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Toyota Corolla Touring Sports – how does a hybrid work?

Hybrid systems in the automotive industry have become so common that virtually every manufacturer already offers models with such a drive. Until 3 years ago, no one, except Toyota and the Korean Hyundai, offered a combination of an internal combustion engine and an electric engine, but the change in the regulations on CO2 and NOx emissions in the European Union meant that companies had to finally bend to meet the stringent Euro 6d standards and others. Toyota, introducing the Prius 24 model 24 years ago, turned out to be prophetic in its endeavors, and although thought that the car will only be accepted by celebrities living in Los Angeles and ecologically crazy freaks, today it is already producing the fourth generation of the hybrid system and Toyota Corolla Touring Sports, available from PANEK Rent a Car, are equipped with such a drive. 

There is a lot of to talk about electric and electrified drives, but what is a hybrid system and how does it even work to make it so quiet and fuel-efficient? Toyota has its own way of doing this, which has been developing and pampering for over 20 years. The self-charging hybrid system, as the Japanese manufacturer calls it, consists of a 1.8 VVTi naturally aspirated combustion engine and an electric motor powered by electricity from the traction battery. The hybrid battery is always charged during deceleration and braking and, if necessary, also thanks to the generator via the combustion engine. In turn, the Inverter is a device that controls the flow of electricity to and from the batteries and additionally manages the flow of electricity to the air conditioning system, ensuring the right temperature inside the vehicle even when the combustion engine is not running.

Where’s that power? 

The 1.8 VVTi combustion engine in the Corolla produces 98hp and 142Nm of torque at 3600rpm. The electric motor, in turn, has a power of 72 HP and a torque of 163 Nm. Simple math shows that the hybrid system should develop 170 hp, so why does the manufacturer specify 122 hp? This is mainly due to the power and torque curves of both engines and, in order not to obscure the image, leave this issue at this stage. In addition, the internal combustion engine operates in the Atkinson-Miller cycle, in which the exhaust valves are open longer than the intake valves, which allows for better thermal exchange and the possibility of using a higher compression ratio in the cylinders. The result is greater engine efficiency and lower fuel consumption with relatively low engine power.

How does this work? 

The electric system always takes the lead when the vehicle is on stopover. We use this phrase on a special basis because the electric motor itself remains at rest (just like the internal combustion engine) and the car is powered by the current accumulated in the batteries. From the driver’s position, the sensations are exactly the same as when the Start / Stop system was activated in a car with a “traditional” drive, but in the hybrid system not only devices such as radio or lights, but also air conditioning, are still working, which is its huge advantage especially in summer. In addition, electrical devices do not burden the battery, and the current is drawn from the battery.

Several scenarios are possible while driving:

1. Starting off and smooth driving. The electric motor always plays the first role here. Its high torque, available right from the start, allows you to dynamically move and reach the speed at which the combustion engine is easiest to put into operation.

After reaching the set speed, the computer controls the drive in such a way as to use the electric motor as much as possible, and the internal combustion engine performs a supporting function, working mainly as an electricity generator. In addition, the system recovers energy from braking and stores it in the batteries. In this mode, the car is able to cover up to 70 percent of the route in the city using an electric motor

2. Dynamic driving. In this mode, the hybrid system uses the maximum potential of both engines – internal combustion and electric. The greater exposure of the internal combustion engine also contributes to the increased appetite for fuel and in extreme conditions the average consumption of gasoline may even double. The best effects of acceleration are obtained by following the procedure: * full acceleration to the set speed * taking the foot off the accelerator * pressing the accelerator again to set the speed and switch to the ECO mode

3. Driving on the highway. In this case, the system mainly uses the internal combustion engine, and the electric is only an auxiliary. The traction battery is charged very quickly, so as soon as we leave the expressway, the electric motor immediately comes into action.

The Toyota Self-Charging Hybrid System therefore turns out to be a fairly simple, but very efficient solution. It provides comparable performance to the competition while maintaining lower power and longer component life. The most important issue, however, is the minimum fuel demand, thanks to which in urban conditions it is possible to achieve results at the level of 3.5 – 4 l / 100 km, and on the road it is slightly higher and oscillates around 6 l / 100 km. The hybrid system used in the Corolla model easily meets the EURO 6AG standard and achieves CO2 emissions in the combined cycle of 78 g / km