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Although in the popular mind a hybrid car is a gasoline car with an electric motor, I imagine that there's some space for simplifying the design of the gasoline motor, once you have the electric once.

If you have an electric motor, you won't need a dedicated alternator, would you? I also see that the regenerative braking might reduce strain on the main brakes. On the other hand, I believe hybrids still have an independent 12-V battery, as other gasoline cars have.

What simplifications in the design are possible, once you have a strong electric motor? How would that impact maintenance cost?

  • How will you simplify the gasoline motor? They tend to be complicated to maximize efficiency. – Solar Mike Apr 30 at 11:38
  • Er, how does the gas engine generate electricity to drive the electric motor, with no alternator? – alephzero Apr 30 at 14:12
  • @SolarMike I suppose you could simplify an IC engine a bit if it's only designed to run at one RPM and one power setting, but just using an existing engine developed for a different vehicle is likely to be cheaper. – alephzero Apr 30 at 14:15
  • @alephzero: hybrids don't have an alternator in the traditional sense. Electric motors and alternators are mostly equivalent, the difference is that the diode assembly on a car alternator would stop you from using one as a motor. Otherwise, they are roughly identical. That you don't find a 'traditional' alternator in an electric or hybrid car is simply because the electric motor doubles in that role when required. Almost all electric motors when spun will generate power, you'd have to do some work to get one not to generate power when driven. – Pierre B Apr 30 at 16:28
  • @PierreB - I don't think that is as hard as you think ... look at current day alternators (which can double as an electric motor) ... they won't produce electricity unless there's a field applied to it ... you have to have energy to make energy in this case. – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 May 1 at 15:48

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