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Hybrid cars

Everything about the technology behind plug-in hybrids

05 March 2021

The plug-in hybrid sector has been growing rapidly for some time. However, with the emergence of low-cost electric vehicles, it seems that the position of the PHEV sector may be shaken. How is it in reality?

Green fuels are the future of the automotive market. Now, find out what PHEVs (plug-in hybrids) have to offer.

What is a plug-in hybrid? What does PHEV stand for?

PHEV stands for a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. It is a car powered by an internal combustion engine that is supported by an electric motor. Plug-in hybrids can currently be found at most well-known car suppliers, and new models are constantly appearing in the PHEV market.
The key difference between a PHEV and a standard hybrid vehicle is the presence of an additional battery in the former variant of such a car. Its high capacity allows it to drive dozens of kilometers – the exact range depends on the parameters of the car and the capacity of the cell. The main idea of hybrid solutions is to recover a part of the kinetic power (e.g. from braking) and convert it into propulsion energy. This process takes place in both a classic hybrid and a PHEV.

Many drivers see PHEV cars as a kind of introduction to electromobility, an intermediate step between an electric vehicle and a petrol car. We can benefit here from the possibilities of an electric car, along with the option to charge via a wall socket or a suitable charger. Plug-in models are often used as a cheap, environmentally friendly means of transport in urban environments, where a range of several dozen kilometers is sufficient. Such use raises some prospects that the growing demand for hybrid cars will continue for some time. In recent years, not only compact passenger cars of this type have appeared on the market, but also SUVs and even delivery vehicles.

See also: How to reduce the carbon footprint of the automotive sector? 

Plug-in hybrids are still doing well

The PHEV sector is constantly evolving. This is due not only to current trends, but also to a pragmatic view of car purchase. Many consumers expect ecological solutions that allow for very cheap travel. At the same time, they require adequate convenience, which goes hand in hand with the ability to save a considerable amount of money on fuel consumption. The challenge for plug-in hybrids is to maintain consumer interest despite the emergence of electric vehicles with increasing ranges and the increasingly negative perception of fossil fuel engines by legislative bodies and the public.

In the customer's mind, a hybrid car is currently not a fully green choice – by definition, it represents a certain compromise. Proper development of the plug-in hybrid sector must therefore proceed along with the promotion of the most environmentally friendly solutions and their adaptation to PHEVs. It is worth remembering that customers are drawn to more ecological, biodegradable materials, and also worth promoting appropriate education on the fact that the hybrid is in fact, not a compromise, but a fully fledged, functional alternative.

See also: How do electric cars improve safety on roads?  

Plug-in hybrid as an alternative means of transport

The perception of electric cars is changing rapidly in Europe. On the one hand, we are dealing with increasingly restrictive emission requirements – cities are closing their centres to non-ecological cars, and corporations are announcing further investments in the plug-in hybrid and EV sector. On the other hand, buyers are still interested in petrol models. An additional controversy is whether a hybrid or an electric car is a better choice.
PHEVs' market share is under threat, but suitably attractive offers will still attract the attention of those committed to going green on a daily basis, in particular drivers from large cities who value convenience (the possibility to refuel at a petrol station), as well as ecology and low transport costs (the possibility to drive on electricity).

However, in order to ensure growth in the plug-in hybrid sector, it is important to raise customer awareness of the benefits of PHEV ownership. A simple message is also important – what a plug-in hybrid is, how it works and why it is a convenient solution in certain circumstances. Therefore, reaching the average consumer requires an appropriate educational campaign. As far as consumer consciousness is concerned, it is necessary to invest in ideas which improve the image of a given solution and place it next to the most refined ones from the perspective of ecology and sustainable development.

See also: Benefits of using EPP components in manufacturing of electric car batteries

Knauf’s eco-friendly and efficient solutions for the PHEV sector

Knauf Automotive is a company that creates plastic components for cars. The potential of the PHEV sector can only be fully exploited if its development is guided by values such as the desire to reduce emissions and innovation. Using lightweight materials in vehicles promotes environmental sustainability and lower transport costs. Electromobility solutions made of EPP (expanded polypropylene), such as Knauf's EPP car battery pack, can present considerable added value in the context of PHEVs.

Separators, shock absorbers, insulators, cable guides and other components that support the battery design in an EV or PHEV provide excellent protection against impact. Additionally, they reduce the risk of internal battery defects, and the entire power system can be constructed much faster. The pillars of the Knauf Automotive solutions developed for batteries are shock absorption, thermal and electrical insulation, lightness and adequate support.


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