For the first time in the world, a four-wheel drive all-terrain vehicle was equipped with a combined power plant, and not just any, but a premium one. On the way - a hybrid sedan "Lexus GS 450h".
When plotting scenic routes, the organizers of the test drive clearly avoided the lanes, and they shod the cars in highways (even though it's an all-terrain vehicle!). On excellent roads, whimsically winding along the coast, guests enjoyed a comfortable and safe ride. However, any of the gasoline Lexus is generously endowed with these qualities - what will electrification add to them?
Of course, reducing fuel consumption and improving environmental performance, for which hybrids were started. For these qualities, and the creators, and, more surprisingly, buyers at first forgave the cars mediocre dynamics. The Lexus RX 400h does not need leniency: it exchanges a hundred in 7.6 seconds - 1.4 seconds faster than its gasoline counterpart RX300! It is not surprising: after all, three engines work at once - gasoline and two electric, driving the wheels of the front and rear axles. The scheme was called HSD - a hybrid synergistic drive. A sophisticated Greek word implies not just the summation of energy (this is only true for dispersal), but the ability to take advantage of each of its sources, creating the optimal mode.
How this is achieved, how the HSD elements interact during the movement of the machine, is more or less clear from the above diagram. While it is being studied by the most curious readers, I invite the rest to look at the new Lexus through the eyes of the driver and passenger. Outwardly, it hardly differs from the familiar RX300 all-terrain vehicle, on the basis of which it is built: the radiator grille, the shape of the air intake in the bumper and the fog lights have slightly changed. I open the massive door: the steering column politely moves back and forth, intending to facilitate the landing of a large physique driver. In vain I bothered - with a modest 48th size I would have slipped and so, but my colleague would be pleased.
Buzzing softly, the servos adjusted the seat and steering wheel; I involuntarily expect that the engine is started here, for example, by moving the driver’s eyebrows - but no, with the usual key! He turned: neon scales lit up in the black wells and … nothing more, no sound, no rustle. But the devices assure: the front electric motor has earned. The selector lever - to the letter D, release the "scissor" - let's go! Finding myself on the freeway, I step on the accelerator: the arrow of the power indicator jumps up, and the two-ton miracle of high technology easily breaks off from fellow travelers.
Multiband asphalt gives way to a narrow road, stringing sharp turns, we climb up. The verb, however, is not the most suitable: rises are given without effort, only in closed corners have to be careful. And the rest - rolls are not burdensome, chain brakes, seat support is reliable, but unobtrusive, a leather bagel - it seems that a century would not let go … Know yourself, admire the beauties of Hellas. And still, no, no, I envy the neighbor on the right: he can admire not only the surroundings, but also the “landscape” on the color display. There, by the will of the computer mind, streams of energy move, often and unexpectedly changing direction: here the rear motor is connected, but the arrows flowed to the battery - it is charging.
Although we are dealing with a hybrid installation, the feeling remains that the main driving (and braking) force here is electricity. It is not a matter of quantitative indicators, but of his, so to speak, all-pervasive participation. It controls the throttle and variable valve timing, powers the air conditioning compressor and power steering, and helps accelerate and brake. The gas engine also benefits from this: it does not have an outboard starter and generator (they are replaced by a front engine generator), which means there are no pulleys and a drive belt. Air conditioning and power steering are not taken from him: they are electric.
Only the management of the highest qualification is able to control the numerous flows of energy, so different in current strength, voltage, direction. The electronic unit converts the direct current of the battery into alternating current for powering the traction motors, while increasing the voltage from 288 to 650 V. The unit converter, in turn, lowers the direct current voltage from 288 to 12 V of the on-board network. But the main task is to connect-disconnect-switch in a timely manner, creating the most favored nation mode for each source and consumer.
What justifies the complexity of the power plant? High environmental parameters, considerable fuel economy, excellent smooth operation, especially during acceleration. One cannot but mention such an electronic guardian angel of passengers as VDIM - integrated dynamics control. Combining the functions of already known systems - anti-lock braking, traction control, stabilization, distribution of braking forces, electric power steering, VDIM is responsible for their interaction with each other and with a synergistic drive.
I'd add on my own: in three hours of peppy driving on roads with difficult terrain, Lexus showed an average gas consumption of 10.7 liters per hundred. The company believes that in terms of efficiency, the all-terrain hybrid corresponds to a much lighter sedan with a motor of comparable power. Another calculation: CO2 emissions on an annualized basis are 2.6 tons less than that of the gasoline counterpart when tested in a mixed European cycle, and the level of nitrogen oxide emissions is close to zero. The last factor, which is so demanding in the United States, is considered a particularly important advantage of hybrids.