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How Do Hybrids Work?

Jun 25, 2008
As gas prices rapidly increase, so does the interest in Hybrid cars. Let's look at how the Hybrid car works. Hybrid cars are part of the Green movement. These vehicles extend the efficiency of the combustion engine by combining a battery and electric motors. The electric motors assist the engine thereby reducing gasoline consumption. With the electric motor assist, many Hybrids use a smaller engine than their conventional brethren, further reducing gas consumption. It is typically believed that Hybrids, like the all-electric vehicles (EVs) of the recent past, would require to be plugged-in to recharge the batteries. However, the on-board batteries of the Hybrids are recharged by capturing the kinetic energy produced when the car is coasting or braking (called regenerative braking), or by the engine directly. Full versus Mild Hybrids
There are two types of Hybrids: full Hybrids and mild Hybrids. Full Hybrids allow both the engine and electric motor to work together to drive the car, or either separately. When at a stop, the engine is turned off. When moving forward, the electric motor only drives the car. Examples of this type Hybrid are Toyota, Lexis, Ford. Mild Hybrids always use the gasoline engine to drive the vehicle with an assist from the battery powered electric motor. The electric motor is generally smaller, since it does not drive the vehicle by itself (as in the Full Hybrid). The engine is turned off only when the vehicle is at a standstill. This type Hybrid is offered by General Motors and Honda. Parallel versus Series Hybrid
If you thought that fullness and mildness was confusing, then parallel versus series definitions will be impossible. Let's keep it simple, and allow the debate over terms take place in our discussion. For the parallel Hybrid, the on-board batteries power the electric motor, and the fuel tank powers the gasoline engine. Working together, both the electric motor and the gasoline engine will drive the vehicle. In a series Hybrid, the engine charges the batteries and the electric motors drive the vehicle. The engine never directly drives the vehicle. Nearly all Hybrids today are parallel Hybrids. There are a number of vehicles planned for 2010 that will use the more radical design of the series Hybrid. These Hybrids will be pluggable. Pluggable Hybrids
While the pluggable Hybrid does not need to be plugged in (this is optional), the ability to do so will enable the batteries to be recharged while the vehicle is not in use. This will greatly extend the Hybrid's range; a limitation in the past with all electric vehicles. Hydrogen Hybrids
Unlike the Hybrids above which employ batteries and electric motors as the alternate source to drive the vehicle, the Hydrogen Hybrid will use Hydrogen gas to supplement the gasoline in the tank. This approach is most often found in fleet vehicles. Also called an on-demand system, the engine generates the power to create the Hydrogen gas through the electrolysis of Water. The Hydrogen gas (more correctly called oxyhydrogen or HHO) is mixed with the gasoline in the engine cylinder to produce additional power thus increasing the efficiency of the engine. The advantage of this Hybrid is that it is easily adapted to existing vehicles and uses plain tap water for its energy source.
About the Author
For those who would like to learn more about Hydrogen Hybrids, then select the How Do Hybrid Cars Work. To learn more about converting your car inexpensively then select Run Your Car on Water
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