After observing the excessive price hike on gas stations and the concerns of the car owners about the global warming and green house effect, the auto industry has invented the Hybrid Cars to tackle with these issues.
A Hybrid car is a vehicle that uses two or more different energy sources to run the engine. The most frequently used term for such vehicles is HEVs (Hybrid Electric Vehicles), which use an internal combustion engine and electric motors. Apart from electric motors, other energy sources that can be used in a hybrid car are Hydrogen, compressed air, liquid Nitrogen, wind, solar energy and even coal, wood and other solid combustibles.
The first question that arises is that why do we not simply use an electric car in order to eliminate the hazard of pollution and avoid high gasoline price rates? Why do we need this hybridization? In order to drive a car on the national highway, it should meet certain minimum requirements i.e. at least 300 miles before refueling, ability to be refueled easily and maintain an average speed near to those of the other vehicles on the road.
Although electric cars produce almost no pollution and do not require any gasoline, their recharging is time-consuming, they move with a comparatively sluggish pace, and require a recharge after a maximum of 100 miles. Gasoline engines on the other hand meet these requirements easily, but have costly fuel consumption and are a huge contributor to global warming.
Hybrid cars are a bridge and a compromise between these two types of engines, utilizing the positive attributes of both and minimizing their negative impacts. It tries to considerably increase the mileage and reduce the emissions of a gas-powered car, while overcoming the limitations of an electric car.
A hybrid car has a gasoline engine, which is smaller than ordinary cars, uses advanced technologies to reduce emissions and increase efficiency, a fuel tank, which is an energy storage device for the gasoline engine, a sophisticated electric motor, which can act as a motor (to draw energy from the batteries to accelerate the car), as well as a generator (to slow down vehicle and return energy to the batteries). Apart from that, HEVs include transmission and batteries which act as a storage device for the electric motor.
The engines of a Hybrid car can be configured in a parallel or series setting. In parallel hybrid, both the engine and the electric motor turn the transmission at the same time. The fuel tank supplies gasoline to the engine. At the same time, the batteries supply power to the electric motor. In series hybrid, the gasoline engine does not provide energy directly to the vehicle. It rotates the generator, and the generator can either charge the batteries or energize the electric motor that drives the transmission.
The major objective of the invention of Hybrid cars were to improve mileage and reduce toxic emissions, and these objectives are very much being met by our HEVs. The grams/mile limit, standardized by most of the countries, is being efficiently met by these vehicles, and the investment is also profitable, considering the high rates of gasoline.