A hybrid engines is an engine that combines two or more power sources to power a vehicle. One power source is usually a fossil fuel (such as gasoline or diesel), while the other is an electrical system derived from batteries. Hybrid engines allow vehicles to use either one power source or a combination of both, depending on the need. This allows the vehicle to optimize fuel efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, making it a more environmentally friendly option compared to vehicles using conventional engines.
Simply put, hybrids combine at least one electric motor with a gasoline engine to power the car, and the system recaptures energy through regenerative braking. Sometimes the electric motor does all the work, sometimes the gasoline engine, and sometimes they work together. The result is less gasoline burned and, therefore, better fuel economy. Adding electric power can even boost performance in certain respects.
With all that, electricity comes from a high-voltage battery pack (separate from the car’s conventional 12-volt battery) that is recharged by capturing energy from deceleration that is normally lost due to heat generated by the brakes in conventional cars. (This happens through a regenerative braking system.) Hybrids also use a gasoline engine to charge and maintain the batteries. Car companies use different hybrid designs to accomplish different missions, ranging from maximum fuel economy to keeping vehicle costs as low as possible.
Types of Hybrid Engine
Here are some types of vehicles with Hybrid technology that are commonly used. These types are:
In this most common design, the electric motor and gasoline engine are connected in a common transmission that combines the two power sources. The transmission can be automatic, manual, or continuously variable transmission (CVT). One very popular hybrid transmission is the power-split CVT, which is used by the Toyota Prius and Chevrolet Volt. Transmission type and gasoline engine size are the main factors that determine how a parallel hybrid will accelerate, sound and feel. Brands that use the parallel design include Toyota, Lexus, Hyundai, Kia, Ford, Honda, Lincoln, Nissan, and Infiniti.
In this design, the electric motor provides all the thrust, and there is never any physical mechanical connection between the engine and the wheels. The gasoline engine is only there to recharge the battery. This results in a driving experience that is more reflective of an electric car, with smoother and more powerful acceleration. Vibration is usually less when the gasoline engine is engaged. However, that engagement doesn’t always happen at the same time as your right foot does. So the engine may be revving up while the car is traveling at a steady speed. The BMW i3 with range extender is an example of a series hybrid.
Plug-in hybrids enhance the conventional hybrid concept with a much larger battery pack that, like an electric car, must be fully charged using an external power source-from home, work, or a public charging station. This larger amount of energy storage is like a larger gas tank: It allows for an extended all-electric drive (between 15 and 55 miles depending on the model) and can significantly reduce fuel consumption. In fact, if you have a short trip and recharge every night, you’ll be on electricity most of the time. If you exhaust the all-electric range, the car essentially reverts to a conventional parallel hybrid.
All of the above are considered “full hybrids”, which means that the electric motor is capable of driving the car by itself, even if the distance is short. In a “mild” hybrid, it cannot. Just like in a full hybrid, a mild hybrid’s electric motor is there to assist the gasoline engine for the purpose of improving fuel economy, increasing performance, or both. It also serves as the starter for the automatic start-stop system, which shuts down the engine when the car stops to save fuel.
How Hybrid Engines Technology Cars Work
Here are some of the ways a car with hybrid engines technology works:
- Engine On Mode
In this mode, the gasoline engine works like an engine in a conventional car, driving the wheels through the transmission and generating power to reach the required speed.
- Engine Off Mode
In this mode, the gasoline engine is turned off and the vehicle can operate using only the electrical energy stored in the battery. This is usually used at low speeds or when stopped.
- Regenerative Braking Mode
When braking, kinetic energy that would otherwise be lost can be converted into electrical energy and stored back in the battery.
- Charge Depleting Mode
In this mode, the battery provides electrical energy to power the vehicle, while the gasoline engine is used to recharge the battery.
- Charge Sustaining Mode
In this mode, the gasoline engine works together with the battery to power the vehicle, while the battery is conserved at the required capacity level.
When the hybrid engines system works together, it allows the vehicle to optimize fuel efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
What are the Pros and Cons of Hybrid Engines Cars?
Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of hybrid engine cars:
Advantages of Hybrid Engine Cars
Here are some of the advantages of hybrid engine cars:
- Better fuel efficiency: Hybrid cars have a system that can choose between gasoline and electric engines, making it possible to optimize fuel efficiency.
- Lower greenhouse gas emissions: Hybrid cars have lower greenhouse gas emissions compared to conventional cars due to the electric engine system that reduces fuel consumption.
- Better performance: Hybrid cars have better performance compared to conventional cars due to the support of both electric and gasoline engines.
- Smoother engine sound: Hybrid cars have a smoother engine sound due to the electric engine that reduces the sound of the gasoline engine.
- Regenerative system: Hybrid cars have a regenerative system that collects energy when slowing down or freezing the vehicle and stores it in the battery.
- Lower fuel prices: Hybrid cars have lower fuel prices due to better fuel efficiency.
- Government support: The government provides several incentives and discounts for hybrid car owners to encourage the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
Disadvantages of Hybrid Engine Cars
Here are some of the disadvantages of hybrid engines cars:
- Higher price: Hybrid cars have a higher price compared to conventional cars due to the more advanced technology.
- Limited battery mileage capability: Hybrid cars have limited battery range and the gasoline engine must be used after the battery range is exhausted.
- More complicated maintenance: Hybrid cars have more complicated systems and require better maintenance compared to conventional cars.
- Fuel availability: Despite better battery mileage, hybrid cars still require fossil fuels to maintain performance.
- Limited battery charging infrastructure: Currently, the number of battery charging stations is still very limited and takes a longer time compared to fossil fuel charging.
- More expensive maintenance: Hybrid cars require better maintenance and higher maintenance costs compared to conventional cars.
- Limited towing capability: Hybrid cars have limited towing capabilities due to the electric system that limits the hauling power.
In conclusion, hybrid engines cars have some advantages such as better fuel efficiency and lower greenhouse gas emissions, but also have some disadvantages such as higher prices and more complicated maintenance. The choice of a hybrid engines car should be based on personal needs and preferences.
Hybrid engines are a good choice for those who want to reduce their environmental impact and save on fuel costs. While there are some things to consider before buying a hybrid car, this technology is part of the future of the automotive industry and paves the way for the development of better and more environmentally friendly technologies. You can also save on fuel costs by using Fleet Management System from TransTRACK which features a fuel sensor to save and even improve your fuel usage.