How do hybrid cars work?

Hybrid cars are increasingly popular in our country, although few people really know how a hybrid car works or if it really is convenient to have a vehicle with hybrid technology.

The confusion in front of hybrid cars is largely due to the lack of information and the limited options that exist in the market , which are always much higher in price than a conventional gasoline car.

In Mexico, the supply of hybrid cars does not reach ten models, some of the best known are the Toyota Prius, Chevrolet Volt or the recently arrived Kia Niro in its hybrid version.

Despite this scenario, the trend in the automotive industry is lower energy consumption and emission of pollutants . Without a doubt, the propulsion systems of hybrid cars are an excellent alternative.

In this article we will try to understand how hybrid cars work , the types that exist, as well as an overview of the current market for hybrid vehicles in Mexico.

What is a hybrid car?

A hybrid car is a vehicle that works with two propulsion systems , normally it is an electric motor and a thermal motor that works on fuel and is very similar to a conventional motor.

Hybrid cars stand out because the operation of their propulsion system combines both engines efficiently, reducing energy loss and maximizing energy efficiency.
Image: Toyota Motor Europe

How does a hybrid car work?

A hybrid car works thanks to two engines, one electric and one more combustion. They can work at the same time or separately, but all hybrid cars have a computer that manages both engines to obtain the best performance.

Depending on the way in which both engines work we can speak of hybrid in series, parallel and combined.

There are three types of hybrid cars:

Series hybrid: in a series hybrid car the heat engine (which runs on fuel) only recharges the electric battery, it never participates in the traction of the car. This motor shuts down when the battery is fully charged, which improves its performance.

Hybrid in parallel: In the case of hybrid cars with a parallel system, both engines work at the same time to propel the car.

Combined hybrid: in this case both the electric motor and the heat engine can drive the car by themselves, but they also have a system that allows both engines to work at the same time.

The advantages that hybrid car systems offer are being replicated by many brands in their conventional cars, all with the idea of improving fuel efficiency.

Advantages and disadvantages of hybrid cars

The biggest advantage of hybrid cars is the better fuel efficiency since it has several systems that improve efficiency. The best known are:

  • Energy recovery system.
  • Energy management system.
  • Initial startup.
  • Electric thrust.
  • Electric propulsion.
  • Power regulation.
  • Engine shutdown.
  • Lower emission of pollutants.

Energy recovery: this is a feature where the force generated when the car is braked is recovered and stored inside the battery, and then used to start the engine.

Energy management system: these are sensors that, depending on driving conditions, choose the most efficient combination of propulsion.

Initial start-up: the electric motor is used to start the car and once a certain speed is reached, the heat engine comes into operation. This fully uses the power of the heat engine at all times.

Electric thrust: On slopes or rough roads, the electric motor assists the heat engine to reduce extra fuel consumption.

Electric propulsion: in low-effort conditions, the battery takes over the propulsion of the car without consuming fuel.

Power regulation: the electric motor compensates for power changes on winding roads, avoiding unnecessary acceleration and wasting fuel.

Engine Shutdown – At complete stops both engines stop and save power for starting.

Lower emissions of pollutants: Last but not least, hybrid cars greatly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

As for the problems of having a hybrid car, the price of these is undoubtedly due to the low demand and the barely growing market, the prices are very high.

One technical problem they can run into is that hybrid cars produce virtually no sound , increasing the risk of pedestrian accidents.

There you have the main characteristics of how a hybrid car works. Do you have any questions? Leave us a comment and we will respond as soon as possible.

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