Maruti Suzuki will unveil the all-new Grand Vitara mid-size SUV tomorrow, and Toyota has already unveiled its iteration of the same SUV – Hyryder Urban Cross – earlier this month. Both SUVs’ higher trims get a strong hybrid powertrain, which give them the ability to run on ‘pure EV mode’. This brings us to the question, what exactly is the Pure EV Mode?
Image courtesy HT
Well, the answer lies in the question itself. Pure EV mode means running on battery power, where the vehicle functions as an electric car. Both the Maruti Grand Vitara and the Toyota Hyryder strong hybrid SUVs can operate on battery mode for about 25 kilometers. This feature will be very useful for those who drive their cars for short city commutes.
In the strong hybrid powertrain offered on both these SUVs, there is a powerful electric motor that complements the naturally aspirated 1.5 liter petrol engine. While the petrol engine running on the Atkinson cycle offers 91 Bhp-122 Nm, the electric motor – on its own – makes 79 Bhp-141 Nm. Together, combined output stands at 114 Bhp. Transmission is handled by a CVT automatic gearbox with 5 stepped shifts.
Now, the strong hybrid offered with the Maruti and Toyota SUVs is not a plug-in hybrid, which means that the SUVs don’t need to be connected to an external charger to recharge the battery packs that power the electric motors. Instead, the battery pack is charged through brake energy regeneration. Every time the SUV is braked, a flywheel turns thanks to the abrupt braking motion, and this turning of the flywheel generates electricity to recharge the battery. Once the battery is fully charged, it can power the Grand Vitara and Hyryder Urban Cruiser on its own for about 25 kilometers. This is what gives these SUVs the ability to function as electric cars for short distances.
What happens after the battery runs out of charge?
Both SUVs will shift seamlessly to petrol power, and brake energy regeneration will begin recharging the battery of the electric motor. The transition will be so smooth that the driver or the passengers will hardly feel the shift from electric motor to the petrol engine.
What other mode is on offer?
Hybrid mode! While the Pure EV Mode is what most people will use for short commutes, the strong hybrid SUVs will operate on ‘hybrid mode’ for most part. In hybrid mode, the electric motor will be used to get the SUVs moving and then the petrol engine will take over. In case the driver wants to accelerate hard, both the electric motor and the petrol engine will work in tandem to offer brisk acceleration. The idea behind combining both the electric motor and the petrol engine is to make the car as fuel efficient as possible without compromising on driveability and acceleration. Talk about having your cake, and eating it too!