Myths and Misconceptions about Hybrids
MYTH #1 – Hybrids only run on a special grade or octane of gasoline. False!
The entire Toyota Hybrid Model lineup runs on regular-grade unleaded gas. The Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) under the hood of a hybrid is similar to the one found in any other vehicle – although they tend to require less fuel than those of purely gasoline-powered vehicles, thanks to the electric motor helping out. Since these engines operate on an 87-octane fuel rating, putting in higher-grade gasoline will not improve fuel economy estimates, nor provide additional power. Your Owner’s Manual will specify which gas to use.
MYTH #2 – The hybrid battery only charges when the vehicle is plugged in. False!
While hybrids are fueled the same way as gasoline powered vehicles, the battery component can charge itself. How? One method is called regenerative braking, which is also used by pure electric vehicles. When the driver applies the brakes, energy that is typically lost as heat is instead captured and used to charge the onboard battery. The other way the battery recharges is when the engine kicks in after the battery is depleted, acting as a generator to recharge the battery until it has reached an optimal operating level.
MYTH #3 – It’s possible to drive purely on electric power from the hybrid battery. True!
Switching between gasoline and electric drive modes is possible, however, there are limitations that can vary by vehicle. The all-electric drive mode is only available at low speeds and has a very limited range – from as little as an estimated 0.5 miles for Prius c to potentially over 25 miles for Prius Prime. The ICE is not running and therefore not consuming fuel. In this scenario, the vehicle is propelled solely by the electric motor and drive battery. Once the battery is depleted, the ICE will then kick in. Having this extra boost of electric power can help you get that extra mile.
MYTH #4 – Hybrids cost more to maintain than a traditional gas model. False!
Toyota Hybrids actually cost less. There is no scheduled belt maintenance of any kind on any Toyota hybrid model. Toyota Hybrids have: no starter, no alternator, and because they use regenerative brakes, the brake maintenance will come much, much less frequently.