Hybrid Electric Vehicle – Down to the Parts

With all the great news from the auto industry introducing another hybrid vehicle or another electric vehicle, this article explores a bit what such vehicles are made of. What are the differences with the conventional petrol car and what might the future hold for them?

The first difference you see these days is that both the electric vehicle and the hybrid vehicle come with a plug to charge it at home; the conventional vehicle has not. The conventional vehicle also has no electric engine to power the wheels or a large battery to power this engine. The conventional car of course does have a battery, but that is just used for starting the internal combustion engine and it acts as a buffer for the electrical systems used. Power in the conventional vehicle is generated by the combustion engine.

For an electric vehicle, there are two main components: the electric motor and the battery. The electric motor is the one to power the wheels of the vehicle and the battery is used to bring along energy for the trip. They almost all have the option of regenerative braking, which allows one to recover energy when slowing down and charging the battery a little while doing so. This is a great method to increase the overall efficiency for a vehicle! Further more there is often a special battery management system (BMS) which ensures the battery is kept at the right temperature and is not charged or discharged in a way that can damage the battery.

For a hybrid vehicle there are a few more main components: besides the electric motor and the battery, there is also an onboard power source like the conventional combustion engine (but also a fuel cell is used for example). Additionally, there is a system that somehow connects the power from the battery and the for example combustion engine and gets it to the wheels. There are many ways to do this last step, the simplest being that the combustion engine would be used as a generator to power the electric motor with electricity. Excess electricity is stored in the battery for future use. Another method is to have a special gear set combine the mechanical power from the combustion engine and the electric engine and get them to the wheels. There are also manufacturers who power one set of wheels with the combustion engine and the other set of wheels with the electric engine. A big advantage of the hybrid vehicle is that it can use the very efficient electric engine at lower speeds (for example urban areas) and the combustion engine for extra power on the highways or for extra range.

To sum it up, an electric vehicle consists of:

– Electric Engine
– Battery

A hybrid vehicle consists of:

– Electric Engine
– Battery
– Energy source (internal combustion engine, fuel cell, etc)

The disadvantages of the electric vehicle and the hybrid are mostly the cost. Compared to the conventional car they can cost more to purchase. This has two main reasons; the first being that the conventional car is mass-manufactured which makes it cheaper (compare one million units produces versus one thousand units produced) and the second is the current price of batteries. Batteries at the moment are the biggest cost within the vehicle, the larger your battery is, the larger the cost is in the total price of the vehicle.

Another disadvantage which currently mostly applies to the electric vehicle, is the range it can cover. Current vehicles are of such a weight and their batteries can only hold a certain amount of power. Comparing the electric vehicle to a conventional petrol car they can cover a lot less ground on a full charge or tank. The first argument to counter this disadvantage is that most people do not drive distances that can not be covered by an electric vehicle. Current electric vehicles can cover about double or four times the daily distance required by many people! However, there are three movements currently helping to overcome the range anxiety problem. The first is the battery manufacturer, which improves the technology so that the battery will weigh less and can contain more power. The second is the charging industry, where solutions are found in fast charging. Conventional charging can take up to eight hours to charge your vehicle. The goal is to reduce this to an acceptable amount of mere minutes. The third force is heading for battery swapping; much like a petrol station, an electric vehicle can swap the empty battery for a fully charged one.

For the future of the electric vehicle and the hybrid there are many options, the most popular ones are:

– Fuel Cells
– Fast Charging of batteries
– Better batteries that weigh less and hold more power
– Battery swapping stations
– New car design options

Lots to expect from the electric vehicle and the hybrid vehicle!

Mitsubishi Recalls 14,700 Electric Vehicles

In yet another body blow for the electric vehicle industry it was today revealed that Mitsubishi Motors Corporation is recalling 14,700 electric vehicles due to brake problems. These issues are exclusively associated with the company’s electric vehicles and even though this recall is relatively small compared to the number of petrol vehicles which have been recalled over the years it is still around 50% of overall sales of these particular vehicles.

What cars are being recalled?

The company has revealed that 3,400 i-MiEV EVs and 2,400 MINICAB-MiEV vehicles have been recalled in Japan with around 8,900 i-MiEV vehicles also being recalled in Europe. While there have been no accidents directly associated with the ongoing brake problem the company has obviously erred on the side of caution with regards to such an important aspect of the vehicle. It is believed that only one particular part of the braking system has been found to have problems and this will be relatively easy for the company to fix once the cars have been recalled.

What is the cost of this recall?

While the number of vehicles set to be recalled is relatively small, and the direct financial implications are relatively minor in the overall picture, it is more the image of the company and EVs which will suffer. If you look back towards the end of 2012 we had the issue of the Nissan Leaf battery problem which was headline news for some time and did more damage to the electric vehicle industry. This fresh issue will be headline news for the next few days at a time when the electric vehicle industry is looking to penetrate the worldwide consumer sector.

Does this impact Mitsubishi’s electric vehicle strategy?

While there is no doubt this has done short-term damage to the reputation of Mitsubishi it is also worth noting that the company has erred on the side of caution and recalled these vehicles before there have been any accidents. The issue itself relates to the distance at which a vehicle will travel when under braking which has been extended due to problems with an electric pump. Historically we have seen scandals in other areas of the automobile industry where issues and problems have been ignored for some time but Mitsubishi has reacted as soon as possible.

In some ways we should be taking our hats off to the company for the speed at which it has reacted, the fact that no accidents have been directly linked the problem and the fact that vehicles will be repaired at no cost to the owner.

One step forward, two steps back with the electric vehicle industry

At this moment in time it seems as if the electric vehicle market takes one step forward and two steps back with a number of high-profile issues having grabbed the headlines. This does mask to a great extent developments in technology and battery power which have made the modern-day electric vehicle very different to that of its counterpart just 10 years ago or even five years ago. Once these “issues” have been ironed out then we should see more positive feedback and more positive headlines about the industry although at the moment Mitsubishi Electric Vehicles are certainly grabbing more than their fair share of media attention.

Conclusion

It will be interesting to see how consumers react to this latest difficulty with an electric vehicle as it does nothing for the sector’s public relations. It is very easy to get scared about certain issues such as this announced by Mitsubishi but the fact is that the company highlighted the problem, there have been no accidents and all vehicles affected have been recalled. Whether the speed at which new electric vehicles are released to the market slows down in the short to medium term, with perhaps more safety checks and testing required, remains to be seen.

Electric Vehicles: The Dream of the Young

While many people seem to have varying options about electric vehicles, the younger generation seems to be excited about the prospect of cars running on electricity. No matter what kind of car it is they approve of having all electric cars. Electric vehicles do have many benefits such as great fuel mileage and great efficiency, and this seems to be a great point to many young people.

Why the Fascination?

Since electric vehicles seem to run silently and be an innovative vehicle, it seems to have beaten out the older days of engines that shook the ground with their rumblings. Today it seems that silence is more important and leaves quiet time for thinking. Today’s young people seem to have a fascination with a style that allows quietness and uniqueness instead of conformity.

Just Thinking…

If young people enjoy these electric vehicles so much then perhaps it is time to start catering to them. Today many companies are creating electric cars for kids. These types of vehicles are very popular and even parents seem to enjoy what they have to offer. Electric vehicles for kids are far beyond the light foot powered kid cars of yester years!

The Issue of Weight and Safety

Among adults one concern that many people have with electric vehicles surrounds the issues of safety and weight. Various countries have electric vehicles of various models that are being used but most of them fail when it comes to passing safety tests in America. While the batteries in electric vehicles do add some weight to the vehicles, the electric cars are still quite light, which of course does make them more efficient.

One electric vehicle that was made by Chrysler a few years ago was actually not much more than a golfing car that had been re-worked. There was a lot of marketing done for the vehicle but many seemed disinterested in this product. Although the product really did not sell, the company did meet certain goals that it found important.

Driving around town usually results in traveling slower, and many times electric vehicles are great for these lower speeds. In the future, there may be electric vehicles that weight more, and then perhaps they will be able to meet the safety standards of the United States. Although it has not happened yet, one can still hope. In spite of the disadvantages, many young people are still interested in electric vehicles and perhaps in the future there will be greater success with these vehicles in America.

Electric Vehicles

Nowadays people have more varied choices in buying vehicles and cars. As now they have the option of electric vehicles. But what exactly electric vehicle is? In simple words an electric vehicle, or EV, is a vehicle with one or more electric motors for propulsion. Thus, the motion may be provided either by wheels or propellers driven by rotary motors, or in the case of tracked vehicles, by linear motors.

The energy used to propel these kind of can be obtained from various sources such as:

1. From chemical energy stored on the vehicle in on-board batteries: Battery electric vehicle

2. From both an on-board rechargeable energy storage system (RESS) and fueled propulsion power source: hybrid vehicle

3. Generated on-board using a combustion engine, as in a diesel-electric locomotive

4. Generated on-board using a fuel cell: fuel cell vehicle

5. Generated on-board using nuclear energy, on nuclear submarines and aircraft carriers

6. From more esoteric sources such as flywheels, wind and solar

7. From a direct connection to land-based generation plants, as is common in electric trains and trolley buses

Electric vehicles generally use electric motors used to drive vehicles because they can be finely controlled, they deliver power efficiently and they are mechanically very simple. Moreover these electric motors often achieve 90% conversion efficiency over the full range of speeds and power output and can be precisely controlled. Thus it won’t be wrong to say that these electric motors can provide high torque while an electric vehicle is stopped, unlike internal combustion engines, and do not need gears to match power curves.

These days electric vehicle is designed in two ways those are Battery Electric Vehicles and Hybrid vehicles. Battery Electric Vehicles covert chemical energy to electrical energy in batteries; whereas Hybrid vehicles, which convert chemical energy to electrical energy via an internal combustion engine and a generator. However, there is another less established form of electric vehicle which is the ‘plug-in hybrid’. This ‘plug-in hybrid’ attempts to combine the benefits of both these designs and allows the moderate capacity batteries of a hybrid vehicle to be recharged not only from the internal combustion engine and generator.

Electric Vehicles include electric wheelchairs, the Segway HT, electric motorcycles and scooters, motorized bicycles, golf carts and neighborhood electric vehicles. Furthermore some working electric vehicles include heavy work equipment, fork lifts, and numerous other service and support vehicles. Thus, if you are an environment conscious then electric vehicle is best for you.