Last updated: Feb 2020 by Narasimhan Santhanam
This post is a part of EV Next’s EV Perspectives.
EV Next, a division of EAI, is a leading market intelligence & strategic consulting firm for the Indian e-mobility sector.
A hybrid electric vehicle model combines the internal combustion engine of a conventional vehicle with the battery and electric motor of an electric vehicle. The vehicle is designed to be run in both conventional fuel and electric charge based on the availability. Hybrid vehicles improve fuel economy.
There are three main types of hybrid vehicle
- A full hybrid (FHEV) can run on just the combustion engine (i.e. diesel/petrol), the electric engine (i.e. power from batteries), or a combination. The Toyota Prius is the most commonly known example of this. A full hybrid is not plugged in to recharge; the battery is recharged by running the combustion engine.
- A mild hybrid has an electric motor and combustion engine which always work together. An example of this is the Honda Accord Hybrid. Mild hybrids cannot run in just electric or just combustion engine mode; the engines/motors always work in parallel.
- A plug-in hybrid (PHEV), as the name suggests, requires plugging into the mains in order to fully recharge its battery. PHEVs can be run in just electric mode.
There have been very few efforts (anywhere in the world) in developing hybrid electric two wheelers, but here are two rare examples, one from India’s TVS and another from Honda of Japan.
TVS launched a hybrid scooter in December 2017. Due to the unavailable infrastructure for electric vehicles, TVS Motor was betting big on the hybrid technology and confirmed that it was working on introducing new hybrid and electric scooters. The company said that the first hybrid scooter would be powered by both battery and petrol. TVS would be using its own battery management system, while individual cells would be sourced from international suppliers. The battery would be assembled within the company.
TVS also announced that it was investing on the design of the motor for its electric scooters and if there is considerable demand it would be further investing in manufacturing motors too. The company has been working on electric bikes for over six years (as of 2017) and cites the life of lead acid batteries to be the main obstacle for the delay in the launch of the same. The high cost of Lithium-ion batteries are also a reason for the delay in mass adoption of electric vehicles.
Honda unveiled the PCX electric and hybrid scooter at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show. The company announced that it would launch the new scooter in Asia and Japan in 2018. The scooter could come to India as well and if it does, Honda would likely position the PCX above Grazia.
The PCX was first showcased at the 2014 Auto Expo and the scooter was also imported to India for research purposes. The 2017 Honda PCX scooter is expected to be priced at around Rs. 85,000/- (ex-showroom). The scooter is likely to be available in two versions – electric and hybrid.
The hybrid version would get a new high output battery with ACG (All-Condition Gears) start to back the engine. The hybrid is likely to displace 150cc and would have a single-cylinder layout. The motor is expected to provide 11 HP of power and 14 Nm of torque.
The scooter would have a contemporary design and a dominating front fascia. There are speculations that the scooter would get front and rear disc brakes, LED turn indicators and a digital instrument console. As of 2017, details on the PCX’s India launch remained sketchy.
Retro Fitted Hybrids
An existing conventional vehicle can be converted into hybrid or electric vehicles by retrofitting.
Verge Motors: Verge motors is building the parallel hybrid electric two-wheelers with proprietary future-proof technology. They have developed a kit that can be retro fitted in to any existing two wheelers (ICE two wheelers) within a couple of hours. The kit enables the driver to run the two wheeler in Electric/ hybrid/ICE mode by a simple flick of a switch. In electric mode the two wheeler can reach up to a maximum speed of 25 kmph and whenever the rider / driver wants to change the mode it can be done by a simple flick of a switch provided near the throttle of two wheeler.
Meladath: The kit, once fitted in a petrol scooter, turns the vehicle into an electric hybrid scooter. As the name says ‘hybrid’, the scooter can be driven in both- electric and petrol mode selectively.
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See also the related blog posts
- Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles – FCEV Trends – Hyundai, Honda, Daimler – Japan, US, UK, China
- EV Companies in India – Indian Electric Scooters, E-rickshaw, Electric Car Companies
- Prices of Electric Vehicles in India – Cost of Electric Scooter, Cars, Electric Buses – Tata, Mahindra, Hero, Ather, Ashok Leyland
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