Hybrid Vehicles - Researching the Toyota Prius and Showing the Conversion From Electricity to Gasoline and How it Works

Hybrid Vehicles - Researching the Toyota Prius and Showing the Conversion From Electricity to Gasoline and How it Works

Some people like to wonder how much a hybrid vehicle really helps the environment with less pollution. This paper is going to tell people how the cars perform with half gasoline and half electricity. It will also show how they impact the environment and prevent worldwide risks such as global warming. The main topic is going to be on the Toyota Prius. It will show people the conversion from electricity to gasoline and how it works. What about fuel economy? This project will educate people about how the world economy on gas has changed in the past years. This research paper will teach anyone everything about how this new generation of vehicles has changed the twenty-first century. When most people hear the word “hybrid”, their first thought is “gas” or “good gas mileage”. Nobody ever thinks of how the car is helpful to the atmosphere. Yes, it has its downsides, but hybrid vehicles are much better than regular or diesel vehicles. Also, people do not know that there are two types of hybrids. In my opinion, hybrids vehicles are the world’s greatest invention in the past century.

Electric hybrids are the more popular of the two hybrids. “(The most common type of hybrid vehicle is the hybrid-electric vehicle (HEV), which combines an electric motor powered by a battery and an internal combustion engine that relies on fossil fuels.)” The electric hybrids are the ones that save the gas by converting back and forth from the electric and gasoline motor. Not all electric hybrids are both gasoline and electric though. Some of them are pure electric. Examples of gas and electric hybrids are the Toyota Prius and the Honda Insight. Once the hybrid is moving at thirty-four miles an hour the electric motor then switches to the gasoline motor. This happens because the batteries powering the motor are not strong enough to push the car faster. On the other hand, the pure electric cars are more efficient without having to pay for gas and instead just plugging it in at the common household. It is very difficult to say which is better of the two cars, but both are extremely helpful for the economy. Comparing electric vehicles and gasoline cars is not even a contest. Electric vehicles definitely have the upper hand but they do also have their flaws and gasoline cars do not.

The other type of hybrid is the hydrogen hybrid. These, of course, run off of hydrogen fuel cells. Fuel cells are a little bit like batteries, except that you never have to charge them. To keep them operating, all you do is provide a constant supply of fuel. Hydrogen hybrids are more pollutant than the electric hybrids because they let out hydrogen fuel which is like burning coal. These hydrogen cars are also dangerous in a big way. “(The hydrogen fuel is extremely flammable and easy to ignite.)” And hydrogen burns invisibly. "(It's scary—you cannot see the flame,” says Michael D. Amiridis.)(Hybridcars.)” Hydrogen fuel cells actually cost twice as much as internal combustion engines and are dirtier with the hydrogen cells. This is referred to as the greenhouse effect. Another problem with the hydrogen cars is capturing the hydrogen to use. Hydrogen tends to easily bond with other elements so it makes it hard to keep pure. An advantage of hydrogen vehicles is the hydrogen is very abundant. It is found in fossil fuels, water and alcohols. Hydrogen can be made in many different ways; therefore, we will never run out of sources to produce more hydrogen.

The main reason people today get these hybrid vehicles is to save money on gasoline. People who have hybrids save up to over $10,000 a year on gasoline. The average car has twenty-one miles per gallon. The Honda Civic and Accord get around forty-six miles to the gallon and the Toyota Prius and Honda Insight both get fifty-five miles to the gallon. That is an enormous difference in your budget. The reason hybrids have better gas mileage is not only because of the electric motor crossover, the reason is also because the engines in the hybrids are very small and weak compared to other common cars. For example, the Ford Mustang GT has a 4.6 liter V8 in it. A Prius, on the other hand, has a 1.5 four cylinder engine in it. So it is not using as much gas as the mustang is. “(The hybrid Prius uses a very small engine, which is sized closer to the average power requirement, and if it needs extra, peak power, the electric motor can kick in. Therefore, it gets almost three times more than the fuel economy of the Mustang.)”(California Energy Commission.) These hybrids get three times more gas mileage than SUV’s on the highway. The Prius can get up to sixty miles to the gallon on the highway, and that is very helpful if you have to drive a long distance for work or even driving out of state to go on a vacation.

Hybrid cars help the environment in many different ways. One way the environment numbers have gone up is that when the hybrid car is sitting at a red light or cruising, new technology allows the engine to cut off when it is not needed. This keeps the engine from producing unneeded pollution. “(City smog contains numerous pollutants, mainly from our car tailpipe emissions, particularly when the car engine is idling in traffic.)”(Scott, 1.) Ground level ozone is the main factor of pollution. The sun hits the gases and produces this ozone which is harmful for young children and elders especially the people who have respiratory problems such as asthma. This ozone also effects the agricultural and vegetation in rural areas. Ninety percent of this ozone comes from combustion cars. “(They achieve this by the almost exclusive use of the electric drive motor in city driving, which emits no noxious fumes.)”(Scott,1.) This really shows how much hybrid cars help the environment with the pollution.

Noise pollution is a type of energy pollution in which distracting, irritating, or damaging sounds are freely audible. “(Noise pollution is not talked about as much as air pollution; however, noise pollution can cause health problems such as hearing loss, stress, high blood pressure, sleep loss and more. Road traffic is a definite contributor to noise pollution.)”(Bell, 1) Hybrids barely make any noise when running off of gasoline, and hybrids are even quieter when it is runs by the electric motor. There are actually complaints that the Toyota Prius is too quiet that pedestrians cannot hear it coming. Many people die every year by getting hit by these hybrids because they cannot hear the car coming. Pedestrians, bicyclists, and others so routinely die from injuries suffered when they are struck by automobiles that the occurrence barely registers as news. Toyota is thinking about adding a noise making machine to warn people when they are near because the electric motor is almost silent. Toyota does not want to annoy any one with the noise but just warn them that the car is coming. The government has built soundproof walls on highways to try to keep most of the noise out of the areas where people live to keep them safe.

Technology in the world seems to be never-ending. Industries are putting new and improved technology in cars every year. This new technology is especially affecting the new hybrid cars and how they will run in the years to come. Batteries, although one of the most complex technological advancements, are more susceptible to variables of constant change. “(In the near future hybrid batteries are going to be one of the biggest areas of hybrid vehicle development. Currently, hybrid vehicles utilize NiMH battery technology, but it appears that the future will almost certainly be dominated by Lithium-ion batteries. In a decade or less, it isn't inconceivable to imagine hybrid batteries that are two or three times as efficient as today's batteries, but half as heavy and half as expensive.)”(HybridCarRevolution.) There are many other new technologies besides batteries being created. Newer innovations will help increase gas mileage, improve tailpipe emissions, and lower greenhouse gases. Conserving more gas and releasing less fumes is the main factor manufacturers are trying to improve with the new technology obviously because manufacturers want the safest and non-pollutant environment as possible. Some small technology advances that automotives want to see in the future are longer drives and zero emissions.

Miles to the gallon is, without any doubt, the most impressive characteristic of any hybrid vehicle. “(With more than 80 percent of the U.S. population residing in cities or suburbs, most drivers find that the real-world efficiency of their car more closely resembles its city and/or its combined ratings than its highway number. And as gas prices rise, that difference is becoming significantly more valuable.)”(Hybridcars.) Hybrids are especially helpful for the people who have long drives to work or any other distance necessary to travel. Getting good miles to the gallon is not just about driving. There are many ways to improve gas mileage in hybrid cars such as: turning off the air conditioner, avoiding traffic, keeping your tires inflated, and keeping the car as light as possible. The Toyota Prius can get up to about sixty miles to the gallon, meanwhile the Nissan Leaf can get up to one hundred miles to the gallon. This can save certain people, who drive a great distance to get to work, a lot of money by saving gas.

Oil resources have changed in the past years due to the new hybrid cars. There are still problems with the oil resources though. “(One of such problems is that unfortunately oil is not a renewable resource. As soon as it is used, it’s gone, and there’s no way to renew or restore it. If we continue to use oil, at some point the world will run out of it. Also, with the world’s oil resources running low, it will probably get more and more expensive over time.)”(Shrowb, 1.) Hybrids do help use less oil, but they still let out various gases from the oil that is harmful to the environment. Although due to all of the help of the hybrids saving oil consumption, the United States still has not reached the demand level. Thus, the United States still has to import oil from foreign countries. United States is the number one producer of natural gas and number three producer of oil. “(If the vast oil resources in the United States were allowed to be developed with appropriate incentives for development, the United States could be the world’s largest oil producer. With additional oil supplies from Canada, the United States could almost become independent of overseas oil.)” (IER, 1).

Synthetic oil is a contributor to a better fuel economy. Synthetic oil is not much but it does help the fuel economy by two percent to eight percent. The manufacturers of the hybrid vehicles thought the batteries would help the fuel economy. It turns out that the batteries do not help the fuel economy because they do not provide enough power to give the car enough power to get up to speed fast enough. “(The good news is this hasn't deterred battery manufacturers from trying to make their product better. On the contrary, there happen to be many ways that battery packs are undergoing improvement.)” (Fuller, 1.) There are other improvements using high technology computers estimating twenty-two percent improvement in the fuel economy, but could be incorrect. Hybrids in general improve the fuel economy simply by not using as much gas as regular vehicles. Hybrids do get about forty percent more gas mileage than regular vehicles. “(Give any hybrid a full six months and/or 10,000 miles to get broken in. The biggest impact occurs in the first 2,000 miles or so, and it may take as much as 15,000 to achieve peak mpg's. Hybrid owners commonly experience a 10-15% improvement in fuel economy after the new car smell has drifted away.)” (HybridCars.)

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