What is a Hybrid Car?
In simple words, a hybrid car is a car that uses two or more distinct sources of power. In today’s hybrid car’s, the power sources are generally fueling IC engines and electric generators. The hybrid cars are able to switch between these two sources according to the driver’s demand. Electric motors provide high torque efficiently, while the IC engine gives better performance at high speeds.
Well, both electric and IC engine powertrains are popular, and both have their respective disadvantages too. The IC engine gives a considerably low efficiency at low-speed requirements, whereas electric motors cannot deliver high speeds.
Hybrid cars combine advantages of both the systems. It can switch between electric motors and IC engines, which allows the car to give a much higher efficiency than that of any other systems. Efficiency of a typical hybrid vehicle is around 48-60%. This is nearly 30% greater than the efficiency of a typical fuel driven car.
Another major advantage is the accelerating the speed of these cars. The maximum amount of energy is consumed while getting the car to start. But due to the presence of high torque electric motors, the efficiency of this process is increased, leading to better acceleration. The Toyota Prius can go from 0 to 60 mph in 10 seconds. These are much better numbers than any IC engine driven car.
Current Research – Which is the best Hybrid Car
Hybrid cars are in their development and improvement phase. Research is going-on to develop better component materials for hybrid cars, as the mechanical parameters for these systems are different from those in regular cars.
In order to improve the efficiency even further, the switching between the power sources needs to be optimised to high accuracy. Thus, another area being actively developed is the control system for transfer rates. This is done by increasing the number of electronic sensors, improving their accuracy and integrating microprocessors into the system along with communication modules.
Work is going on to improve the drivability of the hybrid car. This involves the cold starts, jerks, stalls and delays caused by the transfers between the power sources. Improving this aspect is crucial to commercializing these vehicles.
Another important aspect of development for hybrid vehicles is the cost-effectiveness. Research is focussed on reducing the costs of manufacturing the hybrid car. This involves finding cheap materials for components, reducing costs of energy storage and improving manufacturing efficiency.
Ongoing work also includes improving safety features and bringing innovations in the charging systems for the batteries. Inductive chargers are being developed, but are nowhere close to being commercialised.
The Future Hybrid technology is one of the best options for a cleaner and more fuel-efficient automobile sector. The energy efficiency of the car has skyrocketed. These cars have an advantage over electric vehicles in terms of range.
Hybrid cars were expected to contribute to a big chunk of the automobile market. But the high costs ensure that this won’t happen so soon happen. Another significant problem faced by hybrid cars is the external charging of the battery. It may be viable for those with parking spots and garages to charge their vehicles overnight, but it is not so for those who have to park on the roads.
Fuel cells, hydrogen-powered engines and various improvements to the IC engine can provide equally efficient and clean options to hybrid technology. The electric cars are catching up to the hybrid cars in the areas they lacked. This means that unless hybrid technology overcomes its problems, it may be replaced by better options in the future.
The Future Of Hybrid Cars
Hybrid cars are work under progress. They have gained a lot of popularity for their achievements and optimization. They make a fun drive, delivering torque and speed is required.
However, they come with limitations. And to stand out in the market they need to overcome these limitations, or soon might get replaced by some other better option or simply by their competitors.