A hybrid vehicle uses two energy sources and two different motorizations. The majority of today’s hybrids are thermal-electric. The basic idea is to associate two motorizations with complementary characteristics, with each one taking over where it provides the best performance. For example when starting a vehicle it is best to use an electric motor rather than a thermal one as the efficiency of the former is ten times higher than the latter under these conditions.
In 1997, the launch of the Toyota Prius revealed the concept of a hybrid vehicle, in this case a thermal-electric one, to the general public.
In reality the concept had existed for some time and hybrids like the famous 1916 Woods Dual Power were already on the roads in the early years of the twentieth century. The concept of the hybrid was then progressively abandoned and only made a comeback when public awareness was raised about the need to save fuel and lower the emissions. It is a relatively simple way of saving fuel: the existence of the electric motor means that a smaller internal combustion engine can be used in a standard vehicle of the same size. The dual motorization has a special transmission which constantly regulates the right balance between the two motors, as well as a dual control module. These technical imperatives justify the slightly higher cost of hybrid vehicles.
Energy recovery during deceleration is today the basis of hybridization be it electric, hydraulic or inertial.