I was young the first time I heard of a hybrid. But it wasn’t a car. It was a tomato my parents were planting in their garden. I couldn’t seem to grasp it. It was a strange word and an idea I didn’t get at first. Why did tomatoes have to change? Did they have to be different? I eventually accepted the idea, but why I chose a career field that’s always changing and throwing different things our way, that’s a question I still ask myself!
Just when you think you’ve got things down, here comes a new technology, like hybrid vehicles. My first thought was, “What, like a tomato?” Then, as with all new automotive technology, I started digging in and learning the new technology associated with them. I’m still learning.
As a counterperson, you’re on the front line as aging hybrids will start bringing their owners in the door, seeking parts and advice to keep them on the road. It can be a complex subject, but on a high level, it’s easy to understand and you can quickly get your customer the parts and the advice they need to keep them safe and on the road.
Hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), or hybrids for short, are vehicles that combine a traditional internal-combustion engine (ICE) with an electric-motor drive system to achieve better fuel economy, lower emissions and higher power output.
There are multiple types of hybrids, the difference being how the engine and motor work together to transfer power to the drivetrain, as well as the degree to which the engine and motor contribute to propulsion of the vehicle. The main types are mild hybrids, full hybrids and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs). The short of it is that mild hybrids utilize an electric motor to assist the ICE; full hybrids have more powerful electric motors and only utilize the ICE when additional power is needed. PHEVs have larger battery packs, have a longer range when using the electric motor only and can be plugged in to recharge. Mild and full HEVs rely on regenerative braking, or a generator powered by the gas engine to recharge the battery pack.
The technology in an HEV is such that considerable training is required to work on the electrical systems, and just like a fully electric vehicle, there’s a level of apprehension shared by many because of the potential danger. Safety always should be your first consideration, but don’t let it hinder sales opportunities, because many of them are already familiar territory.
This story was originally published in Counterman. To read the full story, click here.