Explained| What is the technology powering hybrid electric vehicles?

Source: The post is based on the article Explained| What is the technology powering hybrid electric vehicles?published in The Hindu on 1st August 2022.

What is the News?

Recently, automakers Maruti Suzuki, Toyota and Honda have launched Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs) in India offering car buyers more choices in the nascent electric vehicle market.

What are Hybrid Electric Vehicles(HEVs)?

Hybrid Electric Vehicles(HEVs) are powered by an Internal Combustion Engine(ICE) in combination with one or more electric motors that use energy stored in batteries. 

The powertrain of the HEV is more complex than a regular ICE-powered car as it has EV components and a conventional ICE. 

What are the different types of HEV?

Full HEV: They have larger batteries and more powerful electric motors which can power the vehicle for short distances and at low speeds. These vehicles cost more than mild hybrids but provide better fuel economy benefits.

Mild HEV: It cannot drive using only the electric motor and uses the battery at traffic lights or in stop-and-go traffic to support the ICE. 

Micro HEV: They do not offer electric torque assistance as they lack an electric motor, but they have an idle stop-start system and energy management functions.

Plug-in-HEVs: They are just like full HEVs, but they can be charged using a wall outlet, as they have an onboard charger and a charging port. PHEVs generally use the electric motor until the battery is almost drained and then automatically switch to the ICE. 

Note: PHEVs accounted for about 23% of 1.95 million global Electric Vehicle (EV) shipments in the first quarter of 2022.

What are the advantages of using Hybrid Technology?

Fuel efficiency is a major factor for most people considering buying a car. Most vehicles with hybrid technology offer better fuel efficiency, more power, and minimum emissions. 

Moreover, with the increase in total power and torque, HEVs can deliver instant torque and provide high torque even at low speeds.

Note: Torque is a rotating or twisting force produced by an engine’s crankshaft. In simpler terms, torque can be defined as an engine’s ‘pulling force’ and helps a vehicle with initial acceleration. 

What are the challenges of Hybrid Technology?

One of the major challenges for HEVs is the high vehicle cost. Battery, a vital component of an HEV, increases the cost of the vehicle, making it pricier than vehicles powered only by an ICE. 

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