Hybrid vehicles use an electric motor in conjunction with a conventional engine to help reduce fuel consumption and cut CO2 emissions.
There is a supplementary electric motor powered by a battery, which is charged by the engine when coasting or under light load.
Basically there are two types of hybrid on sale in the UK: mild hybrid and full hybrid.
A mild hybrid uses the electric motor to assist the petrol engine and help improve performance, such as in the Honda Insight. The engine switches off when stationary or when coasting, but the vehicle is never driven by the electric motor alone.
A full hybrid is where the electric motor can power the car for short periods at low speeds.
Before 2011 all hybrid production cars have been petrol electric. In 2011, the Peugeot 3008 Hybrid4 is expected to be the first diesel-electric hybrid.
Further developments in hybrids include plug-in hybrids, where the battery can power the car for a longer range and at higher speeds, although these cars also have a conventional engine and fuel to extend their range.
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