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If you can't drive a Chevy Volt, drive a plug-in Prius

Rick DeMeis
6/17/2011 04:21 PM EDT

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Duane Benson
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re: If you can't drive a Chevy Volt, drive a plug-in Prius
Duane Benson   12/30/2011 9:59:52 PM
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Today's hybrids, plug-in or otherwise, are definitely "feel-good" designs. However, these early ventures into something other than pure liquid fuel are necessary steps on the road to propulsion future. Back in the early eighties, I could buy a Chevy Sprint and get a legitimate 50 Mpg. That's amazing even by today's standards, but vehicle requirements are different now and will continue to diverge from the old "go there" boxes. The first DVD players, flat screen TVs, refrigerators, microwaves and computers were difficult, if not impossible to cost justify. But the practice lead to the ubiquitous products that we have today. Hybrids or even pure battery powered vehicles may eventually disappear, but they're really part of the process of getting to where we need to be.

Rush.Hood_#4
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re: If you can't drive a Chevy Volt, drive a plug-in Prius
Rush.Hood_#4   8/8/2011 4:58:01 PM
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Thank you for exposing the emperor's lack of clothes. It is always more efficient to consume the fuel at the point of use, rather than convert it and suffer additonal transmission costs. Besides, the infrastructure for handling liquid fuels is ubiquitous and efficient...

MR2
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re: If you can't drive a Chevy Volt, drive a plug-in Prius
MR2   7/27/2011 2:34:32 PM
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There has been a lot of discussion about the advantages of the different types of auto propulsion, hybrid, diesel and otto cycle engines. There has also been some discussion about the advantage of a diesel over the hybrid. What I have not heard discussed is the different types of engines, Atkinsen, diesel and otto. The real advantage that some hybrids have over the other types of propulsion schemes is the use of the Atkinsen cycle engine like that used in teh Prius. One question I have not to which I have not heard the answer is why didn't the Volt use the Atkinsen engine? For futher comparisons check out the Consumers Report where they compare the Prius and VW Diesel for mileage.

any1
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re: If you can't drive a Chevy Volt, drive a plug-in Prius
any1   7/20/2011 1:28:47 PM
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As the price of gasoline in the US goes up over time we Americans will change our gas guzzling ways. The plug-in Prius is just one more step in that direction. From my personal perspective, 13 miles of all electric range would be enough for my daily round trip commute to and from work. So I would argue why do I need a gasoline engine at all and why should I carry the extra weight of everything that goes with it. So I'm just waiting for all electric vehicles to get a little cheaper.

MikeAndreas
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re: If you can't drive a Chevy Volt, drive a plug-in Prius
MikeAndreas   7/6/2011 4:37:30 PM
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How are you going to charge your car at home on solar if your car is parked at work during the day?

Nick.Tasker
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re: If you can't drive a Chevy Volt, drive a plug-in Prius
Nick.Tasker   6/29/2011 1:01:07 PM
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Bill, great discussion that you've initiated here! Can you give us an estimate of how much of the braking energy (rough %age) is actually recovered? Clearly a most cost-effective capacitor is needed.

Jongleur
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re: If you can't drive a Chevy Volt, drive a plug-in Prius
Jongleur   6/23/2011 8:57:05 PM
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37 KWh in your area would be about %15,000. Panels and inverters are expensive. I've worked with EV's and hybrids for years, small vehicles see less benefit than large vehicles on a cost basis, (My $12,000 Saturn manual gets 40+ mpg), but big trucks could save $15,000/year if they go hybrid. Sorry, I can't tell you how I know that :). CG

Bob Lacovara
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re: If you can't drive a Chevy Volt, drive a plug-in Prius
Bob Lacovara   6/23/2011 3:32:09 PM
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Well, first off, they are not all that much oil, but certainly coal: fossil fuels. Then some nukes and hydroelectric. Other than widespread nukes, there isn't much way to get electricity into the grid, electric cars or not. As far as charging at home being do-able, it is, technically. But how many people can afford that sort of outlay, and how many have the area needed (15 m^2?) to set up panels? So do-able perhaps technically, but as a practical matter, no great number of people are going to be charging their electric cars from solar or wind or tide... it's just not practical. But electric cars founder more on range and cost issues. Someplace in this thread I mis-calculated the solar cell area needed for a 40 mile commute in a Prius. Charles Grimm (are you there? ;-) corrected my wildly absurd result down to 7.5 m^2 under the best conditions. But let's also look at the way an all-electric vehicle will store the energy of one gallon of gas, about 133 MJ. Suppose you use a sensible energy method, that is used on some city buses, supercapacitors. Then at 240 VDC, you need about 4600 farads, and at 600 about 750 farads. Those are available; you can actually dump braking energy into them; they charge ~ten times faster than batteries, but: they cost a fortune. (Maxwell will sell them to you ready to go: 125 VDC; 63F, fan cooled and data bus. They weigh 120 pounds. They store 143 Wh. You'll need a bunch of them.) I don't know what they cost: probably hefty. They are used on city buses where the cost over 12 years must be minimized, but for cars? Not quite yet. Perhaps when charging takes 7 minutes (the time of one cartoon) we'll see some appreciable fraction of the driving community turn to the electric car with good reason. Meanwhile, we have a chicken-and-egg problem that won't go away by wishing.

TomJolly
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re: If you can't drive a Chevy Volt, drive a plug-in Prius
TomJolly   6/23/2011 3:03:41 PM
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This entire argument is based on the false assumption that our electric utilities will always be coal/oil based. While currently this is (mostly) true, without electric cars, the conversion can never be made at all. And, as has been pointed out, you can, indeed, charge it at home on solar without any dependence on the grid at all. Between the car and the panels you'll be out $40K+, but that's certainly do-able.

Bob Lacovara
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re: If you can't drive a Chevy Volt, drive a plug-in Prius
Bob Lacovara   6/23/2011 1:54:21 PM
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Hmm, I don't think anyone here is criticizing the Prius as an engineering product. Indeed, it's hard to criticize Toyota products in general. I have had three Toyotas, and that's only because I totaled one when I took a sled ride down my toboggan run of a driveway and came to rest with an interference spacing between a tree and my front end. I want my cars, generally, to be built in the US, and be marked "Toyota" or "Honda". This is on the basis of maintenance, quality of construction, and durability. The Prius doesn't suit my needs, but it certainly falls under the Toyota quality umbrella. The discussions here are really about the value of a hybrid drive vehicle, or an all-electric vehicle.

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