When the Toyota Prius hit the market, many were enamored with the technology and the resulting fuel efficiency. Unfortunately, not many understand how this system works and the following are the basics on hybrid vehicle technology.
While first adopters and owners have an understanding of how a second powertrain helps in increasing mileage and fuel efficiency, many have not been able to accommodate new innovations such as the plug in hybrid technology and other improvements. The increased number of hybrid platforms has required clarifications on this kind of technology.
The basic system involves the pairing of an internal combustion engine with one or more electrical motors. These provide the driving force but the fuel is taken from high capacity battery array that releases energy to the motors together with one or more clutch mechanisms and controllers or capacitors that regulate the power generated in the vehicle.
The internal combustion engine is larger than the electric motor, as it provides more power during acceleration while the electric motor has a smaller output capacity. When the brakes are used, additional energy and power is generated and then captured for storage in the battery for later use.
The technology involved in hybrid vehicles is amongst the cutting edge in the market today, but the different car manufactures differ in design, functionality, efficiency and costing for these vehicles. To some extent, carmakers are trying to provide options for they hybrid market and an example is General Motors with three different hybrid platforms across many of its brands.
Despite the differentiated designs, the basic objectives remain the same. These include allowing each powertrain to operate efficiently, such as electric motors for better acceleration while gasoline engines would do more work when cruising down the motorway. Even the kind of fuel and which platform would be the main and which is the assist varies across makes and models for vehicles currently in the market today.
As the technology improves, the issues regarding the hybrid technology increase. This includes common nomenclature and even standardized measurements would come to fore. The cost of research and development would also increase tremendously, as the demand for efficiency and range further increases and the ultimate determinant would be the sticker price to the consumer. With all these that lie ahead, the hybrid vehicle surely would have a long way to go but is assured of a fulfilling future ahead.