How Hybrid Cars work / Two Types of Hybrids
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by Neva J. Howell unless otherwise noted
Combining the power of electric motors and gas engines
Hybrid vehicles operate effortlessly by combining an electricity-run motor, a gasoline engine and maximum-powered batteries. The battery gives off energy for the electric motor and recharges when it recaptures the energy that is usually lost when the car is lessening its acceleration or while it is coasting.
Regenerative breaking is the name coined for this process. If the need arises, the energy coming from the gas engine can be put into diversion to put some charging on the battery at the same instant. Because of this process of charging, hybrid cars do not need to be put in plugs.
It is best to put distinguish hybrid cars into two categories in order to understand better the functions of the batteries, the engine and the electric motor put together. There are two kinds of hybrids: the mild hybrids and the full hybrids. Each of these kinds have different approaches when combining the three components. Also read more on types of hybrid cars here
1. Mild hybrids
In this type of hybrid car, the electric motor is only an assistant when it comes to operating the main propulsion. It is the gas engine that gives the major energy needed.
In this setup, the motor is dependent on the gas engine for its operation. The electric motor is capable of eating up electricity from the batteries, or it can come up with energy for it, but the electric motor cannot do these functions at the same time. This technology is used for two of Honda’s hybrid models, the Insight and the Civic hybrid.
2. Full hybrids
The distinction of the full hybrid from the mild variety is that the electric motor and the gas engine can operate on its own. In most instances, the electric motor can function by itself in low speed, and once it picks up, the gasoline engine automatically takes over. Both the motor and the engine can function together if the car is in hard acceleration.
This combined effort provides the car the power that it needs for that situation. Full hybrid cars can consume and build up electricity simultaneously. The full hybrid setup can be found in models such as the popular Toyota Prius, the Mercury Mariner Hybrid, and the Escape hybrid from Ford.
As an example, one can look at the way the Toyota Prius functions. The Prius runs on a technology called the Hybrid Synergy Drive, which involves a power split device to combine the energy of the electric motor and the gas engine. The HSD enables a effortless switching of power sources that the car driver would not notice in the slightest while driving.
Unlike the other mild hybrid types, the Prius can be operated by the electric motor alone powered by the battery pack. As a result, a motorist can drive silently for short amounts of time. The Honda hybrids on this level cannot function just by the electric motor.
While speeding up a highway, the Prius utilizes the gas engine as its main operator, and can get assistance from the generator if needed. Then this hybrid car shuts off the gas engine automatically during stops. This contributes greatly in mileage improvement and produces less emission.
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