Hybrid vehicles are an eco-friendly; fuel-efficient alternative to traditional, petrol-fuelled vehicles. They are constructed of multiple materials because of the complexity of the machine. Unlike traditional vehicles, hybrids have specialised batteries that need to be able to power the vehicle. Despite having more complicated batteries, hybrids also retain much of the same materials used in the body, the tires and some of the interior components.
Nickel-Metal Hydride is one of the most important materials needed to fabricate a hybrid car. The material is most often used in the construction of the battery components of the vehicle. According to Plastemart, the Nickle-Metal Hydride accounts for 97 per cent of the current hybrid electric vehicle market. Nickel-Metal Hydride is packed into different cells and used together to power the vehicle. This type of material is used in most hybrid vehicles, including the Toyota Prius, the Ford Escape and the Honda Insight.
Similar to petrol vehicles, the body of the car is composed of plastic and metal parts. Most of the interior components consist of plastic composites, which utilise the lightweight material and make the material stronger. Each manufacturer uses its own plastic composite mix. According to Reinforced Plastics Magazine, an example of such a composite mix is a hybrid, thermoplastic, composite-grade glass fibre for lightweight body panels composed of AZDEL and SABIC plastics.
Hybrid cars still utilise glass materials for the windows of the vehicles. There are two main types used in all cars today, laminated glass and tempered glass. Laminated glass is reinforced to avoid shattering and doesn't fragment when broken. The other type of glass used is tempered glass, which shatters into small cubes, rather than fragmenting like traditional glass.
The hybrid automotive industry uses rubber in parts like tires, gaskets and timing belts.
There are a number of different metals used to fabricate cars. The frame is typically made from steel to provide the strength to protect the driver during accidents. The exterior of the vehicle is typically made of mixed alloys to maintain strength. The mixed allows also reduce the weight of the vehicles. Engines often contain the most diverse range of metal components, from copper wiring to aluminium housings.
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