The hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) is similar to the automobiles we use today. It differs only in that it has 2 “engines.” Today some companies are using gasoline or diesel internal combustion “heat” engines (or ICEs), a few are using electricity-generating microturbines, and a few are using fuel cells.

The ICE in today’s gasoline-only vehicles is “sized” according to the vehicle, based on peak load requirements such as accelerating and hill climbing. Battery electric vehicles (BEVs), while considered to be pollution-free, lack extended ranges, rapid recharge and charging infrastructure. Batteries are also heavy. Hybrid-electric vehicles (HEVs) are a lighter, cleaner, and more fuel-efficient alternative to overcome these challenges. The HEV uses the electric motor as an additional power source during peak load conditions.

In general, hybrid-electric production cars are equipped with a small gasoline or diesel ICE (1 liter) in conjunction with batteries and an electric traction motor. Some HEV gasoline or diesel engines have direct fuel injection into the combustion chamber. For lower emissions, diesel-electric hybrid transit buses are now using small engines. One bus configuration uses micro-turbines powered by propane to generate power.

Two basic HEV configurations exist:

The series hybrid system uses a small engine that burns fuel to power a generator to produce electricity. This is then sent to one or several electric motors to drive the wheels.

Parallel-hybrid systems have two power paths. The wheels are powered by either the heat engine (fuel burning) or the electric propulsion system.

With hybrid electric vehicles, the heat engine is downsized to its maximum efficiency and can run at the highest torque RPM to drive the vehicle as well as to power the battery charging generator. Hybrid electric cars (HEVs), which are designed to reduce fuel consumption, emissions, and range issues while increasing efficiency and reducing weight and size, can help cut down on both. Hybrid electric cars (HEVs), in addition to reducing CO2 [global heating], also reduce fuel consumption and emissions.

Protean Electric is one such company that manufactures and designs Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs), a fully-integrated, in-wheel-motor, direct-drive solutions. Protean Electric’s patented in-wheel motor design and distributed architecture revolutionize the integration of electric powertrains for mass-produced vehicles.

Protean Drive (TM) has been developed by Protean Electric and is the most advanced electric drive system in wheels for hybrid, battery-electric, and plug-in hybrid light-duty vehicles. Wheel motors can improve fuel efficiency depending on the vehicle and driving modes.

This unique, patented design also has the highest power and torque density of any electric drive system. It incorporates motor control electronics as well as regenerative brakes inside each motor assembly. Each Protean Drive motor in the wheel can deliver 110 hp 81kW and 590 lb.ft. 800Nm, yet only weighs 31kg (68lbs). It is also sized so that it fits within a standard 18-inch roadwheel. Simple design allows for more power per motor and easier vehicle integration.

The motor wheels can be used to create hybrid vehicles by adding them to FWD and RWD cars or trucks with internal combustion engines. The technology in hybrid applications is “driver-selectable.” This means that the driver can choose between three modes of operation: all-electric (city/stop-and-go traffic, low-emission zones) or hybrid (combined constant speed and slow speeds). This allows for a safer vehicle by providing a torque control system that is independent.

Hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) Benefits:

  • >> Provides the power and torque needed for the electrification of full-size sedans and SUVs without compromising on performance.
  • >> Allows for full regenerative brakes in normal driving. This allows large vehicles to emit less CO2 than small city cars and increases electric range up to 50 percent.
  • >> Provides a unique motor/inverter with a high torque and power density. This eliminates the requirement for a separate power electronics module.
  • >> In-wheel package, saving a lot of space for the passengers, the load and the batteries. It also eliminates the need for drive shafts, differentials and transmissions.
  • >> Allows advanced vehicle dynamics by independent “torque-vectoring” torque control at each wheel.
  • >> Intended for automated mass production of high volumes at low costs.
  • >> Supplied as reference control system software, which is used to control all the essential functions of an electronic control unit for electric vehicles and brake control.

Toyota and Honda are also companies that manufacture and design Hybrid electric cars (HEVs). Toyota and Honda have produced some HEVs.

Toyota Prius.Toyota 4 cyl. The “Generation 1 hybrid” seats five and achieves around 50 mpg.

Toyota Prius Underhood

Honda Insight HEV. Honda’s 3 cyl. Seats two and gets 70 mpg>

Honda Insight Underhood.

A report by the American Methanol Institute predicts that seven to twenty percent of new cars sold by 2020 will be fuel-cell powered. In the future, there will be an era when multiple engines and power sources are available simultaneously.

Those who repair and service today’s cars will still have plenty to do. Hybrid vehicles have two different power sources, which means that those who are trained and equipped to service and repair hybrid vehicles will be busy.

Under the President’s PNGV (Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles), the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Advanced Automotive Technology and GM, Ford, and Chrysler are working together to develop a range of vehicles that offer all the comfort, performance, and efficiency of today’s cars while achieving 80 miles-per-gallon.

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