Automotive technology continues to advance as researchers and engineers work to improve vehicle capabilities and designs. Looking back through the timeline of technology, standard options of today were once advances that astounded consumers. For example, when the automatic transmission was unveiled in 1940, consumers were curious about this new option available on some models of automobiles. Today's vehicles have automatic transmissions with computerized shifting and many different gears depending on driving conditions. Electric cars and hybrids are additional innovations that have provided consumers with many options that can reduce expenses and lessen negative impacts on the environment.
Standard car designs include the typical internal combustion engine. Every time a driver turns the key in an ignition, this sends a message to the car battery for power needed to start the engine. The crankshaft turns, pistons begin moving, and fans begin blowing. Fuel and air mix to form vaporized gas, which the engine moves through intake valves and into cylinders. Simultaneously, the distributor gets a spark from the spark plugs, which provides the ignition needed to keep pistons moving and the crankshaft rotating. Understanding how motors operate can help car owners maintain their vehicles more effectively.
A hybrid vehicle is a special type of automobile that actually uses more than one type of power to make the car operate. Generally, hybrid automobiles have a standard internal combustion engine and a tank to hold standard fuel. The difference with a hybrid vehicle is that it also has an electric motor powered by a rechargeable battery pack. The driver can switch back and forth between using the internal combustion engine and the electric motor. This can be especially useful in situations when the electric motor is discharging but the driver cannot recharge it immediately. The driver can simply switch to the standard internal combustion engine to continue using the vehicle. Hybrid cars offer more fuel efficiency whenever drivers choose to use the electric power instead of the traditional engine.
Electric cars have a similar process as traditional internal combustion engines. Instead of fuel providing the power, however, electricity is responsible for making components move in electric cars. To keep electric cars moving, drivers must recharge the batteries regularly. Many drivers of electric cars recharge the batteries overnight in a home garage. Generally, this ensures that the electric vehicle will have the power necessary to fuel the car for the upcoming day. Electric vehicle power stations are also becoming more available to provide drivers with places to recharge batteries away from home.