A gasoline-electric hybrid is a cross between a tradition gasoline internal combustion engine and an electric motor. The reason that a hybrid solution is needed is because neither a traditional gasoline engine nor an all-electric vehicle will currently meet the needs of future automobile customers who are looking for improved fuel economy.
A traditional gasoline engine will not meet demands for improved fuel economy because it is not very efficient. On the other hand, gas engines get good range and acceleration. In addition, the infrastructure is available to supply fuel for a gasoline engine. An electric vehicle, on the other hand, is very efficient; however, a driver can not get a long range out of the vehicle before the battery needs recharging. In addition, an electric car is slow and inconvenient to recharge. An all-electric vehicle is, therefore, not the best choice for customers either.
A hybrid combines the benefits of both types of engines to achieve improved fuel economy for customers. The two main ways that a hybrid saves gas is through energy recover and engine management.
When you slow your vehicle down by using the brake, you are removing energy from the system. A hybrid captures this energy and stores it in the battery for later use. When the battery is fully-charged, the hybrid can switch the engine management systems so that only the electric motor is running. When the electric motor is running, the vehicle is not using any fuel. In addition, the vehicle is producing zero emissions. When the charge in the battery is depleted, the system can change back to a normal internal combustion engine. By sometimes not running the gasoline engine, overall hybrids can obtain higher fuel economy levels.
Some hybrids also allow the engine to shut off when the vehicle is stopped at a red light. It takes less fuel to restart the engine than it does to leave the engine idling at the light. If a hybrid is equipped with this type of feature, the fuel economy savings will be even higher for customers.
The hybrid technology is in the development stage. Automotive manufacturers are all introducing their own versions of the technology. In addition, they are all selecting different types of vehicles to target for hybrid introduction. The competition created by this new technology should allow customers to benefit from increase fuel economy standards throughout the years to come.