Nowadays looks like every automobile manufacturer have hybrid car on their list. From the ever reliable Toyota, Honda and the German counterpart BMW, Mercedez Benz , Audi and even the automobile manufacturer that emphasis on the high performance Porsche too have their own hybrid model. This is just in Malaysia and in the US all of the car manufacturer have their own hybrid model and sooner or later this car will be launched in the Malaysia like the Nissan , Mazda and many more.
Who had started this hybrid? The first hybrid model that was launched worldwide is the Toyota Prius in the year 2000 and this car also had received the 2004 Car of Year Award from the MotorTrend Magazine. For the European model the first manufacturer that had started the hybrid is Audi . While Toyota Prius is the first hybrid car, the idea had been implemented in early 19th centuries. The man that had come up with this concept is the founder of Porsche AG Ferdinand Porsches. In his design he had removed the requirement for gearbox, drive, chain and a clutch. With this part is removed, it had reduced the amount of mechanical friction and allowed the vehicle to use 83 percent of energy. Unlike now, the car did not take off at that time due to gasoline and oil price that is still cheap compare today. And it takes another century before the hybrid gain some attention and popularity
What is any hybrid car? The hybrid car is basically a combination of combustion engine and an electric motor. The switch from petrol to electric motors and vice versa will be done by the ECU of the car . When the car is on the traffic jam, city traffic, or downhill it will use the electric motor and when the drivers need to speed in the highway or driving on the hill then car will use the petrol engine. The complexity of the system is simplified by the ECU to the level where the driver of the car many not feel the change and feel the drive is smooth and silky. To help on the low fuel consumption most of car manufacturer will also add the low resistance tire and also the start/stop function.
There are two type of hybrid car in Malaysia . The first one full hybrid and the car that can fall on this category is the famous Toyota Camry Hybrid that was launched on May 2015. The advantage of this car is it does not require an external port to recharge the battery. The Toyota Camry Hybrid is recharged with Brake Regeneration method when the driver hit the brake of the car where the kinetics energy that on the normal that will wasted on the normal car will be transferred to the electrical motor of the car to regenerate it back. Simply the brake will act like a generator for the battery so that it never lost its power.
The next type of hybrid is the Plug In Hybrid Vehicle (PHEV) and the car that fall in this type is the BMW i8, the newly launched Volvo XC90 hybrid, and most the continental car. In the full hybrid the battery regenerated by braking where in this type of the car the battery can be recharged using the external source of electrical power. The advantages of this type car are in the EV mode the car can be driven for a longer kilometer compare the full hybrid. For example the BMW i8 on the EV mode can be driven to a range of the 30km and on the Camry Hybrid it can go up to 5km only.
The hybrid car had its own pros and cons of using it .One of the main advantage of the hybrid car is fall under the Energy Efficient Vehicle(EEV) incentives and in this case the car price will be lower compare to the original price. Example the Camry Hybrid price is RM169,000 with the incentives and without the incentives the price can goes up to RM250,000. The lower price is absolutely a magnet like attraction for the car lovers to buy this type of car.
The electric motor of the car also can provide an additional torque when they are a need for speeding like when driving in the highway. For example the Lexus IS 300h hyrid car had a petrol engine horsepower of 178hp and a torque of 221nm and for it electric motors it had 140hp and 300nm. The vehicle will use the additional power of torque from the electrical motor when the drivers is speeding with his or her car and it will provide a superb ride and great acceleration for a hybrid car where before that everyone is skeptical and one of the best reason that drivers reject this hybrid is because of less than impressive acceleration or what we called in Malaysia as “no pickup”.
With the current oil price that is not stabile and ever changing depends on the month the use of hybrid car will be the best way to go. In a hybrid, the system can changes to electric motor and petrol engine efficiently and in this case with our road where there is more traffic congestion, it will the most alternative fuel saver. Added with the low resistance tyre and other fuel saving method or part that is fixed in the car, it is for now one of the efficient usage that does not rely fully on petrol.
The downside of the hybrid car are let says if the government had decided to take out the incentive then the price for the car will on the higher side compare to the normal car. For example the price of the Audi A6 hybrid is RM280,000 with the incentive but if the incentive had taken out the price will around RM350,000. On this case let hope the government does not taken out the incentive but we do not know how the situation will be regarding this.
The next con is the hybrid car with his electrical motor and the battery is higher on the maintenance compare to the normal car. Where for the normal car, they only need to take care of the petrol engine part and transmission for the hybrid an additional work will need to done as the electrical motor and the battery need to be taken care of and also it does not gave the drivers the choice as the car need to service at the manufacturer service center and in this situation the vendor lock in will occur.
The hybrid car will also give the drivers another problem if the battery is dead. If the normal car battery had died it can either be jumpstarted or replaced where the price is not on higher side but the situation will be different for the hybrid battery. If the battery is dead then the car is unable to be started and the ECU of the car needs to be reset back. Fortunately most of the battery came with a warranty. For an example the Camry Hybrid had a battery warranty for 8 years so any complexity happen the warranty will covers the cost.
The hybrid concept that started by Ferdinand Porsche in the early 19th centuries had been a revolution in automobile industry. Starting from the Toyota Prius , now every car manufacturer had a hybrid mobile in their arsenal and maybe hybrid is the future car or maybe it will be a stepping stone before we moved to fully electric car in the future and on this case we will eliminate the need for petrol in the future but for now hybrid car is the a revolution in automobile industries.