crombez said. “New technologies tend to drop [in cost] significantly generation to generation, and that’s still true.”
If you’re interested in taking advantage of your own cost-efficient, environmentally friendly hybrid, you should check some out the next time you take a trip to our New Hampshire Ford dealership.