The Science Behind Hybrid Cars

Probably no one is surprised with gasoline prices going up. By paying same amount of money you get less and less mileage everyday. Eventually you reach a point when you start thinking of some radical changes. Changing petroleum fuel in to another form of energy like electricity is a great choice, but radical move is impossible without radical infrastructure changes. If you choose an electricity driven vehicle you will face charging problem. Charging stations aren’t wide spread enough. And battery technology is till in progress to reach high energy density for acceptable price. We believe that future is for electric cars, but now we need some sort of middle point where we still could use what’s around us and be one step to future. Companies like Lexus (www.lexus.co.uk) has been intensively working on hybrid car technologies over a decade. They have reached really good results on efficiency, decreasing emissions and comfort of driving.

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Hybrid cars usually have two types of motors – internal combustion and electric. Both in combination they increase fuel efficiency, lower CO2 emission. Some technical data can be found at http://www.lexus.co.uk/hybrid/index.tmex. Generally speaking there are two types of hybrid cars – Full Hybrid and Mild Hybrid. Full Hybrid cars cab be driven using gasoline engine and/or electric motors. On start up and low speeds car is usually driven by electric motor. Gasoline engine starts only when speeding up or when batteries runs out. In city area practically you will be driven by electric motor. Hybrid electric motor is powered from battery pack. There is not as much of battery as in electric cars, but enough to drive car for some time. The batteries can be charged in many ways: when gasoline engine is on they are charged from generator. Also there is a break regeneration used when car slows down motor – then electric motor acts as generator and charges battery. And of course batteries can be charged from outside by plugging to power supply when parking or in garage. Soft hybrid cars carry an electric motor which is only used to boost gasoline motor to give it an extra power. The mild hybrid systems are also known as start/stop system. It shuts gasoline motor off when it is idle (at red lights) ant starts it when accelerator is hit.

Currently hybrid cars is a great choice if you want to save environment with less pollution. Having hybrid car you won’t feel fuel prices going up. And probably in your country or city you can get tax incentives or free parking. However hybrid cars wont be a panacea in future. With battery technologies evolving there might be no need to use gasoline engines anymore. Carrying gas tank and battery pack adds a significant wight to total car mass. For now this disadvantage is solved by using smaller internal combustion engines. And still hybrid cars are expensive when compared to gasoline driven cars. But in long term they pay off due to less fuel cost.

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