The history and technology of hybrid cars: The past and the future
Most people love their cars to the extreme, but with the constant skyrocketing of gasoline prices, a lot of people are pressed to think of alternatives. For those who want to cut back on fuel money, they may consider buying hybrid cars.
Hybrid cars are a combination of the features of gasoline-powered vehicles and electric cars. The advantage that hybrid cars hold over conventional cars is that they produce fewer emissions and adds considerable mileage.
But first, where did these cars came from and how are they made?
The very first electric vehicle was created by Robert Anderson from Aberdeen, Scotland in 1839. Later in 1870, Sir David Salomon came up with a vehicle equipped with a lightweight electric motor, along with storage batteries that were much too heavy. Predictably, the speed and the range of the car were not so desirable.
Over the years, several automobile manufacturers such as General Motors have improved on the concept of the electric cars, which later evolved into the hybrids that we know today. The most popular of these hybrids are the Insight from Honda and the Prius from Toyota.
These two exceptional vehicles can be used to explain the intricate and sophisticated technology of hybrid cars.
1. Honda Insight
The Insight runs on a system called "Integrated Motor Assist," a term coined by Honda to describe its electric motor attached to the engine at the position usually occupied by the flywheel. This model has two kinds of transmission, the regular, manual transmission and the automatic one.
The advantages of the electric motor on the Insight are the following:
-It can support the gasoline engine by giving off additional power while the vehicle is climbing up or going down a hill.
-The motor can start the engine by itself without the aid of a starter.
-Captures energy while on the process of braking.
The Insight relies on three main areas for efficiency:
-It makes use of lightweight aluminum for its body to reduce the total weight of the vehicle.
-Utilizes a small engine which operates efficiently, which weighs around 124 pounds only.
-It makes use of advanced aerodynamics. The teardrop shape of the car has a lot to do with its performance.
2. Toyota Prius
The Prius utilizes the power split device, an ingenious gearbox that connects the gasoline engine with the electric motor and generator. This allows the car to function like both parallel and series hybrids. The car does not need a starter also, because the device can make the generator start the engine.
Since the vehicle is on planetary gear set, the speed of the electric motor combined with the ring gear spin decides how fast the car will run.
These cars does not require their batteries to be recharged, because the generator located onboard the vehicles monitors the right amount of energy in the batteries.
Both Toyota and Honda allot long warranties for their hybrid models. Both the Insight and the Prius are on eight-year warranties, and their batteries and motors usually do not need maintenance over the duration of the vehicle.
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