Hybrids, electric cars vs traditional vehicles

BATTERY ELECTRIC VEHICLES (BEVs) were invented in 1834, while the traditional petrol-powered vehicles were only invented 61 years later, in 1895. Electric vehicles (EVs) were always preferred from the beginning. German-Bohemian automotive engineer Dr Ferdinand Porsche built probably the world’s first hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) in 1898, using an internal combustion engine (ICE) to spin […]

Hybrids, electric cars vs traditional vehicles
Sewera

BATTERY ELECTRIC VEHICLES (BEVs) were invented in 1834, while the traditional petrol-powered vehicles were only invented 61 years later, in 1895.

Electric vehicles (EVs) were always preferred from the beginning.

German-Bohemian automotive engineer Dr Ferdinand Porsche built probably the world’s first hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) in 1898, using an internal combustion engine (ICE) to spin a generator that provided power to electric motors located in the wheel hub.

2016 Nissan Leaf BEV

In 1903, Kriéger Company made an HEV, which used a petrol engine to supplement the power of the electric motors. The motors used electricity from a battery pack or rechargeable energy storage system.

Both of these vehicles are similar to modern-day hybrids like Honda Fit GP1 and Subaru XV.

HEVs, together with EVs, had faded away by the 1930s, and the electric car companies all failed.

There were many reasons for the failure, leading to the disappearance of the EVs and HEVs.

Blue Green 2017 Toyota Prius Hybrid

When compared to petrol-powered cars, EVs and HEVs:

Were more expensive due to the large battery used

Were less powerful due to the limited power from the onboard battery

Had limited range between each charge

Needed more hours to recharge the onboard battery

It was not until the Arab oil embargo in 1973 that the soaring price of petrol sparked new interest in EVs.

The United States Congress introduced the Electric and Hybrid Vehicle Research, Development and Demonstration Act in 1976, recommending the use of EVs as a means of reducing oil dependence and air pollution.

BMW

The US continued to push for the adoption of hybrids and EVs. In 1990, the California Air Resource Board passed the Zero Emission Vehicle mandate.

The world’s automotive history turned a new page in 1997, when the first modern hybrid electric vehicle — the Toyota Prius — was sold in Japan. From that year, the world automotive industry never looked down on HEVs and EVs again. Most familiar HEVs that followed the Toyota Prius Gen 0 were Honda Insight and Honda Civic, among others.

Today, there are more than 100 models of HEVs available in the marketplace.

There are many advantages that come with hybrid electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and battery electric vehicles, compared to conventional/traditional vehicles.

2013 Nissan Leaf

One of the major advantages of EVs and HEVs compared to conventional vehicles is efficiency. The traditional vehicles’ internal combustion engine has 30 percent to 37 percent efficiency for petrol and about 40 percent for diesel. However, by the time the power reaches the wheel, the efficiency will be just around 5 percent to 10 percent.

The efficiency of the electric motor is high, around 90 percent to 95 percent.

The high-voltage battery and power electronics to drive the electric motor also have high efficiency, unless the battery has depleted.

The engine of a hybrid works less compared to that of a conventional vehicle.

In city driving, strong/parallel/series-parallel hybrids will be using the high-voltage battery as a source of propulsion power.

In this operation mode, the ICE will be at rest, thereby saving fuel and prolonging the longevity of the engine.

2025 Mazda Cx-70

Because of the reason mentioned above, the ICE on hybrids has longer service intervals compared to that on conventional vehicles.

Hybrids will use the drive motor/motor generator during a process known as regeneration.

Basically, regeneration is used to slow down the vehicle, when the driver requests so, by converting kinetic energy to electrical energy to charge the high-voltage battery pack.

On older traditional vehicles, for example, when the driver applies brakes, the master cylinder will transmit pressure hydraulically onto the brake pads to slow down the rotating rotor/brake disk. Such processes used on traditional vehicles to slow them down will result in loss of most of the kinetic energy through heat. This is wasted energy.

Servicing or maintenance of HEVs is done at longer intervals compared to traditional vehicles, thereby saving a lot of money. Hybrids use less fuel compared to traditional vehicles through the ICEs on the former, which use a combustion process called the Atkinson cycle. The Atkinson cycle uses a late-intake valve closing system to reduce engine pumping losses.

2014 Honda Shuttle Hybrid GP7

Most traditional vehicles use the Otto cycle, which is associated with engine pumping losses. BEVs have more advantages compared to both hybrids and traditional vehicles, because they do not have an engine. This means very little maintenance, no fuel use, no engine filters, no spark plugs and no injectors, et cetera.

 

*Taurayi Raymond Sewera is ASE and Auto Care Association-certified World Class Master Technician with 39ASEs, ASE Advanced Level Specialist L1, L2, L3 and L4, AMI-Accredited Master Electric Vehicles and Master Automotive Manager, and ACDC-certified Master Hybrid and Electric Vehicles Technician. He is the founder and CEO of TauRay Automotive. He can be contacted on: +263772341193, +263772357296 or rtsewera@gmail.com

 

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