Is “hybrid” the new black?

What happened when Nancy Friedman asked about renting a hybrid car:

She: Oh, yeah. We have lots of hybrids. But not full hybrids.

Me: [silent, puzzled]

She: You know, they still need gas.

Me: [not sure I heard correctly] But … isn’t that what a hybrid car is? Gas and electric?

She: I mean, they’re hybrid but not completely electric.

Are there varying stages of hybridity out there? Not that I’m aware of, but then I’m often the last to know.

I wondered whether for her, and maybe for a whole cohort of younger drivers, “hybrid” had lost its original “combination-of-two-things” meaning and now signifies “less than 100 percent gas-powered.” Or, perhaps, just “nontraditional in some nonspecific way.”

I haven’t rented a car in about half a decade. Maybe next time I’ll wander into the storefront, point to something Mopar, and ask “That thing got a Hemione?”


  1. fillyjonk »

    22 August 2013 · 12:16 pm

    Maybe the next company producing a hybrid car needs to name it the “Liger” (or the “Mule”), just to drive the point home. (Though it would probably still be lost on people who don’t get what a biological hybrid is)

  2. Dan T. »

    22 August 2013 · 5:49 pm

    Is a Hemione anything like a Hermione?

  3. CGHill »

    22 August 2013 · 6:38 pm

    Millions of Emma Watson fans say neigh.

  4. jsallison »

    22 August 2013 · 8:09 pm

    Hmph, I was authorized to rent a ‘full sized’ auto capable of hauling 6 adults coupla months ago in Fresno. To me a ‘full sized’ auto has a 4 body trunk. I guess an Altima counts as ‘full sized’ if you’re hauling smurfs. Hybrid would be Rainbow Dash with wheels and a hemi as her hindquarters. A centaur is a hybrid.

  5. CGHill »

    22 August 2013 · 8:21 pm

    These days, the Altima has a smidge more interior space than the pricier Maxima.

    There exists an OC pony named Wheely Bopper, with wheels instead of legs. (It’s a pegasus. Go figure.)

  6. McGehee »

    22 August 2013 · 9:20 pm

    Next time I don’t know enough to offer an informed opinion, I’ll instead give a hemione guess.

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