Following the launch of Toyota Prius Hybrid Synergy Drive vehicle in Brunei a year ago, NBT Brunei recently introduced the world’s first full hybrid luxury compact car, the CT 200h. If you’re confused by jargons and acronyms that are popping up in ads, fear not, you’re not alone! The Prius’ Hybrid Synergy Drive (HSD) is a drive-by-wire system with no direct mechanical connection between the engine and the engine controls. Both the gas pedal and the gearshift lever in an HSD car merely send electrical signals to a control computer. There are essential three types of hybrid systems: Mild Hybrid, Full Hybrid, and Plug-In Hybrid.
The Prius and the Lexus CT 200h are Full Hybrid for the following reason: Full hybrid cars can run using just battery power without using the traditional engine. This makes them more fuel efficient than a mild hybrid. The electric motor is used at low speeds, where the electric motor is much more efficient than the gas-powered engine. It also means that the gas engine doesn’t idle when the car is stopped. The result is a highly efficient vehicle for city driving.I was unable to make it for the official launch at the Lexus showroom but when they came to town, I couldn’t let opportunity pass. p.s. With the exception of a few wide-angle images here, all other pictures were photographed with the Canon 100mm Hybrid Image Stabilizer lens, a system the Lexus doesn’t come with 🙂
Along with a built-in charge controller, the inverter/converter supplies current to the battery pack for recharging during regenerative braking, as well as provides electricity to the motor/generator for vehicle propulsion. Both hybrids and EVs use relatively low voltage DC batteries (about 210-V) to keep the physical size (and cargo space consumed) down, but they also generally use highly efficient, and high voltage AC motor/generators.
While we’re on the subject of hybrid vehicles powered by an inverter and converter technology, this 6-speed Lexus IS 300 Convertible is nothing short of amazing. The hardtop roof fully opens and closes in 21 seconds each way and Lexus Manager, Aron, demonstrated this after we returned from the CT 200h test drive.