What Is a Hybrid Car? How Do Hybrids Work?

Hybrid-electric vehicles combine the advantages of electric motors and gasoline powertrains and can be configured for obtaining several objectives like enhanced fuel economy, additional auxiliary power for electronic devices, power tools and increased power. What could a Toyota Prius probably have in common with Ford Fusion, Cadillac Escalade and Chevrolet Silverado? All are equipped with hybrid powerplant, a propulsion system designed famous by Prius. While customers benefit from enhanced fuel efficiency, hybrids provide automobile manufacturers a way to meet ever tightening CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) needs and proposed limits on CO2 emissions.

Defining Hybrid

But what exactly is hybrid, and how does it work for enhancing fuel economy. A vehicle is a hybrid if it uses more than one form of onboard energy for achieving propulsion. It means that a hybrid vehicle will have one or more electric motors and battery pack as well as conventional internal combustion engine. These vehicles are at times by mistake confused with electric vehicles. They are most often gasoline burning machines, which use their electric bits for reusing and collecting energy, which usually goes to waste in other vehicles. Theoreotcally, electric-diesel hybrid cars would be more fuel efficient; however diesel powerplants and hybrid systems both symbolize additional cost. Installing both in one vehicle would come out expensive.

Hybrid Glossary

Motor-generator:
The most precise term for electric motor is the motor generator that offers supplemental acceleration while operating as motor by drawing electricity from a battery. Many hybrids feature two, while some models also have three.

Start-stop:
Found on all hybrid vehicles, the conventional starter motor of the engine is absent due to MG takes on that function as well. In automobiles, this function automatically restarts and shuts down an internal combustion engine for reducing an amount of time the engine spends idling, thus reducing emissions and enhancing fuel economy. It is most advantageous for vehicles that spend significant amounts of time waiting at traffic signals or frequently come to stop in traffic jams.

Regenerative braking:
The most significant function of motor-generator, which is used for generating electricity for recharging the battery as it absorbs a portion of momentum of the vehicle while coasting downhill and slowing. Standard cars waste all their excess momentum as heat in brakes. The regenerative braking is fundamentally an energy recovering mechanism that slows the vehicle down by converting kinetic energy into another form that can be either stored or used immediately till required.

Electric Drive:
Operating the car on electric power alone possible if the hybrid system has enough electrical capacity. The maximum distance and speed over which electric only operation is possible varies from essentially zero to handful of miles and has everything to do with aerodynamics and weight of a car. However, not all hybrid cars possess these characteristics in equal measure nor do they function the same way.

Hybrid Layouts

The oldest type is the series hybrid. Electric-diesel ships and locomotives using this layout appeared in last century. In the series hybrid vehicle, electric motors alone turn drive wheels, so they have to be powerful and large. There are basically two kinds of hybrids; parallel hybrids and series-parallel hybrids.

Parallel hybrids are the least costly and simplest kind in present automotive use. Here the engine’s output and electric motor are combined together upstream of a transmission. The electric motor offers an additional boost, while the regenerative braking is a sole source of recharging battery’s power.

Series-parallel hybrid cars as name implies consist of elements of both. Theoretically, the electric motor and engine feed into gearbox through separate paths allowing fully independent propulsion through electricity or engine. In these hybrids, the PC monitors driving conditions and state of battery for deciding, which mode is more efficient? The flawless blending of these modes is then carried out by distinctive continuously variable transmission, which uses planetary gearset.

Other Hybrid Considerations

Unlike standard cars, the enhancements to basic accessory equipment of hybrid become necessary for allowing the engine to shut down while cruising on electricity. The conventional hydraulic power steering requires a running powertrain to drive required pump, hence hybrid engineers add electronic power steering. Air conditioning systems also feature engine-driven compressor, as a result hybrids with sufficient battery capacity utilize electrically driven compressor.

Submarines are also hybrid vehicles; some are nuclear-electric, while some are diesel-electric. All vehicles, which fuse two or more sources of power that can directly or indirectly offer propulsion power is known as hybrid. Most hybrid vehicles on the road right now are gasoline-electric hybrids, albeit French car maker PSA Peugeot Citroen has two diesel-electric hybrid cars in the works.

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