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The TDI Tuning Blog

Tuning hybrid cars: How does it work?

Hybrid chip tuning

Wait a minute. TDI-Tuning can tune Hybrid engines? Petrol as well? the old saying goes "The clues in the name". Well, in this instance, the clue is not in the name. We offer tuning solutions for Petrol, Diesel, and Hybrid vehicles. This means, if you are reading this, there is a good chance we can improve your car. This month, we are taking an in depth look at some of the Hybrid vehicles we have tuned, and, how the tune works with the engine.

How does a Hybrid car work?

A hybrid car is one that uses more than one means of propulsion. Combining a conventional petrol or diesel engine with another form of power, in this case, electric. The main advantage of creating a car to work in this way is efficiency. In theory, this method should use less fuel and create fewer emissions. There are a whole host of other benefits as well, including lower company car tax. There are different types of hybrid cars, and, they all create different experiences. Parallel hybrid cars use the petrol and electric motor to power the driven wheels. They often recoup some energy from regenerative braking. They also recover lost energy by coasting, any time your foot isn't on the accelerator pedal. Range extender hybrid cars do precisely what they say they do. The conventional engine produces electricity that recharges the batteries. The engine never drives the car. The BMW i3 is a good example of this. The third and final type of hybrid vehicle are plug-in hybrids. Again, the clue is in the name. You can plug them into a DC or AC power source. Normally you can run these types in full electric mode as well for short journeys. So if that's how a hybrid car works, how does the tuning work?

BMW hybrid tuning
How does tuning work?

The short answer is easy, we don't tune the electric motor in a hybrid vehicle. That's not to say we can't do it, but, it's not as simple as adding a turbocharger or putting a tuning box on it. Sophisticated computer systems control the electric aspect of a hybrid vehicle. Installing a small microchip that overrides the current settings would, in theory, make the car faster. This is the same process as remapping an ECU, adjusting the settings to improve power output. The adjusted microchip would decrease the longevity of the battery system. Tuning the battery would be time consuming and make irreversible changes to the car.  It's for these reasons, we don't tune that part. The engine, that's where we are able to unlock all that hidden power and torque. The power unlocked with the TDI-Tuning Box on a conventional engine is safe and reliable. It's also traceless once the box is removed. More than enough power is available from the actual engine. So why bother changing things that can't be undone?

Ford hybrid tuning

Should you buy a Hybrid car?

Should you buy one? As with most things in life, there isn't a simple answer. It comes down to your individual circumstances. Each hybrid/electric car has various positive and negative aspects. A plug-in hybrid is great if you want to travel short journeys (under 50 miles) around town. You can do longer distances on occasion, but it's primary purpose is for short trips. Full electric vehicles serve the same purpose, but, they are able to do longer journeys thanks to bigger battery packs. The range of full electric vehicles is improving day by day. The Tesla Roadster is capable of a range of 600 miles! An incredible achievement! A regular hybrid vehicle is suitable for most everyday drivers. The battery component of the vehicle will help improve fuel efficiency. The combustion engine will keep you going without the need to charge anything. It is the best of both. So, back to the question, should you buy one? The advancements of battery technology have advanced exponentially in the last 5 years alone. But what about hydrogen? LPG? What about other forms of propulsion? It's difficult to predict the future of cars as we know it, and the direction they will go in. For now, hybrid vehicles are a great choice.

BMW hybrid tuning

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