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Friday, January 22, 2010

How Hybrid Electrics Work


Hybrid-electric vehicles (HEVs) combine the benefits of gasoline engines and electric motors and can be configured to obtain different objectives, such as improved fuel economy, increased power, or additional auxiliary power for electronic devices and power tools.





OVERVIEW

Hybrid-electric vehicles combine the benefits of gasoline engines and electric motors to provide improved fuel economy.
The engine provides most of the vehicle's power, and the electric motor provides additional power when needed, such as for accelerating and passing. This allows a smaller, more-efficient engine to be used.
The electric power for the motor is generated from regenerative braking and from the gasoline engine, so hybrids don't have to be "plugged in" to an electrical outlet to recharge.

Some of the advanced technologies typically used by hybrids include:

Regenerative Braking.The electric motor applies resistance to the drivetrain causing the wheels to slow down. In return, the energy from the wheels turns the motor, which functions as a generator, converting energy normally wasted during coasting and braking into electricity, which is stored in a battery until needed by the electric motor.


Electric Motor Drive/Assist. The electric motor provides additional power to assist the engine in accelerating, passing, or hill climbing. This allows a smaller, more efficient engine to be used. In some vehicles, the motor alone provides power for low-speed driving conditions where internal combustion engines are least efficient.

Automatic Start/Shutoff. Automatically shuts off the engine when the vehicle comes to a stop and restarts it when the accelerator is pressed. This prevents wasted energy from idling.

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