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What are Hybrid Cars? Benefits, Working & Types Explained

  • CarTech
  • Xavier Sabastian
  • 8 minutes

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A hybrid car has more than one propulsion system, such as a petrol or diesel engine and an electric motor. Individuals interested in purchasing a hybrid car should completely understand what a hybrid car is, how it works, its characteristics, and sub-categories.

If you’re looking for anything similar, keep reading to learn more about this four-wheeler model!

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Basic Definition of a Hybrid Car

The mechanism in a hybrid car harvests energy through regenerative braking. As a result of its dual operating system, the amount of fuel utilized is reduced. While driving, the operating mode can be adjusted and shifted, allowing the car to switch between a gas engine and an electric motor. It can sometimes combine the two to improve the car’s performance.

A hybrid car has a dual battery pack, including a 12-volt average battery and a high-voltage battery. In a traditional car, deceleration usually converts kinetic energy to heat. On the other hand, a hybrid four-wheeler employs regenerative braking to convert the kinetic energy lost as it slows down into electric power to recharge its battery pack.

Now that you know what a hybrid car is, it’s time to learn more about it.

The mechanism in a hybrid car harvests energy through regenerative braking.

How hybrid cars work

Hybrid cars are driven by an internal combustion engine and one or more electric motors that use energy stored in batteries. Unlike EVs, a hybrid car’s battery cannot be charged by plugging it in – regenerative braking and the internal combustion engine charge the battery.

Here’s a quick rundown of the top five mechanisms that help you understand how a hybrid car works:

  • Pulling Away From a Stop:¬†The car is initially propelled by an electric motor that pulls power from the hybrid battery.
  • Normal Cruising:¬†When cruising at high speeds, the electric motor, and the gasoline engine can work together or separately.
  • Heavy Acceleration:¬†The petrol engine provides power to the car during heavy acceleration and high speeds.
  • Braking and Deceleration: As you slow down and brake, kinetic energy is converted to electric energy, used to recharge the battery pack.
  • Coming to a Complete Stop:¬†When the car comes to a complete stop, both the fuel and electric motors shut down. On the other hand, its battery continues to function, allowing car systems such as lighting, air conditioning, and radio to operate.

Types of Hybrid Cars

You may come across many SUVs if you search for petrol hybrid cars using the above processes. 

Parallel Hybrid

The electric motor(s) and gasoline engine are connected in a shared gearbox that mixes the two power sources in this most common configuration. The key parameters that define how a parallel hybrid accelerates, sounds, and feels are the transmission type and the size of the gasoline engine. 

Series Hybrid

Because the electric motor(s) create all of the push, there is never a physical, mechanical connection between the engine and the wheels in this setup. The gasoline engine is only used to keep the battery charged. As a result, the driving experience resembles that of an electric vehicle, with smoother, more forceful acceleration. 

When the gasoline engine is turned on, there is usually less vibration.¬†The engine may rev up while the car is driving at a steady speed because that engagement doesn’t always sync with what your right foot is doing (remember, the battery is making the demands). A series hybrid is an example of which is the BMW i3 with a range extender.

Plug-In Hybrid

A plug-in hybrid expands on the hybrid concept by adding a much larger battery pack that, like an electric car’s, must be fully recharged using an external power source‚ÄĒsuch as your house, office, or public charging station.¬†

This increased energy storage capacity is analogous to a larger gas tank. It enables longer all-electric driving (between 15 and 55 miles depending on the model) and significantly lowers fuel consumption. In reality, if you have a short commute and charge your phone every night, you’ll be running on power most of the time.¬†

The car effectively becomes a typical parallel hybrid when the all-electric range is depleted. A plug-in hybrid like the Chrysler Pacifica is an example of the plug-in breed. There are two types of plug-in hybrids: series and parallel hybrids. 

You may come across many SUVs if you search for petrol hybrid cars

Variations on the Hybrid Theme

Nobody said this wasn’t going to be complex! Twenty years of progress has made answering the question “what is a hybrid?” even more difficult.

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Mild Hybrids are a type of hybrid that is a cross between two. All of the above are “full hybrids,” which means that the electric motor can move the car independently, even if just for a short distance.¬†It can’t happen in a “mild” hybrid. The electric motor in a mild hybrid, like in a full hybrid, is there to aid the gasoline engine in boosting fuel economy, performance, or both. It also acts as the starter for the automatic start-stop system, which saves gasoline by shutting down the engine when the car comes to a halt.

Mild hybrids, designed to be a simpler and less expensive way to bring hybrid technology to market, do not enhance fuel efficiency to the same level as whole hybrid systems. As a result, they never achieved the same level of popularity. 

On the other hand, mild-hybrid powertrains have recently been rescheduled, as indicated by the use of 48-volt electrical subsystems in vehicles like the Ram 1500, Mercedes-Benz E-class, and Audi A6, A7, and A8. Essentially, automobile manufacturers are now incorporating mild-hybrid technology into nearly every new model. The answer to the question “what is a hybrid?” maybe “everything” in the future.

Features and Benefits of a Hybrid Car

The following is a list of the advantages of hybrid cars:

  • Idle-off:¬†Adding a secondary electric motor to a vehicle brings a slew of advantages, one of which is “idle-off.” Even if the main engine is shut off, the car will still run. As a result, features such as air conditioning, radio, and other electronic devices are powered by batteries.
  • Quick acceleration:¬†In hybrid car technology, this function allows the vehicle to switch from an electric motor to the main engine when additional power is needed. When traveling uphill, this is more common.
  • Power Assist: One of the most significant advantages of a hybrid car is reducing the primary engine, resulting in improved fuel economy.¬†
  • Regenerative Braking:¬†One of the best characteristics of hybrid autos is regenerative braking. Regenerative braking converts kinetic energy into electric energy, used to recharge the battery unit.

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Full-electric cars, which run entirely on electric motors, are rising right now. Tesla Motors, for example, is a leader in this arena. Their cars allow for decreased emissions of dangerous gases.

However, we’ll continue to talk about what a hybrid car is and how it compares to fully electric cars.

Hybrid Cars Technology 

Component Function
Battery Electricity is supplied to start a car and its accessories
DC/DC Converter Converts higher-voltage DC power to lower-voltage DC electricity
Electric Generator Assists in the generation of energy
Electric Traction Motor Electricity to the motor, which powers the vehicle wheels
Exhaust System Conduit for exhaust gases to exit through a tailpipe from an engine
Fuel Filler Nozzle fitted to receptacle enabled the filling of a tank
Fuel Tank Keeps gasoline on board, which may come in later
Internal Combustion Engine Fuel is inoculated into either manifold or combustion chamber
Power Electronics Controller Controls the speed and torque of the electric traction motor
Thermal System Keeps the engine and other components at the right temperature
Traction Battery Pack Makes it easier to store electricity for electric traction motors
Transmission Distribution of mechanical power from an electric motor to the wheels

Hybrid Cars Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
Environment-friendly High maintenance costs
Financial advantages Poor handling
Reduced reliance on fossil fuels Accident-prone
System of regenerative braking Lesser power generation
Electric-only drive Hybrid car price is on the higher side
Built from lightweight materials Expensive battery replacement
Assist from an electric motor Battery disposal and recycling are inconvenient
Smaller engines Problems with hydrogen fuel cells
Automatic start and stop

In conclusion, given the multiple features and benefits of a hybrid car, it is safe to claim that it is worthwhile to get one. Individuals must evaluate all of the above information before purchasing a hybrid car.

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Here’s more info on¬†top-rated airport parking,¬†the best parking spots in your city, the most¬†affordable insurance¬†for your car, and¬†top-rated car washes near you.


 

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