Newsweek: Hybrids are Obsolete

Discussion in 'Prius, Hybrid, EV and Alt-Fuel News' started by rpatterman, May 4, 2009.

  1. rpatterman

    rpatterman Thinking Progressive

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    Newsweek, the same magazine that features a column by noted hybrid-hater, George Will, has posted an article on "Why Traditional Hybrid Cars are Becoming Obsolete". The argument is that hybrids like the Prius and Honda Civic Hybrid are already seeing the sunset on their product life cycles thanks to upcoming plug-in technology. Nevermind that Toyota is already planning on coming out with a PHEV Prius and Honda is starting to sound like they want to get in the game as well. Thanks for posting this over in the PriusChat Forums, rpatterman!
     
  2. FBear

    FBear Senior Member

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    Nope the link doesn't work. Neither does the article. Until they develop better batteries I think the true hybrid car (not the phoney baloney hybrids that GM produces i.e. Malibu) is a much better bet.
     
  3. moner

    moner New Member

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  4. zenMachine

    zenMachine Just another Onionhead

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    Hybrids "will" become obsolete someday. The question is when. The author answers thusly:

     
  5. PriusSport

    PriusSport senior member

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    ICE cars are obsolete. The problem is the car companies are stuck with millions of them. What do you want Newsweek to say? They sell advertising. 'Nuf said.
     
  6. chogan2

    chogan2 Senior Member

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    The writer got a lot of his facts wrong. For example:

    "In a plug-in hybrid, you have both an electric motor and a gas engine, but only the electric motor powers the wheels. The gas engine only generates electricity to recharge the battery pack."

    Guess my plug-in Prius is not actually a plug-in hybrid.

    And he misstates the mileage you get from a PHEV. Near as I can figure from the US national laboratories tests , you get about 4 miles to the KWH in a PHEV Prius. At 12 cents per KWH versus $2/gallon, that's the cost-equivalent of a 66 MPG car. In terms of C02 emissions, it's the equivalent of about a 75 MPG car (at the Virginia grid mix).

    That's good, but it's more of a modest improvement than the "game changer" that article makes it out to be. Particularly when the 2010 Prius is rumored to get 60 mpg in "eco" mode.

    As conventional oil resources deplete I think we're likely to move toward more electrical transport. And we have room to reduce carbon output from electrical generation. So I certainly see this in the future. But for right here and now, the advantages of electrical transport, charged off the existing power grid, appear relatively modest.

    That said, I don't regret doing the conversion. I really like driving the car in EV mode. I like the quiet. But I'm not going to kid myself into thinking that I'm making anything more than a modest reduction in C02 emissions and a modest reduction in my fuel bill (at the cost of a big capital investment.)
     
  7. JSH

    JSH Senior Member

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    Makes sense to me. I've alway seen hybrids as only bridge technology to electric cars. Hybrids allow manufactures to test electronic systems and batteries in the real world.

    I fully expect most manufacturers will leap from ICE to pure electrics in the next decade. (Only for their alternative vehicle, pure ICE cars will still be the large majority of vehicles.)

    I've also always thought that a series hybrid makes far more sense then Toyota's Seres / parallel HSD. A series hybrid is a simpler system and opens up a huge range of options for packaging components and interior layouts that aren't available in ICE or HSD cars.
     
  8. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web BMW i3 and Model 3

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    Darn, darn, darn.

    I have this 2003 Prius with 119,000 miles that keeps giving me 52 MPG. So someday it will be 'obsolete' but the replacement is not at the local dealer's show room ... or they cost $80-100,000. No doubt, they will be obsolete someday:
    [​IMG]

    Don't forget the robot!

    Bob Wilson
     
  9. PriusLewis

    PriusLewis Management Scientist

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    They define a "plug-in hybrid" as a drivetrain whos ICE only runs a generator, and whos electric motors run the car by themselves (like a locomotive). Not true. A plug-in hybrid is any drivetrain that uses electricity and gasoline to power the vehicle, and can be plugged in to allow charging the batteries for a limited amount of electricity-only driving - in other words, the coming 2010 Prius plug-in hybrid.

    In fact, the Prius offers better solutions in being able to use either motor or engine alone or together. That high-dollar car they mention can only power the car with the motors. They're advertising a liability as a feature - typical marketing!

    EDIT: Chogan2, you said it much better than I (we were posting at the same time).
     
  10. hill

    hill High Fiber Member

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    Well ... in the strictest sense, Newsweek is correct ... after all, the stone ax is obsolete ... and the 12 pound cel phone is obsolete ... so yea, as with just about everything ... given enough time ... things become obsolete. Newsworthy? Must be a slow month. Newsweek brings up the prototype car company - Fisker ... w/ no car in production, at $87K ... that's Newsweek's spin for the Prius replacement ? Thanks for that 'flash', newsweek. I'll pass on the $87K car (bad economy and all), if/when it ever gets here. Last time I checked ... the U.S. has only the Tesla (high cost, long waiting list) for production EV's ... if newsweek didn't know. Heck ... even w/ $7K incentives, we don't even have a PHEV available, unless you go to a conversion shop ... but then you don't get the $7K tax credit because it only applies to factory original PHEV's. Thanks for the heads up, newsweek. I wonder why they never ran an article stating, "Chryslers are obsolete" since they're so "on top" of things. Newsweek is majoring on "matter of fact stuff". Hopefully EV's will get here ... but MAN ... I've been waiting for over a decade now. It kind of makes me wonder why Newsweek finds the author's thoughts worth printing. Then again ... remember when the media tossed out articles such as, "transportation of the future" back in the 50's ... 60's ... and 70's ? Jet packs and hydrogen cars. Good thing I didn't stand around holding my breath while hopping on one leg, while I waited for that.
     
  11. rickkop

    rickkop New Member

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    Obsolete, someday for sure, but already. I doubt it. I believe the Prius buyer list is still increasing each year where as Newsweek subscribers numbers are falling. Sooner or later, gas will go back up to $4.00 and beyond.
     
  12. FL_Prius_Driver

    FL_Prius_Driver Senior Member

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    Certainly not an article for hybrid knowledgable readers, but at least the author is making the points by quoting others. That's far better than most hybrid articles.
     
  13. Fibb222

    Fibb222 New Member

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    Anybody who is paying attention will know that gas cars (hybrids included) are obsolete.

    Yes, this is Norway, but by 2020, gas car sales will be minimal even in North America. A radical thought perhaps, but only for those not paying attention... IMHO.
     
  14. zcat3

    zcat3 New Member

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    His conclusion makes no sense - dirty ICE cars are here to stay while hybrids are on the way out - all this because all electric is on the way - huh?

    I would say the exact opposite is true - hybrids are the future of ICE cars (whatever future there is left for this technology), and pure ICE cars are on the way out - all this due to electric propulsion becoming a proven technology. Certainly the 2010 Prius and Insight have established this - they are Hybrid cars priced pretty much on par with their pure gas driven brethren yet deliver much better efficiency. In the next few years I suspect almost all ICE cars will begin to offer hybrid options.
     
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  15. Midpack

    Midpack Member

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    No one thinks hybrids are the ultimate answer, they are the best we can do cost-effectively today, and for the near future. Lots of automakers have working plug-ins, EV's & fuel cell cars - but that doesn't mean they'll be in production in a few years.

    Putting up a $110K Tesla or an $87K Fisker or any of the EV concept cars is ridiculous. Even the Volt seems iffy at $40K and we'll see when/if it actually makes it to production. The Chrysler EV, seriously? Norway will ban ICE vehicles in 2015 with no domestic automakers, seriously? Norway has a population about the size of Los Angeles (just LA, not the metro area) - they aren't going to force automakers to do anything by themselves.

    Newsweek achieved their goal, they gave a weak article a provocative title and we're off and running (for no good reason).
     
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  16. bac

    bac Active Member

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    When Toyota comes out with an all electric car ...... my Prius will be obsolete for me. :D

    ... Brad
     
  17. Sacto1549

    Sacto1549 Member

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    I think Newsweek need to visit Ricardo UK's research facilities. Ricardo recently demonstrated a turbodiesel engine that could meet the CARB Super Ultra-Low Emissions Vehicle (SULEV) standard without needing a complicated urea gas injection system in the exhaust stream. We could see within few years diesel engines just as clean as today's hybrid cars! :D
     
  18. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    Of course. Its just that the non-hybrids gas cars are more obsolete than the hybrids.

    If we are to reduce our carbon emissions by 80% by 2050, we need cut at an average compounded rate of almost 4% per year. Last year I started mild hypermiling on my Subaru gas pig, accomplished a 14% improvement, good for a bit more than 3 years of what I need to do. (Miles displaced by bicycling are excluded.) But that change keeps me on track for only two more years. Switching to a Prius will cut my transportation fuel in half, achieving now the target I need to reach in 17 years.

    Various conservation improvements to my house three years ago produced a 13% drop in home energy consumption. But that just bought me three years grace, ending now. My recently upgraded heating system -- a high efficiency ductless (mini-split) heat pump -- ought to cut the home's energy by 22%, buying me six more years. Beyond that, I already have several more (but smaller) improvements in my sights. But as they become cost effective, I'll jump on them right away instead of waiting six years.
     
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  19. JSH

    JSH Senior Member

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    I find it hilarious that you post an article about a proposal by a single member of a junior party in Norway as proof that gas cars are on the way out.

    You really believe that gas cars will be a minority of sales by 2020? In 10 years the US, and the world, will move away from the internal combustion engine and embrace what? Electric cars, mass transit, walking? What will be the spark that causes the world to completely reinvent transportation in a decade?

    BTW, I include hybrids like the Prius as gas cars. Toyota's hybrids system is a nifty bit of technology to make the car more efficient but all the energy used to move it ultimately comes from gasoline.
     
  20. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
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    Err, hybrids are allowed, according to that article.
     
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