With depleting fossil fuel reserves and increased awareness towards the environment, automotive manufacturers are coming up with technologies to offer consumers the best in terms of fuel economy and performance – hybrid technology being one of them. The concept has been around for a while but not many have implemented it their road going cars.
A few years back when Porsche announced the 918 Spyder Hybrid it made waves as it was a power packed supercar with hybrid technology that offered mind numbing performance numbers. The Toyota Prius for long has been at the epitome of environment friendly cars and has been the most popular one as well. Manufacturers are gradually warming to the concept of hybrid cars and some home grown manufacturers like Mahindra also have a hybrid car in their portfolio – the Scorpio MHawk hybrid.
With all this talk about hybrid car technology one thing is clear, that it is growing in popularity and is certainly good for your car’s health as well as that of the environment’s. But how does hybrid technology work? What good will it do for your car? We answer these questions and a few more to give you a better understanding of hybrid technology.
What is Hybrid technology?
We all know automobiles run on gasoline engines, in hybrid cars there is a gasoline engine along with an electrical battery drive system that also powers the car. To put it in simple words – there are two sources that power the engine of a hybrid car – fuel and battery. Since they’re powering a car, these batteries are big and expensive, another reason why you don’t see this technology being used in many daily road going cars.
What are the components of a hybrid car?
A hybrid car has the same components like any other gasoline car with the addition of a battery, generator and en electric motor. The latter three combined refer to the electrical drive system of a hybrid car.
How does Hybrid technology affect my car and enhance its efficiency?
Hybrid cars offer better fuel economy and give out lesser emissions. Since they offer good mileage, it means you save on fuel cost and since they have lower emissions, they do less damage to the environment.
Most of the energy of the car is expelled when driving in bumper to bumper traffic and when accelerating over signals over slow speeds. In a hybrid car, when you get your foot off the throttle the initial power is supplied by the battery. Once the car attains higher speeds for instance above 30kmph then the gasoline/fuel powered engine kicks in to run the car; this ensures higher efficiency from the car.
How does the hybrid system work?
We’re aware of the law of conservation – Energy can neither created nor destroyed it is simply transferred from one body to another. Hybrid cars follow the same principle – the kinetic energy generated by the car during acceleration and braking is stored in the battery and then transferred back to the car when it is needed. For instance during heavy acceleration the car will draw the required power from the engine as well as the battery which giving it more punch.
Eg: The Porsche 918 Spyder’s 4.6 litre engine produces 608 HP while its electrical motors deliver 279 HP. So the total combined power output of the car is whooping 887 HP!
Similarly the Toyota Prius’ 1.8 litre engine produces 98 HP with the electric motor producing 36HP; the resultant overall power produced by the Prius is 134HP
Hybrid cars employ the concept of regenerative braking. When the car slows down the regenerative braking systems cuts down the power from the battery & the engine to the car; since the wheels are already moving they feed power to a generator, which produces electricity and stores it in the battery for later use. Hybrid cars have a power-split transmission that combines the torque from the engine and the battery along with powering the generator. The electric motor used the power from the battery and generator when needed.
Hope this article simplified hybrid car technology for you.