The new hybrid-electric cars are becoming a more common site in Britain's garages and service centres. Some cars are now coming up to their first MOT test.
Servicing on these cars is pretty much standard and much the same as any petrol driven car. I thought it may be a good idea to do a short article on the way that these vehicles work and differ from regular petrol or diesel operated cars.
These new vehicles contain two ways of generating power, they have a conventional engine that uses petrol and an electric motor that runs off a sealed Nickel-Metal Hydride battery, storing 201.6 volts giving 28 horsepower of drive.
There is also a smaller 12 volt battery for operating accessories.
These hybrid-electric vehicles can offer improved fuel efficiency and economy as well as increased power.
The electric motor can also act as a" braking system aid ", by applying resistance to the drive making the wheels slow down.
Also when the wheels turn, then the electric motor acts as a generator, which is then stored in the battery until the power is needed to drive the electric motor.
In the hybrid cars the electric motor provides extra power, this gives the petrol engine added strength, which helps in overtaking, hill climbs and if you want the car to go faster say when overtaking. When the car is just doing low speed driving the power from the electric motor does all the work, thus allowing for a smaller more efficient petrol engine to be used in the combination.
This combination of battery power and combustion engine power, makes for a very efficient unit and is also very economical giving many miles to the gallon and giving off less CO2 emissions. These vehicles also have a stop-start facility.
When the car comes to a halt the engine stops and re-starts when the accelerator is pressed, this prevents the waste of fuel while the car is idling. The new type of battery is guaranteed by the car manufacturer, but if they have to be replaced out of the warranty will cost about £2000.00 to replace, perhaps this is the only downside to what appears to be be a very good idea.
Things in the automotive market have now started to move faster, mainly because of the price of fuel reaching all time highs. Only time will tell if the technical progress can be sustained.
Eric K Roberts is the proud owner of Pellon Tyre and Autocentre in Halifax, West Yorkshire, England, UK. He is married to his wife Michelle for 31 years, and they 8 children and 3 grand children. Eric and Michelle both work for the family business.and trade online He offers tyres and car batteries online.