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Hybrid electric vehicles

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  • Published
    2nd Aug, 2022


In recent months, various automakers have launched hybrid electric vehicles in India.

About Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV)

  • A HEV uses an internal combustion engine (ICE) (a petrol/diesel engine) and one or more electric motors to run.
  • It is powered by the electric motor alone, which uses energy stored in batteries, by the ICE, or both. 
  • HEV powertrains are designed to power cars in a series, parallel or series-parallel (power split) methods. 
    • A series HEV uses only the electric motor to drive the wheels, while the ICE powers the generator, which in turn recharges the battery. 
    • A parallel HEV, based on the driving condition, uses the best power source to power the vehicle. 
      • It will alternate between the electric motor and the ICE to keep the car moving.
    • A series-parallel HEV offers a combination of both models and allows split power, wherein power is routed from the ICE alone or from the battery to the electric motor to drive the vehicle. 
  • In all three designs, the battery is charged through regenerative braking technology.
    • A regenerative braking system (RBS) used in automotive applications has several advantages like better braking efficiency in stop-and-go traffic which enhances fuel economy and also helps in reducing carbon emissions. 
      • Besides, RBS also helps in energy optimisation resulting in minimum energy wastage.


  • a low-voltage auxiliary battery.
  • a traction battery pack to store electricity for the electric motor.
  • an electric generator.
  • an AC/DC converter.
  • a power electronics controller.
  • a thermal system to maintain working temperature.
  • a conventional ICE.
  • a fuel tank, a fuel filler.
  • a transmission and an exhaust system.

Different types of HEVs

  • The HEVs can be categorised into micro, mild,full and Plug-in-hybrid vehicles, based on the degree of hybridisation.
    • Micro HEV: They do not offer electric torque assistance as they lack an electric motor, but they have an idle stop-start system and energy management functions.
    • Mild HEV: It cannot drive using only the electric motor and uses the battery at traffic lights or in stop-and-go traffic to support the ICE. 
    • Full HEV: They have larger batteries and more powerful electric motors which can power the vehicle for short distances and at low speeds. These vehicles cost more than mild hybrids but provide better fuel economy benefits.
    • Plug-in-HEVs: They are just like full HEVs, but they can be charged using a wall outlet, as they have an onboard charger and a charging port. PHEVs generally use the electric motor until the battery is almost drained and then automatically switch to the ICE. 

Advantages of hybrid technology

  • Most vehicles with hybrid technology offer better fuel efficiency, more power, and minimum emissions
  • The design of hybrid vehicles for reduced engine size and car weight as compared to ICE vehicles, translates into increased mileage to favour the demand for these vehicles
  • With the increase in total power and torque, HEVs can deliver instant torque and provide high torque even at low speeds. 


  • A major challenge for HEVs is the high vehicle cost. 
    • Battery, a vital component of an HEV, increases the cost of the vehicle, making it pricier than vehicles powered only by an ICE. The RBS also adds to the higher cost of an HEV.
  • India’s road to a fully-electric ecosystem still has a few hurdles - inadequate infrastructure, lack of high performing EVs .
  • The absence of a robust manufacturing ecosystem for the materials associated with the EV revolution, coupled with the concentration of the supply chain in certain regions.

Government Initiatives

  • To build a sustainable EV ecosystem initiatives like – National Electric Mobility Mission Plan (NEMMP) and Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric vehicles in India (FAME India) have been launched by India.
    • NEMMP: It was launched in 2013 with an aim to achieve national fuel security by promoting hybrid and electric vehicles in the country. 
      • There is an ambitious target to achieve 6-7 million sales of hybrid and electric vehicles year on year from 2020 onwards.
    • FAME: FAME India Scheme [Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles in India] was launched in 2015 with the objective to support hybrid/electric vehicles market development and manufacturing ecosystem.
      • The scheme has 4 focus areas i.e. Technology Development, Demand Creation, Pilot Projects and Charging Infrastructure.
  • Organisations like Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), Department of Heavy Industry, Automotive Research Association of India are devising design and manufacturing standards of EVs, Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSEs) & charging infrastructure to smoothen the advent of in-house production of EVs.

Verifying, please be patient.