What is a hybrid car? How relevant are hybrid cars in Malaysia? Qoala will explain more in-depth about hybrid cars. However, electric vehicle technology is said to have various disadvantages, especially in terms of the car’s battery capacity. This problem has led to another technology, namely hybrid cars.
Hybrid Car Malaysia: How Does It Work?
In general, the word “hybrid” is a combination of two different ideas. Therefore, a hybrid car is a car that uses more than one source of energy to move.
It also refers to vehicles that do not rely solely on battery or petrol power. However, it also depends on internal combustion that drives electric generators for direct driving.
The problem of excessive fuel consumption and the need to frequently charge the battery is solved with a hybrid engine. The hybrid engine system can be an alternative that is more capable of solving engine efficiency and driving range issues.
The hybrid system is also developed based on several issues that potential new car owners often raise about the minimum criteria they want their cars to meet, such as:
- Whether the car can be driven at least 450km with a full tank of fuel before refilling;
- Driving must be easy and smooth;
- The car must have the ability to maintain speed and overtake other cars on the road;
- Fueling must be easy;
- Offer good mileage per liter of fuel;
- Less air pollution.
The combination of electric and internal combustion power allows the hybrid car battery to be charged directly while the car is being driven. It can also be recharged when needed. This proves that hybrid cars are capable of reducing air pollution while providing more kilometers of travel.
Main Specifications of a Hybrid Car You Need to Know
In the construction of hybrid cars, there are several components and specifications that are important:
The fuel tank in this type of car is designed to hold an appropriate and sufficient amount of fuel. Hybrid cars also require a complete reserve fuel system along with current fuel status information.
An appropriate storage system is also required, and the quality is the same as that of conventional internal combustion engine cars.
12V Battery and Traction Battery
Hybrid cars require two batteries: a 12V battery used as a support battery to start the car, and a traction battery that stores energy generated by the electric motor. The battery is usually located under the rear seat.
This battery will supply power to the DC converter, which then converts the appropriate voltage to generate electric power to the car’s electrical system and recharge the support battery.
Electric Motor and Generator
The function of the electric motor and generator is to take energy from the traction battery and drive the car. The second function is to generate electric power from the rotation of the tire when the brake system is activated.
Both components can function separately, and can also function for both functions. If separate, the electric motor functions as a car driver, and the generator as power to the traction battery.
The transmission system, also known as the car’s gear control box, functions by converting energy from the power source into motion using control of the gear transmission ratio.
The energy obtained is from the electric motor or combustion energy in the engine. The transmission system functions the same as a regular car except for having two power sources and functioning hybridly.
Emissions from combustion are still released through the exhaust pipe. In addition, the manufacturer usually uses a three-way air catalyst to reduce the rate of air emissions from the car’s exhaust system.
When using electric power, the exhaust system is not used, so there is no release of combustion results. This reduces pollution from hybrid cars.
A cooling system is also required and designed to stabilize the appropriate temperature in the car’s engine compartment. The structure and design of the system are quite different because hybrid cars combine electric motor and internal combustion engine systems.
The building material of the electric motor system also needs to withstand high temperatures and be compatible with the car’s cooling system rate.
Types of Hybrid Cars in Malaysia
For your knowledge, there are various types of hybrid vehicles with different functions.
1. Conventional Hybrid
This type of hybrid car is divided into two parts:
i. Full Hybrid
A full hybrid can operate using power generated solely by the engine, solely by the battery, or both. The way this car functions is that at low speeds, the engine will stop moving and only use the electric motor. Then, if acceleration is needed, both the engine and motor will be used. At this point, excess power generated by the engine will be used to charge the electric motor’s battery.
ii. Mild Hybrid
This type of hybrid can be classified as a combination of an internal combustion engine (petrol or diesel) equipped with electrical components (motor or generator) in a parallel arrangement. It also allows the electric motor to deliver torque, especially when the driver requires extra power when accelerating or climbing hills. The electric power is stored in a “traction battery” that is placed at the back or in the cargo area.
One advantage of a mild hybrid is that it is lighter than a conventional hybrid, has a lower installation cost, and emits less emissions.
2. Plug-In Hybrid (PHV)
A plug-in hybrid car is equipped with a larger battery pack capacity. It offers a longer driving range using only a single battery power. This type also allows the petrol engine to function as a generator to maintain the electric battery’s power. The PHV can also be driven using petrol power entirely, while the battery pack can be plugged in for recharging.
3. Parallel Hybrid
A parallel hybrid is an electric motor that acts as an additional power to the petrol motor. There is no separate engine working. In this situation, the electric motor is usually small to provide space for the small engine to be used for fuel savings.
Difference Between Hybrid and Electric Cars
Many people believe that hybrid cars and electric cars are the same type of car. In reality, they are two different types of cars.
An electric car is a type of car that operates using an electric motor. The electric motor runs on power stored in the car’s battery. It relies entirely on electric power as the primary source of power from the battery pack to move the car.
One of the main reasons electric cars have not been widely adopted is that they have limited charging station infrastructure, especially in rural and remote areas. Long-distance travel is a challenge that EV drivers must face. They need to plan their journey well because remote areas are likely to have fewer charging stations compared to urban areas.
The same problem also affects drivers who live in condominiums and apartments due to the lack of access to charging stations at home. The shortage of battery charging areas can be a concern for potential EV owners and can cause stress.
Hybrid cars, on the other hand, are a type of car that uses a combination of two systems, an internal combustion engine and electric power. The primary engine of a hybrid car still uses petrol as fuel, but it has an electric motor system that automatically activates to save fuel during hybrid system operation.
Advantages of Hybrid Cars Compared to Conventional Cars
There are actually many advantages of hybrid cars. However, the three main advantages are as follows:
One of the main advantages of hybrid cars compared to petrol-powered cars is that they are eco-friendly. They also do not emit toxic substances through the exhaust.
The use of dual engines, namely electric and internal combustion engines, can reduce fuel consumption and save energy.
Reducing Dependence on Fossil Fuels
Hybrid cars are suitable for replacing conventional vehicles which are the main contributors to air pollution.
They have a petrol engine and an electric motor which can save petrol and only produce low-level toxic smoke. They also combine internal combustion engine with electric regeneration system.
By driving a hybrid vehicle, you can enjoy quiet and more focused driving. Other advantages of hybrid cars include their smaller engine size. However, they can still accommodate the same capacity as conventional cars.
They also experience regenerative braking during stop-and-go driving in the city and when driving on hills.
In addition, they also use a reverse AC system based on thermal management of the battery pack with the cabin through a separate heat exchanger that is thermally connected to the battery sleeve.
Furthermore, they can also turn off the engine when stopped and start automatically when the driver presses the pedal.
Weaknesses of Hybrid Cars
Like any other thing, hybrid cars also have their own weaknesses.
One of the reasons many people don’t own hybrid cars is their higher retail price compared to conventional cars. These types of cars are mostly used by high-income individuals.
However, hybrid cars are actually cheaper in the long run compared to conventional cars.
If you calculate the fuel usage of both cars, you will see that you can save more money by using a hybrid car.
Normal Driving Power
When the hybrid system needs to divide the engine into two power sources, it cannot produce optimum and high-power driving like other conventional vehicles.
In other words, the use of a hybrid car is only for drivers who want a quiet driving experience without any hustle.
Hybrid cars are quite heavy due to the heavy batteries installed in them. That is why hybrid car manufacturers integrate smaller internal combustion engines and build them with lightweight materials and aerodynamic exteriors in an effort to maximize the efficiency of hybrid cars.
This means that hybrid cars cannot move at maximum speed.
Hybrid Car Maintenance Tips
Hybrid cars come with high technology. When high technology is used, proper maintenance is also necessary. To maintain the durability of the hybrid system, here are some tips to make the battery system last longer.
The fan that functions in the rear seatback or in the bottom of the car works to suck cool air from the cabin to the battery storage space. The hybrid system battery is usually stored in the cargo or under the rear seat, and during operation, it requires an optimum heat removal process to facilitate the charging process.
If there is an obstruction in this cool air passage, the battery will become hot, which can affect and shorten the life of the hybrid system battery. So, make sure that there is no object that can obstruct the cool air from entering.
Don’t Drive Too Fast
Hybrid cars are not designed for fast driving. This is because it will force the engine to work harder to produce additional power. Most hybrid engines will function in the Atkinson engine cycle to produce power.
When you drive too fast and continuously, the electric power in the battery will quickly run out, and the engine will not have enough time to charge the battery.
When you need to stop for a long time, such as waiting for your partner to do some banking, you should make sure that the gear button is placed on P instead of N. This is because the hybrid system can only charge the hybrid battery in the P gear position.
Higher Insurance Cost?
Hybrid cars are more expensive to insure for two reasons: their higher manufacturing costs and their higher selling prices compared to standard cars. For example, a battery for a standard car typically costs around RM200-RM300, whereas a hybrid car battery can cost thousands of ringgit. This makes the insurance cost higher for hybrid cars. As a result, hybrid cars are still not widely used in Malaysia.
The cost of purchasing, maintaining, and insuring hybrid cars is high. However, in terms of savings, you don’t need to replace the battery as frequently as in a conventional car. Is your road tax and car insurance almost expired? Renew them with Qoala now!
So, should you buy this hybrid car? A hybrid car is suitable for those who frequently travel in the city. This is because it not only saves on petrol costs, but also helps to reduce air pollution.
However, if you require a car that frequently travels long distances from one place to another, a conventional car would be more suitable. This is because the driving power of a conventional car is higher than that of a hybrid car.
That’s all for Qoala’s sharing. Don’t forget, if you need to renew your road tax and car insurance, just do it on Qoala. It’s easy, cheap and fast!