The Renaissance of hybrid drive
The hybrid technology which is almost as old as the automobile experiences a renaissance. Hybrid is great, combustion engines are Ugh – of course it is not so simple.
Already over 100 years ago began the history of the hybrid vehicle. Around the year 1900 a young engineer named Ferdinand Porsche invented a front-wheel drive with electric motor. Due to the lack of environmental awareness among the population the idea of hybrid drive could not enforce. In the age of effective environment protection, scarce energy resources and unavoidable price increases the hybrid car is becoming more important. But currently there are no pioneering market-ready technologies that might provide a revolution in the transportation sector by an emission-free process chain. So nowadays the hybrid technology is seen as a transition technology.
The hybrid technology has a lot of ecological and economical benefits. By using the electric motor especially in city traffic emissions and fuel costs can be reduced by low speed. However, combustion engines are used on long distances to maintain efficiency (higher speeds with usual performance). This combination generates fuel savings, reduced emissions and noise as well as repair and maintenance costs. While in 2010 the road transportation is mainly based on internal combustion engine vehicles, the hybrid technology is still in introduction phase. Until 2020 hybrid vehicles register a strong growth of nearly 20 percent in road transportation sector. Another 10 years later, in 2030, the trend of using hybrid vehicles will grow more and more. Because of this technology the greenhouse intensity of the road transport is reduced significantly. Despite the increasing penetration of the market there are a lot of challenges to improve the hybrid technology. The biggest drawback is the use of fossil fuels as an energy source – it has to be reduced. Moreover the hybrid vehicles are very complex and expensive. Another problem to solve is the battery because over the time it loses the ability to hold the charge. Therefore, it is necessary to use the gasoline engine earlier. Thus the savings of gasoline reduce. By solving the challenges in nearest future (next 20 years) hybrid technology will be the leader of the market but in further future (more than 30 years) the electric engines overtake the hybrid vehicles. The main reason is the use of fossil fuels in hybrid technologies.
All in all the development of hybrid vehicles has positive impacts to the environment because of the reduction of CO2 emissions. The companies gain benefits with reduced fuel costs, faster delivery and a better ecological image. Due the reduction of emissions there will be less ecotax. The demand of ecological cars, especially hybrid vehicles, will increase and so the sales will rise. Because of the constant effort to improve the efficiency the technology will progress.
Research question: Are the cars with an internal combustion engine and an electric motor a long-term solution for a green future in the transportation sector?