Hybrid car with more than one power source


Hybrid car is all the rage nowadays, but lots have mistaken the hybrid for a solar car or an electric car. By definition, a hybrid car is an automobile that have one or more power source, for example an electric moto, battery and fuel cells [1].

To many surprise, the Hybrid car technologies was developed during the 1900's .In fact, the first working hybrid car used a petrol engine, to power the rotation of the dynamo at a constant speed, to charged up the accumulators. It was created by Ferdinand Porsche, the founder of Porsche [2].

Before the increase of the global fuel price [3], hybrid car is just one of the car that are displayed during auto show as the car of the future. The demand grows and like a snowball effect in conjunction of the increase of awareness in Malaysian society on preserving the environment with the “Go green” campaign [4].

In the modern hybrid, it is the combination of a conventionalinternal combustion engine(ICE)propulsion system and anelectricpropulsion system. To enhance it further, electric powertrain is added to increase efficiency, other efficiency-improving technologies which is added is theregenerative braking, where the vehicle's kinetic energy is converted into electric energy to recharge the battery, unlike conventional brakes that waste it as it dissipate heat. Some other hybrid technology uses their internal combustion engine as a motor generator to generate electricity by spinning anelectrical generator [5]. This process has two functions which are to power the car or recharge their batteries.

Many hybrid have a similarities which is the start-stop system. The ICE is shut down during idle condition and restart again when the hybrid is moving reduce idle emissionsbyshutting downtheICEatidleand restarting it when needed, thus this will produce less emission compared to the normal gasoline powered car. A hybrid-electric produces less emission from itsICEthan a comparably-sized gasoline car. In other words, it increase efficiency and consume less fuel.

There are 4 term that are used to describe Hybrid cars :

Full hybrid

It is also known as a strong hybrid. It is a versatile vehicle that can run with either the engine, or just the batteries, or even the combination of both. For example the Hybrid Synergy Drive byToyota Prius,Ford Escape Hybrid, andFord Fusion Hybridare cars that are using this technology. However there are the downside to it, as these cars can run on battery power alone thus it need a high capacity battery [6]. Thanks to advance technology, the full hybrid have a function that allow user more option in choosing the power source of the car, either the via the electrical power or mechanical.

Mild hybrid

It is also known as a hollow hybrid. Different to the full hybrid, a mild hybrid require both electrical and mechanical engine as the electrical power source can't sustain enough energy to power the vehicle. It only features some of the technology of the full hybrid for example a greater fuel efficiency. A mild hybrid can be metaphoric describe as conventional vehicle with the start-stop system [7].

Power assist hybrids

The main working mechanism is the ICE. The ICE is used as a primary power source, to increase the torque of the electrical motor that is connected to the powertrain. The electric motor, is located inbetween the engine and transmission, which operates during the engine turned over and also when the driver accelerates [8].

Plug-in hybrid

It is a hybrid electric vehicle withrechargeable batteries. The battery can be recharge when connected to an external power source. A plug in hybrid also share similar characteristic as other hybrids [9]. It have more electrical capacity compared to a mild hybrid and uses combustion engine as a spare when the batteries are out.

How Hybrid Cars Work

When you get into a hybrid car, you'll definitely feel shock and at the same time impress on the quietness of the car's engine. The two most popular hybrid cars (Toyota and Ford) use the technology called internal combustion engine (ICE) [10]. ICE will start operating when the car is started and then it will shut down once the car is warmed up. This process only takes a short period of time. When the ICE is off, the car will operate using the electric motor.

The amount of power to draw from ICE and pull from the car's electric motor depends mainly on how fast is the driving speed. The car's computer is in charge of determining this. The car's dashboard will show the driver when is the electric assist is working.

Hybrid cars are classified into various types. They are the parallel hybrid such as Ford Escape Hybrid, mid parallel hybrid such as Honda Insight and power-split series-parallel hybrid such as Toyota Prius [10]. There are also Plug-in hybrid electrical vehicle such as Chevrolet Volt and also Fuel cell, electric hybrid such as Chevrolet Equinox [11]. All of these use different types of technology to achieve the same motive which is to be an environmental friendly vehicle.

There are 5 main steps taken to achieve hybridization [12]. Firstly, the idle-off capability which acts like a switch of a refrigerator. This switch will automatically turn off when the refrigerator's door is closed. By using the same concept, this feature will off the vehicle's gasoline engine when the car is in static [11,12 ]. With this, no fuel will be consumed. This feature will also turn on the engine using a very short interval of time when the car is about to move. However, this process consumes large amount of power if compare with conventional vehicles.

Secondly, the regenerative braking which uses the electric motor to stop the car. During this process, the electric motor acts as a generator [11,12]. It recovers part of the kinetic energy generated when the car is moving convert them into electric energy. This electric energy is stored in the battery so that it can later be use to slow down or even stop the car. This method comes with few disadvantages which are the vehicle must have a large electric motor which operates with high voltage so that it can capture the breaking energy efficiently and a large battery pack is needed to store the energy. However, this method can help to reduce the consumption of fuel of the vehicle.

Thirdly, the power assist and engine downsizing method which truly fulfills the definition of hybrid vehicle [11, 12]. The general definition of hybrid vehicle is “is a vehicle that uses two or more distinct power sources to move the vehicle”. Hybrid vehicle uses electric motor and gasoline engine to move [15]. This method actually reduces the gasoline engine demands. Because of this, a smaller size engine can be used and at the same time producing the same outcome as the normal size engine [13].

The fourth method is the electric-only-drive technology which let the vehicle move using solely the electric motor and battery pack [12]. With this, the electric side of the dual system can be fully utilized. This is the main reason why the hybrid vehicle can be operated in such low noise condition. This method is launched during low speed and the starting of the engine. Once the car reaches high speed, the engine will take over.

Lastly is the extended battery-electric range which is also the final level of hybridization [12, 14]. This is a method where the motor's capacity is extended by recharging its battery using a clean energy grid such as plug in. With this method it is possible for the vehicle to operate by using only the battery-electric up to 30 to 100 km. this is definitely a greener method. This method's performance plainly depends on how often the owner plugs in.

Above are the brief explanations of the operation of hybrid vehicle. Overall, hybrid technology is definitely a more environmental friendly technology [16].

How come hybrid car is hardly used in Malaysia

The Hybrids, a car that consume a tiny bit of fuel and uses both battery and fossil fuel as power source, with an everlasting battery, seems to be very attractive as gasoline prices shoot up past RM10.00 a gallon mark. The hybrid produce less harmful carbon gas thus it pollute less with 2 power source it also consume less fuel, thus it gives us the feel good factor. But is it just too good to be true if sense if you are simply trying to save money? Not yet. [17]

However the Hybrids have a misconception that it is the way to save fuel, in fact it's the opposite. It is likely that we could never get back our investment in the hybrid even if compared it with a SUV with high fuel consumption rate. Currently, is cheaper to get a smaller car rather than the hybrid at a high price. People have been reluctant to buy hybrid, especially because there are few reasons that show how much the new technologies will cost in the long run which are servicing, battery life, etc. [18]
In addition, the higher purchase price really does scare many people off. If you were to compare a Toyota Corolla with a Toyota Prius, for example, some interesting figures come to light. The difference in price between the cars is nearly RM 19707.79. You can fill a lot of petrol for that kind of money. But how does the difference work out? There are reasons why hybrid cars are expensive. The Toyota Prius has become the trademark or a symbolic car for those who are very passionate about preserving the environment. They willing to go the extra mile or in this case pay the extra dollar to prove how concern they are towards the environment. Unfortunately, if we view it in a more detail manner, the Prius is one of the main culprit of pollution the in United State. The pollution cause by a Prius is greater than a Hummer, a vehicle that most Prius owner sees as the ‘devil'.

Before judging the hybrid and entering its dark side, we must understand the working mechanism of the hybrid. Thus we take Toyota Prius for example as it is the best selling hybrid car in the market. The Prius is powered by two engines: a standard 76 horsepower, 1.5-liter gas engine that is used in average conventional car and a battery- powered engine that produce and output of 67 horsepower and a 295ft/lbs of torque, below 2000 revolutions per minute. The Toyota Synergy Drive system, the system which is installed in Toyota's hybrid to regulate its ‘start-stop system', propels the car from idle up to 50km/h. It produce less efficiency as more energy are consume to get a car moving from idle position rather than a moving car as inertia plays a major role. Thus the ‘start-stop' system requires more fossil fuel to be burned. Another feature of the Prius is the rechargeable battery, which is recharge when break is applied and when the car is running above 50km/h as it would switch to fossil fuel power source. Thus it seems to be an ideal efficient car, right? [18]

Sadly no if we put the building process of a Prius under the microscope, we can say that it would bring more harm than the Hummer. This is because the main component in the battery pack of the Prius is made of nickel, which will cost 3 times more damage than a Hummer towards the environment. The nickel plant in Ontario, Canada is dubbed as the ‘dead zone' as it damages all the environment surrounding it. The plant is located miles away from civilization as it is hazardous to living thing due to the emission of sulfur dioxide. Sadly, Toyota acquire 1000 ton of nickel from the plant to generate the battery pack for its Prius.

“The acid rain around Sudbury was so bad it destroyed all the plants and the soil slid down off the hillside,” said Canadian Greenpeace energy-coordinator David Martin during an interview with Mail, a British-based newspaper.

However, there are more bad news as the nickel from the plant in Canada are shipped to its refinery across Europe and to China to transform the nickel into ‘nickel foam' , and finally end up in Japan, to complete its transition into a battery. This transatlantic journey across the world would defy the Prius label as an environmental friendly car as the production of its battery itself brings more harm than producing a conventional car. [18]

Through a study by CNW Marketing called “Dust to Dust,” find that the total combined energy is taken from all the material to build the car and its expected lifetime. The Prius costs an average of RM5.20 per kilometer for driven over a lifetime of 150,000 kilometer which is the expected lifetime of a hybrid. This is compared to the Hummer, the Prius nemesis that only cost Rm 3.11 per kilometer with expected lifetime of 450,000 kilometer. This means that the Hummer is 3 times for efficient than the Prius. [18]

The government role and public awareness

The government plays a major role in shaping up the nation according to famous Chinese philosopher Confucius. Malaysia is heading towards being a developed nation by the year 2020, thus a lot of policies are been implemented inline of our nation's goal to be a develop country in our own mould, without regarding the people's interest at heart.

One of the main government policies is the National Green Technology Policy . The aim for this policy is to tackle the current global warming issues by lessens the carbon emission without neglecting development and preserving the ecosystem [19]. This is in line with United Nation Climate Change Conference where Malaysia pledges to cut down carbon emission by 40 % [20].

This afford by the government have a domino effect on the public, thus creating a greater awareness in the country. This is further justified by various campaigns being launch nationwide to further educate and also implement the policy. One of the active campaign that was launch is the “No plastic bag day” that been launch by the Penang and Selangor state government [21]. By this policy, consumers are charge 20 cent for each plastic bag on every Saturday. This shows that even government with different political agenda could come together and agree that it is important to create awareness in this country. Cooperate giant like McDonalds too doing their part in the “No plastic bag day” [22].

With government policy implemented, and the increase of awareness among Malaysian on the importance of preserving the environment, the future looks good for hybrid cars. Although hybrid technology is not new and the initial response from Malaysian on hybrid car have been slow [23]. This is mainly due to high price of the car according a survey conducted by Bernama [24]. However, this problem have been eradicated during the 2009 national budget [25]. With the decrease of 100% on imported tax and 50 % on excite duty on hybrid cars [25]. This certainly would play a significant role in slashing the price of a hybrid to make it more affordable and at the same time it would create more alternative for drivers as the prices of the a hybrid car are now more competitive with the usual conventional fossil fuel powered car. To add to this effort, local automaker, Proton has announced its plan to move into hybrid technology. Proton is going to launch its concept of a hybrid car with enhancement by its subsidiary Lotus, a t the Geneva Motorshow [26], highlighted their seriousness in developing hybrid car. This would translate to brighter future for hybrid car in the country.


It is up for debate if the hybrid will bring more harm [18] or will bring good [19] to mankind. The future of hybrid in our country however is looking good, although currently only one type of hybrid is on the market, the Honda Civic hybrid [30]. It will certainly gain momentum in a matter of time, as the younger generations are more environmental conscious, with their participation on environmental awareness activities like the ‘No Plastic bag day' [22].

It is a very encouraging trend, and hopefully the younger generation would implement it permanently rather than just a trend. This is important as the younger generations today are more involve to shape up their future. Although the current price of the hybrid is out of the question for a peanut size salary of a fresh graduate, but the potential of a more affordable hybrid could be realize with the cooperation of the ASEAN government in implementing the AFTA (ASEAN free trade agreement) which could see the price of cars soaring down, especially the leading manufacturer of hybrid, Toyota is based in Thailand. Despite this, we also should not forgetting the effort made by our own local car manufacturer, Proton, who are currently developing their own hybrid with their subsidiary Lotus [26].

With the potential customers, the young one and also the old generation who are currently riding the wave of environmental awareness, are eager to get their hand on their own hybrid, and the relentless effort by local and international carmaker to further enhance the hybrid, adding to the fact of the government effort to promote and cutting the red tape for a greener Malaysia. It is a simple matter of a supply and demand. Thus, there are only one way for the future of hybrid cars in Malaysia, which is up.

Analysis on Survey

The survey we have conducted on the Future of hybrid car in Malaysia at http://www. surveymonkey.com/s/3YWCM3P . We have set 8 questions for the survey, with 4 of the questions are multiple choice, 2 rating based questions and 2 dialog/feedback type of questions. From the 18 respondent we received, it paints a clear picture of how the future of the hybrid car is looking for our country.

1. Which of these are hybrid car?

From the outcomes of this survey, it can be conclude that most Malaysian know what is hybrid car in general, with 77.8% of them know the Toyota Prius is one of the top selling hybrid in the market. With this, we can deduct that most Malaysian actually has the knowledge of the hybrid car model in the market. Honda Jazz hybrid will only be launched this coming autumn in Japan (in the range from October to November) [27]. Honda decided to launch this Jazz Hybrid is because of the high fuel demand by the consumers.

2. Is there any difference between a hybrid car and an electric car?

From the data collected above, we found that the public are aware of the difference between a hybrid and an electric car, although there are a lot of misconception that both a hybrid and an electric car is similar, but it does not affect our respondent who majority agree there are difference between a hybrid and an electric car with 88.9% of them agrees.

Actually, both the electric car and hybrid car uses the technology that aim to decrease the fuel consumption. The main difference between electric car and hybrid car is that the electric car is 100% electric whereas the hybrid car uses both fuel and electric power to operate. The distance that can be travelled by an electric car totally depends on the amount of time that the car is plugged in and charged. This has limit the distance that can be travelled by the electric car. On the other hand, hybrid car can definitely travel a farther distance due to the gasoline power [28].

3. In your opinion, why are hybrid car still rare on the road in Malaysia?

It seems that price is the main barrier, for the lack of hybrid cars in the country. Factors like high imported taxes play a role to make the hybrid car less affordable to the general public. For example a Prius cost almost the price of a Toyota Camry. Thus those who could afford it would rather opt for a more luxurious car. Other major factor is the lack of expertise in the country for maintenance of the car. A conventional car could be sent to an average workshop for maintenance, but a hybrid with its complex system, only authorized dealer could fix any problem that could occur. In other words it would increase the cost for drivers.

It is indeed that the price of a hybrid car is much more expensive than a conventional car. As an example, conventional Honda Civic 1.8 costs around RM113k [29] whereas the hybrid type costs around RM130k [30]. This shows a difference of RM17k in price. This is why the price gives the deepest impact in why consumers choose to drive a conventional car.

4. Do you think hybrid car could reduce the carbon emission?

From the result, we realized that most people are also aware of the impact a hybrid car on the environment with 88.9% of them agree it could curb the carbon emission, and the advantage of the hybrid as we quote from the survey “ A hybrid would reduce fossil fuel consumption thus saving the environment”. But the main drawback is the price of the fuel.

It is obvious that hybrid car has the ability to reduce the carbon emission. This also depends on the car model. A Toyota Prius only emits 104g/km carbon dioxide which is a 55% reduction compare with a conventional car of the same class [31].

5. If the price of a hybrid car is as expensive as an ordinary car, would you consider it?

In question 3, we found out that the main drawback of the hybrid car is the price. From the result of this question, the answer in question 3 is justified. It is shown that 61.1% of people would definitely switch to a hybrid car if its price is affordable. However, there are people who still want to stick with the conventional car. I believe that this group of people would prefer a more powerful car.

So far, hybrid car model is still the family car type. It is less possible to drive a hybrid car and have the thrill of speeding or dragging at the same time. The main purpose of hybrid car is to be more environmental friendly. Excessive speeding would lead to high carbon emission. Because of this, the chance of having a high cubic centimeter (cc) hybrid car model is lesser.

6. How well do you know about hybrid car?

From the result obtained, it is obvious that most people have brief idea on hybrid car. This is a very good start for Malaysian to consider driving a hybrid car. However, there are still a small group of people do not have any idea on hybrid car. This problem can be solved if the car manufacturers promote hybrid car more frequently. We believe that if there are more people aware of the advantages of driving a hybrid car, the future of hybrid car in Malaysia would be brighter.

7. Do you know any advantage of the hybrid compare to a normal fossil fuel car?


not very clear


Petrol consumption is better


it can save fuel when the the rpm is under some certain standards i guess


It use less fuel (better utilization of petrol)


It reduces consumption of fossil fuel, thus saving the environment


save fuel!!bla bla...bla bla...


it will helps to green the earth


Yes, It's more environment-friendly.


Less carbon dioxide emission


less CO2

The above are the responds given by the public. Most of them agree that the hybrid the hybrid have an advantage over the conventional car. From their feedback, we can conclude that hybrid cars would help in conserving the environment, as it consume less petrol, emit less harmful carbon gases, and it would create a greater fuel efficiency, as the car could be powered via electric source too, lowering the dependency on fossil fuel.

8. Is Hybrid car a way forward to our future? please state reasons


less pollution


Yes,bcos it's a treb


Of cos. It indicates we can slowly not using fuel in transportation


Yes. It saves the environment


No, if possible, people should work towards full-electronic battery powered cars because if you want to save the environment, why do it halfheartedly.




Yes. To avoid global warming.


Yes. We should preserve our environment for the future.


Yes. new technologies


yes.. petrol is expensive

Majority of our respondent would agree that the hybrid is the car of the future, although a few minorities are still skeptical about it. Their concern is the hybrid still needs the dependence on fossil fuel. Their preference is to create a full electric power car and also a few concerns about the chemical content inside the batteries used in the hybrid [18]. On a brighter note, the majority are ecstatic and optimistic that the hybrid could play a role in preserving our future. They site that is a way to contribute to avoid global warming and to have a greater fuel efficiency as the price of fuel is expensive.

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