Four years ago hybrid cars would rarely be seen in roads and freeways. But as more people noticed and realized the great advantages this eco-friendly cars offer, and the savings they get, more and more hybrid cars are now plying our roads. So much so that hybrid cars are now as mainstream as the conventional engine cars that we got used to. But, it wouldn’t be a surprise if new developments and innovations come out to further develop the existing hybrid technology or to provide new technologies.
Many stories and rumors has circulated in the motor world of different discoveries and concepts that can further revolutionize the hybrid technology in motor vehicles, but many questions have also arisen on why some certain pre-existing technology have not been incorporated with the hybrid innovation. This includes the diesel hybrid concept.
Diesel engines have been vastly popular in Europe and Asia. While North America have not embraced the diesel engine as much as their overseas neighbors, developments have been made in the United States to eliminate the characteristics which have made it a poor choice here. Recent developments have eliminated the excessive smoke generated and the loud rattling noises of the engines. Additionally, biodiesel fuel has had a growing following and is seen as a solution to save the depletion of natural resources like oil. Combining hybrid technology and the new biodiesel fuel seems to be a better solution to our growing problems. Biodiesel is now cleaner and is also cheaper than regular gasoline.
While there have been no serious research and development done on diesel hybrid cars just yet, Ford has released a diesel hybrid concept car at the North Auto American Auto show in Detroit last January 10, 2006. Ford dubbed it as the Reflex sportscar. This is a car that is infused with a power source that uses a combination of a diesel engine, an electric motor and solar panels. Also, the Ford Reflex is all wheel drive car that Ford claims gets 65 miles to a gallon.
The Reflex, which could be the basis for future diesel hybrid cars operates much the same way as gas/electric hybrid cars. It also has a hybrid battery pack to provide backup power to the car that gets recharged by the engine and the heat generated by braking. The diesel Hybrid car by Ford uses lithium-ion batteries, the same kind used by the latest gadgets today, like cellular phones and portable computers. Most hybrid cars use nickel-metal hydrite batteries because they are far more cheaper, but lithium-ion batteries have far more power capacity.
But the Reflex also extracts power from solar cells located inside the headlamps and taillamps. This is a technology patented by Ford. There are also solar cells placed in the roof of the car that provides power to fans that operates inside the car to cool the interior when it is parked under the hot sun.
We can only wait until hybrid diesel car technology is more available. Until then, we can wait until diesel fuel can provide the same power as gasoline fuel. But when the technology is refined, we can all be sure that diesel hybrid cars will surely catch on and we will be seeing it more often.