Welcome to the Energy Blog


  • The Energy Blog is where all topics relating to The Energy Revolution are presented. Increasingly, expensive oil, coal and global warming are causing an energy revolution by requiring fossil fuels to be supplemented by alternative energy sources and by requiring changes in lifestyle. Please contact me with your comments and questions. Further Information about me can be found HERE.

    Jim


  • SUBSCRIBE TO THE ENERGY BLOG BY EMAIL

After Gutenberg

Clean Break

The Oil Drum

Statistics

Blog powered by Typepad

« Using Biochar in Soils Traps Carbon and Increases Crop Yields | Main | It's not just climate and population that are bottlenecking »

June 03, 2007

Comments

amazingdrx

Really a shame. This could be real hybrids that really save gas and GHG instead of this already obsolete parallel design that only provides a very small marginal improvement (maybe 5%?).

Bring on the real thing now GM. Get your place in automotive history back.

Money wasted on this shilling by Toyota is money not available for real 200+ mpg plugin serial hybrids like the volt concept.

A GM move would also force Toyota, Honda, and the rest to play catch up and issue their own plugins.

Imagine the commercials! 200+ mpg average mileage with your new, improved ...(fill in the blank, please some automakwer, somewhere?).

JD

"amazingdrx", your post makes little sense, and has a very bitter tone. "Really a shame", "shilling"? What does this even mean? How does "money wasted" by Toyota translate to a lack of money for _another company's_ concept vehicle?

I really question your motives to believe that anyone besides Toyota or Honda will deliver the first plugin-hybrid vehicle. Chevrolet has had a few articles about a car they might product sometime in the future, and they've used every opportunity to plug (no pun intended) a fuel-cell option. The unfortunate truth (as I see it) is that the federal government gave US auto companies huge subsidies to produce hybrid vehicles, in the 1990s, and when they were soundly beaten to the market by both Honda and Toyota, the fed moved the goal line and converted the research money to fuel cells--it was the hubris of "not invented here" syndrome on a national scale! US auto companies are addicted to federal subsidies, so I think it's pure fantasy to imagine that anything without a fuel cell (and the timelines and infrastructure issues which accompany the technology) will ever get into consumers hands from Detroit--esp. if the Toyota/Honda beat them to THAT goal as well, and the line needs to be moved by the fed again.

Your bitter tone makes it sound as if you're ego is really wrapped up in all of this. I'm a hybrid early-adopter. I bought a Prius in 2001 that has >100k miles on it, and has 52mpg after 450 miles on the current tank. I'm very happy with the mileage, the SULEV emissions rating, and the quality of the car. When this car dies, I plan to buy a plugin hybrid or pure EV--if one is available--but I certainly won't waste any time regretting my Prius purchase or wondering how the money could have been better spent.

Auto companies are for-profit enterprises that bring to market what consumers will actually buy at the time. It has taken people a looooong time to come around just to hybrids (e.g., Toyota sold 1/2 as many Prius in the US during the entire 2001 model year as they did in a single month this year), so I expect that plug-in vehicles will trickle onto the market at the same slow pace. If this bothers you so much, buy a Tesla or build your own EV!

greg woulf

I didn't think Amazing sounded bitter, I thought he sounded like he knew what he was talking about.

This is a very marginal improvement in mileage, and a large waste of battery material. If they had produced the car with PHEV, like those available after conversion kits from a 3rd party vendor, then we'd be seeing a much larger improvement.

Wanting the Volt to be successful isn't the same as asking for a subsidy for U.S. auto, it's pointing toward the technology that makes the most sense.

It doesn't make sense to have hybrid cars that burn gasoline primarily and electric as a booster.

JD

Greg, just to explain where I'm coming from, I'm looking forward to PHEVs just as much as the next EV enthusiast, and the way I've shown my support for anything with batteries was to buy the only commercially available hybrid that had more than two seats back in '01. I even had the parking spot at my condo wired with its own 220v electrical service in anticipation of driving an PHEV 3 years ago when they built the structure (this was foolishly hopeful, in hindsight).

As a fan of all things EV, I just don't get your point of view, so please help me understand the "large waste" you see. Taking again the Prius for example, Toyota would seem to have anticipated your complaints by reducing the size of the battery pack in each of its 3 incarnations, while simultaneously increasing the power output and the efficiency of their entire hybrid system (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toyota_Prius#Versions). The end result is that the 2004+ models have have reduced the weight of the battery by 25% over the original design. Isn't this the right direction for them to be going? They've obviously put most of the efficiency improvements in the ICE, as overall efficiency of their latest system increased by ~15%, despite the battery reduction.

As far as "3rd parties" are concerned, Greg, I can't find a single one who will actually sell me something today, but CalCars has a kit planned that costs $12k and lets you run electric for ~30mi @ <35mph in ideal weather conditions. It costs $10-12k, but they claim it would only cost Toyota $2-5000 to add this technology themselves to each hybrid, but they've never shown the R&D numbers to prove their case. Their proof-of-concept only went 10-12mi electric by adding an additional 135kg of lead-acid batteries. They've been working on it for years now, and they still don't have a marketable product. I'm starting to think it's not as easy as they initially made it sound--again, not because I'm a PHEV hater, but because it just seems obvious that good batteries cost a lot of money right now!

The only production EV to compare to current hybrids is the Tesla Roadster, which has >6000 AA-sized LiIon cells that weigh >450kg. This is an unfair comparison of course, because the Tesla is a performance demon, but it's the only EV that has any sort of tolerable range (~150mi on a charge), even if it does cost $100k. I've read estimates that as high as 50% of their production costs are the batteries alone, and we're not even talking about the next-gen batteries from A123 or Altair that can last 10s of 1000s of cycles.

My point is, I don't understand why people whine on various forums (not just this one) about Hybrids being wrong or stupid when it seems obvious that these are the only vehicles doing anything remotely affordable in the direction all the haters claim to want to go.

Maybe I'm wasting my time, but I see you guys reply here a lot and I thought you were more than just armchair enthusiasts (like me). The future of the PHEV (let alone pure-EV) just doesn't look as obvious simple to me as you guys make it out to be. Good batteries and battery management systems are complicated and expensive. I don't see consumer enthusiasm for current hybrid models holding that back, I see it DRIVING the market for better tech. Do you think that A123 et al.'s investment capital is based solely on the promise of the handheld powertool market? Not even close--the reason they're getting $10mil at a shot to ramp up design and production is because investors want to provide the next battery pack for the ~50k hybrids/month being sold around the world. Of course everyone wants to see that success carry over to PHEVs, but it's going to be evolutionary, barring some pretty amazing cost breakthroughs.

greg woulf

I understand that you bought a Prius and you're proud to be doing your part. I have no animosity toward you or other Prius drivers.

To see why I'm disapointed that people don't demand plug in hybrids isn't hard. It's the difference between 10 mpg and 100 mpg. That's the impact plug ins would have and the extra cost would be small if it was done at the manufacturer.

I don't think the Prius does a thing for the environment, and I don't think it's the smart way to go. I don't hate others for buying a Prius.

That I'm disapointed that car manufacturers aren't moving faster is true, why that would inflame you I'm not sure.

I think the Volt is the way to go, for me it's not about it being an American company, it's about someone doing something the right way. If anything, I carried resentment toward GM after the EV-1. That's not going to stop me from buying a GM if it's the best car out there.

greg woulf

I understand that you bought a Prius and you're proud to be doing your part. I have no animosity toward you or other Prius drivers.

To see why I'm disapointed that people don't demand plug in hybrids isn't hard. It's the difference between 10 mpg and 100 mpg. That's the impact plug ins would have and the extra cost would be small if it was done at the manufacturer.

I don't think the Prius does a thing for the environment, and I don't think it's the smart way to go. I don't hate others for buying a Prius.

That I'm disapointed that car manufacturers aren't moving faster is true, why that would inflame you I'm not sure.

I think the Volt is the way to go, for me it's not about it being an American company, it's about someone doing something the right way. If anything, I carried resentment toward GM after the EV-1. That's not going to stop me from buying a GM if it's the best car out there.

Nathan

We would get far larger reductions in gasoline consumption by driving more conservatively and designing roads more efficiently. In the case of the Prius you actually have lower mpg on the highway compared to the same car stripped of the hybrid components. I think that's the heart of what some of us are getting at. Parallel non-plug in Hybrids are just an expensive toy to normalizes our horrid driving habits.

JD

I've got news for you, parallel hybrids do NOTHING to "normalize our horrid driving habits". It's a struggle to get 52mpg in my older-model Prius--it requires very careful driving under many different conditions. My brother put 1000 miles on my car while I was out of the country last year, and the computer told me he averaged 35mpg! That was the same mileage I got out of my old 94 Elantra and I drove it very hard. Why was his mileage so bad? He told me he just drove it the same way he drove his Mustang--he said he probably drove it even harder because the acceleration was so bad in comparison. There are many tales of people who turned in their sporty V6 car and got a Prius or Hybrid civic, only to find they can't get better than 40mpg. Hybrids (at least the ones available now) are very capable of crappy mileage if you aren't willing to change your driving style.

Dave

Lacking regulation, it is consumer spending that shapes the market. Consumers 'demand' by buying something that comes closest to what they want at a price they can afford. When people spend money on a Prius it sends a market signal and when sales soar like this it makes for a very powerful market signal indeed. Prius sales have lit the fire under all the car companies, Toyota included.

It is up to each of us to decide how best to spend our own money, and then to decide if that money was 'wasted' or not. I imagine most Prius owners are very happy with their purchase and I applaud and appreciate their spending the extra money to drive these technologies forward. (I'm sure many Hummer owners are pleased with their purchase but I won't be extending the same feelings to them). And I'm glad they are being rewarded for their foresight with the current high gas prices.

Of course everybody wishes their car got 100 MPG. Or that it was a plug in with a 300 mile range and could be recharged off of solar panels. But wishing doesn't make it so and that car DOESN'T exist! And probably won't in the $20,000-$30,000 price bracket for a long long time. So if you've bought a car in the last few years what better environmental consumer signal could you have sent than to have bought a Prius?

Arguing that hybrids are imperfect or the wrong technology is missing the point that they are now a proven technology at an affordable price. And remember that it's not all about the MPG when you talk about the Prius. Lower emissions were the number one priority in developing the Prius and so you need to consider how much less crap is being pumped into the air with each mile driven in a Prius. So saying "I don't think the Prius does a thing for the environment." is just silly.

For example, consider how air quality in NYC will improve as the taxi fleet is converted over. Obviously, it would be even better if they were all plug ins, but that is not a current option.

And last but not least there's some other revolutionary technology in them like the planetary drive system (pun intended) and the coolant thermos.

So applaud Prius owners, spend your own money wisely, lobby your congressman for plug ins or fuel cells or whatever floats your boat, write your car companies, and if you dare, argue with a Hummer/SUV owner :-).

Dandy

I want my MPG...

GasDandy is an easy-to-use tool that tracks a vehicle’s mileage and maintenance information, providing data that can be used for both business and personal purposes. By making these figures readily available, the program also gives the consumer the opportunity to save money and to proactively identify problems that can shorten the life of their vehicle(s). Download a free trial version of GasDandy today at https://www.gasdandy.com

heavy machine manufacturer

Of course everybody wishes their car got 100 MPG.

Keith

The comments to this entry are closed.

. .




Batteries/Hybrid Vehicles