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Hybrid Hybrids

So there are two gas+electric hybrid modes - series and parallel. Series is when a engine powers a generator which, in turn, carges a battery and/or powers a motor connected to the driveshaft. It is my understanding that almost all diesel trains are this type of hybrid. Years ago there used to be a GM EV1 that was a series hybrid (just like GM to "go high tech" with a diesel train powerplant).
Parallel is when a motor powers both a generator and the driveshaft directly, and at the same time a motor (powered by the generator and/or battery obviously) also feeds directly into the driveshaft. This allows for more drivetrain power because the engine can be used more directly. The Insight is an example of a primative parallel hybrid.
The Prius is said to be a hybrid hybrid because it is multi-modal, constantly deciding how much power to send where by which. This constant switching is what you see on the display when you visit the "Energy" display. The 2004 "Energy" display is a little more useful but both show the multi-modal operation of the Prius.
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