Hybrid – definition and meaning

Hybrid is something we make by combining two different elements or the offspring of two plants or animals. The word may also refer to something of mixed character that consists of two different elements. For example, jungle is a hybrid of house and reggae music, while a mule is a horse-donkey cross. We refer to cars that use both electricity and gasoline as hybrids.

In fact, we use the term to describe many things that consist of a combination of at least two elements. A hybrid business is a company that has both an Internet-front end as well as its bricks and mortar premises. In other words, a business with a strong online presence and also warehouses and physical shops.

BusinessDictionary.com has the following definition of the term:

“Something having two kinds of components that produce the same or similar results, such as a vehicle powered by both an electric motor and an internal combustion engine as sources of power for the drive train.”

This article focuses on the business, scientific, and technical usages of the term.

Hybrid - definition and two examples
The number of hybrid cars in circulation is rising rapidly. However, by the middle of this century, all cars will probably be completely electric. In other words, by 2050, there will be no hybrids or fossil fuel cars. As part of an international drive to combat global warming, governments globally are trying to reduce fossil-fuel consumption.

Hybrid vehicles

There are many vehicles today that use two distinct types of power. Some trains use a combination of diesel and electricity. Some submarines use batteries when they are underwater and diesel when they are on the surface.

Most hybrid cars today store their energy in the fuel of the internal combustion engine and a set of electric batteries. The internal combustion engine fuel may be gas (British: petrol) or diesel. It is also possible to store the energy in pressurized fluid.

The technology for gasoline-electric cars and trains has been around for at least one century. In 1889, William H. Patton filed a patent application for a rail-car that used both gasoline and electricity.

In the same year, Patton also filed a patent application for a boat propulsion system that used electricity and gasoline.

Henri Pieper developed the first petro-electric car in 1899. One year later, Ferdinand Porsche developed a series-hybrid.

Porsche used two motor-in-wheel-hub arrangements with an internal combustion generator set. In fact, his vehicle set land speed records.

Hybrid in biology

A hybrid in biology is a crossbreed. In other words, the result of combining two organisms of distinct breeds, species, or varieties. The crossbreed is the result of sexual reproduction.

For example, if you cross a male donkey with a mare (female horse) you get a mule. In other words, a mule is a donkey-horse hybrid.

Mules, which are sterile, are stronger than donkeys but smaller than horses. They are useful pack animals.

Video – what are hybrid cars?

Hybrids, when referring to vehicles, could be gas-electric, diesel-electric, or gas-hydraulic cars. They could also be diesel-hydraulic ones.