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Hybrid Electric Cars: How do you decide which one is right for you?



Electrification – the addition of batteries and electric motors to the powertrain of a car – is no longer just a niche idea. What began with the original Honda Insight and the Toyota Prius now encompasses vehicles of all shapes and sizes, with countless onboard technologies focused on one goal: efficient and low-emission driving. It's a great time to shop for this kind of car because there is more to choose from and they are better than ever.

Hybrid and all-electric vehicles offer many other benefits from tax incentives at federal, state and local levels ̵

1; though these are gradually phasing out for some brands – for improved access to the HOV lane and greatly reduced pure maintenance electric cars. Of course there are also disadvantages like the potential for expensive (albeit rare) battery replacement costs.

With so many new types of electric vehicles on the market today, it is important to keep in mind the differences in this extremely important area. The various types of electric vehicles on the market are described below, their advantages and disadvantages explained and examples presented.

The new Mercedes-Benz CLS uses a 48-volt battery, which acts as a mild hybrid system.


Mercedes-Benz

Mild Hybrid

A mild hybrid system is the simplest and most cost effective way to add electric power to a vehicle powered by an internal combustion engine (ICE). In a mild hybrid system, the ICE often shuts down completely during idle conditions, such as when a hill is going down or coming to a standstill. Thanks to the hybrid system, the ICE can be restarted almost immediately and propel ancillaries on the vehicle such as a stereo or air conditioning system. Some mild hybrid systems have regenerative braking or provide power assistance or torque fill to the ICE, but all systems lack the ability to operate on electrical power alone.

Advantages

  • Can power many electric systems of a car.
  • Stop-Start System saves fuel at idle.
  • Can reduce the turbo lag by filling the engine with torque until the engine is boosted.
  • Lightweight compared to other electrified vehicles.
  • Less complexity.
  • Lower costs. Disadvantages
    • Increased cost and complexity over internal combustion engines.
    • No complete EV mode.

    Examples

    The Toyota Prius is probably the best known example of a series hybrid.


    Antuan Goodwin / Roadshow

    Series Hybrid

    The Series Hybrid – also called Power-Split or Parallel-Hybrid – is what most people think of when they think of a hybrid vehicle. These use a downsized ICE to provide power at higher speeds and higher load conditions, and a battery electric system to move the vehicle at low speeds and under low load conditions. As a result, the ICE can work in its ideal efficiency range, which enables excellent fuel consumption, especially in city traffic.

    • Benefits
      • Excellent speed efficiency in the city.
      • Gasoline powered ICE for longer ranges (and longer trips).
      • Provides a good compromise between efficiency, ease of use, and overall cost.

      Disadvantages

      • Typically higher costs than a purely ICE-powered vehicle of the same size.
      • Maximizing efficiency means reducing power output.

      Examples

      The Chrysler Pacifica is the first electrified minivan, and it is a plug-in hybrid.


      Wayne Cunningham / Roadshow

      Plug-in Hybrid

      The plug-in hybrid is the next logical step from the series hybrid system. These cars move closer to the fully electric vehicle side of the continuum and can cover longer distances with electric energy alone. The name's plug-in name stems from the ability to connect to a charging station for electric cars instead of relying on the ICE and regenerative braking for battery power, effectively eliminating range anxiety. Another area where plug-in hybrids differ from either mild hybrids or series hybrids is the size of the battery pack. This gives them the extended EV range.

      Benefits

      • Increased range over Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) due to range-extension gasoline.
      • Lower initial cost compared to BEV.
      • Lower operating costs compared to standard hybrids.

      Disadvantages

    19659009] Buy more expensive than standard hybrids or mild hybrids.

  • Larger batteries mean more weight.
  • More complex than mild hybrids.

Examples

Every single Tesla model is an electric car with a battery. 19659005] Tim Stevens / Roadshow

Battery electric

Battery electric vehicles usually sound the way they sound: a large battery, to which at least one electric drive motor is connected. Oh, and tons of complex software to manage the thousands of single cells that make up this big battery. Mechanically, BEVs are the least complex vehicles we cover, considering that even the simplest multi-cylinder combustion engine has many hundreds of moving parts, while an electric motor only has its rotor. The innovation of relatively new companies such as Tesla and Industriestalwarts such as General Motors and Nissan are making electric vehicles more and more popular.

Advantages

  • Mechanical simplicity means less maintenance than ICE.
  • tons instantaneous moment.
  • Nearly silent operation.
  • Electricity is cheap at the moment.
  • No exhaust pipe, therefore no emissions No emission test.
  • Low center of gravity is ideal for vehicle handling. Disadvantages
    • More expensive than hybrid or ICE vehicles of similar size.
    • Limited range.
    • Long load times.
    • ] Infrastructure for charging stations is still in full swing.
    • Impractical for most people, unless you have a 240 volt Tier 2 charge at your home or in the parking lot.
    • Higher weight than vehicles of comparable size.
    • Unsafe environmental effects for the disposal of used batteries. [19659015] Examples

      The Clarity Fuel Cell by Honda is one of the few vehicles available for sale today.


      Honda

      Hydrogen fuel cell

      A fuel cell absorbs hydrogen and oxidizes it to an electric charge, which is then led into a battery and used by electric motors. This technology has been around in the automotive industry for several decades, but many companies are not working because of the cost, size of components, and relative lack of infrastructure. The miniaturization of technology in recent years has made the production of hydrogen FCVs more economical and we are starting to see more interest from manufacturers like Honda and Hyundai.

      Advantages

      • No loading required; Just fill your car with hydrogen and continue.
      • Silent operation, similar to a BEV.
      • Only emission is water. Disadvantages
        • Hydrogen prices vary widely and are often more expensive than fossil fuels.
        • Restricted refueling network outside selected cities such as Los Angeles or San Francisco.
        • Hydrogen tanks can enter the passenger compartment or cargo hold if the vehicle was not designed from the ground up for fuel cells.

        Examples


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