A hybrid vehicle is a vehicle that uses two or more distinct power sources to move the vehicle for example a conventional internal combustion engine and also a high voltage electric motor. The term most commonly refers to hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), which combine an internal combustion engine and one or more electric motors. However, other mechanisms to capture and use energy may also be included, such as diesel-electric trains which are powered by both diesel engine and electric motor and submarines that use diesel engines to power the rotors and also to charge batteries that power the craft when submerged.
Power sources for hybrid vehicles include:
Coal, wood or other solid combustibles
Compressed or liquefied natural gas
Electromagnetic fields, Radio waves
Electric vehicle battery
Human powered e.g. pedaling or rowing
On-board or out-board rechargeable energy storage system (RESS)
Petrol or Diesel fuel
A biodiesel hybrid bus in Montreal
Two-wheeled and cycle-type vehicles
Mopeds, electric bicycles, and even electric kick scooters are a simple form of a hybrid, as power is delivered both via an internal combustion engine or electric motor and the rider’s muscles. Early prototypes of motorcycles in the late 19th century used the same principles to power it up.
In a parallel hybrid bicycle human and motor power are mechanically coupled at the pedal drive train or at the rear or the front wheel, e.g. using a hub motor, a roller pressing onto a tire, or a connection to a wheel using a transmission element. Human and motor torques are added together. Almost all manufactured Motorized bicycles, Mopeds are of this type.
In a series hybrid bicycle (SH) the user powers a generator using the pedals. This is converted into electricity and can be fed directly to the motor giving a chainless bicycle but also to charge a battery. The motor draws power from the battery and must be able to deliver the full mechanical torque required because none is available from the pedals. SH bicycles are commercially available, because they are very simple in theory and manufacturing.
The first known prototype and publication of an SH bicycle is by Augustus Kinzel (US Patent 3’884’317) in 1975. In 1994 Bernie Macdonalds conceived the Electrilite SH lightweight vehicle which used power electronics allowing regenerative braking and pedaling while stationary. In 1995 Thomas Muller designed a “Fahrrad mit elektromagnetischem Antrieb” in his 1995 diploma thesis and built a functional vehicle. In 1996 Jürg Blatter and Andreas Fuchs of Berne University of Applied Sciences built an SH bicycle and in 1998 mounted the system onto a Leitra tricycle (European patent EP 1165188). In 1999 Harald Kutzke described his concept of the “active bicycle”: the aim is to approach the ideal bicycle weighing nothing and having no drag by electronic compensation. Until 2005 Fuchs and colleagues built several prototype SH tricycles and quadricycles.
Bus Rapid Transit of Metz, a diesel-electric hybrid driving system by Van Hool
Hybrid power trains use diesel-electric or turbo-electric to power railway locomotives, buses, heavy goods vehicles, mobile hydraulic machinery, and ships. Typically some form of heat engine (usually diesel) drives an electric generator or hydraulic pump which powers one or more electric or hydraulic motors. There are advantages in distributing power through wires or pipes rather than mechanical elements especially when multiple drives—e.g. driven wheels or propellers—are required. There is power lost in the double conversion from typically diesel fuel to electricity to power an electric or hydraulic motor. With large vehicles the advantages often outweigh the disadvantages especially as the conversion losses typically decrease with size. With the exception of non-nuclear submarines, presently there is no or relatively little secondary energy storage capacity on most heavy vehicles, e.g. auxiliary batteries and hydraulic accumulators—although this is now changing. Submarines are one of the oldest widespread applications of hybrid technology, running on diesel engines while surfaced and switching to battery power when submerged. Both series-hybrid and parallel hybrid drivetrains were used in the Second World War.
Main article: Hybrid train
East Japan Railway Company HB-E300 series
The new Autorail à grande capacité (AGC or high-capacity railcar) built by the Canadian company Bombardier for service in France. This has dual mode (diesel and electric motors) and dual voltage capabilities (1500 and 25000 V) allowing it to be used on many different rail systems. The locomotive has been on trials in Rotterdam, the Netherlands with Railfeeding, a Genesse and Wyoming company.
The First Hybrid Evaluating prototype locomotive was designed and contracted by rail research center MATRAI in 1999 and the sample was ready in 2000. It was a G12 locomotive that was converted to hybrid by using a 200KW diesel generator and batteries and also was equipped with 4 AC traction motors (out of 4) retrofitted in the cover of the DC traction motors.
The first operational prototype of a hybrid train engine with significant energy storage and energy regeneration capability was introduced in Japan as the KiHa E200. It utilizes battery packs of lithium ion batteries mounted on the roof to store recovered energy.
Indian railway launched one of its kind CNG-Diesel hybrid train in January 2015. The train have a 1400 hp engine which uses fumigation technology.The first of these train is set to run on Rewari-Rohtak route which is 81 km long. CNG is considered as a green alternative for diesel and petrol and is popular as an alternative fuel in India.
In the US, General Electric introduced a prototype railroad engine with their “Ecomagination” technology in 2007. They store energy in a large set of sodium nickel chloride (Na-NiCl2) batteries to capture and store energy normally dissipated in dynamic braking or coasting downhill. They expect at least a 10% reduction in fuel use with this system and are now spending no more than $2 billion/yr on hybrid research.
Variants of the typical diesel electric locomotive include the Green Goat (GG) and Green Kid (GK) switching/yard engines built by Canada’s Railpower Technologies. They utilize a large set of heavy duty long life (~10 yr) rechargeable lead acid (Pba) batteries and 1000 to 2000 HP electric motors as the primary motive sources and a new clean burning diesel generator (~160 Hp) for recharging the batteries that is used only as needed. No power or fuel are wasted for idling—typically 60–85% of the time for these type locomotives. It is unclear if dynamic braking (regenerative) power is recaptured for reuse; but in principle it should be easily utilized.
Since these engines typical need extra weight for traction purposes anyway the battery pack’s weight is a negligible penalty. In addition the diesel generator and battery package are normally built on an existing “retired” “yard” locomotive’s frame for significant additional cost savings. The existing motors and running gear are all rebuilt and reused. Diesel fuel savings of 40–60% and up to 80% pollution reductions are claimed over that of a “typical” older switching/yard engine. The same advantages that existing hybrid cars have for use with frequent starts and stops and idle periods apply to typical switching yard use. “Green Goat” locomotives have been purchased by Canadian Pacific Railway, BNSF Railway, Kansas City Southern Railway, and Union Pacific Railroad among others.
Railpower Technologies engineers working with TSI Terminal Systems are testing a hybrid diesel electric power unit with battery storage for use in Rubber Tyred Gantry (RTG) cranes. RTG cranes are typically used for loading and unloading shipping containers onto trains or trucks in ports and container storage yards. The energy used to lift the containers can be partially regained when they are lowered. Diesel fuel and emission reductions of 50–70% are predicted by Railpower engineers. First systems are expected to be operational in 2007.
Road transport, commercial vehicles
2008 GMC Yukon hybrid version
Early hybrid systems are being investigated for trucks and other heavy highway vehicles with some operational trucks and buses starting to come into use. The main obstacles seem to be smaller fleet sizes and the extra costs of a hybrid system are yet compensated for by fuel savings, but with the price of oil set to continue on its upward trend, the tipping point may be reached by the end of 2015. [dated info] Advances in technology and lowered battery cost and higher capacity etc. developed in the hybrid car industry are already filtering into truck use as Toyota, Ford, GM and others introduce hybrid pickups and SUVs. Kenworth Truck Company recently introduced a hybrid-electric truck, called the Kenworth T270 Class 6 that for city usage seems to be competitive. FedEx and others are starting to invest in hybrid delivery type vehicles—particularly for city use where hybrid technology may pay off first. As of December 2013 FedEx is trialling two delivery trucks retrofitted with Wrightspeed electric powertrains, with diesel powered generators; the retrofit kits are claimed to pay for themselves in a few years. The diesel engines run at a constant RPM to run at peak efficiency.
Military off-road vehicles
Since 1985, the US military has been testing serial hybrid Humvees and have found them to deliver faster acceleration, a stealth mode with low thermal signature/ near silent operation, and greater fuel economy.
Ships with both mast-mounted sails and steam engines were an early form of hybrid vehicle. Another example is the diesel-electric submarine. This runs on batteries when submerged and the batteries can be re-charged by the diesel engine when the craft is on the surface.
Newer hybrid ship-propulsion schemes include large towing kites manufactured by companies such as SkySails. Towing kites can fly at heights several times higher than the tallest ship masts, capturing stronger and steadier winds.
The Boeing Fuel Cell Demonstrator Airplane has a Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) fuel cell/lithium-ion battery hybrid system to power an electric motor, which is coupled to a conventional propeller. The fuel cell provides all power for the cruise phase of flight. During takeoff and climb, the flight segment that requires the most power, the system draws on lightweight lithium-ion batteries.
The demonstrator aircraft is a Dimona motor glider, built by Diamond Aircraft Industries of Austria, which also carried out structural modifications to the aircraft. With a wing span of 16.3 meters (53 feet), the airplane will be able to cruise at about 62 miles per hour (100 km/h) on power from the fuel cell.
Hybrid FanWings have been designed. A FanWing is created by two engines with the capability to autorotate and landing like a helicopter.
Hybrid electric-petroleum vehicles
Hybrid New Flyer Metrobus
Hybrid Optare Solo
Main article: Hybrid electric vehicle
When the term hybrid vehicle is used, it most often refers to a Hybrid electric vehicle. These encompass such vehicles as the Saturn Vue, Toyota Prius, Toyota Yaris, Toyota Camry Hybrid, Ford Escape Hybrid, Toyota Highlander Hybrid, Honda Insight, Honda Civic Hybrid, Lexus RX 400h and 450h and others. A petroleum-electric hybrid most commonly uses internal combustion engines (using a variety of fuels, generally gasoline or Diesel engines) and electric motors to power the vehicle. The energy is stored in the fuel of the internal combustion engine and an electric battery set. There are many types of petroleum-electric hybrid drivetrains, from Full hybrid to Mild hybrid, which offer varying advantages and disadvantages.
Henri Pieper in 1899 developed the world’s first petro-electric hybrid automobile in 1900, Ferdinand Porsche developed a series-hybrid using two motor-in-wheel-hub arrangements with an internal combustion generator set providing the electric power, setting two speed records.While liquid fuel/electric hybrids date back to the late 19th century, the braking regenerative hybrid was invented by David Arthurs, an electrical engineer from Springdale, Arkansas in 1978–79. His home-converted Opel GT was reported to return as much as 75MPG with plans still sold to this original design, and the “Mother Earth News” modified version on their website.
The plug-in-electric-vehicle (PEV) is becoming more and more common. It has the range needed in locations where there are wide gaps with no services. The batteries can be plugged into house (mains) electricity for charging, as well being charged while the engine is running.
Continuously outboard recharged electric vehicle (COREV)
Given suitable infrastructure, permissions and vehicles, BEVs can be recharged while the user drives. The BEV establishes contact with an electrified rail, plate or overhead wires on the highway via an attached conducting wheel or other similar mechanism (see Conduit current collection). The BEV’s batteries are recharged by this process—on the highway—and can then be used normally on other roads until the battery is discharged. Some of battery-electric locomotives used for maintenance trains on the London Underground are capable of this mode of operation. Power is picked up from the electtrified rails where possible, switching to battery power where the electricity supply is disconnected.
This provides the advantage, in principle, of virtually unrestricted highway range as long as you stay where you have BEV infrastructure access. Since many destinations are within 100 km of a major highway, this may reduce the need for expensive battery systems. Unfortunately private use of the existing electrical system is nearly universally prohibited.
The technology for such electrical infrastructure is old and, outside of some cities, is not widely distributed (see Conduit current collection, trams, electric rail, trolleys, third rail). Updating the required electrical and infrastructure costs can be funded, in principle, by toll revenue, gasoline or other taxes.
Hybrid fuel (dual mode)
Ford Escape Plug-in Hybrid with a flexible fuel capability to run on E85 (ethanol)
In addition to vehicles that use two or more different devices for propulsion, some also consider vehicles that use distinct energy sources or input types (“fuels”) using the same engine to be hybrids, although to avoid confusion with hybrids as described above and to use correctly the terms, these are perhaps more correctly described as dual mode vehicles:
Some electric trolleybuses can switch between an on board diesel engine and overhead electrical power depending on conditions (see dual mode bus). In principle, this could be combined with a battery subsystem to create a true plug-in hybrid trolleybus, although as of 2006, no such design seems to have been announced.
Flexible-fuel vehicles can use a mixture of input fuels mixed in one tank — typically gasoline and ethanol, or methanol, or biobutanol.
Bi-fuel vehicle:Liquified petroleum gas and natural gas are very different from petroleum or diesel and cannot be used in the same tanks, so it would be impossible to build an (LPG or NG) flexible fuel system. Instead vehicles are built with two, parallel, fuel systems feeding one engine. For example, Chevys Silverado 2500 HD, which is now on the road, can effortlessly switch between petroleum and natural gas, and offers a range of over 650 miles. While the duplicated tanks cost space in some applications, the increased range, decreased cost of fuel and flexibility where (LPG or NG) infrastructure is incomplete may be a significant incentive to purchase. While the US Natural gas infrastructure is partially incomplete, it is increasing at a fast pace, and already has 2600 CNG stations in place.With a growing fueling station infrastructure, a large scale adoption of these bi-fuel vehicles could be seen in the near future. Rising gas prices may also push consumers to purchase these vehicles. When gas prices trade around $4.00, the price per MMBTU of gasoline is $28.00, compared to natural gas’s $4.00 per MMBTU. On a per unit of energy comparative basis, this makes natural gas much cheaper than gasoline. All of these factors are making CNG-Gasoline bi-fuel vehicles very attractive.
Some vehicles have been modified to use another fuel source if it is available, such as cars modified to run on autogas (LPG) and diesels modified to run on waste vegetable oil that has not been processed into biodiesel.
Power-assist mechanisms for bicycles and other human-powered vehicles are also included (see Motorized bicycle).
Fluid power hybrid
See also: Compressed air car
Chrysler minivan, petro-hydraulic hybrid
French MDI petro-air hybrid car developed with Tata
Hydraulic hybrid and pneumatic hybrid vehicles use an engine to charge a pressure accumulator to drive the wheels via hydraulic (liquid) or pneumatic (compressed air) drive units. In most cases the engine is detached from the drivetrain, serving solely to charge the energy accumulator. The transmission is seamless. Regenerative breaking can be used to recover some of the supplied drive energy back into the accumulator.
A French company, MDI, has designed and has running models of a petro-air hybrid engine car. The system does not use air motors to drive the vehicle, being directly driven by a hybrid engine. The engine uses a mixture of compressed air and gasoline injected into the cylinders. A key aspect of the hybrid engine is the “active chamber”, which is a compartment heating air via fuel doubling the energy output. Tata Motors of India assessed the design phase towards full production for the Indian market and moved into “completing detailed development of the compressed air engine into specific vehicle and stationary applications”.
Peugeot 2008 HYbrid air/hydraulic concept car
Peugeot 2008 HYbrid air/hydraulic cutaway
Petro-hydraulic configurations have been common in trains and heavy vehicles for decades. The auto industry recently focused on this hybrid configuration as it now shows promise for introduction into smaller vehicles.
In petro-hydraulic hybrids, the energy recovery rate is high and therefore the system is more efficient than electric battery charged hybrids using the current electric battery technology, demonstrating a 60% to 70% increase in energy economy in US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) testing. The charging engine needs only to be sized for average usage with acceleration bursts using the stored energy in the hydraulic accumulator, which is charged when in low energy demanding vehicle operation. The charging engine runs at optimum speed and load for efficiency and longevity. Under tests undertaken by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a hydraulic hybrid Ford Expedition returned 32 miles per US gallon (7.4 L/100 km; 38 mpg-imp) City, and 22 miles per US gallon (11 L/100 km; 26 mpg-imp) highway. UPS currently has two trucks in service using this technology.
Although petro-hydraulic hybrid technology has been known for decades, and used in trains and very large construction vehicles, high costs of the equipment precluded the systems from lighter trucks and cars. In the modern sense an experiment proved the viability of small petro-hydraulic hybrid road vehicles in 1978. A group of students at Minneapolis, Minnesota’s Hennepin Vocational Technical Center, converted a Volkswagen Beetle car to run as a petro-hydraulic hybrid using off-the shelf components. A car rated at 32mpg was returning 75mpg with the 60HP engine replaced by a 16HP engine. The experimental car reached 70 mph.
In the 1990s, a team of engineers working at EPA’s National Vehicle and Fuel Emissions Laboratory succeeded in developing a revolutionary type of petro-hydraulic hybrid powertrain that would propel a typical American sedan car. The test car achieved over 80 mpg on combined EPA city/highway driving cycles. Acceleration was 0-60 mph in 8 seconds, using a 1.9 liter diesel engine. No lightweight materials were used.The EPA estimated that produced in high volumes the hydraulic components would add only $700 to the base cost of the vehicle.
The petro-hydraulic hybrid system has faster and more efficient charge/discharge cycling than petro-electric hybrids and is also cheaper to build. The accumulator vessel size dictates total energy storage capacity and may require more space than an electric battery set. Any vehicle space consumed by a larger size of accumulator vessel may be offset by the need for a smaller sized charging engine, in HP and physical size.
Research is underway in large corporations and small companies. Focus has now switched to smaller vehicles. The system components were expensive which precluded installation in smaller trucks and cars. A drawback was that the power driving motors were not efficient enough at part load. A British company (Artemis Intelligent Power) made a breakthrough introducing an electronically controlled hydraulic motor/pump, the Digital Displacement® motor/pump. The pump is highly efficient at all speed ranges and loads, giving feasibility to small applications of petro-hydraulic hybrids. The company converted a BMW car as a test bed to prove viability. The BMW 530i, gave double the mpg in city driving compared to the standard car. This test was using the standard 3,000cc engine, with a smaller engine the figures would have been more impressive. The design of petro-hydraulic hybrids using well sized accumulators allows downsizing an engine to average power usage, not peak power usage. Peak power is provided by the energy stored in the accumulator. A smaller more efficient constant speed engine reduces weight and liberates space for a larger accumulator.
Current vehicle bodies are designed around the mechanicals of existing engine/transmission setups. It is restrictive and far from ideal to install petro-hydraulic mechanicals into existing bodies not designed for hydraulic setups. One research project’s goal is to create a blank paper design new car, to maximize the packaging of petro-hydraulic hybrid components in the vehicle. All bulky hydraulic components are integrated into the chassis of the car. One design has claimed to return 130mpg in tests by using a large hydraulic accumulator which is also the structural chassis of the car. The small hydraulic driving motors are incorporated within the wheel hubs driving the wheels and reversing to claw-back kinetic braking energy. The hub motors eliminates the need for friction brakes, mechanical transmissions, drive shafts and U joints, reducing costs and weight. Hydrostatic drive with no friction brakes are used in industrial vehicles. The aim is 170mpg in average driving conditions. Energy created by shock absorbers and kinetic braking energy that normally would be wasted assists in charging the accumulator. A small fossil fuelled piston engine sized for average power use charges the accumulator. The accumulator is sized at running the car for 15 minutes when fully charged. The aim is a fully charged accumulator which will produce a 0-60 mph acceleration speed of under 5 seconds using four wheel drive.
In January 2011 industry giant Chrysler announced a partnership with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to design and develop an experimental petro-hydraulic hybrid powertrain suitable for use in large passenger cars. In 2012 an existing production minvan was adapted to the new hydraulic powertrain for assessment.
PSA Peugeot Citroën exhibited an experimental “Hybrid Air” engine at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show. The vehicle uses nitrogen gas compressed by energy harvested from braking or deceleration to power a hydraulic drive which supplements power from its conventional gasoline engine. The hydraulic and electronic components were supplied by Robert Bosch GmbH. Mileage was estimated to be about 118 mpg on the Euro test cycle if installed in a Citroën C3 type of body. PSA Although the car was ready for production and was proven and feasible delivering the claimed results, Peugeot Citroën were unable to attract a major manufacturer to share the high development costs and are shelving the project until a partnership can be arranged.