What is a mild hybrid?Hybrid technology you may not even know you have

For car makers, it’s often part of the point.

Sales of electric vehicles continue to grow each year, and more and more companies are announcing plans to completely eliminate gasoline engines. However, the high fuel costs and the relatively high price of a fully electric vehicle meant that hybrids could still help drivers save money. And customers are buying hybrids in bulk, even if they aren’t always aware that they are buying them.

The Toyota Prius sent car shoppers to dealers in the early 2000s as gasoline prices soared and the recession sought a more fuel-efficient alternative. However, as more hybrids entered the market, their Prius waiting list was relaxed over the years. Sales of the Toyota Prius peaked in the United States in 2012, with more than 230,000 sold. In 2019, that number shrank to just over 69,000.

But at the same time, hybrid technology has become more common. Also, while fully electric vehicles have certain cultural cash, automakers are often cautious about calling gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles. Many hybrids are so proudly billed (for example, Hyundai Tucson hybrids and Ford Escape hybrids), but other hybrids, often vehicles with mild hybrid systems, have that information only in the technical documentation or owner’s manual. Including.

The Toyota Tundra iForce Max hybrid system provides V8 power from a 6-cylinder engine.

According to data from the car website Edmunds.com, the hybrid market share has more than doubled since 2017, from 2.0% to 5.1% of the market. But it doesn’t catch all hybrid cars, said Edmunds.com analyst Ivan Drury. It is impossible to know exactly how many hybrid trucks, cars and SUVs are sold. This is because industry statistics only count as a hybrid if the manufacturer itself calls it a hybrid or gives it a different model name. In many cases, automakers do not specifically call hybrid systems more than other engine or transmission functions. That is, the Toyota Rav4 hybrid may be counted, but the Toyota Tundra i-Force Max pickup, which is also a hybrid, may not be counted.

The difference in how hybrid cars are sold may be with a chrome “hybrid” badge on the back or barely mentioned, but how different types of customers perceive the technology. It may be due to the fact that it is.

“The word’hybrid’may be a little stigmatized,” said Bill Bisnick, editorial director of the Society of Automotive Engineers.

He said some car shoppers are afraid that hybrid cars may mean “winnie” performance.

When people think of hybrids, they tend to think of the type icon, the Toyota Prius. The Prius, and other hybrids like that, have batteries that store energy when the car drives. It then uses that electricity to power an electric motor that can drive the wheels at low speeds or even at high speeds if the accelerator pedal is not pressed hard, providing additional push during acceleration. .. But modern hybrids have moved beyond Prius technology.

From “mild” to “full” hybrid

Many modern vehicles are equipped with so-called “mild hybrid” systems. These vehicles are smaller and lighter than so-called full hybrid vehicles and have less powerful electric motors. Electric motors usually cannot drive a car alone, but can provide assistance whenever the vehicle stops and then departs. Gas engines still do most of the work, but electric motors provide extra push to facilitate the work of gas engines. Due to the small battery, mild hybrid technology can be easily incorporated into the vehicle without occupying cargo or passenger space for the battery pack. It also does not add too much cost to the vehicle, making it easier to sell to buyers who are not completely focused on fuel economy.

Mild hybrid systems can be found in amazing locations, including some Jeep Wrangler and Ram 1500 full-size pickup models. The Ram 1500’s optional mild hybrid eTorque system allows you to turn off the truck’s gas engine when the truck is stopped and run out of the truck’s battery when it’s rested for up to about 10 minutes. (However, not all vehicles that turn off the engine when stopped are mild hybrids.) When the driver releases the brake pedal, the electric motor drives the truck for 0.5 seconds while the gas engine is starting. You can start moving forward less than. Also.

Mild hybrid systems, according to the manufacturer, add up to an extra 2 miles per gallon, primarily for city driving.

Other cars have a Prius-style full hybrid system, but don’t sell it that way. For example, the Toyota Tundra i-Force Max is a full hybrid pickup truck, but you won’t know if you look at it. It can stop its engine and sometimes run using only its electric motor. But even on gauge clusters, there is no sign that the truck has a hybrid system. There is a gauge that shows the amount of power from the electric motor, but it is simply labeled as “maximum”.

Toyota engineer Craig Herring said the Tundra i-Force Max doesn’t do much of the hybrid’s nature, as potential customers weren’t interested in buying the hybrid during market research. However, they were interested in more traction and transport without affecting the fuel economy. The tundra’s hybrid system is primarily tuned for maximum power, not fuel economy. In the tundra lineup, i-Force Max replaces the more thirsty V8 engine option for customers seeking maximum traction and carrying capacity. Due to its focus on power, the Hybrid Tundra is less fuel efficient than the Ford Hybrid F-150, but offers slightly higher horsepower and torque.

Some cars, like the new Audi A3 compact sedan, are somewhere between the mild hybrid and the full hybrid. Technically it’s a mild hybrid, but it’s not that mild. As with the full hybrid, the electric motor can move Audi’s entry-level model, the relatively small and light A3, at low speeds or when coasting on flat roads and downhills. Similar technology is available on larger Audi models in Europe, said Anthony Garbis, head of product planning for Audi in the United States, but US customers are those larger and more luxurious cars. I felt that I might not evaluate it.

“We always thought it was a bit strange to have your A8 [full-size luxury sedan] “It coasts through the freeway,” he said.

And he said that Audi has been moving towards a full electric lineup in just over a decade, so there isn’t much focus on this kind of technology right now. Today, Audi is looking forward to a time when the car has no gas engine at all.

How to find a secret hybrid

If you want to know if the car you’re considering has mild hybrid technology, you can usually find out by visiting the car manufacturer’s website. Alternatively, Google alone has direct access to online resources such as Consumer Reports (subscription required), KBB.com, Edmunds.com, or CarandDriver.com for more information.
If you’re just looking for the best fuel economy, no matter what technology is involved, the Environmental Protection Agency’s fuel economy.gov is always the perfect starting point.


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