The different types of Hybrid

Our Cars increasingly Green: a bit of clarity on Hybrid engines

In recent years, the car market has seen a major increase in hybrid vehicle registrations, with a lower environmental impact than conventional diesel or petrol: this trend is set to grow more and more, given the increasing consumer awareness of environmental issues and the search for alternative fuels to fossil fuels.

In addition to reducing emissions of polluting gases, hybrid cars also have numerous other benefits, such as incentives for the purchase, access to restricted traffic areas in the city and of course reduction in fuel costs. 

Just because of this significant increase in demand for hybrid vehicles, many (if not all) car manufacturers have started to expand its offering in this new field by implementing new and more advanced and efficient technologies. 

Not everyone knows that hybrid vehicles are not all alike: according to the systems which are equipped and their degree of technological advancement, they may in fact be distinct in some main categories, commonly identified with the word in English "micro hybrid", "mild hybrid", "full hybrid" and "plug-in hybrid", which are quite different in terms of operation. 

  • "Micro hybrid" (Start&Stop system): this is the first step towards the development of hybrid technology through a system that reduces the fuel consumption by turning off the engine when the vehicle is stationary. This is not actually a true hybrid, because there is no electric motor dedicated to vehicle movement: it is rather an enhancement of the power system, to improve vehicle efficiency and thus reduce the consumption of carburante.Questo type of system increases the number of starts that the battery must be able to provide: for this have been developed more efficient batteries, such as EFB (Enhanced Flooded battery) and AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat), the best performance than traditional lead-acid; it has also required the implementation of new methods of monitoring the battery status, such as the state of charge (State Of Charge - SOC) and state of health (SOH State Of Health-): in fact, the vehicle must be able to determine at any time if the motor is able to start automatically when the vehicle is stationary and the engine is turned off
  • "Mild hybrid": These vehicles utilize a new technology called "passive boost", similar to the KERS (Recovery System kinetic energy), introduced in recent years on the Formula 1 car engines Thanks to this system, an engine / generator replaces the conventional alternator and starter motor. The passive boost is capable of storing the energy produced during braking, and then use it for both start the heat engine to help in the acceleration phase. This system therefore does not allow to move the vehicle exclusively in electric mode. These vehicles are equipped with an AGM battery to support the additional components in electrical operation. Some examples of vehicles with this system are Audi A4, BMW 5 Series, Audi A5, Fiat 500 Hybrid, Fiat Panda Hybrid, Ford Kuga, Kia Sportage, Kia Xceed, Land Rover Defender, Land Rover Discovery Sport, Mazda 3 , Skoda Octavia, Volvo XC 90
  • "Full hybrid" (hybrid drive): This type of vehicle is equipped with both a motor / generator from the greater power than mild models hybrid, which recovers energy during deceleration and reuses in acceleration, is a mechanism that allows the decoupling of the engine and starter generator: the vehicle traction in this way can be done with heat engine, with electric (motor with limited autonomy ) or with a combination of the two. These vehicles are equipped with an AGM battery to support add-ons to electrical operation. Some examples of vehicles with this system are Ford Mondeo Hybrid, Honda CR-V, Hyundai Kona Hybrid, Kia Niro, Lexus CT, Lexus UX 184 hp, Renault Clio E-Tech Hybrid, Toyota C-HR Hybrid, Toyota Corolla Hybrid, Toyota Prius, Toyota RAV4, Toyota Yaris Hybrid.
  • "Plug-in hybrid": These vehicles have a technology very similar to that of full hybrid vehicles, with the addition of a power outlet that allows the recharging of the batteries even through the power supply (charging stations or household outlet). These vehicles enjoy greater autonomy in all-electric mode compared to other types of hybrid. Some examples of vehicles with this system are Audi A7 Sportback, BMW 2 Series Active Tourer, Ford Kuga plug-in hybrid, Hyundai Ioniq Plug In, Kia Niro plug-in, Peugeot 3008 GT Hybrid 4, Skoda Superb iV, Toyota Prius Plug-in, Volvo S6