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Hybrid technology is the future

Posted by | charlottec | January 27, 2012 | No Comments

Hybrid technology, or something like it, is becoming the new standard for cars. Pretty much every new car offers better mileage stats than its predecessors, and this is because of increased demand from drivers for better fuel efficiency – both to combat the ever increasing rises in fuel prices and as it limits the damage to the environment.

As hybrids are powered by both an internal combustion engine and an electric motor, the engine does less work and therefore burns less fuel. The electric motor is powered by its own battery – increasingly made of lithium-ion rather than metal-nickel-hydride as it is lighter and smaller.  The battery is recharged as the car moves along through a process called regenerative braking. Excess kinetic energy from braking is captured and stored in the motor’s battery for later use.

More hybrid cars are now being produced as plug-in hybrids, which reduces even further the role of the engine, and increases the amount of power that comes from the electric motor. The development of plug-in hybrids means that they have a greater range of electric only range and of course can be charged by plugging into a mains electricity supply like an all-electric vehicle.

Even cars that aren’t hybrid also have similar technology. For instance, many new cars today come with stop-start technology. This is where the engine cuts off automatically when the car is in traffic and the driver applies the brake. The engine restarts itself when the driver releases the brake and is ready to move off. The cutting out and restart of the engine is almost imperceptible to the driver and their passengers, but of course this saves wasting fuel during idling times.

It’s likely that this trend will continue – with more and more emphasis on the electric power input and less demand being placed on a petrol or diesel engine to propel the car.


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