A realistic discussion of Hybrid Vehicles

Discussion in 'Community' started by Xtremehkr, Dec 15, 2004.

  1. Xtremehkr macrumors 68000

    Xtremehkr

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    #1
    Can a Gasoholic reform?

    Ford finally did something right.
     
  2. stubeeef macrumors 68030

    stubeeef

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    #2
    I understand that the great grandson running ford now, is very green, that is good too, otherwise it would never have made it off the shelf.

    The new accord gets great mpg and is faster than the non-hybrid. Elec engines can have awesome torque, see train engines, but I want hydrogen fuel cells please.

    My best buddy living in Maine, just sold his prius, he had an original version. It turns out they had special tires, not only where they special, there is only one manufacturer and the costs are high, AND he only got about 6000 miles per $500 set. This problem no longer exists with the new ones, but sure makes you warey of buying the first version of anything.

    My next few autos will be mini vans, family of 5 you see, so still waiting.
     
  3. Roger1 macrumors 65816

    Roger1

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    #3
    I recently read that Daimler/Chrysler and Ford were going to team up to research and make hybrid vehicles, with new ones (not the Escape) coming out in 2007. It's about time. I don't know if it's true, but I always have the perception that the American auto companies are always playing catch up with technology stuff. I don't mean designing/inventing, I mean actually implementing it into production automobiles. I mean, the Honda hybrid has been out for what, two or three years? And isn't there a backlog on orders?
    I'm glad to see American car companies are starting to offer this stuff.
     
  4. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #4
    ‘A lot of people who used to claim their color was red now claim their color is green.'
    -Floyd Brown, Young America's Foundation
     
  5. Xtremehkr thread starter macrumors 68000

    Xtremehkr

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    #5
    Sounds like a Brown Shirt. Why make this political?
     
  6. craigdawg macrumors 6502

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    #6
    I've always had the impression that the American auto industry operates 100% of the time in reactionary mode and gets "distracted" by market trends. SUVs have been trendy for a few years so Detroit dropped everything to pump out high-profit SUVs. (You can say Europe has had to play catch up in the SUV market, but that's another story). Big displacement motors (and low fuel efficiency cars) are "in" now as well. What does the Ford GT make, 550hp?

    Ironically, right now alternative fuel vehicles are trendy. Hence the Ford Escape Hybrid.

    I wouldn't exactly characterize Bill Ford as "green" just yet...he fiercely opposed legislation in California to allow hybrids that made over 45mpg fly solo HOV lanes cuz his Escape makes only 35mpg.
     
  7. Xtremehkr thread starter macrumors 68000

    Xtremehkr

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    #7
    I would like to see Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles as well, but in the meantime, hybridization is a really good idea. FCVehicles will eventually be phased into the market but the infrastructure needs to be built for it, it already exists for Hybridized ones. I really like that the can improve both performance and efficiency.

    At least no one has asked about Hybrid filling stations yet :rolleyes:
     
  8. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #8

    Just a taste of the opposition to this technology.
     
  9. Totalshock macrumors member

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    #9
    Not true, unfortunately. The original tires on a Prius (I own both an original-generation '01 ad a new-generation '04) are a special "Low Rolling Resistence" tire that are expensive to replace, and get a pretty short life.

    But you can replace those tires with any other tire that's rated the same for size. You have to keep pressures a little higher than usual, though -- but still in the "safe" range for the tire -- to offset the extra weight of the vehicle because of batteries and other components.

    Sounds like your friend dealt with a dealer that was either ignorant, or wanted to boost his own profits by selling these "required" special tires.
     
  10. Totalshock macrumors member

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    #10
    One fault with the article: the "full" hybrid system (like the one used in the Prius and Escape, which can shut the engine down and run on electricty below a certain speed) does not "strongly favors short-haul, in-city driving like that done by delivery services and fleet vehicles."

    That just shows an ignorance to how emissions testing is done, and how the system works.

    Stop-and-go city driving results in lower gas mileage than does highway driving. It's all about keeping the energy that's in the system going. It's a lot harder, and requires more work from the engine, to get the car up to speed than it is to keep it there. Driving around downtown, my mileage is pretty mediocre because of all the time the engine needs to come on to accelerate from 0 up to driving speed.

    Where the hybrid REALLY REALLY shines -- and what the EPA tests most accurately with its "city" test -- is suburban or "country highway" driving -- long stretches (a km or two between lights) without interruption, just cruising at 55-65 km/h. That allows the gas engine to get the car up form 0 to 60, and then shut off for a long time (I've gone as far as 4 km, depending on weather, temperature, road condition and incline/decline state), which results in amazing, super-fantastic gas mileage.

    I filled my tank up once, which resets the on-screen mileage display, and did a few hours like that -- mostly 70 km/h or less cruising, very few lights or other interruptions -- the result was 2.9 L/100 km. (4.7 L/100 km = 50 mph, more or less.)

    But other time spent driving in the city, and on the highway, brought the overall tank average up to 4.0 for the tank. Life is full of trade-offs. ;)
     
  11. Xtremehkr thread starter macrumors 68000

    Xtremehkr

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    #11
    Well, I'd rather this thread not get moved too, but that is a fascinating quote.
     
  12. stubeeef macrumors 68030

    stubeeef

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    #12
    Ya, don't move it, X and I want a 'tar. :D
     
  13. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #13
    If you buy a hybrid before the year ends you can claim a $1500 federal tax exemption. Last year was it's peak at $2000, it goes down by $500 a year until it's gone ('07 I think).
     
  14. stubeeef macrumors 68030

    stubeeef

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    #14
    what slays me is, I have a 15 model year old car. ('89) It gets 50+ mpg on the highway, and combined I avg 47 mpg. All on regular gas. Now if we could do this 15 years ago (we in this case is honda), why in the blazes are we not at 40+ on every car.
    We are just handing money to terrorists every time we fill up.
    hybrids have proved viable, make millions of 'em now.
     
  15. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #15
    But that involves telling people what they should drive. I thought you'd be against the nanny-state idea.

    Personally I'd raise CAFE standards. How you meet them is up to you. But ordering consumers to drive hybrids is no different from ordering them not to drive SUVs.
     
  16. jeffy.dee-lux macrumors 6502a

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    #16

    That's actually DC and GM who are teaming up, not ford.
    http://www.detnews.com/2004/autosinsider/0412/15/B01-33107.htm

    I think those two are scrambling to catch up with ford. GM has a couple "mild" hybrid models on their way or already here. (mild means that whenever the car is moving, the gas engine is on, unlike the prius and escape which can move around on electric only). And DC doesn't have any concrete plans that i know of for the next couple years. Meanwhile ford is definitely gonna follow up the escape with a hybrid Mariner (basically just the more up-scale mercury version of the escape) as well as a hybrid version of the upcoming Ford Fusion:

    [​IMG]

    That car will be shown at NAIAS in january, coming out i think in the spring as a 2006 model. The hybrid version is supposed to get basically the same drive train as the escape (i'm hoping for an available AWD version as well) and its supposed to come out in 2007 i think.

    here's an article about Ford's 'green vision' on detroit news:
    http://www.detnews.com/2004/insiders/0410/31/b01-320296.htm
    it says that ford is also considering hybrid versions of its 500 sedan and freestyle wagon, i really hope they go ahead with this.

    With hydrogen tech needing about 20 years before it can do us any good (you need electricity to make the hydrogen, so if that electricity isn't clean, neither is the hydrogen, even if there's only water coming out of the tail pipe), i hope to see hybrid tech become the standard across the automotive industry in the mean time.

    I'm hoping that within a decade, the majority of cars on the market will be at least available with hybrid drive trains, if not standard.

    PS. if you wanna know more about the hurdles that need to be overcome before hydrogen is ready for us, check out this at motor trend:
    http://www.motortrend.com/features/consumer/112_0408_hydrogen/index2.html
    its got a lot of stuff, some interesting interviews with some guys who really know whats going on (others who don't as well... denis weaver i believe it was?)
     
  17. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    #17
    I'd like to see how much emissions are reduced in hybrids. While turning to hybrids because they benefit our wallet is great, it's even greater if emissions are drastically reduced.

    It's too bad that Ford has only introduced the Escape as a hybrid, it would be great to see some smaller cars and sedans get the technology too. Not everyone wants and or needs a mini SUV.
     
  18. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #18
    Less gas in equals less emissions out, right? Probably in pretty direct proportion?
     
  19. jeffy.dee-lux macrumors 6502a

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    #19
    check out the EPA's Green Vehicle Guide:
    http://www.epa.gov/greenvehicles/index.htm

    in terms of CO2, there is a direct relationship between how much gas is burned and how much CO2 is emitted. They say 20lbs per gallon of gasoline. A bit higher i believe for diesel.
    As far as other pollutants, like smog-producing pollutants such as nitrous oxides and so forth, it depends on how clean the engine is. A good engine could run very cleanly, while an old crappy engine might not completely burn everything, and incomplete combustion produces some nasty stuff as i hear it. Problems like that, i don't completely understand the specifics obviously, but you get the idea.

    That EPA site is really handy. I just wrote a proposal for school, looking at the possibility of replacing some of the university's vehicles with hybrids. Basically, they run a bunch of cute utes, like foresters, liberties, suzuki XL7s (they need four wheel drive cause the campus is hilly and often icy), and i looked at how much they'd save in terms of fuel, co2, smog-forming pollutants, and how long it would take them to recapture their initial investment in terms of fuel savings. I've got a little excel file that'll calculate a lot of this stuff for the escape, prius, xl7, liberty and forester. If you wanna play with it, let me know, i could send it to you. You just input things like, daily mileage, price of fuel, you get the idea.
     
  20. stubeeef macrumors 68030

    stubeeef

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    #20
    Was this directed to me? Cause I never said, make everyone own one. But with limited choices in styles there is not enough choices, I want more choices, a very free market thang. It is my understanding that many hybrids have waiting lists, makeing more would help satisfy an already existing market.

    In my contrary thread, I put double cafe standards too!
     
  21. jeffy.dee-lux macrumors 6502a

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    #21
    i disagree with what one of the people said in a letter to the author of that article, that hybrid cars shouldn't chase performance.
    The Accord Hybrid being not only the most fuel efficient model but also the quickest will vastly increase demand for it. People who want the cream of the crop, even those who might not even care about fuel efficiency, will be encouraged to buy this car. At this point, production can't meet demand, so they don;'t really have to worry about encouraging people to buy them. But down the line, once they can make the hybrid components quickly enough, they're gonna have to make sure people want to buy these cars.

    A car company could make the cleanest, most fuel efficient car in the world, but it wouldn't do the planet any good if nobody was convinced to buy it.
     
  22. stubeeef macrumors 68030

    stubeeef

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    #22
    I am positive that with the proper motivation, maybe as much as the "put a man on the moon" within 10 years kind of effort, we can overcome many of the hurdles. yes you need massive amounts of Elec to make the H, but there are other problems with oil drilling and refineries. Oil will never go away, infact with the plastic industry, and jet fuels, it may still get more in shortage. But we have to start somewhere, I believe that a hybrid is only a temp fix to a longer term problem.

    Thanks for sharing alot of your knowledge on this stuff, I appreciate it.
     
  23. Mechcozmo macrumors 603

    Mechcozmo

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    #23
    Personally, I think that hybrid cars are the new way to go.

    1. No new refueling stations. Very easy to pull into a gas station and refuel your new hybrid as well as your 10 year old pickup truck. Backwards-compatible if you want to geek-speak it. :)

    2. Fuel efficient. Duh. You can take an SUV and crank out 30 MPG or take a compact and crank out 50 MPG (realistically, you rarely see 60 averaging in a Prius... but 50 isn't bad)

    3. Power. More NASCAR cars are being looked at to be changed over to hybrids. Why? Because the electric engine provides a lot of torque at lower speeds. Also, if the car doesn't need to refuel as much, less pit stops need to be made. Hence, a better race can be run because the car doesn't need to stop every however many laps.

    If you made every car a hybrid, it would be really really good for everyone. Less dependance on foreign oil, less pollution, etc.

    But what if you were to add solar panels to the roofs of these hybrids? If you had a tribrid car, you could use the solar panels to generate electricity for the engines... you could run at 50 mph without a gas engine!
     
  24. jeffy.dee-lux macrumors 6502a

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    #24
    no problem buddy, its fun to talk about.

    Let me explain what i was getting at about the electricity requirements, though. As it stands, the vast majority of electricity produced is from the burning of fossil fuels. Where i am, its a bit different, Quebec's hydroelectric power is pretty intense and is the greatest source of electricity for us, but that's an exception to the rule. As it stands, it mostly comes from coal-fired plants.

    If we were to all of a sudden convert all our cars to hydrogen power, we would all of a sudden be consuming a lot of hydrogen. I'm sure many of you know that while hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe, on our planet, there are no giant reserves of pure hydrogen anywhere. All the hydrogen is locked up in molecules with other elements, like in water or in some of those crazy organic molecules. They talk about many different ways to extract the hydrogen, but either way, it takes energy to get the hydrogen out.
    So if we need lots of hydrogen, we'll have to produce a lot of electricity. Imagine how much more electricity would need to be produced if its now gotta also support practically the entire transportation industry. So for one thing, no matter what, whether we make the electricity cleanly or not, we're gonna have to vastly increase energy production to support hydrogen cars.

    Now like i said, at this point that electricity is produced in a dirty way. It poses pretty much the same problems as the gas burning engines we're trying to replace. So if we start building hydrogen powered cars now, all we're doing is removing people from the damage their causing. They're own car is not polluting, but the power plant that produced the electricity to produce the fuel is polluting. If anything, people are only gonna be more encouraged to drive more, as they'll be thinking they aren't doing any damage when in fact the damage is just coming out of a distant tail pipe.

    Hopefully in not too many years, our ability to produce electricity cleanly will increase vastly. Many people however question whether we will ever be able to support all the cars in the world on renewable energy. That's kinda scary, in which case we've got a real problem and we'll simply have to drive a lot less eventually.

    To me, that's the biggest hurdle. This guy Dr. Joseph Romm talks about some other problems and he really seems to know what he's talking about. Check this page out, its just a little ways into that Motor Trend report, which i assure you is much easier to read in magazine form.
    http://motortrend.com/features/consumer/112_0408_hydrogen/index12.html
    He talks about some of the more technical problems surrounding fuel cell technology, like how you have to compress H2 under some crazy pressures in order for it to contain a comparable amount of energy per volume to gasoline, giving hydrogen cars a reasonable range. As well as the durability and cost of the membranes you need in a fuel cell. But yeah, give it enough time, i'm sure we can figure it out.

    But i wonder whether hydrogen really is the ideal end state. If you think about it, hydrogen would only act as a way to store energy. We capture energy somewhere, say from wind or directly from the sun, turn that energy into electrical energy, and then store that energy in hydrogen, transport that hydrogen to where it can be delivered to cars, and then the cars have to carry it around somehow, and then eventually convert it back to electricity to drive an electric motor.
    What if we could just produce the electricity, distribute it out on our already existent electrical infrastructure (which of course would need to be beefed up like mad), hook up our cars, and power the cars directly off of that electricity. No need to convert it to the hydrogen middle man and carry that stuff around in heavy 10000psi tanks.

    If you think of it, the only problems with pure electric cars where that they had a short range, they were slow, and it would take a while to recharge. At this point, hydrogen cars aren't much better off. The range of Ahnold's hydrogen powered Hummer (hehehe, google it, its funny) is about 75 miles, and i'm sure it ain't too quick either. Hydrogen cars also rely on electric motors (except for those crazy hydrogen internal combustion engines, that's another possibility...) as what would be used in electric vehicles, so there's no reason they'd be any faster.
    Do these problems really sound all that tough to overcome? Okay, so:

    - increase the storage capacity of batteries. Paul MacCready on this page of that MT article talks about this, saying battery technology has really improved lately in terms of storage.
    - make it so that we can charge our cars up pretty quickly. we could charge them up while we sleep, they'd be all set for driving around town, going to work. For those rare trips over a few hundred miles, make it so that you can recharge the car in a reasonable amount of time. I've actually got a good idea as to how we can solve the problem of recharge times, i don't wanna brag or anything, but i actually feel its such a good idea that i don't wanna mention it here in hopes that once i finally get out of school i could actually do something about it and not find that its already been thought of, which happens to me a lot, consarnit. Basically my idea would have your car back and running in a matter of say two minutes or so.
    - and lastly, make electric cars fast enough to meet our growing standards. DONE. Look up "Toyota Volta", 0-60 in 4 second, hybrid car. Electric motors have crazy low end torque, in fact the prius has a higher peak torque than a ford expedition, well that is until the ford gets a new engine next year some time.

    Those technological hurdles don't seem any more daunting than what hydrogen tech faces, and it even seems a bit more within reach to me, i dunno about you guys.

    What's really cool though, is that Hybrid cars could really provide an easy transition to pure electric vehicles. I'm sure some of you have heard of Plug-In Hybrids (which magazine was it that said "great, just when people are figuring out that you don't have to plug hybrids in..."). Basically its a hybrid car that's got a pretty high storage battery which you can plug in over night. That way, the next day, if you don't drive beyond the range your battery provides, like say to work and back, or to get groceries, you never have to tap into your gas tank. If you're going on a long trip, just gas it up at a regular station when you finally do reach the end of its range. Gradually, as the electrical technology got better, the gas would be needed less and less. Eventually, we'd hopefully get to a point where the gas tank would become pointless, and we could do everything we want under battery power. What do you guys think of that?

    I know for one thing, with that model, we still have the problem of having to produce the electricity cleanly in the first place. Also there's the issue of recycling batteries. They can do some damage once they're finished their duty. I hope this is something we can overcome. The Ford Escape Hybrid is 85% recyclable! While i have no numbers to compare that to, i would assume that if Ford is bragging about that, its a good thing.

    So sorry for going on so long, thank you to anyone who actually took the time to read all that. And sorry if you feel like i'm being preachy or know-it-all-y. I really tend to ramble about these things, just ask my girlfriend.
     
  25. jeffy.dee-lux macrumors 6502a

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    #25
    GOOD GRAVY
    i'm sorry, i really didn't realize that was that long, its hard to tell in the little text box. hmmm... when will i start studying?
     

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