There are two main types of hybrid cars: series hybrid cars and parallel hybrid
Parallel hybrid cars work by using a combination of a traditional gas engine and
a high output electric motor. The different elements of the engine start working
at higher or lower levels of output are required.
If the car is being driven
carefully and accelerating at a reasonable level the electric motor will work on
its own until a greater output is needed at a higher speed. Then the small high
performances, in terms of fuel economy that is, gas engine takes over. This is a
seamless almost unnoticeable process with a smooth transition of control from
electric to gas power. Hot Car Forum
As the acceleration is powered by the electric motor the gas engine can be much
smaller and more economical. There is no need for a great deal of energy, merely
enough to keep the car at a steady speed, or to move the car from a mid range,
around 40 mph to a higher speed. This requires a lot less energy than the
initial movement from a standstill and consequently can be achieved with a lower
level of power.
The parallel system of using both the gas engine and electric motor for hybrid
cars means that there is less loss of power as when the car is traveling at
higher speeds. As the energy is not required to go through the batteries and
electric motor before providing power to the car. When traveling in this mode
there is no need for the electric motor to operate and this also allows it to be
recharged by the gas engine as the vehicle is traveling along. All ready for
when the hybrid car slows and switches back to the electric motor.
Series Hybrid Cars: a series design works by powering the vehicle through an
electric motor. The batteries supply the power to the motor. As the power
arrives at the motor through the battery, series hybrid cars need a
substantially larger reserve of power and consequentially a greater amount of
batteries need to be carried in the car.
The motor only uses the exact amount of power required for the task in hand. If
you spend hours in a traffic jam, you may get a little hot under the collar but
your car will not be overheating. An electric motor does not need to tick over
or idle when sitting in a jam; it will simply start turning when you start
moving. When driving hybrid cars there will be no power (although maybe a little
hair) lost even in the most extreme of gridlocks. As the motor will not be
working when the vehicle is still, there is no need for the batteries to be
recharged until power is again being lost when the car starts to move forward.
The large battery supply that is required for series hybrid cars is kept
supplied with energy by a generator that runs from the main gas power unit. This
only needs to operate when the batteries are in need of extra power so for much
of urban driving there is no need for the motor to operate as only low levels of
power are required. This allows the hybrid cars engine to run without emissions
for city driving, especially if some higher powered driving, as for highways or
main routes is done, and the consequent loss of power means that the hybrid cars
batteries are brought upon to their full power supply by the gas motor when out
of the urban environment.
There are advantages to both systems, but overall the parallel system is the
most flexible for hybrid cars as it allows for the option of either power source
to be transferred directly to drive the car without going through another
separate means of transmission to the wheels.
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