Hybrid electric vehicle

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Lohner-Porsche “Mixte” (approx. 1902) hybrid vehicle with internal combustion engine from Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft ; two wheel hub motors at the front,each 1.5 kW; up to 50 km / h
Toyota Prius NHW 20 , successor to the first mass-produced car with hybrid drive

A hybrid electric vehicle ( English Hybrid Electric Vehicle , HEV ), in accordance with EU Directive short hybrid electric vehicle , coll. Also hybrid vehicle or hybrid car , academic vehicle with hybrid drive , an electric vehicle , the at least one electric motor as well as a further energy converter is driven and energy both from its electrical storage ( battery ) as well as an additional fuel .

Electric charging on the power grid is only provided for in the plug-in hybrid version . Classic is a to the internal combustion engine with an electric generator used increasingly fuel cell consisting of entrained hydrogen directly obtain electricity, specifically referred to as a fuel cell vehicle ( English Fuel Cell Hybrid Vehicle , FCHV ):

A hybrid drive can be designed with different objectives: Even in its historical development for the first electric vehicles around 1900, it was all about range . In series production of automobiles and in motor racing , it is sometimes used as an additional acceleration reserve, which increases torque, especially in the low speed range. In addition, to improve the efficiency and fuel consumption of the combustion engine with the recuperation brake and the optimal operating point . Combustion engines are currently combined with accumulators , but supercapacitors can also be used as a particularly powerful short-term reserve for maximum acceleration.

Efficiency advantages

Consumption display in the Toyota Prius

An internal combustion engine can be characterized as follows:

  • The chemical energy of the fuel is first partially converted into heat.
  • Part of the heat is converted into mechanical energy (rotation of the crankshaft) and used for driving.
  • The majority of the primary energy is given off to cooling water and exhaust gases.

The efficiency of a gasoline engine is a maximum of approx. 37% at optimal speed and load. At a given speed, it is heavily load-dependent - just under full load at its highest, falling to zero until idling. This means that in partial load operation, when little gas is given, gasoline engines have poor efficiency. At Marx, 20% efficiency is given for vehicles with internal combustion engines.

Partial load and idling of the internal combustion engine are common in city traffic and can largely be avoided in hybrid electric vehicles. The combustion engine can now be operated more frequently and for longer at high loads with favorable efficiency . The excess energy that arises is used by a generator to charge the battery. The combustion engine and electric motor can work together when accelerating. With the same acceleration, a smaller combustion engine can be used ( downsizing ). When braking and coasting , the greater part of the braking energy is fed back into the accumulator ( regenerative brake ). In urban traffic in particular, these recoveries help reduce consumption by up to 60%. The combustion engine is switched off when little or no drive power is required. The noise reduction in overrun mode, when stationary or when driving slowly (parking) with a charged battery is another benefit in urban areas. There is no need for a separate starter because the electric motor takes over the function.

Electric motors have a comparatively high degree of efficiency of over 90%. This remains high over a wide speed range. The efficiency drops at high torque, especially when overloaded.

The storage efficiency of the accumulator is also included in the overall electrical balance. Up to now, supercapacitors have rarely been installed. The latter, like the power electronics, are very efficient (> 90%), while the efficiency of the battery can be lower due to the Peukert effect, depending on the battery chemistry and load. An overall efficiency of 85% is specified for electric drives.

Electric motors can also be overloaded, which means that they can deliver a higher torque and, for a short time, a higher output than their nominal output. This torque is also available when the engine is not running, unlike the internal combustion engine, which can only be loaded from a minimum speed. By combining the two motors, the vehicle can accelerate around 10–20% faster with the same system performance (electrical boost). Due to the small combustion engine in hybrid vehicles, they often have a slightly lower top speed and are louder when there is a high power requirement because they then have to work in higher speed ranges.

On the one hand, the driving management ensures a high level of driving comfort and the desired acceleration values; on the other hand, it optimizes the overall efficiency by selecting and dividing the two drives. There are three options:

  • Purely electric driving, combustion engine switched off, e.g. B. when parking
  • Electrical assistance to the internal combustion engine, e.g. B. to accelerate at high speed
  • Load point increase: Combustion engine for drive and battery charging, thus higher efficiency

This increases the overall efficiency of the vehicle to over 38%. An econometer can be used to display the operating status .

Diesel engines have a somewhat more favorable efficiency curve (small throttle losses ), which is why they benefit less from the installation of an electric motor and accumulator.


If the unrealistic assumption is constant, fast driving on the motorway, the additional weight can result in higher consumption. If you accelerate and brake or alternate uphill and downhill journeys, the additional consumption caused by the additional weight can be overcompensated by the regenerative braking option. A predictive driving style can save 10 to 20 percent of the consumption of a normal car, while this value increases again with the hybrid because each predictive braking can serve to generate energy. The internal combustion engine already operates in a relatively favorable efficiency range at motorway speeds.

Combustion optimization

The hybrid drive makes it possible to design the combustion engine differently than in a vehicle, in which it has to constantly drive the vehicle alone. Toyota, for example, operates the combustion engine in the Atkinson cycle and thus achieves fuel savings and a reduction in volume with low to medium output. Honda realizes cylinder deactivation and operates the engine with the electric motor, which sits as an active flywheel directly on the crankshaft, even in work areas that would lead to uncomfortable engine running or the engine going out without electric motor support.


If the accumulators are only charged with the internal combustion engine via the built-in generator, the hybrid is called self-sufficient. With the plug-in hybrid, however , the batteries can also be charged from the mains.

In general, three hybridization levels are classified according to electrical performance: micro, mild and full hybrid. In addition, a distinction is made between serial, parallel and mixed hybrid according to the system structure.

Classification according to system structure

Serial hybrid

Serial hybrid with a combustion engine

In the case of a serially arranged hybrid drive, which corresponds to the classic diesel-electric drive in ships or locomotives, for example, the second energy converter no longer has any mechanical connection to the actual drive axle. Most of the time, however, an internal combustion engine drives an electrical generator that provides the driving energy or charges the driving battery. The performance of the motor-generator combination or the fuel cell determines the continuous output and maximum speed. The batteries can provide additional power for short-term higher power requirements. The driving electric motor (s) must always provide the entire required torque and the entire required power. Examples: the BMW i3 with range extender , the available Fisker Karma , the Nissan Note ePower currently only available in Japan, the Opel Flextreme GT / E study and the prototype Mindset .

The representation with a magnetic-electric automatic transmission is also called direct hybrid .

Parallel hybrid

Parallel hybrid

In contrast to the serial hybrid drive, an operating state can be switched on with the parallel hybrid drive in which the electric motor and combustion engine act on the drive train at the same time , which adds the torques of the individual drives. This enables a weaker design of all engines, which saves costs, weight and space, in the case of the internal combustion engine also fuel (downsizing). Parallel hybrids can be realized comparatively inexpensively as mild hybrids. If purely electric driving is also to be possible, the electric motor must be designed accordingly. Naunin writes: A characteristic of the parallel hybrid is that, due to the addition of power, both drive units can be dimensioned smaller compared to the conventional drive with the same driving performance .

The parallel hybrids are divided into the categories P0-P4 depending on the position and point of intervention of the electric machine (EM) to the combustion engine (VM):

  • P0 : EM in front of the VM, e.g. B. connected to the VM crankshaft via belts
  • P1 : EM firmly connected to the crankshaft of the VM
  • P2 : EM sits between VM and gearbox, a gear shaft, between VM and EM there is a clutch (C0). The EM is connected to the transmission input shaft either permanently or via a second clutch (C1)
  • P2.5 : EM sits in a dual clutch transmission on the input shaft of one side of the transmission
  • P3 : EM fixed to the transmission of connected input shaft, the EM is located between the gearbox and differential
  • P4 , also called 'Axle-Split': Electric axis made of EM and differential or EMs as wheel hub motors , no mechanical connection (shaft) to the VM

The following applies to P0 and P1:

  • The VM is always permanently linked to the EM, so the vehicle cannot drive purely electrically.
  • In towed operation (overrun operation) the additional friction losses of the VM reduce the recuperation performance of the EM.
  • These configurations are suitable for shifting the load point (see consumption map of the VM), whereby the VM drives the vehicle and the energy storage device is charged at the same time. Although this means higher consumption, the better efficiency of the VM means that less is consumed than if the VM are used for driving and charging at different times.
  • The acceleration of the vehicle can be increased by operating VM and EM at the same time.
  • These configurations result when a VM is combined with a starter generator , see the following section Mild Hybrid .

P4 also allows all-wheel drive, at least in the speed range in which both machines can drive. Variants can also be put together, e.g. B. as P0 / 4.

For vehicles like the Nissan March / Cube e-4WD, there was a Japanese variant in P4 design. The VM drives the front axle and a generator for driving the EM on the rear axle. The power output of the EM was regulated via the excitation of the generator. In a first variant, an all-wheel drive up to 25 km / h was possible, in the following generation up to 40 km / h. The energy source was always the VM, as there were no batteries for electric drive and recuperation.

An example of a parallel hybrid is the Honda Civic Hybrid . In any case, a gearbox on the combustion engine is necessary, which partially negates the weight and cost advantages.

Power-splitting hybrid (mixed hybrid)

Power-splitting hybrid

Mixed hybrids combine the serial and the parallel hybrid drive (often variable) while driving according to the driving conditions. Depending on the operating mode and driving condition, either the combustion engine with the generator can only charge the electrical energy storage device ( hybrid battery ) and drive the electric motor (serial hybrid drive) or it can be mechanically coupled to the drive shafts (parallel hybrid drive). With this combined hybrid drive, an (automatically operated) clutch is used to switch between the two operating modes. Examples of mixed hybrids are the Chevrolet Volt , the Opel Ampera and the Cadillac ELR, which has been on the market since 2014, as well as the Mercedes-Benz B-Class E-Cell Plus .

In contrast, with the power-splitting hybrid drive, the power is transmitted partly mechanically and partly via the motor-generator combination that works as an electric transmission (serial hybrid drive) to the wheels. An example of power split is the Toyota Prius with the Hybrid Synergy Drive , in which the transmission is controlled exclusively via the speeds of the electrical machines. These one-mode transmissions are used by Toyota, Lexus, Ford and others.

The two-mode transmission from Allison Transmission offers various operating modes that are switched with multi-plate clutches . The transmission has two power-split driving ranges and four mechanical gear ratios (additional fixed gears) in which the system can work as a parallel hybrid. As a result, the proportion of electrical power can be reduced compared to one-mode transmissions , so that the electrical machines are subject to lower requirements. The higher mechanical power share also results in a higher degree of efficiency. With this more complex concept, further adjustments to different driving conditions, such as high speeds, are possible. This transmission is developed in a cooperation between General Motors , Daimler AG and BMW .

Classification according to the proportion of electrical power

A distinction is made between three levels according to the performance share of the electric drive in the overall performance (degree of hybridization) of the vehicle and the possible operating states. There are also various intermediate forms. In addition, vehicles that are predominantly electrically powered can also be displayed.


Basically, a hybrid vehicle characterizes the presence of two different energy converters used to drive the vehicle, which is not the case with the so-called microhybrid. Microhybrid vehicles essentially have the following characteristics:

According to Naunin, it has an output of 2.7–4 kW / t (specific power-to-weight ratio in kilowatts of electric drive output per ton of vehicle mass). The advantage is fuel savings through engine shutdown when the engine is stationary and lower power losses than with a conventional alternator .

Example: The BMW 1 Series from model year 2007 with manual transmission.

The disadvantage of the start-stop function is the increased wear and tear of the crankshaft due to frequent starts , which is designed for continuous rotation with a low-friction bearing. The next few years will show how great these effects of a start-stop function are on the service life of an engine.

Mild hybrid

The electric drive part supports the combustion engine to increase performance. The braking energy can be partially recovered in a regenerative brake.

This version essentially has the following features:

  • Start-stop function
  • Recuperation (usually stronger than with micro-hybrid)
  • Some electric motor support of the drive when starting the vehicle and with high acceleration, larger distances are not possible electrically

The specified electric motor power is around 6-14 kW / t. Thanks to the fuel savings, CO 2 savings of around 15 percent can be achieved. Hybrid drives that work in parallel are often designed as mild hybrids.

Examples are the Honda Civic Hybrid , which has had almost full hybrid features since model year 2006, the Smart Fortwo mhd and the Honda Insight (from 2009) .

Full hybrid

With their electric motor power of more than 20 kW / t, full hybrid vehicles are also able to drive purely with electric motors (including starting and accelerating) and therefore represent the basis for a serial hybrid.

In broad terms, the features can be summarized as follows:

  • Start-stop function
  • Recuperation
  • Only electric drive possible
  • Boost function (simultaneous drive of all motors, both electric drive and additionally the combustion engine)

Examples: The BMW ActiveHybrid X6, which can reach around 60 km / h with a purely electric motor, the Toyota Prius, which can reach around 70 km / h, see: Toyota Hybrid Synergy Drive or the Ford C-MAX Hybrid which can reach around 100 km / h reached.

Range extender

The term of the Range Extender ( range extender , even REX) provides the ability to the fore, in normal operation purely or predominantly to drive with electric power supply, but (eg. Lack of charging stations) if required, an internal combustion engine to put into operation, the less is powerful, e.g. B. the BMW i3 (2013 model) has 28 kW compared to 125 kW of the electric motor and is offered as an equipment option. In this way, any disadvantages due to insufficient electrical range or the lack of electrical recharging options can be compensated for. Disadvantages of the REX are the increased weight due to the engine, gearbox and tank, usually the rather limited tank capacity (BMW i3 REX: nine liters), as well as the average speed in recharging mode, which is limited due to the reduced performance of the extender when the battery is empty (with the i3 approx. 120 km / h).

Characteristics of the various concepts

The hybrid drive is used to achieve lower fuel consumption or to increase performance or driving comfort. With it, the performance characteristics of an electric motor with its high torque in the lower speed range and an internal combustion engine, whose strengths lie in the upper speed range, complement each other. In addition, part of the braking energy can be recovered using a regenerative brake.

A system-related disadvantage of the full hybrid drive is the necessary larger energy storage capacities, which reduce the benefit due to the higher dead weight. However, this can be partially compensated for by potential savings elsewhere (e.g. simplified gearbox, omission of the alternator and starter). However, it is also to be expected that modern accumulators such as lithium-polymer batteries or supercapacitors or lithium-ion capacitors will reduce this disadvantage even further.

Another disadvantage is the complex production of the main components, electric motor and accumulator , which burden the manufacturing balance. So far, there has been a lack of independent studies to clarify the question of how much more energy has to be used for the production of hybrid vehicles or with what amount of fuel this would have to be offset in comparison to a standard vehicle.

At present, the mild hybrid also has good savings potential with less effort. This type of drive can be integrated into existing vehicle concepts with little effort, while more development effort is required for full hybrids. The simplest approach of the mild hybrid is the starter generator , which combines the starter and the alternator in one electric motor and is connected to the drive train.

With full hybrids, with some restrictions also with mild hybrids, particularly pronounced with power split and continuously variable transmission, unfavorable engine operating points can largely be avoided. This additional benefit is only possible to a lesser extent with the diesel hybrid drive , since the diesel engine has a very good level of efficiency in most engine operating points. However, because the required acceleration torque of the internal combustion engine is reduced by the combination with the electric motor, a considerable reduction in nitrogen oxide emissions (NO x ) can be achieved in the diesel engine if the downsize potential is not exploited. The diesel hybrid drive also has an emissions benefit in addition to its consumption benefits.

Plug-in hybrids

The plug-in hybrids (PHEV) represent an extension of the hybrid technology, which try to further reduce fuel consumption by not only being able to charge the batteries from the internal combustion engine , but also from the mains . The English word plug means something like plug , which is necessary to connect the vehicle to the power supply. With this concept, increased emphasis is placed on increasing the battery capacity in order to be able to cover longer distances without local emissions. If there is sufficient capacity, short distances (around 60 to 80 kilometers) can be covered exclusively in electric mode, while the combustion engine is also used as a generator to recharge the batteries in order to enable longer distances. As the internal combustion engine can be operated alone, longer journeys are possible even with an empty battery.

Development history

Early developments and prototypes until 1991

Armstrong from 1896
Pieper hybrid with electric drive and gasoline engine for charging the battery (1899–1901)
  • In 1896, the Armstrong Manufacturing Company from the United States made one or more vehicles, one of which has been preserved.
  • In 1899 a hybrid car was built in Barcelona under the name La Cuadra . This was available with both an electric motor and an additional 5 HP internal combustion engine that drove a generator for the batteries.
  • The Belgian manufacturer Etablissements Pieper of Liège offered 1899-1901 a hybrid car, whose single-cylinder engine of De Dion-Bouton invited the batteries. The drive was electric.
  • Ferdinand Porsche , who registered a patent for electric wheel hub motors as early as 1896 and offered the electric Lohner-Porsche from 1900 with the Viennese vehicle manufacturer Ludwig Lohner , developed the Mixte hybrid drive in 1902 , a combustion engine-driven generator that supplies electricity for the battery thus a hybrid version of this car.
  • The passenger cars and commercial vehicles of the Belgian manufacturer Auto-Mixte (1906–1912) worked according to the same principle .
  • The London bus operator Thomas Tilling put hundreds of Tilling-Stevens Petrol-Electric buses ( double-decker and single-decker) into operation in several series from 1911 to 1925 . They had an internal combustion engine that powered an electric motor via a generator. There were no batteries, the electric drive was only a replacement for a manual transmission. The last buses were taken out of service in 1933.
  • A hundred years ago there was a race between hybrid cars, those with a purely electric drive and those with a diesel drive on the Semmering Pass .
  • The Woods Motor Vehicle Company offered a hybrid model from 1916 to 1923 with an electric motor that worked up to 24 km / h; a normal internal combustion engine worked at higher speeds.
  • In the 1930s there were hundreds of city ​​buses with diesel-electric drives in numerous cities in the United States . For example, there were over 500 diesel-electric buses in Newark as well as over 500 trolleybuses that had a diesel engine so that they could drive in the city center independently of the overhead line (so-called "all-service" buses). These duo buses ran until 1948, the simple diesel-electric buses were in operation until the end of 1955.
  • In 1964 the prototype of a regular service bus was designed and built in Charleroi (Belgium), the diesel engine of which was directly connected to a three-phase generator at the rear and which was equipped with two DC motors as wheel hub drives on the rear axle . This enabled a floor height of 600 mm, which was low for the time, to be achieved.
  • American studies for hybrid electric vehicles can be traced back to 1972, when the American Victor Wouk converted a Buick Skylark provided by General Motors into a hybrid vehicle. The reason was the Federal Clean Car Incentive Program , which was launched in 1970 , but was stopped in 1976 by the United States' environmental protection agency .
  • In 1977 Toyota converted a Toyota Sports 800 to a gas turbine and electric hybrid drive.
  • Daimler-Benz showed a first hybrid prototype in 1982. Since then, numerous other prototypes have been made.
  • Volkswagen researched various hybrid concepts for decades; this work led to a fleet test in Zurich in 1988 with 20 parallel hybrid vehicles that were operated by private individuals for a period of three years. The project was scientifically supervised by ETH Zurich.
  • Alfa Romeo also tested a hybrid drive in the Model 33 Sportwagon at the end of the 1980s. The 1.5 l petrol engine was supported by an electric motor. The electric motor was connected to the transmission via a toothed belt. Thus 3 driving modes were possible, pure petrol operation, mixed operation and purely electric operation.
  • In 1989, Audi built a prototype of an Audi 100 Avant quattro with a 2.3 l 100 kW petrol engine and a 9.3 kW electric motor that drove the rear wheels instead of the cardan shaft. The energy came from a nickel-cadmium battery . In 1991 a newer version of the Audi 100 quattro was presented. The car was powered by a 2 liter 85 kW engine and a 21 kW electric motor. But this car had a cardan shaft to the rear wheels.

Models from 1994 to today


  • The first commercial supplier of hybrid vehicles in recent times was Audi with the Audi 80 duo in 1994. However, this model was so expensive that it was practically unsaleable. The Audi A4 duo followed in 1997 with a 66 kW TDI and 21 kW electric motor, 90 of which were manufactured. The sales price was 60,000 DM. Audi and VW drew the conclusion from the low response that there was no market for hybrid drives, and they concentrated on diesel direct injection technology, which was already used in the military technology of the Wiesel (military tracked vehicle) with the state Support from VW was promoted.


Since 2018, Daimler has been offering a series production car with a diesel hybrid drive for the first time
  • With the Mercedes-Benz W221 , Daimler has been the first German manufacturer to offer a hybrid car since summer 2009. This is the first time that lithium-ion batteries are being installed in a hybrid car . It was also possible to place the entire hybrid technology under the bonnet. The system was developed together with BMW .


  • From 1999 to the end of 2006, the Honda Insight hybrid electric vehicle was built. This was not officially available in Germany, consumption according to the manufacturer 3.4 liters / 100 km. The current Honda Insight generation has been on the market in Germany since 2009 and is also currently the most affordable hybrid car.
  • With the Civic Hybrid (from 2006, predecessor Civic IMA from 2004) Honda currently offers a four-door sedan with hybrid drive. The car is equipped with a 70 kW petrol engine, which is supported by a 15 kW electric motor. The combined consumption is given as 4.6 liters per 100 km.


  • Ford offers the SUV known in Europe as Maverick in the USA in a version called Ford Escape Hybrid . The Escape Hybrid uses a version of the THS-I developed by Ford from the first Toyota Prius. The installation space for the hybrid components was already included in the development and construction. The four-wheel drive of the Escape is implemented conventionally via a cardan shaft .
  • Mercury , part of the Ford group , will be offering an off-road vehicle with hybrid drive from spring 2006. The all-wheel-drive vehicle is powered by a 2.3-liter internal combustion engine with an Atkinson cycle and a 70 kW permanent magnet electric motor.

Peugeot and Citroën

  • The Peugeot 3008 HYbrid4 is the world's first production vehicle with a diesel hybrid drive. The vehicle has been available since March 2011. Peugeot combines a 2.0 HDi engine with 120 kW (163 hp) output with a 27 kW (37 hp) electric motor. The diesel drive only acts on the front axle, the electric drive on the rear axle. The average consumption is 3.8 l / 100 km, the CO 2 emissions are 99 g / km.
  • The Citroën DS5 has been on the market with the same diesel hybrid drive since 2012.


  • At the Tokyo Motor Show in November 2001, Suzuki showed its small car, the Suzuki Twin , which was available with a 658 cc three-cylinder petrol engine and also as a hybrid version. Series production started in December 2001, but it was only sold in Japan. It was the smallest hybrid vehicle ever built in series. Due to its small dimensions and engine power, it was known in Japan as a so-called K-Car and was therefore tax-privileged. Due to the high price it sold so badly that Suzuki stopped production of the Twin Hybrid in March 2002 after only 10,400 units had been built. In November 2003, the other versions of the Twin were also removed from the range.


Toyota has already sold eleven million hybrid cars worldwide, saving 77 million tons of CO 2 . There are currently 33 different hybrid models available from Toyota.

  • The Toyota Prius has been in series production since 1997 and is now available in the fourth generation. It has one gasoline engine and two electric motors that are coupled to the drive axle via a planetary gear . Operating states in which the combustion engine has only a low level of efficiency (starting up, city traffic) are taken over by the electric motor with its much higher level of efficiency. If necessary, the combustion engine can also be switched off completely. When driving with the same load (marching operation), the petrol engine alone drives the Prius, while the nickel-metal hydride battery is charged via a generator at the same time. When the load is higher, the Prius is driven by both engines together. Energy can be recovered through regenerative braking. The energy savings of the Prius compared to vehicles only with gasoline engines of the same vehicle class are around 30% according to the factory. The Prius is the hybrid vehicle that made the breakthrough possible for this type of drive. A version that can be recharged from the mains and has a greater electric range (approx. 20 km) has been available since 2011. As of early 2019, the world's best-selling Toyota hybrid model was the Prius with 3.9 million units sold. The Prius is likely to be the most successful hybrid vehicle in the world to date.
  • The Toyota Highlander is the first hybrid SUV . Unlike the Prius, it already has two electric motors in addition to the gasoline engine, one on the front and one on the rear axle. The vehicle has been in production since the late 1990s, but only for the Japanese and American markets. However, it is occasionally driven in Europe as a private import from the USA. As of 2006, the second generation of the Highlander will be manufactured. The total system output of the 2006 model is 197 kW (268 hp) at 4500-5600 rpm in the version with all-wheel drive (gasoline engine 155 kW (208 hp)); Front electric motor 123 kW (167 PS); optional rear electric motor 50 kW (68 PS). The acceleration from 0 to 100 km / h is 8.0 (2WD) or 7.2 (4WD) seconds, its performance corresponds to that of a powerful 8-cylinder off-road vehicle.
  • Lexus has been offering a luxury SUV with hybrid drive in the USA since April 2005 . The market launch in Europe was in June 2005. The RX 400h is powered by a V6 3.3 liter gasoline engine (155 kW) plus a generator and an electric motor (123 kW) on the front axle and an electric motor (49 kW) on the rear axle (electric four-wheel drive). The total output of the hybrid system is specified as 200 kW (the motor outputs cannot be added as the battery can only provide limited output). The drive is based on the already available hybrid drive train of the Toyota Prius THS II. The vehicle has a system torque of over 700 Nm with respect to the crankshaft of the internal combustion engine. Consumption remains under 10 liters per 100 km with moderate driving. In addition, the electric motors were coupled with the ESP system . They allow intervention in the stabilization of the driving situation about ten times faster than an ABS / ESP system with a conventional hydraulic unit. With the Lexus GS 450h, a new hybrid vehicle has been on the market since the end of 2006, which is based on the further developed THS-II system from Toyota. A major difference to the RX 400h is the two-stage transmission of the planetary gear on the electric drive motor. Thanks to the higher speed, this allows a smaller or more powerful electric motor.
  • Since the beginning of 2016, the Toyota RAV4 has been available with a full hybrid drive as part of its model upgrade. It uses the drive train of the Lexus NX300h and has a total system output of 145 kW. All-wheel drive is optionally available, which is implemented by an additional electric motor on the rear axle (i.e. without a cardan shaft).


  • After a fully electric study, the C30 Electric, which was produced in small series of 250 units, Volvo presented a plug-in hybrid ( V60 ) for the first time in 2011 . In addition to this model, which will be available from 2012, the V40 has been offering braking energy recovery as standard since 2012. By choosing a diesel engine for the V60 plug-in hybrid, switching it on and off very frequently is not always possible without significantly shortening the engine life.
  • The new plug-in hybrids offered from 2015, the XC90 T8 and from 2016 the V90 T8 and the S90 T8, are therefore exclusively equipped with petrol engines. In their hybrid version, these large models based on the SPA platform offer a generator in the engine compartment, a 64 kW electric motor on the rear axle and a battery in the center aisle for around 40 kilometers of purely electric range.
  • The new models on the CMA platform announced in 2016, the XC40 , V40 and S40 , should have a three-cylinder gasoline engine and a combined generator / motor in the engine compartment with 50 kW power, fed by a battery in the center aisle, in the plug-in hybrid variant up to 50 km purely electric range. In the small models, the dual clutch transmission is equipped with two separate drive trains for an electric and a gasoline engine; This enables both motors to be engaged and disengaged individually. Furthermore, the electric motor will not work directly on the drive axle with a fixed ratio, but its line will be transmitted to the drive axle through the gearbox with a variable ratio.

Mild hybrid with manual transmission


The Honda CR-Z sports car, built from 2010 to 2016, was the only hybrid vehicle with a manual transmission at the time.


The Mazda3 (BP) , which has been built since 2019, is available as a mild hybrid with either a 6-speed manual or an automatic transmission.

Prototypes and new developments since 2005

  • General Motors introduced the Chevrolet Volt in August 2010 in the United States and launched the E-Flex drive used in Europe in the first quarter of 2012 in the almost identical Opel Ampera . The car achieved relatively good sales figures and went into the second generation, while the Opel Ampera sold less and was discontinued in 2016. The name was picked up by the Opel Ampera-e in 2017 , but as a purely electric vehicle.
  • PSA Peugeot Citroën first launched its diesel-electric hybrid Peugeot 3008 Hybrid4 in 2010. The electric motor was connected to a newly developed drive train between the motor and the transmission. The diesel engine had 66 kW (90 hp), the electric motor 16 kW with a peak output of 23 kW. The consumption was given as 3.4 liters per 100 km. Energy recovery, automatic switch-off and electronic drive management worked similarly to the Toyota Prius. Sales ceased in Germany in March 2015.
Prototype of the Porsche Cayenne Hybrid from 2007
  • Volkswagen , Audi and Porsche worked together on the development of hybrid drives. At the IAA 2007, the first prototypes of the vehicles, u. a. a Golf V Hybrid shown, the market launch planned for 2008. The further developed plug-in hybrid Golf GTE appeared in August 2014.
    The Porsche Cayenne Hybrid places its 'parallel hybrid' unit between the combustion engine and the automatic transmission. The Porsche Panamera also came onto the market as a hybrid version from 2010, followed by the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid in 2016 .
  • A number of small companies developed hybrid cars, mostly light vehicles as serial plug-in hybrids , which were also created in parallel in versions as pure electric cars . This includes the Aptera 2 Series .
  • Fisker Automotive developed the plug-in hybrid Fisker Karma , which was presented as a prototype at the 2008 Auto Show in London and produced by Valmet Automotive in Finland .
  • In Switzerland, the company 'Swisscleandrive' developed a parallel plug-in hybrid drive and presented it as a prototype in the Fiat 500 swisscleandrive at Autozürich 2009 . The car could drive 30 km purely electrically, had all-wheel drive in hybrid mode , with a total output of 90 kW. Consumption was between 0 and 5 liters of petrol or 0 and 20 kWh of electricity / 100 km, depending on the driving mode.
  • In December 2010 , Mikhail Prokhorov presented three prototypes of the ё-mobil in Russia , which supplied two electric motors in continuous operation via a generator with a Wankel- like engine, while a supercap capacitor is used for buffering. The maximum speed was projected to be 130 km / h. Dispensing with a larger drive battery should enable lower mass, consumption and costs than with other designs. The vehicle should be available in Russia from mid-2012 for the equivalent of around 10,000 euros . However, development was stopped in 2014 for the time being.
  • Mercedes-Benz announced the E 300 BluTEC Hybrid at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show and presented a near-series prototype. The electric motor was used here in generator mode for recuperation . According to the manufacturer, consumption was 4.1 liters per 100 km or 109 g of CO 2 per kilometer driven. As of 2018 is in the third generation u. a. the E 350 e Hybrid on offer.

Buses, trucks and other commercial vehicles

Hybrid drives in commercial vehicles have so far been successfully offered on the market, especially in the bus segment. So hybrid buses from Volvo, are Solaris Bus & Coach ( Urbino 18 Hybrid ) or the Aero low-floor - hybrid of the Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corporation offered. An additional advantage of hybrid city ​​buses is that short distances (for example in the city center or old town) can be traveled with zero emissions thanks to the exclusive use of the electric drive. Many trolleybuses are equipped as standard with an internal combustion engine as an auxiliary unit with which they can continue to drive in the event of a power failure. Modern designs are no longer just weak auxiliary motors, but rather powerful drives whose performance is hardly inferior to the main drive.

AnsaldoBreda offers series-produced hybrid buses for city traffic in Italy (AlterEco). These buses have been used in Bologna for a number of years . As early as the mid-1990s, city ​​buses in Ferrara were converted to hybrid drives on a trial basis.

In the truck segment, there are well-advanced considerations about hybrid (see e.g.); a greater market penetration has not yet been achieved. However, the first vehicles are offered; for example in the Canter Eco Hybrid light truck . In the USA, truck manufacturer Peterbilt offers hybrid trucks. In Winterthur , Switzerland - especially in the city center - a refuse collection truck with a quiet hybrid drive has been operating since 2013 .

Distribution in Germany and Austria

According to the Federal Motor Transport Authority and Statistics Austria , the number of passenger cars with the hybrid fuel type since 2005 has included:

country Jan. 1, 2005 Jan. 1, 2006 Jan. 1, 2007 Jan. 1, 2008 Jan. 1, 2009 Jan. 1, 2010 Jan. 1, 2011 Jan. 1, 2012 Jan. 1, 2013 Jan. 1, 2014 Jan. 1, 2015 Jan. 1, 2016 Jan. 1, 2017 Jan. 1, 2018 Jan. 1, 2019
Germany 2,150 5,971 11,275 17.307 22,330 28,862 37,256 47,642 64.995 85,575 107,754 130,365 165.405 236.710 341.411
Austria 2,592 3,559 4,792 6,060 8,309

Public funding

In several countries the purchase and / or operation of hybrid vehicles is subsidized.

  • Germany : Since January 2005, buyers no longer have any tax advantages due to the elimination of the Euro 4 tax exemption. In 2016, a state premium for electric and plug-in hybrid cars was introduced. In 2019, the calculation of the lump-sum monetary benefit for PHEV hybrids as a company car was halved.
  • France : The prime écologique gouvernementale has been - since July 2007 and currently until 2009 - 2,000 euros, combined with taxation in the lowest class.
  • Great Britain : The buyer receives 1,000 pounds (around 1,150 euros in August 2009) on top of the purchase price and the car is taxed in the lowest class.
  • Netherlands : The motor vehicle tax is completely waived.
  • Austria : From July 2008, buyers of hybrid vehicles will receive a bonus of 500 euros (with VAT 600 euros) on the standard consumption tax (NoVA) .
  • Sweden : When buying an environmentally friendly car (Miljöbil), a premium of 10,000 Swedish kronor (around 1,000 euros in August 2009) is paid.
  • Switzerland : The motor vehicle tax is waived in full (e.g. unlimited in the canton of Basel-Landschaft and for three years in the canton of Geneva ) or partially (e.g. cantons of Zurich , Basel-Stadt , Lucerne , Ticino and Graubünden ).
  • United States : Since January 2006, the buyer has received a consumption-based premium for the purchase of hybrid vehicles. This premium is paid out to the buyers of the first 60,000 hybrid vehicles from a manufacturer.


  • Chapter 1. Electrified drive systems with internal combustion engines. In: Helmut Tschöke (Ed.): The electrification of the drive train , Springer Vieweg, Wiesbaden 2015, ISBN 978-3-658-04643-9 , pp. 1–17
  • Chapter 3.1.3. Hybrid vehicles, Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV). In: Anton Karle: Electromobility: Basics and Practice , Hanser, 2nd updated edition, Munich 2017, ISBN 978-3-446-45099-8 , pp. 31–41
  • Werner Klement: Hybrid vehicles: Transmission technology based on examples , Hanser, Munich 2017, ISBN 978-3-446-43494-3
  • Peter Hofmann: Hybrid vehicles: An alternative drive system for the future , Springer, 2nd edition, Vienna 2014, ISBN 978-3-7091-1779-8
  • Konrad Reif, Karl E. Noreikat, Kai Borgeest (eds.): Motor vehicle hybrid drives: Fundamentals, components, systems, applications , Springer Vieweg, Wiesbaden 2012, ISBN 978-3-8348-0722-9

Web links

Commons : Hybrid Electric Vehicle  - Collection of Pictures, Videos and Audio Files

Individual evidence

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  2. ↑ In 2003, the transport department of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) defined the term hybrid electric vehicle as a vehicle that has at least two energy converters and two energy storage systems installed for propulsion. UNECE Transport Division, Vehicle Regulations: Regulation No. 101, Revision 2 of April 29, 2005 (English; PDF; 904 kB), see definitions 2.13 Hybrid power train and 2.14.1 Hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) on page 6.
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