Hybrid vehicles are a new product of the automobile industry. Such vehicles are becoming more illustrious as they are very efficient and reduce pollution. Read on to learn more about them.
A hybrid vehicle is a vehicle that has two sources of power. A typical hybrid vehicle will have a fuel-driven combustion engine along with a rechargeable system for storing energy. A hybrid vehicle may also have other power sources such as a mechanism to utilise the power of the wind. Alternatively, the vehicle may use mechanical power like the pedalling motion of an individual. Based on the engine used, a hybrid vehicle may be classified into a variety of types.
Hybrid-electric petroleum vehicles
These are the most commonly used hybrid vehicles. The hybrid electric vehicle consists of the standard combustion engine and a rechargeable energy storage system. This storage system has a separate motor as well as electric batteries to power it. The batteries are configured so that they are charged whenever the vehicle's brakes are used or a small generator is attached.
Continuously recharged battery electric vehicle
This is a vehicle wherein the battery component is recharged as the owner drives his vehicle. For some part of the journey, the vehicle is in contact with a recharging station. This could be in the form of an electrified plate, rail or overhead wires. The vehicle itself will have a conducting wheel or another mechanism for attachment. The recharging station is usually constructed over the network of highways in the town or city.
While the vehicle is driving on the highway, the overhead wires charge its batteries. This allows the vehicle to be driven on other roads also, until the battery is fully discharged. Theoretically, this system is extremely useful since almost all destinations are within 100 km of any major highway.
This type of hybrid vehicle is utilised only in public transport systems like trams, trolleys, etc. Private vehicles are not permitted to use this system mainly because of logistic concerns. Cars come in different sizes and it would not be possible to have a common attachment mechanism for them.
Hybrid fuel engines
This is not a traditional hybrid engine vehicle. Rather, it is a vehicle with one tank and engine that is capable of using two different fuels. To avoid confusion with traditional hybrid vehicles, these automobiles are usually called dual mode vehicles. The most common vehicular fuel combination is a mixture of petroleum and biofuels. Biofuels are those like bioethanol and biobutanol. Another fuel combination is that of diesel and biodiesel.
Dual mode vehicles are also those which are capable of running on an alternative fuel source if the primary fuel is unavailable. For example, some diesel engines have been modified to run on unprocessed biodiesel, which is nothing but waste vegetable oil. A third type of dual mode engine is one wherein the alternate fuel source is human power such as a bicycle that can run on fuel as well as be pedalled by an individual.
Advantages of hybrid vehicles
Hybrid vehicles are slowly gaining popularity in the automobile market. The increased efficiency and reduced pollution make hybrid vehicles the best option for all your vehicular needs.
- Fuel economy: The primary purpose of a hybrid vehicle is to achieve better fuel economy compared to conventional engines. At the same time, hybrid engines cut down gases emitted and are generally considered a 'cleaner' alternative to combustion engines.
- Recapture energy: Hybrid vehicles utilise the regenerative braking technique. This means that the energy used for braking is picked up by the battery system and used to charge the battery. This minimises loss of energy.
- Preserves engine: Traditional combustion engines experience wear and tear whenever they idle at signals, traffic jams, etc. because there is no load on them. The hybrid engine is designed so that it automatically shuts off the combustion engine whenever the engine is idle. The engine then switches to the alternate mode. This feature makes the hybrid vehicle well suited to city traffic.