Hybrid vehicles Ward’s Auto Electronics Hybrid Vehicles Propel …

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Honda Civic Electric Cars

Hybrid Vehicles PROPEL INCREASED ELECTRONICS CONTENT

Hybrid vehicles are expected to more than double the use of electronic

components in automobiles. This report investigates the impact of hybrid

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A hybrid powertrain that combines an internal combustion or diesel engine with electric propulsion adds several design options to vehicle manufacturers and several costly components to the vehicle. From some estimates, the electrical/electronic content in the vehicle will almost double if the vehicle is a hybrid, especially in the near term with low volumes. The key added components of the hybrid include an electric motor, inverter, dc-dc converter, control electronics and high-voltage batteries. Ford has indicated that the price of the 2005 Escape Hybrid will be $3,300 more than a comparably equipped V-6 (only) powered Escape [1].

GM’s Silverado 42 V mild hybrids cost $1500 more [1].

FROM FUEL ECONOMY ONLY TO PERFORMANCE

Expected sales of existing U.S. hybrid vehicles in 2004 are approximately 36,000 Honda Civics and 47,000 Toyota Prius with the Honda Insight dropping to a mere 1,000 or so units. The addition of Ford’s Hybrid Escape with forecast annual sales of 20,000 units (4,000 units in 2004), GM’s Silverado and Sierra models (scheduled for 2,500 units in MY2005) and Daimler Chrysler’s diesel electric Ram pickup scheduled for 100 units will raise hybrid numbers slightly [1]. However, with sales of 16 million total cars and light trucks expected in 2004, this means hybrids are quite a bit less than 1% of the market — but it’s a start.

In spite of record high fuel prices in 2004, the additional upfront cost of the fuel-efficient hybrid would still mean a payback period of two to three years to offset the higher purchase price. In contrast, customers appear to be more than willing to pay an additional $895 for a Dodge Durango with a 345 hp, 5.7-liter hemi engine over the 230 hp, 4.7-liter engine. To further raise the cost impact of their purchase, drivers often trade in a perfectly good low-mileage, one-year-old vehicle to get the additional performance, costing them an additional $7000 to $8000 in depreciation [2].

Honda hybrid Civic

Hybrids have the potential to provide fuel economy, performance and reduce emissions. Automotive power train designers have options depending on the type of vehicle they want to produce. For highest fuel economy, the engine and electric motor are operated at optimal points to achieve high efficiency. The internal combustion engine (ICE) has average efficiencies of 15% but can achieve 30% when operating in the sweet spot. For performance, different points in the torque and horsepower curves between the motor and engine are exploited.

This can provide more low-end torque with increased fuel economy.

The Accord hybrid that will go into production in 2005 provides an example of the change in hybrid design. It uses the Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) hybrid system concept from the Insight and Civic but will provide V-6 performance with 4-cylinder economy. Honda did not reduce the engine size when it added the electric motor to the drive train. A summary of vehicles and their performance increase using electric motors is shown in Table 1. Using historical values, the Honda Insight’s 0.033 and Toyota’s 2002 Prius at 0.034 hplb are more like the performance of vehicles sold in the early 1980s, limiting the number of people who would be interested in purchasing such vehicles for lack of performance. For comparison, a 2004 Camry 6 cylinder is 0.062 and Ford F-150 5.4L V-8 is 0.061 hp/lb.

When vehicles exceed 0.047 hp/lb they appeal to more than 50% of the buyers, and those buyers are frequently willing to pay more money for performance, as indicated in Figure 1 [3].

Table 1. Power-to-weight ratio for hybrid vehicles and most popular cars and trucks [3].

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