Hybrid car: operation, advantages, disadvantages
Silence, controlled CO2 emissions, reduced fuel consumption… There are many (good) reasons to switch to a hybrid car. But beware, this type of car is not without its (few rare) drawbacks.
What is a hybrid car?
A hybrid car is a car that combines two different types of energy sources:
● Heat engine (gasoline, most).
● And at least one electrical device equipped with a traction battery.
This type of car is becoming more and more popular because it allows reduce consumption fuel and greenhouse gas emissions. The goal is to consume less for the planet and the wallet, while being more efficient. Shifting is often done automatically based on set acceleration, ground conditions, and traction battery charge level, but can also be done manually.
How does a hybrid car work?
Different levels of hybridization
A hybrid car is not always an electrified car and there are several hybridization technologies:
● Microhybridization : in short, it is also called “stop & start” of the latest cars. When the combustion engine stops, it stops and the relay is received by the electrician.
● Mild hybrid or light hybrid : the internal combustion engine is constantly on, and the electric motor sometimes plays a supporting role. This technology mode does not allow 100% electric control. Suzuki s cross is a perfect example.
● Full hybrid or classic hybrid car : this type of vehicle offers the possibility of driving in full electric mode, but the 100% electric range is limited (5 km on average).
● Plug-in hybrid : the ability to charge your vehicle’s battery using a socket in addition to the brake energy recovery system. This type of hybrid car can travel about 50 km with an electric motor (see more about new models).
But you’re probably wondering: what exactly does “brake energy recovery system” mean? Simply put, this means that the battery connected to the electric motor is automatically charged during the braking and deceleration phases due to the vehicle’s inertia.
Different hybridization architectures
● Parallel hybrid assembly : two motors can turn the wheels independently or simultaneously.
● Hybrid mounting series : the wheels can only be driven by the electric motor. The heat engine only serves as an electrical generator to charge the batteries.
● Series-parallel assembly : This model combines two modes. The alternation of the two engines takes place according to various factors (speed, main engine / backup engine, etc.) and allows completely independent movement.
● Dissociated or differentiated assembly : the use of an electric motor for the rear wheels and an internal combustion engine for the front (reverse between front and rear can also be used).
Advantages of a hybrid car
One of the main advantages of a hybrid car is fuel economy, especially thanks to the help of an electric motor. This reduction in consumption varies by terrain and route, as the internal combustion engine provides additional power (highway, mountain road, etc.) or when the battery is empty.
Less greenhouse gases
A hybrid car pollutes less than a 100% thermal car. This reduction in CO2 emissions varies depending on the type of hybrid vehicle used, but the environmental benefits are undeniable. Plug-in hybrid vehicles emit up to 75% less CO2.
More autonomy and silence
Fully autonomous, the battery has the ability to automatically regenerate due to vehicle braking and deceleration. And if it is completely drained, the combustion engine takes over. Having two reserves (gasoline + electric battery) mathematically allows longer autonomy.
When the electric motor is used, the car is completely silent, which makes driving especially pleasant for you and pedestrians.
Disadvantages of a hybrid car
Despite the undeniable advantages of a hybrid car, it has some disadvantages:
● Its generally higher price;
● Repair costs due to the specificity of some parts;
● Heavier weight than the thermal model, which can lead to excessive consumption over long distances;
● Loss of space in the trunk due to battery storage, but this phenomenon tends to disappear in recent models.