Hybrid-electric vehicles (HEVs) combine the benefits of gasoline engines and electric motors and can be configured to obtain different objectives, such as improved fuel economy, increased power, or additional auxiliary power for electronic devices and power tools. Here is a brief description of how it works:
- HEVs are primarily propelled by an internal combustion engine, just like conventional vehicles.
- However, they also convert energy normally wasted during coasting and braking into electricity, which is stored in a battery until needed by the electric motor.
- The electric motor is used to assist the engine when accelerating or hill climbing and in low-speed driving conditions where internal combustion engines are least efficient.
- Unlike all-electric vehicles, HEVs now being offered do not need to be plugged into an external source of electricity to be recharged; conventional gasoline and regenerative braking provide all the energy the vehicle needs.
- Regenerative braking is where the electric motor applies resistance to the drivetrain and causes the wheels to slow down. In return, the energy from the wheels turns the motor, which functions as a generator, converting energy normally wasted during coasting and braking into electricity, which is stored in a battery until needed by the electric motor.
- The Electric Motor Drive/Assist provides additional power to assist the engine in accelerating, passing, or hill climbing. This allows a smaller, more efficient engine to be used. In some vehicles, the motor alone provides power for low-speed driving conditions where internal combustion engines are least efficient.
- Automatic Start/Shutoff automatically shuts off the engine when the vehicle comes to a stop and restarts it when the accelerator is pressed. This prevents wasted energy from idling.