How Electric Hybrid Cars Work

[fusion_text]voltIf you haven’t been following hybrid vehicle technology you may be surprised to learn that not all electric hybrids work in the same way. For example Honda’s Integrated Motor Assist technology that they use in the Honda Insight is quite different to the Hybrid Synergy Drive that you will find in a Toyota Prius while what we will see in the Chevy Volt when it arrives here in 2011 has some similarities to what Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive but in other ways is quite different.

In the Honda system the petrol engine is turning all the time but not actually supplying power all the time however it will cut in once the vehicle reaches around 45km/h. At speeds below 45km/h the Insight is running on battery power alone.

In the Toyota system the petrol engine is completely switched off and remains off if your around town at relatively low speeds and only cuts in if you accelerate hard or the battery becomes depleted.

The Chevy Volt also uses a system where the petrol engine remains switched off when the battery is charged but the petrol engine doesn’t switch on at any time unless the battery has become depleted.

Why does the Chevy Volt keep the petrol engine switched off while there’s some charge left in the battery? Simply because the electric motor provides 370 Nm of instant torque … in layman’s terms that’s more than enough torque to get a jump on everyone at the lights … and that means that it doesn’t need any help from the petrol engine.

To give you a better idea of how the system works on the Chevy Volt here’s a short video that will explain it very clearly.

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How Electric Hybrid Cars Work
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