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Difference between hybrid cards and normal cars?

Now I understand that hybrid cars have a battery that gets charged and is used to move the vehicle as long as there is enough charge. Result: more zippy and more fuel efficient etc etc.. What I dont understand is that dont the normal cars also do have a battery . So is their battery not used to move the car and is only used to run the onboard systems. Till now I was under the impression that in a normal gas car , the combustion engine powers the battery which in turn runs the car.

2 Answers

  • 4 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    The very first cars did not have batteries. To start the engine a hand crank was provided. Once the engine was moving it produced the electricity for the spark plugs. Starting the car was not a popular job.

    To make the car more popular an electric starter was added, but this required some initial energy so a battery also had to be added to provide the energy for the starter. Once you had a battery you needed a generator to keep the battery charged and to power accessories (later an alternator) As electrical accessories were added to the vehicle over time the battery has also taken on a role of helping to smooth out power fluctuations. It was never intended to provide power to drive the vehicle.

    But now there are some larger vehicles that are what is called a "mild hybrid." This is like a brain dead hybrid. It is not very intelligent but it will add some fuel savings and it will help to move the car, at least initially. It may also allow the IC engine to be turned off when the vehicle is at a stop. It is essentially a larger starter motor.

    But in 1930 GM bought out another company and formed its electromotive division. They made diesel electric series hybrids (locomotive engines) where the diesel engine operated a generator that produced electricity for a traction electric motor. They sold this division in 2005 when they were about to come out with the gasoline / electric hybrid based upon the same engine / electric drive relationship. They wanted to advertise the Volt as a "new" technology and it would not do to be too clear about it being around for 75 years.

    But by 2005 the Toyota Prius was already a popular car. It was and is based upon a parallel hybrid design. In this case the engine and the electric motor can both provide power when needed to the wheels (in parallel)

    Both the series and parallel hybrids need to be able to draw extra energy from storage batteries. In both of these cases the energy from the batteries at least sometimes is used to power the vehicle through the electric drive.

    The Prius was always designed without a plug. Gasoline was used to charge the storage batteries as needed. Only this year is there an option for slightly larger batteries with a plug to add power from the grid, enough to go about 12 miles.

    The engine for the Volt can't recharge the batteries. You charge them only from the mains. When that storage capacity is exhausted the vehicle is running on gasoline. You have enough storage capacity to travel about 35 miles.

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  • 4 years ago

    A regular car has a battery that runs only the electrical system. The spark plugs, the starter, the radio, the lights, the heater fan. The car has an alternator that charges the battery. But the battery doesn't provide motive power.

    A hybrid has both a gas engine and a big electric motor connected to the wheels. When you accelerate your car needs a lot more power, so the electric motor kicks in to help the engine and in that way you save a lot of gas. The electric motor is powered by more batteries, bigger ones, that make up a lot of the weight of the car. And there's also a regular car battery that runs the electrical system, just like on a non-hybrid car.

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