The Development of Hybrid Cars and SUVs

December 15, 2014 by  
Filed under Auto

It used to be said that if you wanted a hybrid car, you had a choice of the Honda Civic, Honda Insight or the Toyota Prius. These cars had the same benefits: high fuel economy, low emissions and a compromised performance character. For anyone who wanted to do his or her part in saving the environment, it was really a matter of choosing one of the three. Today, hybrid cars and SUVs are the darlings of the industry. The rising fuel costs and the awakening realization that we are the guardians of our planet and that oil is running out have brought about this change.  Recent brands of hybrid cars and SUVs use a gallon for 28 miles. Some full hybrid cars are propelled by electric motors before the gas engine starts. These autos offer significant fuel savings and pollution since they can run approximately 15 miles per hour on electric power and cut engines at stoplights and in traffic. Partial hybrid cars and SUVS on the other hand offer better performance with improved fuel economy. 

Increasing interest in hybrid autos can be seen in the willingness of many drivers opting for these cars even though the fuel savings will not make up for the original cost difference. An interest in electric cars will likely see them become mainstream in a few decades. It is proposed that by 2012, a plug-in hybrid car will be available that will allow drivers to drive for approximately 50km on a battery pack that takes 5 hours to charge. Originally meant to be launched in Europe, it is estimated that about 75 percent of drivers will be in a position to drive these cars.

The energy efficiency of such plug-in hybrid cars can be covered by today’s electric capacity. It would require a single medium-sized wind-power station to cover the annual electric consumption of between 1,000 and 2,000 electric cars in normal use. If, say 15 percent of Europe’s cars were electric hybrid cars, it would require an increase of only 1 and 3 percent of the current total electric requirements, quite possible with today’s technology.

In the meantime the cost of the batteries remains a challenge. It is also likely that future vehicles will use aspects of hybrid electric technology instead of a hybrid drivetrain in reducing fuel consumption. We can expect to see more of regenerative braking that recaptures energy, shutting down of engine at idle and emissions reduction. It is hoped that this will be a stepping stone to full hybrid autos in the not-so-distant future.

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