How Does A Hybrid Car Work?

What’s a hybrid Vehicle?

The hybrid power plant of a modern vehicle is a combination of a conventional engine and an electric motor. As a result, such a hybrid provides not only minimal fuel consumption, but also a relative purity of exhaust gases. Immediately, we note that the efficiency is directly dependent on the capacity of the storage batteries – the larger their capacity, the higher the price of the car itself.

Despite the fact that the trend towards environmental friendliness of transport is only increasing along with the number of exclusively electric vehicles, the hybrid car remains a popular option for those who care about nature and value their comfort.

Types of Hybrid Vehicles

Depending on the role of the electric motor in the power plant, hybrids are subdivided into mild hybrids and full hybrids.

Mild hybrids

Mild hybrids moderate, in which the electric motor is only an assistant to the engine. These cars have mild hybrids identification.

Full Hybrid Vehicles

Such cars are able to cover some distance solely on electric traction. This engine is called full hybrids.

You may hear about the so-called micro hybrids, but this, in fact, is nothing more than a successful marketing solution, intended more for advertising purposes. Micro-Hybrid is a kind of generator with more advanced functions. We are more interested in hybrid engines, in which the torque is transmitted directly to the wheels of the car. Note that hybrids tend to convert kinetic energy and store it in the form of electricity during braking.

How a hybrid car works: image

The Interaction Engine

Hybrid cars are designed according to three engine interaction schemes.

Series Hybrid Drive Construction

This principle of the device is the simplest version of a hybrid automobile engine. Its scheme of work is as follows: the torque from the internal combustion engine goes to the generator. The generator then generates the electricity required for operation and transfers it to the battery. Additionally, the battery is recharged by the kinetic energy recovery process. In this scheme, the movement of the car is carried out only by electric traction.

Series Hybrid Drive Construction: image
Series Hybrid Drive Construction

Parallel hybrid drive construction

This scheme received this name because the car engines work constantly together. The principle of operation of this type of interaction of two modules occurs due to the electronics of the car, the electric motor and the internal combustion engine. Both engines are connected to the gearbox via planetary gear.
Such hybrids are able to run on electric energy for a short time, while the internal combustion engine is disconnected from the transmission by the clutch.

Parallel Hybrid Drive Construction: image
Parallel hybrid drive construction

Series-parallel hybrid drive construction

The very name of this circuit indicates that this type is a variant of combining the two previously considered circuits: sequential and parallel. The movement of the car at low speed and its start from a standstill is carried out only by the power of the electrical part. The internal combustion engine supports the operation of the auto generator, as with a sequential interaction scheme. The transmission of torque from the internal combustion engine to the wheels occurs when driving at high speed.

Series parallel hybrid drive construction: image
Series-parallel hybrid drive construction

Сomponents and operation principle of hybrid vehicles

The most common mode of operation of a hybrid engine is that when a car is moving at low speed, for example, within a city, its electric unit is used. When the car is moving along the highway, the internal combustion engine (ICE) is switched on. In case of heavy load, for example, during sharp uphill climbs, both motors are switched on.

Of course, the advantages of such a device include the fact that when using an electric engine, fuel consumption is significantly reduced, since it runs on constantly replenished battery energy. Hybrids are characterized by low power, which helps to compensate for the internal combustion engine.

Engines in hybrids can be either gasoline or diesel.

Design of a hybrid vehicles

Internal combustion engine (ICE)

Its design and dimensions are designed to reduce weight, emissions and fuel consumption.

Electric motor

The electric motor is designed with the hybrid in mind. It was not only generated by working with a fuel block, but also paid special attention to power indicators. In parallel, it generates energy to recharge the vehicle’s battery. It can be made built into the power plant or placed separately from it, in some models both options are used at once.

The Transmission System

The operation of the hybrid transmission is virtually the same as on conventional cars. But, depending on the type of hybrid engine, they may differ. Transmissions in them are both hybrid with an integrated electric motor, and conventional mechanical and automatic versions. For example, the transmission of a Toyota car is designed with power flow branching. An engine of this type operates in a smooth load mode, which helps to significantly save fuel consumption.

Fuel Tank

Required to supply the internal combustion engine with fuel. To make it clear that the fuel system has a number of advantages, I would like to cite one fact in favor of this: the energy obtained during the combustion of 1 liter of gasoline is comparable to the energy generated by a battery weighing about 450 kg.

Power supply

Its main function is to generate enough energy to run the electric motor. The car uses two batteries, a high-voltage and a regular 12(V) to power the on-board network. Initially, before starting all systems, power is supplied only from a standard battery, since constant cooling is required for the operation of the high-voltage battery and the inverter.

Inverter converts the high-voltage battery DC current into three-phase AC for the electric motor and vice versa. It also regulates power distribution and controls the electric motor.

Electric Generator

Its principle of operation is the same as that of an electric motor, but aimed at generating electrical energy.

Ket Components HEV: image

Hybrid cars: Pros and Cons

Is it worth buying a hybrid car? This question torments many motorists looking for a new vehicle. The advantages and disadvantages of such a car will help to clearly define what a hybrid car means and how it is used by modern drivers.

The main benefits of a hybrid vehicle include:

  • Economical fuel consumption. 25% less than in car models that run only on internal combustion engines.
  • Environmental friendliness. Reducing the amount of gasoline that a car needs to move also reduces the amount of exhaust gases that enter the planet’s atmosphere.
  • Silence. The reduced power of the internal combustion engine provides a lower noise when the vehicle is moving.
  • Increase the range on a single charge. The full hybrid powertrain is capable of continuing to operate even when the tank runs out of fuel.
  • Accumulation of energy. The use of the regenerative braking principle reduces energy consumption and increases the vehicle’s range.

If you want to know 100% what a hybrid car is, check out its disadvantages as well:

  • Price. On average, hybrid models are 50% more expensive than conventional models.
  • Maintainability. It is more difficult to repair a hybrid installation, so the cost of repairs will be more expensive.
  • Batteries. Lithium-ion batteries lose their maximum charge over time.
  • Quiet work. According to statistics, hybrids are 20% more likely to get into accidents involving pedestrians who cannot hear them. Buy models with a special sound signal to avoid this.


What is a hybrid car? This is the confidence that you will be able to continue your journey even after you run out of fuel. A hybrid is a car with a unique combination of different technologies that make traffic more efficient and economical.

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