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February 19, 2016 15:46

What Are Hybrid Cars?

A vehicle is said to be a hybrid when it employs more than one kind of onboard energy resource for propelling a car. In practical terms it means that a hybrid car has a regular combustion engine along with a battery pack and an electric motor. Sometimes people confuse hybrid cars for electric vehicles, but the two are completely different concepts. The energy consumption of hybrids mostly depends on gasoline engines whose extra energy is recycled by electric motors and used for vehicle propulsion. Under normal circumstances, this energy goes waste. Petrol-electric hybrids are more in practice since these are cost effective and more efficient than regular vehicles.

How Does A Hybrid Car Works?

Not all vehicles with hybrid power trains have equal attributes and neither all of them work in same way. There are different layouts that lead to different working patterns of hybrid vehicles.

  • Series Hybrids: One of the first and oldest types of hybrid car. Under series hybrid layouts, the drive wheels are turned by electric motors and therefore, the motor needs to be pretty large with loads of power. But these aren’t pure electric, the working is equally supported by a dedicated mill that consumes fuel and emits wastes. The engine mainly helps the generator in delivering electricity which is then used in vehicle propulsion. The best example of this kind of hybrid car is the 2014 BMW i3 and the 2012 Fisker Karma.

  • Parallel Hybrids: Parallel hybrids are the most economical and simplest kind of new cars that are in use. In these kind of vehicles, the output of electric motors and engines combines together to give an increased output of energy. The engine does nothing else than vehicle propulsion.

  • Plug-in Hybrids: Not exactly a kind of hybrid but these can be based on any other kind of hybrid layout. Plug-in Hybrids or PHEVs forayed markets in 2010 with introduction of Chevrolet Volt.

  • Parallel – Series Hybrid: Just like the name implies, this one includes both kind of hybrids the parallel and the series one. This kind of hybrid layout has been used in Ford’s C-Max & Fusion hybrids, Toyota hybrids, and some of Lexus’s new cars. These systems have proved to be most successful ones in terms of efficiency and speeds.

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