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Hybrid Hype

Discussions of conventional and alternative energy production technologies.

Are hybrids all hype?

Unread postby OilBurner » Wed 30 Jun 2004, 07:48:21

In the on-going hybrid debate, I'd thought I'd throw in a little nugget of information I found whilst reading UK car magazine "What Car?".

They're long term testing a Toyota Prius petrol-electric hybrid. That means they pass the car onto a member of the magazine staff who then experience the car in real world daily driving for a year or two.
According to Toyota, this car gets 65.7mpg (UK gallons) on the combined cycle. That mind sound quite good to you for a 1.5L petrol engine that does 0-62 in 10.9 seconds.
However, in the real world, they're getting an average of around 45mpg. What Car said this was "disappointing". (about 38mpg in US gallons?)
To put this in perspective, my Vauxhall (GM) Astra 2.0 DTI uses an out of date conventional turbo diesel engine, does 0-60 in 11 seconds and returns a combined fuel economy of 49mpg. In the real world I get 53mpg average and once got 65mpg on a long motorway run. More modern diesel engines will do better than this.
Or, to compare like with like, you could get a Toyota Corolla 1.6L petrol that does 0-62 in 10.2 seconds and returns a combined 40.4mpg. Not much different to the Prius really?

I guess the hybrids are only any good if you get exactly the right balance of driving. I remember reading a review of the original Prius that said the decent economy was only acheivable if the car was driven very carefully (i.e.by an expert in fuel efficient driving) and you drove in circumstances that kept the right balance between electric and petrol motors.

Is anyone still thinking that the petrol-electric hybrid will be the solution to all problems?
It'll be interesting to see real world fuel returns on Ford's hybrid SUV from real owners, that's for sure.
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Unread postby WaterBearer » Wed 30 Jun 2004, 08:11:13

Heh.

If the mgp of the average hybrid doesn't actually give us any significant conservation in fuel usage, you might wonder if vehicles like the Prius are actually bigger energy LOSERS, since in addition to consuming a relatively average amount of fuel in comparison to other high-mileage exclusively combustion-powered cars, they also have to consume some level of energy from the grid to keep their non-combustion motors charged up...

Of course I'm not sure how much a hybrid is able to recharge itself with its alternator/inertia.
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Unread postby OilBurner » Wed 30 Jun 2004, 08:21:54

At present you don't have to connect the Prius up to the grid to charge it - it charges via energy collected during braking and spare petrol engine power during overrun etc.
That's why the style and type of driving has such a big effect on economy. i.e. if you only ever drove around town, the petrol engine would have to come most of the time to re-charge the battery.
Obviously, connecting to the grid would help this - as long as it was done at night when power often goes to waste, it wouldn't be so bad.

It's no silver bullet though - just by downsizing to a similar sized regular petrol car you see roughly the same fuel savings. Unless you happen to be a brilliant driver who's lucky enough to drive on the right type of roads...

You have to bear in mind that some cars will do much better in the standard economy test (due to gear ratios being tuned to give good test results etc) then they will ever do in the real world. Whereas others can actually do better in the real world. It depends whether the manufacturer is tuning the car for real world drivability or just headline figures like 0-60 and combined cyled mpg.
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Unread postby tkn317071 » Wed 30 Jun 2004, 13:56:04

Did anyone actually claim that hybrid technology could solve all energy problems? I don't understand why people assume that discussion of (any) possible improvement in energy regime implies solving all problems. Aren't we all well aware that there is no silver bullet (no energy source comparable to petroleum will ever be found) and that a diverse and multi-pronged approach to changing energy use is what is needed? That is, hybrids should be encouraged (as opposed to SUVs), diesels and biodiesel should be encouraged, and solar, wind, geothermal, but most importantly, energy conservation (restructuring society to use less energy) should all be encouraged simultaneously.
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Unread postby OilBurner » Wed 30 Jun 2004, 15:48:13

I wasn't trying to dispute that hybrids (no matter how good) will solve all our problems. That's a different argument altogether.
What I was trying to illustrate was that despite the media and public interest in hybrids (of which there is a lot) they're really not even as good as they claim. Silver bullet? Clearly not. Worse than that, I don't think they're even a meaningful step forward.
Like I said before, let's wait and see how hybrid SUVs will do in the real world. I can imagine a lot of people flocking to them to try and save money whilst still enjoying the freedom to own an SUV. It'll be a nasty surprise for them if fuel economy is only 5-10% better, that benefit will be outweighed by the additional purchase cost and maintenance required.

I'd be much more impressed if people started to recognise the benefits of modern diesel engines - as much of Europe is well aware.
That could make a real difference as the fuel economy would jump around 40%. That's the kind of difference that would allow the US to manage dropping oil supply for quite some years and provide time to move to better alternatives.
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Unread postby The_Virginian_un-cookied » Wed 30 Jun 2004, 16:27:05

oilburner,

these problems are a little known secret in the USA:

http://www.wired.com/news/autotech/0%2C ... %2C00.html

http://www.wired.com/news/autotech/0%2C ... %2C00.html

I would much rather have a good quality deisel car as than this clueless mess.
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Unread postby OilBurner » Wed 30 Jun 2004, 17:02:07

Excellent stuff Virginian, it looks like the evidence is starting to weigh against hybrids.
Wired wrote:Honda's Civic Hybrid is rated by the EPA to get 47 miles per gallon in the city, and 48 mpg on the highway. After nearly 1,000 miles of mostly city driving, Blackshaw was getting 31.4 mpg.


I bet you anything that poor chap would have got similar mileage out of a regular Civic.

The better they get at controlling emissions from diesel, the less relevant hybrid petrols seem.
Diesel power is where it's at! :D

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Blows your mind drastically, fantastically
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8)
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Unread postby Guest » Fri 02 Jul 2004, 20:51:30

I don't know why that guy only gets 31mpg.

Many people are "somewhat" disappointed. But avg Prius mpg is about 45 around town and 50 highway. That's about twice what a Camry is and Prius is almost as big, I think.

Anyway it depends alot how you drive. If you are an idiot and floor it alot and race up to red lights, then of course your mileage won't be as good. The gas engine in the Prius is an Atkinson cycle which is more efficient but much less powerful for its size. These people are probably flooring it every chance they get.

Also if you make many short trips instead of a few long ones, your mileage can't be very good.
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That's a loaded question about HEVs

Unread postby dwenergyman » Sat 03 Jul 2004, 04:07:05

http://peakoil.com/post6315.html#6315

Alexander Graham Bell's telephone idea was all hype to a lot of people in its infancy and Western Telegraph scoffed at the idea and didn't buy his patent when it could have on the cheap much to their dismay.

It's funny to see the ignoramuses spout like a fountain about HEVs today.
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Unread postby OilBurner » Sat 03 Jul 2004, 11:41:17

The difference is that telephony was a whole new form of communication, hybrids are just hype. It's nothing new, just improvements on the exisiting concept.

As for poor mileage results, I don't see why the What Car test team would be driving the Prius harder than their other cars on loan. Fact is, they were disappointed and we're receiving similar (or worse) returns than a similar sized and faster diesel engined car that would have more interior space (less drivetrain) and have less to go wrong.
That doesn't seem like much progress to me.

In Europe hybrids aren't really catching on - all the rush to buy is taking place in the states. And that's despite having the most expensive fuel in the world. Think about it. If they were that good we'd choose them over diesel cars, but we don't.
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Unread postby dwenergyman » Sat 03 Jul 2004, 12:29:10

Oilburner is a lost cause IMHO, so I won't waste anymore of my valuable time with him or her but I offer some more interesting material to those that really want to learn more about hybrid electric vehicles and the important issues surround them.

The real price of gasoline search:
http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=n ... f+gasoline

Taken for a Ride interview with Jack Doyle
http://www.evworld.com/archives/interviews2/jdoyle.html

A New Road: The Technology and Potential of Hybrid Vehicles - This report provides consumers and policy-makers with the tools they will need to sort out the many technological, financial, and environmental differences among the hybrids that will be brought to market in the coming years.
By David Friedman. UCS, 2003. 70 pp. free pdf download
Read the executive summary or the full report (pdf)
http://www.ucsusa.org/publications/repo ... 8#vehicles
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Unread postby notacornucopian » Sat 03 Jul 2004, 13:12:49

Well, Oilburner in my honest opinion, is most definitly NOT a lost cause. I value his/her posts a great deal, and I trust that your remarks only serve to strengthen his/her resolve.

I read the link to the " Jack Doyle " piece and I am assuming that your take on his experience is that the Big Three have suppressed the technology in fear of losing market share ( assuming that they have no intention of manufacturing electrics ). Or perhaps it is their obvious connection to the oil industry and what it would mean to Big Oil's balance sheets if electrics were produced and sold in large numbers.

How about this: The Big Three and Big Oil know all about Peak Oil. They also know from their own research that electrics will never work. The suppression is maintained so that the general public have a false hope in thinking that they can continue to live in suburbs and commute in the fashion they are accustomed to once oil becomes scarce/expensive. Which means that those with this knowledge can continue to reap the profits from the stock market until the last possible moment. Which is so that the super wealthy can maintain their standard of living in the post peak world while the die off goes on. Remember that famous quip about how Bill Gates had so much money that he couldn't possibly live long enough to spend it all ? Bill Gates will likely be quite comfortable but I would say he may end up spending quite a bit of his fortune to maintain his standard of living.
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Unread postby The_Virginian » Sat 03 Jul 2004, 16:53:58

dwenergyman,

I don't see your remarks as refutation. Instead you abandon the field. Poor practice IMHO.

You prefer hybrids, fine with me. Time will tell if Europe adopts them or not.

As for the qaulity of the European cars w/ small desiels, they are not up to japaneese standards. Other than SEAT, the whole "VW Groupe AG" is $hit for qulity these days. Audi has taken a BIG nose-dive as well.

Look up each car by itself: (VW Lupo- Junk, Audi A2- mo' junk , SEAT Cordoba -a really great car, that and the SEAT made VW labled "Polo Classic sedan", I know one guy who has over 600,000 km on one )

www.carsurvey.org

So while I'm not a hybred fan, in the US, the only decent chioce you have is between a Hybrid, or a Suzuki swift (a 1/2 way decent car).

Sounds like an oportunity for an American manufactuer to step up to the plate. (and dream of dreams, put the qaulity AND engineering standards high, ah too bad we lost deLorian...)

Either way, Small Desiels are a viable option, less prone to "operator error," and they use less recources (wires, batteries etc.) because they are simpler.

Don't forget the bio-Desiel option.
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Unread postby dwenergyman » Sat 03 Jul 2004, 17:56:14

The_Virginian

I'm into substance not rhetoric.

I'm into informing those who want to be informed not debating or arguing with those who use debating tactics like straw men arguments, ruses, ad homien, oneupmanship and putting words and assumptions into other peoples posts.

http://peakoil.com/fortopic545.html

If you find me disappointing in failing to continue playing these time wasting games so be it but I suggest that you follow the information and substance instead because nobody knows it all.
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Unread postby notacornucopian » Sat 03 Jul 2004, 20:57:48

I abhor rhetoric - perhaps you don't mind clarifying what the purpose was of the " Jack Doyle " piece if I was so far off the mark in my assumption.
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Unread postby Guest » Sat 03 Jul 2004, 21:14:35

The answer to your question is that hybrids aren't a joke. Most people get at least 50% better mpg than they would with a similar GASOLINE engine.

I don't know why diesels aren't sold much in the US. But the aren't. Maybe they would compare favorably to hybrids (I doubt it). Also diesel has 10% more energy approx per gallon than gasoline. Thus a barrel of oil can make fewer diesel gallons than gasoline ones. So it is a little bit of a misleading comparison.

Also the Prius is tuned to be a SULEV or super ultra low emission vehicle. Something like that. It puts out a lot less pollution than a diesel. They could probably tune it differently and get even better miles per gallon.

But 45-50 mpg is pretty good.
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Unread postby Guest » Sat 03 Jul 2004, 21:18:33

Also that's 45-50 miles per US gallon. A US gallon is smaller than a UK gallon by 20%. It's 128 oz of water or 3.8 liters.
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Unread postby Guest » Sat 03 Jul 2004, 21:29:16

Anonymous wrote:The answer to your question is that hybrids aren't a joke. Most people get at least 50% better mpg than they would with a similar GASOLINE engine.

I don't know why diesels aren't sold much in the US. But the aren't. Maybe they would compare favorably to hybrids (I doubt it). Also diesel has 10% more energy approx per gallon than gasoline. Thus a barrel of oil can make fewer diesel gallons than gasoline ones. So it is a little bit of a misleading comparison.

Also the Prius is tuned to be a SULEV or super ultra low emission vehicle. Something like that. It puts out a lot less pollution than a diesel. They could probably tune it differently and get even better miles per gallon.

But 45-50 mpg is pretty good.


Now take the next logical step and combine a diesel with hybrid (preferribly interior pm machines) and see yet another incremental improvement!
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Unread postby notacornucopian » Sat 03 Jul 2004, 21:46:12

Guest, I seem to be missing some of the content of this thread.

Who's question were you answering ? Your responses, based on the previous threads I have just viewed appear to be a non-sequiter.
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Unread postby small_steps » Sat 03 Jul 2004, 22:29:44

notacornucopian wrote:Guest, I seem to be missing some of the content of this thread.

Who's question were you answering ? Your responses, based on the previous threads I have just viewed appear to be a non-sequiter.


notacornopian,
I apologize for any confusion, I authored the message immediately preceeding your statement.

The argument in this thread seemed to be diesel or gas/hybrid, but there is no reason why the hybrid electric technology cannot be slaved to a diesel engine.

That was what I was trying to point out, while the debate of gas/hybrid vs diesel is valid now, it will be much less valid in the future (when diesel hybrids will become available)
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