New Delhi: A hybrid vehicle gives the ICE experience and the benefit of EV with the push of a button. For potential buyers who find electric cars too expensive and gas prices prohibitive, hybrids are budget-friendly alternatives that offer better fuel efficiency than ICE vehicles.
Hybrid passenger vehicle sales continued to be dominated by Toyota (74%), followed by Maruti (25%) and Honda (1%) in Q3 2023. Their highest sales were in Q1 2023 with 22,389 units. Sales in the Q2 fell to 14,399 units and revived to 22,022 units.
Q: What is a hybrid vehicle?
Hybrid vehicles demonstrate the type of vehicle that is a mix of a gasoline engine and an electric motor. It differs from standard gasoline cars, which rely only on diesel/petrol, while in hybrid cars we combine gasoline with an electric powertrain.
In certain situations, the gasoline engine does all the work of recapturing energy, sometimes electric motors and sometimes both work together.
The electricity is generated from a high-voltage battery (different from a conventional car battery), that is replenished by generating energy from deceleration that is produced in heat by the brakes in conventional cars.. The heat generation system is implemented after applying the brakes through the regenerative braking system.
Hybrid cars use ICE to charge and maintain the electric battery of a car. OEMs use multiple hybrid designs depending on user requirements.
Q: How does a hybrid car work?
How hybrid electric vehicles work is quite simple to comprehend. The power of a hybrid electric vehicle is generated through the internal combustion engine and an electric motor. The electric motor consumes the electrical energy stored in the car's electric battery pack in the car. The charging of the battery pack is done through the regenerative braking system or through an ICE. The electric motor and ICE work together to provide comfort to the passengers and provide save fuel economy for the vehicle.
The additional power generated by the electric motor helps the ICE improve the vehicle's efficiency. Electric battery packs also help charge other electronic components in cars, like lights.
Hybrid cars primarily put their electric motor in action when the driver wants to drive at low speed, coasting, or decelerating; All these factors depend on the battery's charging capacity. Hybrid vehicles save fuel; They only use gasoline engines when climbing unkempt landscapes (mountains or hills), accelerating, or when additional power is needed.
Q: What distinguishes a hybrid car from conventional ICE and electric cars?
The electric powertrain saves fuel when the car's engine starts/stops, where the engine has an automatic command to shut down when not in use. It starts automatically when the driver presses the accelerator pedal. HEV-like EVs need not have to be plugged into any external charger.
They automatically charge the hybrid car's battery, thus eradicating the need for external charging stations. Hybrid vehicles provide the user with better fuel efficiency and lower emissions than conventional vehicles. Whereas electric cars draw power from a single source, i.e. an electric motor/powertrain to operate.
Q: What are the types of hybrid vehicles and which which HEV suit you the best?
HEVs can be classified into four types based on the energy source and distribution.
Series Hybrid: Series hybrids are also known as range extenders, where the ICE motor powers the electric powertrain. Electric generators power the wheels and battery-electric motors. Known as a range extender, the ICE powers the electric drivetrain and battery.
Parallel Hybrid: As the name suggests, both the electric powertrain and the ICE work parallel and in conjunction to propel the car. Efficient and smooth operation of the vehicle is achieved through both the IC drive and the electric motor. The electric battery, as mentioned above, is recharged via a regenerative braking system.
Plug-in hybrid (PHEV): Unlike those mentioned above, these have a larger battery that must be recharged through an external power source. It is a hybrid car whose battery must be connected to recharge it from the network. People are shifting to PHEVs as they feel it will reach the zero emissions goal without transiting to a completely new setup of EVs.
Mild hybrids: As the name suggests, these types of hybrids have less powerful electric motors and cannot propel the vehicles themselves. They work between the engine and transmission, which may be part of the starter-generator system. The motor adds energy to the ICE whenever required to boost it and save the potential fuel.
Q: How is a hybrid car maintained?
Hybrid cars require more maintenance than conventional cars. The first thing you should focus on is your car battery, which is expensive to replace. If you think the battery condition is not good, you should buy a new one soon. If the battery is in good condition, take good care of it. The fan filter is essential in a high voltage battery because it ensures proper heat dissipation and prevents battery cell drain. They are affordable when it comes to their operations. Hybrid cars do not have alternators, which means routine maintenance is inexpensive.
Q: What are the advantages and disadvantages of hybrid cars?
- Cleaner emissions: When we talk about internal combustion, hybrid cars have both electric motors and internal combustion engines. This results in lower emissions and is more environmentally friendly.
- Compact and efficient engine: Small engines don't need to power hybrid cars on their own; There is also an electric motor. The engines used in these cars are small in size, making them more fuel efficient.
- Braking: When braking is applied in a hybrid car, the electric motor generates electricity and recharges the battery through the regenerative braking system. Thus, you won't have to worry about charging your electric battery.
- Reduced performance: The main motive of hybrid cars is increased fuel efficiency, but much less power or acceleration than conventionally engine cars.
- Not budget-friendly: Although companies are trying to reduce the prices of hybrid cars and make them comparable to conventional cars, the cars are still more expensive.
- Increased maintenance: With two parts of the engine in a hybrid car, they demand increased maintenance. Also, not all mechanical engineers know how to repair it.
Q: Indian automotive manufacturers take on hybrid vehicles?
For automakers, hybrids is a smooth transition between internal combustion engines and electric vehicles. The CTO of Maruti Suzuki, C.V Raman said in 2022 that in the next five years, Maruti will focus on hybrid cars. Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM) launched a campaign ‘Hum hai Hybrid’ to promote its hybrid cars. Honda is also launching multiple hybrid cars.