Hybrid Vehicles

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The much greater range offered by gasoline engines and the much cleaner operation of battery-electric and fuel cell vehicles are the major impetus for the development of hybrid vehicles. A hybrid vehicle is defined as a vehicle with at least two modes of propulsion. Today, most hybrid vehicles combine an internal combustion engine (either gasoline or diesel) and an electric motor powered by batteries. The choice is not, however, limited to these and other primary sources of power such as gas turbines and fuel cells; other types of storage devices, such as flywheels and ultracapacitors, are occasionally being used.

The idea of hybrid vehicles is not new. The French Kriéger Company, originally established to produce electric cars, introduced the first alcohol-electric hybrid car in 1902, a gasoline version in 1904, and a turbine-electric hybrid shortly before it became bankrupt in 1909. With the advent of the starter motor in 1911, much of the lure of electric and hybrid vehicles vanished and, until the oil crisis of 1973, no major research was carried out. To secure a foothold in the future automotive market, Japanese companies initiated a major investment in producing hybrid vehicles; in 1999, Honda released its two-door Insight, the first hybrid car to hit the American markets. The Insight received an EPA mileage rating of 61 mpg city and 70 mpg highway. Until recently, the Honda Insight, Honda Civic, and Toyota Prius were the only hybrid vehicles available to the public in the United States. The performance of the three major Japanese hybrids are compared and given in Table 14-8. As of 2005, almost all major automotive manufacturing companies have been introducing passenger, SUV, and pickup hybrids.


(1) Toossi Reza, "Energy and the Environment:Sources, technologies, and impacts", Verve Publishers, 2005

Further Reading

Tillman, D., Fuels of Opportunity: Characteristics and Uses In Combustion Systems, Academic Press, 2004.

Sorensen, K., Hydrogen and Fuel Cells: Emerging Technologies and Applications, Academic Press, 2005.

Dhameia, S., Electric Vehicle Battery Systems, Academic Press, 2001.

Hussain, I., Electric and Hybrid Vehicles: Design Fundamentals, CRC Press, LLC. 2003.

Jefferson, C.M., and Barnard, R. H., Hybrid Vehicle Propulsion, WIT Press, 2002.

Spelberg, D. The Hydrogen Energy Transition: Moving Toward the Post Petroleum Age in Transportation, Academic Press, 2004.

Fuel, Direct Science Elsevier Publishing Company, Fuel focuses on primary research work in the science and technology of fuel and energy fuel science.

Transportation Research Part C: Emerging Technologies, Direct Science Elsevier Publishing Company; this journal focuses on scholarly research on development, application, and implications in the fields of transportation, control systems, and telecommunications, among others.

Fuel Cells Bulletin, Direct Science Elsevier Publishing Company, Fuel Cells Bulletin is the leading source of technical and business news for the fuel cells sector.

International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, Direct Science Elsevier Publishing Company, Quarterly journal covering various aspects of hydrogen energy, including production, storage, transmission, and utilization, as well as economical and environmental aspects.

External Links

US Department of Transportation (http://www.dot.gov).

US Department of Energy (http://www.doe.gov).

US Environmental Protection Agency (http://www.epa.gov).

National Energy Renewable Laboratory Hybrid Electric &Fuel Cell Vehicles (http://www.nrel.gov/vehiclesandfuels/hev).

FreedomCar (http://www.eere.energy.gov/vehiclesandfuels).