Today, the electric car and the hybrid drive are almost running out of the tap, and the recently held Munich Motor Show has also been pushed into the background by internal combustion motor vehicles. But that’s just one side of the coin, because meanwhile, in the minds of many, hybrid technology still lives on as something mystical, unattainable, and expensive. While reality shows otherwise, almost everyone can find a hybrid to suit their own needs.
What is a hybrid at all?
In motoring, a hybrid is when a conventional internal combustion engine is supplemented by one – or possibly more – electric motor. This typically means that an electric drive is associated with a gasoline unit, but there are examples of diesel hybrids as well as more complex systems with multiple electric motors in addition to internal combustion. In addition, hybrids typically have a battery specifically designed for energy storage in addition to the usual twelve-volt axle.
In the minds of many, hybrid propulsion is still a novelty, so they are also distant from it; in fact, this achievement is no longer so revolutionary. While initially quite Bumford designs belonged to this mode of operation, today, at first glance, they can hardly be distinguished from the versions equipped with an internal combustion engine.
What hybrids exist?
There is more than one type of hybrid drive. As a starting point, it might be worth mentioning full or full hybrids – these are simply called hybrids. In such cars, the electric motor is responsible for starting the vehicle quietly and smoothly and supporting the gasoline engine. It is capable of self-propelled at low speeds, but here we cannot speak of a significant purely electrical range. As soon as the load becomes higher, the petrol engine starts, which not only gets into the drive, but also supplies the hybrid battery. Such a system can be found, for example, in the Suzuki Swace.
A plug-in hybrid – also known as a plug-in hybrid – is when the hybrid battery can not only be charged by the car’s own system, but can even be plugged in so we can charge it ourselves. This can be done from a public, public charging station, but even from the home network – the latter is typically a more time consuming process. Unlike a smooth hybrid, such cars already have a significant purely electric range, so depending on the model, we can roll up to 40-80 kilometers without emissions. A good example of this is the Suzuki Across, which can do up to 75 km purely electrically.
Finally, we need to mention the so-called soft hybrids. Although these cars are not capable of purely electric driving, in return, the hybrid system itself is extremely compact, saving space and weight. An integrated starter generator – ISG – is strapped to the petrol engine to help you start and accelerate. This reduces consumption and emissions, and the ISG relieves the burden of a conventional starter that only needs to work when starting cold. We could also say that this is the first step into the world of hybridization. There are 12-volt soft hybrids like the Suzuki Swift or Ignis, and 48-volt ones like the Vitara or SX4 S-Cross.
What hybrid should I buy?
This issue is not necessarily worth dealing with on its own: not only do we have to decide which hybrid drive to choose, it is at least as important that the chosen car meets our driving habits, our everyday needs in terms of space, comfort and design. Therefore, it is worth taking a more comprehensive approach to the decision.
If, for example, we know that we are typically driving in a city, and even then we are sitting in a car alone or with ourselves, or we are just using the car for ovi- and school trips, for shopping, then in most cases a smaller one will suffice. It is easier to maneuver on crowded streets, it is easier to find a parking space for yourself. In terms of drive mode, even a soft hybrid can be used for this application. This is because the surcharge for the hybrid system is not significant here, but we can save some fuel and pollute the environment a little less.
The Suzuki Swift system, which is made up of a 1.2-liter petrol engine and a starter generator, for example, allows 5.2 liters of urban fuel consumption, and the small car is even more economical on the highway. In addition, when starting and accelerating, ISG helps to make the car feel stronger and more emphatic, this flexibility can come in handy in addition to the many stops and lane changes in the city. If city use is right, but you need a little more space, or you might want to sit higher in the car, you might want to look into soft hybrids, crossovers, or compact SUVs like the SX4 S-Cross or Vitara.
Of course, there are life situations where the boot of an SUV or crossover is no longer enough. If we often carry a lot of packages, or maybe travel regularly for longer distances with the family, a compact station wagon may be ideal, and in fact, we would have usually added it earlier, preferably diesel. But diesel cars are being banned from more and more European cities, and a similar idea has already emerged in connection with Budapest. But what is the main advantage of diesels over a gasoline with similar performance? Favorable consumption. And here, hybrids can come into the picture again.
In urban use, not lounging at all in the traffic jam, we are only slightly polluted when we are working, and if we go further, we can count on the petrol engine. Those looking in this category are already expecting richer equipment and more driving support extras. Motoring can be made much easier with, say, a lane holder, an adaptive cruise control or even a blind spot monitor. In a city with a large putton, a combination of automatic parking or a rear transverse traffic warning can be especially helpful. A good choice in this segment can be, for example, the Suzuki Swace with all of the above: the 1.8-intake petrol engine and the electric motor promise an average consumption of 5.1 liters with 122 horsepower.
Nowadays, the most popular category is for hobby SUVs. A lot of people are attracted by the robust construction, the high seating position, and the sense of security that such cars radiate. Not many of those who buy SUVs are daring in the field, but the truth is that not all-wheel drive is available for all models. So when shopping, this can also be an important aspect for whom 4×4 is important, this factor can tip the tongue of the scales. And let’s add: this can come in handy not only in the field, but also in more severe winter snowfall. A good example of this is the Suzuki Vitara and the AllGrip all-wheel drive system available for it.
The large body is, of course, associated with less favorable air resistance and more massive mass, so a state-of-the-art hybrid drive can play a key role in compensating for these. This is what the Suzuki Across knows, in which longer journeys are served by a 2.5-liter intake petrol engine, but there is also an electric motor on each axle. At the same time, this means that we get all-wheel drive, which, while constantly monitoring the conditions, ensures the right stability and traction. As a mains-chargeable hybrid, it has a purely electric range of 75 kilometers, which allows for even daily agglomeration commuting, and we only spend on petrol if we travel longer distances.
What if such a complicated system breaks down?
As it turned out in the description of the various hybrid drives, the complexity of the systems differs significantly from each other. While, say, a Swift is made up of a simple intake petrol engine and starter generator, for example, the Vitara already includes a turbocharger, and depending on the design, we even get an automatic transmission. At the other extreme is the Across, which already has two electric motors, and we haven’t even talked about a 75-mile hybrid battery.
But, of course, it is also true in general that the technology in every modern car is much more complicated than it was ten or twenty, but even just five years ago. Not only the drive system but also the various driving support extras have changed a lot. Perhaps this is what makes many uncertain, saying, what will happen if something goes wrong? This is why the warranty is an important consideration when buying.
There are manufacturers that offer two to three years, possibly five, while others offer an extended warranty. It is worth considering that this is also given in kilometers, so typically the limit is 100,000 kilometers. In its Hybrid Pro or Hybrid Pro + extended warranty, Suzuki, on the other hand, marks 3 + 7 years or 200,000 kilometers for the engine, transmission, turbo and components of the hybrid system – so essentially any component that motorists are most afraid of failing.
BRAND & CONTENT
The article was prepared by Brand & Content on behalf of Magyar Suzuki Zrt. You can read more about what sponsorship content is here.