OT - Hybrid technology

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BeachPerson
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OT - Hybrid technology

Post by BeachPerson » Sun Jun 08, 2008 4:25 pm

Is there a patten for hybrid technology? Anyway, it would be ideal if say 70% or so of the new cars made could go to the technology. Need to cut down on gas.
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Post by Hermes » Sun Jun 08, 2008 4:36 pm

I think we're moving that way eventually. There was an opinion piece I read on CNN Money recently arguing that the current gas prices are a bubble; however, even if/when prices normalize, I don't think we'll ever see the return of $1/gallon gas like we did in 2000. (This was back when I first got my license!)

If you're interesting in purchasing a hybrid vehicle, the Toyota Prius and Honda Civic Hybrid have gotten good reviews. There are several cost calculators available that will estimate the savings (if any) you would accrue through driving one. Alternatively, the normal Civic gets about 25 and 36 mpg, city and highway, respectively. Just don't accelerate too quickly and you should get pretty decent mileage. =)

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Re: OT - Hybrid technology

Post by tibbitts » Sun Jun 08, 2008 6:33 pm

davidkw wrote:Is there a patten for hybrid technology? Anyway, it would be ideal if say 70% or so of the new cars made could go to the technology. Need to cut down on gas.
I don't think there is a patent on all of hybrid technology, but I'm sure individual components may have patents. However, I don't think patents are an obstacle to adoption. Many people feel hybrids are a transitional technology that multiplies the number of components that can fail, and many who keep cars for 8-10 years are concerned what will happen when the batteries fail. Many people are probably concerned that the batteries will just gradually poop out (like the batteries in our laptops and other digital appliances), offering ever-decreasing advantages over a conventional solution. And many are simply unwilling to pay more for a hybrid.

Paul

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Re: OT - Hybrid technology

Post by PaPaw » Sun Jun 08, 2008 6:50 pm

tibbitts wrote:
davidkw wrote:Is there a patten for hybrid technology? Anyway, it would be ideal if say 70% or so of the new cars made could go to the technology. Need to cut down on gas.
I don't think there is a patent on all of hybrid technology, but I'm sure individual components may have patents. However, I don't think patents are an obstacle to adoption. Many people feel hybrids are a transitional technology that multiplies the number of components that can fail, and many who keep cars for 8-10 years are concerned what will happen when the batteries fail. Many people are probably concerned that the batteries will just gradually poop out (like the batteries in our laptops and other digital appliances), offering ever-decreasing advantages over a conventional solution. And many are simply unwilling to pay more for a hybrid.

Paul
See this energy consumption by source and sector info from the government:
http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/aer/pecss_diagram.html

It shows that if every bit of transportation equipment switched away from petroleum (cars, trucks, trains, planes) to something else, we could only reduce petroleum based energy by 28% - thus switching 70% of cars to hybrid technology, while a step in the right direction, is only a very tiny baby step. I think the "hybrid wave" is perhaps more marketing driven than actual benefit driven.

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Post by rwwoods » Sun Jun 08, 2008 6:59 pm

Toyota has a patent on the hybrid technology used in the Prius, and Ford and Mazda have licenses to use Toyota's technology. The news on the net is that the 2009 Prius will get better mileage and will cost less than the 2008 model. This change is being driven by competion with Honda's hybrid Civic.
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Does GM or Dodge have a hybrid???

Post by BeachPerson » Sun Jun 08, 2008 7:12 pm

Does GM or Dodge have a hybrid???
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Re: Does GM or Dodge have a hybrid???

Post by winterescape » Sun Jun 08, 2008 7:22 pm

davidkw wrote:Does GM or Dodge have a hybrid???
GM has several. Most are trucks but they also have the Chevy Malibu and the Saturn Aura. They have announced that they will offer a plug-in hybrid Saturn Vue.

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Post by nisiprius » Sun Jun 08, 2008 8:00 pm

The key concepts behind the modern hybrid are often credited to a team at TRW (Thompson Ramo Wooldridge), a United States technology firm which did a lot of automotive development. This team developed, built, and demonstrated a working electromechanical power train in the late 1960s. It consisted of a small gasoline engine that was required to run only at speeds at which it was efficient; a planetary gear system; and a "a traction motor known as the 'torquer' that could operate bimodally by either adding torque or subtracting it through regenerative braking;" and a battery that was relatively small because needed only to supply bursts of torque, not to be the primary drive for the car.

This is quite different from the idea of an electric engine driven by batteries continuously charged by gasoline-engined-powered generator, and it is the conceptual design of current hybrid engines, including Toyota's.

TRW was unable to interest any carmarker, domestic or foreign, in the system at the time, and patents expired long before Toyota developed their engine, so there was no infringement.

An article entitled Present at the Creation gives many details. In partcular:
In the 1990s, under the auspices of TRW’s Center for Automotive Technology, they visited a domestic automaker with an updated EMT design, only to be told it would never use the TRW system in place of its planned electric motor-assist design. Ironically, claims Gelb, that same automaker "now licenses Toyota’s technology for its small SUV, a design based on our original work."
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Re: OT - Hybrid technology

Post by frose2 » Sun Jun 08, 2008 9:02 pm

PaPaw wrote:See this energy consumption by source and sector info from the government:
http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/aer/pecss_diagram.html

It shows that if every bit of transportation equipment switched away from petroleum (cars, trucks, trains, planes) to something else, we could only reduce petroleum based energy by 28%.
As I read the diagram, it says that 69% of petroleum is consumed in transportation, and that 96% of the energy consumed in transportation comes from petroleum. Very different from your 28% figure.

Nonetheless I do not think hybrid technology will become prevalent, because I don't think cars have much time left to go.

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Re: OT - Hybrid technology

Post by PaPaw » Sun Jun 08, 2008 10:02 pm

frose2 wrote:
PaPaw wrote:See this energy consumption by source and sector info from the government:
http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/aer/pecss_diagram.html

It shows that if every bit of transportation equipment switched away from petroleum (cars, trucks, trains, planes) to something else, we could only reduce petroleum based energy by 28%.
As I read the diagram, it says that 69% of petroleum is consumed in transportation, and that 96% of the energy consumed in transportation comes from petroleum. Very different from your 28% figure.

Nonetheless I do not think hybrid technology will become prevalent, because I don't think cars have much time left to go.
I think the graph shows 39.8% of the total energy consumed in the US is from petroleum of which 69% goes to transportation or 39.8 x 0.69 = 27.46%. I rounded that to 28%. Maybe I read the graph wrong though.

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Post by blood_donor » Sun Jun 08, 2008 10:30 pm

I think things will go like this, to meet CAFE going forward:

Lighter, smaller vehicles
Smaller less powerful engines (no more 7s family haulers)
Some hybrids
Some diesels
Some gas turbo direct injection
V8s will become rich man's toys
V6s will be luxury/truck motors
I4s will be standard
Basic cars will be substantially more expensive.

The golden age of cheap horsepower ($25k 300hp V8 Mustangs) will soon be over.

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Re: OT - Hybrid technology

Post by Valuethinker » Mon Jun 09, 2008 2:44 am

PaPaw wrote:
tibbitts wrote:
davidkw wrote:Is there a patten for hybrid technology? Anyway, it would be ideal if say 70% or so of the new cars made could go to the technology. Need to cut down on gas.
I don't think there is a patent on all of hybrid technology, but I'm sure individual components may have patents. However, I don't think patents are an obstacle to adoption. Many people feel hybrids are a transitional technology that multiplies the number of components that can fail, and many who keep cars for 8-10 years are concerned what will happen when the batteries fail. Many people are probably concerned that the batteries will just gradually poop out (like the batteries in our laptops and other digital appliances), offering ever-decreasing advantages over a conventional solution. And many are simply unwilling to pay more for a hybrid.

Paul
See this energy consumption by source and sector info from the government:
http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/aer/pecss_diagram.html

It shows that if every bit of transportation equipment switched away from petroleum (cars, trucks, trains, planes) to something else, we could only reduce petroleum based energy by 28% - thus switching 70% of cars to hybrid technology, while a step in the right direction, is only a very tiny baby step. I think the "hybrid wave" is perhaps more marketing driven than actual benefit driven.

70% of US petroleum consumption is for transportation (I've seen estimates as high as 77%).

Don't get confused with total US energy consumption.

The US is self sufficient in coal, in wind, in hydropower. Source of uranium is not very important in nuclear.

It's really only natural gas and oil that are big imports.

From a pollution point of view coal is the biggest polluter by far.

So the oil thing is all about transportation consumption. For this reason, WalMart is funding the creation of a hybrid truck: their ability to fund 10,000+ units makes it interesting for a truck builder to invest in the technology. WMT reckons they can cut diesel consumption by 30% doing that.

Eventually we will move to all-electric, or hydrogen, powered vehicles. But the technology is nowhere near ready to roll.

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Re: OT - Hybrid technology

Post by Valuethinker » Mon Jun 09, 2008 2:47 am

davidkw wrote:Is there a patten for hybrid technology? Anyway, it would be ideal if say 70% or so of the new cars made could go to the technology. Need to cut down on gas.
Diesel is your rival technology: half of the new cars sold in Western Europe are diesel. The big manufacturers, including Ford and GM, share technology.

More local air pollution (particulates, Nox) but less CO2 and about 30% more fuel efficient (diesel fuel has 14% more energy per unit volume).

Peugeot Citroen has a diesel hybrid that can do 80mpg. But the cost is too high to be commercial. WalMart is designing trucks using that technology.

When the plug -in hybrid hits, 80mpg+ becomes a reality.

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Can Detroit change???

Post by BeachPerson » Mon Jun 09, 2008 5:03 am

Lighter, smaller vehicles
Smaller less powerful engines (no more 7s family haulers)
Some hybrids
Some diesels
Some gas turbo direct injection
V8s will become rich man's toys
V6s will be luxury/truck motors
I4s will be standard
Basic cars will be substantially more expensive.
The American car manfactures just do not seem to like to make small cars. "Little cars, little profit". I did own an 1997 and a 2001 Saturn, but went back to a 2006 Toyota Corolla. I did not like that Saturn got away from the original concept of a car that whose ideal was to be low cost, low maintenance to go up against the Corolla and Civic.

The American car manufactures better change this time.
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Re: Can Detroit change???

Post by blood_donor » Mon Jun 09, 2008 8:01 am

We are.

The problem is that there is limited flexibility in the business (unionized workforce, huge capital costs, etc.) which make major changes to product portfolio take a long time.

Smaller, more fuel efficient vehicles are coming. It takes a while to get there.

For example, I think you will see the large pickup truck and large SUVs become much lower volume. There will be more small and medium sized crossover vehicles (unibody based wagon-ey/SUV like things).
davidkw wrote:
Lighter, smaller vehicles
Smaller less powerful engines (no more 7s family haulers)
Some hybrids
Some diesels
Some gas turbo direct injection
V8s will become rich man's toys
V6s will be luxury/truck motors
I4s will be standard
Basic cars will be substantially more expensive.
The American car manfactures just do not seem to like to make small cars. "Little cars, little profit". I did own an 1997 and a 2001 Saturn, but went back to a 2006 Toyota Corolla. I did not like that Saturn got away from the original concept of a car that whose ideal was to be low cost, low maintenance to go up against the Corolla and Civic.

The American car manufactures better change this time.

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Re: Can Detroit change???

Post by nisiprius » Mon Jun 09, 2008 8:33 am

davidkw wrote:The American car manfactures just do not seem to like to make small cars.
Mom sure loved the fire-engine red Nash Rambler she owned in the late 1950s.
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Re: Can Detroit change???

Post by Valuethinker » Mon Jun 09, 2008 11:12 am

nisiprius wrote:
davidkw wrote:The American car manfactures just do not seem to like to make small cars.
Mom sure loved the fire-engine red Nash Rambler she owned in the late 1950s.
And Studebaker. Like American Motors, eventually went under/ subsumed.

The mentality which created small cars in Japan and Europe was very different. Roads are narrower, parking spaces are (much) smaller and incomes were lower. Fuel has always been more expensive, even before we had mile high gas taxes (60% of the cost of a gallon of petrol in the UK is tax, vs. sub 10% in the US?).

Different takes on that. In Germany, there are no speed limits on Autobahn (I've been told by Germans its not quite that simple, but it serves as an approximation). So Germans developed cars that can perform at very high speeds -- an American luxury SUV would feel very odd at 100+ mph, but a Porsche or a Mercedes does not.

On the cost side, this led to strategies to make profits on very small cars: the Japanese first and foremost.

There is a famous story about Honda motorbikes. They tried to enter the US with big racing bikes, and Harley and Triumph cleaned their clocks. They were about to pull out of the US market, then someone noticed that the little utility bikes they used around the warehouse were always being 'borrowed'.

Bang, they invented a whole new, undiscovered market: the market in 1960s America for women, college students, office workers etc. to ride motorbikes.

Something similar happened in cars. The Big 3 went with the prevalent market for big cars. The Japanese (and Europeans) had smaller cars, so that was the market they competed in.

When the first oil crisis came, the Japanese had a product American buyers wanted. That gave them market foothold.

Since then the US carmakers have never quite caught up. the bias was always towards bigger more profit per car. The Ford Explorer was the world's most profitable car (not coincidentally, in the year, 1998, when oil reached a 70 year low).

The irony is GM and Ford make decent small cars, in Europe. They just can't import them profitably into the US. At European labour rates and social costs, no European car maker can compete in the US: Mercedes and BMW now manufacture in the US. And the smallest cars are by and large not sold in the US (Fiats etc.).

We are onto the next iteration. The young Japanese doesn't see a car as a style or status statement. So microcars are 40% of the market. By and large, these are not sold in the US.

What the Japanese manufacturers are now learning is how to compete in a static, static market for passenger cars, where 40% of their sales are in the tiny profit per unit segment.

My own view is eventually the Big 2 will seek Chapter 11, jettison their legacy healthcare and pension liabilities and their vast dealer networks (franchising laws make it difficult for them to rid themselves of unprofitable dealers).

Just closing a marque like Pontiac or Buick would be hugely expensive because of the dealer problem.

So the Big 2 will go Chapter 11, and then compete on much lower cost bases, with much smaller number of marques and much less market share.

Ironically their international divisions are in relatively good shape. However if too much investment is sucked back into home base, they will lose competitiveness in the Emerging Markets.

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Post by ryuns » Mon Jun 09, 2008 11:28 am

It sure is fun to see all the "toys" for sale every time I visit my mom is the Central Valley of CA. Cheap cost of living, easy credit and proximity to mountains, lakes, dunes, and ocean (not to mention a strange redneck machismo that seems to attract everyone to motorsports) really brought people to buy boats, ATV's, dirtbikes, etc etc. Then they needed something to tow all that, and maybe a toy hauler to sleep in, too. Needless to say, your entire recreational pursuit is dedicated to gas consumption. Over the course of the last year, it seems like everyone is selling this stuff with no buyers. You're seeing people trying to sell their SUV + trailer + 2 jetskis as a single package.

Don't get me wrong, that stuff IS awfully fun, but to think that middle class Americans should spend every weekend at the dunes riding 4 different ATV's is pretty far-fetched. These days, I'm seeing much better logic about this stuff. People thinking "Hey, I only need a truck once in a while. Maybe I'll just buy a small car, then rent something bigger when I need it. " Or "Hey, actually, minivans aren't THAT goofy. Better than a $50k, 12 mpg Suburban".

And let me tell you, the bus was definitely full this morning on my way to work, even though the seats violate our personal space, eh nisiprius?

:D

Ryan

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Re: OT - Hybrid technology

Post by MossySF » Mon Jun 09, 2008 11:57 am

Valuethinker wrote: So the oil thing is all about transportation consumption. For this reason, WalMart is funding the creation of a hybrid truck: their ability to fund 10,000+ units makes it interesting for a truck builder to invest in the technology. WMT reckons they can cut diesel consumption by 30% doing that.
The bus system here (San Francisco) just started running diesel+electric hybrid buses starting this year.

http://www.sfmta.com/cms/mfleet/hybrids.htm

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Post by superlight » Mon Jun 09, 2008 12:28 pm

The latest Honda Civic Hybrid and the Prius both get an honest 48 mpg in normal driving:

http://www.greenhybrid.com/compare/mileage/

That is a major increase, and that is probably why most hybrid drivers favor those models. There was a time when pundits expected something different. They expected we'd "hybridize" everything and keep driving the same sorts of cars. The poor sales of "sports hybrids" and "hybrid SUVs" show how that idea failed.

A fleet that was 30-40% Civic/Prius class would make a big difference to national fuel consumption.

Heck, gas prices keep rising and something smaller, like the Insight, could make a comeback.
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Re: OT - Hybrid technology

Post by House Blend » Mon Jun 09, 2008 1:34 pm

davidkw wrote: Anyway, it would be ideal if say 70% or so of the new cars made could go to the technology. Need to cut down on gas.
Looks like there are still supply-chain issues that still need to be ironed out. Assuming the demand was there, I think it would take a long time before the car mfrs could spit out hybrids at that rate.

Case in point:

http://www.autoblog.com/2008/06/04/priu ... ry-supply/

Sales of the prius are down 40% from a year ago. Why? Not from lack of demand. (Apparently, hybrids from all mfr's are in short supply.) Because they're having trouble ramping up production of the batteries.

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Post by eucalyptus » Mon Jun 09, 2008 3:06 pm

IMO there is a potentially significant market for ultra high end/exotic hybrids. TESLA is a start, but the real marques will follow:

http://www.autobloggreen.com/2007/12/05 ... will-come/

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Re: OT - Hybrid technology

Post by ryuns » Mon Jun 09, 2008 3:47 pm

House Blend wrote:
davidkw wrote: Anyway, it would be ideal if say 70% or so of the new cars made could go to the technology. Need to cut down on gas.
Looks like there are still supply-chain issues that still need to be ironed out. Assuming the demand was there, I think it would take a long time before the car mfrs could spit out hybrids at that rate.

Case in point:

http://www.autoblog.com/2008/06/04/priu ... ry-supply/

Sales of the prius are down 40% from a year ago. Why? Not from lack of demand. (Apparently, hybrids from all mfr's are in short supply.) Because they're having trouble ramping up production of the batteries.
Honda is definitely tackling this issue. Honda said:
hybrid production capacity at Suzuka [the new production facility] will increase from 70,000 vehicles per year to approximately 250,000 units, with future expansion possible if needed
http://corporate.honda.com/press/article.aspx?id=4510

Honda's hybrids aren't quite as advanced as Toyota's but I believe the Honda's system is smaller, lighter, and cheaper. They definitely learned from their mistakes. The new hybrid will be a dedicated model (not a hybrid version of an existing model), so marketing is much more straightforward. It's aimed at being practical and cheap, so I'd guess you'll see a Prius fighter coming in sub-$20k. They'll also hybridize the Fit, which is a cool, fuel efficient car in its own right.

I agree with VT that diesel hybrids will probably be the interim step to alt fuels.

Ryan

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Hybrid?

Post by murphyjh » Mon Jun 09, 2008 5:08 pm

The Toyota Prius is a wonderful advance in automobile technology. However, the hybrid aspect of its design gets too much credit in the public media. The Prius actually has three major advances:

1.The electric storage subsystem, which is great for stop-and-go driving, but adds a lot of weight, which adversely affects highway fuel economy,

2. Very good streamlining, which improves highway fuel economy but does nearly nothing in town, and

3. Equipment efficiency improvements, notably electric power steering, which help at all speeds.

A very efficient automobile could be made using #2 and #3, while avoiding the weight and high initial cost of #1.

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Post by superlight » Mon Jun 09, 2008 5:22 pm

Hi Murphy,

This wikipedia page has amazing data on automobile drag. The Prius 2 (2004 onward) is right down there at the bottom (most efficient) end of the list, but so is the Audi A2.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Automobile ... efficients

Maybe that will give you your comparison. (As a Prius driver I often see the electrical system doing its good work at freeway speeds. As an example, on the hour [or so] trip back down the mountain from Big Bear I can avoid running the gasoline engine completely.)
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Down memory lane: 2003, Ford and GM's Prius-style cars

Post by nisiprius » Mon Jun 09, 2008 7:00 pm

The New York Times, Nov 6, 2003 p C1
G.M. Puts Off Its Hybrids, Letting Ford Go First.

General Motors has delayed plans to sell a hybrid vehicle similar to the Toyota Prius by two years, until 2007, according to people close to the company's product development strategy.

That means that Ford, which plans to sell a hybrid version of its Escape sport utility vehicle next year, will put a light-duty, Prius-style hybrid on the road about three years before its American rival.
What Ford and GM light-duty Prius-style hybrids? What happened to them?
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GM's in-showrooms-by-2009 hydrogen fuel-cell car

Post by nisiprius » Mon Jun 09, 2008 7:01 pm

Haven't heard much about the Hy-Wire lately... a few years ago GM execs were implying that the reason they weren't doing hybrids was that they were working on something much better which was going to be available real soon.

The New York Times, Feb 21, 2003 p A29(N):
Our new hydrogen bomb.(a test-drive of the GM Hy-wire hydrogen car, and the prospect of no wars in the future over fossil fuels)

To understand how we might bolster our national security aside from invading Iraq, I'm on a General Motors test track here in Arizona, driving the coolest car you've never seen.

It's called Hy-wire, and it's a one-of-a-kind prototype: a four-door sedan fueled by hydrogen, capable of speeds of 100 miles an hour, whisper-quiet, and emitting no pollution at all -- only water vapor as exhaust. It looks like a spaceship, with glass all around and no pedals or steering wheel....

General Motors is talking about having the Hy-wire in showrooms by 2010.
The New York Times, Sept 24, 2006, p18
Prequel to a Hydrogen Future: Driving G.M.'s Fuel Cell Prototype.

If an afternoon behind the wheel of General Motors' latest prototype hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, the Sequel, is any indication, automotive powertrains of the future will not feel much different from the engines that drive today's cars and trucks.... the Sequel feels reasonably peppy; acceleration is smooth and nearly silent. And it is capable of reaching 90 miles an hour, said Mohsen Shabana, chief engineer for the Sequel program and my passenger on the test drive.

...There's more: G.M. promised three years ago that by 2010 it would have a hydrogen fuel cell propulsion system, fully validated for production, that would compete head-to-head with the internal combustion engine in overall performance and durability. By all indications, that fuel cell -- a development of the Sequel's powertrain -- will be installed in a redesigned Equinox body scheduled to makes its debut in 2009.
I doubt the local Chevy dealership will have one to test-drive next year, but, then again I'm not sure I know where the local hydrogen filling station is.
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Hybrids better with city miles???

Post by BeachPerson » Mon Jun 09, 2008 7:29 pm

According to Kelly Blue Book, the Toyota Prius gets 48 mpg in the city, and 45 mpg on the highway. KBB on the Prius

Why does the car do better with city miles?
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Re: Hybrids better with city miles???

Post by tibbitts » Mon Jun 09, 2008 7:47 pm

davidkw wrote:According to Kelly Blue Book, the Toyota Prius gets 48 mpg in the city, and 45 mpg on the highway. KBB on the Prius

Why does the car do better with city miles?
I imagine the car uses electricity it stores from braking during the city cycle. If there's no braking in the highway cycle, there's no electricity being generated.

Paul

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Re: OT - Hybrid technology

Post by frose2 » Mon Jun 09, 2008 8:16 pm

Valuethinker wrote:Eventually we will move to all-electric, or hydrogen, powered vehicles. But the technology is nowhere near ready to roll.
Electric cars have existed for over 100 years. Electric cars have had very limited range for over 100 years.

Hydogen is not a separate fuel but is made from natural gas. Fuel cells that consume hydrogen have zero emissions, but other than this I see no advantage to taking our limited natural gas, turning it into hydrogen, and consuming it in an expensive fuel cell car.

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Re: Hybrids better with city miles???

Post by MossySF » Mon Jun 09, 2008 8:30 pm

tibbitts wrote:
davidkw wrote:According to Kelly Blue Book, the Toyota Prius gets 48 mpg in the city, and 45 mpg on the highway. KBB on the Prius

Why does the car do better with city miles?
I imagine the car uses electricity it stores from braking during the city cycle. If there's no braking in the highway cycle, there's no electricity being generated.

Paul
Prius actually does best in a suburban setting -- 30-40 mph speed with few stops. That's when you can set the car into glide mode where it coasts with the gas engine off and only the electric engine periodically accelerating or recharging. (Stops & starts in city mode does recharge but converting from kinetic energy to electric is never 100% efficient.) I can easily hit 60'ish mpg in this setting.

In highway mode, the wheels are spinning too fast so the gas engine is always on just to keep the electric engine from blowing up.

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Re: Hybrids better with city miles???

Post by superlight » Mon Jun 09, 2008 8:37 pm

davidkw wrote:According to Kelly Blue Book, the Toyota Prius gets 48 mpg in the city, and 45 mpg on the highway.

Why does the car do better with city miles?
I think there are just some non-intuitive things going on. In my experience the difference between 45 and 50 mpg can be trip length or the timing of the hills along your route. I have a bit of a feel for it after driving one for 3 years, but that's all.

Of course once you are up to 45-50 the variability, and the effect on your yearly gas budget, is a lot less. Run the numbers for your miles-per-year.

(I've only gotten 65 mpg on long mild downhill stretches, or with a good tailwind.)
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Re: OT - Hybrid technology

Post by Valuethinker » Tue Jun 10, 2008 1:38 am

frose2 wrote:
Valuethinker wrote:Eventually we will move to all-electric, or hydrogen, powered vehicles. But the technology is nowhere near ready to roll.
Electric cars have existed for over 100 years. Electric cars have had very limited range for over 100 years.

Hydogen is not a separate fuel but is made from natural gas. Fuel cells that consume hydrogen have zero emissions, but other than this I see no advantage to taking our limited natural gas, turning it into hydrogen, and consuming it in an expensive fuel cell car.

- fuel cells
- hydrogen via electrolysis of water (yes, I know the efficiency is half what it is via a natural gas feedstock, but I said *eventually*)
- other clever catalysis of hydrogen (conceptually at least, coal as the feedstock, with carbon sequestration via IGCC power stations)
- electric battery power density is the limiting factor, eventually we will crack it

It will come. We will go from a civilisation powered by historic solar power (laid down hundreds of millions of years ago in prehistoric forests and seas) to one powered by current solar power (effectively tides, winds, direct solar energy).

The tough bit will be the 50 years transition on the way.

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Re: Hybrids better with city miles???

Post by Valuethinker » Tue Jun 10, 2008 1:39 am

tibbitts wrote:
davidkw wrote:According to Kelly Blue Book, the Toyota Prius gets 48 mpg in the city, and 45 mpg on the highway. KBB on the Prius

Why does the car do better with city miles?
I imagine the car uses electricity it stores from braking during the city cycle. If there's no braking in the highway cycle, there's no electricity being generated.

Paul
Exactly. Regenerative braking. Also (i would think) the gasoline engine is being used least at the time when it is the most inefficient. Electric motors are high torque and relatively low speed, so very efficient at 0-25mph.

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Re: Hybrids better with city miles???

Post by nisiprius » Tue Jun 10, 2008 5:04 am

Valuethinker wrote:
Why does the car do better with city miles?

I imagine the car uses electricity it stores from braking during the city cycle. If there's no braking in the highway cycle, there's no electricity being generated.

Paul
Exactly. Regenerative braking. Also (i would think) the gasoline engine is being used least at the time when it is the most inefficient. Electric motors are high torque and relatively low speed, so very efficient at 0-25mph.
Actually I've read that regenerative braking isn't that big a deal, and only accounts for something like 1 or 2 miles per gallon... and that the efficiency of the generate-store-reuse cycle is only around 30%, i.e. only about a third of the braking energy gets reused. It's just a small incremental benefit, like the low-drag body shape.

The main benefit of the Prius-type system is that just that it uses a small, efficient engine and always runs that engine in its efficient speed range. What the electric motor does is not to drive the car so much as to provide a torquing boost so the Prius can get acceptable acceleration and general driving performance with the small engine. The key idea behind the TRW original concept is that it did not require a battery capable of storing enough energy to drive the car a significant distance.

Obviously an important part of the design is the electromechanical system that lets the electric motor(s) (there are actually two motor-generators in the system, not just one) adjust smoothly and continuously back and forth to adjust to driving requirements, battery state of charge, and so forth, so that it just drives and isn't lurching from mode to mode. I don't know what they did in the TRW system but it probably wouldn't have been possible to build a practical system until it was possible to put computers into cars! I've read about Prius enthusiasts that instrument their cars and make a hobby out of trying to figure out exactly what all three components are actually doing when and why.

Although the Prius system is not truly a CVT (continuously variable transmission) it has some similarities. Note that reported Prius mileages are not that different from the mileages that Honda was able to get with their CVT car just a few years ago... not sure what happened to that one.

Just guessing, but I'll bet the good city mileage is just because the car is being driven more slowly and has to overcome less air resistance than on the highway. In an ordinary car that fact would be masked by all of the inefficiencies of constantly changing engine speeds, and constantly needing to use it at inefficient speeds, in city driving.
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Re: Down memory lane: 2003, Ford and GM's Prius-style cars

Post by blood_donor » Tue Jun 10, 2008 6:11 am

http://www.leftlanenews.com/spied-ford- ... ybrid.html

nisiprius wrote:The New York Times, Nov 6, 2003 p C1
G.M. Puts Off Its Hybrids, Letting Ford Go First.

General Motors has delayed plans to sell a hybrid vehicle similar to the Toyota Prius by two years, until 2007, according to people close to the company's product development strategy.

That means that Ford, which plans to sell a hybrid version of its Escape sport utility vehicle next year, will put a light-duty, Prius-style hybrid on the road about three years before its American rival.
What Ford and GM light-duty Prius-style hybrids? What happened to them?

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Re: Down memory lane: 2003, Ford and GM's Prius-style cars

Post by nisiprius » Tue Jun 10, 2008 8:33 am

blood_donor wrote:http://www.leftlanenews.com/spied-ford- ... ybrid.html
nisiprius wrote:Ford, which plans to sell a hybrid version of its Escape sport utility vehicle next year, will put a light-duty, Prius-style hybrid on the road about three years before its American rival.
What Ford and GM light-duty Prius-style hybrids? What happened to them?
A Ford SUV that is still a rumor is not a "light-duty, Prius-style" vehicle that was going to be "on the road about three years before" 2007.
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Re: Down memory lane: 2003, Ford and GM's Prius-style cars

Post by greg24 » Tue Jun 10, 2008 9:07 am

nisiprius wrote:A Ford SUV that is still a rumor is not a "light-duty, Prius-style" vehicle that was going to be "on the road about three years before" 2007.
Actually that link showed a rumor of a Ford Fusion, which is a sedan.

Still a rumor. :D

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Re: Hybrids better with city miles???

Post by superlight » Tue Jun 10, 2008 9:20 am

nisiprius wrote:Just guessing, but I'll bet the good city mileage is just because the car is being driven more slowly and has to overcome less air resistance than on the highway. In an ordinary car that fact would be masked by all of the inefficiencies of constantly changing engine speeds, and constantly needing to use it at inefficient speeds, in city driving.
Around here I'd guess the Prius drivers are split around 90:10, with most driving as aggressively as everyone else. The remaining 10 try to squeeze out MPG ... but as I'm sure you know, proper technique for that is to accelerate briskly to the speed limit and then cruise (or if you are really obsessive, I'm not, pulse-glide at the speed limit).

I actually thought it would work more like murphyjh says, before I got my own Prius. As an old real-time programmer I can sort of see the choices the computer makes now as it balances electric and gasoline drive. It's "complicated" ;-)

The bottom line of course is real world mileage, and that's easy to compare without second guessing all the engineering. In fact the EPA has a database of real-world (reported) MPGs for all kinds of cars (hybrids and non):

http://www.fueleconomy.gov/mpg/MPG.do?action=browseList

When something (esp. a similarly sized car) beats the Prius I'll be a fan.

One note, what I notice that's really a mileage killer around here is that some roads have a bad combination of high speed limits and frequent un-timed lights. Everyone accelerates to 50 MPH, stops, accelerates to 50 MPH, stops, accelerates to 50 MPH, stops ... probably totally unaware of what it is doing to their mileage ... unless they are a fringe Prius driver with one eye on the computer.

Wider timing (so flow is uninterrupted) would improve everyone's mileage.
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Re: Down memory lane: 2003, Ford and GM's Prius-style cars

Post by nisiprius » Tue Jun 10, 2008 9:41 am

greg24 wrote:that link showed a rumor of a Ford Fusion, which is a sedan. Still a rumor. :D
You're right. Sorry. Didn't know what a Fusion is, so I Googled on exact phrase "Ford Fusion", and for some reason, at least when I do it, Google describes the page as "Ford Vehicles offers information on the all-new 2008 Ford Fusion, including SUV comparisons, SUV options, colors, 360 views, photo gallery, models, trims, ..." The page itself doesn't read that way. Odd.
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Post by superlight » Tue Jun 10, 2008 10:04 am

Heh, it's [Ford's] meta information for search engines:

Code: Select all

<meta name="description" content="Ford Vehicles offers information on the all-new 2008 Ford Fusion, including SUV comparisons, SUV options, ...
Not sure that's what they want these days.
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Post by greg24 » Tue Jun 10, 2008 11:03 am

It is weird that the page description lists all the SUV comparison stuff.

They "keywords" which theoretically affect search impact are:

Ford Fusion, Fusion, 2008 fusion, 2008 ford fusion, sedan, 4 door, 4 door sedan, 4dr, 4dr sedan, duratec, duratec engine, American car, Ford, buy car online, Ford vehicles, Ford vehicle, Ford automobile, Ford automobiles, colors, 360 views, photo gallery

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For Prius owners - Is Prius anything out of the ordinary???

Post by BeachPerson » Tue Jun 10, 2008 12:30 pm

For a Prius is there anything out of the ordinary for car maintenance??? What are the big surprises???
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Re: For Prius owners - Is Prius anything out of the ordinary

Post by superlight » Tue Jun 10, 2008 1:14 pm

davidkw wrote:For a Prius is there anything out of the ordinary for car maintenance??? What are the big surprises???
I only have 40K miles, but I've only had to do the usual tune-ups. I think in this day and age 3K miles is too often ... but I guess I'm comparing to the Honda/Toyota standard.

FWIW, Consumer Reports ranks the Prius as a best _used_ buy, so it must be fairly reliable from there data:

http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/cars ... /overview/
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Re: For Prius owners - Is Prius anything out of the ordinary

Post by cdelena » Tue Jun 10, 2008 3:37 pm

davidkw wrote:For a Prius is there anything out of the ordinary for car maintenance??? What are the big surprises???
One of the things not obvious is the high cost of accident repair if there was any damage to the hybrid mechanism. What might be a $3k repair in a conventional auto can turn into $13K. Have seen it in two incidents.

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Re: For Prius owners - Is Prius anything out of the ordinary

Post by superlight » Wed Jun 11, 2008 4:10 am

cdelena wrote:One of the things not obvious is the high cost of accident repair if there was any damage to the hybrid mechanism. What might be a $3k repair in a conventional auto can turn into $13K. Have seen it in two incidents.
I would have thought that all the hybrid parts were well inside the crumple zones. I'm curious what could get injured in a normally $3k crash.
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Re: Down memory lane: 2003, Ford and GM's Prius-style cars

Post by Valuethinker » Wed Jun 11, 2008 4:20 am

nisiprius wrote:
greg24 wrote:that link showed a rumor of a Ford Fusion, which is a sedan. Still a rumor. :D
You're right. Sorry. Didn't know what a Fusion is, so I Googled on exact phrase "Ford Fusion", and for some reason, at least when I do it, Google describes the page as "Ford Vehicles offers information on the all-new 2008 Ford Fusion, including SUV comparisons, SUV options, colors, 360 views, photo gallery, models, trims, ..." The page itself doesn't read that way. Odd.
probably the best selling car in Europe?

Either that, or the Ford Focus.

Number 2 (or 1) would be the VW Golf in all its many flavours.

http://cars.uk.msn.com/News/Top_ten_art ... id=2620300

looks like Ford Focus is number 3. Vauxhall/ Opel Astra (GM) is number 1.

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Post by superlight » Wed Jun 11, 2008 5:23 am

You know, there are obvious hurtles to getting US-badged European cars into the US market ... but you'd think Ford and GM would make the effort.

I mean, I'd even support "rationalization" of US rules to make those cars more easily legal here ...

It's strange that we haven't (yet) seen an influx of European designs. Perhaps the US automakers are too concerned with clearing the SUV pipeline.
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Post by Valuethinker » Wed Jun 11, 2008 6:14 am

superlight wrote:You know, there are obvious hurtles to getting US-badged European cars into the US market ... but you'd think Ford and GM would make the effort.

I mean, I'd even support "rationalization" of US rules to make those cars more easily legal here ...

It's strange that we haven't (yet) seen an influx of European designs. Perhaps the US automakers are too concerned with clearing the SUV pipeline.
At a European cost base, with the USD where it is, you cannot sell a European car in the US at a competitive price point and make money.

Cars are typically 40-60% more expensive here.

Note Mercedes and BMW now assemble in the US.

European diesels don't meet US air pollution regs, although again this is changing with new emission control technologies.

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Re: For Prius owners - Is Prius anything out of the ordinary

Post by klamathfalls » Wed Jun 11, 2008 7:24 am

davidkw wrote:For a Prius is there anything out of the ordinary for car maintenance??? What are the big surprises???
regen braking is frnt wheels only. usual front-back tire wear difference may be higher in a prius andtoyota says rotate tires every 5000 miles. factory tires are widely disliked dont last long and many prius owners replace them early. so tire costs maybe higher. brake costs lower, brake pads last forever. some prius owners timid about nondealer maintenance so pay high dealr service prices. big traction battery not a problem nevr heard of any has long guarantee but theres also a small 12v battery for accessries which is special compact gelcel gotta get it from toyota and is outrageously price i've heard $400

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