Hybrid Vehicle

A hybrid vehicle uses two or more different types of energy to move the vehicle. Different types of power sources include, combustible material such as coal and wood, compressed or liquefied natural gas, electricity, radio waves, batteries, human power, hydrogen, rechargeable energy storage, petrol or diesel fuel, solar and wind.

Hybrid vehicles come in a wide variety of types.

Two wheeled vehicles such as mopeds, bicycles and scooters are the simplest form of hybrid. These vehicles use either an electric or internal combustion engine plus the riders own muscles. This type is where the rider pedals to power the generator to charge the battery. The battery then supplies power to the motor that drives the vehicle. Some hybrid two-wheeled vehicles use braking as a recharging system. The first prototype was produced in 1975. The first regenerative braking system was produced in 1995.

Heavy vehicle hybrids using diesel-electric or turbo-electric systems include locomotives, buses, large trucks, mobile machinery and ships. This type generally uses a diesel engine to drive an electric generator or pump to power one or more electric or hydraulic motors. Submarines are the oldest form of hybrid technology using diesel power while surfaced and battery power while submerged.

Many countries around the world have hybrid trains in use. China produced a G12 locomotive for use in 2000 that used a 200KW diesel generator and batteries. The Canadian company Bombardier built a dual mode, dual voltage rail car for use in France. The vehicle can be used on many different rail systems and has been tested in the Netherlands. Japan has the KiHa E200 which uses battery packs of lithium ion batteries on the roof to store energy. North America produced a prototype in 2007 that stores energy in a set of sodium nickel chloride batteries from braking or coasting.

Hybrid cranes use stored energy to lift loads and while lowering the load energy can be regained.

Commercial hybrid vehicles are expected to be widely used as early as 2015. Kenworth has an electric hybrid called the T270 Class 6 for city use. FedEx and other delivery companies are investing in hybrid technology. Since 1985 the military has been testing hybrid Humvees with success. They produce faster acceleration, a low thermal signal and greater fuel economy.

Ships using steam engines and mast-mounted sails were an early type of hybrid water craft. Newer versions have higher mounted sails to capture stronger winds.

A Boeing Fuel Cell Demonstrator Airplane use a Proton Exchange Membrane fuel cell and a lithium-ion battery to power an electric motor to operate the propeller. This provides the cruise phase. Takeoff and climb requires use of the lithium-ion batteries.

The most common passenger vehicle hybrid uses an internal combustion engine along with an electric motor. Models include the Saturn Vue, Toyota’s Prius, Yaris, Camery Hybrid, and Highlander Hybrid, Ford Escape Hybrid, Honda’s Insight and Civic Hybrid, Lexus RX 400h and 450h, along with many others.

The first hybrid automobile produced in the world was in 1899 as an electric-petro vehicle.

Petro-hydraulic hybrid automobiles use an internal combustion engine to pressurize an accumulator that uses hydraulics to drive the wheels. Petro-air hybrid use an internal combustion engine to drive the vehicle using compressed air and gasoline injection into the cylinders.  This type of hybrid is common in trains and large vehicles. Only recently has the auto industry been researching this technology.

Chrysler, in January 2011, announced to design and produce an experimental petro-hydraulic powertrain for passenger vehicles. In 2012 a production minivan was adapted to use a hydraulic powertrain. In 2013 a nitrogen compressed gas powered vehicle was show at the Geneva Motor show by Peugeot. Production versions of the Citroen are scheduled for release in 2015 0r 2016 with an estimated 80 mpg.

Other forms of hybrid vehicles include, plug in hybrids that allow for full electric use but with limited miles. A fuel cell is an electric vehicle that uses hydrogen as fuel to power the battery when it is discharged. Chevrolet Equinox FCEV, Ford Edge Hyseries Drive and Honda FCX all uses this system.

Image Caption: Ford Escape E85 flexible-fuel Plug-in hybrid exhibited at the 2010 Washington Auto Show (D.C.). Zoom in inserts showing details of: of Plug-in Hybrid badging, plug-in door, E85 fuel door (open and closed). Credit: Mariordo Mario Roberto Duran Ortiz/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)