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September 14, 2007



Heh, well last I checked, HCCI engines are ICE's


GreyFlcn: Yes HCCI is ICE. I think it is a very interesting variant of ICE. HCCI in one sense is the simplest ICE engine. Mix fuel&air at low temperature,
compress adiabatically until it ignites, extract energy from the expansion.

Now for the other two types of ICE:
Spark ignition, like above, but the compression is insufficient to initiate combustion a spark is required for that. Advantage: air&fuel can be well mixed so pollution is relatively low. Disadvantage: low compression ratio limits efficiency.

Diesel: Compress air to above ignition temperature, then inject the fuel. Advantage: high compression ratio means high efficiency. Disadvantage, fuel-air has no time to mix (become homogeneous) so some parts of the flame are too rich (too much oxygen), and some parts have too little oxygen. This is what makes diesel engines so difficult to make low emission.

HCCI promises to be both efficient, and low emission. The difficulty is that you need just the right
combination of fuel, air, temperature, compression ratio, and RPMs so that ignition starts near maximum compression. Getting this to work under variable operating conditions is the high tech challenge.

Although I see nothing in the article that says they are doing HCCI.

The claimed milage is not bad, about what I get from my Prius. But if my commute contained high speed highway, my milage would be much lower than this.

A good part of the energy dissipation in automobiles is in the transmission, and especially the motion of the engine which costs you even when you use only a small fraction of the power. The main gain from a hybrid is the fact that the engine need not run all the time. This vehicle attempts to reduce the losses in the transmission. Ideally we would combine both. Product risk is usually controlled by only taking a single technology step at a time. If the stuff works well, expect it to be incorporated into future hybrids as well.


There are three issues to address in the new vehicle paradigm: Dependence on oil; global warming emissions; and pollutants that foul our air, water, and land--poisoning us and our food supply. Does anyone really believe that the mercury emitted by the coal burning industries are only finding their way into the fish we eat?

Although I applaud the reduction of greenhouse gases to near zero, this is only one of the three and it is too little to late. Had this kind of engineering been pursued two decades ago I believe we would be in a different place. I find the failure of the auto industry to act responsibly with respect to increasing this nation's dependence on oil and increasing the amount of greenhouse gases emitted per mile to be the black cloud which has a silver lining. That silver lining is that partial solutions will simply not be effective enough to resolve the three issues above. Only battery powered electric vehicles make any sense with the current state of technology and the criteria by which every solution must be weighed in terms of success.

This year the arctic ice pack was 20% less than the smallest ice pack on record in 2005. This newest record is a harbinger of an arctic without summer ice as early as 2030. What do you think will happen when the world's northern winds blow over the iceless arctic during the hottest months in the northern hemisphere. There will be no cooling effect, the summer heat will overwhelm the northern hemisphere and tax the southern hemisphere's winter effects making them more mild. This will accelerate ice loss in the south.

We are in for very rough half century! The world's climate will never be the same.

Battery electric cars are doable today if not for the billions spent by the oil and auto industries to keep such innovation suppressed. Battery electric vehicles eliminate oil refineries saving huge amounts of electricity and green house gas emissions by both the refinery's processes and that of coal powered electic generation plants.

Battery electric vehicles can almost eliminate asbestos emissions from the wearing of brake pads through their regenerative braking.

Battery electric vehicles can supply standby power to the electric grid during the day when peak usage spikes occur, while still insuring that you will have plenty of power to make the commute home and do your evening errands.

Battery electric vehicles charged through renewable energy sources like solar panels, micro-hydro generation, and wind, create no ambient heating like the so called solar heater technologies that heat structures to boil water to produce steam, to turn a turbine. Too inefficient. Production of power at the site of use is the most efficient approach and is the best for the environment.


garryh: I understand your anger at the auto industry. I try to be a little more charitable (my paycheck does indirectly depend upon them). They are largely responding to the fiduciary duty to their shareholders, which emphasises near-term profits. They make much greater profits selling luxury muscle-cars and SUVs, then they do selling the few efficient econ-vehicles that they make. We should not be surprised at the attitude they take, it is a predictable result of our capitalist system of business. We can either choose an appropriate regulatory and tax environment to modify these attitudes, or pay the consequences.

I don't think the electric vehicles made sense, or do for the foreseable future. It is only now that hybrids make sense, and even here the short-term economic case isn't very strong. Of course we would be further along if priorities had been different, but I doubt specific technological advances can be advanced very much beyond what would develop without government programs. So many of them depend upon the state of general level of technologies, such as electronics, computer design, materials engineering etc. that the ability to bring them to life early is limited.
The real unknown from the standpoint of the automobile executive, is will the public buy the greener technologies? It is up to us, the consumers to vote by our purchasing preferences. A few years from now you will be presented with a choice: you will be able to purchase a Volvo-Recharge, or a 300HP supercar for the same price. You will have to decide to do the responsible thing, or cater to your fantasies?

This doesn't mean I don't support vigorous tax incentives, and research funding for the sorts of things you champion. I do. I just think that such actions can only advance the needed technologies by a few years.

PV technologies will create significant local heating. If a PV panel absorbs 100% of the sunlight (i.e. is jet black), and is 15% efficient, the other 85% is heat. Low efficiency solar will likely contribute to the urban heat island. But not nearly as much as we are currently doing by paving streets and parking lots with black asphalt, or using dark colored roofing etc. Solar thermal will also produce local heating, if the total amount of sunlight absorbed is greater than that of the surface it replaces (I'm assuming the energy from the generated electricity is heat as well). But these efects are small on a global scale, so should only be considered for their local effects.

Kit P

bigTom, you sound knowledgeable about automatize issues so your Pious (not a spelling error but I must give credit to a friend for the more appropriate name) trumps the clueless BEV folks.

So tell me what was the basis for paying $6k more a hybrid.


Kit, I don't feel I paid $6K more. For $22ishK I got to pretty nice car, which includes side impact air bags (an important safety feature). I also think (but this has yet to be confirmed) that upkeep, vehicle lifetime, and resale value will be better. My families exposure to oil prices is reduced, which is useful. It relaced a Saturn 3door subcompact, which died prematurely due to a mechanical defect. The (retail price of that vehicle 99 $18 was about the same as the 2000 Prius $19). The current Prius is by a very large margin a better car than the Saturn was, larger, more comfortable, safer, much better hill climbing ability etc.

Now I'm not sure what the BEV is, so I can't adaquately answer that one. In any case if we are to transition to a post-oil economy, some individual choices which are not narrowly focused on self-interest need to be made.

Kit P

Thanks for the information but you are failing my test. I bought a 2007 Corolla and the Toyota dealer did not provide me any reasons for buying a hybrid. Before buying I rented a Corolla and checked reliability with consumers report and my mechanic.

Big tom's answer suggest that Pious is the right name for hybrids. You have some vague notion of how an automobile choice should be based on something other than self interest with justifying why a hybrid is a good choice other than it was better than your last bad choice.

BEV = battery electric vehicle

We are a long way from BEV being practical.


Kitp, we agree about the current and near term prospects for BEV. Except for specialized niches -probably including urban scooters, they don't seem practical.

I am happy with my choice of Prius. It is claimed that this vehicle has the highest percentage of "would buy it gain" responses to surveys. It is not for everyone. The guy next to me does engineering optimization professionally, we discussed the Prius, he was interested, but bought a cheaper Honda. He ran the numbers, and for his less than 5mile commute, it didn't make sense. I have a 27mile (each way commute), and slow speed 20mph backed up traffic is not uncommon. The Prius does great in that kind of driving.

Now Toyota is soon to come out with a plugin version. I believe this requires a second battery. A 6K premium (I have no knowledge of the actual price increment) but this doesn't seem unreasonable would not be cost-effective. Supposedly the charge buys you about 8miles. With two charges/day thats maybe .3gallon/day savings -so say 100gal/year. So with this sort of usage you would need gas to be >$6 gallon for it to pay. This might make sense in Europe, but not in the US. So unless your usage is lots of short trips, with recharge opportunities in between this likley won't be a popular choice here. The industries statements that battery technology isn't mature enough for plugins may well be true.

I was surprised by the vehicles acceleration. It would easily put my Tundra to shame. Toyota has done a really good job on this product.


If you would like to improve fuel economy while reducing emissions on your current vehicle, there is a new technology recently introduced in America called the "Blade" by Sabertec, LLC an Austin Texas based environmental technology company.

Laboratory test results demonstrate fuel saving of as much as 3 MPG (1.3 KMPL) (CTY) and 5 MPG (2.1 KMPL) (HWY). Laboratory results also show significant decreases in emissions of particulate material, hydrocarbons (HC), carbon monoxide (CO), carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and methane (CH4)—all greenhouse gases and/or air pollutants.

The Blade has also been tested for fuel economy and durability. Endurance road tests conducted in the United States, Europe and Brazil have shown up to 34% increases in overall fuel savings, while causing no adverse effects to test vehicles after 35,000 miles.

The Blade’s laboratory fuel economy and emission testing were conducted by Lactec Laboratories in Curitiba, Brazil, and Automotive Testing and Development Services, Inc. (ATDS), a California based independent testing laboratory which is accepted by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and is licensed by the California Air Resources Board (CARB).

At ATDS the Blade was tested on a 2004 Honda Civic using the EPA 511 Testing Protocol, which is a combination of the EPA’s FTP–75, and Highway Fuel Economy Tests. EPA 511 includes the measurement of three baselines and three tests. The EPA 511 is considered statistically valid.


For more information on the "Blade" in the above post go to www.bladeyourride.com

Ivo Beutler

Cars like this are an investment in more ways than one. Fuel efficiency (better miles-per-gallon), lowered CO2 emission, and compact size are just some of the many selling points of this car. In essence, cars that are designed like this will have a lot of positive effects. How's lesser traffic congestion for a start?

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