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Hybrid Vehicles

   

Hybrid Vehicles or Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEV)

What is a Hybrid Vehicle

Hybrid vehicles, sometimes called Hybrid-electric vehicles, always contain two power systems to drive the vehicles wheels. One systems is comprised of an electric motor and batteries to power the motor. The second system, may be a conventional gasoline or diesel motor.

Electric Vehicles or Electric Plug-in Vehicles, contain an electric motor to power the vehicles drive train. There are also batteries onboard to drive the electric motor. Some electric vehicles, such as the VOLT, may contain a second gasoline or diesel engine to recharge the batteries if they get low on power. This second gasoline or diesel motor however, does NOT connect directly to the drive train.

Full Hybrid or Hard Hybrid

Full hybrids use the electric motor as the sole source of propulsion for low-speed, low-acceleration driving, such as in stop-and-go traffic or for backing up. This electric-only driving mode can further increase fuel efficiency under some driving conditions. A full hybrid also has a gasoline or diesel engine as the primary source of power for higher speeds. The electric motor provides additional power when needed, to allow the vehicle to get by with a smaller gasoline or diesel motor. A full hybrid will achieve fuel savings of 20-30% over the same vehicle with a fossil-fuel only engine.

Mild Hybrid or Soft Hybrid

Mild hybrids are essentially conventional fossil-fuel vehicles with oversized starter motors, allowing the engine to be turned off whenever the car is coasting, braking, or stopped, yet restart quickly. They generally include regenerative braking, but mild hybrids do not have an exclusive electric-only mode. A mild hybrid will achieve fuel savings of 10% over the same vehicle with a fossil-fuel only engine.

How Hybrid Vehicles Work

Hybrid vehicles, sometimes called Hybrid-electric vehicles (HEVs), combine the benefits of gasoline engines and electric motors to provide improved fuel economy, increased power, and reduced emissions.

Hybrid Vehicle

Hybrid vehicles usually include the following features:

Regenerative Braking: When you take your foot off the accelerator, the electric motor applies resistance to the drive train, causing the wheels to slow down. The wheels turn the motor now, (rather than the electric motor driving the wheels), which functions as a generator to produce electricity and charge the batteries.

Electric Motor Drive/Assist: The electric motor provides additional power to assist the engine in accelerating, passing, or hill climbing. Thus a smaller, lighter, more efficient engine can be used in the vehicle. In some vehicles, the electric motor alone, provides power for low-speed driving. The internal combustion engines only start once a set speed has been achieved.

Automatic Start/Shutoff: This feature automatically shuts off the gasoline engine when the vehicle comes to a stop. It also restarts the gasoline engine when the accelerator is pressed. Thus, the vehicle never wastes gasoline from idling, and reduces the associated pollution.

 

Links to Hybrid Vehicles in North America

Ford & Mercury

General Motors

Honda
Mercedes-Benz
Nissan

Toyota & Lexus

North American Hybrid Vehicles - Ranked

Hybrids Ranked by MPG

 

 

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