Hybrid technology has been used in the automotive and aviation industries to increase fuel efficiency. This type of technology is also being researched for use in other areas such as solar power, home heating and cooling, and wind turbines. The idea behind hybrid technology is that it uses two or more different sources of power to generate electricity.
For example, a car may have an electric motor powered by a battery pack combined with a gasoline-powered engine which can be switched on if required. A comparison between the two technologies will show how they are similar but also what each has to offer on its own merits.
A hybrid car works by using the electric motor to round tight corners and when accelerating at low speeds. The petrol engine takes over for acceleration on steeper inclines, overtaking, and cruising. This gives drivers the best of both worlds; there is no need to purchase separate vehicles to suit different needs.
This type of technology can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by a total of 50 percent from the current levels. In addition, this will also help to reduce the usage of fossil fuels which have been linked to global warming.
Hybrid cars can be charged at home or elsewhere and then used for short local journeys where it is more economical than having the petrol engine switched on. For example, many European homes have their own electrical generators, known as micro-CHP generators, which can be used to charge the batteries of hybrid cars at night. This technology allows homes to become energy self-sufficient.
Hybrid technology is becoming increasingly popular in parts of the world where pollution is a problem because it does not emit any pollutants into the atmosphere when it is in use. This ensures the air remains clean for people to breathe and reduces the chances of asthma and other respiratory problems developing.
There are five types of Hybrid vehicle configurations in the market depending on the power train configuration used.
In this type the electric motor and the gasoline engine are combined together to a common transmission to deliver power individually or together. The transmission can be manual, automatic or CVT.
Eg : Honda Insight
Mild Hybrid vehicles uses a compact helper electric motor to provide power assist to main gasoline engine during acceleration. Mild Hybrid Vehicles usually have intelligent start/stop features. The electric motor alone cannot drive the vehicle without the assistance of gasoline engine.
Power regeneration and battery charging happens at the braking.
Eg : Suzuki Wagon R hybrid
Series Hybrid drivetrain is the simplest hybrid configuration. In series hybrid electric motor only use to power up the wheels. A battery pack or a generator run by gasoline engine uses to power up the motor.
Series Hybrid Vehicles perform well during start-and-go traffic situations. The engine is typically small compared to Parallel Hybrids but contains powerful battery pack to power up the electric motor.
Eg : Chevrolet Volt
In Series-Parallel Hybrid electric drivetrain configuration, it combines the advantages of both Series and Parallel Drivetrains. The engine can drive the wheels directly and if needed it can be disconnect and wheels can power up only using the electric motor.
The manufacturing cost associated with Series-Parallel Hybrid vehicles is much higher because it needs a larger battery pack, a generator and more complex computer parts and sensors to control the system. Toyota Prius is a Series-Parallel Hybrid.
Eg : Toyota Prius hybrid
In Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) the battery can be charged via external source - mains supply. These vehicles contains high capacity Lithium-ion battery pack which allows PHEV to drive in all electric mode in larger distances. This allows significant reduce in the fuel consumption.
Eg : Ford Fusion Energi
If you are searching for a new car, then it is likely that you have considered the benefits of owning a hybrid vehicle.
Let's take a look at the factors that need to be considered when choosing which hybrid car is the best for your needs.
A major concern cited by buyers looking at hybrids, particularly those who are considering switching from an existing petrol-powered vehicle, is the battery life of the hybrid - how far can it travel without needing recharging, and how long will it take to recharge?
The answer is that range depends on the hybrid, and will vary depending on whether or not there's a plug-in version available.
Due to the type of drive train used, hybrids may boast more power than conventional cars. This is because they don't need to carry around large engine blocks, fuel tanks, and exhaust systems.
Hybrids do not quite offer the same power as petrol-powered vehicles of the same size but are likely to have a good turn of speed.
Although hybrids are more expensive than regular cars, the cost to run them is lower.
A typical hybrid will be able to travel around 50% further than the equivalent petrol-powered vehicle before needing to refuel.
This means they are good for inner-city commuting, but remember that the battery will not have enough charge to go very far without recharging, so this is where hybrids will be less advantageous than regular cars.
Another important issue is how far the car can travel on a single charge. As we have seen, hybrids are great for inner-city commuting due to the low fuel consumption and small range. But if you want a car with a longer range, you will have to pay more for a hybrid with a larger battery.
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