October 18, 2008

Electric Hybrid Vehicles

Electric Hybrid Vehicles

Hybrid electric vehicles are means of transportation that incorporates the use of an electric system in the main engine. Since gasoline engines have caused a variety of environmental pollutants, people are now starting to rely on electric power which has zero emission and are more fuel efficient. Here is an overview about hybrid electric vehicles.

What is a Hybrid Electric Vehicle?

A hybrid electric vehicle or HEV is a vehicle that is a combination of a rechargeable energy storage system or RESS and a traditional propulsion system. It saves more fuel and also covers more distance compared to battery electric vehicles since charging is done through a variety of methods instead of a lone external source. The propulsion power systems of various hybrid electric engines may be composed of the same parts or subsystems.

Usual hybrid electric models have an ICE or internal combustion engine as well as electric batteries that support the main electric motors. The mechanisms of the HEV have improved significantly with the discovery of regenerative braking wherein kinetic energy can be stored. Fuel is conserved more and emission is minimized as much as possible. Drivers get to cover longer ranges as well without worrying about speed and performance.

The combustion engine too can generate electric power through a spinning electrical generator. The energy either provides power directly to the motor or recharges the battery. The internal combustion engine automatically shuts down when idling but immediately restarts as necessary. The engine is also considerably smaller which is more efficient.

Do HEVs Still Use Gas and Diesel?

Gasoline engines will most likely remain in the hybrid vehicle scene for years to come since it generates power like no other discovered or affordable material can. Petroleum gasoline is considered as the main fuel source but can be mixed with different concentrations of ethanol from other energy sources. HEVs use up around 15% bioethanol like other internal combustion engines but manufacturers are currently finding ways to improve ratios for increased fuel efficiency and decreased emission.

There are diesel electric engines wherein a diesel engine is mainly used to provide power. Diesel can prove to be more efficient than gasoline although speed and noise may not be its best features. Diesel can be better-performing and can provide power for long periods of time without wearing much.

Gas mileage is also better due to its high torque while using biodiesel. The need for petroleum is minimized depending on the type used. Although diesel are usually known to drive bigger transportations like trucks, SUVs and vans, hybrid diesel-electric vehicles have also appeared in smaller versions like sedans and other passenger cars.

Hybrid Electric Vehicle Types

Hybrid diesel-electric motorcycles have been created having a top speed of around 800 mph with a very affordable retail price of $500. Several known automobile manufacturers have also joined the bandwagon like Honda, Ford, General Motors, Mazda, Nissan and Toyota. These big names are currently innovating to continuously provide well-performing vehicles with all the advantages.

HEVs have been very specific in being made available for future taxicab models. Since these vehicles are usually on the go all day long, fuel and emission can be improved through automatic engine shutdown, regenerative braking and idling. There are plug-in models in which taxicabs can conveniently recharge batteries at designated stands throughout the city. Plug-in hybrid electric models are also available in the form of sedans and mini-cars.

Hybrid-electric buses and trucks are also circulating due to the many advantages offered. The diesel engine is smaller which means that it is more efficient. There is also a 1.9-liter diesel engine instead of the 7.0, emitting less harmful gases. Emission reduction has been reported to be around 30% while fuel efficiency is around 40%. Some hybrid-electric buses have gas turbine generators. More efforts are exerted to convert other means of transportation like trains.

Several other types of HEVs are available today and are being used in various projects. The military uses diesel-electric hybrid trucks which has a fuel cell auxiliary power and diesel electric unit. The United States Army began using hybrid electric drives for all vehicle systems and subsystems. Other notable trucks have also found their purpose in commercial sectors, scientific projects and mining endeavors.

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