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I am not intending to debate which one is better but rather, which is which, or how best would you define them.

I ran across the article of Larry Hall of MSN Autos which seem to reverse the definition between Parallel and Series Hybrid. This can cause major confusion as the MSN website is read also by a large number of people not into cars alone. Perhaps this group can clarify the definitions. Here's what Larry wrote about the Hybrids:

Parallel vs Series
by By Larry E. Hall of MSN autos in What is a Hybrid
How They Operate
In practice, like a regular car, a series-hybrid vehicle has an engine that is generally running all the time. An electric motor placed "in series" between the engine and the wheels helps motivate the car. In assisting the engine, the electric motor helps improve fuel economy and reduce emissions. Some series hybrids also provide a "start-stop" function, which turns off the engine completely when the car is stationary, then restarting it instantly when the brake pedal is released.

Unlike a series hybrid, a parallel hybrid can operate like a fully electric car up to speeds of roughly 20-30 mph. In situations such as stop-and-go traffic, or under light acceleration at low speeds, the vehicle's engine may not run at all, relying completely on electric propulsion. The results are vastly improved city mpg ratings and, while in full-electric mode, essentially zero emissions.
complete article here: http://editorial.autos.msn.com/article.aspx?cp-documentid=435223
 

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I am not intending to debate which one is better but rather, which is which, or how best would you define them.

I ran across the article of Larry Hall of MSN Autos which seem to reverse the definition between Parallel and Series Hybrid. This can cause major confusion as the MSN website is read also by a large number of people not into cars alone. Perhaps this group can clarify the definitions. Here's what Larry wrote about the Hybrids:

Parallel vs Series
by By Larry E. Hall of MSN autos in What is a Hybrid


complete article here: http://editorial.autos.msn.com/article.aspx?cp-documentid=435223
He's got it arse backwards.
 

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I don't know about arse backwards. It more like a half arse.

It sound like he talking about a car that I never heard. The way Larry E. Hall saying is a car the runs without batteries. The engine runs all the time when the motor needed electric. The engine stop when the motor does not needed electric. I can't says he wrong as a Series Hybrid. I says he had the half arse truth to it.
 

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Actually, reading it again, he is talking about a parallel hybrid for the whole thing. The word series should even be in the article, based on what he's written. What a joke.
 

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Here is my understanding of the relevent definitions:

Hybrid: vehicle with 2 different power sources (for example, a gas engine and electric motor).

Serial hybrid: hybrid vehicle with wheels driven entirely by one power source (for example, a diesel-electic locomotive where the diesel only powers a generator to feed the electric wheel drive motors).

Parallel hybrid: hybrid vehicle with wheels driven similtaneously by two power sources (for example, a Prius when it is mixing power from the gas engine with power from the electric motor to drive the wheels).

Do any of you think differently?
 

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Here is a good article that describes all kinds of different hybrid systems. From human powered to trains. Sometimes it's not so easy to define and distinguish.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hybrid_vehicle


Here is a good explanation of the Prius. Most people think it's a parallel hybrid but it is in fact a combined hybrid. It can act in a pure series hybrid way if the conditions are such (the engine can run the electrical generator that charges the battery while the electric motor is driving the wheels completely):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toyota_Prius
 

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I have read that Wikipedia article and think they got it wrong. A hybrid vehicle is one that has more than one type of engine or motor TURNING the WHEELS! NOT providing the power. A serial hybrid is where only one type of engine or motor works at a time, and in a parallel hybrid the engines work in parallel. I agree that the Prius is yet a different kind of a hybrid, being able to do both.

The Volt is what GM names it, a Battery Electric Vehicle, with an Extended Range. If I have a bicycle with pedals and a battery and a motor, it would depend. If I could use the pedals to push the bike forward, it would be a hybrid. If the pedals only work to recharge the battery, then it would be an electric bike with a range extender.

However, this is an engineer's definition. The press and the public already have the definition of a hybrid firmly in mind and it is way too late to change it.
 

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Definitions

Here is my understanding of the relevent definitions:

Hybrid: vehicle with 2 different power sources (for example, a gas engine and electric motor).

Serial hybrid: hybrid vehicle with wheels driven entirely by one power source (for example, a diesel-electic locomotive where the diesel only powers a generator to feed the electric wheel drive motors).

Parallel hybrid: hybrid vehicle with wheels driven similtaneously by two power sources (for example, a Prius when it is mixing power from the gas engine with power from the electric motor to drive the wheels).

Do any of you think differently?
If a hybrid is a vehicle with two different power sources (defined as power delivered to the wheels), then a Volt is not a hybrid at all. Another definition could be that there are hybrids like the Prius and electric vehicles like the ThinkCity (grid-based) and Volt (with a range extender).

Electric vehicles may be powered by fuel cells, the grid, or auxiliary range extender. The distinction between parallel and series simply goes away; i.e., it is either a hybrid with two different power sources or an electric vehicle (or ICE).

Perhaps GM would be better off positioning the Volt as an electric vehicle, not a hybrid. The hybrid category is already owned by Prius so GM could take the high ground in the upcoming battle for advanced technology transportation.
 

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Greenman,

If a hybrid is a vehicle with two different power sources (defined as power delivered to the wheels), then a Volt is not a hybrid at all.
You took the term "power source" differently from my intention. I was referring to a device that provides power to be used by some element of the power train. (It could be driving the wheels, or running a generator, or something else.)

If you accept my clarified meaning of "power source" then it still makes sense to say the hybrid vehicle is parallel if power from both sources can be combined directly to the wheels (for example, by a planetary gear set).

In turn, the hybrid vehicle is serial if the wheels are driven only by one kind of power and the other power source drives something other than the wheels (for example, an ICE driving a generator feeding an inverter feeding a battery pack).

Perhaps GM would be better off positioning the Volt as an electric vehicle, not a hybrid. The hybrid category is already owned by Prius so GM could take the high ground in the upcoming battle for advanced technology transportation.
I believe GM is doing just what you suggest by calling the Volt an Extended-Range Electric Vehicle (E-REV) instead of a Plugin Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV).

I don't mean to be contentious about any of this. I just wanted to clarify that it was your different interpretation of "power source" that led to the rest of your position.

Peace be with you.
 

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No Contention Here

I do not take your comments as contentious at all. I admit that I am a rank amateur, not an expert like many on this board. I just like chipping in once in a while because it is fun. I don't pretend to have any super insight.

Yes, I do accept your definition regarding parallel hybrid. I was more musing about whether we need a series hybrid definition since batteries are recharged via the grid, a fuel cell (perhaps), or auxiliary engine. I don't pretend any one will listen to me anyway!
 
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