Now that we’ve covered the basic technology that defines hybrid vehicles, let’s take a look at how they are put together to move the vehicle. The drivetrain of a vehicle is composed of the components that are responsible for transferring power to the drive wheels of your vehicle. With hybrids there are three possible setups for the drivetrain: the series drivetrain, the parallel drivetrain, and the series/parallel drivetrain.
Everyone in the apartment complex I lived in knew who Ugly was. Ugly was the resident tomcat.
Ugly loved three things in this world: fighting, eating garbage, and shall we say, love. The combination of these things combined with a life spent outside had their effect on Ugly.
To start with, he had only one eye, and where the other should have been was a gaping hole. He was also missing his ear on the same side, his left foot has appeared to have been badly broken at one time, and had healed at an unnatural angle, making him look like he was always turning the corner. His tail has long since been lost, leaving only the smallest stub, which he would constantly jerk and twitch. Ugly would have been a dark gray tabby striped-type, except for the sores covering his head, neck, even his shoulders with thick, yellowing scabs.
Basically, a hybrid electric vehicle combines an internal combustion engine and an electric motor powered by batteries, merging the best features of today’s combustion engine cars and electric vehicles. The combination allows the electric motor and batteries to help the conventional engine operate more efficiently, cutting down on fuel use. Meanwhile, the gasoline-fueled combustion engine overcomes the limited driving range of an electric vehicle. In the end, this hybridization gives you the ability to drive 500 miles or more using less fuel and never having to plug in for recharging. Gasoline-fueled HEVs are among a select few vehicle technologies that can provide dramatically increased fuel economy and extremely low levels of smog-forming and cancer causing emissions, while delivering the safety and performance the public has come to expect. But that all depends on how well automakers apply the technology.
To help you navigate the hybrid market, let’s take a closer look at what’s under the hood that sets hybrids apart.
But remember, when looking at hybrids, no matter what the technology, the clearest and most direct way to evaluate the environmental performance of a hybrid electric vehicle is by its fuel economy and emissions. So don’t just trust an automaker when they tell you it is a hybrid, check the fuel economy and emissions to make sure the vehicle is significantly cleaner and more efficient than its conventional counterparts.
How we classify Hybrids: Understanding the technology
Not all hybrids are created equal. In fact, there are degrees of hybridization such as “mild” and “full” and even different drivetrains utilized depending on which hybrid you’re looking at. If we approach hybrids by looking at five technology steps that separate conventional vehicles from battery electric vehicles, we can better evaluate how a particular hybrid operates. To be a true hybrid, a vehicle needs the first three steps. The fourth and fifth create the potential for hybrids with superior energy and environmental performance, but remember, don’t just rely on the type of hybrid, always check the fuel economy and emissions data.
5 Steps to Hybridization
Regenerative braking capacity
Power Assist and Engine downsizing (at this step you reach a “mild” hybrid)
Electric-only drive (at this step you reach a “full” hybrid)
Extended battery-electric range (at this step you become a “plug-in” hybrid)