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Welcome arrow Articles arrow Environment arrow Hybrid technology: Is this the answer we have been looking for?
Hybrid technology: Is this the answer we have been looking for? PDF Print E-mail

Hybrids currently have the potential to resolve the problem of our constantly depleting energy reserves, as well as preventing, to a certain extent, increased global warming, but in the long-term it is fuel-cell vehicles, which use non-polluting hydrogen to generate electricity, that may be the ultimate answer.  For now, though, there are hybrids such as the Prius; there are others however. 

In the United States, Honda pioneered the hybrid with its quirky Insight, a tiny, aerodynamically efficient machine that really was of little practical use.  It did though get the Japanese automaker on the hybrid map and now there is a Civic Hybrid and an Accord.  Meanwhile U.S. giant General Motors has produced hybrid versions of its popular Chevrolet pick-up, the Silverado.  American rival Ford has produced a hybrid version of its mid-sized 4x4, the Escape, while its Mercury division has the Mariner hybrid, based principally on Escape mechanicals.

Hybrid technology combines the efficiency of an electric motor, which of course offers zero pollution, with the pow er of a petrol engine available when required.  Only the electric motor is used on start-up and at low- to mid-range speeds.  When cruising both this motor and the engine drive the car, while a generator also charges the battery.  On hard acceleration the battery supplies additional energy to boost power, while, again, both units provide smooth acceleration.

An additional benefit is the regenerative braking system, which recovers kinetic energy and further charges the battery.

Hybrids may not be the ultimate answer, but for now it is a sensible – and readily available – solution.

 

 
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© 2018 Jeff Heselwood. All rights reserved.
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