High fuel prices and environmental concerns have inspired more people than ever to look for alternative energy sources. The combustion engine is considered to be the largest polluter on the planet. Hybrid cars have gained attention and popularity as a result of these problems. Most manufacturers currently offer these vehicles or are in the process of developing them.
There are two types of hybrids of hybrids and parallel hybrids. The parallel type has a fuel tank for the gas engine and the batteries for the electric motor. Both the engine and the electric motor can rotate the transmission and drive the vehicle. The small gas engine drives the car and the electric motor goes out when it is needed to increase the power. This is usually needed to increase speed merge and pass other vehicles. Honda currently uses this technique.
Series hybrids have a gas engine that drives the generator. The generator then charges the batteries and drives the electric motor. The petrol engine does not drive the vehicle itself. The electric motor is running all the time and the gas engine only comes on when needed. This vehicle gets better mileage around the city where the electric motor makes the most of the work. Ford and Toyota currently use this technology.
Hybrid cars get significantly better gas kilometers than the traditional combustion engine. Most get between 20 and 30 miles per gallon more than regular cars. All hybrids automatically shut off the gas engine when the car is stopped. This saves fuel and is better for the environment. When you press the accelerator pedal the engine automatically restarts. The gas engine will also start charging the batteries when they are low on the power.
Since less fuel is used in these vehicles it is less pollutant that causes emissions emitted to the atmosphere. In addition there is a lower level of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere. Many scientists and environmentalists connect carbon dioxide to global warming.
Parts of a hybrid vehicle
Gas engine The engine is smaller and more energy efficient than engines in traditional vehicles.
The fuel tank fuel tank is also smaller and holds less fuel. As these cars burn less a smaller tank is sufficient to drive the vehicle.
Electric motor The electric motor acts as both a motor and a generator. The engine takes energy from the batteries to drive the car for acceleration. When you slow down the energy is returned to the batteries which are then charged automatically.
Batteries A series of batteries store the energy needed to power the electric motor.
Transmission in most hybrids the transmission functions to drive the car in the same way as in traditional petrol powered vehicles.
Hybrids recycle energy from the electric motor to the battery. When you go on the brake energy is sent from the engine back to the battery. This process is known as regenerative braking. This helps to charge and keep the batteries in good condition.
The aerodynamic constructions of the hybrids contribute to energy efficiency. Look at pictures of the various hybrids on the market. The vehicle form is intentional. This reduces the cars front area which reduces the drag on the car as it moves through the air.
Lightweight materials are used on hybrid cars. This is also deliberate. The more a car weighs the more energy is needed to drive the vehicle forward. This is a reason why the SUV uses so much more gas than other cars. Lighter materials are used to reduce the cars overall weight and in turn reduce the energy needed to drive it.
The tires on these vehicles are specially designed to increase efficiency. Stiffer material is used in the construction and the tires are inflated to higher pressure. This ensures optimum efficiency and saves energy. These tires have about half as much drag as usual tires.
Car manufacturers always look for ways to increase energy efficiency. The technology is continuously developed to increase the efficiency and performance of these vehicles. Some of the upcoming improvements include increased fuel economy more safety features better performance and comfort.