Driving Behind a Hybrid – Soaring Blood Pressure or Good For Your Health?By Cuong Huynh • Jul 22nd, 2009 • Category: Clean Car Talk Posts
Ever find yourself driving behind a hybrid car?
With larger number of hybrids sharing the public roads, hybrid cars are becoming common sights everyday. So here’s the question: if you’re “caught” driving behind a hybrid, do you find your blood pressure soaring, or do you feel this is actually good for your health?
Now before everyone jumps on me for being mean or arrogant, let me explain. By design hybrid cars like the Toyota Prius, Honda Civic Hybrid and the Honda Insight Hybrid get higher mileage due in large part to the electric motor drive and regenerative braking, or regen.
Regen is the capability of the electric motor and battery systems to recapture the forward momentum of the car during deceleration and convert the energy back into electricity that can be stored in the battery packs. Depending on specific car design, regen can occur as soon as you let off the accelerator pedal (simulating engine braking,) when you “ride” the brake pedal lightly (regen only with no friction brake,) and when you push harder on the brake to activate both friction and regen. Typically, regen is not active below certain low speed range, like around 7 mph.
By definition, then, when you’re coasting, you’re recharging your battery packs. It’s also a known technique among hybrid drivers that while coasting, either on flat road or downhill, lightly riding the brakes to activate just regen and not friction braking will give you more energy capture. Drivers can do this safely and only use friction brake to finally come to a complete stop.
So regen is an important part of the overall hybrid system performance. In fact slowly coming to a stop without hard braking has always been an age-old advice for conventional car drivers. We just choose to occasionally forget efficient driving techniques, that’s all. Hybrid car or not.
I guess driving behind a hybrid car, or driving like driving a hybrid car, is actually good for your health, and a lot of other people’s health too. Now if I can just deal with those hybrids driving faster than the speed limit on the highway, just because they can still get great mileage at high speeds with their more efficient engines.
For those interested, here’s some hard core hybrid drivers discussing regenerative braking on the GREENhybrid.com Forum on the Toyota Prius versus the Honda Civic Hybrid.
Cuong Huynh is a marketing communications consultant working in the San Diego area. Cuong is dedicated to helping individuals and companies maximize their presence on the Internet and efficiently take products and services to market through SEO and network marketing. Cuong also maintains a blog on Marketing at marketingautopsyblog.com. You can also find Cuong Huynh's profile on LinkedIn. For fun he maintains a blog on Vietnamese pho, soccer and do storyboards for movie and film projects. Follow Cuong on Twitter @CuongHuynh, @LovingPho, @CleanCarTalk, @BlockbusterFilm, @SoccerUSA.
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