• 04/03/2024 10:00

On gasoline and electric: what are the main advantages of hybrid cars and is it worth buying them?

 На бензине и электрике: в чем главные преимущества гибридных авто и стоит ли их покупать

Photo: how hybrid cars work (media.mitsubishicars.com) Author: Konstantin Shirokun

For those who want to keep up with the times, but are wary of electric vehicles, automakers have invented a transitional option: cars with hybrid drive. But seriously, in our time you should know the main features of hybrids. There are more and more of them on the roads, but the myths about them are not decreasing.

Read about the main advantages and disadvantages of hybrid cars in the RBC-Ukraine article.

To prepare the article, publications AutoBild, “Autocenter” and Autogeek, as well as press sites of automakers were used.

Even if we talk about the modern understanding of this word, hybrid cars can be different, sometimes with almost opposite qualities. Therefore, you need to devote one paragraph to a story about why some cars received this status.

What is a hybrid car

Hybrids today are cars that have two power plants – an electric one and an internal combustion engine. Their participation in setting the car in motion may be different, but the essence is the same – together, both types of drive move the car forward. For those who care about minimal technical details, we offer a separate chapter below. And here we will say that any hybrid needs to be fueled with gasoline (sometimes with diesel fuel), and some types also with electricity.

 На бензине и электрике: в чем главные преимущества гибридных авто и стоит ли их покупать

Main features of hybrid cars

Some important qualities of these machines depend on the type of hybrid drive (which we will discuss below). But the main principle of all hybrids is the same: they use each of their two power plants at the moment when it is most efficient.

These conditions are known: it is more expedient to activate the internal combustion engine when driving smoothly along the highway, and the electric motor is more efficient during acceleration and city traffic. It is important that the electric drive can also operate in the “reverse direction” – it recuperates (sends to the battery for storage) the energy of the car’s roll-up during braking. The hybrid electronics decide when to drive on electricity and when to start the gasoline (diesel) engine. Although often the driver can choose the engine himself.

  • Hybrids are not electric cars . Because they have a complete or almost complete set of internal combustion engine equipment. Most often, a hybrid is similar to a regular gasoline electric car with an additional electric drive.
  • A hybrid can replace an electric car . Despite what we said in the previous paragraph, many hybrids can drive at least a few kilometers purely on electric power.
  • Hybrids are not bought to save money . More precisely, they can consume less fuel than purely internal combustion engines, but given the higher price of the hybrid, there is no point in talking about cost savings.
  • Hybrids are more expensive to maintain . The presence of high voltage on board usually automatically increases the price of a standard hour, even if we are talking about the repair of purely mechanical components and systems.
  • Hybrids are easy to drive . Thanks to the features of the electric drive and transmission, these cars start smoothly and accelerate just as smoothly, often better than cars with better automatic transmissions.

 На бензине и электрике: в чем главные преимущества гибридных авто и стоит ли их покупать

What types of hybrid cars are there?

Today we are talking purely about electric hybrids, and there are four types of them, which differ significantly in function and efficiency.

Parallel hybrid. The most common type of hybrid car. Its internal combustion engine and electric motor operate alternately, depending on road conditions and loading. In intense acceleration mode, both engines work together. The battery on board is relatively small (3 – 5 kWh); it is replenished with energy through recovery when the vehicle slows down and from a generator driven by the internal combustion engine. Often such a hybrid can travel for several kilometers in purely electric mode, with the internal combustion engine not working.

Serial hybrid. A completely different type of hybrid, in which the internal combustion engine has no connection with the wheels and does not drive the car. Its task is to drive the generator, which subsequently supplies energy to the traction electric motor and charges the battery. That is, such a hybrid moves exclusively on electric power, and on the move has all the “habits” of an electric car – reckless dynamics, recovery mode, one-pedal mode (E-pedal), smooth acceleration without the slightest twitching. Moreover, unlike a classic electric car, the mileage is limited not by the battery capacity, but by the capacity of the gas tank. Which, of course, can be filled in a few minutes, not a few hours. And the battery, by the way, is usually small, about 2 – 3 kWh, and without the use of an internal combustion engine, you can drive about 10 km on it. Sequential hybrids usually turn out to be the most economical among other hybrid cars, because the fuel consumer of the internal combustion engine always operates in the most economical mode.

Plug-in hybrid PHEV (rechargeable) Another hybrid with extended “electric vehicle” features. From a technical point of view, it is a hybrid design of parallel or series type, but with the ability to charge the battery from an external outlet. The battery is not the smallest, around 5 – 9 kWh, and it is enough for 40 – 60 km of purely electric range. Typical operating mode of PHEV (Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles): on weekdays the owner drives to and from work in purely electric mode, charging the car every night, and on weekends he goes on a long country trip, during which the gasoline or diesel engine is turned on .

Mild hybrid. The electrical essence of this type is minimally manifested. The electric drive here is the most modest and cheapest; it is used only to improve dynamics during acceleration. The energy for this is obtained from a small traction battery through recuperation during braking of the car, as well as from the internal combustion engine. There is no separate electric motor; usually in such machines it is simultaneously an engine, a generator and a starter for the internal combustion engine. The battery here is inexpensive and small, with a voltage of 12 – 48 volts. Its capacity is only around 2 kWh – this is enough, for example, for several energetic starts at a traffic light, or more precisely, to help a gasoline engine during such starts. Also, consumers can be powered from this battery when the internal combustion engine is turned off, say, at the same traffic light.

 На бензине и электрике: в чем главные преимущества гибридных авто и стоит ли их покупать

In short

A hybrid car is, in every sense, a top-end configuration of a conventional car with an internal combustion engine. However, the main thing about it is not the leather interior and not a dozen security systems, but the perfect technical content. One owner sees this as an opportunity to stand out, another enjoys owning a technical masterpiece (don’t be afraid of this word), and someone “took a hybrid” simply because they trusted the talk about its extraordinary qualities. In any case, there will be few optimal grains in buying a hybrid, but when has buying a car been done without emotions?

Let us remind you that RBC-Ukraine recently talked about the TOP 5 best used electric vehicles.


Leave a Reply