Hybrid cars are quite different from normal cars. They are not dependant on one sole engine to run. They have a smaller electric engine along with a relatively small combustion engine. Nevertheless, they can use both engines at the same time to generate a higher level of torque and horsepower.
The internal structure is quite different due to the lower number of moving parts that are required to make a hybrid function. I will explain the main differences between a hybrid car and a conventional signal engine combustion engine car.
What is an Ultracapacitor Battery?
One major difference that people are not aware of just by looking at the electric motor of a hybrid is the integration of ultracapacitors, also called supercapacitors. These capacitors are able to store up to 100 times more energy than the typical electrolytic capacitors that can found in many modern-day devices. This type of capacitor is needed by a hybrid to store the energy created by regenerative braking. Also, the short bursts of power required to accelerate quickly a hybrid are enhanced by ultracapacitors.
Supercapacitors can deal with countless cycles of discharge and recharge that happen within a hybrid. It is likely that if simple electrolytic capacitors were used in conjunction with the battery packs in electric or hybrid cars, they would expand and burst which would require lots of labor to replace them at a garage.
How does the Integrated Starter Generator Function in a Hybrid versus the Starter in a Regular Car?
The alternator work along with the starter in a regular car to start the engine. Another major difference between a regular car and a hybrid is that some hybrids have an integrated starter-generator that starts the engine.
The design of this type of starter allows a vehicle with two engines to create greater electrical generation instead of using up fuel and creating emissions. In other words, the gas motor is not required to start up the engine, due to the use of electrical current.
The way that it works is that it ensures that the combustion engine is not working when then the car is started. Also, if the vehicle is a stand-still, such as at a red traffic light, the integrated starter generator (ISG) will turn off the combustion engine if it is running, and it will it stop and restart the vehicle very quickly after the gas pedal is pressed by the driver.
Also, it will, while the hybrid is slowing down, create a current through regenerative braking that will be transported to the battery pack. Of course, this process is not happening for a conventional vehicle since the only battery that it has is smaller and it is not required to propel the vehicle.
Another aspect is that the ISG is very silent. It eliminates the need for having an alternator and a starter like in a regular car. It is a combination of these two devices. Therefore, it contains less moving parts such as pulleys and belts that are required for an alternator which is connected to the crankshaft.
How is the 12v Battery in a Hybrid Different From the 12v Battery in a Regular Car?
The 12v battery in a normal car is needed to start up the vehicle. This 12v battery in a hybrid does not start up the vehicle because the starter unit is designed differently. Nevertheless, the 12v will turn on the on-board computer and controllers. Plus, it will flip the relay that will start power going from the larger hybrid battery pack. Then the electric motor will start.
In other words, the 12v does not directly start the car, but it activates the electric motor to do so. Without the 12v, the hybrid would not know that it is needed to start the electric motor. What is interesting is that once the initial instruments are lit up, and the relay to the HV battery has happened, you could actually disconnect the 12v and a vehicle like a Prius Hybrid would still run. Of course, you would not do so, but it might still cruise along without the 12v battery.
The size of the 12v for a hybrid is usually smaller than the average car battery because of the functions covered by the hybrid battery pack. It does not need to be large in size because of this reduction in tasks.
While researching for this article, I was trying to determine why a hybrid would need a 12v battery in the first place. Apparently, designers did not want to run down the larger battery pack. It is needed to ensure that one does not need to use the gas motor often. If it was required to provide power to the memory chips and also the security system while the hybrid is parked, the hybrid battery pack would be drained too quickly
Does a Hybrid Use Less Gas on the Highway Than a Regular Car?
I have personal experience since I have owned a regular Sonata and I now own a Sonata Hybrid that is a plugin.
Yes, a hybrid does use less gas on the highway than a regular vehicle. Even though many people refuse to buy a hybrid if they do a lot of highway driving, they are wrong if they state that it uses the same amount of gas as a regular car.
Personally, I do a lot of city driving. During the summer, I can go weeks without having to use any gas at all because I charge my hybrid at home each evening. If your hybrid is not the plugin type, you would be using some gas, but probably only about half of the amount that you would normally require for a conventional vehicle.
I was curious if I would save gas if I were to take a long highway trip, over 1000 miles, using my plugin hybrid. I just wanted to note that I did not stop to charge it up during this trip. I wanted to see if the battery pack would recharge itself off and on during highway driving. Surprisingly, it did so, especially if I were to drive in an area that had a slight downward slope.
Now I will highlight the results of this trip regarding gas usage. I traveled a total of 1116 miles. Ninety-five percent of this trip was on highways. I purchased 21.58 gallons of gas, which works out to be around 51 miles per gallon, or mpg.
I checked to see the mpg for a normal Sonata that was not a hybrid. In 2019, fuelly.com stated that gets around 27 gallons per gallon. In other words, there was close to a 50 percent savings in gas even though my hybrid was not charged up during the trip. So, there you go, it is cheaper to use a hybrid on the highway even if a charging station is not used.
What is the Price Difference Between a Hybrid and a Conventional Vehicle?
There is a price difference between a conventional vehicle versus a hybrid. You do need to compare cars that are similar. If you were to compare an expensive type of hybrid to a tiny car, you would be analyzing the price difference incorrectly. In other words, try to view the price of cars that are of similar caliber.
For instance, if you were to check the pricing on a hybrid that has more standard items, such as its navigation system, you need to compare it to its conventional model that has similar attributes for the features.
When I had purchased my Sonata hybrid, there was about a $10,000 difference when I compared it to the price on the average Sonata. Nevertheless, this hybrid model had an enhanced sound system, leather seating and other features that one normally would only find on the Hyundai Genesis, a more expensive model than the typical Sonata.
I looked into the pricing for 2019, on the Lincoln MKZ model. The hybrid and the non-hybrid versions both have four-cylinder engines and FWD. I was shocked to find out that they had the same price of $35, 925! I had assumed that there always was a huge difference in pricing between hybrids and ICE models.