How do electric cars and hybrids work? Explain that Stuff

6 Июн 2014 | Author: | Комментарии к записи How do electric cars and hybrids work? Explain that Stuff отключены
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Electric cars

by Chris Last updated: November 7,

C ount the cars on Earth and eventually reach a number than 500 million! Cars never outnumber people are over 6 billion (6000 of us on the planet but in some places, at the numbers are getting close. In the States, the world’s most nation, there are now about 500 for every 1000 people.

give us a tremendous amount of but they bring problems Since they burn fuels like oil, make smog that our cities and the carbon dioxide engines produce is a major to global warming. Sometime in the future, all this will Most people will fuel-efficient electric cars are cleaner and quieter than the gas they drive today.

get ready for the futureand take a look at how electric cars

Photo: The energy that an car uses has to come from it isn’t necessarily clean and it might be produced in a conventional plant from coal, or natural gas. It’s far for the environment to generate electricity for from sunlight using panels. like those in the background, but even electric fueled by coal are cleaner cars running on petrol. by Mike Linenberger, courtesy of US of Energy/National Renewable Energy (DoE/NREL).

What is a car?

Photo: Electric future or electric The GM Sunraycer experimental solar car amazingly futuristicbut is actually old now. The whole of the back (everything to the right of the white is covered in thousands of silicon and arsenide solar cells. the driver sits in the pod at the front. won the 2000-mile World Solar race in the late 1980s.

by Warren Gretz courtesy of US of Energy/National Renewable Energy (DoE/NREL).

That’s not quite an obvious question as it seems. A car is a box with wheels at the corners gets you from A to B, yes, but more than that. In terms, a car is an energy converter: a that turns the energy in a fuel like gasoline or diesel into mechanical energy in moving wheels and

When the wheels power the the mechanical energy becomes energy: the energy that the car and its have as they go along.

convert energy in their which usually have from two to twelve fuel-burning called cylinders. Inside the gasoline mixes with burns, and gives off hot exhaust This pushes a piston the cylinder that turns a rotating axle called a A car’s pistons push up and its cylinders hundreds of times minute.

With the help of a gearbox. helps the engine to produce force (for going or more speed (for on the straight), the crankshaft drives the

Now you might be thinking Hang on! A engine has a battery in it, so doesn’t it use electricity? Yes and no!

Although electricity is to start the engine initially the battery) and electric sparking ignite the fuel, a gasoline is essentially a chemical and mechanical way of powerelectricity plays only a part in how it works.


In summary, a traditional energy-converting, gasoline-fueled car has interesting parts:

The fuel (the gas or diesel). This is the of all the car’s energy.

Something stores the fuel (the gas

An engine that converts the into mechanical power cylinders and pistons).

A transmission that takes the mechanical from the engine and uses it to the car along (the crankshaft, wheels).

Photo: You don’t to pump gasoline into cars. Instead, you plug into the wall to recharge batteries! Picture by Keith courtesy of US Department of Energy/National Energy Laboratory (DoE/NREL).

How is an electric car different to a normal

In an electric car, these work differently. First, and obviously, an electric car is powered by so there is no gas tank. Instead, are usually several large that store the power.

The are charged up overnight on a domestic outlet (mains power and then gradually run down as the car along. Instead of an engine, cars have one or more motors to drive the gearbox and An electric motor is a tightly coil of wire that can around freely inside an casing of powerful magnets. electricity is fed into the coil, it a magnetic field that the coil rotate very inside the magnets.

The spinning is fastened to an axle (central that can be used to drive the wheels. Some cars four electric motors, one into each wheel; are known as hub motors .

Electric don’t all work the same Some have fuel instead of batteries. These are a bit batteries that never run

They take in hydrogen from a tank, and convert it a steady supply of electricity. cars work differently they have large panels on their roofs or and use this to charge up their as they go along.

Photo: How are electric cars compared to forms of transportation? This shows how much energy (in it takes to move one passenger a of 100km (

60 miles). Solar (tiny one-person experimental powered entirely by solar are most efficient, largely they weigh so little: of them don’t even batteries. Electric cars midway on the scale, though (such as the Tesla) fare than others. Gasoline are worst by far (largely because of heavy engines and transmissions) and fuel-cell cars aren’t better. Note how very trains and buses are, though they use conventional

That’s because they large numbers of people as thin tubes moving the air, are relatively aerodynamic. chart (very gratefully) data calculated and explained by David MacKay in chapter 20 of his book Sustainable Energy the Hot Air. Follow that to read how science can help us transport more efficient.

are hybrid cars?

Hybrid combine the best of both They have a small engine, just like the one in a car. This is typically to drive the car at high speeds on (motorways) or open country They also have a electric motor and batteries, drives the car quietly, cleanly, and in cities. On a city street, the power the electric motor and the car.

But when the car is freewheeling downhill or the opposite happens: the wheels, by the car’s momentum, power the motor and generate electricity, helps to recharge the batteries. is known as regenerative braking and it a great deal of energy would otherwise be wasted. one of the things that makes cars, such as the Toyota extremely energy efficient.

hybrids allow you to recharge batteries by plugging them one of your household electricity (typically overnight).

Photo: not rocket scienceor is it? Left: had to use electric car technology to drive its Lunar Roving Vehicle called the Moon Rover) there’s no air on the Moon to power an combustion engine. The Lunar was driven by four electric one for each wheel, all powered by two batteries. It’s pictured in 1972, during the Apollo 17 being driven by astronaut Cernan.

Read more about the inside the Apollo Lunar Vehicle. Picture courtesy of Images in NASA .

Right: have always been the in making successful electric because they carry less effectively than Here, gigantic nickel-zinc are being loaded inside a electric car by NASA engineers in Picture courtesy of NASA Research Center (NASA-GRC).

How a plug-in hybrid work?

A car is like two cars in one: it has a gasoline (petrol) engine for freeway driving and an electric for more economic, pollution-free

Clockwise from the top left, are the key parts

Battery recharge Plug the lead into normal domestic electricity (mains supply) and charge up the overnight.

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