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Hybrid cars

What is the future of HEVs (hybrid electric vehicles)?

17 March 2021

Hybrid electric vehicles were introduced as an environmentally friendly alternative to combustion engine cars. Although they have become firmly established in the minds of consumers, their sales remain at a modest level. What could affect the market and why is it not yet appropriate to dismiss this segment of the automotive industry?

Modern automobile solutions should focus primarily on the issue of ecological driving. Hybrid cars are an important step on the road to "green" land traffic.

What is a hybrid car? How an HEV works?

The acronym HEV can be understood as Hybrid Electric Vehicle. Cars of this type are associated with a combination of a combustion engine with environmentally friendly innovations. The classic hybrid vehicle uses mechanisms that allow it to store relatively small amounts of energy and use it as needed while driving, especially during acceleration. An additional electric motor provides excellent support for the combustion system – regardless of the fuel type it is powered by.

This solution means that the car can be made significantly more eco-friendly by using available electrical resources when the need for additional power is highest. As a result, combustion can become significantly lower. At the same time, it is not necessary to prepare an autonomous drivetrain that allows the car to drive independently of the 'default' engine, as is the case in plug-in hybrids (PHEVs).

The greatest differences in the forces acting on the car are present when braking. This is when the hybrid vehicle "recovers" part of the kinetic energy and converts it into electrical energy. The opposite process takes place when accelerating – in this case the energy stored in the battery is released. The efficiency and ecological driving support of a hybrid car are strongly dependent on the driving style.

What are the differences between hybrids? HEVs vs PHEVs

A classic HEV is a much cheaper solution to produce than a plug-in hybrid car. It allows for a very effective reduction of fuel consumption during everyday driving, especially in urban conditions. The effectiveness of HEVs is dependent on the conditions in which the driver is travelling. In discussing the differences between these types of cars, it is also important how they function in the consumer's mind and how the design differences translate into consumer attitudes towards these solutions.

Is a classic hybrid electric vehicle more established in the customer's mind than a PHEV?

Green plug-in hybrids are also present in consumer consciousness but have a higher price tag. This can be an effective barrier for many people interested in green solutions. However, it seems that a consumer who has a basic understanding of how HEVs work will also appreciate PHEV solutions. The plug-in variant offers the possibility of short-distance driving using only an electric motor, which causes it to be associated with the increasingly popular EVs. However, these solutions differ significantly in terms of their fundamental operating principles, making it difficult to assess the expectations and common points in the needs of the HEV and PHEV target groups.

Why is the development of the HEV market important and what are the prospects for sales growth?

One of the pillars of the evolution of the automotive market is the optimization of currently available solutions. A key aspect of the development of HEV-related technologies is that they allow more efficient use of resources such as petrol or electricity. Given the needs of the energy infrastructure and the need to reduce the consumption of fossil fuels, developing HEV innovations is becoming a very important aspect of implementing new electromobility standards.

This issue is not only included in the strategies of individual automotive companies – the development of this type of technology is also emphasized by international bodies such as the European Commission. The influence of authorities representing the interests of different countries in promoting green solutions and increased consumer awareness may effectively increase demand for HEVs.

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

In addition to optimizing current solutions, it is equally important to maintain a certain balance when implementing electromobility. Relying solely on EVs seems impossible due to the limitations of energy networks – for this reason, an increasing number of research institutes are working on solutions related to hydrogen and other alternative means of propulsion. There is no need for innovative research in the case of hybrid electric vehicles; current knowledge and infrastructure make it possible for most manufacturers operating in the automotive market to develop this type of car. It is a tested solution that is present in the minds of consumers and is therefore very important from the perspective of creating products aimed at European and international markets. In the future, this sector can be expected to play an increasingly important role in promoting green vehicles.

Modern solutions for hybrid vehicles

Solutions for hybrid cars enable the development of effective, durable and efficient powertrains. Knauf Automotive specializes in the development of advanced expanded foam components which, when paired with the battery system, reduce emissions by lowering vehicle weight and promoting shock absorption and reduction. In addition, their use ensures that the battery modules are adequately separated from each other, providing thermal balance throughout the package. The automotive battery insulation system and shock management solutions are made from recyclable materials, promoting eco-friendly production and extending battery life, as well as increasing battery performance. 

See also: Hydrogen storage protection manufactured by Knauf Automotive – shock absorbers for automotive hydrogen storage tanks 

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