The Future of Hybrid Cars
By now, most of us have all had at least a peek at a hybrid car. They are available in showrooms and often spotted out on our roads. But have you ever considered taking a leap and trying one out? Whilst hybrid technology is still in early stages, it’s normal for us to feel a little cautious. We need to be sure it’s not just a quick fad that is phased out in a few years. After all, you certainly don’t want to invest in a unique technology only to find out it’s being left behind!
So What Exactly Are Hybrid Cars?
Hybrid vehicles draw power from two separate propulsion methods, a conventional combustion engine and an electric motor. Their integrated technology allows either system to power the vehicle depending on power demands. As a result hybrid systems allow for greater fuel efficiency by using the electric motor wherever possible and the combustion engine when absolutely necessary. See below to learn more about the two main categories of hybrid cars. Their key difference lies in their primary source of energy during operation:
Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEV)
HEV vehicles use a combustion engine and conventional fuel as their primary propulsion system. Regenerative braking technology allows energy to be captured and stored in the car’s battery cells. This energy is then harnessed by electric motors, fulfilling the less demanding tasks at lower speeds. At these times the combustion engine can be shut off, providing good fuel savings over conventional cars.
Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV)
PHEVs are a more recent development but are likely to become the long-term leader in the future. They use an electric motor and plug in battery cells as the primary propulsion system. If the battery is completely depleted it then uses the combustion engine to generate additional electrical power. In essence it’s an electric car that can use the combustion engine to extend its range. Once parked, the vehicle’s batteries are replenished by tapping into the mains grid.
A Positive Future For Hybrid Cars
The future of hybrids vehicles may not be set in stone, yet there are a number of highly encouraging signs indicating a bright future.
Significant Investments – All of the major automotive players are in on it. Vehicle manufacturers have invested so heavily that it’s unlikely to drop off anytime soon. Hybrid vehicle options are sure to receive continued development and showroom space.
Tightening Regulations – Global warming and climate change is finally gaining the attention it deserves. Manufacturers are being hit hard by stricter regulations, forcing them to pursue greater fuel efficiency. This only strengthens the justification for continuing to develop hybrid technology.
Greener Energy – The entire world is pushing towards greener energy sources. Renewable energy from wind, hydro, geothermal and solar is only gaining more support. These hybrid vehicles (especially plug-ins) offer to support green energy by running primarily off the grid.
Greater Efficiency – Electric motors convert energy into propulsion force with far greater efficiency (80-95%). Combustion engines lose significant amounts of energy through heat and noise. Shockingly, many combustion engines can be as low as 20% efficient with their energy source!
Infrastructure – Whilst other alternative energy vehicles are under development, such as hydrogen fuel cells, they are still a little way off. The infrastructure is simply not in place, it will require significant time and investment for these methods to become realistic. Hybrid vehicles are already ready to go. Simply plug into the nearest mains outlet.
It Simply Makes Sense! – The electric motors used in hybrid vehicles offer quieter operation, greater torque and an instantaneous power band. What’s more, they require far less maintenance than combustion engines due to minimal moving components.
published: 15/01/2016 14:18:20