Using Ultracaps in Cars: the Definitions, Part II

Our previous post focused on the technical terminology associated with ultracapacitors in the automotive space. Now, armed with that knowledge, we’ll get into the specifics of the types of technology in hybrid and electric vehicles.

Did you know that there are four variations of “micro-hybrid” cars alone? Read on for the differences between each, and answers to all your other questions about these vehicles.

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Micro-Hybrid: term using to define a vehicle that employs technology to enable a modest reduction in CO2 emissions and fuel consumption. The technology employed is often a “start/stop” system, in which, when the car comes to a halt, the engine is shut down and re-starts only when the driver activates the accelerator. The engine re-starts by the alternator, which is powered by the car’s energy storage system, which receives a small boost charge from the vehicle’s alternator or from energy captured during the regenerative braking process.

Light Micro-Hybrids: typically sub-compact and compact cars that offer limited stop-start functionality and don’t have regenerative braking. The current energy storage system of choice for light micro-hybrids uses enhanced flooded lead acid batteries or a small ultracapacitor bank.

Medium Micro-Hybrids: range from sub-compact through full-size cars that offer greater stop-start functionality and may offer limited regenerative braking. The current energy storage system of choice for medium micro-hybrids employs advanced AGM batteries or a pairing of ultracapacitors and an AGM.

Heavy Micro-Hybrids: typically mid-size and full-size cars that offer the highest level of stop-start functionality, take full advantage of regenerative braking and implement other fuel economy innovations. Because of their extreme power demands, heavy micro-hybrids need better performance than the best AGM batteries can offer, so ultracapacitors are required to support the energy storage system.

Parallel Mild-Hybrid: uses the “start/stop” system employed in a micro-hybrid, as well as an electric motor to supplement (power assist) the engine during acceleration. The electric motor cannot power the car alone and instead uses an energy storage system charged either by regenerative breaking or by the engine slightly over-performing at cruising speed.

Series Mild-Hybrid: an electric motor, charged by a petrol engine or during deceleration, powers the system.

Full Hybrid: the most sophisticated of all hybrid systems, full hybrid cars can be powered by just the electric motor, the combustion engine or by both. Normally, when starting and driving at low speeds, the car is silently powered by the electric motor only, and there are no CO2 emissions produced and no fuel used. The combustion engine takes over at higher speeds and, when needed, the electric motor provides extra power. A full hybrid system selects the most appropriate power source and captures much more energy through regenerative braking to charge the energy storage system. The captured energy powers the one or more traction drive electric motors in the car.

Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV), Plug-In Hybrid Vehicle (PHV), Plug-In Hybrid: interchangeable terms for a hybrid vehicle that uses rechargeable batteries or another energy storage system to power the car. To restore to full charge, the vehicle must be connected to an external electric power source. These vehicles share characteristics of a conventional hybrid electric vehicle, as they have electric motors and an internal combustion engine.

Full Electric Vehicle (EV): uses one or more electric or traction motors for propulsion. Two main types of electric vehicles exist: those that are powered by electricity stored in an energy storage system charged from an external power source and those that are powered by an on-board electrical generator, such as a hydrogen fuel cell.

Latest News

  • uSTART® Lead-Free Replacement for Truck Batteries

    ONEONTA, N.Y.Jan. 9, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Ioxus uSTART® has received two fleet industry awards for sustainability by eliminating lead-acid batteries with its ultracapacitor-based, drop-in battery replacement.

    "With uSTART, fleets not only realize the benefits of improved starting reliability, there are equally important and real sustainability improvements from lead waste reduction," said Chad Hall, executive vice president and co-founder of Ioxus. "By replacing one of the batteries on a vehicle with a uSTART module, up to 15 fewer batteries are needed over the lifetime of the vehicle. This translates into 1,000 pounds of lead that will never need to be disposed of or allowed to affect groundwater."

    EU legislation on batteries is embodied in the European Battery Directive.  Its objective is to contribute to the preservation and improvement of environmental quality by minimizing the negative impact of batteries and battery waste.  As these preservation efforts expand, sustainable technologies develop to manage and mitigate these risks.

    Replacing a lead-acid battery with uSTART in a typical commercial vehicle creates measurable environmental benefits:

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