Automobiles have graced our roads for over a century. Although we are used to the sight of different vehicles around us, hybrid motors are still a relatively new concept to drivers.
Over recent years, hybrid vehicles have become more advanced but in terms of affordability and availability, they are still lagging behind.
Hybrids offer a superb alternative to conventional cars that use internal combustion engines. Instead, hybrids bridge the gap between electric and gasoline motors.
These increasingly popular automobiles offer many perks, such as an outstanding fuel economy, but many consumers and motorists are unsure just how a hybrid’s engine actually works.
This leads to many queries about these unique vehicles. One of the top questions is whether a hybrid can be driven without a battery.
Because hybrids run on a battery and a tank of gas, people often wonder whether you can drive one with a dead battery but still have a full tank of gas and vice versa. In today’s article, we are going to find out.
We have included an extensive guide on hybrid vehicles including how these automobiles work, what happens if the battery dies, and whether you can drive a hybrid without a battery.
What is a hybrid and how do they work?
Unlike fully electric vehicles, hybrids run off a battery as well as a tank of gas. Automobiles that only run on electricity tend to accelerate efficiently and can produce maximum power as they accelerate. The only drawback is that these batteries are very large and expensive.
They are also unable to travel over long distances with an average range of 70 to 250 miles.
However, when you combine these batteries with a gas motor, they become increasingly more functional. Small yet highly efficient, gas motors are installed to supplement power from the electrical counterpart.
With this backup from an internal combustion engine, these vehicles can use smaller and more affordable batteries. These two systems combine, resulting in the best efficiency and top reliability. In other words, a hybrid.
Since these two energy sources share their workload, one can occasionally do all of the work to power the vehicle. But, in general, they work together.
Hybrid vehicles usually have two batteries. The first is a regular 12-volt battery that is found in your standard car. The main purpose of this battery is to power the electronics.
The second is a high-voltage battery pack that works to run the car separately from the gasoline. It is also responsible for helping the gasoline portion of the engine get started.
In regular vehicles, the alternator will charge the 12-volt battery as you drive along but in hybrids, regenerative braking recharges the high-voltage battery instead.
This braking transforms the kinetic energy that has been lost during deceleration and sends it back into the battery. This energy then gets stored to prevent the battery from dying.
When it comes to plug-in hybrids, some of the battery’s energy is produced from regenerative braking but these can also be plugged in to recharge. These types of hybrids are generally more powerful but boast a much larger battery size.
The charge on plug-in hybrids tends to last longer too and can even run for 10 to 50 miles without needing to burn any fuel.
As you drive, the vehicle switches back and forth between the battery and gasoline. This kind of system uses up less gas and, therefore, helps drivers save money and improve their environmental impact.
But, the question remains – what happens to a hybrid if the battery is dead? Let’s find out.
Can you drive a hybrid with no battery?
It’s the worst-case scenario. You’re driving along and you lose power. The battery is dead. But, when it comes to hybrid vehicles, does this mean the car can still be driven on gasoline alone? It depends.
In some vehicles, such as the Prius, the motor works off both systems. This means that the two power sources work side by side instead of depending on one another. If a Prius battery dies, it could still technically run off gasoline.
However, this power will be weak and it will not make for a smooth driving experience. It is important to note that this option should only be used to get to a safe location or service station if needed.
You should remain at low speeds and refrain from using the vehicle’s air conditioner as this will use up too much power.
Moreover, the main battery is needed to start up the gasoline section of the engine. Therefore, you will probably encounter difficulties if one works but the other does not. The best option would always be to replace the faulty battery.
For the majority of hybrid automobiles, if the high-voltage battery has died, the vehicle just will not run properly. Even if the battery is not completely dead but isn’t running as it should, you will not enjoy the same power and efficiency from the vehicle.
There are some signs you can look out for if your battery is beginning to fail. These include:
- A lower fuel efficiency
- Peculiar engine noises
- Not holding its charge as it usually does
- The charge state of the vehicle fluctuates
- The battery constantly runs. If this occurs, it means the battery is getting too hot and the fan needs to cool off.
It is important you replace the battery as soon as any of these symptoms arise. The replacement can be a new or refurbished battery but ensure it is from a reputable distributor.
If you wait for the battery to die completely, you run the risk of electrical complications that could damage the vehicle for good.
In most cases, a hybrid will not run without its battery. If it does run, the power will be very poor and the vehicle will find it difficult to get going. As a hybrid owner, you should always invest in a new battery periodically, especially if there are any signs that your existing battery starting to fail.