Hybrids v. Electrics... am I the only one who sees a major drawback?

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Main Forum' started by Mr. Nelsby, Aug 11, 2009.

  1. Mr. Nelsby

    Mr. Nelsby New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2009
    37
    7
    0
    Location:
    Chelsea, MA
    Vehicle:
    2005 Prius
    So I keep reading about all these "electric" cars which are coming out and I just don't get it... With the limited mileage and long re-charge times, it seems to me that these cars really tether you to local driving.

    As someone who often drives from Boston to NY, it seems that many of these pure electric cars just don't have the abilty to make that drive reasonably. What are you supposed to do? Drive 100 miles, find a plug, wait half an hour, drive another 100 miles? Seems kinda silly.

    The second thing that drives me kind of nuts is the assumption that electric cars are good for the environment. While the car itself doesn't produce emissions, the electricity which you are putting into it was very likely produced by burning fossil fuels (depending of course by where you live).

    In my mind, a gas/electric hybrid is FAR more sensical than a pure-electric car because it still functions as a car and not a golf-cart with very limited range...

    Really what I'm waiting for are the hydrogen cars... To me we need to be looking at new technology that gets us far away from conventional fuels... That or a solar panel which can recharge an electric car while it drives and holds enough charge to drive several hundred miles without the sun...
     
  2. spiderman

    spiderman wretched

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2009
    7,543
    1,542
    0
    Location:
    Alaska
    Vehicle:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    II
    You not missing anything... if it made sense, there would be EVs everywhere by now. Hybrids are moving forward now due to the price of gas. Hydrogen like propane will likely take awhile longer to become mainstream.
    Just my 2 cents,
    Peter
     
  3. bullet875

    bullet875 Junior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2009
    58
    7
    0
    Location:
    NJ Shore
    Vehicle:
    2013 Prius
    Model:
    Persona

    I agree. While it might be interesting to see a plug in hybrid that can increase gas mileage, I too work too far from home to use an EV. That makes it much less attractive to many people. I think that the years of working within 10 miles of home are gone for most people in the US.
     
  4. eglmainz

    eglmainz New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2009
    887
    141
    0
    Location:
    Chicagoland, IL
    Vehicle:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    V
    This depends on the Electric Vehicle. For Example, the Chevy Volt, as they are currently testing (what are supposed to be early production vehicles), you can go in Electric only for a certain range (40 miles or so), then you will start to burn gas in order to continue to run the car, as it will generate the needed electric. For those times where a cross country trip is desired, a Volt would do the job (assuming no reliability issues, but I am giving them the benefit of doubt), but it would burn gas to make that trip.

    The whole benefit for the Volt is that as most people out there commute under 20-30 miles each way to work, for them, they would not use hardly any gas, except for when exceeding their electric range.

    This does not mean that for someone who live 80- miles from work and must commute that this would not be a good car for them. It just means that after they use their electric range up, they start to burn gas as we do in most cars. Still a benefit as they would use less total gas than they would in a normal car, and depending upon the Final EPA numbers assigned, possibly better mileage than a Prius for a 80 mile commute. (If 40 miles is gas free, and the the next 40 is 40 mpg, that is 80 mpg total for that trip.)

    Obviously, this is not the case for a pure electric, like the Tesla. In those circumstances, you are correct that you are like a fancy golf cart, and tethered to a local area radius.
     
    2 people like this.
  5. ajc

    ajc Member

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2009
    340
    38
    0
    Location:
    pa
    Vehicle:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    III
    I think GM with the Chevy Volt has the answer and at 230 MPG I got to have one.
     
    1 person likes this.
  6. LeadingEdgeBoomer

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2009
    289
    28
    0
    Location:
    New Mexico
    Vehicle:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    V
    Agree about the overall utility of electric cars. However, the power comes from a generating plant, a single point source where pollution is easier to control. Gas cars are many, many point sources, each of which needs to be controlled.
     
  7. spiderman

    spiderman wretched

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2009
    7,543
    1,542
    0
    Location:
    Alaska
    Vehicle:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    II
    Not quite... read the article closer. That is just the EV side of things, the EPA still hasn't evaluated the ICE side. They will combine the two to get the final rating. They (GM) are expecting about 100 mpg.

    Peter
     
  8. spiderman

    spiderman wretched

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2009
    7,543
    1,542
    0
    Location:
    Alaska
    Vehicle:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    II
    Because the Volt has an ICE it is still a HYBRID even if it does not use it for 40 miles.
     
  9. Zythryn

    Zythryn Senior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2008
    5,352
    3,408
    1
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Vehicle:
    Other Electric Vehicle
    Model:
    N/A
    While electric vehicles aren't for everyone, they will work for many people.
    Just because YOU drive a long distance each day don't assume most people do.
    Most people drive less than 40 miles a day. So a 100 mile range EV is more than sufficient for many people.
    The primary target market is probably going to start with 2 car families. In our household we will have one plug-in Prius and one pure EV. So when we do want to go further than 100-130 miles we will use the Prius. For daily commute/errands in the metro area we will use the EV.
    As for pollution, If your electricity is produced 100% from coal, it MAY not be much cleaner. However, the number of areas that fits is pretty small.
    Add to that the national security issue and EVs seem a good choice to me.
     
    5 people like this.
  10. ajc

    ajc Member

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2009
    340
    38
    0
    Location:
    pa
    Vehicle:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    III
    Just have to wait until next year when the Volt is a production model.
     
  11. Zythryn

    Zythryn Senior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2008
    5,352
    3,408
    1
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Vehicle:
    Other Electric Vehicle
    Model:
    N/A
    LOL, look more carefully at hydrogen.
    If you are going to have solar panels producing the electricity to convert the hydrogen, why not save a step and simply use the solar panels to produce electricity to run the EV?
    Batteries are a more efficient method of storing energy than hydrogen.
    Solar panels are not nearly efficient enough for on-board generation of power over a few watts. Get them much more efficient so that they are capable of that and then we would have something.
    Oh, but wait, if we had EVs the improved efficiency of panels would AUTOMATICALLY result in improved effiency of the vehicles:D
     
  12. MaggieMay

    MaggieMay Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2009
    534
    68
    0
    Location:
    Gloucester, MA
    Vehicle:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    IV
    I've always wondered - if our electric grids are collapsing when summer weather spikes usage, what will happen should a considerable portion of the population start plugging cars in? Don't we need to fix the grid first? :confused:
     
  13. Mike Dimmick

    Mike Dimmick Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2008
    963
    246
    0
    Location:
    Reading, UK
    Vehicle:
    Other Hybrid
    Model:
    N/A
    How often do you drive over 100 miles in one go? Pure electric vehicles are targeted at people who won't be doing so very often. For the times when you do need to, you can rent a hybrid for a lower rate than owning one or owning a plug-in hybrid.

    The pure EV does not have to carry around the baggage of an internal combustion engine, exhaust system and fuel tank, nor of a complex gearbox to make up for the poor torque of an ICE, or an additional generator in the case of a series hybrid like Volt.

    Don't get sucked in by GM's 230mpg claim. It's based on zero gallons for 40 miles, where the EPA test is 44.3 miles. For the 4.3 miles actually under gas power it's only getting 22.3mpg, if those figures are correct!

    (Working: 230mpg is 0.00434 gallons per mile. That means 0.1926 gallons are consumed over 44.3 miles. Divide that by the 4.3 miles that the gas engine is running to get 0.04479 gallons per mile. Take the reciprocal (1/x) to get miles per gallon: 22.325 mpg.)

    Toyota claims the Prius should be superior to a series hybrid because the engine's kinetic energy is directly used for driving (72% goes straight to the wheels, 28% goes down the electric transmission path), so there are fewer losses involved.

    This plan does require people to be happy with renting a car for long journeys, finding other ways to travel longer distances, or buying a second car. Still, a pure EV would suit me for all but a few days a year. If I had somewhere to charge it at home, of course.
     
  14. eglmainz

    eglmainz New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2009
    887
    141
    0
    Location:
    Chicagoland, IL
    Vehicle:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    V
    I do not think this is correct, as the gas engine does not at any time provide power to the wheels. It is only acting as a generator, and has not mechanism to propel the vehicle without moving the electric motor.

    It is an Electric Vehicle, with a gas generator, not a Hybrid vehicle.
     
  15. spiderman

    spiderman wretched

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2009
    7,543
    1,542
    0
    Location:
    Alaska
    Vehicle:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    II
    I beg to differ. Hybrid Terms | Hybrid Cars

    "The folks from GM don't want to use the term "series hybrid" to refer to their Chevy Volt concept vehicle (for marketing purposes), but that's what it is. Or to be more precise, it's a "plug-in series hybrid."
     
    1 person likes this.
  16. HeyVern

    HeyVern New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2009
    47
    4
    0
    Location:
    Hickory, NC
    Vehicle:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    IV
    One problem I have not seen mentioned here is the millions of people who live in apartments and inner cities. What are they supposed to plug into to recharge their car?
     
  17. efusco

    efusco Moderator Emeritus
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2003
    19,890
    1,169
    9
    Location:
    Nixa, MO
    Vehicle:
    2004 Prius
    Model:
    N/A
    I've had my prius for almost 6 years now...I'd easily qualify as a fan-boy.
    I also have a Tesla Model S on order that will either replace or relegate my Prius to a back-up vehicle.

    The Model S will have the option of going up to 300 miles on a charge (for a price), I'll probably opt for the 230 mile version which should give me at least 150-160 miles real world highway range.

    I can count on my 2 hands the number of times I've driven my Prius further than 160 miles without a stop long enough for a recharge.

    Even using coal source electricity you produce significantly fewer emissions than even the cleanest hybrid. And many of us plan to use solar and/or wind to charge our cars.

    And to disagree with a previous poster, the reason we don't have more EV's isn't b/c of the physical limitations so much as the cost and many myths that surround them.

    And I challenge you to take a look at the Tesla Roadster and ever call an EV a golf cart again. Find me 10 commercially produced cars (non-custom) that can break a 12.6 sec. quarter mile. It can be done, but it'll take you a while.
     
    5 people like this.
  18. Dolce

    Dolce Junior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2009
    61
    9
    0
    Location:
    Chicago
    Vehicle:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    II
    The ponit of encouraging people to go EV or Hybrid now is that while we are still using coal burning and nuclear plants to generate our electricity now, we will plan to upgrade to cleaner methods, like Wind, Solar, Hydro, Tidal, and Geo Thermal. These future energy sources will be much cleaner and when that happens, your electric vehicle will suddenly become true zero emission when the source of your energy becomes clean. But we need to get the cars in place now before the newer energy sources can be put into place, because most people own or keep their cars for 10 or more years. If we get our wind farms up in 2011, you can't expect everybody to throw out their 2 or 3 year old cars to buy newer EVs. So they need to be prepared now.

    As for range, current battery technology and cost limits us to about 40 miles range. The plan there is to bet on some break through or even with gradual improvement in battery technology. So your current EV or Hybrid will be able to upgrade to a much better battery in 5 or 10 years that will give you 75 or 100 mile range.

    For cross country driving, some scientists envision you driving to 200 miles, pull into a refueling station and either have your whole battery assembly removed and swap out with a fresh battery in 5 minutes, or you can get a quick full charge in 10 minutes. None of these infrastructure or technology exist now, but that is what we are planning and hoping for.
     
    1 person likes this.
  19. Tech_Guy

    Tech_Guy Class Clown

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2007
    868
    120
    0
    Location:
    Silicon Valley, CA --- Land of Fruits & Nuts
    Vehicle:
    2011 Prius
    Model:
    Two
    One consideration that has not been discussed in the media about these "dual fuel" (gas & electric) vehicles is the actual cost of energy (whether gas or electricity) per driving mile. Once these dual energy vehicles become available, I believe that many people will be surprised at the amount of money they are paying out of pocket for electricity. With the high cost of electricity of here in the San Francisco bay area, the cost of driving per mile on electricity exceeds the cost of running on gasoline.

    Keith
     
    1 person likes this.
  20. martinw

    martinw New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2009
    49
    11
    0
    Location:
    North Hollywood, CA
    Vehicle:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    III
    There is a contradiction in these two statements.

    Firstly hydrogen is not an energy source, it is an energy carrier. That means you have to make the hydrogen in the first place using an actual energy source. That source is probably going to be electricity, which is what you were complaining about in the first place.
     
    3 people like this.
Loading...