The hybrid vehicle typically achieves greater fuel economy and lower emissions than conventional internal combustion engine vehicles (ICEVs), resulting in fewer emissions being generated. These savings are primarily achieved by three elements of a typical hybrid design:
Relying on both the engine and the electric motors for peak power needs, resulting in a smaller engine size more for average usage rather than peak power usage. A smaller engine can have less internal losses and lower weight.
Having significant battery storage capacity to store and reuse recaptured energy, especially in stop-and-go traffic typical of the city driving cycle.
Recapturing significant amounts of energy during braking that are normally wasted as heat. This regenerative braking reduces vehicle speed by converting some of its kinetic energy into electricity, depending upon the power rating of the motor/generator;
Other techniques that are not necessarily 'hybrid' features, but that are frequently found on hybrid vehicles include:
Using Atkinson cycle engines instead of Otto cycle engines for improved fuel economy.
Shutting down the engine during traffic stops or while coasting or during other idle periods.
Improving aerodynamics; (part of the reason that SUVs get such bad fuel economy is the drag on the car. A box shaped car or truck has to exert more force to move through the air causing more stress on the engine making it work harder). Improving the shape and aerodynamics of a car is a good way to help better the fuel economy and also improve vehicle handling at the same time.
Using low rolling resistance tires (tires were often made to give a quiet, smooth ride, high grip, etc., but efficiency was a lower priority). Tires cause mechanical drag, once again making the engine work harder, consuming more fuel. Hybrid cars may use special tires that are more inflated than regular tires and stiffer or by choice of carcass structure and rubber compound have lower rolling resistance while retaining acceptable grip, and so improving fuel economy whatever the power source.
Powering the a/c, power steering, and other auxiliary pumps electrically as and when needed; this reduces mechanical losses when compared with driving them continuously with traditional engine belts.
These features make a hybrid vehicle particularly efficient for city traffic where there are frequent stops, coasting and idling periods. In addition noise emissions are reduced, particularly at idling and low operating speeds, in comparison to conventional engine vehicles. For continuous high speed highway use these features are much less useful in reducing emissions.
The defining characteristic of this kind of engine is that each piston completes a cycle every crankshaft revolution. The 4 processes of intake, compression, power and exhaust take place in only 2 strokes so that it is not possible to dedicate a stroke exclusively for each of them. Starting at TDC the cycle consist of:
Power: While the piston is descending the combustion gases perform work on it?as in a 4-stroke engine?. The same thermodynamic considerations about the expansion apply.
Scavenging: Around 75° of crankshaft rotation before BDC the exhaust valve or port opens, and blowdown occurs. Shortly thereafter the intake valve or transfer port opens. The incoming charge displaces the remaining combustion gases to the exhaust system and a part of the charge may enter the exhaust system as well. The piston reaches BDC and reverses direction. After the piston has traveled a short distance upwards into the cylinder the exhaust valve or port closes; shortly the intake valve or transfer port closes as well.
Compression: With both intake and exhaust closed the piston continues moving upwards compressing the charge and performing a work on it. As in the case of a 4-stroke engine, ignition starts just before the piston reaches TDC and the same consideration on the thermodynamics of the compression on the charge.
While a 4-stroke engine uses the piston as a positive displacement pump to accomplish scavenging taking 2 of the 4 strokes, a 2-stroke engine uses the last part of the power stroke and the first part of the compression stroke for combined intake and exhaust. The work required to displace the charge and exhaust gases comes from either the crankcase or a separate blower. For scavenging, expulsion of burned gas and entry of fresh mix, two main approaches are described: Loop scavenging, and Uniflow scavenging, SAE news published in the 2010s that 'Loop Scavenging' is better under any circumstance than Uniflow Scavenging.6
Road traffic accidents are the largest cause of injury-related deaths worldwide.6 Mary Ward became one of the first documented car fatalities in 1869 in Parsonstown, Ireland,43 and Henry Bliss one of the United States' first pedestrian car casualties in 1899 in New York City.44 There are now standard tests for safety in new cars, such as the EuroNCAP and the US NCAP tests,45 and insurance-industry-backed tests by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).46
Worldwide, road traffic is becoming ever safer, in part due to efforts by the government to implement safety features in cars (e.g., seat belts, air bags, etc.), reduce unsafe driving practices (e.g., speeding, drinking and driving and texting and driving) and make road design more safe by adding features such as speed bumps, which reduce vehicle speed, and roundabouts, which reduce the likelihood of a head-on-collision (as compared with an intersection).
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