This page is about Hybrid vehicles that I have worked on personally. The Government fleet I work for added 15 more electric hybrids to its large fleet. Ten of these vehicles are of the car variety. Five are trucks or light duty sport utility vehicles. The interesting hybrid electric car to me was the Honda civic.
The car costs around $23,000. One of my biggest concerns about this technology is the future maintenance of the battery pack and related systems. Honda has addressed this by adding an 8 year 80,000 mile warranty on the battery system and components. Another addition to the Hybrid Civic was the standard continuously variable transmission (CVT).
This coupled with the idle-stop feature that temporarily turns off the engine at stops really makes driving this vehicle very different then your standard automobile. This is why you should road-test all of them before deciding which hybrid to buy.
Let me provide an example for you. From a stop the electric motor gets you going and then the gas engine starts up and takes over the bulk of the work. Then as you are driving the hybrid electric car goes faster without shifting gears like a mini bike.
The transmission varies the required torque as opposed to shifting gears. To me this is very odd. I’m sure I could get used to it over time. Driving the Honda around town reminded me of driving a snowmobile that also uses a CVT transmission.
This is what really interests me from an engineering point of view. The electric motor is very thin about 3 inches wide and fits right between the engine and the transmission. They also use this motor as the engine starting motor that sounds and feels like no starter motor I have ever felt before.
It starts the engine quickly and quietly, also very smoothly. The placement of the electric motor allows the hybrid vehicles battery packs to be charged by engine braking. This explained is that when you are slowing down the electric motor turns into a generator to charge the batteries.
The gas engine part of the equation is interesting. The 1.3-liter, 8-valve, i-VTEC 4 banger is rated at the ultra low emissions level. This means tail pipe emissions are near 0 which is impressive in it self but the engine also uses the ultra low friction concept to increase MPG.
This simplified is the engine turns over with very little effort. Also my fleet company will have to buy a new kind of engine oil for this vehicle.
The engine oil is a synthetic grade with a weight of 0w-20. This thin oil aids in the low friction concept. The engine coupled with the hybrid electric car motor is rated at 110-horse power. This car will not win any drag races but it moves as well as its full gas engine cousin.
Now on to the nuts and bolts. What is this hybrid vehicles fuel economy rating. The Honda sticker states you will get 49- 50 mpg. Our initial testing has confirmed this. The type of driving this local government vehicle performs would best be described as worst case scenario city driving.
Lots of stop and go trips with speeds averaging below 40 mph. The vehicle is getting the same MPG as our Toyota hybrid electric car. And about 20 mpg more then our electric/gas powered trucks. I have asked to take the vehicle out on the interstate to see if the fuel economy would change.
I will provide an update to this
page if they let me? Am I going to run out and buy one? The short answer
is No. To see why I’m not ready to buy any blended technology go to my homepage for
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Hybrid Car Research
Edmunds has reviews on many different hybrid vehicles and can provide in-depth specifications and current reviews. They also have several free articles about the concept and implementation of this recent wave of new technology to hit the automotive industry.
Why do I recommend Edmunds information web site? View my short article on why this is the place to go for information on hybrid vehicles and all other kinds of cars and trucks on the page about how to buy used cars online.
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