Hybrid Vehicles: Myths Busted

We all have seen hybrid cars and those endless hybrid this and that advertisement everywhere. Not what is this hybrid vehicle thing is? Is it something revolutionary or something that change the world and bla bla bla? Let’s get in to details and find it out!

First of all what is a hybrid vehicle?

Hybrid vehicle is a vehicle which runs over more than one power or energy source. Like a car running on gasoline or diesel internal combustion engine and an electric motor. Or like an old-school moped that can run on gasoline engine and even by your feet just like a cycle.

That’s the easiest definition to understand what this hybrid vehicle thing is. But we have seen those micro-hybrid, mild-hybrid, eco Start/Stop, plug-in hybrid, SHVS things etc. brandings on various vehicles and companies.

So to get this thing, there are mail two types of hybrid vehicles.


So to get this thing, there are mail two types of hybrid vehicles.

  1. Those which are actually falls in hybrid category
  2. Those which are named hybrid but have no features

Starting with theory-

Most hated car in the world the Toyota Prius to BMW i8, from Porsche’s 918 spyder to McLaren’s P1 hyper-car, all are running on Gasoline + Electric powered powertrains. These hybrid cars are different than those simple electric cars, which you plug in electric power source and just go for a drive. For an example Mahindra Reva e20 is the first Indian manufactured Full Electric plug-in car, in which you have to charge the battery with the AC home power source and you can cruise in it with comfort in the town for around 100km. Or nowadays one of the most lime lighted car Tesla! Of course those are electric cars, but what if we mix them with an IC engine and make them more usable?

Where in the case of hybrid cars, there are various types-

  • Range Extender hybrid vehicles-

Unlike electric vehicles; they don’t need to get charged by plugging in. You just start the car on internal combustion engine and start your journey, the batteries that runs the electric motor will get charged with the help of regenerative breaking or while engine breaking. So when you have charged the batteries, you can shift on electric mode and cruise on the electric power silently without starting the engine and wasting fuel. So for an example you are going to supermarket to buy some grocery stuff in a heavy brake and pick up situations on IC engine power, you are juicing those batteries; while with the same battery back up you’ll be able to return home on full electric power!

These kinds of vehicles are convenient, when you apply brakes, it’ll charge the battery and so your electric range will get extended. You will get feeling of playing a video game, where your boost bar will get full while braking and cruising.

These kind of cars are made for those people who regularly travels in city traffic conditions or on such roads where you need to use brakes regularly. i.e. Range Rover Hybrid

  • Plug in hybrids-

Now these cars are kind of compromise. You charge them with the wall charger then you go out with it on a ride. The battery gets over and your internal combustion engine starts automatically to drive your car. So, if you are going to commute in city or in near places, you can go and come without any hustle. But in a log trip, the charging will get exhausted and you’ll end up using your gasoline/diesel engines. But, these cars give a very good performance if it is tuned in a way. Like you can start on electric power and then can shift on IC engine power and cruise to have greater fuel economy.

All rage extender vehicles can’t be a plug-in hybrid but all plug-in hybrid can become range extenders, as you turn on the IC engine on the go to charge the batteries and run vehicle on them. i.e. Porsche Panamera E-hybrid, BMW i3

  • Smart Start/Stop technology- (micro-Hybrid, SHVS etc.)

Technically, when some companies advertise their cars as micro-hybrid cars and all, which are not actual hybrid vehicles. The main power source is just the gasoline or diesel engine.

What actually happens there is, the smart system turn off the engine when neutral gear is engaged and clutch, brake & accelerator paddles are left without pressure. As we know that vehicle burns more fuel when it is standing still and idling, this system cuts the engine off and saves fuel. Like in a stop and go traffic condition, red lights etc., engine will be cut off by this system. When you depress the clutch again, engine will come to life by that integrated starter motor generator. This integrated starter motor generator is the main part of this system, as it takes place of the conventional alternator. While engine braking and vehicle braking, this generator will charge the separate battery of it and while engine has to get started again, the battery will give power to this ISG to start the engine smoothly!

So ultimately, this system is just saving fuel to some level and reducing pollution. Note that this thing will not shut off the vehicle if the AC is on and cabin has not reached to optimum temperature. So in hot countries, this is not that useful. i.e. Ciaz diesel SHVS, Mahindra micro-hybrid cars.

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5 Comments Add yours

  1. Vatsal says:

    Fabulous explanation with simple language.
    Keep it up.

    1. Bhargav Patel says:

      Thank You very much! Ask any questions that you want to solve about automobiles and technology! We are here to help you. Keep reading, keep growing!

  2. marvel says:

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