Environmental issues of hybrids
The hybrid vehicle typically achieves greater fuel economy and lower emissions than conventional internal combustion engine vehicles (ICEVs), resulting in fewer emissions being generated. These savings are primarily achieved by three elements of a typical hybrid design:
Relying on both the engine and the electric motors for peak power needs, resulting in a smaller engine size more for average usage rather than peak power usage. A smaller engine can have less internal losses and lower weight.
Having significant battery storage capacity to store and reuse recaptured energy, especially in stop-and-go traffic typical of the city driving cycle.
Recapturing significant amounts of energy during braking that are normally wasted as heat. This regenerative braking reduces vehicle speed by converting some of its kinetic energy into electricity, depending upon the power rating of the motor/generator;
Other techniques that are not necessarily 'hybrid' features, but that are frequently found on hybrid vehicles include:
Using Atkinson cycle engines instead of Otto cycle engines for improved fuel economy.
Shutting down the engine during traffic stops or while coasting or during other idle periods.
Improving aerodynamics; (part of the reason that SUVs get such bad fuel economy is the drag on the car. A box shaped car or truck has to exert more force to move through the air causing more stress on the engine making it work harder). Improving the shape and aerodynamics of a car is a good way to help better the fuel economy and also improve vehicle handling at the same time.
Using low rolling resistance tires (tires were often made to give a quiet, smooth ride, high grip, etc., but efficiency was a lower priority). Tires cause mechanical drag, once again making the engine work harder, consuming more fuel. Hybrid cars may use special tires that are more inflated than regular tires and stiffer or by choice of carcass structure and rubber compound have lower rolling resistance while retaining acceptable grip, and so improving fuel economy whatever the power source.
Powering the a/c, power steering, and other auxiliary pumps electrically as and when needed; this reduces mechanical losses when compared with driving them continuously with traditional engine belts.
These features make a hybrid vehicle particularly efficient for city traffic where there are frequent stops, coasting and idling periods. In addition noise emissions are reduced, particularly at idling and low operating speeds, in comparison to conventional engine vehicles. For continuous high speed highway use these features are much less useful in reducing emissions.
Some SI engines are crankcase scavenged
Diagram of a crankcase scavenged 2-stroke engine in operation
Some SI engines are crankcase scavenged and do not use poppet valves. Instead the crankcase and the part of the cylinder below the piston is used as a pump. The intake port is connected to the crankcase through a reed valve or a rotary disk valve driven by the engine. For each cylinder a transfer port connects in one end to the crankcase and in the other end to the cylinder wall. The exhaust port is connected directly to the cylinder wall. The transfer and exhaust port are opened and closed by the piston. The reed valve opens when the crankcase pressure is slightly below intake pressure, to let it be filled with a new charge; this happens when the piston is moving upwards. When the piston is moving downwards the pressure in the crankcase increases and the reed valve closes promptly, then the charge in the crankcase is compressed. When the piston is moving upwards, it uncovers the exhaust port and the transfer port and the higher pressure of the charge in the crankcase makes it enter the cylinder through the transfer port, blowing the exhaust gases. Lubrication is accomplished by adding 2-stroke oil to the fuel in small ratios. Petroil refers to the mix of gasoline with the aforesaid oil. This kind of 2-stroke engines has a lower efficiency than comparable 4-strokes engines and release a more polluting exhaust gases for the following conditions:
They use a total-loss lubrication system: all the lubricating oil is eventually burned along with the fuel.
There are conflicting requirements for scavenging: On one side, enough fresh charge needs to be introduced in each cycle to displace almost all the combustion gases but introducing too much of it means that a part of it gets in the exhaust.
They must use the transfer port(s) as a carefully designed and placed nozzle so that a gas current is created in a way that it sweeps the whole cylinder before reaching the exhaust port so as to expel the combustion gases, but minimize the amount of charge exhausted. 4-stroke engines have the benefit of forcibly expelling almost all of the combustion gases because during exhaust the combustion chamber is reduced to its minimum volume. In crankcase scavenged 2-stroke engines, exhaust and intake are performed mostly simultaneously and with the combustion chamber at its maximum volume.
The main advantage of 2-stroke engines of this type is mechanical simplicity and a higher power-to-weight ratio than their 4-stroke counterparts. Despite having twice as many power strokes per cycle, less than twice the power of a comparable 4-stroke engine is attainable in practice.
In the USA two stroke motorcycle and automobile engines were banned due to the pollution, although many thousands of lawn maintenance engines are in use.citation needed
The six-stroke engine
In 1879, Nikolaus Otto manufactured and sold a double expansion engine (the double and triple expansion principles had ample usage in steam engines), with two small cylinders at both sides of a low-pressure larger cylinder, where a second expansion of exhaust stroke gas took place; the owner returned it, alleging poor performance. In 1906, the concept was incorporated in a car built by EHV (Eisenhuth Horseless Vehicle Company) CT, USA;22 and in the 21st century Ilmor designed and successfully tested a 5-stroke double expansion internal combustion engine, with high power output and low SFC (Specific Fuel Consumption).23
The six-stroke engine was invented in 1883. Four kinds of six-stroke use a regular piston in a regular cylinder (Griffin six-stroke, Bajulaz six-stroke, Velozeta six-stroke and Crower six-stroke), firing every three crankshaft revolutions. The systems capture the wasted heat of the four-stroke Otto cycle with an injection of air or water.
The Beare Head and "piston charger" engines operate as opposed-piston engines, two pistons in a single cylinder, firing every two revolutions rather more like a regular four-stroke.