For 4 generations, the Toyota Prius has been THE symbol of hybridization. Originally criticized for its laborious driving performance on the road and motorway (and its divisive design…), the formula has been refined over the years and with the arrival of elaborate competitors. But the principle remains the same: a gasoline engine, an automatic transmission and an electric motor which work together with a very fine management to obtain the best possible efficiency. A small battery makes it possible to accumulate the kinetic energy recovered during braking, which will sometimes be enough to drive the only electric motor (up to 70% of the journey time in town), the heat engine will wake up when more power is needed. important or when the power reserve is exhausted. This is called a parallel hybrid system. Result, remarkable consumption in urban traffic (number of taxis are not mistaken there) and a high approval in this environment.
There is also another category of hybrids, much rarer, called series hybrid, the heat engine used to supply energy to a powerful electric motor which is the only one to drive the wheels. There, the role of the heat engine is close to that of a range extender. This is the solution successfully exploited by Nissan in Japan with the e-Power system, which we will soon see here on board the new Qashqai.
In the two previous cases, these are so-called “full hybrid” models, whose electric motor is powerful enough to drive the wheels on its own. Not to be confused with the ” mild hybrid Or mild hybrids, which use just a small engine to help start and supplement the torque available for revs, but which cannot run entirely electric. Warning, at the time of registration some manufacturers play with words and simply call them hybrids …
Finally, the plug-in hybrids (PHEV in English) are a category of their own. Indeed, their large battery can be recharged on a terminal or a mains socket (reinforced preferably) to ensure pure electric traction (generally around fifty kilometers) thanks to their more powerful electric motor. They can also ensure a long range of action in hybrid mode. A compromise which seems ideal on paper, knowing a great success, with models carried by interesting tax incentives in particular for the companies, but they are expensive and heavy. Some of them also suffer from very high consumption once the battery is empty and in any case, they must be recharged often to be used at best.