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Help requested posted on 8th December 2010:

hybrid vehicles

Is there any research/evidence to support a colleague's understanding that drivers of hybrid vehicles use the motor in inner urban areas in fear that the stop start nature of driving will reduce the battery life, thus negating the environmental effects these vehicles could have.

We ask because in London these vehicles are congestion charge exempt and if the theory is correct they perhaps should be charged.

Peter Wilson
Westminster City Council

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Response posted on 8th December 2010 by:
Jessica Fox-Taylor
Bath & North East Somerset Council
T: 01225 394257

hybrid vehicles

From the little understanding of hybrid engines that I have, even when they are using the motor or a combination of battery and motor they are more efficient than a motor-only car.

To the best of my knowledge most recent hybrids make the decision on which power source to use based on their internal computers, the driver has little choice in the decision.

For some info on how hybrid's cope with idling and how the engine of a current common hybrid model copes with all aspects of stopping and starting you see these two links:

Besides all of this, it strikes me as odd that such a decision is being re-considered now. There are doubtless people who will have spent tens of thousands of pounds buying a hybrid partly motivated by the lack of congestion charge. To then force them to pay would be an unpopular decision for such road users. I imagine the public will view that this sort of questioning should have occurred before a decision on charging (or the lack of) was first made. Unless of course, technology has significantly changed.

It may be useful to consult our American counterparts; hybrid's are far more prevalent there and they are given extra allowances because of their 'green' credentials. Such decisions are made state by state, but I know that Virginia allows hybrid users to use the 'car pool' lane (3+ occupancy in cars) even with 1 user.

Jess F-T
Bath and North East Somerset

Response posted on 9th December 2010 by:
Steve Wilson
Derbyshire County Council
T: 0345 123 3333 x 790 1639

Hybrid vehicles

Agree with Jessica's response, the driver has little influence in the engine management system's 'decision' with many vehicles, to switch between the two drive systems.
Having researched hybrid vehicles and LPG, I have found no similar observations or concerns as to one you elude to. This link may be useful as it takes you to a forum for hybrib/electric vehicles users. I can find no examples of the problem you describe on this or similar forums.

* Please note - organisation is Derbyshire Police, working in partnership with Derbyshire County COuncil *

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