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TECH TRENDS: When is a hybrid not a hybrid?

10/7/2011 01:06 AM EDT
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cbbear
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re: TECH TRENDS: When is a hybrid not a hybrid?
cbbear   10/13/2011 1:26:32 PM
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That was a Mazda design sold under Ford brand. Royalties and internal competition with Ford's own brands might have been reasons for the poor marketing.

kkersey
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re: TECH TRENDS: When is a hybrid not a hybrid?
kkersey   10/12/2011 5:56:52 PM
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I agree with Bert's comments. There are difficult and sometimes subtle tradeoffs in these various approaches. For example - if you want to capture more regenerative braking energy - you will need an electrical drivetrain capable of high horsepower (in braking mode)...which costs a lot. The main reason that adoption of hybrids has actually SLOWED in the last year is that the added cost of hybrids doesn't really pay-off in a reasonable time vs. just buying one of the new high-efficiency conventional cars (~40MPG EPA). In a hybrid, not only does the electric powertrain allow start-stop (helps only in urban cycle) and allows the gas engine to operate in higher efficiency modes - it allows that engine to be downsized and/or converted to atkinson cycle (larger expansion ratio), which has less horsepower but higher efficiency. The needed power for accelerating at an acceptable rate is then made-up by the electric powertrain. Efficiency and reduction of fossil fuel usage is important - but the public demands that it be cost-effective too!

1Sparky
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re: TECH TRENDS: When is a hybrid not a hybrid?
1Sparky   10/12/2011 5:41:51 PM
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I think the Marketeers are a lot like Hydrologists: they're scared of electricity! I guess the Marketeers are guessing Joe Public is also scared of electricity...so lets call it something else...Me? I'm a sparky and I'm scared of Gasoline! Funny the GM driveline looks a lot like my Golf Cart with electric start; gee those GM engineers are Brilliant, eh!

Eric Verhulst_Altreonic
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re: TECH TRENDS: When is a hybrid not a hybrid?
Eric Verhulst_Altreonic   10/12/2011 10:05:35 AM
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Sometimes I think technology has stalled. Porche had electric drives (hub motors in the wheel) 100 years ago with range and mileage almost the same as today. What happened the last 100 years? OK, we got more comfort and ease-of-use, etc. but you would expect a lot more over a 100 years time period. Even public transport (trains and busses) has not made a serious jump (with the exception of high speed trains). It's time for a radical rethinking of the established solutions. KISS: Keep it Simple but Smart.

Bert22306
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re: TECH TRENDS: When is a hybrid not a hybrid?
Bert22306   10/11/2011 8:36:06 PM
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Yes, they were very informative, and I read the both. But the title of this article is "When is a hybrid not a hybrid?" And given that a similar question arose of whether the Volt was an electric car or a hybrid, I thought it was time to bring all of these topics together. A hybrid is a car with dual drivetrains - one electric and one mechanical. Both this Buick and the Volt fit that description, even though the Volt gives more emphasis on electric storage. And even though GM marketing types did their level best to obfuscate that. Bottom line: there is definitely a mechanical linkage between engine and wheels in the Volt, which comes into play when high horsepower is required (like freeway driving). The Car and Driver article deliberately compared the Volt and the Cruze Eco under the same diving conditions. Given that the Cruze Eco incorporates most of the energy saving features of the Volt, and is built on exactly the same platform, I think that direct comparison was just what the doctor ordered. And the results were as I had expected (and commented on your Cruze Eco article). I guess what I'm saying is, GM marketing can play word games, but we are engineers. We can happily ignore marketing terms and ferret out the truth.

Rick DeMeis
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re: TECH TRENDS: When is a hybrid not a hybrid?
Rick DeMeis   10/11/2011 6:22:12 PM
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Here is the take we did earlier on the Volt: http://eetimes.com/design/automotive-design/4218443/Driving-Impressions--Chevy-Volt?Ecosystem=automotive-design And on the Chevy Cruze: http://eetimes.com/electronics-blogs/pop-blog/4216290/Who-needs-a-hybrid-?Ecosystem=automotive-design

Bert22306
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re: TECH TRENDS: When is a hybrid not a hybrid?
Bert22306   10/10/2011 7:28:28 PM
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I think the best idea is to ignore marketing hype and catchy marketing names. This Buick is essntially the same car as yesterday's Saturn Aura Hybrid. Which means, mild hybrid, where the electric motor supplies primarily the start/stop feature, some minor amount of regenerative braking, and a short term, transient amount of torque boost when acelerating, to help out the otherwise anemic 4 cylinder engine. The difference between this car and the Chevy Volt, IMO, is a matter of degree. The Volt has a massive battery pack, but it too is ultimately a hybrid. Which means, you cannot lift out the gasoline engine from the Volt and drop in a hydrogen fuel cell, without losing performance. It too depends on a mechanical linkage between gasoline engine and drivetrain. And sure, the more battery you have, the less you rely on the gasoline engine when the gasoline engine is operating in an inefficient range. Those interested in reality, vs marketing hype, ought to read the aricle comparing the Chevy Volt to the Chevy Cruze, in this month's Car and Driver magazine. Same basic car, but the Volt is saddled with two drivetrains. To make a long story short, the result in that comparison was also predictable. In city driving, the Volt did better. On the open road, the Cruze did better.

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