Archives – February 13, 2014

The Possibility of Flywheel Technology Driving Out Battery from Hybrid Cars

Batteries are not only problematic to dispose of, but they are also intensive to make. The answer could lie in flywheel technology, referred to as Kers in Formula One World. Hybrid cars are a nod to green motoring and are halfway battery between a fully-electric Nissan Leaf and the traditional gas motor. While hybrid vehicles can retain a traditional diesel engine, they also have the ability to draw in kinetic energy from the braking motion of the car. They then use that kinetic energy for powering an extra electric motor.

The manufacture of batteries is an energy-intensive process, and more than 50kg can be added to a vehicle’s mass by the weight of a battery. This implies increased usage of fuel. It is however, essential to acknowledge the fact that hybrids still cover more miles compared to traditional versions of a similar model. The issue of fuel efficiency also comes about. Every time a hybrid system is used, one is going from kinetic energy to electric energy to chemical energy, and back again. Kinetic energy, which in normal cases is lost in the form of heat during breaking, is translated to electric energy. This conversion is mediated by a generator used for charging the battery. The losses incurred during conversion are unavoidable. Moreover, environmental problems arise as a result of battery disposal.

Batteries are not the only means of storing kinetic energy. It is possible to make hybrid cars with flywheels in place of batteries. In such a case, a flywheel is spun by the kinetic energy recovered during braking. The energy recovered is then preserved in a spinning wheel prior to being released during acceleration. The energy amount stored in a flywheel depends on the mass, as well as the rate, at which the flywheel is rotating. An 80bph boost has been provided by prototypes.

In comparison to batteries, flywheels give the possibility of improved efficiency of fuel. This is by maintaining energy in mechanical form instead of transitioning through mechanical, electrical and chemical states. A characteristic of flywheels is that they are light in weight. A typical flywheel will weight six to eight kilograms. Also, in terms of disposal, flywheels do not present several problems or issues. The use of flywheels evidently sounds promising. The big question is whether hybrids with flywheels could be in competition with the battery hybrids. A major demerit of flywheels is that there energy density is lower than that of batteries. This means that the rate at which flywheels can release energy is higher compared to that of batteries.


1 Comment February 13, 2014

Hybrid Car Sales are on the Rise

Since the onset of the great recession in the United States, many people are seeking means of downsizing, cutting cost and conserving. This could account for the major rise in sales of cars that are more fuel-efficient and smaller in size. By cutting car costs, a big reduction in monthly bills can be achieved. This is the most likely reason why the sales of hybrid cars have increased by 7.6 percent within one year. Hybrids are normal, fuel efficient cars that use electric batteries as a supplement to gas engines. These cars are also characterized by two motors, which are gasoline and electric powered motors.

Hybrid cars have been found to be gasoline efficient with an average of 48 to 60 miles per gallon. Although other cars considered to be fuel efficient can go up to 36 miles per gallon, their costs are much lower compared to the costs of hybrid cars. The cost of a typical hybrid car ranges from $19,000 to $25,000. A typical fuel efficient gas vehicle such as Honda Civic ranges from $14,000 to $17,000. A key question that arises is why a person should choose a hybrid car over a traditional gasoline powered car.

In hybrid cars, more fuel is saved by the electric motor compared to the gasoline motor. When a car is in idle mode, an electric motor does not use any energy. Therefore, an electric motor would normally turn off when the car is idle. This means that they would utilize less fuel compared to gasoline motors when the car is moving at a low speed. Gasoline motors perform better than electric motors at high speeds. Additionally, gas motors would deliver a high level of power. The electric motor is great during rush hour go and stop traffic. The gas motor kicks in at higher speeds so that it can provide additional power when needed.

Hybrid cars provide great reduction in emissions, therefore minimizing greenhouse gases. They make a huge dent in the city where pollution and smog is worst, in terms of their carbon contribution when the electric motor is operational. Driving a hybrid car would result in cutting emissions by twenty-five to thirty-five percent. This is even applicable to gas powered vehicles that are most fuel-efficient. Another advantage of hybrid cars is that the batteries are automatically charged when the gas motors turn on. This means that one would not be left stranded and searching for a charge for an electric car.



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