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Pascal Hayek
TOP STORIES 
 

HYBRID CARS

Due to the hike in gas prices all over the world, except in most gulf countries, some of the car owners have thought at some time, of selling their gasoline powered cars and buying others that utilise different sources of energy, like electricity for example.

Nowadays, global warming is one of the main concerns of governments. One of the main causes is the pollution caused by the factories and millions of cars running around the globe every day, poisoning our environment with all sorts of harmful emissions like carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides and others hazardous gases.

Automakers started to realise they should be seeking other sources of energy.

Almost all big car manufacturers have tried different alternatives, some of which are, hydrogen power, solar power, electricity or a combination.

With the new strict laws in the USA and most European countries, regarding the CO2 emissions that have a direct effect on global warming, Hybrid technology was one of the solutions that have been adopted by the big automakers in order to decrease such pollutants. 

Any vehicle that combines two or more sources of power that can provide propulsion power is a hybrid. Most hybrid cars on the road right now are gasoline-electric hybrids,  

History

It all started in 1901, when while employed at Lohner Coach Factory, Ferdinand Porsche designed the "Mixte", a series-hybrid vehicle based on his earlier "System Lohner-Porsche" electric carriage.

The “Mixte” broke several Austrian speed records, and also won the Exelberg Rally in 1901 with Porsche himself driving. 

The “Mixte” used a gasoline engine powering a generator, which in turn powered electric hub motors, with a small battery pack for reliability. It had a range of 50 km, a top speed of 50 km/h and a power of 5.22 kW during 20 minutes. 

Since then this hybrid technology has been utilized on a very small scale, either by individuals or by automakers which nowadays are getting more and more involved in this technology as a result of government stricter legislations.

TYPES 

There are two types of gasoline-electric hybrid cars; the parallel hybrid, and the series hybrid. Both use gasoline-electric hybrid technology, but in radically different ways.  

In a parallel hybrid car, a gasoline engine and an electric motor work together to move the car forward, while in a series hybrid, the gasoline engine either directly powers an electric motor that powers the vehicle, or charges batteries that will power the motor. Both types of hybrids also use a process called regenerative braking to store the kinetic energy generated by brake use in the batteries, which will in turn power the electric motor.

Both parallel and series hybrids have small gasoline engines, and produce much less pollution than standard gasoline cars, but also produce much less power - hybrids generally produce between 60-90 horsepower, while the average gasoline engine probably produces about double that.

 To overcome this power gap, hybrid cars are constructed with ultra lightweight materials like carbon fibre or aluminium. Hybrid cars are also designed to be more aerodynamic than most cars, thus decreasing the air resistance in order to achieve higher speeds. All these factors combined equate to a super efficient form of car that gets excellent fuel economy and helps the environment by cutting down on pollution. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A typical gasoline-electric hybrid car 

PORSCHE HYBRID

 

“Sailing on Electricity”

The system’s unique feature is a hydraulic clutch between the engine and the motor that disengages the engine so it can shut down under light loads. The electric motor then takes up the load until the engine restarts. Porsche engineers call the result “sailing”—for the quiet sensation of speed using only electric power.

As in most hybrids, the electric motor also restarts the engine, and recharges the battery pack (believed to contain 1.2 kilowatt-hours of energy). Fitted into the former spare-tire well, the pack uses nickel-metal-hydride cells. This is a simpler and less costly system than other hybrids.

Coordinating the car’s three main components – the combustion engine, the electric motor and the battery – is the Hybrid Manager, the heart of the Cayenne Hybrid. The Hybrid Manager, which oversees some 20,000 data parameters as compared to only 6,000 data parameters for a conventional engine, is one of the most powerful technologies found in any hybrid vehicle.

Other unique features of the Cayenne Hybrid designed to decrease fuel consumption include the power steering and vacuum pump for the brakes, as well as the air conditioning, which operate on electric power. Technical components, such as the oil pump in the Cayenne’s automatic transmission, have been replaced by electrically powered units.

 The Cayenne Hybrid’s electro-hydraulic steering – a first for a vehicle of its kind, will ensure the Cayenne Hybrid drives like a Porsche with predictable and safe handling characteristics and the agility that is expected of a Porsche SUV.

Porsche says the Cayenne S Hybrid runs up to 1.2 miles in all-electric mode. More remarkably, the company also says it can run on electricity at speeds up to 140 km. per hour. Still, traveling on battery power at speeds higher than any legal US limit is quite an accomplishment for a 2.5 ton SUV.

As for on-road performance, the company claims 0 to 100 km/h in 6.8 seconds with both the electric motor and the boosted engine providing power.

Porsche is targeting about 10.6 kilometres per litre fuel consumption for their hybrid SUV, which will represent a 25 percent increase in fuel economy over the standard engine. It will also bring a drop in CO2 emissions, something Porsche officials say their European customers are very concerned about. 

The Cayenne S hybrid is due out in 2010 while the Panamera hybrid soon after. The system in the Panamera, Porsche’s first ever sedan, will be a parallel hybrid system. In other words, the car can be driven by the gas engine, electric power or both at the same time. This flexibility means there are times when the Panamera is a zero-emissions vehicle.

In the Panamera's setup, the battery unit will be located below the luggage compartment in the trunk, and the electric motor will be between the engine and transmission [source: Porsche]. 

 

                      

 

 

 

 

 

 

Porsche Hybrid Drive System

To conclude, we might see in the near future more hybrid cars on the market. For sure the price will be higher at the beginning but hopefully will become affordable as the competition between the automakers increases.

Pascal Johnny Hayek B. Eng. AUB, 1983 Service Manager Porsche Service Centre, Kuwait

 

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