Engine Start Characteristics of Two Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs) - Honda Insight and Toyota Prius 2001-01-2492
Hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) may have key fuel economy and emissions advantages over current conventional vehicles, but they have drawbacks such as frequent engine starts that can slow down market penetration of HEVs. First, the hydrocarbon emissions due to the numerous engine starts would make newly developed HEV powertrains even more demanding on the emission control system. Second, frequent starts may make the engine deteriorate quickly. This study is an attempt to gain a better understanding of the engine start characteristics of two limited-production HEVs (Toyota Prius and Honda Insight). Using fast-response (5 ms) hydrocarbon and NO (nitric oxide) analyzers, the transient emissions were measured in the engine exhaust ports during cold and hot engine starts. On the basis of the experimental findings, several recommendations were made to improve performance and emissions of future HEVs.