Tech: How Do Hybrid Batteries Recharge?


A Primer on Hybrid Battery Care

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When the primary gasoline-electric hybrids autos started arriving in 1999 and 2000, early adopters did their analysis and had been fairly educated concerning the then-new and revolutionary transportation mode.

However the mass market was confused; these new vehicles had an extra battery to supply electrical energy to an electrical motor. For the uninformed, the query was: Does the battery must be plugged in to a hybrid automobile charger?

Hybrid & Plug-in hybrid batteries
When hybrids appeared most used nickel-metal-hydride batteries

This query was such a giant roadblock for growing gross sales that Toyota started an promoting marketing campaign for the Prius that clearly emphasised that plugging in was not essential. Simply often replenish the fuel tank and drive away.

Quick-forward about 10 years and a brand new kind of hybrid got here on the scene—the plug-in hybrid, and it does require plugging in to cost the onboard battery to maximise effectivity (with out plugging in it features like a traditional hybrid).

So, what’s the distinction between the 2 various kinds of hybrid autos? Right here’s a short overview.

Common Hybrids

Common hybrids recharge their onboard nickel-metal hydride or lithium-ion battery packs by reclaiming power via a course of known as regenerative braking. Throughout coasting or braking, the electrical motor that drives the wheels is electrically operated in reverse and acts as a generator. It takes with kinetic power that might usually be misplaced as warmth via conventional mechanical friction brakes and shops it as electrical power within the battery.

As well as, when within the generator mode, the inner combustion (often fuel) engine fees the battery pack.

Plug-in Hybrids

Hybrid & Plug-in hybrid batteries
As larger batteries had been wanted for plug-in hybrids, lithium-ion has change into the battery of alternative

Common hybrids may be pushed brief distances at speeds as much as 40 miles on battery energy alone, however plug-in hybrids can drive, relying on make and model, anyplace from 15 to 53 miles utilizing solely electrical energy. That is completed by utilizing a a lot bigger, extra highly effective lithium-ion battery pack. Nevertheless it must be plugged in to {an electrical} outlet to keep up the electric-only vary.

This characteristic permits the automobile to carry out like a pure electrical automobile and fewer like a standard gasoline automobile, all of the whereas delivering distinctive gas mileage.

As for plugging in to cost the battery, there are 4 choices:

  • Commonplace 120-volt family outlet with a charging time of three to eight hours, relying on automobile.
  • A 220-volt house charging system cuts charging time by half or extra.
  • Public charging stations occasions are equal or lower than 220-volt house charging methods.
  • Quick-charging with a DC charger (with suitable autos) can minimize the cost time to a half hour or much less.
2023 Toyota Prius
To plug or to not plug–that’s the alternative

Plug-in hybrids present many of the advantages of an electrical automobile, whereas sustaining the effectivity and driving vary of an everyday hybrid, which eliminates the “vary nervousness” of pure electrical autos. Plug-in hybrid drivers can journey in an all-electric mode for the overwhelming majority of typical native driving. When the battery’s electrical cost is depleted, the standard hybrid system powers the automobile till the subsequent alternative to plug in and recharge the batteries.

There are selections now within the hybrid world and the shopping for public is studying to stay with each varieties.

[Ed. note: Larry originally wrote this in 2016, but since Toyota is still advertising about its hybrid “that doesn’t need to be plugged in,” we thought it was worth updating and repeating.]

A number of the high selections amongst hybrids and plug-in hybrids we’ve examined:

Highway Check: 2022 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

Flash Drive: 2023 Toyota Prius Hybrid

Highway Check: 2022 Ford F-150 Hybrid

Highway Check: 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee Plug-in Hybrid

Flash Drive: 2023 Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-in Hybrid

Highway Check: 2022 Kia Niro Plug-in Hybrid




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