Why Study Advanced Automotive Hybrid Technology?

Mechanic programHybrid vehicles combine the power of a gasoline engine and electric motors. The result is improved fuel economy, fewer emissions, increased power and sometimes faster cars. Hybrids are already growing slowly but steadily on the market, and many predict that they or another green power source could phase out the traditional gasoline vehicle, as the benefits of hybrid vehicles slowly begin to outweigh gasoline. Of course, this growing rate will only improve with future innovation. We’ll highlight some of the most current hybrid technologies in order to show you why you should consider an auto career in this field.

Advanced Technologies

Regenerative braking is an advanced auto technology used by most all hybrid vehicles, such as the Toyota Prius and Ford Fusion. While the traditional braking system works with a brake pad pressing against the brake motor to cause friction, with regenerative braking the objective is to recapture the energy by-product when the brakes are applied. For hybrid cars, the electric motor actually gains energy from the braking process. When the brake pedal is pushed, the regenerative braking circuit switches to make the motor operate in reverse, storing as much as 70% of the energy that would have been lost with traditional braking. Hybrid vehicles are also equipped with a start-stop system, which can automatically shut off and restart the internal combustion engine, reducing engine idling and thus reducing fuel consumption.

Hybrid Maintenance

Because of the different engine makeup and components like regenerative braking, hybrids have a few individual maintenance procedures. For one, oil will not need to be changed as often on a hybrid because the electric engine in these vehicles takes some of the load off the motor. Oil changes are usually recommended every 8000 kilometers, compared to every 4800km for a gasoline car. Unless the vehicle has broken down completely, an automotive service technician will find little difference in terms of general repairs. A myth is that hybrids are more expensive to repair, which has shown to be untrue given that hybrid cars are found to need less frequent repairs than gasoline cars. One of the more common issues vehicle owners happen to have with hybrid technology is the electric battery.

Hybrid Battery

In a college mechanic program, it is necessary to learn the components of the hybrid battery in order to service the growing market of hybrid vehicles. Hybrid batteries are rechargeable, although the energy cells do lose capacity over time. Hybrid companies’ method to maintaining the longevity of the battery is implementing software within it which stops the charging at 80%, and labels the battery as empty when it falls to around 20%. The numbers vary depending on the company, however the idea is that you are never charging to full then dropping to zero energy, because this is harsh on the battery and shortens its lifespan. Most hybrid car makers have an 8-10 year, or 160,000km warranty on the battery, which is about the lifespan of a typical vehicle. Companies are working to extend this battery life, as economic reasons have made it so car owners are holding onto their vehicles for longer than ever—the average in the U.S. now a record high of 11.4 years.

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