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Types of hybrids explained (part 1)


One of the main subjects we talk about on this website is hybrid technology so we’re going to start a short series of articles in which we’ll talk about all the type of hybrid vehicles out there.

However, before we start with the descriptions we should define what a hybrid is.

Basically, any vehicle with two different types of motors can be considered being a hybrid. This usually means a petrol engine is coupled with at least one electric engine.

Hybrids are generally classified in two ways: by drivetrain layout and the level of hybridization. In this series of articles we’ll be using the latter method.

Mild hybrids

The main difference between a mild and other hybrid systems is that the motor in a mild hybrid isn’t capable of propelling a car on its own. The electric engine in these hybrids is tasked with starting the engine, offering a bit of assistance during acceleration and also providing regenerative braking.

The petrol engines of mild hybrids nevers stom running – unless the car is stopped or the speed is under 8km/h and you’re going to stop. Since the electric motor has this very limited role it doesn’t need to generate and store much power so the battery pack can be very small, thus saving on size, weight and cost of the drivetrain.

In essence the mild hybrid drivetrain is an advanced automatic engine start/stop system, and while the drivign experience isn’t too dissimilar but there are some differences.

For instance, a mild hybrid with a sufficienc charge can stop and restart the petrol engine for many dozen of times, as opposed to only a few closely timed stop/restart sessions are the limit of a non-hybrid. Also thanks to the electric motor, hybrids don’t tend to lurch off the line if you jump straight from the brakes to the gas pedal.

Those benefits aside, both in mind hybrids as well as cars fitted with automatic engine star/stop, the engines may not always cut out during traffic stops, especially when the air conditioning is on to keep you cool.

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