Hybrid Vehicles: Cut Pollution & Save Money

Alternatives to internal combustion engines have been tried over the years, but none have outlasted or replaced the gasoline- or diesel-powered internal combustion engine. The Stanley brothers produced steam-powered automobiles between 1902 and 1927, but even their aggressive advertising campaign could not halt the popularity of the "internal explosion engine," as they called it. Chrysler experimented with turbine-powered vehicles from 1954 to 1979, but abandoned the effort because of difficulties matching the stop-and-go requirements of an automobile with the constant-speed preference of a turbine. Presently, several automotive companies are doing research on fuel cells, which combine hydrogen or methane with oxygen to create electricity without combustion, but the technology is still a few years away from being economically feasible. Electric vehicles have been around for nearly a century, but because of limited energy-storage capacity (batteries) and the resulting limitations on range and power, they have never been popular as replacements for internal combustion engine powered vehicles. In early 2007, an entrepreneur in San Jose, California, announced the introduction of an all-electric sports car. Rising gasoline prices and the need to cut back on emissions (or pollution) from automobile engines have caused automakers, automotive industry researchers and consumers to take another look at alternatives to the internal combustion engine. One contemporary, popular alternative is the hybrid electric vehicle, which combines an internal combustion engine with an electric motor, a large bank of batteries, and a computer controller. By the end of this module, students will: Know the definitions of internal combustion engine, hybrid electric vehicle, emissions, and pollution. Be able to calculate the percentage reduction in emissions achieved by a hybrid electric vehicle. Be able to calculate the increase in fuel mileage, or the decrease in fuel consumption, for a hybrid electric vehicle. Be able to calculate the payback period for purchase of a hybrid electric vehicle. Understand the difference between a part-to-part ratio, a part-to-whole ratio, and a rate. Be able to set up and solve proportions using rates and ratios. Be able to set up and solve percentages as proportions. Be able to describe a linear relationship in terms of rate and starting point, using a graph, a table or an equation. Be able to find the y-intercept and the x-intercept of a linear relationship, using a graph, a table or an equation.

Related Topics:
5. Energy decisions are influenced by economic, political, environmental, and social factors.

Associated Grade Levels:

Related Sub-Topics

5.4 Energy decisions are influenced by economic factors.

5.7 Energy decisions are influenced by social factors.

5.6 Energy decisions are influenced by environmental factors.