At this present time where the cost of crude oil is at its highest level, hybrid-electric vehicles (HEVs) are alternative that are gaining more shares in the market. These are vehicles or cars use two separate power sources namely the traditional engine that uses internal combustion and a motor/generator which is electrically driven. This is taking each type of vehicle’s good points and combining them into one product while aligning certain objectives to improve what is best in every individual car.
The technology used by hybrids includes:
Regenerative Brake System: This takes the kinetic energy which is normally lost during the traditional braking system process and in turn uses this to recharge the battery to power the rest of the electrical needs of the hybrid such as for its electronic devices. This gives free energy to the battery while at the same time reduces the wear and tear of the brake parts. This braking system is a very environmentally friendly technology. If compared to the conventional braking system that involves friction which is extremely inefficient since the overall momentum of the vehicle is being change to heat by the friction in the brakes. The system used by the regenerative braking uses the energy that is present then restores it back towards the system greatly reducing wasted energy. This system when used in a hybrid car permits the engine of the gas powered vehicle to run slower since the electric battery is constantly charged. Likewise this will in effect allow fewer emissions to the environment and reduces oil consumption. Regenerative braking on the other hand is helping in the preservation of our natural resources. If continuously implemented in other cars and public vehicles, it will reduce environmental emissions. Its effectiveness is experienced in Prius and other hybrids as it showed the potential for this particular technology to be fully utilized in more energy saving ventures.
Electrically Driven and Assisted Motor. The electric motor that is found in hybrids; deliver an additional power which helps the gas engine during acceleration, passing or climbing hills. This electric motor is smaller and more efficient than gas in this task. In other car, the motor still provides the needed power for low-speed driving where engines with internal combustion are believed to be least efficient. The reduced engine size and power has made hybrid cars better in performance since it has less engine weight and optimum performance. This smaller engine functions continuously following the ideal power range while the traditional engines operate in a broader range but have a narrow optimum range.
Automatically Starts and Shuts off. The concept here makes use of an automatically shut-off mechanism to the engine when the car stops and when it restarts there is only the pressing of the accelerator. By cutting the power completely during these periods; it already reduces fuel consumed and likewise reduce the emissions during idling. This helps prevent idling wasted energy.
Hybrids consider two basic areas in vehicles which is the fuel consumption and reduction of harmful emissions through three distinct mechanisms:
- Regenerative braking which is the reusing wasted energy.
- Electric motor to compensate Reducing the size and power of the internal combustion engine and using the better torque of.
- Reduction in wasted energy during idling and at cruising speed modes through cutting of power on the internal combustion engine which may be partly or in totality.
The increased weight in hybrids due to the addition of the electric motor and battery pack could adversely affect fuel that is supposed to be saved. Though this weight generally does not affect when driving at cruising speed; it implies that it is ideally good only for urban transport needs. Another disadvantage of this technology is the initial cost. There are even claims that the fuel savings generated through its use cannot even out the cost of purchase. However the technology is still being refined and it is expected to improve in the next five years. Maybe we should wait until Ford, GM, Mazda, Nissan, Honda, Peugeot, Renault and Toyota can give the secret recipe to make hybrids work more effectively.