Monday, June 10, 2019

Breaking Down the Composition of the Hybrid Electric Vehicle, and Why Filipinos Should Rethink Environmental-Friendly Alternatives

A cut-out model showing the Toyota hybrid technology of the Prius.
By Monch Henares

Achieving Zero CO2 Emissions

Let's say the government wants drastic change and decides to ban all CO2 releasing Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicles and allow only Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV) on the road. Can the transport sector achieve zero CO2 emissions in the country if all private and commercial vehicles are BEV?

The answer is no.

Normally when we talk about CO2 emission, we usually look only at what comes out from the vehicle tailpipe. With that in mind, BEVs have no tailpipe emissions, but when considering the energy production (coal, oil-based, natural gas) to recharge them, they also emit CO2.

Pie-chart showing that 88% of CO2 emissions in Metro Manila come from vehicles.
We should consider the total CO2 emission from the very beginning of the energy production source until the tailpipe emission. This way of thinking is very important for future CO2 reduction.  Clean electricity generation sources are very important for BEVs.

We can only achieve zero CO2 emission using the BEV when all power generating plants use clean energy sources such as solar, wind, hydro, geothermal, biomass, and nuclear.

Vehicle Electrification with xEV

Vehicle Electrification is essential, including various types of electrified vehicles, which includes Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV), Plug-in Hybrid Vehicle (PHEV),  Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) and Fuel-Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV). Toyota calls them “xEV”. Here in the Philippines, you may realize that Toyota has promoted all technological developments for xEV. That is because they believe that responding to the diversified energy sources such as biofuel, electricity, and hydrogen, will lead to proper energy-mix.

To sum it up, the use of energy sources should truly match the energy situation in the country. We need to consider a wide comprehensive approach to products, technology, and infrastructure.

The Hybrid Electric Vehicle

The difference between the internal-combustion engine (ICE) vehicle and the Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV).
The hybrid electric vehicle has two power sources, an ICE and an electric motor. Hybrid operation combines both powers to have not only greater energy efficiency, but also better driving performance.
When the vehicle is stopped, the engine is not running. When the vehicle starts moving to mid-speed range, it is driven only by the electric motor.

The hybrid electric vehicle has two power sources, an Internal Combustion Engine and an Electric Motor.
At the time of acceleration or when high power is required, both engine and electric motor are working together to increase the output power.

Under constant speed condition, both engine and motor will be optimally used. When there is surplus engine power supply, it also generates electricity to charge the battery.

Cut-out model of the hybrid drivetrain.
During deceleration or braking, energy is recovered through the regenerative braking system and charges the battery.

With this energy management system, the hybrid has greater energy efficiency and is fun to drive.

Nickel Metal Hydride Battery with 168 cells, 201.6 volts, at 6.5 Amperes with a 5-year warranty

The key core components of an HEV are the Electric Motor, Battery, Inverter, and the Power Control Module.

Watch Video of Hybrid Exhibit:

Toyota Prius Hybrid Evolution 

Toyota has been continuously improving the fuel efficiency of its HEV model since its 1st generation Prius.  And now, the 4th generation of Prius has good fuel efficiency at 40.8 km/L in JC08 test mode, which is an improvement of 25% compared to the 3rd generation.

Fuel efficiency improvement through the years.

TMP was the first automotive brand to make the HEV available to the Filipino with the introduction of the second generation Prius in 2009.

Hybrid Electric Vehicle or Battery Electric Vehicle? 

HEVs are widely known to be more fuel efficient than traditional petrol engines, and their self-charging capability requires no additional infrastructure to be built in order to seamlessly start the transition. These practical and proven factors make Toyota hybrids the viable option as the Philippine transportation alternative for a sustainable future.

2019 Toyota Prius Hybrid Electric Vehicle.
Regarding the characteristics of xEV products and their applicable usage condition, the advantage of HEV is its cruising range, fueling time, and existing infrastructure network. Therefore, from xEV categorization, TMP thinks that it would be better to expand and popularize the HEV as well as the PHEV as the initial basic fundamental technology. The use of the BEV is appropriate for use in small-sized vehicles and for short distance use in the initial stage, while the FCEV is appropriate to be used in buses and heavy-duty trucks. Later on, BEV and FCEV can be expanded for a wider range of usage. A step by step promotion of xEV is necessary.

Toyota Hybrid Electric Technology Conference

Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP) reinforced its call to position vehicle electrification as one of its long-term solutions for a greener and more energy-efficient local automotive landscape.

As one of its initial steps, TMP launched recently the Toyota Hybrid Electric Technology Conference with the theme “TOWARD SUSTAINABLE MOBILITY”. The event was jumpstarted by TMP in an effort to openly discuss the consequential effects of HEVs in the local and current landscape, aimed at promoting wider adoption of hybrids as the future of local transportation.

Toyota aims to propel the country into this paradigm shift through its lineup of self-charging Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEV). Toyota officials and tech experts suggest that hybrid is currently the most suitable electric vehicle platform for the local market. 

The existing government Electric Vehicle policies and programs.
Partnering with government representatives, environmental groups, the media, and other stakeholders, TMP has intensified its drive to push the usage of its environment-friendly and energy-saving hybrid electric vehicles locally, which in the long run benefits many sectors of society such as energy, transportation, environment, and health.

In the conference, TMP highlighted the importance of partnership and mutual understanding between the public and private sectors in order to adapt to quickly changing times.

(L-R) In attendance were Toyota Daihatsu Engineering and Manufacturing Vice President Mr. Yukio Yoshida,  Toyota Motor Philippines Vice Chairman Dr. David Go, Department of Trade and Industry Undersecretary Dr. Rafaelita Aldaba, TMP President Mr. Satoru Suzuki, Toyota Motor Asia Pacific EVP Mr. Vince Socco, and Clean Air Asia DeputyExecutive Director Atty. Glynda Bathan
“Toyota has a whole range of electrified vehicle (xEV) technology that can help achieve sustainable mobility goals. But xEV popularization depends on many factors and varies by market. Based on current Philippine conditions, it is most appropriate to start with HEV popularization in order to accelerate the reduction of emissions and fuel consumption,” said TMP President Mr. Satoru Suzuki. 

TMP’s stance on hybrid electric technology is strongly supported by the environmental philosophy of the Toyota Environmental Challenge 2050, aimed at eliminating Toyota’s carbon emissions by the next three decades. “Toyota is committed to be a part of the solution ahead of future challenges with “Toyota Environmental Challenge 2050,” said Vince Sotto, Executive Vice President of Toyota Motor Asia Pacific. “Towards this direction, Toyota challenges ourselves to achieve not just zero environmental impact, but a net positive impact on Earth and Society, as well,” Socco added.

Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive badge.
Making the switch from the ICE to HEV or BEV at the moment is quite expensive for the middle-class Juan. The 4th generation Toyota Prius sells for a whopping 2.2 million pesos and BEVs would cost even more. The government should help bring those prices down by removing tariffs and give tax breaks to all companies involved in EV production if they want that drastic change for cleaner air to happen.  Manufacturers might also want to move their  EV production to the Philippines to support the local market when the path to Zero CO2 emission becomes a reality.

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Monch "Monchster" Henares is an award-winning automotive journalist, and feature writer for the Philippine Daily Inquirer's "Road Talk". He is also a media blogger @, tech and motoring specialist, inventor, and automotive engineer. He managed the motorpool for a limousine company in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. He is now based in Manila, Philippines, and is the President of BuildMeUp Corp.

You may e-mail him at
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