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

What are the pros and cons of hybrid electric vehicles? How is it different from normal electric vehicles?

What are the pros and cons of hybrid electric vehicles? How is it different from normal electric vehicles?

The story so far: In recent months, automakers 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 different automakers are leveraging hybrid technology and its advantages over conventional internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles to change the minds of car buyers.

What is a hybrid electric vehicle?

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

How do HEV powertrains work?

HEV powertrains are designed to propel cars in series, parallel, or series-parallel (power split) methods. A series HEV 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 electric motor and ICE to keep the car moving.

A series-parallel HEV offers a combination of both designs and allows power to be split, with power flowing from the ICE alone or from the battery to the electric motor to drive the vehicle. Additionally, in all three designs, the battery is charged using regenerative braking technology.

How does regenerative braking work?

A regenerative braking system (RBS) used in automotive applications has several benefits, such as better 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, which minimizes energy waste.

Depending on the type of RBS, energy harvesting occurs in several ways. A kinetic system makes it possible to recover the energy lost during braking and then to 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 reservoirs to store the vehicle’s kinetic energy and can offer a high rate of energy recovery, ideal for heavy trucks.

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 reducing fuel consumption. The amount of recoverable energy depends on factors such as vehicle speed and stopping pattern. The adoption of regenerative braking technology in the automotive industry is increasing due to the operating efficiency of vehicles through reduced fuel consumption and extended battery life.

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

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

What are the different types of HEV?

HEVs can be categorized into micro, mild hybrid, and full hybrid vehicles, depending on the degree of hybridization. Hybrid variants of Maruti Suzuki’s Grand Vitara and Toyota’s Urban Cruiser Hyryder can be classified as full and mild hybrids.

A full HEV will have a larger battery and more powerful electric motor compared to a lightweight HEV. As a result, a full HEV can power the vehicle for longer distances using only electric mode, while a light HEV cannot drive using only the electric motor and uses battery power at traffic lights or in traffic jams to support ICE. Micro hybrids don’t offer electric torque assist because they don’t have an electric motor, but they do have an idle stop-start system and power management features. Full HEVs offer better fuel economy compared to the other two types of HEVs, but they also cost more than them.

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

What are the main advantages of using hybrid technology?

Fuel efficiency is a major consideration for most people considering buying a car. Most vehicles with hybrid technology offer better fuel efficiency, more power and minimal emissions. Designing hybrid vehicles for reduced engine size and car weight compared to ICE vehicles results in increased mileage to drive demand for these vehicles. Moreover, with the increase in total power and torque, HEVs can provide instant torque and deliver high torque even at low speeds.

What are the 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 critical component of an HEV, increases the cost of the vehicle, making it more expensive than vehicles powered solely by an ICE. The RBS also adds to the higher cost of an HEV.

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

The automotive industry is in transition, with an increasing emphasis on hybrid and battery-electric vehicles (BEV or EV). Meanwhile, rising fossil fuel prices, increasing adoption of clean mobility solutions, and stringent government emission control standards are driving the growth of the global electric vehicle market.

“SHEVS will play a critical role not only in reducing fossil fuel consumption, carbon emissions and pollution, but also in creating a local EV parts manufacturing ecosystem while simultaneously protecting the huge existing investments and jobs related to the manufacture of ICE parts, thus ensuring an uninterrupted technological transition,” said Vikram Gulati, Executive Vice President of Toyota Kirloskar Motor. The Hindu.

He further added, “The adoption of DENFC will also accelerate the adoption of HEV as these technologies have common electric powertrain parts that will help create part-level demand aggregation for local manufacturing, thereby contributing Reduce costs for SHEVs and VEEBs to create a viable ecosystem for electrified vehicles.

THE ESSENTIAL

A hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) uses an ICE (a gasoline/diesel engine) and one or more electric motors to operate. It is powered by the electric motor alone, which uses the energy stored in the batteries, by the ICE or 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 reducing fuel consumption. A Regenerative Braking System (RBS) while improving fuel economy also contributes to energy optimization, which reduces energy waste.

HEVs can be categorized into micro, mild hybrid, and full hybrid vehicles, depending on the degree of hybridization. Hybrid variants of Maruti Suzuki’s Grand Vitara and Toyota’s Urban Cruiser Hyryder can be classified as full and mild hybrids.

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