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The Honda Civic Hybrid From The Drivers Perspective

We all know, in basic terms what a hybrid is all about and what some of the advantages are, but do we really know how they work and why they work? Let’s take a closer look at that question starting with Honda’s Civic hybrid as an example. To make it simple we have a vehicle with a gasoline powered engine much like any other. Added to that, is an auxiliary electric motor that functions to keep the gasoline motor working at a minimum. The electric motor needs some type of power supply to make it function, enter the hybrid system battery which is in addition to the normal 12 volt vehicle battery. Now, we have all the basic components covered so lets get a little deeper into how all these parts work in harmony to power your hybrid vehicle.

We have to think about how and when the IMA system in a Civic hybrid is functioning. There are 2 modes that are used when you’re in the car. Either the System is in charge mode working to recharge the hybrid system battery or it is in assist mode where the electric motor is being used to power the vehicle.

How does it work? “Assist”

Now, jump in your hybrid and let’s take a look at how things get going. Turning the key to start your Civic hybrid is about the only step that would be comparable to a conventional car. Instead of a starter, your Civic uses the electric motor that is positioned between the gasoline engine and the transmission to get things turning. Now your up and running and heading for the grocery store, your watching that fancy little gauge that shows whether the car is charging or assisting and how much. Your climbing that hill and notice it indicates full assist, good thing since that little gas motor doesn’t really like accelerating too quickly on its own.

How does it work? “Charge”

Well, lets pretend that hill was really long and now you’ve spent a good amount of the energy stored in the hybrid system battery. On the way down your gauge shows full charge mode because the car is using something called regenerative braking to charge the battery back up again for the next hill. Basically, instead of throwing away all the energy that’s lost while decelerating or braking, we use regenerative braking to recapture and store some of that energy for when we need that assist function again.

How does it work? “Autostop”

When we come up to a stoplight right before the grocery store, it turns red and we stop. When we stop a Civic hybrid it goes into autostop mode, where the gasoline engine shuts down completely. The unique thing about hybrids is some of your traditional features are electric now instead of mechanical. So, when your sitting at the red light, your air conditioning, audio system, and other comforts continue to work as they would if you were idling there burning gas in a conventional vehicle. Now, when the light turns green and we are off to the races again, you step on the gas peddle and seamlessly the gasoline engine is back up and running. Remember, there is not a normal starter, so it functions just like when you go to start your hybrid.

So what do i get out of it? “Advantages”

With all this back and forth between charging and assisting we find our savings on fuel. We get the advantage of using wasted energy to charge our battery instead of having to plug into an outlet every night. We get the convenience of filling up at normal gas stations, but less often. The biggest advantage when talking about hybrids is, you can walk out to your driveway, get in your car, and head on down the road just as conveniently as you could in a gas only car. Nothing is drastically different from a drivers standpoint, you will not need to get used to a new routine of plugging your car in or trying to find some obscure alt-fuel station.

by Tony R.
Tony R. is an editor at the Hybrid Jungle – Hybrid Car Community. He also contributes to the Hybrid Jungle – Hybrid Car Forum

Article Source:

2008 Honda Civic Hybrid

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