How do hybrid cars work? What Kinds of Hybrid Cars Are There? We’ve got the answers right here for you – but first, an unexpected curry comparison…
Choosing the right kind of hybrid car is like picking a curry: it starts with the mild Korma, but the power level goes up to the high-voltage Vandaloo.
There are three broad categories into which each hybrid system fits: moderate, traditional (or just ‘Hybrid‘) And Do reconnect (PHEV). Most hybrid systems use a petrol engine. Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) Components, rare with diesel.
Often seen as a Transfer technologyhybrids offer an alternative to both pure ICE and electric motoring, with lower emissions than gasoline power, but without the need to charge every night.
In this article we’ll break down the broad categories, the ins and outs, as well as the pros and cons of each so you can figure out which fuel sipper option will be best for your lifestyle.
The world of mild hybrids, or MHEVs, is one of confusion for many buyers.
Mild hybrids are effectively petrol cars with an extra small battery to run certain power-heavy systems, reducing the load on the petrol engine.
Things start at 12-volts, go up to 24-volts and then 48-volts. Some examples are really just glorified accessory batteries.
The thing to remember is that not a single mild hybrid car on sale has a battery large enough or a motor powerful enough to propel the car meaningfully. That is not their purpose.
Ups and downs of mild hybrid cars
|We like||not so much…|
|No need to change driving habits.||Minimal performance gain|
|Usually associated with foreign ICEs that look good.||Additional cost and complexity|
|Quiet beaches on highways||Often marketed as more beneficial than they are.|
Examples of mild hybrid cars.
Very mild hybrid: The Mazda MX-30 and CX-30 are both available with the G20e badged engine, which uses a 12-volt mild hybrid system. The accessory battery is larger, allowing for longer stop-start intervals – meaning the engine doesn’t need to start as quickly if you’re using air conditioning and similar systems. It saves 0.2L/100km. In a combined ADR cycle.
Mild hybrid: You may be familiar with the term ‘Shipping‘ – the ability for the vehicle to operate accessories such as brake booster and power steering with the engine at highway speeds – and that’s what most advanced mild hybrid systems feature, such as the one in the Audi Q5 45 TFSI MHEV. is found. .
Performance mild hybrid: Commonly associated with F1-related marketing campaigns, such systems feature the most powerful electric motors in the MHEV range. Although they can’t drive the wheels, electric motors boost performance, often by spooling up turbochargers for better throttle response as in the Mercedes-AMG C43.
The most familiar type of hybrid, made famous by the Toyota Prius. They don’t need to be plugged into a wall, and make no claims to electric-only driving range.
Because of their familiarity, we refer to these powertrains simply as ‘hybrids’ in our reviews and news – but here we’re using the term ‘conventional’ to reduce confusion.
Typically, these vehicles have small batteries (1-2kWh) that are designed to be discharged and recharged very quickly.
The most prominent example on this list, the traditional hybrid was brought to market in the late ’90s by the quirky Honda Insight and Toyota Prius, but now Toyota dominates the space.
The benefits are easy to see; Generally a 30-50% reduction in fuel consumption Compared to an equally powerful petrol engine, with zero change in driving habits.
But, as always, hybrids are not as simple as they seem. There are three types – well, really, two types and, err, a hybrid of the two. Read on
|We like||not so much…|
|No need to change your driving style.||Electric driving range is very limited (if any).|
|Relatively cheap (typically $2-3K on ICE)||Gasoline engines can be noisy.|
|Better performance than ICE alone||Different configurations can be confusing.|
What types of ‘traditional’ hybrids are available?
The series hybrid is the simplest configuration, although the less common type. Its design means the wheels are driven exclusively by an electric motor. A combustion engine – which typically runs on an Atkinson cycle – is used as a generator to power a small battery.
This configuration is sometimes referred to as a ‘range-extender electric vehicle’, as is the case with the defunct Holden Volt and the BMW i3, although specifically these also fall into the plug-in hybrid category. Nissan’s e-Power hybrids such as the Qashqai and X-Trail SUVs feature a small battery-series hybrid powertrain, which doesn’t need to be plugged in.
The advantages are that an electric motor is much more energy efficient than a combustion engine (about 85-95 percent compared to 30-40 percent) and offers instant torque. Since the combustion engine doesn’t need to power any drive shafts or fluctuate rpm, it can be tuned to run more efficiently. It also doesn’t need to be rigidly mounted, reducing noise and vibration.
This is where things get a little more complicated. Uses a parallel hybrid. Both electric and combustion motors combined. Examples sold today include systems from Hyundai and Kia found in a range of vehicles, including the Santa Fe Hybrid and Niro Hybrid.
These powertrains often have conventional drive systems, in the case of the all-wheel drive Santa Fe Hybrid, each wheel is connected to a common drive shaft via a center differential with an electric motor mounted between the engine and automatic transmission.
The result is perhaps the most natural feeling for those used to ICE cars, with a traditional torque converter automatic rather than a single-speed reduction gear or CVT. The drawbacks are the packaging, which often uses smaller electric motors, meaning less electric driving range and worse fuel economy than others on this list.
Like a pizza and a half, it’s the best of both worlds and brands synonymous with hybrid nous – Toyota and Honda – use this system. Here, electric motors can power the drive shaft directly in series mode, or as needed. Combined with the electric motor, the petrol engine can cut down to produce maximum power output..
The drawbacks are the need for carefully programmed electronics that seamlessly switch which mode is best based on the current situation. It can make or break a car’s performance and driving experience.. Series-parallel hybrids are also more complex and often noisier than the other options on this list when revving hard.
However, series-parallel offers more packaging freedom than parallel hybrids with the option of larger motors and – in the case of Toyota’s three-motor E-Four system – a greater number of motors on both axles.
In general, series-parallel hybrids also offer better performance levels with extended electric operation and lower fuel consumption than parallel hybrids, while having higher total output than series hybrids.
Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV)
A plug-in hybrid EV (or PHEV) is a tricky beast, offering clear advantages when used as intended, while long drives and sluggishness can negate them.
Some would say it adds unnecessary complexity and weight, while slow charging makes it a painfully poor compromise compared to both combustion and all-electric options. But for a few, it’s the next best thing to spell check.
PHEVs can also be. Great saving grace of the engineWith vehicles like the Ferrari 296 GTB and the upcoming Mercedes-AMG C63 E Performance offering thrills and economy.
PHEVs aren’t as popular as traditional hybrids in Australia, but there are plenty of options on sale, mostly out of necessity in Europe where zero-emission zones in cities have forced manufacturers to invest in plug-in tech.
|We like||not so much…|
|Usable, helpful electric driving range||Too much extra weight to deal with|
|Often very powerful||Additional costs drivetrain complexity|
|There is no limit to worry.||Yet produce emissions unlike EVs.|
You can usually identify a PHEV on this list by the largest batteries. Between 8-20kWh in usable capacity And crazy-low consumption figures of 1.5-3L/100km (when using mostly all-electric mode).
Like traditional hybrids, the batteries are designed to discharge quickly and regularly, but unlike their smaller friends these hybrids need to be plugged into the wall for best results.
you see, Adding 250kg worth of lithium and steel to a conventional hybrid Will leave you with, well, maybe the same 7-8L/100km as a petrol car – as Alex Inwood found out while driving his long-term Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV without a charge.
Then charging is essential, as these vehicles are anywhere in between. 30-80 km of electric-only driving range. So for those who live in an urban environment and have access to charging infrastructure (and a masochistic mind that enjoys math), a plug-in hybrid can do local driving for polar bear-pleasing zero emissions. Is.
All this comes without having to deal with that dreaded ‘range anxiety’ EV haters love to talk about… but for the love of Zeus, Please do not use public DC fast charging. infrastructure with your PHEV, Because EV owners will despise you..