The Future is Hybrid

Article contributed by Mr. Sachin Verma, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Technology and Computer Applications.

A hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) is a kind of vehicle that combines a standard petrol/ diesel/ internal-combustion engine with an electrical propulsion system. The presence of the electrical system is to attain either better fuel economy or better performance than a traditional vehicle. There are many varieties of HEVs, and also the degree to which each function as an electrical vehicle (EV) are different. The commonly known HEV is that the hybrid electric, although hybrid electric trucks (pickups and tractors) and buses also exist.

Ferdinand Porsche developed the very first hybrid Lohner-Porsche in 1901. But hybrid electric vehicles become widely available after the arrival of the Toyota Prius in Japan in 1997, afterwards came the Honda Insight in 1999, which added to the sale of hybrid electric cars.

Initially, automakers don’t find hybrid useful because of the low cost of petroleum fuel. But later worldwide increase within the price of petroleum fuel caused many automakers to release hybrids by the late 2000s. Hybrids are now considered as a core segment of the automotive market of the longer term.

A hybrid-electric vehicle produces less tailpipe emissions than a comparably sized petrol/diesel vehicle, since the hybrid’s petrol/diesel engine is typically smaller than that of a petrol/diesel-powered vehicle.

As of January 2017, near about 12 million hybrid electric vehicles are sold all over the world since their establishment in 1997. Japan is the world’s largest manufacturer of hybrid electric vehicle with 7.5 million hybrids registered till March 2018. Japan has also the world’s highest hybrid penetration with hybrids representing 19.0% of all passenger cars on the road till March 2018. As of April 2016, the U.S. was ranked 2nd with a sale of over 4 million units till 1999, and Europe with about 1.5 million hybrids delivered since 2000.

Types by degree of hybridization

Full hybrid, sometimes also called a strong hybrid, is a vehicle which can run only on a combustion engine, only on an electrical motor, or a combination of both. Ford’s hybrid system, Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive and General Motors/Chrysler’s Two-Mode Hybrid technologies are the type of full hybrid systems. The Toyota Prius, Ford Escape Hybrid, and Ford Fusion Hybrid are samples of full hybrids, as these cars are often moved forward on battery power alone. A large, high-capacity battery pack is required for battery-only operation. These vehicles have a split power path allowing greater flexibility within the drivetrain by interconverting mechanical and electrical power, at some cost in complexity.

Mild hybrid, a vehicle that cannot be driven solely on its electric motor, because the electrical motor doesn’t have sufficient power to propel the vehicle on its own. Mild hybrids typically achieve limited savings in fuel consumption, up to fifteen percent in urban driving and 8-10 percent in overall cycle. A mild hybrid is a kind of regular vehicle occupied with oversized starter, allowing the vehicle engine to be turned off whenever the car is coasting, braking, or stopped, yet restarts quickly and cleanly. The motor is typically mounted between the engine and transmission, taking the place of the converter, and is used to supply additional propulsion energy when the vehicle is accelerating. Accessories can still run on electric power while the ICE is off, and as in other hybrid designs, the motor is employed for regenerative braking to recapture energy. As compared tofull hybrids, mild hybrids use smaller batteries and a smaller, weaker motor/generator, which allows manufacturers to cut back cost and weight.

Honda’s early hybrid vehicles including the 1st generation Insight used this type of design, raising their reputation for design of small, efficient gasoline engines; their system is dubbed Integrated Motor Assist (IMA). Starting with the 2006 Civic Hybrid model, the IMA system now can propel the vehicle solely on electrical power during medium speed cruising. Another example is that the 2005–2007 Chevrolet Silverado Hybrid, a full-size pickup. Chevrolet was able to get a tenth improvement on the Silverado’s fuel efficiency by shutting down and restarting the engine on demand and using regenerative braking. General Motors has also used its mild BAS Hybrid technology in other models just like the Saturn Vue Green Line, the Saturn Aura Greenline and so the Malibu Hybrid.

Plug-in hybrids (PHEVs)

A plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV), also named as a plug-in hybrid, is a hybrid electric vehicle with rechargeable batteries which is able to be restored to full charge by just connecting a plug to an external electrical power source. A PHEV have a mix characteristic of both a typical hybrid electric vehicle, having an electrical motor and a typical petrol/diesel engine; and of an all-electric vehicle, also having a plug to connect to the external electrical grid. PHEVs have a bigger all-electric range as compared to a traditional petrol/diesel-electric hybrid, and also eliminate the “range anxiety” related to all-electric vehicles, because the combustion engine can be used as a backup when the batteries are depleted.

Chinese battery manufacturer and automaker BYD Auto released their F3DM PHEV-62 (PHEV-100 km) hatchback to the Chinese fleet market on December 15, 2008, for 149,800 yuan (US$22,000). General Motors launched their 2011 Chevrolet Volt series plug-in in December 2010. At the time, the Volt displaced the Toyota Prius and become the best fuel-efficient car sold within the U.S.

As of December 2016, the Volt/Ampera family is that the world’s all-time best-selling plug-in hybrid car, with global sales totalling about 134,500 units since its inception, including over 10,000 Opel/Vauxhall Ampera sold in Europe. The Mitsubishi Outlander P-HEV ranks 2nd with about 119,500 units delivered worldwide. 3rd is the Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid with cumulative global sales of 79,300 units at the highest of January 2017.

Conclusion

Internal combustion engines operate best under a constant load. Engines operating at their most efficient configurationhave increased life, are less complex, will cost less to manufacturer and also emit lower emissions. Hybrid system will combine the ICE and motor to take advantage of the most effective characteristics of both. The hybrids of the future will circumvent the trade-off between power and efficiency that current internal combustion engine powered cars are offering. Future Hybrid vehicles will bridge the gap between fuel-powered only to all-electric power. The hybrid of the future will be less expensive to own and easy to operate, plus provide consumers with a fun, environmentally friendly driving experience.

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