Hybrid vehicles use power from internal combustion engines and high voltage batteries for propulsion.
Hybrid batteries also known as high voltage batteries or traction batteries are high capacity batteries. They are recharged through regenerative braking or by the internal combustion engine of the car through a generator.
Cooling fans are used to collect cold air and remove heat from a system that is to be cooled.
The hybrid battery of a car generates heat normally and it needs cooling for it to work efficiently and to also last for long. The cooling fan is attached to the battery to suck cold air into the battery compartment.
It is normal for the cooling fan speed and noise to increase for a short time and then return to a quiet state since the fan is not a constant speed fan but the speed increase as more cooling is demanded by increase of duty cycle using pulse width modulation (PWM) technique. This technique has been employed in different systems of automobile.
If the fan speed is constantly high and the fan is clearly audible, this signify that there is a problem which needs to be given attention.
Causes of hybrid battery fan noise and high speed operation
1. Weak hybrid battery
When a battery is weak, it draws a lot of current during charging. Same applies to the hybrid battery. As it is being charged through regenerative braking or the internal combustion engine, there is a lot of current drawn, causing a lot of heat. To cool it down, the fan runs continuously at high speed and which causes it to be audible. This is one way that signifies that a hybrid battery is weak.
2. Dust blocking hybrid battery fan duct
After some period of use, dust accumulates in the fans and air duct of the fan. This prevents efficient cooling and causes the computer to increase the fan speed.
3. Dirty DC to DC converter's air filter
In some new hybrid car models, there is air filter installed for the DC to DC converter. DC stands for direct current. When this filter gets clogged or dirty, fan noise and speed increases.
4. Malfunctioning air conditioner of the hybrid car
Cabin air that is cooled by air conditioner of the car is the one used to cool the high voltage battery. If the air conditioner is not functioning and the cabin air is hot, the duty cycle of the fan is increased. This raises the speed and noise of the fan.