Electric car switch on for health benefits

Could the health benefits and reduced costs to healthcare systems be enough to justify subsidizing charging infrastructure to allow society to switch from the internal combustion engine to electric vehicles faster than current ...

Signals to noise in acoustic vehicles alerting systems

If you've ever wished for a quieter commute, you may be in luck: The low-emission electric vehicles of tomorrow are expected to lower noise pollution as well as air pollution. In Europe, and across the world, the prospect ...

Electric cars: Current trends make for a shocking change

While vehicle manufacturers invest in research, authorities are working to improve charging infrastructure to support consumers' growing interest in the sector. The day when electric cars dominate the passenger transport ...

Electric shift prompts belt-tightening for German carmakers

German carmakers are increasingly turning to electric vehicles to master tough new emissions limits looming in the EU, but the shift away from internal combustion engines will entail years of lower margins and profits, cost ...

Rolls-Royce unveils hybrid flying taxi at Farnborough

British engine maker Rolls-Royce revealed plans this week to develop a hybrid electric vehicle, dubbed the "flying taxi", which takes off and lands vertically and could be airborne within five years.

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Hybrid electric vehicle

A hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) is a hybrid vehicle that combines a conventional internal combustion engine propulsion system with an electric propulsion system. The presence of the electric powertrain is intended to achieve better fuel economy than a conventional vehicle. A hybrid electric vehicle is also a form of electric vehicle; a variety of types of HEV exist, and the degree to which they function as EVs varies as well. The most common form of HEV is the hybrid electric car, an automobile driven by a gasoline internal combustion engine (ICE) and electric motors powered by batteries.

Modern HEVs make use of efficiency-improving technologies such as regenerative braking, which converts the vehicle's kinetic energy into battery-replenishing electric energy, rather than wasting it as heat energy as vehicles equipped with conventional brakes do. Some varieties of HEVs use their internal combustion engine to generate electricity by spinning an electrical generator (this combination is known as a motor-generator), to either recharge their batteries or directly feed power to the electric motors that drive the vehicle. Many HEVs reduce idle emissions by shutting down the ICE at idle and restarting it when needed; this is known as a start-stop system. A hybrid-electric produces less emissions from its ICE than a comparably-sized gasoline car, as an HEV's gasoline engine is usually smaller than a pure fossil-fuel vehicle, and if not used to directly drive the car, can be geared to run at maximum efficiency, further improving fuel economy.

The first gasoline-electric hybrid car was released by the Woods Motor Vehicle Company of Chicago in 1917. The hybrid was a commercial failure, proving to be too slow for its price, and too difficult to service. The hybrid-electric vehicle would not become widely available until the release of the Toyota Prius in Japan in 1997, followed by the Honda Insight in 1999. While initially perceived as unnecessary due to the low cost of gasoline, worldwide increases in the price of petroleum caused many automakers to release hybrids in the late 2000s; they are now perceived as a core segment of the automotive market of the future. Worldwide sales of hybrid vehicles produced by Toyota reached 1.7 million vehicles in January of 2009. The second-generation Honda Insight was the top-selling vehicle in Japan in April 2009, marking the first occasion that an HEV has received the distinction. American automakers have made development of hybrid cars a top priority.

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