A Hybrid car is an automobile, which uses two or more power sources in order to run the car. The hybrid car combines an internal combustion motor with an electric motor. Toyota launched the first hybrid car in Japan in the year 1997. In the United States, the hybrid car from Honda, namely, Honda Civic Hybrid marked a revolutionary change in the automobile industry. The two varieties of hybrid cars available in the market are electric hybrids, which use electric motor as a power source, and hydrogen hybrids, which use water to extract hydrogen and generate power. The major manufacturing companies of hybrid vehicles are Toyota, Ford, Honda, Nissan, Volkswagen, BMW and General Motors . The major strength of hybrid cars is that they are fuel efficient when compared to other cars. Hybrid cars are reliable and have a smooth brake system with comfortable and spacious interiors. The cars contribute positively to the environment as they cause less pollution. Hybrid cars offer better efficiency and lower carbon dioxide emissions. In the case of a hybrid car that uses an electric motor, there is no need to charge the battery due to the regenerative technology of the car .
The weakness of hybrid cars is the low availability of substitutes. Since hybrid cars are still new in the market, the availability of substitute products is low when compared to other cars. Hybrid cars rely on fossil fuels and are expensive when compared to other cars of the similar size . The efficiency of fuel is dependent on the driving style, climate and season. Hybrid cars require special attention in terms of repairing and servicing of the vehicle. The components of hybrid cars are available in limited quantities. Exhilarating acceleration is less when compared to other products. The weight of the hybrid car is huge due to the presence of battery packs. Though the number of hybrid cars in the market increased, the volume of purchase is low and limited to a specific segment of customers . The hybrid cars are not suitable for long journey as there is a high chance of battery failure, especially in the winters. In the event of accident, there is a high possibility to the exposure of electricity.
The opportunity of hybrid cars is to evolve a plug-in hybrid with batteries that have higher capacities and operable for long hours in electric-only mode. Awareness about the environment and the climate in the recent years helps to keep the demand of the cars higher in comparison to non-hybrid cars . The government’s target to achieve the targets set by Kyoto is another opportunity to the hybrid cars. The public incentives and green policies provide an opportunity to cash in sales. The hybrid cars have a long term vision to fight against the fuel draught that would occur in the future. The following are the threats to hybrid cars. Entry to the hybrid industry requires a huge capital investment. Research and development, and marketing costs are high as the technology still needs innovation. The significant fall of fuel prices affects the market share of the hybrid cars . New entrants of hybrid cars increase competitive rivalry in the automobile market, which is another threat faced by the hybrid cars. The rise in the price of raw materials and complicated architecture increase the maintenance costs of the hybrid cars.
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