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Hybird Cars Essay

1026 words - 4 pages

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A hybrid vehicle uses multiple propulsion systems to provide motive power. This most commonly refers to gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles, which use gasoline (petrol) to power internal-combustion engines (ICEs), and electric batteries to power electric motors. Modern mass-produced hybrids, such as the Toyota Prius, recharge their batteries by capturing kinetic energy via regenerative braking. As well, when cruising or idling, some of the output of the combustion engine is fed to a generator (merely the electric motor(s) running in generator mode[1]) which produces electricity to charge the batteries. This contrasts with all-electric cars which use batteries charged by an external source such as the grid, or a range extending trailer. Nearly all hybrids still require gasoline as their sole fuel source though diesel and other fuels such as ethanol or plant based oils have also seen occasional use.

The term hybrid when used in relation with cars also has other uses. Prior to its modern meaning of hybrid propulsion, the word hybrid was used in the United States to mean a vehicle of mixed national origin; generally, a European car fitted with American mechanical components. This meaning has fallen out of use. In the import scene, hybrid was often used to describe an engine swap, such as the common Honda B16 engine into a Honda Civic. Some have also referred to flexible-fuel vehicles as hybrids because they can use a mixture of different fuels — typically gasoline and ethanol alcohol fuel.

A more recent working prototype was built by Herman Wouk's brother Victor Wouk (known as the Godfather of the Hybrid[2]) into a 1972 Buick Skylark provided by GM for the 1970 Federal Clean Car Incentive Program, but the program was killed by the EPA in 1976. Since then, hobbyists have continued to build hybrids but none was put into mass production by a major manufacturer until the waning years of the twentieth century. A forgotten attempt was by the Bill Clinton administration with the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles (PNGV)[3] program in September 29, 1993 that involved Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, USCAR, the DoE, and other various governmental agencies to engineer the next efficient and clean vehicle. The resulting hybrid prototypes[4] never made it into production as the program was replaced by the hydrogen focused FreedomCAR initiative[5] of George W. Bush's administration in 2001.

In the intervening period, the widest use of hybrid technology was actually in diesel-electric submarines, which operate in essentially the same manner as hybrid electric cars. However, in this case the goal was to allow operation underwater without consuming large amounts of oxygen, rather than economizing on fuel. Since then, many submarines have moved to nuclear power, which can operate underwater indefinitely, though a number of nations continue to rely on diesel-electric fleets.

Automotive hybrid technology became successful in the...

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