How do hybrid cars work? An internal combustion engine and an electric motor that uses energy stored in batteries power hybrid electric cars. You cannot charge a hybrid electric vehicle’s battery by plugging it in. Instead, the internal combustion engine and regenerative braking charge the battery. The additional power generated by the electric motor may allow for a smaller engine. When the engine is turned off, the battery may also power auxiliary loads and decrease engine idle. These characteristics, when combined, result in improved fuel efficiency without losing performance. Read on to learn the key elements of hybrid electric vehicles.
Key Elements Of Hybrid Electric Cars
- Battery (auxiliary): In an electric drive vehicle, the low-voltage auxiliary battery provides power to start the vehicle before the traction battery is engaged; it also powers vehicle accessories.
- DC/DC converter: This device converts higher-voltage direct current (DC) power from the traction battery pack to the lower-voltage direct current (DC) power required to run vehicle accessories and replenish the auxiliary battery.
- Electric generator: Produces power from the revolving wheels when braking and transfers it to the traction battery pack. Some vehicles employ motor-generators that serve both as a driver and as a regenerator.
- Electric traction motor: This motor powers the vehicle’s wheels by drawing power from the traction battery pack. Some vehicles employ motor-generators that serve both as a driver and as a regenerator.
- Exhaust system: The exhaust system is responsible for directing exhaust gases from the engine out the tailpipe. A three-way catalyst is intended to minimize engine-out emissions through the exhaust system.
Other Elements Of Hybrid Electric Cars
- Fuel filler: A nozzle from a fuel dispenser connects to the vehicle’s receptacle to fill the tank.
- Fuel tank (gasoline): stores gasoline on board the vehicle until the engine requires it.
- Internal combustion engine (spark-ignited): In this arrangement, gasoline is pumped into either the intake manifold or the combustion chamber, mixed with air, and ignited by a spark plug.
- Power electronics controller: This unit handles the flow of electrical energy given by the traction battery, managing the speed and torque of the electric traction motor.
- Thermal system (cooling): This system keeps the engine, electric motor, power electronics, and other components within a safe operating temperature range.
- Traction battery pack: This is a battery that stores power for use by the electric traction motor.
- Transmission: The transmission is responsible for transferring mechanical power from the engine or electric traction motor to the wheels.
The characteristics of hybrid cars, when combined, result in improved fuel efficiency without losing performance. They also account for smaller engines and decrease engine idleness. But how do hybrid cars work, and what are the key elements? The post answers the questions.