Let’s talk about plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. These vehicles are relatively new to the roads of Canada, and they are a unique approach by automakers to respond to more stringent greenhouse gas regulations.
PHEVs as they’re commonly known, also respond to consumer demands for cleaner, quieter, technology when they’re behind the wheel.
Quite simply, a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle is essentially a regular hybrid vehicle with a larger battery pack that can be charged by plugging into the grid.
The advantage of the plug-in hybrid electric vehicle is that it offers an extended all electric range capability.
Let’s get under the hood.
There are three main components. First, an internal combustion engine.
One or more zero-emission electric motors;
And battery or series of batteries (there are a number of different types and configurations)… which store and send out electricity.
And a transmission that transfers the motors’ power to the wheels.
While you are driving, a series of computers are constantly monitoring the state of charge of the vehicle’s batteries.
A plug-in hybrid electric vehicle is designed so that your primary power is electric, so the electric propulsion system is “first in line”, but when the batteries can no longer provide adequate power, the internal combustion engine is commanded to turn on and “take over”.
For some plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, the internal combustion engine can complement the electric motor when more power is needed.
The plug-in hybrid electric vehicle also has a charging coupling – a place you plug into when you are charging the vehicle.
That’s because the batteries in plug-in hybrid electric vehicles need to be charged in order to ensure that you get the benefit of up to 70 km of electric-only range.
If your battery is depleted, you don’t have to worry about being stranded since PHEVs can operate without being plugged-in.
Most of the time, that means charging from the electrical power grid.
People who own or lease plug-in hybrid electric vehicles can charge them up at home; … and as these types of vehicles become more popular, public and commercial charging stations will begin to appear that could “top up” these vehicles while you run your errands.
It’s important to note that actual driving range on electric power depends on speed driven, driving style, cargo, topography, climate control usage, and weather.
But the range of the vehicle is extended since you can also operate using the internal combustion engine.
Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles offer the best of a number of worlds: when running on electric only power they are quiet, and, of course, have lower fuel costs.
Their smaller and efficient internal combustion engine also helps to minimize fuel use. And plug-in hybrid electric vehicles use low-drag aerodynamic shapes, have reduced weight, use highly advanced technology like regenerative braking which helps to charge the batteries.
So if you are looking to cut your energy costs and reduce the amount of greenhouse gas you’re producing, consider a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle.