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Micro Hybrid Tech Is Here To Save Your Fuel Bill



In a country where the petrol and diesel prices are competing with each other to reach the 100-rupee mark and where 10 of its cities comes under the most polluted list, it’s not easy for the common man to buy a fairly good sedan or an SUV. An IIT-Delhi study has revealed that vehicles in the capital don't run but crawl for a considerable part of their travel time. The research jointly carried out by Transportation Research and Injury Prevention Program at IIT and Desert Research Institute, Reno, has used GPS logs of buses as well as speed and fuel consumption readings of two-wheelers, three-wheelers, and cars to arrive at some shocking findings. Cars were found to be running at less than 4 kmph for 24% of the travel time. While traveling at this speed certainly defeats the purpose of using a motorized mode of transport, it also pollutes the city's air immensely.

If one considers more than a million cars running at similar speed, they may be wasting about 2.5 lakh liters of fuel every day while idling at traffic signals. The emissions from such long idling time are obviously massive. Ever since the national mandate was set forth by the Environment Protection Agency to increase fuel efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas by 5 % each year for all new model mid-size car, medium-duty cars and light-duty trucks are pushing automakers to convert their fleets to hybrid and bring in various innovations. One such innovation is the micro-hybrid technology. In layman’s term, it’s a start-stop switch which was introduced by Volkswagen in 1963. In India, the tech was introduced by Mahindra in one of its premium SUVs.

So, what is this micro-hybrid technology? A micro-hybrid vehicle uses what's called a "start-stop system," where regenerative braking technology helps to charge a powerful battery during coasting and braking. Micro-Hybrid technology enables vehicle’s engine to automatically switch off when idle at signals, and even in neutral, and restart the engine when the driver depresses the clutch. This not only saves fuel but also reduces the amount of pollutant released into the atmosphere. It is estimated that an increase of 7% in fuel efficiency can be achieved using this technology.

The Indian manufacturer’s micro-hybrid is powered by a 14V deep cycle battery with an engine mounted electric motor called Belt Driven Starter Generator (BSG). The BSG replaces the conventional alternator and performs power assist function when the engine needs to restart auto after shut off. For example, if the vehicle comes to a halt at a traffic signal and is in neutral, the engine will shut down automatically after 10 seconds. Just before stopping, the indicator light located in the instrument cluster will blink, indicating that the engine is going to stop shortly. Once the signal turns green and the driver presses the clutch pedal, the engine starts immediately continuing the journey. Another feature is that the driver can switch off this mode and drive just like a regular car. The battery will start the vehicle only if it has sufficient charge. So, the driver will have to wait until the battery gets charged. This doesn’t take much time. Probably the same amount of time Thanos took to eliminate half of the world (the snap).

Now if you’re not a really tolerant guy, like I said before, you could disable this system. But if you’re someone who is looking to buy an affordable SUV with an amazingly high fuel efficiency then opting Micro Hybrid would be perfect. In addition to increased fuel efficiency, a considerable reduction in the emission of carbon dioxide can be met. The micro-hybrid is being employed in at least 50% of the cars around the globe.

Micro-Hybrid technology also known as Stop/Start globally is an initiative taken by car makers to adhere to stricter emission regulations and reduce the carbon footprint. As far as price is concerned, Mahindra, the only manufacturer producing micro-hybrid vehicles in India, has not hiked the price of its models. It’s a definite win-win situation for consumers. Now, you can drive an SUV in city traffic and not at all worry about the fuel consumption. I am joking, petrol prices touched ₹80, how can you not be worried? But the micro-hybrid technology will also join you in saving some amount. This technology if employed in all vehicles in India then, can save not only lakhs of litre of fuel but also control the pollution caused by the unnecessary burning of fuel at an overwhelming rate. Hopefully, we will be able to see all our automobile manufacturer adopting this technology very soon. Until then let’s wait and see.

Author: Racheal J is a serial coffee drinker, fish and chips eater. Although she doesn’t consider herself as a wanderlust, she loves exploring the world around with her 4×4 and guitar when she is not blogging.

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