How do hybrid vehicles work? What are the types?
As mentioned earlier, hybrid vehicles make use of a conventional engine, an electric motor and a battery. There are, however, three different types of hybrid vehicles; each having their own functionality and also being categorized by the size and strength of their batteries.
- Powered directly by the engine
- Powered only by the electric motor
- Powered by both the engine and electric motor working together
Parallel Hybrid Vehicle
This is the most commonly used type of hybrid — this type can power its wheels in three different ways:
These cars are efficient for stop-and-go driving, using the electric motor exclusively at low speeds. The conventional gas engine cuts in as your speed gets higher or during hard acceleration. The battery, however, can only power the car for up to 1.25 miles on it’s own, which is why it uses both a gas engine and electric motor in tandem.
Range Extender Hybrid Vehicle
For these vehicles, the conventional engine never actually drives the car or moves the wheels. It’s purpose in this type of Hybrid is to produce electricity for a generator that recharges the batteries. This type has a much higher battery capacity and can drive much further than Parallel Hybrids on electric power only.
Plug-in Hybrid Vehicle
If the name did not give away how this type works, this hybrid vehicle type can be plugged into an electric outlet to keep their batteries charged. They are essentially the halfway point between conventional Hybrids and fully electric vehicles. They have much larger batteries than typical hybrids and are able to attain much longer distances driving on electric power alone. These offer amazing fuel economy due to not requiring gas if you charge your vehicle frequently.