Explained | What is the technology that powers hybrid electric vehicles?

What are the pros and cons of hybrid electric vehicles? How does it differ from normal electric vehicles?

What are the pros and cons of hybrid electric vehicles? How does it differ from normal electric vehicles?

The story so far: In recent months, carmakers Maruti Suzuki, Toyota and Honda have launched hybrid electric vehicles in India, giving car buyers more choices in the nascent electric vehicle market. These new hybrid electric vehicles from several car manufacturers rely on hybrid technology and its advantages over conventional internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles to change car buyers’ minds.

What is a hybrid electric vehicle?

A hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) uses an ICE engine (a petrol / diesel engine) and one or more electric motors to run. It is powered by the electric motor alone, which uses the energy stored in the batteries, by the ICE or by both. The HEV’s powertrain is more complex than a regular ICE-powered car as it has EV components and a conventional ICE. This means that a typical HEV will have a low voltage auxiliary battery, a traction battery pack to store the electricity for the electric motor, an electric generator, an AC / DC converter, a power electronics controller, a thermal system. to maintain the working temperature, an ICE, a fuel tank, a fuel filler neck, a transmission and an exhaust system.

How do HEV thrusters work?

HEV thrusters are designed to power cars by series, parallel or series-parallel (power split) methods. A HEV series uses only the electric motor to drive the wheels, while the ICE powers the generator, which in turn recharges the battery. A parallel HEV, based on driving conditions, uses the best power source to power the vehicle. It will alternate between the electric motor and the ICE to keep the car moving.

A series-parallel HEV offers a combination of both models and allows for power splitting, where power is channeled from the ICE alone or from the battery to the electric motor to drive the vehicle. In addition, in all three models, the battery is charged via regenerative braking technology.

How does regenerative braking work?

A regenerative braking system (RBS) used in automotive applications has numerous benefits such as improved braking efficiency in stop-and-go traffic which improves fuel economy and also helps reduce carbon emissions. In addition, RBS also helps in energy optimization resulting in minimal energy waste.

Depending on the type of RBS, energy recovery occurs in several ways. A kinetic system can recover the energy lost during braking and then use this energy to recharge the vehicle’s high-voltage battery. An electrical system generates electricity through a motor during sudden braking. Finally, a hydraulic system uses pressurized tanks to store the vehicle’s kinetic energy and can offer a high rate of energy recovery, ideal for heavy vehicles.

The efficiency of HEVs and EVs will largely be determined by their ability to recover as much energy as possible during braking, with a higher degree of energy recovery that reduces fuel consumption. The amount of energy that can be recovered depends on factors such as vehicle speed and how to stop. The adoption of regenerative braking technology in the automotive industry is increasing due to the operational efficiency of vehicles through reduced fuel consumption and extended battery life.

Maruti Suzuki, Toyota and Honda have introduced HEVs with different powertrain choices, including self-charging powerful hybrid electric vehicles (SHEVs) that use RBS for HEV self-charging. According to a study by iCAT, a government testing agency, SHEVs can travel 40% of the distance and 60% of the time as electric vehicles with the gasoline engine turned off.

Although regenerative braking systems are already available in most electric vehicles, the technology is also used in electric railways. Rail transit can be described as frequent acceleration and braking of trains at many stations. This increases the potential for brake energy recovery by using energy storage systems, which can recover and reuse brake energy from subway cars, further improving energy efficiency. A portion of a train’s energy consumption can be saved by using traction systems that enable regenerative braking.

What are the different types of HEV?

HEVs can be classified into micro, mild and full hybrid vehicles, based on the degree of hybridization. The hybrid variants of the Grand Vitara from Maruti Suzuki and the Urban Cruiser Hyryder from Toyota can be classified as complete and lightweight hybrids.

A full HEV will have a larger battery and more powerful electric motor than a lightweight HEV. As a result, a full HEV can power the vehicle for longer distances using electric mode only, while a light HEV cannot drive using only the electric motor and uses the battery at stop-and-go traffic lights to support ICE. . Micro hybrids do not offer electric torque assistance as they lack an electric motor, but they do have an idle stop and start system and energy management functions. Full HEVs offer better fuel economy than the other two types of HEVs, but they also cost more.

Then there are the plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) which are just like full HEVs, but can be charged using a wall socket, as they have a built-in charger and charging port. PHEVs generally use the electric motor until the battery is low, then automatically switch to ICE. PHEVs accounted for about 23% of 1.95 million global shipments of electric vehicles in the first quarter of 2022, according to market research firm Counterpoint.

What are the main benefits of using hybrid technology?

Fuel efficiency is an important factor for most people considering buying a car. Most vehicles with hybrid technology offer better fuel efficiency, more power and lower emissions. The design of hybrid vehicles for a reduced displacement and weight of the car compared to ICE vehicles, results in an increase in mileage to drive the demand for these vehicles. Additionally, as total power and torque increase, HEVs can deliver instant torque and deliver high torque even at low speeds.

What are some challenges of hybrid technology?

In a price sensitive market like India, one of the main challenges for HEVs is the high cost of vehicles. The battery, a vital component of a HEV, increases the cost of the vehicle, making it more expensive than vehicles powered only by an ICE. RBS also adds to the higher cost of a HEV.

Are HEVs helping the automotive industry move from ICE vehicles to electric vehicles?

The automotive industry is in transition, with an increasing focus on hybrid and battery-electric vehicles (BEVs or EVs). Meanwhile, rising fossil fuel prices, increased adoption of clean mobility solutions, and strict government regulations for controlling emissions are driving the growth of the global electric vehicle market.

“SHEVs will play a pivotal role not only in reducing fossil fuel consumption, carbon emissions and pollution, but also in creating a local EV component manufacturing ecosystem, while protecting huge investments and jobs. existing work related to the production of ICE components, thus ensuring a seamless technological transition, “said Vikram Gulati, EVP of Toyota Kirloskar Motor The Hindu.

He further added: “SHEV adoption will also accelerate BEV adoption as these technologies have common electric powertrain parts that will help create part-level demand aggregation for local manufacturing, thereby helping to reduce costs. for SHEV and BEV to create a viable ecosystem for electrified vehicles ”.

THE SENSE

A hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) uses an ICE engine (a petrol / diesel engine) and one or more electric motors to run. It is powered by the electric motor alone, which uses the energy stored in the batteries, by the ICE or by both

The efficiency of HEVs will be determined by their ability to recover as much energy as possible during braking, with a higher degree of energy recovery which reduces fuel consumption. A Regenerative Braking System (RBS), while improving fuel economy, also aids in energy optimization resulting in minimal energy waste.

HEVs can be classified into micro, mild and full hybrid vehicles, based on the degree of hybridization. The hybrid variants of the Grand Vitara from Maruti Suzuki and the Urban Cruiser Hyryder from Toyota can be classified as complete and lightweight hybrids.

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