November 04, 2008

Parts of the Gasoline-Electric Hybrid Vehicles

Parts of the Gasoline-Electric Hybrid Vehicles

The typical gasoline powered car contains a combustion engine, fuel tank, and transmission, whereas with the gasoline-electric hybrid vehicle, it contains the following parts:

Gasoline Engine. The engine of a hybrid car is relatively smaller than its gasoline-only counterpart. This is because of two reasons: (1) the car doesn't require a big engine since there it uses another source of power, (2) a bigger engine means larger displacement, heavier weight, and poor fuel economy; since most hybrid cars are designed for maximum fuel efficiency, the engine has to be small. (Diesel engines for diesel-electric hybrid vehicles.)

Fuel Tank. The fuel tank is the energy storage device of the gasoline engine. The size of the fuel tank on a hybrid car may be reduced since the car has to accommodate the size of the batteries.

Transmission. Most hybrid cars use the same transmission as a conventional car.

Batteries. The batteries of a hybrid car are the energy storage device for the electric motor. The batteries perform 2 functions: they send energy to the electric motor and store energy that is being captured by the generator.

Electric motor. A hybrid electric motor is very sophisticated. It can perform as a motor as well as a generator. This means, the electric motor can draw the energy from the battery to accelerate the car or to assist the gasoline engine during acceleration. The electric motor can also act as a generator by slowing the car down and store the energy back to the battery.

Generator. The generator of a hybrid car is much the same as the electric motor but it only acts to produce electric power. Generators are mostly used on series hybrids.

Hybrid electric cars can be parallel or series. Parallel hybrid cars can use the electric motor or gasoline engine to drive the transmission which turns the wheels. Or, it can use both the electric motor and the gasoline engine to drive the transmission and turn the wheels.

Series hybrids, as opposed to parallel hybrids never directly use the gasoline engine to power the vehicle. Instead, the engine turns the generator which either powers the electric motor that drives the transmission or changes the batteries.

Be it a parallel or series structure, the hybrid vehicle uses two sources of energy to provide the same performance we expect from a passenger car and increasing fuel economy at the same time.

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