Hybrid vehicles

The hybrid vehicle and its “green” technology is a bit more familiar to the average consumer these days. But there’s less public awareness about how these modern engines operate, the types of alternative powertrains available and the central role motor oil plays.

Not the same: Three hybrid powertrains

Powertrains serve to distribute power to the wheels of the car. Conventional powertrains include the engine, transmission, drive shaft, suspension and wheels. Hybrid vehicles not only have extra powertrain components, but engineers have also maximised the benefits of hybrid design by employing different powertrain configurations – series, parallel and series-parallel.

 
Series – The electric motor generates power to the wheels, receiving electric power from a battery pack or a generator run by an internal combustion engine.
 
Parallel – The electric motor and internal combustion engine work together to generate power to the wheels.
 
Series-parallel – The electric motor or internal combustion engine can independently generate power to the wheels.
 
Electric-only and petrol-only power allows the series-parallel design to provide the most fuel-efficient operation of these three powertrain configurations. Series-parallel can act as a series powertrain at lower speeds, but then turn to petrol-only power at higher speeds. The series-parallel’s versatile design uses less fuel and provides optimum efficiency.

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