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January 27, 2011


Jim Brown


Rachel L. Kane



Jim, I have completed the research that you requested concerning hybrid cars. I found information about their history, their engineering, their benefits when compared to gasoline-powered cars, and their possible benefits to Roadrunner Rentals. Throughout my research I have found that a hybrid car is an automobile that utilizes two or more types of propulsion power for operation, which typically include gasoline-power and electric-power.

The word hybrid is applied to vehicles that use both gas and electric powers of propulsion because, according to Dictionary.com, hybrid is a term used to describe something of mixed origin. One of the Top 10 Hybrid Myths listed is that the rise of the gasoline-electric hybrid vehicle is a somewhat recent phenomenon in the history of cars. However, according to the aforementioned Top 10, the first known gas-electric vehicle prototypes were invented by Ferdinand Porsche in 1900. A mere five years later, in 1905, engineer H. Piper had the first patent for a gas-electric car.

From then on, the development of the hybrid vehicle was slow-going and, according to the History of Hybrid Vehicles, didnt begin to gain popularity until the Clinton Administration announced a government initiative entitled the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles, which was meant to promote the research and development of more eco-friendly automobiles. Since then we have seen the rise in popularity of such vehicles as the Toyota Prius and the Honda Insight (History).

According to What is a Hybrid Vehicle, a gas-electric hybrid vehicle requires one or two auxiliary electric motors that supplement the main gasoline engine. There are several types of hybrids in production, Page 2 Jim Brown January 27, 2011

however, hybrid-specialist Karim Nice and Julia Layton claim that there are two main ways that the gasoline-powered and electric-powered sources typically combine. One way utilized is called the parallel hybrid in which the fuel tank supplies gas to the engine and, simultaneously, a set of batteries powers the electric motor. Through this combined effort enough power is created to turn the transmission of the vehicle, thus turning the wheels (Layton).

The second type of hybrid which is common is called the series hybrid. This hybrid has a gas engine which turns a generator, which then can either charge the batteries for, or directly power, the electric motor. In similar fashion as the aforementioned parallel hybrid, this motor turns the transmission, which then turns the wheels of the automobile (Layton).

Upon further research I found that we are more familiar with hybrid technology than we might know. This technology is currently being utilized by vehicles such as mopeds, locomotives, many buses in urban areas, and in military submarines (Layton).

I also did research to find out how typical gas-powered cars compare with electric-powered and why the combination of the two has been deemed better than one or the other. A gasoline-powered vehicle typically has a fuel tank which supplies gas to the engine, while an electric-powered car has batteries which provide electricity to an electric motor (Layton). A hybrid, as previously explained, is a collaboration of the two engines.

According to Layton and Nice, the typical motorist desires a car that will travel roughly 300 miles before needing to refuel, that has a quick and easy refueling process, and that can keep up with the other traffic on the road. These are all attainable goals which can be accomplished with solely gasoline-powered vehicles, although at the expense of the environment (Layton). The electric engine creates no significant pollution, but requires to be charged much more frequently and has a lengthy recharging time (Layton).

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As a result, Nice and Layton posit that the hybrid creates the best of both worlds. The gas engine allows for easier and less frequent refueling, and is also smaller, less powerful, and more efficient (What). The electric engine allows for less pollution and actually

extends the fuel-life of the vehicle, thus saving the owner on gas prices (Layton).

If Roadrunner Rentals were to offer hybrid vehicles amongst our product it would improve our image as a green and environmentally friendly company because of the publics current awareness of the environment benefits to hybrid vehicles (What). Furthermore, we would have more satisfied customers. This is because according to the Profile of Hybrid Drivers the percentage of hybrid users in the last ten years who claim to be very or somewhat happy with their hybrid has consistently hovered near 100%.

In conclusion, after much research, the important parts which I have relayed to you, I feel that adding hybrid vehicles to our already outstanding fleet of rental vehicles would be an extremely positive step forward for Roadrunner Rentals.

cc: Andy Smith

Works Cited Dictionary.com. n.p. n.d. Web. 29 Jan. 2012. History of Hybrid Vehicles. Hybridcars.com. Hybrid Cars, 27 Mar. 2006. Web. 29 Jan. 2012. Layton, Julia and Karim Nice. How Hybrid Cars Work. HowStuffWorks.com. Discovery, 20 Jul. 2000. Web. 29 Jan. 2012. Profile of Hybrid Drivers. Hybridcars.com. Hybrid Cars, 31 Mar. 2006. Web. 29 Jan. 2012. Top 10 Hybrid Myths. Hybridcars.com. Hybrid Cars, 23 Mar. 2006. Web. 30 Jan. 2012. What is a Hybrid Vehicle? What-is-what.com. What-Is-What, 2 Nov. 2007. Web. 31 Jan. 2012.