Hybrid cars and trucks
are becoming more popular as petroleum based fuels have become more expense to obtain as the world supply diminishes. As technology improves on both the efficiency of the rechargeable battery packs and the increased motor output hybrids cars have become more feasible. Research in hybrid technology has been extensive and beneficial to extend the range and power aspects. The most noticeable advancements have been in the battery sector. The batteries that power a hybrid vehicle are composed of many cells connected together into "battery packs". These packs can be permanently mounted to the vehicle or designed for easy removal and replacement. The "quick change" design is beneficial for future deployment of "charge stations" that will enable long distance travel by replacing the battery pack within a couple minutes.
There is no doubt, the world will run low petroleum fuel sometime in the near future and hybrid/electric vehicles will be the solution. Automakers have taking notice of this forecast and have made changes in the car lineup that will enable them to respond to the new hybrid car demand. This lineup includes new models along with existing models that have been updated with the new hybrid design. A definition of "hybrid" means "more than one source of power" whereas an electric car is fully electrically powered with no alterative power source. A hybrid can be comprised of hydrogen and electric, petroleum fuel and electric and any other combination imaginable. The controller area network (CAN) incorporates high-speed communication busses to facilitate communication between the microprocessors and additional control systems. The multi-layer control system consists of electric motor controllers, battery management systems, transmission controller, engine controller, and electrical the power grid controller. The hybrid systems are more complex when integrated with an anti-lock brake system. Some hybrid system design controls complex systems such as regenerative brakes, main motor electrical power output/backup systems and switching between fuel and electrical power.
This system also controls the more normal aspects of the car such as anti-theft, climate control, window, light operation and entertainment systems. The computer system is separated into modules and connects via an information bus. As in most computer systems an automatic malfunction detection program is designed to alert the driver a malfunction has occurred. Once this system MIL (malfunction inductor lamp) has illuminated a diagnostic trouble code will be stored in the vehicle's computer and can be retrieved much like a fully petroleum based fuel car would. The method of code retrieval can vary from a self initiated request to a serial port design to allow a code reader or a lap top with a specific program to retrieve the trouble codes. Even though it true hybrid cars and trucks have less maintenance, the maintenance and service they do need will be more expensive. One of the largest maintenance items that will need little service compared to regular petroleum fuel car is the brake system. Because a hybrid's brake system is regenerative the energy normally lost in the brake process is now directed to the batteries in the form of electricity. Brake systems for conventional petroleum based cars utilize a hydraulic pressure system that creates friction via brake pads, shoes, drums and rotors to slow the vehicle. This action creates heat generated from the linear motion of a brake rotor or drum. This heat/friction energy is recovered in a regenerative braking system.
To increase range capabilities for the hybrid car an auxiliary battery pack can be installed on some models to help increase battery life. These extras battery packs are designed to boost the current system as a supplemental electric supply. Extended life batteries can be charged separately and carried onboard to increase travel distance. Additionally, after market battery manufactures have produced "extra life" main battery packs designed to replace the original battery pack. Some companies claim to have improved battery life more than 100 miles to the vehicle range.
Hybrid Car Advancement Categories
* Weight Reduction
* Lubrication Systems
* Wheels and Tires/Rolling Resistance
* Optical Systems
The body of the hybrid car is lighter than a conventional vehicle thus facilitating higher mileage. The tires are made of firm material and hold more air pressure to decrease drag. The batteries are charged by recovering brake energy (kinetic) and are recharged. Unlike the batteries of a conventional car the battery of a hybrid car differs in the internal structure and the amount of energy stored. The replacement of nickel with copper has made the hybrid battery more powerful but the cost is rising do to the increased demand of raw materials. A battery called a lithium ion is quickly becoming a viable alternative. They can produce more power with a shorter recharge rate.
A lightweight lithium ion battery also provides more power and a longer running time than copper based batteries. This increases the efficiency and acceleration of the car. The biggest advantage to users will be when lithium batteries are mass produced to hold down the cost. Some hybrid cars are now being produce have the option of "plug-in to charge" batteries. The user will plug in the vehicle to a conventional electrical outlet to charge. This technology is a major advancement and requires robust battery technology and an intelligent computer control system.
Toyota Hybrid Motorium ion batteries have cobalt oxide cathode material, which makes it more vulnerable to catch fire or explode. This is known as the thermal runaway effect. To defeat this condition manufacturers have now replaced the cobalt metal with phosphate. This provides the same charging power and energy storage when compared to cobalt oxide battery.
Scientists claim that the modern nickel metal hydride batteries, when compared to the traditional nickel cadmium and lead acid batteries cause less harm to the environment. Lead batteries are the most toxic followed by nickel and then lithium. Most manufacturers recycle many of the components of the battery. The parts are disassembled and divided into categories, plastic is shredded, metals and fluid extracted. The remainder of the contents is neutralized before it is sent into landfills.