Fixing and Repairing Hybrid Cars and Trucks takes a lot of expertise. That is why we have spent a lot of time training and becoming Certified to work on Hybrid cars.
What makes a Vehicle A Hybrid?
Hybrid refers to the combination of electric and gas engine used to power your car down the road. Hybrid cars and trucks have a few major differences from regular cars. The on that is most noticeable is that it has a battery pack. The battery pack is used to store energy to allow the car to be powered electrically. They also have electric motors and controllers to vary the amount of electric to the motor. The gas engine will also have some differences. Most Hybrid vehicles don’t have starters or alternators like regular cars do. Some don’t even come with an Accessory Drive Belt (Fan Belt) because all the stuff that was driven by the belt is now electric.
How does the Hybrid system work?
Well there are a few different systems that vehicle manufactures use. These types of systems are Integrated Motor Assist, Mild Hybrid Assist, and Electronic Transmission Hybrid. There are a few other outliers but these three make up 95% of all Hybrid designs. Lets look at how each system works.
Integrated Motor Assist
The Integrated Motor Assist design was used a lot by Honda. In this design the electric motor was sandwiched between the engine and transmission. This allowed for the use of a conventional automatic transmission or stick shift transmission. With this design the Gas Engine ran all the time and the electric motor would run to assist in accelerating the car. There was no option to be able to drive the car in electric mode. Honda knew that a lot of gas is burned when accelerating and if the Hybrid motor would help accelerate the car they could increase fuel economy. This system worked ok. It provided improved fuel economy over a regular gas powered Honda but not enough to offset the increased price of the car. On a side note Toyota started using this type of hybrid system in the 2022 Tundra.
Mild Hybrid Assist
These systems have gained popularity in the last few years because they are easy for manufactures to install. They are usually referred to as a 48volt hybrid system. The electric motor that provides assist looks like an alternator and is usually installed in place of one. This allows the vehicle manufacturer to use the hybrid motor to start the car eliminating the need for a traditional starter. These systems just like the integrated motor assist type are there to help the engine accelerate which decreases gas consumption. A slight fuel economy increase is seen with system. Dodge, Ram, Chrysler, and Subaru have all used this system over the years. The biggest drawback to this system is they need special Accessory Drive Belts every 60,000 miles . If a normal belt is used, the tension from the Hybrid Motor starting the engine will destroy the new belt causing a no start condition.
Electronic Transmission Hybrid
This is the most popular Hybrid system design because it is the most fuel efficient. The design actually has two electric motors inside, one to start the gas engine and another to propel the car. With this design the car can run on just battery power with out the engine running until the battery becomes depleted or you need more power than the battery can supply. Toyota pioneered this style and has refined it to the point where other car manufactures buy Toyota’s technology to build their hybrid cars. This is the most fuel efficient design because the car can drive on battery power without the internal combustion engine.
How Does A Hybrid Car or Truck Work?
We covered the different types above and as you read they all work different. They all use a lot of the same strategy to make the car be more fuel efficient. In all versions the electric motor helps assist the Internal Combustion Engine to accelerate the car. This helps with gas savings. Another thing they all do is regenerative braking. When the car does regenerative braking it is not using the brakes to stop the car. It is using the electric motors to slow the car down and make electricity to store in the battery.
When you press on the gas pedal the computers in the car determine how much the electric motor will help the Gas motor. In a car with an electronic transmission it may cause the engine to run or it may stay off as you accelerate. Cars with the mild Hybrid and the integrated motor assist systems the gas engines run all the time and accelerate like a normal gas powered car when pressing the gas pedal.
Can King’s Auto Repair care for and repair my hybrid?
Yes. We have the manufacturer tools and equipment to properly maintain and repair your hybrid vehicle. Our lead mechanic Dan is certified in Honda, Toyota and Ford Hybrid repair. He keeps our 2010 Toyota Prius loaner car running with over 240,000 miles on it. It still has the original battery and gets more than 38mpg. Call us today and find out how we can keep your Hybrid running for years to come.