Hybrid Battery Type & Chemistry

Introduction to Hybrid battery, car & working principles

What is a Hybrid Vehicle?

A vehicle using two power sources is called a hybrid vehicle. HEV/PHEV vehicles use both gasoline and electrical power. This technology has dramatically changed the face of environmentally-friendly driving options.

What is a Hybrid Car Battery?

According to Hybrid Cars, a car that has a rechargeable high voltage battery which is able to propel the car. Hybrid cars combine the functionality of a gas-powered engine to produce electricity and to charge hybrid batteries. It is rechargeable and provides enough power to move a large vehicle.

Basic Things To Know about Hybrid Batteries

About 160 years ago French physicist Gaston Planté invented the rechargeable lead- battery, in 1859 to store energy via electro-chemical processes that have made immense progress. All the scientific work has had a similar goal: to find the best possible compromise between the battery’s weight, storage capacity, production costs, lifespan, recharging capacity and environmental impact, In 1899, the electric vehicle “La Jamais contente” (“The Never Happy”) featuring this technology was in fact the first automobile to exceed 100 km/h, well before combustion engine vehicles.

Hybrid vehicles have become more popular and offer the best alternative to cars with internal combustion engines. Hybrid vehicles offer outstanding fuel economy and are environment friendly. Unfortunately, these batteries must be large and costly to be able to travel long distances. Battery-only vehicles have a limited range of just 70 to 250 miles.

How Hybrid Batteries Work

Hybrid vehicles combine electric car technology with that of traditional cars. A hybrid vehicle utilizes a 12-volt lead-acid battery and gasoline like a traditional vehicle while also pulling energy from an electric battery. The vehicle can switch seamlessly between power sources so the driver isn’t even aware of the transition.

The electric battery recharges through a process known as regenerative braking. The energy produced when the driver presses on the brake pedal recharges the electric battery. Switching between electric and gas power is the key to a hybrid vehicle’s outstanding energy efficiency. Hybrid vehicles are only gas-powered part of the time, which makes them 20 to 35 percent more fuel-efficient than a traditional vehicle. This also reduces the vehicle’s emissions, making a hybrid car easier on the environment.

One of the drawbacks of a hybrid battery is its limited life span. Most hybrid batteries have an eight-year or 100,000-mile warranty but some fail before that time. A hybrid vehicle cannot run without the hybrid battery, so vehicle owners must invest in new hybrid batteries periodically, which can make vehicle maintenance expensive.

Fortunately, hybrid technology is always evolving. Modern batteries are more resilient than their older counterparts. Third-party manufacturers are entering the scene, as well, giving drivers more options when it’s time to replace a battery. These third-party hybrid batteries are often cheaper than what’s available from a dealership.

Different motor manufacturers Hybrid batteries & their specifications: 

Toyota Prius Hybrid Battery

The second-generation Toyota Prius features a nickel-metal hydride battery pack that:

  • Has 28 Panasonic modules
  • Includes 168 total 1.2-volt cells (six in each module)
  • Produces 201.6 volts
  • Efficiency 65-80%
  • Self discharge rate ~30%/month
  • Cycle durability 500-1000 cycles.
  • Mass energy density 40-120 Watt/Kg 
  • Sits behind the back seat
  • Weighs 53.5 kg (about 118 pounds)
  • Offers discharge power of 20 kW at 50 percent state-of-charge

The battery’s capabilities decrease at lower temperatures and increase at higher temperatures. The Prius features a dedicated computer that keeps the battery at an optimum temperature and charge level. A 12-volt blower along the rear tire well supplies the battery with cool air from the cabin as needed.

The Highlander Hybrid & Lexus RX 400h nickel-metal hydride battery:

  • Features a metal battery casing
  • Has 240 cells
  • Delivers 288 volts at high voltage
  • Provides variable voltage of 280 to 650 volts using the boost converter
  • Efficiency 65-80%
  • Self discharge rate ~30%/month
  • Cycle durability 500-1000 cycles.
  • Mass energy density 40-120 Watt/Kg 
  • Is 18 percent smaller than the Prius battery
  • Sits under the rear seats

Each battery module features its own control system to monitor the battery and manage cooling. This manages the discharge and recharging process to provide the vehicle with a constant level of energy.

Ford Escape Hybrid Battery

The battery pack in the Ford Escape:

  • Features 250 individual nickel-metal hydride cells in stainless steel cases
  • Yields 1.3 volts from each cell
  • Arranges the cells in 50 modules consisting of five cells each
  • Produces a total voltage of 220 volts
  • Efficiency 65-80%
  • Self discharge rate ~30%/month
  • Cycle durability 500-1000 cycles.
  • Mass energy density 40-120 Watt/Kg 

Honda Insight Battery

The battery pack in the Honda Insight:

  • Features 120 Panasonic nickel-metal hydride D cells
  • Yields 1.2 volts from each cell
  • Offers a 100A discharge and a 50A charge rate
  • Produces a total output of 144 volts
  • Efficiency 65-80%
  • Self discharge rate ~30%/month
  • Cycle durability 500-1000 cycles.
  • Mass energy density 40-120 Watt/Kg 
  • Sits under the cargo compartment floor

The technology that manages the battery system is the same as that developed for the EV Plus electric car.

Saturn Vue Hybrid Battery

The Saturn Vue Green Line’s nickel-metal hydride battery:

  • Produces 36 volts
  • Can deliver and receive over 14.5 kW peak power
  • Efficiency 65-80%
  • Self discharge rate ~30%/month
  • Cycle durability 500-1000 cycles.
  • Mass energy density 40-120 Watt/Kg 
  • Produces power for charging the battery pack and 12-volt accessory power
  • Sits under the cargo area in place of a spare tire

Understanding the differences in hybrid vehicle technology can help you make the best use of hybrid power for your next car.






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