On the last page we mentioned several different types of technologies that are being used in advanced hybrid systems that are similar to traditional hybrids, yet build upon current technologies and take them one step further. So why build on the current technology? What are the practical applications of an advanced hybrid system? Well, just like with a traditional hybrid, fuel efficiency is a major goal, but advanced hybrids have even bigger applications.
Let's start with storage capacity. We mentioned on the last page that advanced hybrids will use (and some already use) Li-on batteries, which allow the vehicle to have a more efficient battery lifespan than earlier battery types. The practical application of this results in drivers being able to go longer distances on electricity alone. For instance, the Chevrolet Volt will be able to drive up to 50 miles (80.5 kilometers) on electricity alone, and the plug-in Toyota Prius will have an electric range of about 13 miles (21 kilometers) [source: Thomas and Toyota].
The second application is customer convenience. Some advanced hybrid cars, like the Volt and the next generation Prius, have the ability to charge their batteries by being plugged into an electrical source. Instead of having to use the car itself to recharge the batteries, some advanced hybrids are able to recharge while sitting in the garage. So not only does the battery charge last longer and is able to be used for electric-only driving, but it can also be recharged at home at the end of the day and be ready to go the next morning.
One of the last major applications for advanced hybrids is their ability to create more power and use it in better ways than their predecessors. Like we mentioned on the last page, the Porsche 911 GT3 R hybrid uses two electric motors to accompany the engine. These motors capture kinetic energy during braking, convert it into electricity and then store the electricity in an electromechanical flywheel to be used at will. The two motors are used for the front wheels and provide the driver with automatic power to the wheels in normal driving conditions, or they can be used as a burst of power to the wheels by pressing a special acceleration button [source: Abuelsamid].
This form of advanced hybrid system can be used for power on demand whenever it's needed.
So, you can see that advanced hybrid systems build on current technologies of traditional hybrid vehicles, but then take it one step further by improving not only the battery power and fuel efficiency, but also on-demand vehicle output and driver convenience, too.
For more information about advanced hybrid systems and other related topics, follow the links below.
- 5 Hybrid Car Buying Tips
- 5 Ways Hybrid Battery Packs are Being Improved
- How Hybrid Cars Work
- How CVTs Work
- Can hybrid engines create more power?
- Are hybrid cars more expensive to insure?
- Who designed and built the first hybrid car?
- What are the different types of hybrid cars?
- How do hybrid car designs aid in fuel efficiency?
- Abuelsamid, Sam. "Porsche 911 GT3R to Run at Petit Le Mans." July 21, 2010. (Nov. 4, 2010)http://green.autoblog.com/2009/04/24/fiat-working-on-new-hybrid-system-for-small-cars-to-share-with-c/
- Hybrid Cars. "December 2009 Dashboard: Year-End Tally." Jan. 20, 2010. (Nov. 4, 2010)http://www.hybridcars.com/hybrid-sales-dashboard/december-2009-dashboard.html
- Chevrolet. "Chevy Volt." (Nov 1, 2010)http://www.chevrolet.com/volt/
- Hybrid Cars. "Honda's Low-Cost Hybrid Strategy: Lithium Ion Batteries." March 18, 2010. (Nov. 5, 2010)http://www.hybridcars.com/news/honda-low-cost-hybrid-strategy-lithium-ion-batteries-27544.html
- Hybrid Cars. "Lithium Ion Hybrid Batteries." April 3, 2006. (Nov. 5, 2010)http://www.hybridcars.com/technology-stories/lithium-ion-batteries.html
- Thomas, David. "GM Raises Chevy Volt's Electric Range." Sept. 23, 2010. (Nov. 4, 2010)http://blogs.cars.com/kickingtires/2010/09/gm-revises-chevy-volts-electric-range.html
- Toyota. "Prius Plug-in Hybrid." (Nov. 1, 2010)http://www.toyota.com/upcoming-vehicles/prius-plug-in/