How Hybrid Vehicles Work

Have you ever wondered what is exactly that categorizes a car has a hybrid? If you're thinking it's a car that is both gasoline powered and electric, you're right, but there's more to the story; more types and more details. Hybrid cars undoubtedly offer superior fuel economy, but making the switch can be a big decision. Have you wondered if a hybrid is the right choice for you? If so, there are few things you need to know upfront...
  • You should understand how they work
  • You should know what types there
  • You should be familiar with the various benefits they offer
Today's video explanation of how hybrid vehicles work comes to us courtesy of Hyundai Canada. Let's begin with the answers to some basic and necessary questions... 1. What Are Hybrids Exactly? There are a few different kinds of hybrid cars. The basic definition is any vehicle utilizing more than one source of power. The most popular hybrids pair gasoline engines with electric motors, although there are alternatives that run off diesel and natural gas. The fuel and battery sources work together to propel the car forward, as well to run electronics like headlights and climate control. To get a little more technical, there are three main hybrid-electric vehicle (HEV) system designs. Parallel hybrids: These depend on both a fuel and electric source to propel the car forward. An engine and an electric motor are both linked to the car’s transmission, which in turn moves the wheels. When the battery runs out of power, the fuel engine takes over. Series-Parallel hybrids: These have an engine and two electric motors. As with parallel hybrids the main electric motor works with the engine to move the vehicle, while the second smaller motor is used for charging the car’s battery during use. Series hybrids: The fuel-based engine isn’t linked to the wheels at all, but instead keeps the electric engine going. 2. What Kind of Batteries Do Hybrids Use? The first hybrids used nickel metal hydride (NiMH) and lithium ion (Li-ion) batteries. Today, Li-ion units are still widely used. They provide many benefits, including efficiency in charging and discharging, and improved power and energy density over NiMH batteries. The battery packs store the electricity needed to power hybrid cars’ electric engines. However, the latest hybrid cars, such as the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, take advantage of new moulding opportunities found in lithium polymer (Li-poly) batteries. They can take any shape and fill any space, making them convenient for maximizing space under the hood. 3. How Do Hybrids Save Fuel? Hybrids have one clear advantage over regular gasoline engines; using less fuel. Since hybrid vehicles are supported by both a gasoline and an electric motor, drivers burn less fuel. Hybrid cars can also be designed with smaller, more efficient fuel engines, so that every gallon goes further. In addition most hybrids have an automatic fuel start stop, described by the CAA as “one of the greatest fuel-saving features of [hybrids]”. Hybrid drivers stuck in traffic or at stop lights are getting virtually 0 miles per gallon, making hybrids especially helpful for city dwellers. Additionally, hybrids can actually help you become a more efficient driver. An extra feature of most hybrids is an integrated technology display that provides an overview of the car’s fuel usage and efficiency. The latest, such as the Hyundai’s Sonata Hybrid Technology Display, have added gamification, teasing drivers toward better driving habits. The hybrid technology display has two screens of importance: the ECO Score screen and Total ECO Score screen. The ECO Score screen displays an assessment of a driver’s habits every eight minutes. If someone is doing well, they’re rewarded with a green bar. Once eight bars have filled up, the driver is assigned a Total ECO Score point. For every 20 points earned, a new planet is displayed on the Total ECO Score screen. Drivers fine-tune their habits while creating their own galaxies. Now that you have a better picture of how hybrids operate you can see these vehicles are designed with the express purpose of saving you fuel. If going further with each gallon of fuel is a priority, it might be time to start thinking about a hybrid. Is there one in your future? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.