Although there is currently one main choice of engine when considering the purchase of a hybrid car, there are actually a number of options to consider. Most mass produced hybrid cars are a dual powered electric-gas models. However, despite the lack of marketable information available on other types of hybrid cars and energy sources, such as cars that run on vegetable oil, models are still being sold in niche markets…at least until the technology becomes available to the public.
Many people believe that one type of hybrid car or another will soon overtake the currently most popular hybrid model, which is the electric-gas model. If so, this new technology revolution will most likely happen because the only hybrids that are available on a mass scale as of now still require the use of petroleum-based gasoline. Although the harmful emissions have been greatly reduced in comparison to conventional vehicles, the usage of gasoline still concerns some people, as it continues to require usage of the earth’s waning natural resources.
An electric-internal combustion hybrid works to save energy by shutting off the combustion engine when it is not needed. While this process does save a lot of power that is not needed during driving that includes cruising or driving on a flat plane, it does not address the issues that can do the most damage and consume the most energy of the car – stopping, accelerating and starting the car. During these critical actions, the car’s engine is less efficient and the electric-internal combustion hybrid engine does not really address this type of driving in any models that are currently available.
Two types of designs of the electric-internal combustion hybrid are the series design and the parallel design. In the series design, the drive train is powered by an electric generator rather than the internal combustion engine. This electric generator can charge itself while driving, through acts such as braking, where energy may be left over. Although the series design is similar to the design of a plug-in hybrid car, the series design essentially has the power source on board, rather than requiring an electrical outlet for recharging.
One major drawback of the hybrid model is the limited power available to the driving wheels, which reduces the overall acceleration and speed capabilities. The parallel design is more commonly produced than the series design and connects the main transmission to both the internal combustion system and the electrical system.
As needed, one system will dominate the other in certain areas, such as controlling the air conditioning and power steering. These functions are operated by the electrical system, although the electrical system may also be used to operate the transmission because it is connected directly to it.
A full hybrid is capable of running on both the batteries and engine together or on just one of these at a time. Cars such as these require a very large battery and will only use gas power as needed, such as when the driver needs extra power or in the event that the batteries are not functioning because of depleted energy. The Toyota Prius is an example of a car that is a full hybrid that is currently on the market.