What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Series Hybrid Designs?


Hybrid electric vehicles, often known as HEVs for short, combine electric motors with internal combustion engines to achieve greater fuel economy than conventional automobiles that run only on gasoline. According to the findings of the United States Department of Energy, several hybrid models do not have to be plugged in as electric cars do. This is due to the fact that the batteries may be recharged using regenerative braking technology, electric motors, or gasoline engines. It is possible to categorise hybrid vehicles according on whether their drivetrains are in series or parallel. All of the components that are required to transmit power to the wheels are contained inside the drivetrain. When compared to parallel hybrid designs, series hybrid architectures come with their own unique set of benefits and drawbacks.

Parallel Hybrid Vehicles

Components of a parallel drivetrain typically consist of the gasoline engine, the electric motor, the computer controls, and the battery. Both the engine and the motor are arranged in a configuration that is parallel to one another, and both are connected to the transmission so that they may directly spin the wheels. Controls for the computer are required in order to successfully coordinate the operation of the engine and the motor either independently or concurrently, depending on the amount of power required.

Regenerative braking is a kind of technology that allows for the storage of kinetic energy that is gained by coasting and braking. This technology helps to partially recharge the battery. According to the findings of the United States Department of Energy, the electric motor may also contribute to the process of recharging the battery.

Series Hybrid Cars

An electric motor, a gasoline engine, computer controls, a battery, and a generator are the elements that make up the series drivetrain. In a series hybrid, the only component that actually spins the wheels is the electric motor. Instead of functioning in parallel, the energy to move the automobile is given in a series from one power source, the gasoline engine, to another, the electric motor. This configuration allows for more efficient use of the available power.

The generator that supplies electricity to the electric motor is turned by the gasoline engine. Batteries may be charged in a number of different ways, including via regenerative braking, the engine, and the generator. Controls inside the computer regulate the proportion of the motor’s power that comes from the battery, as opposed to the engine or generator.

A Look at the Advantages

Because just the electric motor directly drives the transmission in a series hybrid, this eliminates the need for a sophisticated transmission with several gears and speeds as well as a clutch. The series hybrid may simply have one gear. Since they do not directly power the car and are not exposed to the extremely fluctuating power needs of stop-and-go driving, gasoline engines in series hybrids tend to be smaller and more efficient. This is because they do not directly power the vehicle.

As a result of these design advantages, series hybrids are well suited for the driving circumstances seen in urban and suburban environments. In series hybrids, hazardous gas emissions are kept to a minimum thanks to the smaller, more fuel-efficient engines and increased reliance on electric power.

A Look at the Disadvantages

To satisfy its power requirements, the series hybrid needs a battery that is both bigger and more complex than its predecessor. The series hybrid often has a higher price tag than the parallel hybrid due to its more powerful battery and motor, in addition to the presence of a generator. Because the engine is not directly linked to the wheels, series hybrids do not provide the same level of efficiency as parallel hybrids when it comes to driving on the highway. When travelling shorter distances, plug-in hybrid models can be operated solely on electric power and produce no emissions from the tailpipe. These models are available in both series and parallel configurations. The plug-in functionality, on the other hand, will drive up the price.

Important Considerations When Purchasing

Buying a hybrid vehicle should be done with the intention of increasing its gas economy while simultaneously lowering the amount of pollution it produces. New styles and technological advancements are becoming accessible on the market as more hybrid automobiles make their debut. Some kinds of hybrid vehicles are equipped with twin drivetrains that incorporate the benefits of both series and parallel configurations. In low-speed driving situations, they function as series hybrids, while in high-speed driving conditions, they work as parallel hybrids.

Check out the “Find an Automobile” page on the United States Department of Energy’s website to compare the costs, fuel economy, and energy and environment ratings of a variety of conventional and hybrid car models. It is possible that the savings in fuel costs throughout the lifetime of a hybrid vehicle will balance the higher sticker price of the vehicle.