A Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV) is one that merges a normal Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) with an electric propulsion system. Enhanced performance and improved fuel consumption are achieved with this kind of technology. These vehicles are mostly dependent on electric energy which is usually made from kinetic energy, as well as on gasoline, which is made possible to its combustion engine. A simple definition of an HEV is one which relies on dual power sources.
HEVs are definitely the future, and a lot of money is being spent to produce them. Billionaires such as Elon Musk are trying their utmost for HEVs to replace the traditional petrol-dependent vehicles. Sales of HEVs are also rising. The second highest amount of HEVs bought in 2016 was in the United States of America, with over four million units sold, with the most popular HEV being the Toyota Prius. Japan, besides being the earliest innovator of the HEV, had the highest amount bought with more than five million units sold.
There are three main types of hybrid electric cars: full hybrids, mild hybrids, and plug-in hybrids. Sub-types include muscle hybrids and micro hybrids. Full hybrids, such as the aforementioned Toyota Prius, are the most fuel efficient. A full hybrid can choose to run on series mode, parallel mode, or all-electric mode.
In series mode, the system utilizes the electric motor to manoeuvre the wheels, and the gas engine to supply the power as an on-board generator. In other terms, the gas engine never mechanically manoeuvres the drive wheels. Both the electric motor and gas engine contribute to maneuvering the wheels in parallel mode. And in all-electric mode, a full hybrid can operate on the electric motor for minimum amounts of time. This is made possible due to the electric traction motor and tiny battery pack.
Mild hybrids rely on parallel mode and thus are not as all-round effective as the full hybrid. Now we come to plug-in hybrids, which are the latest in hybrid technology. They are called Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs), as their battery can be plugged into an external source of electric power in order to be recharged, though the battery can also be recharged by the PHEV’s generator and on-board engine. They do not require fuel at all.
Environmental factors such as global warming are affecting the earth in a continuously hazardous way. One major contributor to global warming is air pollution, and this is in part caused not only by the harmful emissions from factories, but also due to car exhaust fumes. The introduction of PHEVs comes as a solution to this ever-growing problem.
PHEVs are being produced in this era by almost every well-known car company. Some companies are also making plug-in hybrid versions of their well-known models. One example is the French car manufacturer, Peugeot, which will be unveiling the plug-in version of their bestselling Peugeot 508 by the end of 2019. This will be available in two versions: the 2WD and the 4WD.
There are many differences between a PHEV and an HEV besides the plug-in factor of the former. The PHEV also comes with a much bigger battery than the traditional hybrid which allows for a longer all-electric driving range, hence promoting cost-effectiveness.
Whereas the PHEV’s primary source of power is its battery-powered electric motor, the main power source of a hybrid is its gasoline-powered internal combustion system. The engine of a PHEV is utilized to complement the electric motor and broaden the range. In contrast, an HEV’s electric motor is used to complement the combustion engine. A PHEV’s energy is grid-supplied whereas an HEV’s electricity is on-board generated, and a PHEV’s energy saving rate is superior to that of an HEV’s.
Despite most PHEVs being passenger cars, there are also PHEV versions of commercial vehicles such as scooters, buses, trains, vans, etc. Similar to the rise of HEV sales, the market for PHEVs is also growing on an annual basis. As of 2017, the largest market for PHEV sales belongs to Norway followed by Iceland, Andorra, Sweden, Belgium, and the Netherlands.
With these awesome specs and features, the PHEV has paved the way for a unique driving experience. Not only is the PHEV a more technologically advanced option for a car, it’s also safer for the environment, and a vehicle that benefits both the driver and the environment can be classified as a need instead of a want.