How Do Hybrid Cars Work

Hybrid cars are the Model T of the 21st Century. They reduce greenhouse gases and get better gas mileage than most consumers ever dreamed would be possible. But what is behind the steel frame of our fascination? How do hybrid cars reduce emissions? What makes a hybrid car work the way it does?

A hybrid car is a cross between a fuel-driven car and an electric car. But what exactly does that mean? Let’s examine how the two types of engines work and how they come together to form one hybrid engine.

A fuel-driven or gasoline-powered car has a fuel tank, an internal-combustion engine and a transmission, which work together to turn the wheels of the car. The fuel tank sends fuel to the engine, the engine processes the fuel through the transmission so the transmission can turn the wheels.

An electric car uses the same process as a fuel-driven car, but uses a battery pack to send electricity to the motor, then the motor processes the electricity through the transmission and the transmission turns the wheels.

How Do Hybrid Cars Work

A hybrid car is manufactured with the following parts: fuel tank, gas engine, battery pack, generator and transmission. So it has all of the parts on both a fuel-driven vehicle and an electric vehicle, but with some slight differences. For instance, the gas engine is smaller on a hybrid and is specially developed to be more efficient and less harmful to the environment, and the transmission can be extremely different in some hybrid vehicles but it always performs the same basic function in all cars.

The one item a hybrid has that neither the electric nor the conventional car have is the generator. The generator on a hybrid is used to produce electricity, making the hybrid more efficient than an electric car because it does not have to stop to charge up.

A hybrid harnesses the power of both electricity and gasoline with the help of a computer system that tells the engine to shut off when you’re going less than 15 miles per hour or tells the electric motor to kick in when you need some extra help getting up a hill.

But we’ll refer back to the small size of the engine to understand how the efficiency model is reached in a hybrid vehicle.

A hybrid engine is smaller and more efficient because hybrids are designed to meet the actual needs of the driver, not the possible needs of the driver. A traditional vehicle has a heavy engine that is calibrated for those times when you “floor it,” so to speak. Energy and gasoline are both wasted by these heavy engines since most of us never need to put the “pedal to the metal.” A hybrid engine has lighter, smaller parts and meets the actual needs of the consumer. This means that less energy and gasoline are wasted by lugging around a heavy freeloader.

Remember, hybrid cars are built to harness the power of two energies and are efficient because they maximize the benefits of both electricity and gasoline power. Be sure to check out the history of hybrid cars for information on hybrid vehicle came to be.

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