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Is there a future for hybrid vehicles? Part 2

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Ecspansion
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re: Is there a future for hybrid vehicles? Part 2
Ecspansion   9/10/2010 8:34:41 PM
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Good analysis of the reasons HEV's have better fuel economy than pure ICE cars. Of course there are some ICE cars that get 40-50 mpg in highway, but they are small, light, with no AC, power seats, power windows, air bags, power side mirrors, etc. If same small and ligh vehicle uses Hybrid engine, it can get 60+mpg (old 3 cylinder Honda Insight). Also try getting 40-50 mpg in an ICE car in stop and go traffic. Most Hybrids get better milage the worse the traffic gets. Regarding conservation of energy, you did not mention potential energy. When driving downhill, the potential energy of the car is converted to kinetic and converted to electric energy by the regenerative breaking action of the MG. Of course only as much energy as can be stored in the battery can be recovered. When driving up-hill, the stored energy is used to reduce the load on the Gas engine. Pure ICE cars have no way of recovering this lost potential (or kinetic) energy. It is true that Hybrids cost more, but compare the extra cost to the cost of options like 8 way adjustable power seat, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, 8 speaker Stereo and the like, and suddenly the extra cost of the Hybrid becomes more justifyable.

Kinnar
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re: Is there a future for hybrid vehicles? Part 2
Kinnar   9/11/2010 11:02:55 AM
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Good Comment that cross votes the opinion of the author. But improvement in ICE in a way it will give better efficiency compared to hybrid, will be more cost effective for the world, as 90% of the roads are flat, I mean only 10% of the roads are in the hilly area. But city traffic is the point where ICE needs some improvement, that starting mechanism (Starter) should be modified in a way engine can be turned on and off with less battery power consumption and automatic. That way city traffic drive can be made cost effective.

DrQuine
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re: Is there a future for hybrid vehicles? Part 2
DrQuine   9/14/2010 11:53:59 PM
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Urban vehicles spend a lot of time inching ahead in traffic. Why not modify conventional vehicles to allow a small electric motor to inch the vehicle ahead in traffic? It would enable vehicles to "auto shut off" their motors (as hybrids often do and some Audi diesels do in Europe) when stuck in traffic. The gear shift could have a position for battery only - or the gas pedal could have a very low speed range in which the electric motor propelled the vehicle. Much of the traffic benefit of hybrid driving could be achieved at a very low cost across a broad spectrum of vehicles.

GREAT-Terry
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re: Is there a future for hybrid vehicles? Part 2
GREAT-Terry   9/15/2010 2:45:04 AM
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I agree there are still rooms of improvement on ICE, but this is also true for the electric motor and battery technology! Why can't keep on improving both so that finally a plug-in hybrid can be well adopted in all kind of cars? Fuel cell is only a kind of energy source so we are not limited to gasoline. The idea is to make good use of "hybrid". A "hybrid" indeed should be considered to mix two or more energy delivering system so as to fulfill the wide loading (speed/mileage/torque) range of vehicle as there all energy delivering system has there sweet spot (or range) of efficient energy delivery. We just need to make the whole range as flat as possible by using different tool at different sessions.

TOEKNEE0
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re: Is there a future for hybrid vehicles? Part 2
TOEKNEE0   9/15/2010 8:56:05 AM
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In Australia there has been E10 & E20 fuel blends available for some time now and soon we will be having E85(85% Ethanol) fuel blend available. So whats holding America back? I notice the Dodges we get here have "FlexiFuel/E85" badges on the rear....

AlexKovnat
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re: Is there a future for hybrid vehicles? Part 2
AlexKovnat   9/15/2010 2:00:17 PM
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A problem I see with fuel cells is, they are fussy things regarding fuel. The only fuel they can handle all that easily, is hydrogen. How are you going to distribute hydrogen to thousands of service stations, or millions of homes? You would need a new system of pipelines. And if you decide to reform natural gas on site to provide hydrogen, you negate perhaps a good part of the efficiency advantage of a fuel cell vis-a-vis use of natural gas directly in a well-designed piston engine. And now, the matter of pressure. The only way to get a decent range with a hydrogen-fueled vehicle is to use pressures of 5000 psi, and I've heard talk of pressures as high as 10,000 pounds per square inch. I see a problem with this. Compression to such a pressure would also negate a part of the efficiency advantage claimed for fuel cells. By contrast, compressed NG vehicles use lesser maximum storage pressure, i.e. 3600 psi. Direct Methanol fuel cells could be utilized, but people concerned about safety are going to want to add ingredients to methanol to make flames more visible in case of tanker disasters, and also ingredients to create a bitter taste owing to methanol's well-knwon toxicity. Fuel cells, being such fussy things, might not tolerate said additives. Since a fuel cell doesn't develop mechanical torque, you would need an electric drive system (including batteries) similar to the Chevrolet Volt. This would create cost disadvantages similar to those cited for the Volt or the Prius. So while I hate to burst anyone's bubble, I would rather not own a fuel cell vehicle for my own use.

mr88cet
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re: Is there a future for hybrid vehicles? Part 2
mr88cet   9/15/2010 4:52:51 PM
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One thing I've found curious is the critique, often from German automakers, that power-split hybrids are complicated, requiring large "part" counts. For that they cite the need for two motor/generators. Some of those automakers therefore promote pure-parallel hybrids. I would buy the argument if you count a transmission as one "part." As we know, a transmission could easily consist of 10-20 individual gears, various hydraulic subsystems, solid- or fluid-mechanical clutches, and so forth. The equivalent of the transmission on a power-split hybrid consists of a planetary-gear system (5-6 total gears), and the two MGs. At least by that count, power-split hybrids have a far smaller part count, but then again, you also have to add electrical parts, to both.

eric123
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re: Is there a future for hybrid vehicles? Part 2
eric123   9/15/2010 5:12:15 PM
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Dave, Excellent article. Understanding the need for space limitations there is one element of certain hybrid systems which should be mentioned, which is the change from an Otto cycle to Akinson cycle ICE which ipproves the IEC fuel consuption performance at the trade off of a loss of low RPM torque. This low end torque is replaced by the electric motor. The advantage of the Akinson cycle ICE is a driver for better fuel economy but performance wise not an option for pure ICE vehicles. Also it should be noted that the hybrids being on the road are providing the real word experence with a number of technologies which will develop the engineering (and other disiplines) knowledge for further development into fuel cells or battery power vehicles. Eric Honsowetz

selinz
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re: Is there a future for hybrid vehicles? Part 2
selinz   9/15/2010 5:25:54 PM
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The HCH has the Atkinson cycle engine and it certainly does need the electric engine help on the low end. Honda recently reflashed their engine, tranny, and IMA to conserve the last bit of battery for starting situations to address safety concerns. In 140K miles, I've NEVER got below 40 mpg and that includes 80+mpg highway driving as well as stop on go Bay area traffic. I had a 36mpg hwy focus but I almost never got that because of my driving style. Hybrids allow faster stops and starts while retaining good mileage because of the regen braking. Although my intial reason to purchase was to gain access to the carpool lane, I would choose a Hybrid again (although I'll probably go Ford or Chevy.)

MButts
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re: Is there a future for hybrid vehicles? Part 2
MButts   9/15/2010 6:13:27 PM
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Anyone who thinks 2.5 million drivers bought hybrids (that's just counting Toyotas) just to be "PC" haven't driven one lately. I just replaced my 2001 Prius at 125K miles with a 2010 Prius, which cost only $22K. It's sleek, roomy for four adults and luggage, comfortable, powerful, safe, and regularly delivers 50 mpg on my commute and on the highway. Many family and friends, technical and non, love their hybrids too. Prius regularly tops the charts on reliability and owner satisfaction. (No I don't work there.) It has fewer moving parts than ordinary cars, using electronics instead. I'm proud of all the electronic technology that makes this possible. How can any EE be down on an electronic drive system? Hybrid and full-electric cars create EE jobs!

BigTech0
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re: Is there a future for hybrid vehicles? Part 2
BigTech0   9/16/2010 4:55:57 PM
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Agreed -- I drive a Prius not just because it gets good mileage, but because it works well as a car: comfortable, quiet, roomy, solidly reliable. I wouldn't drive it otherwise.

markogts
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re: Is there a future for hybrid vehicles? Part 2
markogts   9/15/2010 6:47:30 PM
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I am deeply surprised and I totally disagree with these articles. I wonder if the author has ever done a full tank with a hybrid. In the '70 there was a tweaked compact that could do 40 MPG (In Europe that was quite common)? Oh, yes, and with which emissions? Did you forget that in the meanwhile we had LEV rules? Remember that hybrids, by limiting power peaks to the ICE, are very easy to clean on the exhaust line. Compare this to the "ad-blue" SCR technology needed for modern diesel engines with their huge NOx and particulate emissions. Is that for free? The author heavily downplays one of the most important aspects of the hybrid concept: the fact that you can downsize the ICE without performance penalty. Downsizing it allows to throttle it less, therefore further increasing efficiency (not to speak about weight), *while keeping the same acceleration*. Do you really STILL believe in fuel cells? Have you seen the well to wheel efficiency? And the storage energy density? Where are all these fuel cell cars? Ever heard about Nissan Leaf? Chevrolet Volt? They are almost ready on the market! Lithium battery cars already outperform fuel cells, hands down. And, if a car factory wants to go either for fuel cells or batteries, what are going to be the obvious middle steps from ICE? The hybrid, of course. Think evolutionally: the power factor (electrical/ICE power) will steadily increase, from the mild parallel hybrids, through parallel-serial, to plug-in serial, up to the end of the pure electrical (or fuel cell, if you still have hopes) car. Will ICE still improve? Sure it will. Not that much, given the diminishing results law. But all these improvements can be of advantage for hybrids too. Plus, the main problem of the ICE is to maintain a large working range. Sure, you can work on variable timing etc, but isn't it way easier to have an engine optimized for a very narrow load/RPM band and buffer all the peaks with clever electronics and an electrical motor?

edwaugh
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re: Is there a future for hybrid vehicles? Part 2
edwaugh   9/16/2010 9:12:34 AM
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Great comment from markogts, hydrogen is incredibly difficult and with fast charging (10 minutes) Lithium Titanate batteries starting to go into vehicles it seems like all-electric is the way it will go.

Frank Mlinar
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re: Is there a future for hybrid vehicles? Part 2
Frank Mlinar   9/16/2010 6:05:59 PM
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I am glad this second part was published because it gives me an opportunity to respond to the first part. And now the rant. As a hybrid owner and engineer, I really resent any implications made trying to connect perpetual motion and hybrids. Let me state unequivocally that hybrids are not an attempt at perpetual motion in any way, shape, or form. Hybrids are all about maximizing efficiency, which the author deigns to mention in order to sound learned. The author might want to ask himself why hybrids tend to have the highest mileage. And any ICE vehicle with high mileage can increase its mileage with hybridization. Let's face it, ICE systems today are not designed for efficiency, and in fact electric motors are highly efficient. The problem is range with existing battery technology. Hence the hybrid. Is there a future for hybrids? Absolutely, and the future will last until other systems can be developed to provide greater benefits (and, no, a SUV is not a benefit). Let's see, first there was walking, then horses, then ICE, then hybrids, next???

Stupido
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re: Is there a future for hybrid vehicles? Part 2
Stupido   10/4/2010 9:17:17 AM
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Levitation? :-P (joking)

625kinc
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re: Is there a future for hybrid vehicles? Part 2
625kinc   9/16/2010 9:02:58 PM
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About 10 years ago, a previous administration moved the funds from the Partnership For Next Generation Vehicle that included the GM Precept, the forerunner of the GM Volt. Instead, they sent all of the money to fund fool cell vehicles and we still don't have them on the show room floor. So instead, Toyota sold over 1 million hybrid electrics with Honda and Ford close on their heels. Press releases make fool cells sound just around the corner . . . like fusion power plants. But there are hard engineering problems to be solved followed by harder economic problems. Research programs, yes. But never let perfect become the enemy of 'good enough.' GM has yet to make Prius competition. Only Ford is in that market and they also did this while avoiding bankruptcy. Hard-headed engineers used to make fun of Beta-ware or demo software. That is where fool cells remain today and nothing suggests we'll see anything different in the near future. They remain too expensive and delicate for on the road, practical use. Bob Wilson

stixoffire
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re: Is there a future for hybrid vehicles? Part 2
stixoffire   2/6/2011 9:16:20 AM
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Fusion Reactors are just around the corner. A town near Nice France is the location for the research and I think it will be soon to hear of the breakthrough. As for the Fuel Cell - they might be expensive and difficult as many nay sayers, but the Bloombox was also considered not a practical expectation when all of the sudden there it was being demonstrated as a viable working system. Fuel Cells are better than hybrids, no ICE and no emissions - Hybrids EMIT. Fuel Cells can produce a very good byproduct H2O (although this will not help the highway grass mowers). When L-Ion batteries powerful enough to operate a vehicle are shrunk to the size of a fuel tank and their cost drops to the price of a fuel tank - they too will be good options. $5000.00 buys a lot of Gasoline. Do some simple math calculate the price of Prius minus price of regular car = Dollars for gasoline for regular car (not your F-150 pickup). Then Using 100K miles as a basis divide by the avg MPG of each car to compute the gallons needed. Subtract the Prius Gallons needed from the regular car gallons needed. That is the difference in fuel consumption for 100K miles. Multiply by the price of gasoline (assume $4.50) Add that to the total price of the regular car. Compare the actual prices of prius (do not include tax breaks, company incentives etc..) vs regular car - the regular car costs less.

Bill2311
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re: Is there a future for hybrid vehicles? Part 2
Bill2311   9/17/2010 5:21:54 PM
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Back when 42 volt systems were being considered, 12 Volt tungsten filiments were one of the complexities that prevented a conversion to higher voltage. They had to be longer and/or thinner to produce the same amount of light. This made them more fragile. Now that LED technology has arrived, higher voltage electrical systems may be in the future. The weight savings could be some of the fat trimmed to get more mileage out of IC engines.

Salio
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re: Is there a future for hybrid vehicles? Part 2
Salio   9/20/2010 3:42:42 AM
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Interesting article. I think there is a future for HEVs. However, how much of the auto maket share they are going to get depends how much engine manufacturers improve engine technologies to give better mileage. Based on a pure ICE, it can't compete with hybrid in terms of mileage. As more and more electronics are installed in a car, we are going to get closer and closer to the limit of a 12 Volts system. Even though by installing state of art low power electronics, we can save on the loading but since there are so many new gadgets in a car now a days, we are getting closer and closer to the 12 V system limit. 42 V system didn't become popular because Hybrids came along which were a much more than what the 42 V system could. However, they did that at a cost. I don't think people just buy hybrids to be politically correct. I think they buy hybrid because they believe that they can make a difference in the environment. Since electronics is getting cheaper, designing a parallel/series hybrid power train is not expensive from a power electronics point of view. Nonetheless at present time hybrids are relatively expensive than their counter parts. As technology is more matured, the cost of the cars is expected to come down. The benefits of the hybrid should be weighed against the drawbacks to come to a conclusion whether or not a hybrid is the way to go. Some factors to consider are cost, fuel efficiency, environmental impact from the batteries, and etc... I think the ideal combination would be to have a diesel engine with a paralle/series hybrid to maximize the best of both worlds. I believe some car manufacturer is diong it in Europe?

sherro
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sherro   9/29/2010 12:55:25 AM
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Are you sure that the energy equations balance when you add in the extra weight of batteries that have to be carried in a hybrid? Seems counter-intuitive that you set out to make an energy-efficient vehicle by adding a great deal of extra weight.

p_g
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p_g   12/20/2010 10:51:06 AM
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Not only the weight of batteries but electric motor too. This is greatly reducing the benefit we can get from hybrid or truly electric.

AlexKovnat
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AlexKovnat   9/23/2010 1:42:25 PM
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@Salio: The reason we aren't seeing Diesel hybrids is that since a Diesel doesn't suffer the enormous fall-off in efficiency that an Otto cycle engine does at low load, you don't gain as much with expensive hybrid-electric technology. Diesel enthusiasts have a point in pointing out that using an inherently inferior engine (Otto cycle) and then using hybrid technology as an add-on, is like wearing gloves to deal with the problem of a leaking pen. But I myself am not putting much hope in Diesel engines for cars, for these reasons: One, mother nature tends to frustrate us with nitrogen oxides and hyperfine particulates from Diesel engines. Another problem with Diesel engines is this: If more and more people were to opt for such cars, it would bid up the price of Diesel fuel, thus diminishing its efficiency advantage as far as cost is concerned. Otto cycle engines are versatile, fuel-wise. You can use gasoline, the most common fuel for such engines. But you can also use alcohols (methanol, ethanol, butanol), compressed natural gas, propane, or even hydrogen.

badgeman
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badgeman   9/28/2010 12:48:43 AM
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Wake up people. Cars are obsolete. At this time I purchased 1991 Mercedes 420 Gas. Duel Airbags, nice shape, 1,500. No pmts, 17mpg. Cell phoners, texters, drunk drivers, and druggies will bounce off my car. Granted, I pay for prem gas, but no pmts, no full coverage. Utiliize public transp, car just for pleasure. When public transp improves, allows for bicycle storage, cars will vanish. P.S. Car 20 yrs old, insured as a classic. 120. yrly ins.

sherro
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re: Is there a future for hybrid vehicles? Part 2
sherro   9/29/2010 12:52:46 AM
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What is the comparative replacement cost of a set of brake pads and a regenerative braking system?

rosekcmr
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rosekcmr   9/29/2010 7:04:56 PM
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Is there a future for hybrids? Silly question! Of course there is a future for hybrids and that future is NOW! I've worked on diesel-powered, series-hybrid military vehicles for the past 10 years; they work well and outperform every purely, ICE-driven combat vehicle platform(s)tested against (acceleration, braking, traction, stealth & etc.). The prop shafts and transmission are eliminated because the wheelmotors are mounted in the hubs. There are large battery packs, but Li+ cells are much lighter and power dense than NiMh, NiCd or Pb-Acid. When you eliminate the weight of the prop shafts, larger engine and transmission, the additional weight of the battery pack and e-drive systems clocks in as a wash (several cases were lighter).

Sheetal.Pandey
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Sheetal.Pandey   10/1/2010 3:56:58 AM
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I guess hybrid is the future.

jeremybirch
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re: Is there a future for hybrid vehicles? Part 2
jeremybirch   10/12/2010 2:45:15 PM
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5 years ago, the average new car sold in the UK had emissions of 170g CO2 per km which is equivalent to 33 miles per US gallon. The European Union was pushing for a cap of 120g/km on the average of the fleet and the manufacturers bitched like mad and pulled every trick they could to derail this. Yet now you can buy from those same manufacturers conventional ICE cars with emissions below 100g/km (about the same as the first Prius), and a very large part of the fleet now does below 120g/km. This has been helped by higher oil prices, scrappage schemes, lower road tax and duties for lower emission cars etc. Some of these new cars have regenerative braking I believe, others just intelligently turn off the engine at lights etc How far we could have got if the car manufacturers had spent more effort reducing fuel consumption than they did increasing power is hard to guess, but it seems that 50 years worth of improvements have been bottled up until now. 100g/km is around 56 miles per US gallon. The official combined figure for a modern Prius is 60mpg(US). But ultimately we need to use more public transport and less cars if 7 billion plus of us are going to get around without frying ourselves.

apummer945
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apummer945   10/13/2010 12:36:57 PM
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there was one interesting competition BMW - Toyota Prius what do you think who won ? see there http://www.topspeed.com/cars/car-news/bmw-520d-beats-toyota-prius-in-fuel-economy-test-ar54284.html

apummer945
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apummer945   10/27/2010 1:06:57 PM
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hi TOEKNEE "So whats holding America back?" what do you think? If you van't get it , here is the secret the oil multies, we had even a president, who was one of them,

David.Irvine
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re: Is there a future for hybrid vehicles? Part 2
David.Irvine   11/16/2010 7:54:26 AM
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I realise I'm very late into this conversation, is anybody still there? I've been driving a Prius for five years and it frightens me how evangelical folks get about the hybrid issue - both for and against!! If another male driver sees me get out of my car he'll usually stop to either bless me as an enlightened one who is 'saving the planet' or else mock me by telling me that he gets a million miles per gallon out of his John Deere and it doesn't have any nasty nickel or cadmium in it. I don't care. I'm an electronic engineer and the technology in the Prius tickled me, so I bought it and what's more, I intend to buy another! However, I'm waiting for the 'plug-in' version as it'll get me to work and back without the ICE starting. The only snag with this is that no ICE means no heater (almost) and as I live in Ireland that means I'll have to 'wrap up warm' most of the year. I notice that governments are keen to push fuel cell technology even though hydrogen is technically a secondary fuel and the efficiencies gained are compromised by the fuel production processes. I reckon that's because they can still tax the stuff when we buy it at the pumps. It would be really tricky to prove whether or not the electricity in our batteries is 'tax paid' and where I live, a wind turbine can be working hard most days.

tomkawal1
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tomkawal1   1/20/2011 2:29:07 PM
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I'm currently designing automotive sensors and have some insider opinions about whole automotive industry. On one side the products we offer must be as good as military, but the buyers are willing to pay 1000 times less. It is also incredibly difficult to break through with any innovation. Car makers like to stick to 130 yrs old solutions and keep adding new features, responding ONLY to gov.regulations. Tire pressure monitoring - wait until accidents and the law required. New engines - split cycle, flex fuel, NOx reduction? Forget - unless the law changes. New, better transmission, suspension, energy recovery. Forget. Forget. Forget. Only way to keep whole BOM cost low is to stick to very old technology. If you make the body and suspension of lightweight materials, it will cost more, and it needs gov regulations for one who buys it to be able to get some money back from materials recycled. It is possible. But gov people are too lazy for creative thinking. Smart enough only to get something from those are lobbying.

bearchow
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bearchow   2/5/2011 10:28:11 PM
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I'm sure glad there's people interested in saving the planet. Helps compensate for people like me who own a boat that warms the globe 16 big block cylinders at a time.

bearchow
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re: Is there a future for hybrid vehicles? Part 2
bearchow   2/8/2011 1:05:00 PM
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Sorry, I don't belong to the same religion you do.

bearchow
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re: Is there a future for hybrid vehicles? Part 2
bearchow   2/9/2011 1:34:54 PM
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Toyota should really be commended on offering a vehicle with a style most appealing to people with, shall we say, "alternative" sexual preferences.

Bear1959
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Bear1959   2/21/2011 3:10:29 PM
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The better fuel mileage of hybrids is so compelling and the certainty of oil prices increasing is gonna make the 100 mpg hybrid happen in the future. And practically everyone will use hybrids in the future.

glennswest
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re: Is there a future for hybrid vehicles? Part 2
glennswest   2/24/2011 1:56:28 PM
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Ok, come on guys, lets get rid of the moving parts. The best idea is do a free-piston internal combustion engine. ie. the piston is a magnet and the cylinder is wrapped in a coil. High Preasure injection, and good digital control, and we get a inernal combustion engine that directly generates electricity that you can rack and stack to attain more power. If you want to simplify the algorithm on the control side, put you some nice caps in the output side. The future of the Inernal Combustion Engine is as a generator for a fully electric car. It needs to be small, multi-fueled and easy to replace. If you follow engine research its a hot topic.

katgod
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katgod   2/25/2011 8:00:40 PM
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Mass of the batteries are not a big problem unless accelerating so we limit the rate of acceleration in an electric vehicle. Since the torque is at its maximum at 0 speed this is not as big a problem as it might seem. With larger mass comes larger power recovery when stopping. Atkinson or Miller cycle engines get close to diesel engine efficiencies. Last but not least I don't understand why the author put nickel metal hydride and Lithium batteries in the nasty materials category, while they may not be total benign I don't think they are considered toxic by most.

bobbytsai
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re: Is there a future for hybrid vehicles? Part 2
bobbytsai   2/25/2011 9:45:39 PM
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Can we reduce weight ? Gen1 Honda Insight (~1997 Tech Tokyo Motor Show/1999) 1850 lbs; 54-65 mpg Honda Civic (1979) 1500 lbs; 45mpg Honda Fit (2010) 2489; 27-35 mpg Honda Fit Hybrid (2010) 2555; 70mpg Gen2 Honda Insight (2010) 2730 lbs; 40-43 mpg Gen2 Prius (2003) 2765 lbs; 45-52 mpg Gen3 Prius (2009) 3042 lbs; 48-51 mpg

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