How are Hybrid Electric Vehicles Making a Difference in Automotive?
Hybrid electric vehicles are evolving as the future of mobility
Electrification of vehicles has become a rising concern for the automotive industry. Since the world is tackling the climate change issue, every industry is exploring alternative resources to make our planet greener. Automakers these days are increasingly transitioning to the electrification of vehicles, developing electric vehicles (EVs) and hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs). Industry experts already consider that EVs and HEVs are the future of mobility. These vehicles are environment-friendly and coalesce an internal combustion engine (ICE) system with an electric propulsion system (hybrid vehicle drivetrain). Today’s hybrid vehicles integrate efficiency-improving technologies like regenerative brakes that help convert the vehicle’s kinetic energy to electric energy.
Unlike electric vehicles that are currently facing a lack of charging infrastructure, hybrid vehicles are becoming the future mobility alternative. It cannot be plugged in to charge the battery as the battery is charged through regenerative braking and ICE.
Key Components of a Hybrid Electric Car
Today, there is a variety of hybrid electric vehicle types available in the market. One of the most common forms is the hybrid electric car. As ICE plays a crucial role in powering HEVs, some key components are driving this type of vehicle.
Battery: Battery provides electricity to start the car before the traction battery is engaged. It also powers vehicle accessories.
Electric Generator: It produces electricity from the rotating wheels while braking, transferring that energy back to the traction battery pack. Some vehicles use motor generators that perform both the drive and regeneration functions.
DC Converter: It converts higher-voltage DC power from the traction battery pack to the lower-voltage DC power required to run vehicle accessories and recharge the auxiliary battery.
Electric Traction Motor: It powers the wheels of a vehicle by using energy from the traction battery pack.
Power Electronics Controller: It manages the flow of electrical energy delivered by the traction battery, controlling the speed of the electric traction motor and the torque it produces.
Thermal System (Cooling): This system helps maintain a proper operating temperature range of the engine, electric motor, power electronics, and other components.
Fuel filler, fuel tank for gasoline, traction battery pack, and transmission are also some components used in a hybrid electric vehicle.
The hybridization of an HEV is classified into a full hybrid and mild hybrid. Full hybrid defines as a vehicle that can run only on a combustion engine, only on an electric motor, or a combination of both. For instance, Ford’s hybrid system, Hybrid Synergy Drive from Toyota and General Motors, and Chrysler’s Two-Mode Hybrid technologies come under full hybrid systems. Conversely, mild hybrids encompass only some of the features found in hybrid technology. It refers to a vehicle that cannot be driven solely on its electric motor due to a lack of enough power to fuel the vehicle on its own.
Understanding Hybrid Vehicle Drivetrain
Hybrid vehicle drivetrains typically convey power to the driving wheels for hybrid vehicles. Bolstering powertrain efficiency and minimizing powertrain weight is critical to streamlining the hybrid drivetrain. This powertrain system combines conventional powertrain components, an internal combustion engine, and transmission, with new electric components, electric motor, power electronics, and high voltage energy storage.
Two distinct types of hybrid systems are parallel and series hybrids. In a parallel hybrid bus, for instance, the combustion engine and the electric motor are connected to the transmission independently, while a series hybrid bus is propelled entirely by the electric motor. Hybrid drivetrains can capture some of the energy usually vanished as heat to the mechanical brakes.