What differences between autonomous, hybrid and electric vehicles?

Sustainable mobility solutions are fast increasing in urban areas. Navya, a French leader in autonomous driving systems, has listed the differences between electric, autonomous and hybrid models.

Electric and hybrid: the different vehicle models available

Given the many environmental challenges surrounding us, automotive manufacturers have developed several models of (full or partial) electric powered vehicles over the last few years. There are however major differences between these two vehicle ranges.

Electric vehicles

Electric driving systems do not require any fuel to operate. As such, they have neither a petrol tank nor a combustion engine – but rather an electric engine powered by a battery.

Batteries vary in size according to the model and enable fully electric cars (also known as BEVs, for Battery Electric Vehicles) to cover from 100 to several hundred kilometers. To be recharged, the battery needs to be connected to a power socket (or to a dedicated terminal) when the vehicle is stopped.

On the road, 100% electric vehicles do not emit any CO2 and are perfectly silent. The vehicle’s range may vary according to certain factors, such as driving style, car model, speed, outside temperature and comfort enhancers activated during the journey. In any case, fully electric vehicles do not yet allow drivers to do long journeys in total autonomy.

Hybrid vehicles

Hybrid systems are in fact fuel-run vehicles to which a small electric engine and battery have been added. During slowing and braking phases, the battery gathers kinetic energy, turns it into electricity and stores it. The electricity will be reused to start the vehicle and to drive a few meters for certain models.

As opposed to electric cars, hybrid vehicles do not need to be plugged in.

There are two hybrid technologies available at the moment:

– “Standard” hybrids, that use the energy gathered during braking and slowing phases to recharge the battery. They can only run for a few meters in full electric mode.

– Rechargeable hybrids, that have a larger battery than standard models and recharge while the car is being driven (a connector is also fitted to recharge the battery directly through a power socket). The latter means users can drive several dozen kilometers in full electric mode at low speed. At a higher speed, the combustion engine takes over.

Connected autonomous driving systems: innovative self-driven vehicles

Over the last few years, there have been more experiments with autonomous vehicles. Navya, who has designed one of the most high-performance collective transport systems on the market, is at the very heart of technological progress concerning new-age mobility solutions.

Autonomous vehicles generally use electricity to run (this is the case for Navya’s shuttles). They are connected and fitted with an embedded driving/communication system and a high-tech set of sensors – enabling them to operate safely without requiring a driver.

Navya’s autonomous mobility solutions are currently being experimented in over 20 countries – either on private sites or public roads. This form of public transport is autonomous, electric, connected and self-driven – making it very different from electric and hybrid models. In the near future, this technology could also be applied to personal passenger cars.