vehicles combine the benefits of gasoline engines and
electric motors to provide improved fuel economy. The
engine provides most of the vehicle's power, and the
electric motor provides additional power when needed,
such as for accelerating and passing. This allows a
smaller, more-efficient engine to be used. The electric
power for the motor is generated from regenerative braking
and from the gasoline engine, so hybrids don't have
to be "plugged in" to an electrical outlet to recharge.
gasoline engine in a hybrid is much like those in conventional
vehicles, except that it is usually much smaller and
battery stores energy generated from the gasoline engine,
or during regenerative braking, from the electric motor.
Since the battery helps power the vehicles, it is larger
and holds much more energy than batteries used to start
electric motor assists the gasoline engine when additional
power is needed. It also acts as a generator, converting
energy from the engine or from regenerative braking
into electricity and stores it in the battery. It also
starts the gasoline engine instantly when needed.
vehicle is started, the gasoline engine "warms up." If necessary,
the electric motor acts as a generator, converting energy
from the engine into electricity and storing it in the battery.
engine powers the vehicle at cruising speeds and, if needed,
provides power to the battery for later use.
accelerating or when additional power is needed, the gasoline
engine and electric motor are both used to propel the vehicle.
power from the battery is used to power the electric motor
braking converts otherwise wasted energy from braking into
electricity and stores it in the battery. In regenerative
braking, the electric motor is reversed so that, instead
of using electricity to turn the wheels, the rotating wheels
turn the motor and create electricity. Using energy from
the wheels to turn the motor slows the vehicle down.
stopping power is needed, conventional friction brakes (e.g.,
disc brakes) are also applied automatically.
vehicle is stopped, such as at a red light, the gasoline
engine and electric motor shut off automatically so that
energy is not wasted in idling.
continues to power auxiliary systems, such as the air conditioning
and dashboard displays
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