Hybrid Engines for Beginners

July 15, 2016

There has been a great hype around hybrid vehicles and how they are better for the environment as compared to their counterpart gas engines. Regardless of your interest in the automobile industry, you might know that hybrid engines are surely a friend for our environment. But do you know exactly how these engines pull off their remarkable feat? Do you know how these engines work? To help you understand it better, let’s unveil the science behind hybrid engines.

For starters, you should know about the two major types of hybrid engines that are used in different automobiles—parallel hybrids and series-parallel hybrids.

Parallel Hybrids

Most of the hybrids that you find on the road today, pack a parallel hybrid engine. The reason why is that they tend to be the least costly and also the simplest. In parallel hybrids, the engine does not do much work. It is mainly left to propel the vehicle. The major work here is done by the electric motor.

Series-Parallel Hybrids

Consider this engine as a blend of series and parallel hybrids. Basically, what happens is that the electric motor and the engine take separate paths to propel the transmission. This allows for independent propulsion. Furthermore, this electric motor has the option to assist the engine or charge the battery using the regenerative braking.

What do they do?

Unlike popular belief, there is not a vast difference between the way a gasoline and a hybrid engine work. Just like the former, a hybrid also makes use of an internal combustion engine. This can also be fueled. The difference comes with the additional electric motor. These types of hybrid engines can be powered by electricity, either completely or partially.

The best case scenario is for a hybrid to use both the gas engine and the electric motor simultaneously to result in the most efficient performance. This not only lessens the damage to the environment but also puts less of a burden on your pocket.

The Power Split

Most of what the hybrid does is because of this device inserted into its engine called the power split device. This device allows both the gas engine and the electric motor to power the car independently. The enticing fact is that these engines can also act as a continuously variable transmission in addition to the manual and automatic modes.

As you put your foot down on the throttle, the car is initially powered by an electric motor. The batteries also assist this motor in providing the required power. There is a ring gear situated inside the power split device that begins spinning as the motor does. This ring gear forces the generator to spin as well, which continues to do so in order to let the main engine remain off, that is up till a certain speed is reached. This is when the gas engine takes it up, and your hybrid switches from electric to gas.


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