Hybrid cars are among the milestones and latest breakthroughs in the automotive or motor industry. These sophisticated and versatile selections of cars are designed and engineered to use multiple power types. The principle or concept behind this magnificent modern creature is the combination of a gasoline engine and an electric motor.
It is a remarkable display of two opposite forces working together in a harmonious relationship. In this set-up, the engine and the motor can work together, or one of them can shoulder all the work. However, a lot of people still wonder if it’s possible to drive a hybrid car without a battery.
Can you still drive a hybrid without the battery? If you find yourself trying to figure out the right answer to this question. I’ll make it easier for you. There is NO exact correct answer to this question because the real answer is that it will depend on what kind of hybrid system the car has.
Or I can also put it this way. Hybrid vehicles are divided into three major categories; the full hybrid, mild hybrid, and plug-in hybrid. Within these categories, there are a number of ways a hybrid can be set up; it can either be series, parallel, or a combination of the two.
With that said, the behavior of a hybrid car will depend on its system configuration. This means that how a hybrid car will react when one of its vital components fail is based on its system configurations.
In short, there are hybrid cars that can still run without its battery, and there are hybrids that can’t run without its battery. To have a better picture or understanding with regards to this answer, you’ll first have to understand how hybrid vehicles work.
The nature of hybrid cars depends on their system and how they are configured or set up. This includes the source of power they use, how the power sources work with each other, the way they will react when one component breaks down.
In this article, you will learn everything that you need to know about hybrid vehicles. It will shed light on how these vehicles work, discuss its different categories, tackle its various configurations, and anything related to hybrids.
Taking an In-Depth Look of Hybrid Cars and Their Technology
To determine if a hybrid car can still run without the battery. We first have to understand what are hybrid vehicles and technologies beyond them. Starting from its main definition, all the way to its major components and how they work.
Those are the essential things that we have to learn and understand. We also have to take a look at each type of hybrids and their distinct set-ups. So, let’s not waste any more time and start digging deeper.
1. Defining a Hybrid Vehicle and Highlighting Its Major Distinction
A hybrid automobile, commonly referred to as “hybrid” is a vehicle engineered and designed to rely on two different sources of power. It is a sophisticated kind of vehicle that uses cutting-edge technologies to combine a gasoline engine with an electric motor, creating a system that capitalizes on regenerative braking.
With a system that has two main energy sources, a hybrid runs through its gas engine, electric-powered motor, or both, depending on its build. Unlike conventional vehicles. Hybrids have two batteries, the traditional twelve-volt automotive battery and a separate high-voltage power cell to provide power.
The hybrid system refills or recharge the other cell through the process of regenerative braking, the process of picking up the energy generated when the car is decelerating. Hybrids also use their petrol engine for charging and maintaining the batteries.
2. Understanding the 3 Major Categories of Hybrid Vehicles
Hybrids are classified into three main categories, and each type of hybrid has a unique system structure and configuration. Each hybrid type also has a distinct set-up that includes how the two power sources should work with each other.
To get a better picture of each of the set-up and understand how the configuration of system significant on how hybrids operate, take a closer look at each category below.
2-1: Full Hybrid Electric Vehicles (FHEV)
The first type of hybrid vehicle is referred to as the “Full Hybrid” or FHEV. Hybrids under this category are engineered and designed run by relying on one of the power sources alone or both the power sources.
These cars are able to run through engine combustion, electric motor, or the combination of both. Full hybrids are also designed not to be plugged because its engine combustion is responsible for charging the batteries.
2-2: Mild Hybrid Electric Vehicles
Mild hybrids are vehicles that feature a belt-driven alternator/starter (BAS) design and built with a petrol engine and electric-powered motor. These hybrid cars are engineered to run through both power sources that are working together.
Cars under this mild-hybrid classification can’t run one power source alone. They are designed to operate when the fuel engine and electric motor are working in parallel.
2-3: Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV)
This hybrid vehicle classification features a distinct combination of a petrol engine and electric-powered motor. Vehicles under this category are equipped with larger batteries that require them to be plugged-in for charging.
Plug-in hybrids are designed to run through its electric motor alone. These cars also feature a system that allows them to operate using its fuel-injected engine.
That’s it for the three major classifications of hybrid vehicles. As you can see, each hybrid type has a distinct feature that involves battery size, mode of operation, and how they use the electric motor and the petrol engine.
It also clearly shows that there are hybrid cars that can run with only one source of power. And there are also those that require both the motor and engine to work together.
An Overview on the Different Power Train Systems of Hybrid Cars
Apart from the three major types of hybrid cars. These vehicles are also classified according to the architectural organization of their major components; engine, motors, and generators.
How these hybrid system components are configured is referred to as a power train. And there are three kinds of power train systems used in hybrid vehicles, namely parallel, series and power-split. Learn more about them below.
1. Parallel Hybrid Power Train System
The parallel power train system is the most common architectural configuration used on hybrid cars. In this hybrid set-up both the petrol engine and electric-powered motor of the vehicle are mechanically connected to the car’s transmission to provide traction.
A parallel drive train also relies on the regenerative braking to charge its battery. However, if the power requirements or demands are low within the system, this set-up converts the motor to a generator to provide the charging requirements of the battery, functioning like an alternator.
Parallel systems increase a hybrid’s efficiency when driving on the highway. This is because the petrol engine has a mechanical connection with the wheels. Due to this connection, the conversion of mechanical energy to power and vice versa is smoother and more effective.
2. Series Hybrid Power Train System
When it comes to the series power train design, only the electric motor is mechanically connected with the wheels to provide traction. In this set-up, the electric motor runs by getting the power it needs from either battery or generator operated by the petrol engine.
Where a computer measures the amount of power, both the generator and the battery delivered. This power train hybrid system utilizes both the petrol engine and the regenerative braking to charge the battery pack.
Hybrid vehicles with a series of power train are equipped with smaller engines since it only has to deliver enough amount of power to meet the demands. However, these vehicles also need powerful batteries because they have to shoulder the remaining power requirements.
The best thing about the series power train system is its exceptional performance on “stop-and-go” traffic situations. This is because it allows the car’s computer to only use the battery for powering the motor.
3. Power-Split Hybrid Power Train System
The power-spit hybrid architecture is a mixed series and parallel drivetrain system that incorporates the first two power train systems.
In this set-up, a differential gear is used to connect the petrol engine with a generator and the drive shaft, which is also connected with the electric motor. This makes it similar to the parallel power train system where both the combustion engine and electric motor are mechanically linked to the wheels, allowing them to run the vehicle.
Due to the added electrical generator added in this drivetrain, its mechanical set-up is more versatile because it can offer various operation modes. Hybrids with this kind of power train system are more flexible since they can be driven by the combustion engine alone, the electric motor itself, or both of them working together.
The best thing about the power-split drivetrain is its ability that allows the car to be driven in both parallel and series modes operation. With its versatility and flexibility, the power-split hybrid power train system maximizes the fuel efficiency of the hybrid car. It significantly reduces the vehicle’s fuel consumption within the range of 10% to 50%.
Having the ability to be driven with only the engine or electric motor, where the added generator is running the motor. The maximum fuel efficiency of the hybrid can be realized by switching through the series or parallel modes depending on the driving or traffic conditions.
This means that when driving with low-speed ratings, the hybrid can run through the series drivetrain, then switch to the parallel drivetrain when driving with a higher speed rating.
However, a power-split configuration is a costly set-up compared with the series and parallel. This is because the drivetrain has the addition of the generator, it requires a larger power cell, and it needs to have a more powerful computer to control its operation modes.
You are now familiar with the three power train systems used in hybrid vehicles. Keep in mind that classifying a hybrid car based on drivetrain or architectural configuration is the same as its type. If you take a closer look, a full hybrid car (FHEV) may have any of those drivetrains, while hybrids under the mild hybrid category only use the parallel drivetrain.
How Are Hybrid Cars Different from Battery Electric Cars?
Similar to hybrid cars, battery electric vehicles or BEVs is another option or alternative to the traditional and typical fuel-injected automobiles. While the traditional cars powered by fossil fuels contributes a lot to our carbon footprint, hybrid and all-electric cars are designed to reduce carbon emissions as well as operating costs.
As mentioned earlier, hybrid vehicles (HEVs) are cars that run by relying on both a combustion engine and electric motor. On the other hand, battery electric vehicles are automobiles that run through a single or multiple electric-powered motor that solely rely on batteries.
One of the three types of hybrid vehicle has almost similar features as battery electric cars, the plug-in hybrid (PHEV). Vehicles classified as the plug-in type of hybrid, run in both all-gas and all-electric operation mode.
Like all-electric cars, plug-in hybrids designed to be “plugged-in” to recharge. However, plug-in hybrid vehicles have smaller battery packs than their all-electric counterparts.
What Happens if Your Electric Car Runs Out of Battery?
The simple and quick answer is, your electric car will stop like a fuel injected vehicle that run out of gas. If the battery of an electric car runs out, its electric motor won’t have the power to run and it will not generate traction to propel the car.
Unlike a hybrid, a plug-in hybrid to be exact. It will still have the ability to operate, provided the gas tank is not empty. Since it has a combustion engine and its power train system is configured where it can run through fuel,
Now that you have all the basic and essential information about hybrid vehicles, you now have an idea of how they work. I also trust that you are now familiar with the different types of hybrid cars and understand the different power train hybrid systems.