Thursday, April 9, 2009

Short(ish) hybrid explanation

When people ask me how a hybrid works, I'd rather not give them a blank look in response. So I thought about it and came up with this relatively short explanation:

It has two motors, one 4-cylinder gas and one electric. The electric motor starts the car and gets it moving, then the gas engine starts when you get to a certain speed. Anytime the gas engine is running, it's charging the hybrid (traction) battery. Coasting and braking also charge the battery. For extra power, both the gas engine and the electric motor run at the same time, combining their separate horsepower. The switch between gas and electric is almost transparent--I can tell when it shifts, but I don't have to do anything to make it happen, because it's automatic. Both motors shut off when you stop the car, so it always sounds like the engine died, but it doesn't; you just press the accelerator when the light turns green and take off immediately--no delay to restart the motor.

Hope I got my facts straight. Now, if I can remember all that when I'm out & about, I'll be doing well!

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