How Hybrid Cars Work – Gasoline and Electric, the Best of Both Worlds

How Hybrid Cars Work – Gasoline and Electric, the Best of Both Worlds

We are all familiar with gasoline cars and most people have heard or seen in electric cars. A hybrid car is a combination of both. A hybrid means contains pieces of gasoline and electric vehicles, an attempt to get the best of both worlds.

The best way to understand the advantages of a hybrid means is a car that is traveling on a road flat on speed limit. In this case, the engine is performing three activities:

1. It is overcoming rolling resistance in the propulsion system;
2. It is overcoming air resistance;
3. It is feeding accessories such as alternator, strength steering pump and air conditioning.

The engine may have to produce a maximum of 10 to 20 HPs strength to carry that weight. The cars have engines with 100 or 200 HPs to manager speeding up from a standstill, in addition as overcoming and going uphill. We use the maximum strength only in 1% of the route. The rest of the time, we are carrying the weight and the friction of a much larger engine, which wastes a lot of energy.

In a traditional hybrid means, you have a complete electric car. It includes an electric motor to provide all the strength to the wheels, in addition as batteries to provide electricity to the motor. Then you have a gasoline engine powering a generator completely separate. The engine is very small (10 or 20 HP) and was designed to work only at a speed that seeks maximum efficiency. The purpose of this small and efficient engine is to provide enough strength for the car on its cruise speed. During periods of speeding up, the batteries provide the additional energy required. When the car is decelerating or is stopped, the batteries recharge. This kind of hybrid car is essentially an electric car with an on-board charger for longer range. The advantage is that this small gas engine and efficient develops a great mileage.

The only problem of a traditional hybrid car is the weight. The car has to carry the weight of the electric motor, generator, gasoline engine and batteries. You don’t need as many batteries as a pure electric car, and it ends up saving a little weight, however the complete electric motor and a generator 10 kW can weigh plenty.

The Honda Insight particularly attempts to define a “in between”. It uses a larger gas engine connected directly to the propulsion system, alongside an electric motor connected to engine. The gasoline engine provides most of the energy of the car, and the electric motor adds additional energy as needed for speeding up. As the electric motor can function as a generator during breaking and only has to work part time, it is extremely lightweight. The disadvantage of this approach is that the gasoline engine must rotate at different speeds, which reduces their efficiency.

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