As environmental demands increase and consumer habits change, car manufacturers are looking for ways to meet the desires and needs of drivers as well as reduce their adverse impact on the environment.
One answer is hybrid cars with electric and gasoline engines. The next step in this direction are plug-in or rechargeable hybrids, which can operate as electric cars and conventional internal combustion cars.
In the city – electric, but on the highway – gasoline engine
Today, the range and capacity of plug-in hybrids is greater than ever before. For example, the latest French Citroën C5 Aircross PHEV allows you to enjoy original design and comfort, as well as the practicality of SUV models and the economy of a hybrid. The Volkswagen Tiguan plug-in hybrid was recently launched in Latvia, offering models that use this hybrid drive as well as Ford, Peugeot, Jeep, and various premium segment manufacturers.
In the city, such cars can be driven like normal electric cars, and if you want, you can travel more outside the city, which is one of the biggest advantages of rechargeable hybrids.
“As long as the plug-in uses only hybrid electricity, it is a pure electric car with all the ethical and environmental benefits of such a car. Everything is simple if you want to go to a country house or anywhere else, because you know that such a car will go anywhere, because it also has a standard gasoline engine, and you are not a hostage to the public electric charging infrastructure, ”says Aldis Selmenis, creator of the TV Auto News program, who has experimented with various plug-ins .
Plug-in hybrids are a good choice for Latvian conditions, says Ingar Tennis, car inspector and editor-in-chief of the Internet portal TV Net.
“Plug-in hybrids for general electric charging infrastructure have more freedom of movement compared to 100% electric cars that rely directly on it. The in-hybrid allows you to drive in the city like an electric car, but on the highway – like a normal car, ”says journalist igs.
Power alone will suffice for daily needs
With the latest plug-in hybrids, you can drive 40 to 60 km on electricity alone. For example, the Mitsubishi lattelander PHEV can run about 40-45 km, while the Citroen C5 Aircross PHV with a 13.2 kW battery can run more than 50 km without an internal combustion engine connection. According to car experts, to drive every day in the city, you only need to use the electric part of the hybrid drive.
It is certainly possible to cover the distance specified by the manufacturer while driving in normal mode with a small gain of mode power, but without a burden or hindrance to other road users. 40-50 km of power is enough to not even start an internal combustion engine. If I don’t have a particular business that day, I personally don’t need more, ”says I. Tennis.
By using an electric regenerative system, the distance traveled by the electric motor can be increased. For example, the Citroën C5 Aircross PHEV with this feature recovers energy from the battery when descending or braking. In this way, the distance traveled by electricity alone can be increased by at least a few kilometers a day.
Be careful – sit down and drive
Some drivers, with little disbelief, look at traditional hybrids and plug-in hybrids because they are skeptical about their driving characteristics and are convinced that it is better not to approach such cars without special knowledge. But car experts say it doesn’t require special extra skills to get behind the wheel of a hybrid.
“You sit and drive! If you use only electricity, you can enjoy smooth acceleration. When driving with an electric plug-in hybrid, there’s definitely a difference. The ride is not as dynamic as a 100% electric car.
After testing several plug-in hybrids, A. Zelmenis noticed no differences in their use and driving.
“The petrol mode is no different from a regular petrol car, the electric mode is no different from an electric car. The hybrid mode is similar to a traditional self-charging hybrid. Everything is simple, something special that the user does not need to learn,” says the specialist.
A step towards an electric car
According to experts, plug-in hybrids worked primarily like electric cars, but they have no inherent drawbacks, so they may become a stop for those thinking of buying an electric car, but are still fraught with some fear and uncertainty.
The rechargeable hybrid gives you the opportunity to test the electric drive. Such a car can prove that there is no problem in driving after 40 km, for example, 150-200 km with a large battery with a 100% electric car. Therefore, plug-in hybrids act as an educational tool while at the same time teaching how to handle charging cables and devices, ”says A. Selmenis.
He adds that plug-in hybrids give drivers the full functional features of electric vehicles. Their advantage over electric cars is a shorter charging period because the batteries are shorter. For example, the Citroën C5 Aircross PHEV mentioned above can be fully charged from a domestic main socket in about six hours, but with a 22 kW charging station – in just two hours. For example, when you start charging in the evening, you can go on the next day with only electricity.
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