What are mild hybrid or micro-hybrid cars and why should they be checked?

What is mild-hybrid or micro-hybrid technology?

Like the so-called conventional hybrids, the mild hybrid They use an electric motor and battery as well as a combustion engine. But unlike the first, the battery is much smaller and the generator is not able to power the device on its own.

Gerardo Macías, sales manager for Suzuki’s automotive division in Mexico, explains that the function of the generator and the small battery is to be an assist that adds starting torque or powers certain electrical components of the vehicle. This system can help reduce turbo lag – known as turbo lag– Featured by some engines of this type, which are generally more efficient than naturally aspirated ones. Micro-hybrid technology, in short, improves the driving feel of a turbocharged engine.

“The electric motor generates more torque and power, but the one that always starts the movement of the vehicle is the combustion engine,” Macías clarifies.

As they are the least electrified hybrid options, mild hybrids have less impact on a car’s emissions. A model of this type can reduce carbon dioxide emissions per kilometer traveled on average between 3% and 5%, while in a traditional hybrid the reduction compared to its petrol counterpart is 17%, according to data from the builders.

Why can’t they exempt the hologram?

After seeing that there is a big disparity between the emission levels of electric and hybrid vehicles, and even between the different hybrid technologies, Sedema in 2020 carried out a reorganization of the vehicles and left out the technology mild hybrid from the list of models eligible for the “exempt” hologram in Mexico, because this system is not capable of propelling the device by itself.

These types of models may have the double zero hologram. Those with a performance greater than or equal to 16 kilometers per liter can apply for it up to twice.

What will happen to mild hybrid models?

Although this type of vehicle has not been included in the list of models that do not have to walk through a checkpoint for years and can be driven every day, regardless of air conditioning, this has not prevented their arrival in the country. Mazda, Suzuki and RAM are among the brands that have opted for this technology to start the electrification of their range in the local market.

Mazda launched in 2021 a version mild hybrid of its Mexican-built Mazda2 subcompact model and in the following months added such versions to its Mazda3 and CX-30 models. RAM has been selling a micro-hybrid version of its 1500 pickup for three years, while Suzuki introduced a version with this technology of its Swift model in November 2021 and a few months ago it introduced another of its Ertiga minivan.

“By 2023, mild hybrid technology will represent 13% of our sales,” says Macías, who does not rule out that conventional hybrid models will eventually arrive in Mexico. Suzuki entered into an alliance with Toyota in 2019 to share technology for hybrid and electric vehicles, the production of engines and the development of autonomous driving, and currently already offers conventional hybrid models with Toyota technology in Europe.

Mazda, for its part, will launch mid-term versions plug-in hybrid of its largest SUVs. “Various levels of electrification are already available around the world, from mild hybrid up to 100% electric, and we introduce each technology according to the reality of each country, Mexico is not the same as the United States, China or Japan”, said Miguel Barbeyto, president of Mazda in Mexico.

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