According to Bosch Automotive Technology (www.bosch-automotivetechnology.com), the world's largest independent parts supplier to the automotive industry, hybrid and electric vehicles (EVs) can be categorized as:
- Mild hybrid - This vehicle has an internal combustion engine that is supported by a low-powered electric motor. The vehicle cannot run purely on electrical power.
- Full hybrid - Mainly powered by a combustion engine, this type of vehicle can be driven short distances using electrical power.
- Plug-in hybrid - Also powered by a combustion engine, this vehicle can be driven longer distances using purely electrical power. Its high-voltage battery can be charged directly from a home electrical socket using a charger.
- Electric vehicle - This vehicle is powered solely by an electric motor. Its high-voltage battery can also be charged from a home electrical socket.
- Electric vehicle with range extender - This type of vehicle is also powered solely by an electric motor. It has a small combustion engine that can charge the battery as needed during vehicle operation.
CHARGE BY BRAKING
When braking in a conventional vehicle, the friction brakes convert much of the kinetic energy into heat that is emitted unused into the environment, say the Bosch Automotive Technology officials. Hybrid and electric vehicles can recuperate some of the kinetic energy.
When these vehicles brake, the electric motor switches to generator mode, they explain. The wheels transfer kinetic energy via the drivetrain to the generator.
The generator turns in a similar way to a bicycle light generator, transforming part of the kinetic energy into electrical energy, which is then stored in a high-voltage battery. At the same time, generator resistance produced from the electricity created slows the vehicle. When more braking torque is required than the generator alone can provide, additional braking is accomplished by friction brakes.
This process is known as recuperation or regenerative braking. Regenerative braking makes it possible to increase the range of electric vehicles and reduce the fuel consumption and carbon footprint of hybrid vehicles
The electrical energy stored in the vehicle's high-voltage battery is available to the electric motor to be used for driving or accelerating.