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Hybrids are the types of the vehicle that comes with two different types of motors. These cars have an internal combustion engine that is paired with at least one electric motor. In general, one can classify hybrids based on drivetrain layout and the level of hybridisation. We explain how hybrids are classified based on the level of hybridisation.
Types Of Hybrid Cars Based On Level Of Hybridisation:
Mild hybrids are mainly focused on fuel economy. Mild hybrid cars are designed in a way that the electric motor assists the acceleration process initially and it also offers regenerative braking.
That is, the electric motor in this category cannot propel a vehicle on its own. In a mild hybrid, the petrol engine will always be running except when the car has slowed down below the speed of about 8 km/h or if it has stopped.
The electric motor present in a mild hybrid has limited tasks. It also has a small internal combustion engine, in turn reducing the performance of the car. Some automobile manufacturers offer the option to integrate direct-injection and a turbocharger to maintain some performance.
A mild hybrid model does not need to have an extended range, and one can stop or restart the petrol engine to provide enough juice in the batteries. This feature reduces the weight, size as well as the cost of the drivetrain in mild hybrids. It turns out to be the main benefit of this model.
The full hybrid is the most popular type of hybrid that has been built so far. The Toyota Prius has set an excellent example for this type of hybrid. Unlike mild hybrids, full hybrid drivetrain is developed to power a car on its own. In the electric-only mode, a full hybrid is only capable of speeds of up to 30km/hr whereas the range is restricted to one or two kilometres. Newer full hybrid models are capable of going faster comparatively, but it requires the driver to be lighter on the throttle.
The drivetrain of full hybrid cars are available in three different combinations:
- Petrol and electric Propulsion.
- Only Electric motors
- Only Petrol engine.
The electric motor, engine, and also its battery is arranged in such a way that one can drive the car at low speeds. The regenerative braking and siphoning off the excess energy generated during acceleration has got sufficient capabilities to recharge the batteries. It should be noted that the first-time drive on this configuration might not be a pleasing experience. The feel of an internal combustion engine is missing.
Also, the accessories in the vehicle such as the radio, A/C, and windows are powered using the battery. In certain circumstances, it makes the system consume more charge. The former hybrids with regular automatic transmissions and simpler drivetrain layouts made the car to suffer from slightly clunky drivetrains.
Besides, all the newly launched hybrid models such as the Porsche Cayenne Hybrid, BMW Active Hybrid 3, 5 and 7, Mercedes-Benz E300 BlueTec Hybrid, etc, utilise lithium-ion batteries which are similar to ones that are used in laptops, tablets as well as smartphones.
If the batteries sufficiently charged, the cars with plug-in hybrids drive like an electric car. When one breaches the speed threshold of the electric motor speed which is usually between 100 and 130km/h or in other words, if one goes full throttle, the petrol motor will start up. If an electric-only range which is between 30 and 50km exhausted in this type, it would function as a regular full hybrid vehicle.
Extended Range Electric Vehicles:
Extended Range Electric Vehicles (EREVs) which are also known as Range Extended Electric Vehicles (REEVs) can be considered as a subset of the plug-in hybrid. In an EREV, the internal combustion engine is not designed to drive the wheels.
The petrol/diesel engine is only capable of recharging the batteries whenever required. An EREV runs like an EV until its batteries run low on power. When low on power, the petrol motor starts up and charges up the battery pack and the EREV continues working similar to a pure EV.
The range anxiety of and charging problem of a normal EV is reduced because of the petrol motor on-board which recharges the batteries. The complexity, cost, power storage type is the drawback of this type of hybrid. To make one's EREV more fuel efficient than other regular hybrid model, it has to be plugged into mains power.
Thoughts On Different Types Of Hybrids
Not all hybrid models are built equally but the technology hidden behind the hybrid cars are different. They are categorized based on their level of hybridization and also the drivetrains the models utilize. The high-end hybrid technology promises a better future for the automobile industry. It satisfies consumers demand by offering the fuel-efficient vehicles with an excellent performance.