Saturday, November 27, 2010

Hybrid cars? What is it

I have long wonder why all people nowadays keep on saying Hybrid cars? Is it cheaper or more fuel efficient?
I did a search in Google and found this:
Why I won’t get a hybrid car

WE’VE all heard of hybrid cars. They are supposed to be ecologically friendly, producing far less emissions than normal cars. They are also supposed to help you save on petrol. So, why don’t we see more hybrid cars on the road?
In a word: Price. Hybrid cars are expensive. OK, so they don’t cost as much as a sports car but they are by no means cheap, though they should be.
And the choice is limited in Malaysia. Basically, if you want one it’s either a Honda Civic Hybrid or a Toyota Prius. I’ve been inside both and they are marvels of technology. As a tech-centric guy, I love the idea of driving a hybrid. But I won’t be getting one because they are still too costly.
If the government really wants to be environmentally friendly and to reduce people’s dependence on petrol (and thus not have to spend so much on subsidies) there are a number of things it can do. But before we get into that, let me explain what a hybrid car is.
The typical car that you and I drive is powered by petrol. The engine turns a transmission which turns the wheels. A fully electric car has batteries that power an electric motor which turns a transmission which turns the wheels.
The petrol-electric car is a hybrid of the two. There are two types of hybrids: Parallel and series.
The parallel hybrid involves both a fuel tank (to supply the petrol to the engine) and batteries (to supply electricity to the motor). Both the engine and the electric motor can turn the transmission at the same time, which then turns the wheels.
In a series hybrid (which is less common) the petrol engine turns a generator which charges the batteries. These batteries then power an electric motor that drives the transmission.
Both the Civic Hybrid and the Prius use a form of the parallel hybrid system although they are different in terms of complexity.
Let’s start with the Civic Hybrid, which uses what is commonly referred to as a "mild" hybrid system that involves only a modest degree of hybrid technology. They are sometimes called "power assist" hybrids because the engine is still the primary source of power. Propulsion cannot be accomplished on electric power alone.
The Prius uses a full hybrid system which is sometimes referred to as a "strong" hybrid. As its name implies, it can be powered by just the petrol engine, just the electric motor, or a combination of both. Not surprisingly, high-capacity batteries are needed for this system. The vehicles also need to have a power split device that toggles between mechanical and electrical power.
Whether you choose a Civic Hybrid or a Prius, you will get lower emission and fuel savings. There’s no doubt about that. But both cars are well over RM100,000. To be more precise, the former is slightly under RM130,000 while the latter is slightly under RM180,000.
Cost is a major barrier to adoption. If the government is serious about encouraging hybrids, it should exempt excise duties for all hybrid cars. That would encourage other brands to bring in hybrids. Competition will drive prices down even further.
Another thing the government could do, especially in the beginning to encourage uptake, is to impose a lower road tax. It can also allocate special parking spaces in cities for hybrids.
There are numerous incentives the government could do if it wanted to encourage hybrids. But until it does so, hybrids are going to be a rarity when they should be common place. Imagine if Malaysia had the highest number of green cars per capita in the world. Now that’s a No. 1 spot worth having.
But first what is Hybrid car?

When the term hybrid vehicle is used, it most often refers to a Hybrid electric vehicle. These encompass such vehicles as the AHS2 (Chevrolet Tahoe, GMC Yukon, Chevrolet Silverado, Cadillac Escalade, and the Saturn Vue), Toyota Prius, Toyota Camry Hybrid, Ford Escape Hybrid, Toyota Highlander Hybrid, Honda Insight, Honda Civic Hybrid Lexus RX 400h and 450h and others. A petroleum-electric hybrid most commonly uses internal combustion engines (generally gasoline or Diesel engines, powered by a variety of fuels) and electric batteries to power electric motors. There are many types of petroleum-electric hybrid drivetrains, from Full hybrid to Mild hybrid, which offer varying advantages and disadvantages.[19]
Ferdinand Porsche in 1900 developed the first gasoline-electric series-hybrid automobile in the world, setting speed records using two motor-in-wheel-hub arrangements with a combustion generator set proving the electric power. While liquid fuel/electric hybrids date back to the late 19th century, the braking regenerative hybrid was invented by David Arthurs, an electrical engineer from Springdale, Arkansas in 1978–79. His home-converted Opel GT was reported to return as much as 75MPG with plans still sold to this original design, and the "Mother Earth News" modified version on their website.
The plug-in-electric-vehicle (PEV) is becoming more and more common. It has the range needed in locations where there are wide gaps with no services. The batteries can be plugged in to house (mains) electricity for charging, as well being charged while the engine is running.

Hybrid fuel (dual mode)

Ford Escape Hybrid the first hybrid electric vehicle with a flexible fuel capability to run on E85(ethanol).
In addition to vehicles that use two or more different devices for propulsion, some also consider vehicles that use distinct energy sources or input types ("fuels") using the same engine to be hybrids, although to avoid confusion with hybrids as described above and to use correctly the terms, these are perhaps more correctly described as dual mode vehicles:
  • Some electric trolleybuses can switch between an on board diesel engine and overhead electrical power depending on conditions (see dual mode bus). In principle, this could be combined with a battery subsystem to create a true plug-in hybrid trolleybus, although as of 2006, no such design seems to have been announced.
  • Flexible-fuel vehicles can use a mixture of input fuels mixed in one tank — typically gasoline and ethanol, or methanol, or biobutanol.
  • Bi-fuel vehicle:Liquified petroleum gas and natural gas are very different from petroleum or diesel and cannot be used in the same tanks, so it would be impossible to build an (LPG or NG) flexible fuel system. Instead vehicles are built with two, parallel, fuel systems feeding one engine. While the duplicated tanks cost space in some applications, the increased range and flexibility where (LPG or NG) infrastructure is incomplete may be a significant incentive to purchase.
  • Some vehicles have been modified to use another fuel source if it is available, such as cars modified to run on autogas (LPG) and diesels modified to run on waste vegetable oil that has not been processed into biodiesel.
  • Power-assist mechanisms for bicycles and other human-powered vehicles are also included (see Motorized bicycle).

Fluid power hybrid

Hydraulic and pneumatic hybrid vehicles use an engine to charge a pressure accumulator to drive the wheels via hydraulic or pneumatic (i.e. compressed air) drive units. The energy recovery rate is higher and therefore the system is more efficient than battery charged hybrids, demonstrating a 60% to 70% increase in energy economy in EPA testing.[21] Under tests done by the EPA, a hydraulic hybrid Ford Expedition returned 32 miles per US gallon (7.4 L/100 km; 38 mpg-imp) City, and 22 miles per US gallon (11 L/100 km; 26 mpg-imp) highway.[22] UPS currently has two trucks in service with this technology.[23]
While the system has faster and more efficient charge/discharge cycling and is cheaper than gas-electric hybrids, the accumulator size dictates total energy storage capacity and requires more space than a battery.

Electric-human power hybrid vehicle

Another form of hybrid vehicle are human power-electric vehicles. These include such vehicles as the Sinclair C5, Twike, electric bicycles, and electric skateboards.

Hybrid vehicle power train configurations

Parallel hybrid

The Ford Escape Hybrid has a series-parallel drivetrain.
In a parallel hybrid the single electric motor and the internal combustion engine are installed so that they can both individually or together power the vehicle. In contrast to the power split configuration typically only one electric motor is installed. Most commonly the internal combustion engine, the electric motor and gear box are coupled by automatically controlled clutches. For electric driving the clutch between the internal combustion engine is open while the clutch to the gear box is engaged. While in combustion mode the engine and motor run at the same speed.
The first mass production parallel hybrid is the Honda Insight.

Mild parallel hybrid

These types use a generally compact electric motor (usually <20 kW) to provide auto-stop/start features and to provide extra power assist[24] during the acceleration, and to generate on the deceleration phase (aka regenerative braking).
On-road examples include Honda Civic Hybrid, Honda Insight, Mercedes Benz S400 BlueHYBRID, BMW 7-Series hybrids, General Motors BAS Hybrids and Smart fortwo with micro hybrid drive.

Power-split or series-parallel hybrid

Typical passenger car installations include the Toyota Prius, the Ford Escape, the Lexus Gs450 and LS600.
In a power-split hybrid electric drive train there are two motors: an electric motor and an internal combustion engine. The power from these two motors can be shared to drive the wheels via a power splitter, which is a simple planetary gear set. The ratio can be from 0-100% for the combustion engine, or 0-100% for the electric motor, or an anything in between, such as 40% for the electric motor and 60% for the combustion engine. The electric motor can act as a generator charging the batteries.
On the open road, the primary power source is the internal combustion engine, when maximum power is required, for example to overtake, the electric motor is used to assist maximizing the available power for a short period, giving the effect of having a larger engine than actually installed. In most applications, the engine is switched off when the car is stationary reducing curbside emissions.

Series hybrid

The Chevrolet Volt is a series plug-in hybrid with an unknown release date.
Ford Escape plug-in hybrid.
A series- or serial-hybrid vehicle has also been referred to as an Extended Range Electric Vehicle or Range-Extended Electric Vehicle (EREV/REEV); however, range extension can be accomplished with either series or parallel hybrid layouts.
Series-hybrid vehicles are driven by the electric motor with no mechanical connection to the engine. Instead there is an engine tuned for running a generator when the battery pack energy supply isn't sufficient for demands.
This arrangement is not new, being common in diesel-electric locomotives and ships. Ferdinand Porsche used this setup in the early 20th century in racing cars, effectively inventing the series-hybrid arrangement. Porsche named the arrangement "System Mixt". A wheel hub motor arrangement, with a motor in each of the two front wheels was used, setting speed records. This arrangement was sometimes referred to as an electric transmission, as the electric generator and driving motor replaced a mechanical transmission. The vehicle could not move unless the internal combustion engine was running.
The setup has never proved to be suitable for production cars, however it is currently being revisited by several manufacturers.
In 1997 Toyota released the first series-hybrid bus sold in Japan.[25] Meanwhile, GM will introduce the Chevy Volt EREV in 2010, aiming for an all-electric range of 40 miles,[26] and a price tag of around $40,000.[27] Supercapacitors combined with a lithium ion battery bank have been used by AFS Trinity in a converted Saturn Vue SUV vehicle. Using supercapacitors they claim up to 150 mpg in a series-hybrid arrangement.[28]

Plug-in hybrid electrical vehicle (PHEV)

Another subtype added to the hybrid market is the Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV). The PHEV is usually a general fuel-electric (parallel or serial) hybrid with increased energy storage capacity (usually Li-ion batteries). It may be connected to mains electricity supply at the end of the journey to avoid charging using the on-board internal combustion engine.[29][30]
This concept is attractive to those seeking to minimize on-road emissions by avoiding – or at least minimizing – the use of ICE during daily driving. As with pure electric vehicles, the total emissions saving, for example in CO2 terms, is dependent upon the energy source of the electricity generating company.
For some users, this type of vehicle may also be financially attractive so long as the electrical energy being used is cheaper than the petrol/diesel that they would have otherwise used. Current tax systems in many European countries use mineral oil taxation as a major income source. This is generally not the case for electricity, which is taxed uniformly for the domestic customer, however that person uses it. Some electricity suppliers also offer price benefits for off-peak night users, which may further increase the attractiveness of the plug-in option for commuters and urban motorists.

Fuel cell, electric hybrid

The fuel cell hybrid is generally an electric vehicle equipped with a fuel cell. The fuel cell as well as the electric battery are both power sources, making the vehicle a hybrid. Fuel cells use hydrogen as a fuel and power the electric battery when it is depleted. The Chevrolet Equinox FCEV, Ford Edge Hyseries Drive and Honda FCX are examples of a fuel cell/electric hybrid.

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