Three Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Hybrid Car Batteries
Hybrid vehicles are becoming very popular. In 2012, more than four million were sold worldwide, and more than 200,000 of them were Honda Civic Hybrids. Despite their popularity, few people realize how complex the batteries are. The batteries in hybrid cars are not exactly like the batteries in a traditional vehicle. In fact, if you look for pictures of hybrid car batteries, you’ll see something that would look more at home in a Transformer from Cybertron, than in your humble hybrid car.
Here are three fascinating facts about hybrid batteries that may make you appreciate the technology behind this source of power.
You can actually prolong the lifespan of batteries in hybrid cars.
Hybrid batteries have a recharging mechanism that kicks in when braking and coasting. As with any battery, harsh use can shorten the expected lifespan. Driving a hybrid in a way that is most fuel efficient, such as coasting to a stop whenever possible, starting the vehicle slowly, and driving the speed limit, can also make it easier for your battery to do its job. For example, when you are stopped at an intersection or a light, gently press on the accelerator when it’s time to get moving again. If you do this correctly, your car will be in “all-electric” mode, which will help to cycle the battery more frequently. If a battery is ever faulty, or at the end of its life, then you may require hybrid battery repair, or in extreme circumstances, hybrid battery replacement.
Batteries in hybrid cars differ by make and model.
Owing to their batteries, hybrids are about 20-35% more fuel efficient than vehicles that are solely gas powered. However, while fuel efficiency ratings vary from vehicle to vehicle, so too does battery construction. The Honda Insight IMA battery has 120 individual 1.2-volt nickel metal hydride D cells within it. In total, the battery can put out 144 volts. The all-electric Tesla vehicles use cobalt dioxide in their batteries. Although there is an increased cost associated with this material, it has a higher energy density when it is fully charged, but it also stands a greater risk of combustion.
The right battery can improve the performance of your hybrid.
In the United States, replacing your hybrid battery can cost between $3,000 and $4,000, but that is a cost that you will have to consider if your battery ever dies. If your battery is older, you could also voluntarily replace your battery in the hopes of improving vehicle performance. There are third-party manufacturers that have created hybrid battery packs with larger capacities, and more powerful output.
Hybrid vehicle batteries are currently in a state of evolution. Some experts think that all hybrid and electric batteries will one day be made in the style of lithium ion batteries that are currently used in many laptops and cell phones. Wherever hybrid battery technology goes, it’s already coming from a fascinating, and technologically advanced beginning.