Hybrids just do not make any sence to me anymore

Okay so I had some time this morning to write up a quick entry for the issue that kept racking in my brain at 6am
this morning before I went to work. So had to jump on the forum of course and write a blog about it! :?

The issue that I am dealing with is about Hybrids and how they are still half gas/half electric.
Why is it that electric vehicles have been around since the 1800's???? if it seems like we have the technology
and resources to build them and sell them and take less gas vehicles off the streets, why isn't this happening??
I have been pondering over this all morning.
I of course understand that this will take quite some time for this to happen.
Just why isn't more and more of it happening? Does that make any sence ? :?

Comments

davew's picture

I talk to a lot of people about this (pretty much everyone who doesn't run when they see me coming), and the answers come down to range and power. Since gas is cheap and plentiful (cough, cough) they want vehicles that can do many things. They want all the family cars to be capable of interstate travel. Some want one to haul the family and the other to haul lumber or the boat or camping equipment or a horse. Most of my friends and acquaintances would love to have a small, hyper-efficient car for commuting if they could reserve a car only for that purpose. Few people can afford this and few people choose to make the sacrifices that using an electric car would entail. Nothing short of a drastic price increase will change their mind on this. Hybrids are popular because they don't require much in the way of sacrifice.

I think hybrids pretty much suck anyway. We've got a finite amount of fossil fuel in the world and using it is killing us. Using it slightly slower doesn't really solve much.

"we must be the change we wish to see in the world"

PJD's picture

Hey Dave, I am not sure if you got my comment back?? It looks like maybe it didn't go through earlier, sorry about that!
I completely whole heartedly agree with you on what you just said.
I dunno?? that subject just kinda got to me this morning, I mean literally it did!
But ya I agree with you hybrids suck :) What's the point really??

LinkOfHyrule's picture

Hello? Money? It's that simple. Most people can't justify the initial cost. Hell, I can't justify the initial cost.

Face it. EVs right now are NOT cheap (cheaper than some, perhaps, but you can get decent used gas cars for a few grand). Parts, though simpler and less prone to failure, are far less plentiful then their gas counterparts. And, while it is possible to build a fully electric car with substantial range using lithium chemistries, it's WAY too expensive. Assuming that a car takes roughly 200Whrs a mile, you're going to need a LOT of battery to match a gas car. Take my parent's car for example. Something like 29MPG, with a 15 gallon tank. You get 435 of range with that. You're going to need an unheard of 87,000Whrs to match the range. A lithium pack that size would cost you well upwards of $100,000. Even a mere 100 mile range battery pack ALONE would cost over FOUR TIMES what my mom paid for her car. Don't need 100 mile range? Lucky you. Because we do. Several times a month. Nothing in particular, just have a lot of driving to do.

Now, I agree with you that hybrids do kind of suck. You still have to give them gas, but what about plug-ins? You don't have to use the gas engine for short trips, but you don't have to worry about running the battery down, because you have hundreds of miles left in the tank. True, there's a lot to break down in an engine, but there are lots of dedicated service centers, too. More or less, you get the best of both worlds: Range of a gas, value and power of an electric.

Frankly, until lithium or supercapacitors become cheap enough for the average Joe to afford a big, fat, 150+ mile range pack, a PHEV would be my choice without a second thought.

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Max's picture

You're right.
I do believe - or at least hope - that hybrids are only the first step towards fully electric vehicles. Even though, they are a step to get better mileage and hence reduce your contribution to global warming.
But why are ICE vehicles still the conventional ones?
Some of you mentioned the often heared disadvantages of EVs like range, recharging, prices and so on. I think thats right. But isn't it also the automotive industry with their big link to the oil industry? They work together and take advantage of selling slightly modified ICE and other propulsion related car parts at very low developing and manufacturing costs. Thats how to gain profit. Developing reliable EVs would mean selling less as the life cycle would be increased.
By the way, I recently saw an interesting flash movie called "the story of stuff" which, in principle, shows how our goods are produced. You can watch it here: http://www.storyofstuff.com/
I remember an article on treehugger.com I read a year or so ago.
The topic was hybrid cars and that we are still 100% dependent on oil, even in a world full of Prius.
Hopefully batteries will become more affordable, as some of you mentioned a battery meeting the damand of an EV is pretty expensive. But even nowadays a good system of demountable and fast to change battery modules could be stored at gas stations and you could replace your empty battery with a fully charged one in a couple of minutes. Wouldn't that be a suitable solution for some of the advantages EVs have to face?
Anyway, we're all looking forward to see EVs becoming more affordable.
I can't await the moment when people will ask "Your car runs on gas? Isn't that the fuel which was used in former times where cars were unreliable, stinking and loud?" :D

Hello? Money? It's that simple. Most people can't justify the initial cost. Hell, I can't justify the initial cost

--------------

I'd have to say that I completely agree with you on everything you just said.
With everyone's opinion in mind this is all starting to come crystal clear to me
and (I appreciate everyone's opinion as well)especially for someone who is new to the ev world and automotive industry
The difference between battery cost and long range driving etc, makes perfect sence to me.
In reality I think there will still be the gas vehicle because, we have created so much of the product.
If I had a chance to purchase an electric vehicle (and one that I could afford) for every day practical use
of city driving (commute) I would definetly use that option.
I would still keep my vehicle (Honda; V-Tech engine) for long distance trips and when Honda starts selling
their Fuel cell vehicle (I think I just might trade in my accord for one).

Thanks for posting the link for the flash movie, I really liked it and that's pretty much true to everything,
that we've basically created.

even in a world full of Prius

Still wouldn't ever get me to drive one of those :sick:

battery modules could be stored at gas stations and you could replace your empty battery with a fully charged one in a couple of minutes. Wouldn't that be a suitable solution for some of the advantages EVs have to face?

That would be a really helpful solution for new ev's but, what about recycling other batteries and where would they go?

Mik's picture

How about a fully electrically propulsed vehicle with more flexible charging options?
Could be plugged in for charging most of the time, and on those few occasions when you need to go on long trips you turn on the fossil fuel powered generator, be it an ICE, a fuel cell or something else.
Ideally it would be removable to avoid dragging the extra weight around when you know that you will not need it for that trip.
Peter (Vectrix owner from Tasmania) told me he is playing with the idea to pull along a generator on a trailer to extend the range.

Mr. Mik

This information may be used entirely at your own risk.

There is always a way if there is no other way!

How about a fully electrically propulsed vehicle with more flexible charging options?
Could be plugged in for charging most of the time,

Are you talking about a portable charging station that you would literally drive around with you?

Ideally it would be removable to avoid dragging the extra weight around when you know that you will not need it for that trip

That would make a whole lota sence to me (but it would have to be lightweight and a powerful charger)
That would be ideal instead of "stop and go" to plug vehicles in; but then again hmmmm?? :?

LinkOfHyrule's picture

battery modules could be stored at gas stations and you could replace your empty battery with a fully charged one in a couple of minutes. Wouldn't that be a suitable solution for some of the advantages EVs have to face?

That would be a really helpful solution for new ev's but, what about recycling other batteries and where would they go?

Dammit, I accidentally backspaced and deleted everything I just typed. Ugh, try this again:

Your kidding right? Why is this even considered an option? I'm pretty sure that no matter how big my man-muscles were, I'm going to need some help lifting a half-ton battery pack in and out of a car.

This also fails for economic reasons:

Not only do you have to pay for the energy they put into the batteries for you, you also have to pay for the service they provide. Which means, indirectly, you are paying for the land, building, equipment, supplies, maintenance costs, and employee wages.

Because of this, it would be cheaper to charge at home. So, that's what's most people will do. This means, that unless you go on a long road trip, you will NEVER use this service. So, if someone were to build such a "battery station", they would have to charge their VERY occasional customers outrageous sums, just to stay in business.

How about a fully electrically propulsed vehicle with more flexible charging options?
Could be plugged in for charging most of the time, and on those few occasions when you need to go on long trips you turn on the fossil fuel powered generator, be it an ICE, a fuel cell or something else.

LMAO! Seriously! Ironically enough, you've just effectively re-invented the plug-in hybrid :P.

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LinkOfHyrule's picture

If you ask me, it will be advantageous to have a gas backup engine even AFTER batteries are able to go a couple hundred miles without recharge.

My reasoning is thus: Gas is incredibly energy dense stuff. 50MJ/l is a substantial amount of energy. For comparison, your average lithium holds less than 1% of that. So, you can carry around a couple gallons of the stuff and maybe a small generator no problem. That little bit of extra space can equate to the same amount of energy as your whole battery pack. If you end up stuck somewhere due to some catastrophic failure or just bad planning, you have plenty of energy left to get you to a safe location to charge/fix the batteries and refill the tank.

I'll take a PHEV with 100mi range over a pure electric that will go 300 any day.

IMO, there is only ONE case in which it won't be advantageous to have a backup gas engine. That is, when batteries are able to store around 10MJ/l. At that point, it will get you the same range as gas for a given volume. Gas engines are typically 20% efficient. So you will only get around 10MJ of usable energy per liter. Electrical systems can be upward of 80% efficient, so when you count the extra space taken up by the engine/generator, there isn't much difference in how much energy you can get for a given volume of gas.

Note that this really only applies to the average car. For an ebike, scooter, or NEV (none of which are used to go very far), you'll do just fine with an all-electric drive system. However, super energy dense batteries will equate to a weight savings. Little less energy to go a given distance, little less you have to pay to recharge them ;).

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Max's picture

Your kidding right? Why is this even considered an option? I'm pretty sure that no matter how big my man-muscles were, I'm going to need some help lifting a half-ton battery pack in and out of a car.

No I'm not kidding.
You wouldn't have to lift the battery module yourself.
Just imagine a hydraulic lifting platform which does the work for you.
Battery modules would have to be standardized and hence could be used by different vehicles. I believe there could be quite easy options to get the battery on and off your car. Also you do not own a battery of your own. This would more work like a leasing system.
You pay your share for the battery every month and therefore can get a battery module on a gas station. There wouldn't be acquisition costs for a battery. Replacement and recycling is done by a leasing company. The module you are using could also be charged at home but you also have the option to get a charged one on your gas station when you need it. Here in Europe some EV related companys have developed such systems in theory. So basically such a demountable battery system should be considered an option.

I'm going to need some help lifting a half-ton battery pack in and out of a car.

Just imagine a hydraulic lifting platform which does the work for you.

Ehem Forklift anyone???

reikiman's picture

Your kidding right? Why is this even considered an option? I'm pretty sure that no matter how big my man-muscles were, I'm going to need some help lifting a half-ton battery pack in and out of a car.

This also fails for economic reasons:

Not only do you have to pay for the energy they put into the batteries for you, you also have to pay for the service they provide. Which means, indirectly, you are paying for the land, building, equipment, supplies, maintenance costs, and employee wages.

Actually it's not that hairbrained. Others have worked on similar ideas in the past.

Consider a car with a frame constructed such that the battery pack can be lowered out of the bottom of it very easily. You drive into a building that looks like jiffy lube, there's a bay downstairs, a hydraulic lift lowers the pack out, and inserts a new one, and a couple minutes later you drive away.

Yes you're right that it uses land and is a cost .. but it plays into short term cost thinking of the type that leads people to ignore CFL lighting and say incandescant bulbs are cheaper (up front). If the battery pack is rented they have a low up-front cost... a car sized Li-ION pack currently costs tens of thousands of dollars. A car owner isn't going to pay for that except for the uber-rich set who can afford a Tesla Roadster. Rent one and there's no up-front cost and an ongoing charge. Plus having rented batteries means that other people are responsible for battery maintenance rather than the everyman car owner.

- David Herron, The Long Tail Pipe, davidherron.com, 7gen.com, What is Reiki
- Electrified Electra To

LinkOfHyrule's picture

A rental system, you say? Hmm...

I'll concede that that would work provided it ended up cheaper per mile than gas. Cause that's some really expensive stuff. Underground battery storage? Plus equipment to move it all around? We're talking a pretty huge facility. Has to handle, store, and charge hundreds if not thousands of battery packs per day?

It DOES play perfectly into the mindset you describe, though. It MIGHT work, but I don't know...

I do see something of a problem though. How will you keep people from just keeping the packs in their car and charging them at home?

The author of this post isn't responsible for any injury, disability or dismemberment, death, financial loss, illness, addiction, hereditary disease, or any other undesirable consequence or general misfortune resulting from use of the "information" contai

Consider a car with a frame constructed such that the battery pack can be lowered out of the bottom of it very easily. You drive into a building that looks like jiffy lube, there's a bay downstairs, a hydraulic lift lowers the pack out, and inserts a new one, and a couple minutes later you drive away.

I like this idea (and it does sound like a 10 minute station type deal)
However you would still need someone there if the hydraulic lift machines broke down.
Could this mean more jobs possibly???

LinkOfHyrule's picture

*looks at previous posts*

Wow, I seriously need to explain more in-depth about what I'm thinking. Those make me look like a complete and total idiot.

I considered the hydraulic lift option, and dismissed it for the reason Max mentioned: Standardization. This would require that all models of car have identical battery packs. While this would mean that the same pack will work with different vehicles, this also would be prohibitive for designers, who would have problems if forced to design a car that HAD to have a certain battery pack size and dimensions. You're stuck with certain aspects of the pack design.

You could have several different models of battery. However, this adds significantly to the complexity of the whole operation. You might well need completely separate systems for each battery type. And as we all know, complexity equals cost.

If the battery pack is rented they have a low up-front cost... a car sized Li-ION pack currently costs tens of thousands of dollars.

True, but so does a new car. People seem to be willing to fork over a lot of money for a car as it is. I don't see why they wouldn't do the same in the future. Even if the pack cost tens of thousands of dollars, it will end up being the majority of the expense of the car. Instead of paying for the engine and all it's related parts, you pay for the pack.

Ah, whatever. The only way we're going to find out what happens is to take action or (my preference) sit around and wait. Personally, I'll probably end up having my own pack, charging at my own house with my own charger. Higher upfront cost, but ultimately cheaper in the long run. That's just how I roll.

And I'll still have a gas engine/generator in the thing ;).

The author of this post isn't responsible for any injury, disability or dismemberment, death, financial loss, illness, addiction, hereditary disease, or any other undesirable consequence or general misfortune resulting from use of the "information" contai

True, but so does a new car. People seem to be willing to fork over a lot of money for a car as it is

A lot of folks fork out a lot of money for new cars because there is always sales (etc) in the industry
and it's sometimes more expensive to fix an older vehicle when you can buy a new car (or trade in the one you had and get a new one) and have all of your bells and whistles such as warrenties etc.
This is also a problem of why we have a lot of "lemons" out there.

There are several reasons the Prius has been the sales home-run for hybrids (over one million sold). I "think" one of the reasons is because of the way it is configured (unlike the Honda), so it can be re-configured easily to become a Lithium plug-in hybrid after the 5-year warrantee expires, and presumeably the original NiMH battery is on its last legs.

The majority of families though, have not responded very enthusiastically about having one of their two cars be an ultra-high mileage alternative option.

I believe having a "series-hybrid" trailer is a great option for long trips when somebody owns an EV. I think most of the public don't realize that this is even an option. I don't have the links handy, but I recall seeing a 3-wheel E-bicycle and two EV cars that had home-made series-hybrid trailers, and the owners sounded quite pleased with the results.

Two enthusiasts even chopped off the front 1/3rd of a front wheel drive car (one diesel, one gasoline) to make a two-wheel "pusher" trailer, leaving the EV in neutral when the battery was depleted on long trips. There are even E-bike pusher trailers.

A small gasoline trailer engine can be adapted to run on ethanol (cellulosic switchgrass) or propane/Compressed Natural Gas (CNG). A small Diesel-Gen can be easily adapted to run on free Waste Vegetable Oil (WVO) or with a sparking system added, CNG, or home-made Hydrogen (H2) from a windmill (burning pure hydrogen doesn't release any carbon).

Its even possible to make a turboshaft jet engine from two turbochargers to power a small high-RPM alternator. Any gas or fluid that will burn can power this trailer engine. Of course, denser, carbon-rich fuels (diesel) have longer range.

Park the trailer for most daily trips and work commutes.

It would be great if it were possible to lease an EV battery service. This would alleviate the publics concern over investing in an EV, only to find that the expensive battery has worn out too soon from the previous owner not caring for it properly (I recall reading recently about a LiFePO4 motorcycle that had a $1600 battery, so I'm assuming a cars would be more!)

High purchase price, short range, and expensive battery replacement seem to be common EV concerns.

Gosh darn server!!! Grrrr I was in the middle of trying to leave a comment and then it flippen knocked the forum
off the server hafta start all over again. Fluckin' irritating!!!

A small gasoline trailer engine can be adapted to run on ethanol

Anyway's it's interesting that you mentioned ethanol because, the state of Oregon passed a new law this year
that ethanol will be used in fuel. Basically there will be a blended fuel that contains ten percent of ethanol.
Starting this January nine different counties including my old home town of Washington county will be buying this
fuel type. It's also interesting to know that older vehicles that may already have some water contamination in their tanks may be affected by this change. Motorist may also need to change things like fuel filters soon after
the ethanol-blended product is put into their tanks for the first time.
The consumer should see minimal difference in mileage or performance of their vehicle with the new fuel standard.
Advocates of blending gasoline with ethanol say it helps the environment, reduces dependency on foreign oil and, hopefully, will drop the price of motor fuel.

Okay I am posting a second comment to my first one (besides what I wrote about)
I just found something really really really really interesting and kinda went "Aha!" lol
I was reading the Convert it book and in Michael brown's book he states
"For one thing, the hybrid concept violates the principle of simplicity. Everything in the internal combustion system
and in the interface between the systems is a potential problem. Also, this reintroduces all the pollution, maintenance, and expense we had eliminated by converting to electric. One has to ask, "is this hybrid any cleaner than the original internal combustion system?" It might actually be dirtier."----
Hybrid systems are also bulky, noisy, and expensive. In his opinion (and mine) they contradict everything an electric car is supposed to be, and to little advantage. If you have to go farther than the EV will take you, skip the complicated compromise and just drive a gas car."

LOL I love it!!! I really like this book (keep reading)
:)

Wonder if hybrids (especially prius's) could make good target practice??? }:)

I asked my employer about providing a AC outlet to recharge my new Zapino Scooter at work. The rep asked if I was aware that in colorado, Electricity is created using fossel fuel. So even my pure electric vehicle requires the burning of fossel fuel to commute.

Robert Dudley
E-Scoot Tech

davew's picture

So even my pure electric vehicle requires the burning of fossil fuel to commute.

I've started to collect the fatuous things people say to me when I tell them I don't drive. One of the most recent was, "But, but... you still shop at the grocery store!" I have to admire the irrelevance, the guilt-tinged emphasis, and the multi-layered silliness. Not unlike your employer's remark above.

First off I live just down the street from you and 100% of my electricity comes from wind. Thanks to a voter initiative Excel energy is going to be up to 15% renewable in the next couple of years. It's not 100% renewable to be sure, but anyone who wants to use 100% renewable energy in Colorado can buy it.

Buying an internal combustion vehicle is a commitment to liquid fuels for as long as you own it. Maybe ethanol will pan out, maybe it won't. An electric car can run on anything that produces electricity: wind, solar, tidal, geothermal, nuclear, whatever. Electric transportation provides more options for using renewable energy than internal combustion vehicles ever can.

Back when I had my emax I figured it attained an equivalent of 500 mpg. My ebike gets around 1000 mpg. If everyone's vehicle came close to being that efficient we could put off talking about vehicle fuel consumption for another few decades.

Tell your boss that you admire his knowledge and interest in efficient transportation and you'd love to follow his example. You can make a little game of it. He can find something better than your scooter, and then you could top him, and he could top you, and so forth. It will be fun. Can I play too? Or you could just dope-slap him and be done with it.

"we must be the change we wish to see in the world"

Electric transportation provides more options for using renewable energy than internal combustion vehicles ever can.

Right, this is why I think the hybrid "violate the principle of simplicity."
What's the point?????

I don't think hybrids have to make sense to everyone. Even in the history of gasoline cars there is an incredibly wide variety.

There are several companies that will convert an old gasoline car into an EV right now. They've sold a few, but not setting the world on fire. Can you name one off the top of your head? I can't. The Prius has sold over one million. Customers voting with their dollars. The Honda Insight and hybrid Accord have been discontinued, both great products, just not enough units sold to make it worthwhile.

Just heard that Valence is planning on making large-format (car starter size) LiFePO4's

http://thefraserdomain.typepad.com/energy/2007/12/valence-technol.html

"..EEV 19.2V, 122Ah, 1562 Wh, 34.3 lb, 10.6x5.8x10.8 in
....E27 12.8V, 122Ah, 1562 Wh, 40.9 lb, 12.2x6.8x9.2 in
...modules will begin manufacture in April 08..."

Probably very expensive, but at least they will actually be available.

When the entire oil paradigm falls on its face, the same people that are not buying EV's now (building up the manufacturing capacity that will lower prices) they will be screaming because the factory is now back-ordered!

pedal_hermit's picture

Hi everyone. Nice discussion. Sam's the name. Long time listener, first time caller. Felt the need to add my 2c !

The way I see it, hybrid vehicles are an essential step away from internal combustion. The following rant is my justification...

#1 Probably the least important point - you cant just drop the population into a purely electric world. People resist change - comfort zones and all that.

For example, one of the two pillars of Toyota's guiding principles is continuous improvement. They call this "Kaizen". Kaizen activities are the incubator of innovation. This is because Kaizen activities create an atmosphere of accepting change (as opposed to sudden change). You may not like Toyota or their products (I've got issues), but you'd be foolish not to respect their tenacity, and gradual rise to success. They must be getting something right with their philosophy/ideals...

#2 It takes time and money to develop ANY technologies for economical everyday use, and purely electric vehicles have several areas where key technology is currently lacking (although rapidly improving):

- Batteries -> low energy density, high cost, limited lithium supply. We could use up our lithium salt supplies before we run out of fossil fuels ! Sodium nickel chloride and zinc-air are other current options which should be further developed, IMO.

- Control systems -> Granted, electric power is much more efficient than i.c., but the energy density of petroleum means electric power needs to "go that extra mile", so to speak (pun not intended).

Regenerative braking systems are still a relatively new technology that has a lot of promise in increasing vehicle efficiencies. High speed flywheels are currently more efficient than electric systems, but this still adds (mechanical) complexity and cost. Either way, there's still a lot of development to be done.

On a side note, I believe F1 regulations are allowing limited use of r.b. systems for 2009. Although this may not be as beneficial to development of this technology than one might hope. See an interesting article here: http://www.evworld.com/syndicated/evworld_article_1160.cfm

- Vehicle bodyshell efficiencies -> Heavy batteries and poor performance push designers to look for other areas to improve, including mass and aerodynamics.

I believe hybrid vehicles are an excellent platform to work on these technologies.

#3 Auxiliary systems (eg. air-con, etc) consume large amounts of power. We don't HAVE to have these things, but basically every car does these days. Gone are the days of the AM radio optional extra.

#4 New systems and equipment need to be developed for efficient mass scale production of new or currently unused technologies. And worldwide infrastructure to support electric vehicles (ie. for long range "re-fueling" etc) is a major task. Implementation and training takes time.

#5 Automobile congestion in the United States alone accounts for around $100 billion in wasted fuel, lost productivity, and rising health costs. A hybrid vehicle which shuts down (or has minimal use of) its i.c. power unit in high traffic situations has an almost non-existent contribution to this figure. Same (or better) argument for pure electric, except points #1-#4.

#6 Fossil fuels contribute to around 2/3 of the worlds electricity production. So if all vehicles were purely electric, 2/3 are still indirectly running on fossil fuels. Hybrid vehicles may not be directly contributing to changing this figure, but increased use of hybrids will help to promote public awareness of the importance of environment conservation. Think locally, act globally, etc. Yeah, electric vehicles could promote the same awareness, except points #1-#4.

#7 Oil companies make lots of money, and they want you to buy their oil. Not drive around in a wind powered car.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not against electric vehicles. They get me hard. But I just don't think hybrids should be written off completely.

Rant ends. Constructive criticism much appreciated. Emotional knee-jerks ignored.

Sam.

davew's picture

I'm going to disagree with most of what you say, but I appreciate the level of thought you put into your post and the distinctly non-ranty tone you used throughout your rant. :-)

#1 Probably the least important point - you cant just drop the population into a purely electric world. People resist change - comfort zones and all that.

Habits can change very abruptly if people are sufficiently motivated or scared. My parents were alive during WWII and I was alive during the oil embargo. Change happened and happened quickly. The difference is those were transient events. What is coming will not be transient, although it will probably start with a sudden shock. Then again maybe not. Maybe things like Georgia running out of water will be equated with global warming. That might get the ball rolling as well.

#2 It takes time and money to develop ANY technologies for economical everyday use, and purely electric vehicles have several areas where key technology is currently lacking

It depends on what the goal is. Today, right now, we can make an electric car that will go 60 miles between recharges and reach 60mph. I would buy that car tomorrow if I could (for my wife, of course :-). This car does not exist because there is not enough of a market for it. There is not enough of a market for it because the average westerner is stubbornly clinging to a lifestyle that is unsustainable. It's not our technology that is lacking. It's our intelligence and our will.

#4 New systems and equipment need to be developed for efficient mass scale production of new or currently unused technologies. And worldwide infrastructure to support electric vehicles (ie. for long range "re-fueling" etc) is a major task.

The personal car is a very bad choice for long range travel. Once we disabuse people of the notion that driving 1000 miles is a good thing to do many more options open up. I have recently been discovering the joys of rail travel. (On a side note wouldn't it be great to do an Amtrak tie-in with Harry Potter so today's youth equate train travel with magic and general coolness? Maybe they can rename one of their trains the Hogworts Express.)

#5 Automobile congestion in the United States alone accounts for around $100 billion in wasted fuel, lost productivity, and rising health costs. A hybrid vehicle which shuts down (or has minimal use of) its i.c. power unit in high traffic situations has an almost non-existent contribution to this figure.

A Prius is about 15% to 20% more efficient than the same platform without the batteries and electric motor. I agree that idling is a dumb use of gas, but in the big picture 20% is still just 20%. You could argue that 10% is better than nothing, but I just can't see investing this much money and complexity to much such little progress. There are diesels in Europe that already get 60 mpg with decidedly less technology.

#6 ...Hybrid vehicles may not be directly contributing to changing this figure, but increased use of hybrids will help to promote public awareness of the importance of environment conservation.

You may be right, but isn't this using a lie or at best half-truth in pursuit of a greater good? The ends justify the means? I can't get behind this with any enthusiasm.

#7 Oil companies make lots of money, and they want you to buy their oil.

The oil companies can burn in hell along with their lobbyists and lawyers. Big companies can go the way of the dodo very quickly once popular opinion changes. I was amazed to see the kicking around the tobacco companies eventually got. At one time their lobby was considered impregnable. Politicians cannot ignore their voters completely. If enough people get behind a sustainable lifestyle the oil companies will start to get a dose of what the cigarette companies are going through.

"we must be the change we wish to see in the world"

pedal_hermit's picture

davew, I understand what you're saying, but still tend to disagree.

I think what we do agree on, is that there isn't current electric technology to equal i.c performance AND luxury AND practicality AND cost (and safety. I forgot to mention safety! i.e. adding mass of safety cells and accessories, etc).

But it sounds like you want people to give up their inherent greediness. I tend to be less idealistic (and much much more cynical of human behavior). Especially in large populations. We've lost the whole "tribal love" thing, and now it's every man for himself. Unless there IS a "sudden shock" (which I agree does sound like an excellent motivator), I believe the best way to accomplish change at this point in time, is one small step at a time.

With regards to hybrid efficiency, my personal experience (a company Prius I used to drive) is closer to 40% better than a comparable i.c. vehicle. Driving was mostly around town, traffic light stop/start and all that, but not much peak-hour. But now I'm just nitpicking !

Thanks for the feedback.

davew's picture

But it sounds like you want people to give up their inherent greediness. I tend to be less idealistic (and much much more cynical of human behavior). Especially in large populations.

Actually I think we agree on this. I just sound idealistic when I write sometimes. I would love it if we could group hug and renounce our oil-sucking ways. It's not going to happen though. More's the pity because it's the easiest way out of this mess.

"we must be the change we wish to see in the world"

davew wrote:

I would love it if we could group hug and renounce our oil-sucking ways

Can we somehow invent a smiley just as the quote is???

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