How Do Hybrid Engines Work?
A hybrid engine is a cross between what we all know as a typical gasoline engine and an electric motor. A hybrid engine makes it possible to save a lot of fuel, which these days is important considering how much gas prices have gone up. Considering hybrid used cars with buy here pay here low down payments can make for a savvy purchase.
Hybrid engines are able to switch between their electric and gasoline motors. They do this by using the electric motor in situations that are the least fuel-efficient and using the gasoline motor in the most fuel-efficient situations.
Different Parts of a Hybrid Engine
Unlike your traditional diesel or gasoline engine that has a fuel-powered engine along with a transmission that transfers power from the engine to the wheels, a hybrid powertrain works a bit differently.
Rather than a gas engine with light electrification, when you have a combined electric and gas powertrain it has four major parts. Those four parts are the transmission, battery pack, electric motor, and the gas engine.
The transmission sends and provides power from the gas engine to other places (and sometimes controls all power depending on the model).
The electric motor, which uses power from the engine and/or the battery pack, is what turns the wheels of the vehicle.
The battery pack is what stores electricity for use. The electricity comes from the engine, from being plugged in, or from both.
The gas engine provides power and runs the same as a normal engine. Depending on how your hybrid vehicle works, if you only use electric power on your daily commutes, then the engine will not actually even come into play at all.
Different Types of Hybrid Vehicles
There are several different types of hybrid vehicles. There is the mild hybrid, the full hybrid, and the plug-in hybrid. Along with these three different types of hybrids, there is also what you call an extended range electric and a battery electric.
A mild hybrid, designed to complement the internal combustion engine, uses a small electric motor. In limited situations only, such as when you are driving at a very low speed, the electric motor provides power without using the internal combustion engine. With a mild hybrid you do not have to plug it in to recharge the battery because, like other hybrid engines, the motor operates as a generator which charges the battery during braking.
A full hybrid is operated by the electric motor, the internal combustion engine, or by a combination of both. Relying on very complex software, the vehicle automatically selects the best power source depending on the situation. The full hybrid does not need to be plugged in to recharge the battery as it is charged by either the internal combustion engine or by regenerative braking.
A plug-in hybrid is a lot like the full hybrid, but to further reduce the need for gasoline, it is designed so that you can travel at least 10 miles in a dedicated electric-only mode. This type of hybrid has a larger battery than a full hybrid. You can plug in and recharge it to maximize its range in the electric-only mode.
Then there is the extended range vehicle that operates as a pure electric vehicle for shorter trips. Once the battery has run down, then a gas engine powers the electric generator that allows it to extend the range. Beyond hybrids, there is the battery electric vehicle, which is a pure electric vehicle that is powered by a lithium-ion battery. These types of batteries are quite expensive, and they represent a great portion of the cost of the entire vehicle. Your typical electric vehicle is able to travel about 75 miles before needing to be plugged in for the battery to recharge.
Hybrid Technology Advancements
Hybrid technology, along with its intelligent configuration, uses other clever mechanisms and techniques to save additional energy. This includes start-stop technology, engine downsizing, advanced aerodynamics, and regenerative braking.
Hybrid engines drastically improve fuel economy and greatly reduce emissions, making them very good vehicles for the environment. A vehicle with a hybrid engine allows you to get much better gas mileage than with a regular engine, saving you a ton of money. While they tend to cost more at first, the lower costs of running a hybrid car can quickly recover the initial outlay. Hybrids also avoid the problems of short range associated with completely electric vehicles, making them a good compromise for all.