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How Do Hybrid Electric Vehicles Work?

Jan 4, 2022 ·

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Automotive manufacturers have continued to work toward a future that features zero emissions from vehicles. This means increased production of hybrid and electric vehicles to help reduce our carbon footprint on the roadways.

Hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) are becoming more prevalent. These are vehicles that combine the benefits of both gasoline engines and electric motors. According to a recent report by McKinsey & Company, by 2030 it’s expected that 65% of new car sales will be electric.

Keep reading to learn more about how HEVs work and how Universal Technical Institute (UTI) is updating its curriculum to train students on this technology.

How Do Hybrid Electric Engines Work?

Hybrid electric vehicles use two forms of energy, which include a voltage battery along with an internal combustion engine (ICE). They can travel short distances on full electric power. In addition to powering the vehicle, the ICE runs an electric generator that also recharges the battery pack.

Most hybrid systems recover energy from braking. Hybrids convert this kinetic energy into electrical energy to recharge the high-voltage battery pack. This conversion process is known as regenerative braking.

The longer the battery pack maintains a proper charge, the more the electric motor can be used to power the vehicle. This also allows the gasoline engine to run less. The result is increased fuel efficiency and reduced CO2 emissions.

Depending on driving conditions and operator input, the vehicle may use one or both power sources to propel it. Typically, the vehicle uses only the electric motor at low speeds and upon light acceleration. During normal driving, the internal combustion engine powers it.

Under heavy acceleration, both the engine and the electric motor may power the vehicle. When it stops, both the engine and electric motors are off. However, the vehicle remains operational by using electricity stored in a high-voltage battery pack.

How to Charge a Hybrid Electric Vehicle

A hybrid (non-plug-in) vehicle can typically recharge the high-voltage battery using two methods:

  • Regenerative braking/coasting: The drive wheels turn the generator, which creates the voltage needed to recharge the high-voltage battery. Additionally, the brakes no longer have to supply all the braking effort, which decreases wear on the brake pads.
  • The internal combustion engine: The ICE turns the generator to recharge the high-voltage battery.

Types of Electric Vehicles

There are a few different hybrid electric, hybrid and electric vehicle categories in the market that are used to meet various goals, whether it’s increasing fuel efficiency or decreasing the cost. These include:

  • Micro (start/stop)
  • Mild (48-volt)
  • Full hybrid
  • Plug-in hybrid
  • Full electric

Electric Vehicle Courses Coming to UTI

Given the move by manufacturers and policymaking aimed toward a zero-emissions future, UTI has updated its hybrid and electric vehicle coursework at its California campuses: Sacramento, Long Beach, and Rancho Cucamonga. And all campuses are scheduled to be updated with the hybrid and electric vehicle coursework in the near future.

UTI has a strategy for electric vehicles that includes adding even more content to the core Automotive Technology program, as well as updating and adding Manufacturer-Specific Advanced Training (MSAT) programs that incorporate hybrid and electric vehicle technology.15 UTI also plans to develop new training models and brand relationship opportunities.

In a news release from November 10, 2021, UTI CEO Jerome Grant said, “At UTI, we are committing resources to develop new coursework and a hands-on lab experience that will be provided by experienced instructors. Just as we have done with the combustion engine, we intend to be at the forefront of training for major manufacturers of electric vehicles.”

UTI is committed to remaining up-to-date on what’s happening in the industry and is excited for the future of HEV and EV technology!

Automotive Technician Training at UTI

In less than a year,7 you can graduate from UTI’s Automotive Technology program with the skills you need to service a range of vehicles as an automotive technician. You could have the opportunity to experience the hybrid electric and electric vehicle courses as well.

Students can learn to perform basic maintenance and repairs on hybrid systems and components, including hybrid vehicle batteries and electric motors and controls.

Students who graduate from the program will have the hands-on experience needed for an entry-level career in the industry.1 Gain a quality education from a state-of-the-industry trade school that stays up-to-date with what’s happening in the field.

Want to learn more? Visit our website to request more information from an Admissions Representative today.

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1) UTI is an educational institution and cannot guarantee employment or salary.

2) For program outcome information and other disclosures, visit

7) Some programs may require longer than one year to complete.

15) Manufacturer-paid advanced training programs are conducted by UTI on behalf of manufacturers who determine acceptance criteria and conditions. These programs are not part of UTI’s accreditation. Programs available at select locations.

Universal Technical Institute of Illinois, Inc. is approved by the Division of Private Business and Vocational Schools of the Illinois Board of Higher Education.


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