What is the modern hybrid automobile? How does it work and what are the differences between hybrids in general?
Hybrid BMW 5 Series
Modern hybrids could be split into two main categories. One of them like the BMW 3 and 5 series, Mercedes-Benz, Lexus -Toyota, Ford and numerous others are based on the principle of a highly advanced gas combustion engine, with the help of an electric motor and a relatively small lithium ion or nickel metal hydrate battery pack for electric energy storage. Worth to note the Toyota Prius also works on a similar platform but they are a world apart from a performance hybrid in general which we would like to talk about .
The second type of Hybrid propulsion is built more toward electric driving like the Chevrolet Volt (Cadillac ELR ) for instance, where the combustion engine is truly a range extender versus the BMW hybrid, where is the combustion engine is the heart of the propulsion system which is based upon.
I remember to reading about BMW in particular, they were already experimenting with compressed liquid hydrogen as a fuel source on their 7 series cars in 1972. Unfortunately at this point in for our daily driving nothing is as stable at normal outdoor temperatures as the “old” refined gasoline or diesel fuel as a source of energy storage for everyday driving when the driven distance is considered .
Let’s look at what’s available on the market today. There are endless variations of the modern hybrid cars available today in fact here are too many to list, you need to focus on your way of driving and daily commute to make an informed choice. The modern hybrids are very energy efficient. Due to the help of the electric motor which will propels the vehicle forward in stop and go traffic, and also will help out the combustion engine if needed in hard acceleration, or with spirited driving, in many cases most accessories are driven by electric motors to be able to provide maximum comfort when the combustion engine is not working say in slow traffic for instance .
The modern hybrid drive train also recovers the kinetic energy, by coasting to stop with the help of the electric motor and regenerative braking, instead of converting the kinetic energy into heat by using the traditional brakes.
Your traditional brakes still work the same except they are applied in a later stage of the pedal effort to help recover the kinetic energy from the vehicle forward motion .
Let’s look at today’s highly advanced combustion engines. We are slowly reaching the point in the combustion engine development where there is very little room for improvement of the internal combustion engine. For instance we have electric water pump, variable oil pump, variable camshaft and intake passages, variable fuel pump and the list goes on. Pretty much most of the combustion engines parameters are influenced by an advanced army of electric motors and myriad of sensors and of course the mighty computers which overlooks the entire operation.
We have today reduced the reciprocating mass in the modern engines to an amazingly small components yet we are still going further in the development of these highly sophisticated internal combustion engines. I have been working on these cars since 1976 and I can tell you the changes are astounding compared to yesterdays design and engineering principals in general we had engines ten years ago with adequate power, today the same engines produce at least twice the power with nearly half of the fuel spent doing it right on front of your eyes, the progress is just amazing towards efficiency.
Have you watched Formula 1 lately, or have you seen the new super cars of late? They have one thing in common, they are all hybrids.
Please let me explain: Did you know? Formula one is a precursor of the road technology in the extreme. The new 2014 rules state it, engine has to be 1.6 liter and has to have a KERS system to help reducing the race cars fuel consumption.This technology is finding it’s way to your car today.
Hybrid BMW 7 Series
Ladies and gentlemen this is a parallel hybrid system very much like BMW’s current performance hybrids on the road today. There are many others as well like Porsche Panamera, Mercedes-Benz and Lexus as well just to name a few.
The same could be said about the new hyper cars of late say the McLaren P1 or the Porsche 918. Both are using an electric motor to boost the output of the traditional combustion engine, in particular ever more so on the F1 race cars.
Due to the engine size and the turbo lag which would make the current race cars non-drivable with the help of the electric motor this modern hybrid cars became more powerful than yesterdays ultra high performance engines.
Just for instance we had the Bugatti Veyron with thousand plus horsepower from an 8.0 liter W16-4 turbo fed engine. which in fact was an engineering masterpiece to the Mclaren P1.
Mclaren P1 has “only” 3.8 liter twin turbo engine, but with the help of the electric engine, the 3.8 liter output 916 horsepower combined today. How’s that for progress?
A BMW hybrid is like your traditional BMW just better in every way.The BMW hybrid, includes their famous sporty razor sharp handling, luxury, style and performance. The big difference is they are extremely fuel efficient in daily driving. Worth to note, try before you buy, you should really test drive one. You may be pleasantly surprised how good the modern hybrids are and how much the technology improved over the years. Better get used to it we will be seeing more of them in the near future, so get ready and enjoy.
Don’t be afraid about their complexity. A modern internal combustion engine is very – very complex machine by itself. Gas or diesel, hybridization will not make it worst, if anything probably better in the long run.
The purpose of this short article is intended to clarify some of the myth and mystery hanging around this high tech cars with their advanced and very efficient propulsion systems, and I may ad, you can enjoy them without fear and have a peek into the future of our mobility coming to your neighborhood already.
If you are interested more in the details how hybrid cars work, and if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask me or my staff. We will be happy to assist you any way we can. Call us for more details at 905.795.0419
Have a happy motoring and thank you for reading .
i3 Electric BMW