19th January 2006 - 05:23 PM
I don"t understand why the author made the cynical reference to US automakers building hybrids only to sell more gas guzzlers. All automakers have to play by CAFE, not just US automakers, and all get their highest profit margins from larger trucks and SUVs. Does the Toyota RAV4, Toyota Tundra, or the Honda Ridgeline sound familiar? Ultimately, as you point out in the article, the buyers are to blame for the prevalence of gas guzzlers.
19th January 2006 - 05:42 PM
I remain surprised at the lack of appreciation among the public of the dangers of a vehicle carrying a large mass of (presumably!) lead-acid batteries.
What happens in a major collision? are occupants bathed in sulphuric acid? Are rescue personell in danger?
Will the behaviour of rescue personell (which already include being averse to enter any crashed car whose airbags have been deployed becaause of the toxicity of the chemicals that are part of the airbag system of most manufacturers) change?
(Source: various discussins with ambulance/EMT/rescue workers )
BTW, its been reported to me that the Mercedes-Benz's airbags do not use very toxic materials, and this might be reason enough for a very 'safety-conscious' buyer to choose that brand vehicle!
19th January 2006 - 05:56 PM
Jon, the hybrids don't use Lead-acid batteries for the hybrid part of the car. A Honda civic has a regular smallish lead-acid battery to start the gas motor. Between the rear seats and the trunk lies a large Lithium Ion battery to run the electric motor.
19th January 2006 - 06:27 PM
What a boring short sighted regurgitation of all the same old industry lines. Absolutely nothing new! Come on if your going to write for PhysOrg at least do some research. Not one mention of clean diesel technology! Completely missed Biodiesel! Both of these technologies are here today and could save far more oil than having a hybrid in every garage.
Hybrids are only 10-15% more efficient than a non-hybrid car with the same engine. Diesel engines are 35-40% more efficient with a reduction in complexity, no spark plugs. Diesels also have much better power output characteristics for trucks SUVs and vans. It is truly a crime that small displacement diesels are not in all light trucks and SUVs.
Biodiesel can be a direct replacement for diesel fuel and it reduces emissions. It can be made from a wide variety of domestically produced sources like soy and algae. Please look at this article explains how the US could replace all oil used for motor fuel with Biodiesel.http://www.unh.edu/p2/biodiesel/article_alge.html
Please donít buy the corporate hype. Demand Biodiesel!! Itís here today and for the future, donít be fooled buy the hydrogen myth! It is a carrot on a stick to keep you burning oil and supporting the oil companies.
19th January 2006 - 08:28 PM
And, pilotmadrat, your's is also the same old boring, short-sighted regurgitation of the nay-sayers.
I've said it a million times elsewhere, if a gas/electric hybrid is "only 10-15% more efficient" (I'll argue that point later) and a diesel (or biodiesel) is 35-40% more efficient. Then a diesel (or biodiesel)/electric hybrid would, therefore, be more efficient than either a straight diesel (or biodiesel) or a gas/electric hybrid.
As to your point of "only 10-15% more efficient," let's see, my old 4-cyl Chevy S10 pickup averaged a respectable 27 mpg, my '04 Prius averages around 47 mpg (when taking into account winter/spring/summer/fall driving): that comes out an improvement of around 70-75% over my S10's average performance for my situation.
Now, let's also consider that my '04 Prius has a CD player, power windows (for all FOUR windows), 12 presets for FM and 6 for AM, Vehicle Stability Control, automatic climate control, ELECTRIC air conditioning (which means using the A/C doesn't drain my POWER when I'm driving uphill - more on that later), side air bags, room for 4 (5 according to Toyota's reckoning), folding rear and passenger seats (and the driver's seat folds down too, presumably for taking a nap when you are NOT driving), absolutley zero, nadda, no emissions coming out the tail pipe while sitting at a read light, and plenty of pep or "get-up-and-go".
I can't say my old S10 had any of those things, except for the 4 presets for the stereo and it did have 2 windows, though they were not powered and it had regular A/C.
Now, for you nit-pickers, yes, I know that the electric A/C will drain energy, my point is that I don't notice my car slogging along because of the A/C. That is, when the compressor kicked in on every other car I've owned or driven, the POWER dropped because of the mechanical nature of the A/C. A Prius, on the other hand, does not struggle because of the A/c being turned on. Of course, you will notice the battery draining faster and it could drain if you're speeding up a looong hill, but for 99% of my driving that doesn't happen ... and I live in Denver just East of the foothills. So, yes, the ENERGY will drain just the same (translating into lower mpg, as with every other vehicle in existence) but you won't notice a POWER drop. Of course, no other car out there will constantly recharge that extra A/C energy drain like a hybrid, which is why electric A/C is so nice in a hybrid.
I will agree that a decision to buy a hybrid strictly on economic factors is a tough sell, though I got around $3000 back in tax incentives, which means I paid just over $17,000 for my '04 Prius. I can also say I fit into my Prius fairly comfortably. I never did like my friend's Civic or VW Jetta (diesel), they were way too small for me.
And finally, given the standard features in a Prius, I think it is fairer to compare a Prius to a Camry or an Accord, and not to the Corolla or Civic.
19th January 2006 - 09:13 PM
The only people who really buy American cars are either doing it cuz they feel it is a national duty or cuz they hate imported cars. Nobody in their right mind would buy an American car, when cheap Japanese cars are there for the low class families, and good German cars are there for the upper class. Even the hybrids (like Ford) would still be a problem cuz the cars dont seem to offer much more than just a change of style.
Jean Pierre Sarti
19th January 2006 - 09:15 PM
I have to agree with DK, where are the diesel electrics? Seems like you can have your cake and eat it too....until someone invents a real Mr. Fusion a la Back to the Future.
Also, the author of this article needs to go back to school and learn how to do a properly researched article. It read to me like the dumbed down crap that belongs in USAToday not Physorg.
19th January 2006 - 09:43 PM
The only people who really buy American cars are either doing it cuz they feel it is a national duty or cuz they hate imported cars. Nobody in their right mind would buy an American car, when cheap Japanese cars are there for the low class families, and good German cars are there for the upper class.
Nice little generalization there, Drude. Many people [in the U.S.] buy American cars because many are FAR EASIER TO WORK ON THAN FOREIGN CARS and generally [not all, though, such as Buick] have cheaper maintenance. Chevrolet, Dodge and Ford spring immediately to mind, although the latter tend to break down more often and in worse ways than the former two, according to polls. Still, and remaining specific to the U.S., American cars are much more inexpensive to have maintenance work done by professionals anywhere, compared to foreign cars that require specialization in a particular make.
19th January 2006 - 10:02 PM
I would submit to the discussion that U.S. automakers deserve a haranguing, though not for the reasons posited in the article. Instead, let's look at a clear and obvious fact that even the most vehicular-ignorant (to coin a term) can observe: almost all American hybrids [I would guess 90% or better] are HIDEOUSLY UGLY sights to behold. Sports cars as a rule look sleek and drive hard and fast, not to mention have a "cool" or status factor if you will; all desirable and attractive selling points. It is my suspicion that automakers purposely design blocky, "boring" and just plain aesthetically ugly body styles for the cars with the supposedly best fuel economy and "logically good" traits. They know what sells and what doesn't, and they know what they will make more money off of in the short and long term. What guy will pick up chicks driving a cube on wheels? (See: Honda Elephant--I mean, Element) or a lumpy car for that matter (Prius, Insight). Automakers are just now coming to realize that looks matter I suppose, with their new hybrid Escape, Accord, and pickups, but from my understanding they aren't exactly the top tier of fuel economy (not sure about the Accord) compared to the really ugly ones.
If manufacturers wanted to REALLY sell hybrids like icecream in the summer, they'd give them body styles reminiscent of Vipers, Corvettes, Mustangs, etc. But will they?
Last I heard, GM's "skateboard" chassis hydrogen fuel cell car was supposed to have the feature of interchangeable frames/bodies, but they also said they wouldn't be ready for mass production at affordable cost until something like 2010.
19th January 2006 - 10:59 PM
On the safety concern with batteries that one poster mentioned: Yes, EMTs and other emergency personnel are concerned about the batteries, but not because of exposure to chemicals for the most part. These are not 12V batteries, and are not lead acid. The Toyota Prius uses NiMH (Nickel Metal Hydride) battery packs at a very high voltage. They are the same batteries used in a lot of laptop computers (a lot of high end laptops now use LiON (Lithium Ion or Lithium Polymer). So the real concern for the emergency personnel is that they will cut into a live high power line when they are extracting you from the vehicle or that a cut line will ignite spilled fuel. Fortunately most are getting training on where those lines run in the few hybrid models out there today. The batteries are not as likely to rupture as a lead acid battery, nor are they as dangerous if they do. BTW, all cars carry at least one lead acid battery in them.
19th January 2006 - 11:05 PM
Simon sez: I agree a lot of cars out there are ugly, and that automakers (especially US automakers) tend to make small cars "cheap" (not just inexpensive), but I would also point out that the Toyota Prius is sold at a loss. That's why there is a waiting list for them.
19th January 2006 - 11:36 PM
What a boring regurgitation of stuff yourself.
Standard diesel, of which there are lots in Europe, has had lots of bad press due to large emissions of sub-micron particulates (at least in older diesels) which are getting more and more linked to lung disease. I wouldn't consider buying a diesel unless I was sure that the problem had indeed been solved, by an independent study, not just the manufacturer's marketing.
Bio-diesel? Where do you get the stuff from? If it is anything like the "green ethanol" idea, it's not like growing corn to make into ethanol is an energy-free proposition. One study found the ethanol cycle to be energy positive (i.e. less energy going into ethanol manufacture than what results from it). The other "remembered" to include things like fertilizers and the cycle went negative. Not negative, $-wise, for the farmers though!
If you are talking about reclaiming Mc Donald's frying oil to make bio-diesel, that's a much better start, but despite the golden arches' best efforts, there will likely not be enough to meet more than a fraction of the demand.
I will fault the original poster for mentioning CAFE though. Those happy little gas hogs such as SUVs and pickups are mostly exempt from CAFE, txs to powerful lobbying of the big 3. Too bad they can't lobby oil barrels back to $15 ;-)
Txs a lot for the original article. Very balanced from what I can tell. I would get a Prius myself for my next car, but I think of it more as priming the demand pump for low consumption vehicles than as a money/environment saver. i.e. let the manufacturers make some $, then they will respond to the demand. Well, except for GM, Ford and Chrysler, that is - all they know are pickups.
At the end of the day, as the original article points out, getting a small engined car and driving it less is probably best. If you want to be green-minded, please remember to consider all the life-cycle aspects of things. For example, electric vehicles are only as green as the generation process for their electricity.
20th January 2006 - 01:50 AM
There are diesel hybrids, they get over 70 MPG. At present the lack of interest in diesels in general has prevented them from being made commercially produced yet. The real question is how can we have more efficient cars and trucks that we can all afford. If Diesel gives 35-40% with out the extra complexity of a hybrid system why add it? Sure you could get a little more mileage but is it worth it? The diesel engine is also a little more expensive than a gas one. If you add hybrid costs too it is really getting pricy, but could be a great choice for higher end cars.
As an owner of a hybrid I don't think you have an unbiased outlook. Regardless the comparison you make is totally apples and oranges. An S10 to a Prius is a joke. First off, the S10 has terrible aerodynamics. Second the Prius is much lighter and has a much smaller gas motor. If you want to make a comparison you would need a Prius with out any of the hybrid parts. In that real comparison you would find only a 10-15% difference. The totally difference in efficiency from your S10 is very large, but thatís not what Iím taking about.
You say it makes no exhaust when you are stopped, that is true but that is only a temporal displacement. Gas was burned to charge the battery you are running and that exhaust was emitted, just some other time. Sure there is a tiny savings, but modern engines burn very little fuel at idle. On the other side when you are on the freeway the hybrid actually costs you more! All the batteries motor and other extra equipment just adds weight to the car. That extra weight costs you gas to pull it around. Its probably a wash at best and a net loss if you do mostly freeway driving.
Please tell me who or what I am regurgitating from? I have researched both Biodiesel and diesel engine technology in detail. Biodiesel, unlike ethanol is energy positive. Here is one article on energy balance for biofuels.http://www.eesi.org/programs/agriculture/E...ce%20update.htm
The beauty is there are many possible sources; waste oil is only one source. If you read the article you will see that biodiesel produces 3.2 units of energy for each unit added. Biodiesel also provides a reduction in emissions compared to pertodiesel. From your comments I see you have not read the article I posted a link to, Please read it. It has a lot of good information from a PhD Physicist.
I do my own research and come to my own conclusions. If you actually have something constructive to add please do.
Bottom line, gas hybrid is still a stopgap to keep you burning oil. Donít be fooled by the hydrogen dream. There is no currently feasible plan to use hydrogen. Please read the section on hydrogen in this article.http://www.unh.edu/p2/biodiesel/article_alge.html
20th January 2006 - 06:01 AM
pilotmadrat: Even the Europeans have recently come 'round to the conclusion that hybrid technology is better than diesel. For many years they've scoffed at hybrids in favour of direct diesel but are discovering several "issues", such as any diesel will also become 25% more efficient (in stop-and-go esp) with a well-designed hybrid drivline. Hybrid's contribution has little to do with what type of engine (except offering equal performance with much smaller engines), everything to do with the transmission.
Article errs in taking swipe at published MPG of hybrids yet accepting published MPG of conventional drivetrains as accurate. Face it, ALL published MPG ratings are inflated, and are only useful as comparative numbers, not absolute. It's idiotic to be complaining "my hybrid doesn't actually achieve published MPG", as is being put about now, without also mentioning that "neither will your conventional drive vehicle either". Tests are still decent comparisons even if done with brand new, perfectly tuned vehicles under controlled conditions with expert drivers. So what? (Note also that by inflating all MPG ratings equally, detroit or washington can make annual savings for a given number of miles work out less and make hybrids seem less economiclly viable.)
Danger of batteries in a crash is ridiculous. As poster pointed out, technical and training issue. First, batteries not lead-acid, and modern lead-acid batteries use gelled electrolyte. Second, most or all systems include crash disconnect relays at battery terminals. Third, if all vehicles now were battery drive and someone suggested installing a 25 gallon petroleum fuel tank the debate would be identical or worse.
Article fails to highlight hybrid advantage of offering significantly better performance at low speed than conventional drivetrains with much larger engines due to low-speed performance of electric motors (much better torque curve) and capacity of electric motors for short-term overload, eg. a 30 hp electric motor can easily be pushed to put out torque equivalent to a 150 hp engine for a ten-second acceleration interval.
Whole industry is missing the boat by not providing to "plug in" the hybrids. A given amount of energy is a LOT cheaper (and less polluting) to obtain from your local electric utility at night than from the shaft of a gasoline or diesel engine (else why not replacee your electric meter with a gasoline generator? Fuel costs is why not.) Even the small battteries in current hybrids could cover entire commute of most people for about 1/4 the energy cost and 1/8 the pollution of gasoline. Smart chargers, Time-of-Use electric meters, hybrid drivetrains that stop running the engine and drain the battery when you're within a couple of miles of your home.
I thought this was a science forum.
20th January 2006 - 06:32 AM
re. why am I accusing you of regurgitation?
Well, basically I was ticked off that you basically trashed the original poster's article. Just quoting you, in fact : " What a boring short sighted regurgitation of all the same old industry lines".
When you have something as well structured and researched as this article, why not just post it, instead of attacking because he didn't address your favorite technology? Basically, you were rude to the original poster and now you are annoyed that I did not treat you with respect??? I am shocked, shocked.
The title says "Hybrid Cars - pros and cons". Not bio-diesels, not clean diesels, not anything but hybrids vs. normal cars. I think he did a good job of resuming the pros and cons of hybrids - reminding people that they are good, but cost a lot to run. And that they are not _radically_ different from using a very efficient regular car. Perhaps even a diesel. A fair amount of reading up on Priuses, and talking to cab drivers that use them around here, leads me to the same basic conclusions, thank you. Dumping my 98 Civic will not save the planet, especially as car manufacturing is pretty energy intensive. When I _really_ want/need to change my car, a Prius will be a good bet, but it is by no means without drawbacks and it is not such a good bang for the buck if you are on a budget.
A number of folks have made some useful remarks about the article, even yourself, but alternative technologies don't change the fact that the basic economics of buying a "normal" hybrid now are somewhat complicated.
And, no, I did not read your linked article, basically because the tone of your initial reply did not lead me to believe that you are unbiased. So why read a biased article? I may very well be wrong, but that's life, my dear. I did read a number of articles suggesting that generalized biomass fuels are a red herring, as long as they rely on energy intensive agricultural inputs. I suspect that the truth lies somewhere between the two extremes. I also figure that the farming lobby has a pretty large $ incentive to paint a rosy picture of biomass fuel.
Though Brazil's latitude supposedly does allow it to grow sugarcane, or use sugarcane processing leftovers, efficiently enough.
Anyway, sorry to have fueled up this little flame war ;-)
20th January 2006 - 09:22 AM
Also worth noting that HYDROGEN fuelled cars need to get their fuel from somewhere.
H2 will only be a 'miracle cure' if the energy for producing it comes from a renewable source such as wind or solar. H2 is best considered as an energy store like a 'battery' rather than as a 'fuel'.
(To produce H2 you need to put in at least as much energy as you get out)
20th January 2006 - 07:52 PM
I bought a used Prius this fall. I average 48-50 MPG in warm weather, and around 38-40 in cold weather. This car is an automatic - which I must buy due to my wife's arthritis. My other cars - '89 BMW 5 series, '97 Honda CR-V, '00 Dodge Gr.Caravan all average 20MPG or under with their automatics. I also have made a choice that I will be paying more to a Japanese Car company, instead of the oil companies that are gouging us, and the troubling regimes in many oil countries (Russia, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia and other middle east countries).
While these personal goals of mine are being satisfied, my not driving my other cars as I drive my Prius (and all the other owners drive theirs) will lead to lower demand for gasoline, which will help lower prices. As more of us save gas and other fuels, the cummulative efforts will reduce the prices, avoid polution, cut our foreign trade deficits, decrease the influence of the oil producers, lesson the need for military intervention, decrease the health effects of polution, create new jobs for Americans (if we don't wait for the rest of the world to create these jobs first), etc.
Note also that the company that makes the batteries, Ovionics, is also working on safe hydrogen storage for vehicles, and has already converted a Prius to run on H2/electric hybrid! Another company has announced a solar add-on for recharging the Prius without the engine turning back on, that can increase its mileage further.
I am also working to convert the world off fossil fuels, because I support the clean energy revolution! See the site www.Krystal-Planet.com/anasell
to find out more about this and other energy saving products and services. We are leading a grass roots effort to force the country to clean power, in a way that is market driven and does not require government assistance! At the same time, we are going to shift wealth away from the companies that are doing nothing to improve the environment! That includes the US automakers that do not want to change to adapt to a market that will accept new technologies - that work! Krystal Planet is also offering a chance for individuals to set up a business that helps this process along - the start of the process of job shifts in the post-fossil fuel age.
Only a fool buys a car with a new engine from an American company - but I would buy a new Honda engine without hesitation. The Japanese companies are leading in the low emmissions race - the American companies seem to be "also-rans". The American companies are only crying about their union contracts and benefits - not about their lack of leadership in improving cars. The managers do not want to take responsibility - but we consumers are fully aware! The Japanese led the hybrid development. The Prius is a high quality midsize car, even if it did not have the hybrid engines. Its price is not out of range for its quality, especially when compared to the SUVs and Crossover vehicles many people buy now. I would expect that there is more life in this 2003 Prius, than in a Ford or Chevy of the same age/mileage.
21st January 2006 - 03:41 AM
Well, hybrid car are good concept , however the way how the car company so fare approach them have not much of a sens.
- as somebody before me point out here , why they not used diesel engine in the hybrid car?
-why do you need so big batteries in the hybrid car? The main reason to use hybrid configuration is to eliminate component from the drive train that are inefficient and get the power produced by the engine as efficient as possible to the wheel of the car. So remove the transmission, and the differential and you will got 10 to 30% improvement in efficiency or power.
- You need direct drive electric motors (in wheel) to eliminate the transmission and differential. See the Mitsubishi Lancer development.http://www.japanesecarfans.com/news.cfm/ne...tsubishi/1.html
The claim that the electric motor is not sufficiently powerful is ridiculous, the Lancer have 50KW per wheel , you can drive with that 50 ton truck on that.
Check check bellow the e-track bus, they build like 10 ton bus with 50kw diesel engine and it run like a charm.http://www.e-traction.com/
What we need simple convention kit for the existing cars too. Such kit will consist of power generator (that already on the marker for many years) and in wheel motors like Mitsubishi develop, the battery pack do no have to so big because the goal is not to store energy for 100 miles just to store improve start of the car in the city traffic.
I see on the net some conversion kit that used instead of battery high capacity capacitors, that might be also a solution.
21st January 2006 - 04:45 PM
The article reads: US car makers are well behind. In fact, during recent introduction of a new hybrid by GM Ė the Mercury Mariner, they admitted they had to license over 20 separate technologies from the Japanese.
I won't argue the point of the sentence, but Ford makes the Mercury Mariner, not GM.
22nd January 2006 - 03:21 AM
This article omits two motivating factors for current hybrid buyers: change and choice.
Consumers have been forced to settle for a limited selection of body styles, performance characteristics, etc. in automobiles for many years. They feel powerless that auto manufacturer offer them few choices about what an automobile should look like, how it should interface with the driver, and what should power it, among other things. Consumers have seen the effect that their buying power has had on the rapid advancements and choices in everything from electronics to frozen dinners and can't understand why things shouldn't be the same with autos.
Take electric cars, for example. A small minority of drivers would gladly pay the premium and endure the current range/refueling limitations to have an electric vehicle (EV). Where's the choice for these buyers?
Now some companies (Toyota, Honda) took a chance - a moderate risk, mind you - and threw a bone to those consumers. The hybrid choice is not exactly what these buyers may have wanted but it's something.
Consumers also feel that buying a hybrid will encourage the development of the electrical components and that they are thus contributing to a desirable change. So far it looks like they are being rewarded as some very interesting developments in battery technology have occurred during the last 12 months. These advancements were a product of billions of dollars of new research that was justified by the interest consumers have shown in making hybrid vehicle purchases. Whether these discoveries will lead to a true EV I can't say but it seems clear that they would not have happened at all had there not been manufacturers who were willing to give these consumers choices.
IMO that is why American auto manufacturers have been losing market share: they offer few real choices.
23rd January 2006 - 07:22 PM
From the Article:
In fact, during recent introduction of a new hybrid by GM Ė the Mercury Mariner, they admitted they had to license over 20 separate technologies from the Japanese. US car makers still specialize in SUVs and trucks Ė Ford has even introduced a hybrid version of its popular Escape SUV.
For the record: Ford Motor Corp owns Mercury which produces the Mariner - itself a rebadged version the the Escape. GM's offerings of Hybrid vehicles are still slim and only recently have expanded past the full size truck (itself a joke.)
Until CAFE becomes more stringent, automakers selling in the US will not increase their high mileage vehicle availability by any significant amount. Until more manufacturers do so, the technology will remain expensive and not as practical to the average consumer.
23rd January 2006 - 08:21 PM
On the slim offerings of hybrids by US automakers, and how the mpg of US cars won't improve until CAFE becomes more stringent....
That may be true. Don't blame the automakers for selling what people want to buy. The US automakers lost out big in the small economy car market back in the 70s and 80s and had to play a lot of catch-up, but Japanese car makers are well entrenched there. Meanwhile, GM, Ford, and Dodge all but own the truck and SUV market, which is very lucrative with high profit margins. Can you really blame them for focusing on maintaining market dominance where they have it?
On of the problems with hybrids is that people buying them now are people who would've bought a fuel efficient car in the first place. Most of the market out there would gradually drive up power demands if they were forced to buy hybrids. What I mean is that cars today are potentially more efficient than cars in the 80s and 90s, but on average are more powerful, so the efficiency gain is negated.
24th January 2006 - 07:00 PM
I love hybrid technology and I'm really happy that buyers are accepting them!
However, I don't own one.
I want to get off of imported oil (we import 60% now a days). This over dependance on imported oil warps our foreign policy all around the need to keep it flowing. It ends up sending my neighbors off to foreign lands to "stabilize" the area so that the oil will flow freely.
So...what do I drive?
A vehicle that runs on a renewable fuel that we can produce locally. In my case, it is a 2003 VW Golf TDI. In the summer time, I run 100% biodiesel. In the winter, I have to blend in some petroleum diesel to keep the fuel flowing. Overall, I've dropped my usage of petroleum by 75%. I used to drive a Honda Civic that got like 37 mpg. To drop that usage by 75%, I would have to get a hybrid with the equivalent of 148 mpg (to reduce the same amount of petroleum).
Not only is my usage of petroleum down by 75%, my adding CO2 to the atmosphere is down 75% too.
So... why do I say I love hybrids? Because, if every last acre of soy beans in the U.S. were used for biodiesel, we'd still only displace about 8% of the diesel fuel usage. In order for everyone to get off of oil, we are going to need Plug-In Hybrids where half of our miles can be driven on electricity. Of course, I want a Plug-In Hybrid diesel car running on biodiesel. :-)
See my web site at www.itsgood4.us
24th January 2006 - 07:18 PM
QUOTE (JLuc+Jan 19 2006, 11:36 PM)
Bio-diesel? Where do you get the stuff from? If it is anything like the "green ethanol" idea, it's not like growing corn to make into ethanol is an energy-free proposition. One study found the ethanol cycle to be energy positive (i.e. less energy going into ethanol manufacture than what results from it). The other "remembered" to include things like fertilizers and the cycle went negative. Not negative, $-wise, for the farmers though!
There are updated numbers on both ethanol and biodiesel that show a substantial energy gain from either.
See My Webpage
The very few studies that show ethanol is a negative energy balance include the energy to manufacture the farm equipment and the fuel for the workers at the ethanol plant to commute to and from work. The main anti-ethanol guy is Pimentel. His main beef is that corn farming depletes the soil. He just uses opposition to ethanol as his chosen vehicle to complain about it.
Soy biodiesel and corn ethanol are both only places to begin in replacing petroleum for liquid fuels. In the end, we will need way higher yielding biofuels like switchgrass or algae to produce anything like enough.
We should all hope that ethanol and biodiesel can
be made renewably, because someday the oil will be gone or so expensive that none of us will use it. Liquid fueled transportation works very well for us and we'd all better be hoping that it doesn't become a thing of the past.
Thomas the Gardener
24th January 2006 - 07:27 PM
Soybean: 40 to 50 US gal/acre (40 to 50 m³/km²) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biodiesel
Rapeseed: 110 to 145 US gal/acre (100 to 140 m³/km²)
Mustard: 140 US gal/acre (130 m³/km²)
Jatropha: 175 US gal/acre (160 m³/km²)
Palm oil: 650 US gal/acre (610 m³/km²) 
Algae: 10,000 to 20,000 US gal/acre (10,000 to 20,000 m³/km²)
Truly renewable fuel and we already have the technology. Who would be afraid of Genetically Modified Biodiesel? I don't imagine there would be many complaints. We could genetically engineer a crop that could generate biodiesel very efficiently.
People have been complaining about a Big 3 conspiracy to keep more efficient and environmentally friendly alternatives off the market for decades. I see this "conspiracy" as nothing more than laziness and complacency. They haven't been innovative. They haven't adapted. They try to use their size to dictate demand. It worked in the past, but the world is changing. For the better I might add. The more successful and diverse auto makers that are available the more the consumer wins.
25th January 2006 - 03:55 AM
My $0.02 worth -
My car, a 1994 Acura Integra, can run on methanol right now and could since I bought it in 1994. The only trouble, of course, is finding a place to buy methanol. I could not find it in upstate NY if my life depended on it.
From what I have seen, one administration in the US does a lot of research on alternative energy sources. Then the next administration comes along and throws all that away in favor of something else that won't be viable for decades. I've seen this a couple of times now, and I think it is truly a shame since it essentially wasted what must be millions of taxpayer dollars on viable alternatives. Thus, we still need Texas tea.
Back to the article - as to the cost of gas, I think this article is short-sighted. I'm paying about $10/tank more than I was last year at this time. Gas could easily skyrocket in the current atmosphere in the US. Those in Europe are paying far more than we are. By the time a hybrid has seen its useful life, it is entirely possible that gas will be so expensive as to make it worth buying one even at this time.
Also, as I have educated myself on the issues of buying a hybrid, the article told me nothing that I did not already know.
As far as the future goes, I think that further development of ultra capacitors has as much promise as anything else. If, through nano tech or some other means, the storage capacity of ultra capacitors could be brought up 1000 times the current capacities, then EVs would finally come into their own, and would not need batteries. Capacitors have none of the drawbacks of chemical batteries, and for all intents and purposes, could be recharged indefinitely.
Hydrogen, because it will take so much energy to produce, has little promise for a viable solution in the future - IMHO; but, because its politically correct right now, everyone follows chanting "baa, baa, baa" without really investigating the technology.
It is too bad electric cars were abandoned in the early 1900's. If they had not been, the technology may have progressed far beyond what we are seeing now. But, gas was cheaper and cheaper is better so gas won out over electric cars. Now, of course, there's little doubt that gas is a problem.
If you would like to see a slick looking hybrid, for the aesthetically minded poster, have a look at this - Toyota Alessandro Volta
25th January 2006 - 04:15 AM
One more thing - many of the hybrids out there are doing little to save gas. All the electric motor in those particular vehicles does is to add horsepower. Horsepower sells cars in the US. This is, of course, exclusive of the Insight, Prius, and the Escape. Of course, the article mentioned nothing about this.
If the brainpower that is being used to squeeze nearly 300hp out of a 2.0 liter engine like in the EVO were used to squeeze mileage out of the gas used, we would now have exceptionally fuel efficient cars, but again, horsepower sells. Why? I have no idea. I know someone who owns an EVO, but will never, never use all that extra horsepower.
So, as I see it, the automakers are partly to blame for feeding the frenzy. If they stopped concentrating on performance that will go unused except to sell the car and decided to put out more fuel efficient cars, people would buy them.
And one last rant. Carbon Fiber. The automakers complain that carbon fiber is too expensive to use in cars. Well, right now, maybe, but if it were widely used in the industry, the cost would come down. We would have safer cars, and, more importantly, lighter cars which would mean greater fuel efficiency. I read an article that claimed that SUVs could get 60mpg if they were constructed with extensive use of carbon fiber.
Every time an innovation comes along, the US car makers complain that it is going to cost more, like Chrysler did with air bags. Then, when they were mandated, Chrysler bragged about being the first ones with air bags installed in cars. Talk about speaking with forked-tongues!
25th January 2006 - 11:22 PM
Basically automakers won't do anything about anything until absolutely forced to, either by consumer demand or legislative fiat. They could if they chose to, as did the original Henry Ford, but don't. So will I shed a tear for the poor auto company being forced to close down in bancrupcy? Not.
20th February 2006 - 07:56 PM
QUOTE (lengould+Jan 25 2006, 11:22 PM)
Basically automakers won't do anything about anything until absolutely forced to, either by consumer demand or legislative fiat. ...
Lengould I agree with your statement, I would only change it to say "American Automakers won't do anything..."
I am not one to believe on Conspiracy Theories. But why are so many people interested in turning the rest of us away from Hybrid Car technology ??
At home we have a BMW 3 series and an Acura TL, I would only buy the same cars or a Prius or Honda Civic Hybrid. I would not consider a Camry, Corolla or a regular Civic. Why do they want me to compare the Prius with a Corolla ?
Why do I have to compare the Civic Hybrid with the cheapest Civic ?
Are the car manufacturers encouraging [or funding] all the negative press so people continue to buy SUVs and high powered vehicles ???
22nd February 2006 - 05:58 PM
I asked Mercury Marine to comment on the Ethanol issue and here is their reply.
"Virtually all marine engines are "open loop" controlled engines vs.
automotive which are all "closed loop" controlled. What this means is that
an automotive engine can compensate for changes in fuel formulation (within
reason), but marine engines can not. Due to the usage of E10 (10% Ethanol)
in some parts of the country, we have to calibrate our engines to run on
straight gasoline or E10. This necessitates compromises. When the engines
are run on E10, they are running leaner than they were designed to run.
This causes high combustion temperatures which significantly increases NOx
emissions. In addition, higher combustion temperatures cause increased
stress and wear on the engine and more rapid breakdown of lubricating oil.
Further, Ethanol attracts water, and obviously boats are sitting in water.
Water contamination in the fuel is a much greater problem with Ethanol. As
the percentage of Ethanol goes up, these problems, as well as engine wear,
increase. Ethanol can wash the lubricating oil off of the cylinder walls
in the engine, increasing engine wear. Also, Ethanol is corrosive, and can
damage fuel system components. We have seen cases, in areas that require
E10, where the actual amount of Ethanol in the fuel is actually 15 - 20%.
At these levels, engine damage is very likely.
A new issue has been reported recently by the Boatowners Association of the
United States (Boat/US). E10 fuels being used in the Northeast States are
causing fiberglass fuel tanks in some older boats to disintegrate. The E10
fuel is dissolving the fiberglass resins and creating a black sludge-like
material that has damaged or destroyed several boat engines. After a
period of time the tanks start to leak into the bilge of the boat. This
creates a risk of fire or explosion, plus it is very costly to replace a
fuel tank in a boat."
Ethanol also uses an enormus amount to natural gas to make, huge amounts of groundwater, and the methods we use to make ethanol are very polutive. Using ethanol's WWII technology to try to ease our dependance on foreign oil is actually taking technology backwards! The Milwaukee Journal calls this stuff "snake oil". In Milwaukee, bad ethanol caused over a million dollars of damage to fuel injectors. The gas mileage of E85 is about 66% of regular unleaded gas. It's time we look at other ways to save entergy.
22nd February 2006 - 06:09 PM
Guest -Thanks for the information on the challeges of marine use of ethanol. Very interesting.
GM makes great cars and is a great company, but they failed to see the handwriting on the wall. They should have seen the way the world economy this century operates would be a whole new paradigm from what it was previously. They should have seen that global energy demand, supply bottlenecks and too much dependence on production from unstable nations would mean that low gas prices were unsustainable and a thing of the past. They should have galvanized the American can-do spirit and been the leaders and innovators in fuel efficient automobiles since from the 1970ís. They should have teamed up with their employees and demanded their suppliers to focus on innovation and poured bouquets of money into R&D when they were sitting on cash the last 10 years. They should have been the ones to catch. They didnít and they werenít.
They focused on short term profitability, not long term strategy. They have great cars in the entry and middle market segments. They are still pushing sales of their big V-8 SUVs and trucks, as was mentioned earlier, for better profit margins. How is that going to ease the burden of our dependence on oil imports?
Donít forget the three industries in the US that have suffered the most in the last several years and what they have in common. The Steel industry, the Airlines, and the Automobile industry all have unions which has heavily handicapped their capacity to compete in the new global economy. There was certainly a time when unions did a lot of good to right the injustices against workers by industry greed that considered them not so unlike machinery instead of their greatest assets. Today, the unions have stifled industry competitiveness trying to protect their status quo of high wages, unnecessary jobs and resisting change only to kill these (local) jobs completely. On top of that their aging workers (in general) are a benefits financial burden due to poor health from causes such as heavy smokers and overweight.
GM is ramping up production in China for the Chinese market. Thatís a good thing, since there are something like 5,000 new cars on the roads in china in a single day if I remember correctly (many of those are local produced junk).
GM will eventually come around with Real hybrids and are working on bio-fuels, but are years behind the Japanese and are paying for it.
After the great war, American industry helped to rebuild their economy and taught the Japanese about quality and efficient manufacturing. Now they are teaching us how to do it!
For Automobiles, what took the Japanese 20 years or so to learn to manufacture affordable & attractive autos of high quality, took the Koreans about 10 years, will probably take the Chinese only about 5 years.
China is definitely a great emerging economy & huge to watch. But the new economy in India is also expanding rapidly, and they have an extreme advantage; they at least have the rule of law, property rights, better transparency for investors and courts to protect them. Communistís China is still learning about these things.
I think that both hybrids and the small diesel engine cars that can burn bio-diesel are both a step in the right direction in reducing oil imports, and when its time to buy a new car will look at both options in terms of costs, practicality and fuel efficiency.
23rd February 2006 - 11:00 PM
Why aren't we getting away from oil?
Well first of all, how many jobs does the oil industry hold? over million jobs. So lets say over 20 years there's a transformation underway where 75% of U.S. Americans have hybrid cars or electric driven vehicles. Over those 20 years 75% of the jobs are going to be gone in the oil industry sector but yet there is still going to be a demand for oil but still a lot of jobs are going to be lost because of this new technology. And i really doubt it takes that many jobs to produce and manufacture these hybrids vehicles coming from an engineering point of view.
23rd February 2006 - 11:33 PM
There is so much global demand for energy that we can't get away from oil any time soon. We can gradually reduce our consumption per capita by efficiency, yes.
But we can also begin to reduce our dependance on prouction from states that don't always view us most favorably.
Many of the energy companies are the ones investing in alternative energy sources, and even where they are not, the new technology will be creating new jobs.
And your are right, it should not take bouguets of jobs for manufacturing these hybrids, but that is just part of growth in productivity.
I would be interested to hear Arthur's take, he always seems to have a good handle on energy issues.
VW TDI 2004
3rd May 2006 - 01:21 AM
I havent had a look at all of the post so if this has been addressed before...sorry. But what about the disposal of the hybrid batteries after they have run their course? I have read that in the end this cost is more than that of a conventional car and more complex. Is this true and if so should this also be a consideration when looking at a hybrid? Lind of like the nuclear power issue... what do you do with the spent rods...
3rd May 2006 - 02:09 AM
at the end this cost is more than that of a conventional car and more complex. Is this true and if so should this also be a consideration when looking at a hybrid?
It is true. I had a honda civic hybrid and in just a matter of month i donated it. It was slow, the milage was A LIE. I called the Honda company and they made up bullshit about how "the result stated in advertizement or tests is not conventional or guaranteed" or another excuse was that "you probably drove it above 35 miles per hour which is the the limit of the test that gave the milage" and another excuse was "the oil companies add stuff to their oil that bunrs faster so that the oil u use is not the oil used when calibrating the car!"
Anyhow aside from many structural flaws, a terrible wind drift, misaligned wheels, low mileage of 30 mpg contrary to the bullshit advertised 50 mpg.
ON THE BATTERIES:
The replacement cost is high, and sometimes the batteries just dont work properly. The moisture gets in easily and after one month I had rust on them!!! Totally a waste of your money if you ask me. Honda or I am very faily sure these newly produced japanese cars are another way to fool the public to get their pockets empty. By the time people get the trick, they would have made millinos.
ON THE US INDUSTRY:
I have changed my view on the American industry recently after seeing the NEW Chrysler 300. It is beautiful, runs awesome, and has that long absent curve apeal that almost no other car in america has, and has a very good mileage for its size. Chrysler has really become the car that I would pay a luxury sum for. Almost in my view fifth after Benz, and BMW, audi, and opel.
9th May 2006 - 03:52 PM
All you people are stupid!!!!Get a life, who cares about all this stuff. U all are nerds and need to get a life, Im Out.
30th May 2006 - 08:02 PM
i can't say that i have a lot of information on hybrids, but what i have heard from a friend of a friend of a freind (etc), is that when the air conditioning is turned on mileage goes south fast. i am then led to believe that any electrical accessory would be a heavy drain on the mileage and that posted MPG are probalby under the most ideal conditions.
in the next few months i will be purchasing a car, and the hybrids have my attention at the moment... but i also have a high power stereo in my current car that will be installed in whatever comes next... if i go with a hybrid is is there any way to estimate the mileage i might realistically expect to get?
does anyone know a good website to check?
6th June 2006 - 04:34 PM
I think that hybrid cars are the best cars there is. Just because there is a good name on it doesn't mean that all the other cars are good cars. Hybrid cars are the best because they have two motors and other cars have only one and gas is very high, but not with the hybrids.
E = mc^2
6th August 2006 - 11:29 PM
I must say hybrids are a cool but I don't see them making a big hit. But I do see a comeback on diesel vehicles although the combustion of diesel is harmful but lets talk the truth are we trying to protect the envirnoment or are we trying to save some money. I am really thinking about buying a VW Jetta so i can get 43+ mpg. Taking underconsideration where i am from which is Texas regular unleaded is either at or higher price the diesel. This is my two cents!!!
13th November 2006 - 01:16 PM
Hybrid cars are really efficient. They can make the world a safer place with less pollution.
14th November 2006 - 06:16 AM
Could electromagnetic energy be tapped into to help keep the life of these
Lithium and Nickel Plated Battery Types???
20th November 2006 - 10:44 AM
25 years ago on TV in California they showed a privately built car which ran on batteries and petrol, did 70 mph and 200 mpg. None of the car companies wanted to know about it.
I watched a 1959 episode of Sgt Bilko yesterday and it was said that what America needs is small cars. 40 years later they were still building big gas guzzlers. Here in France, people are starting to drive larger cars.
20th November 2006 - 10:51 AM
My 2.3 Sierra diesel used to do 47 mpg at speeds of 80 mph. I now get about 45 mpg in a 1.9 Rover diesel (which costs under 1 euro a litre). Gas guzzlers are for people with more money than sense.
11th December 2006 - 05:00 PM
I've been wondering about the "greeness" of these hybrids, in particular the Prius, when their birth to death footprint is assessed. There are now 2 motors to manufacture and recycle (hopefully) and in addition the Prius has an LCD screen w/associated gadetry (circuit boards, etc), which must have a considerable cost when assessing it's total impact on the biosphere.
Any informed comments would be appreciated.
8th January 2007 - 08:18 AM
i drive a hybid 98 chevy camaro. it burns gas and rubber. i think people should stop crying and have fun with there cars. i have a v8 and will not down size to a slow not fun car like a prius. cars that drink gas make the world go round. get used to it.
15th January 2007 - 06:45 PM
how can i make ln2
23rd January 2007 - 08:40 PM
So.... if the Prius costs more and the money you save in gas is never going to bridge the gap to the higher cost... then the only reason to buy one is to be more Earth friendly right? I still wonder how Earth Friendly those big ol batteries are. Check out this article on the production of the Prius battery.
I had a diesel that I really loved and now I have just a plain old gas engine which I don't.... but I am not sold on the hybrids either. I also think the hydrogen fuels are not a solution. It does seem though that these problems should be easier to solve then the industry proclaims. Ahhhh aren't we just drowning in conspiracy in this modern world of ours?
10th February 2007 - 06:53 PM
Necessity is the mother of invention: WW2 brought radar and the bomb. Other wars brought great inventions. The governments and private industry- the war of competition and survival - must do the same with global warming. I challenge car makers to figure out how to stop our existing vehicles from warming the globe with a technological invention & still keep their oil money. They have one year!
I would like to hear from someone what the economics of a complete technological switch from oil would do to the world wide economy compare that to global warming. The immediate change and the future of new and related industries. Any books or PhD theses out there? It is complex. Swalt
NOOB HATER, CEMRENATOR
28th April 2007 - 04:21 AM
ALL YOU GUYS ARE DUMB NOOBS I WANT THE ELCTRIC CAR TO COME BACK NOT JUST SOME STUPID HYBRID ELECTRIC POWER 4 LIFE.
OH AND ALL YOU GUYS ARE DOOSH BAG NOOBS!
16th May 2007 - 06:33 PM
is this true?
20th May 2007 - 04:01 AM
Did anyone else notice that the author said that GM released the Mercury Mariner? Ford owns Mercury. I just thought I'd point that out.
22nd May 2007 - 03:43 PM
22nd May 2007 - 03:44 PM
5th August 2007 - 11:40 PM
have u realized what it takes to make a hybrid car?? First of all, the shipping from Canada, Japan. China, AND the United States to make the batteries takes loads of energy. causing heat. Heat is a contribute factor to the Lovely, but very bad, climate change! Making the car is AWFUL too! Nickel producing plants add loads of chemicals and pollutants to the air. The area around the factories are used by NASA to test equipment and is not livable TO ANYONE! finally, driving and making a car WILL NEVER be good for the environment, though buying a hybrid will give u a 2,000 dollar tax reduction
27th September 2007 - 12:45 AM
what the hell is the author's problem? i mean, how can you think that saving the environment isn't good? sure, there are the factors of money, but still, in the end you HAVE to save the environment. Scientists say that there are only 10-20 years left before we can save the earth from global warming. so if you think saving your money up for a new house instead of buying a fuel-efficient hybrid, then SCREW you. DAMN IDIOTS would want to save money up for something new in the next 5-15 years when, there WILL NOT actually be a good earth to live on in that time. so listen, BUY a GOOD car so to able to save the world before its to late. WHAT AN IDIOT OF AN AUTHOR.
PhysOrg scientific forums are totally dedicated to science, physics, and technology. Besides topical forums such as nanotechnology, quantum physics, silicon and III-V technology, applied physics, materials, space and others, you can also join our news and publications discussions. We also provide an off-topic forum category. If you need specific help on a scientific problem or have a question related to physics or technology, visit the PhysOrg Forums. Here youíll find experts from various fields online every day.
To quit out of "lo-fi" mode and return to the regular forums, please click here