Automobile makers are now in a race to come out with the most efficient hybrid car that can be sold to the masses. In the center of these is the hunt for the most robust hybrid batteries. At present, hybrid cars are using lead acid and NiMH batteries but companies are looking at lithium ion batteries to be used for future hybrid cars.
Improvement in the technology will result in lighter, cheaper and more efficient batteries. That would make way for more cost efficient hybrid cars in the future. Today hybrid vehicles account for less than 5-percent of the cars on the road but hopefully in the future hybrids will be the standard for a cleaner Earth.
Ford and Toyota full hybrids will benefit from these technological breakthroughs in batteries along with GM and is long awaited Chevy Volt PHEV. There are speculations that Toyota will use lithium ion batteries in the next generation Prius but the details have not been worked out yet.
There are various trends with regards to the future of hybrid cars. One of which is diesel hybrid. Diesel engines are more fuel efficient than their gasoline counterparts. Therefore, diesel hybrids will be more efficient than gasoline hybrids. Ford has the Reflex Diesel Hybrid. Small players are coming out with their own versions especially for the European marketplace.
Another type of hybrid in the works is the flex fuel hybrid. This type uses ethanol or other bio-fuels. These alternative fuels can be cheaper than fossil fuels and countries won't have to rely on imported oil.
Then there are the controversial plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) making waves recently. There are people criticizing this hybrid type saying it's not a viable solution but scientific studies show that it is cleaner than gasoline-only and cheaper to maintain as well. In the future, the energy needed to charge the car can come from solar or wind power or other renewable sources.
Companies, such as Toyota and Ford are working on hybrids that run on hydrogen instead of gasoline. Most of the major car manufacturers are already testing hydrogen hybrids. If the tests turn out to have positive results then we can expect hydrogen refilling stations dotting the future landscape. California is very actively engaging this research right now.
Whether one is talking about mild hybrids, full hybrids, plug-in hybrids or hybrids in combination with flex fuel or hydrogen vehicles, the future is bright for high MPG cars. In fact, hybrids might just mean the survival of the Big 3 Detroit automakers.
About the Author
Copyright © 2009 Tom Harris, all rights reserved.
Tom Harris writes about cars and trucks and promotes Victorville Hesperia Apple Valley Adelanto, CA transmission repair as a way to keep one's current vehicle a little longer.