BEST IELTS General Reading Test 414

BEST IELTS General Reading Test 414

IELTS General Reading Test

Hybrid Cars

Most people these days are now aware of the real possibility of choosing to buy a hybrid car. Hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) are powered by an internal combustion engine or other propulsion source that can be run on conventional or alternative fuel and an electric motor that uses energy stored in a battery. HEVs combine the benefits of high fuel economy and low emissions with the power and range of conventional vehicles. A wide variety of hybrid electric vehicles is currently available.

Although HEVs are often more expensive than similar conventional vehicles, some costs may be recovered through fuel savings or state incentives. HEVs are powered by an internal combustion engine and an electric motor, which uses energy stored in batteries. The extra power provided by the electric motor allows for a smaller engine. Additionally, the battery can power auxiliary loads like sound systems and headlights and reduce engine idling when stopped. Together, these features result in better fuel economy without sacrificing performance.

IELTS General Reading Test

HEVs can be either mild or full hybrids, and full hybrids can be designed in series or parallel configurations. Mild hybrids, also called micro hybrids, use a battery and electric motor to help power the vehicle and can allow the engine to shut off when the vehicle stops (such as at traffic lights or in stop-and-go traffic), further improving fuel economy. Mild hybrid systems cannot power the vehicle using electricity alone.

These vehicles generally cost less than full hybrids, but provide less substantial fuel economy benefits than full hybrids. Full hybrids have more powerful electric motors and larger batteries, which can drive the vehicle on just electric power for short distances and at low speeds. These systems cost more than mild hybrids, but provide better fuel economy benefits.

IELTS General Reading Test

There are different ways to combine the power from the electric motor and the internal combustion engine. Parallel hybrids, for example, the most common HEV designs, can connect the internal combustion engine and the electric motor to the wheels through mechanical coupling. Both the electric motor and the internal combustion engine drive the wheels directly. Series hybrids, on the other hand, use only the electric motor to drive the wheels and are sometimes found in plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.

Hybrid cars have been around longer than most people realise. A man by the name of Goldsworthy Gurney invented a steam car in 1825, which made an 85-mile road trip in ten hours. In 1897, the London Electric Cab Company produced a fleet of cars known as the Bersey Cabs. This fleet was powered by a 40-cell battery and a three horsepower electric motor. Around the same time, the Pope Manufacturing Company of Hartford, Connecticut, manufactured approximately 500 electric cars over 2 years.

IELTS General Reading Test

Within the first few years of the twentieth century, thousands of electric and hybrid cars were manufactured, but when Henry Ford introduced the assembly line approach to manufacturing cars along with the technology to produce a self-starting engine, the hybrid concept quickly declined.

The discussion of whether to buy a hybrid car revolves around a variety of issues. Firstly, a country that had a large number of hybrid cars would be less reliant on imported petroleum, which would increase the country’s energy security. Last year, for example, the United States imported about thirty-three per cent of the petroleum it consumed, and transportation was responsible for nearly three-quarters of total U.S. petroleum consumption. With much of the world’s petroleum reserves located in politically volatile countries, the United States is vulnerable to price spikes and supply disruptions.

This has led many countries’ governments to offer incentives to people owning a hybrid car. Another advantage of HEVs is that they achieve better fuel economy and have lower fuel costs than similar conventional vehicles, although because they rely in whole or part on electric power, their fuel economy is measured differently than in conventional vehicles. It must be taken into account that the fuel economy of HEVs is highly dependent on the load carried and the duty cycle, but in the right applications, they can maintain a strong fuel-cost advantage over their conventional counterparts.

IELTS General Reading Test

The environmental issue is often a deciding factor for those deciding about a hybrid car. Hybrid and plug-in electric vehicles can have significant emissions benefits over conventional vehicles. HEV emissions benefits vary by car model and type of hybrid power system. HEV’s also produce no tailpipe emissions when in all-electric mode. One deterrent for people considering the purchase of a hybrid car is that retail prices are more expensive. W

hile hybrids can save a lot of money on petrol, making the initial investment is often a bit more than some people are willing to make up front. A better way to look at it is as an investment in the future of our planet. People will also realise that they will recoup the difference over time and in the long run save money. Another negative side for hybrid ownership is the fact that when a hybrid car is in an accident, it is more difficult for rescuers to get people out of the car due to the electric motor and the increased risk of electrocution.

The cost of a replacement battery for hybrid cars has also been a concern in the past, with replacements costing thousands of dollars. It should be taken into consideration that these hybrid battery packs are made to last for the life of the car and the warranty covers batteries for somewhere between eight and ten years. The real concern with the batteries for many environmentally conscious folk is toxicity upon disposal. This does not need to be a concern nowadays, however, because most hybrids manufactured today use batteries that can be recycled without a problem.

IELTS General Reading Test

Complete each sentence with the correct ending (A – G) below. Write the correct letter (A – G) in boxes 27 – 30 on your answer sheet.

27. The smaller engine of a HEV is

28. The vehicles driven by a mild hybrid system are

29. The electric and traditional systems can be

30. The early development of the hybrid car was

IELTS General Reading Test

A. often plagued by breakdowns.

B. used to turn the vehicle’s wheels in a parallel hybrid.

C. compensated for by the power supplied from the electric motor.

D. stopped because of a new type of car production.

IELTS General Reading Test

E. originally funded by the US government.

F. always in need of their internal combustion engines while being driven.

G. not tested as often as traditional car systems.

IELTS General Reading Test

The Pros and Cons of Hybrid Cars

Pros

· Reduces countries’ reliance on petroleum and would therefore improve the countries’ (31)_____________.

· (32) _____________ can therefore be obtained by people buying a hybrid car.

· Hybrids are cheaper on fuel, although the calculation is different for finding out their (33)_____________, which in turn is also dependent on how much is carried in the car and the vehicle’s (34)_____________.

· Hybrids are better for the environment due to their better emissions, which depend on the vehicle (35)_____________ and the propulsion operation.

IELTS General Reading Test

Cons

· The purchase price is higher, although costs of buying (36)_____________ are lower.

· People should be educated to regard the move as a way of saving the planet.

· The danger of (37)_____________ when being rescued after an accident is greater.

· Batteries are a worry for some and a (38)_____________ should be always issued with a purchase.

· Many people are also worried about the disposal of batteries after use, due to the batteries’ (39)_____________.

IELTS General Reading Test

Choose the correct letter, A, B, C or D.

40. What is the writer’s purpose in Reading Passage 3?

A. To evaluate the benefits of hybrid cars.

B. To document the development of hybrid cars.

C. To explain how hybrid cars work and their benefits and drawbacks.

D. To explain how technology has driven the development of hybrid cars.

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BEST IELTS General Reading Test 414

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IELTS General Reading Test

27. C

28. F

29. B

30. D

31. ENERGY SECURITY

32. INCENTIVES

33. FUEL ECONOMY

34. DUTY CYCLE

35. MODEL

36. PETROL

37. ELECTROCUTION

38. WARRANTY

39. TOXICITY

40. C

IELTS General Reading Test

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