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Frequently Asked Questions

Q
What is a hybrid vehicle and how do they work?
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A
A hybrid vehicle is one that uses more than one means of driving force. That means combining a conventional petrol or diesel internal combustion engine with an electric motor. Each of the power sources can drive the car independently or they can work together.

A hybrid vehicle combines the most efficient power sources for the action the car is taking. This maximizes fuel savings and minimize carbon emissions. The electric motor powers the car at low speeds and when the car picks up speed, the petrol or diesel engine kicks in. As the gas engine is in use it powers up the electric batteries. Both engines can work together if more acceleration is needed giving the vehicle plenty of boost. If the driver applies the brakes or slows down, the hybrid car stops using power and instead harnesses power from the car's spinning wheels and stores it in the generator.
Q
What are the benefits of hybrid vehicles?
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A
The engine in hybrid vehicles has been built to be very fuel efficient. When a hybrid vehicle stops at a traffic light, the engine will automatically turn off and restart whenever the vehicle is put into gear. When you start off again the electric motor kicks in for quick acceleration.

The batteries of the electric motor recharge themselves by utilizing the kinetic energy generated during braking. The engine doesn't need any more maintenance than in any other car.
Q
What is a plug-in hybrid vehicle?
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A
A plug-in hybrid can be plugged into an electric outlet to recharge the batteries, as well as being charged on the move.
Q
What's the difference between electric and hybrid vehicles?
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A
Electric vehicles are solely powered by an electric motor and require no fuel. They have no tailpipe and emit no emissions whilst driving.

Hybrid vehicles run on a combination of an internal combustion engine and electric motor.
Q
What grants do the government offer?
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A
What grants do the government offer? You can get a grant towards the cost of each new electric (plug-in) car or van you buy, if it meets certain conditions. Grants are available for:

• 25% off the cost of a car, up to a maximum of £5,000
• 20% off the cost of a van up to a maximum of £8,000

The ‘cost’ is the full purchase price you pay for the basic vehicle - including number plates, vehicle excise duty and VAT. It doesn’t include any optional extras, e.g. delivery charges or first registration fee.

Your new vehicle is likely to be eligible if it is one of the following:

• Electric vehicles (EVs) – these run completely on batteries and are plugged into the mains to be recharged
• Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) – these use a petrol or diesel engine combined with a battery that plugs into the mains.
• Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and other technologies.

Cars from Greenhous that are eligible for the grant:

• Nissan LEAF
• Renault Fluence Z.E
• Renault ZOE
• Vauxhall Ampera
• Volvo V60 Plug-In

Vans from Greenhous that are eligible for the grant:

• Renault Kangoo ZE

The amount of your grant will be automatically deducted from the price of your car or van when you buy it. Greenhous will complete the paperwork, so there are no application forms for you to fill in, but you may be asked to complete a short questionnaire.
Q
What is regenerative braking?
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A
Conventional braking wastes energy because it kills the momentum that the engine has built up. The process of Regenerative Braking takes this energy and stores it elsewhere. Instead of being lost as heat in the brakes, the energy is used to drive an alternator which allows the energy to be recovered and stored in a battery.

Every time you apply the brakes or coast, the electric motor acts as a generator so the engine automatically recovers some of this wasted energy and returns it to the battery.