Hybrid electric vehicles are powered by an internal combustion engine and an electric motor, which uses energy stored in batteries. A hybrid electric vehicle cannot be plugged in to charge the battery. Instead, the battery is charged through regenerative braking and by the internal combustion engine. The additional power provided by the electric motor can potentially allow for a smaller engine. The battery may power auxiliary loads and reduce engine idling once stopped. Together, these features end in better fuel economy without sacrificing performance. (1)
HEVs integrate the advantages of high fuel economy and low tailpipe emissions with the power and range of traditional vehicles. An extensive variety of HEV models are presently available. Although HEVs are regularly more expensive than similar conventional vehicles, some cost may be recovered through fuel savings or state incentives. Compare HEV and non-hybrid models side by side using the "Can a Hybrid Save Me Money?" tool on FuelEconomy.gov. The tool compares the costs of a selected HEV with a comparably equipped non-hybrid model from the same manufacturer and provides fuel cost savings related to the HEV option. (1)
HEVs can be either mild or full hybrids, and full hybrids may be designed in series or parallel configurations. Mild Hybrids—also known as micro hybrids—use a battery and electric powered motor to assist power the vehicle and can permit the engine to shut off when the vehicle stops (such as at traffic lights or in stop-and-go traffic), further improving fuel economy. Mild hybrid systems cannot power the vehicle using electricity alone. These vehicles typically cost less than full hybrids but provide less fuel economy benefit than full hybrids. On the other hand, Full Hybrids have larger batteries and more powerful electric motors, that can power the vehicle for short distances and at low speeds. These vehicles cost more than mild hybrids but provide better fuel economy benefits. Also, there are different ways to mix the power from the electric motor and the engine. Parallel Hybrids—the most common HEV design—connect the engine and the electric motor to the wheels through mechanical coupling. Both the electric motor and the internal combustion engine drive the wheels directly. Series Hybrids, which use only the electric motor to drive the wheels, are more generally found in plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. (1)
PHEVs have an internal combustion engine and an electric motor, which uses energy stored in batteries. PHEVs commonly have larger battery packs than hybrid electric vehicles. This makes it feasible to drive mild distances using just electricity (about 15 to 60-plus miles in current models), commonly referred to as the "electric range" of the vehicle. During urban driving, most of a PHEV's power can come from stored electricity. For instance, a light-duty PHEV driver might drive to and from work on all-electric power, plug the vehicle in to charge at night, and be ready for another all-electric commute the next day. The internal combustion engine powers the vehicle when the battery is mostly depleted, during rapid acceleration, or when intensive heating or air conditioning loads are present. Some heavy-duty PHEVs work the opposite way, with the internal combustion engine used for driving to and from a job site and electricity used to power the vehicle's auxiliary equipment or control the cab's climate while at the job site (1)
The overall hybrid vehicle market, through volume, was 4,169 thousand units in 2018 and is projected to develop at a CAGR of 8.94% from 2018 to 2025, to attain 7,593 thousand units by 2025. The demand for hybrid vehicle market is growing because of stringent emission regulation requirements and the developing demand for low or zero-emission vehicles. Furthermore, governments of numerous countries offer purchase grants and tax rebates for hybrid vehicles, including HEVs and PHEVs. (2)
Hybrid vehicles offer large opportunities for boom in the markets of developing countries because of initiatives and support from governments (e.g., incentives in sales and manufacturing, tax rebates, increased focus on deploying hybrid commercial vehicles).
The Indian government is providing incentives of approximately USD 446 on the purchase of hybrid and electric vehicles in India. The Brazilian government is encouraging the purchase of hybrid vehicles such as plug-in hybrid, hybrid electric, and CNG hybrid by reducing the tax rate. The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), India, has awarded a contract to Tata Motors for supplying 25 Tata Starbus Diesel Series Hybrid Electric Buses. (2)
The challenge faced by the hybrid vehicle market is high cost. A hybrid vehicle such as a plug-in hybrid vehicle has the battery as its central component. The battery increases the cost of the vehicle, making it costlier than diesel- and gasoline-powered vehicles. The price difference is due to parts such as battery and regenerative brake price. However, there has been a significant decrease in the cost of batteries in the past few years. Also, battery manufacturers are taking initiatives and carrying out R&D operations to decrease the cost of batteries. (2)
I think now can be a good opportunity to have a glance on Top 10 players in the market of Hybrid Vehicles
Toyota: Founded in 1937 and headquartered in Aichi, Japan, Toyota operates in automotive and financial services. It manufactures and sells hybrid trucks and cars through its Automotive segment. Its product portfolio includes Camry Hybrid, Avalon Hybrid, Highlander Hybrid, Prius, RAV 4 etc. (2)
Ford: Established in 1903 and headquartered in Michigan, US, Ford operates under automotive and financial services. Under automotive segment the company manufactures passenger cars, SUVs, trucks, electric vehicles, and hybrid vehicles. Hybrid vehicle segment includes various models such as C-Max Hybrid, Fusion Hybrid SE, and Fusion Energy SE. (2)
Volvo: Established in 1927 and headquartered in Gothenburg, Sweden, Volvo offers hybrid cars, trucks, and buses besides manufacturing hybrid engines. Volvo’s hybrid cars portfolio includes Volvo XC 90, Volvo XC 60, Volvo V 90, Volvo V 60, and Volvo S 90. Volvo hybrid truck and bus product lines include Volvo FE, Volvo 7900 hybrid bus, and 8400 hybrid city bus. (2)
Daimler: Established in 1886 and headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany, Daimler is the world’s biggest manufacturer of commercial vehicles. It has 5 business units – Daimler Trucks, Mercedes-Benz Cars, Mercedes-Benz Vans, Daimler Buses, and Daimler Financial Services. The company offers hybrid passenger cars, truck, and buses. Some examples of passenger hybrid cars include C-class saloon C 350e and E class saloon E 350e. (2)
Honda: Established in 1948 and headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, Honda operates through 4 business segments, namely, automobile, financial service, motorcycle and power products, and Other. The company offers hybrid cars through automobile business segment. Various car models include Honda Accord Hybrid, Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid, Honda CR-Z Hybrid, and Honda Civic Hybrid. (2)
In sum, the research and development of Hybrid Vehicles’ technology are moving forward at a rapid pace. With the support from the government in the pioneer countries in this field and the investment from well-known auto-makers companies, higher goals for the extending of hybrid vehicles among users will not be unexpected.