Hybrid/electric vehicle not eco-friendly

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malignantpoodle

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Message 931717 - Posted: 7 Sep 2009, 17:38:29 UTC
Last modified: 7 Sep 2009, 17:47:58 UTC

I just had to say something, because I keep seeing these television ads boasting about hybrid vehicles with the platform of "creating the need" (a key component in sales tactics) by contributing to saving the environment, and I disagree with this perspective.

Hybrid and electric vehicles are a lateral move at best, and do little to nothing to stem global warming or environmental pollution.

Let's take an extreme example; ending up in a situation where traditional vehicles are a thing of the past, and almost everyone is driving an electric vehicle or a hybrid. What does this mean? That the fuel source has to come from the grid. In the US, the vast majority of electricity is supplied through the burning of coal. There is also the burning of oil, yes, oil burning plants, in many places. Oil burning plants account for 8% of the electricity supply in New York, for example.

In any case, the demand placed upon fossil fuel plants to supply juice for all of these vehicles becomes enormous, which entails burning more fossil fuels either through plant expansion or new plant construction. More pollution, more global warming.

Now it could possibly be different if the grid was almost 100% nuclear power based, but even that presents problems of its own; albeit substantially cleaner than coal, oil, or natural gas burning. There is still the warming issue. Hydroelectric is good, but is environmentally destructive itself, not to mention is location dependent. Wind energy could be the key, but let's face it; wind won't be powerful enough to replace fossil fuel burning.

Of course, going to hybrids makes sense from a resource/political point of view. If the argument is to reduce dependency upon foreign oil, I understand it. But that is not the marketing platform in use, rather the "green" aspect of these vehicles, which really aren't all that green when you consider what they're going to be powered by.

Falsification arguments are welcome!
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Message 931738 - Posted: 7 Sep 2009, 18:12:22 UTC - in response to Message 931717.  

And although I do not have the info at hand right now, aside from the simple question of where the power to run them comes from...
I had read a couple of articles a while back arguing that the total carbon and ecological footprint of a hybrid over it's lifespan is not that much, if any, better than vehicles using conventional technologies.

The biggest drawback cited was the production of the batteries and it's impact, the shipping of them from point of production to the point of vehicle manufacturing (they're very heavy to ship, and that takes fuel), and the subsequent eco-costs and environmental impact of recycling the batteries when their service life is over.
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Message 931753 - Posted: 7 Sep 2009, 18:57:46 UTC - in response to Message 931738.  

That's an excellent point to consider as well. As a matter of fact, one of the big battery suppliers for these vehicles is, "Advanced Battery Technologies" which is a Chinese company shipping their products here. I do know that they got the deal to produce all of the batteries for the Chevy Volt.
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Message 936151 - Posted: 26 Sep 2009, 22:17:42 UTC

I'm not sure I agree all hybrid tech can be reduced to a lateral move (zero sum) - it's a twist on technology that may lead to more progressive technology.

As long as there is an "economy" I doubt we'll ever get to non-zero sum solutions, tho I bet we can improve!

The only lateral part of it that bothers me is that it's largely being delivered by the same corporate structures that have already failed massively.
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Message 938362 - Posted: 8 Oct 2009, 16:22:20 UTC - in response to Message 936151.  

Well, advocating hybrid vehicles on the platform that the lead to other technologies is one thing, but claiming that they're the answer to slowing global warming or reducing resource consumption is another.

You bring up a good point about the same corporations... my complaint specifically is that these corporations (government included) tout the idea as eco-friendly, which they aren't, and the general public buys into it hook, line, and sinker.
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Message 939456 - Posted: 12 Oct 2009, 22:00:40 UTC

As I have previously said, in the interests of the environment, I will use my 3 Honda Legends (2 X 2.7l + 1 X 3.2l) to the best of my ability, to use up all this dreadful petrol. To this end, I am adding a more 'eco-friendly' car to the stable...a 1994 1.6l Rover 216 'Tom-cat'. This will be the smallest engined car, in my 'fleet' - the previous smallest, being an early 1980's Lancia Beta Montecarlo (small carbon foot-print, as are the Legends, which are 1989 - 1993). If anyone has a Ford Falcon GT (Australian, about 1972) which they'd like to give me, I'd love to hear from them, especially if it has a V8 engine! (lol)



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Message 939615 - Posted: 13 Oct 2009, 12:09:24 UTC - in response to Message 939456.  

As I have previously said, in the interests of the environment, ... especially if it has a V8 engine! (lol)

Old-school slash 'n' burn fanatic eh?

Try driving them around the Indian deltas, Bangladesh, or on Tuvalu.

Take a look at the Canadian oil sands... See any thousands-year-old forest there? And that covers an area greater than the UK!

And...?

I guess you're already off this planet?

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Martin

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Message 939618 - Posted: 13 Oct 2009, 12:24:46 UTC

More of a question:

How does the flywheel regeneration system as used now in F1 motor racing compare to electric battery hybrids for "city" stop-start driving?

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Martin

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Message 939748 - Posted: 14 Oct 2009, 5:13:14 UTC

A key difference between electric automobile engines and their fossil fueled counterparts, is efficiency. After allowing for the inefficiencies of power generation at source on the grid, electric automobile engines are still more fuel efficient than the internal combustion engine. Thus use of electricity to power cars is a "greener" alternative. Even if fossil fueled power generation were as inefficient as the internal combustion engine, electric power cars would still be marginally more efficient, due to the various non-fossil fueled generators already on the grid (hydro, nuclear, etc). Over time the differences will become more apparent as the contribution of renewable power sources increases as a proportion of the total power delivered by the grid.
I think you'll find it's a bit more complicated than that ...

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Message 939749 - Posted: 14 Oct 2009, 5:17:36 UTC - in response to Message 939748.  

A key difference between electric automobile engines and their fossil fueled counterparts, is efficiency. After allowing for the inefficiencies of power generation at source on the grid, electric automobile engines are still more fuel efficient than the internal combustion engine. Thus use of electricity to power cars is a "greener" alternative. Even if fossil fueled power generation were as inefficient as the internal combustion engine, electric power cars would still be marginally more efficient, due to the various non-fossil fueled generators already on the grid (hydro, nuclear, etc). Over time the differences will become more apparent as the contribution of renewable power sources increases as a proportion of the total power delivered by the grid.

If renewable can expand. Tapping Old Faithful as a geothermal source may run into some opposition. Just as many renewable sources will run into NIMBY'ism.

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Message 939873 - Posted: 14 Oct 2009, 16:28:22 UTC - in response to Message 939748.  

Its a fact that the larger the power generator the more efficient it is at making the power. This a 1.0 liter engine is very inefficient compared to the massive engines of an Ocean going vessel or a power generation plant


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Message 940218 - Posted: 15 Oct 2009, 21:26:57 UTC

Yes, batteries are heavy, however, they are not being transported in cars, they are being transported on ships, trains, or trucks. These are all much more efficient / ton than automobiles are. In addition, plug in hybrids remove about as much weight from the engine as is added in batteries. Since aluminum, which most engine blocks are now made of, is very energy intensive to smelt, and cast, and just as energy intensive to transport, I do not believe that this should be counted against hybrids.

A 2006 RX 400H gets 24MPG. A 2006 RX350 gets 18MPG. Both of these vehicles are the same body style and have the same gasoline engine. The 400H has a moderate electrical regeneration system. This gives a 30% increase in efficiency for the vehicle. Similar sized plug in hybrids look like they may have mileages on the order of 80+MPG. This is after the car has driven possibly 40 miles on electricity from the wall.

Admittedly electricity from the wall is not carbon free, but PHEVs use less energy per mile than equivalent gasoline only vehicles - enough so that the argument that they use as much carbon over their lifetimes is really hard to justify. Also, the only energy source that gets greener over the lifetime of the car is electricity from the wall.


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Message 940232 - Posted: 15 Oct 2009, 22:20:57 UTC - in response to Message 940218.  
Last modified: 15 Oct 2009, 22:21:41 UTC

... A 2006 RX 400H gets 24MPG. A 2006 RX350 gets 18MPG. Both of these vehicles are the same body style and have the same gasoline engine. The 400H has a moderate electrical regeneration system. This gives a 30% increase in efficiency for the vehicle. Similar sized plug in hybrids look like they may have mileages on the order of 80+MPG. This is after the car has driven possibly 40 miles on electricity from the wall. ...

Over here in the UK, new cars (non-hybrids) offer in the range 40 Mpg to the latest diesels reaching 70 Mpg+.

How come the USA is so very far behind on fuel efficiency even before we've moved to hybrids?

And also you've got the greater drive distances over there where better fuel efficiency would get you further?...

Regards,
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Message 940278 - Posted: 16 Oct 2009, 3:11:51 UTC - in response to Message 940232.  

... A 2006 RX 400H gets 24MPG. A 2006 RX350 gets 18MPG. Both of these vehicles are the same body style and have the same gasoline engine. The 400H has a moderate electrical regeneration system. This gives a 30% increase in efficiency for the vehicle. Similar sized plug in hybrids look like they may have mileages on the order of 80+MPG. This is after the car has driven possibly 40 miles on electricity from the wall. ...

Over here in the UK, new cars (non-hybrids) offer in the range 40 Mpg to the latest diesels reaching 70 Mpg+.

How come the USA is so very far behind on fuel efficiency even before we've moved to hybrids?

And also you've got the greater drive distances over there where better fuel efficiency would get you further?...

Regards,
Martin

There are several reasons:

1) Fuel is not taxed as heavily and is therefore less expensive most of the time.
2) The drives are longer - comfort is more important than mileage.
3) Diesel cars have had a very hard time meeting emissions standards with the diesel fuel available here.
4) The auto manufactures have emphasized power and speed over mileage.
5) The emissions controls required here dramatically reduce mileage.

My wish list for my next vehicle:
1) Seats 5.
2) Station wagon (lots of room in back).
3) 60 miles on batteries. (apparently not going to get this one)
4) 80+ MPG.


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Message 940375 - Posted: 16 Oct 2009, 14:30:14 UTC - in response to Message 940278.  

... There are several reasons:

1) Fuel is not taxed as heavily and is therefore less expensive most of the time.
2) The drives are longer - comfort is more important than mileage.
3) Diesel cars have had a very hard time meeting emissions standards with the diesel fuel available here.
4) The auto manufactures have emphasized power and speed over mileage.
5) The emissions controls required here dramatically reduce mileage.


I strongly suspect the dominant driving factor there is option "4" pushed by malevolent Marketing pushing "Bigger Numbers" to hype up their product. Option "1" permits the marketing conditions to allow "4" to dominate.

The other items there are just excuses. The simple technology for that is in use in Europe now.

My wish list for my next vehicle:
1) Seats 5.
2) Station wagon (lots of room in back).
3) 60 miles on batteries. (apparently not going to get this one)
4) 80+ MPG.

That is easily possible now, and no batteries needed.


Regards,
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Message 940379 - Posted: 16 Oct 2009, 14:45:15 UTC - in response to Message 940375.  
Last modified: 16 Oct 2009, 14:46:07 UTC

... There are several reasons:

1) Fuel is not taxed as heavily and is therefore less expensive most of the time.
2) The drives are longer - comfort is more important than mileage.
3) Diesel cars have had a very hard time meeting emissions standards with the diesel fuel available here.
4) The auto manufactures have emphasized power and speed over mileage.
5) The emissions controls required here dramatically reduce mileage.


I strongly suspect the dominant driving factor there is option "4" pushed by malevolent Marketing pushing "Bigger Numbers" to hype up their product. Option "1" permits the marketing conditions to allow "4" to dominate.

The other items there are just excuses. The simple technology for that is in use in Europe now.


Most buyers in the us are not willing to pay as much for for better fuel economy as the europeans are (see option 1). That does not mean we do not have the technology, it is just not economical to use it here.

I would like to add to #5: Crash standards are tougher here and also reduce fuel economy (cars must be heavier).

My wish list for my next vehicle:
1) Seats 5.
2) Station wagon (lots of room in back).
3) 60 miles on batteries. (apparently not going to get this one)
4) 80+ MPG.

That is easily possible now, and no batteries needed.


1. Is there such a car available in Europe? If so what is it?
2. Would it get 80 mpg traveling at 100 - 110 km/h ? (Highway speed in the US)
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Message 940397 - Posted: 16 Oct 2009, 15:37:00 UTC

the discussion mentioned giving up weight in engine to batteries.

Not exactly. A 2010 Prius weighs in at 3000 pounds curb weight. thats about 500 pounds heavier than my much larger saturn Ion 2.

When you sit in the Prius you note that the interior is sparse and cabin itself is a bit unprotected. I know it meets the minimal crash testing laws but it sure doesnt look to be very protective. Obviously they had to shave weight from the cabin to allow for the large battery pack under the back seat


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Message 941199 - Posted: 18 Oct 2009, 21:19:07 UTC

As a mere female, who was once an engineer, may I ask, how these various electric vehicles are charged? I'm not fooled by Lexus and their 'H' designation....underneath it all, lurks a large petrol engine and a big dynamo, in essence. Is it, by chance, by the foolish, or by the stupid, these 'electric vehicles' are fuelled? Yep, Nuclear Power, has to be in there! Is it better to have a 1.6 litre petrol engine doing all the work, rather than a 4.0 litre engine doing some of the work? Is the obvious, too obvious?



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Message 941283 - Posted: 19 Oct 2009, 7:51:27 UTC - in response to Message 940397.  
Last modified: 19 Oct 2009, 8:50:45 UTC

the discussion mentioned giving up weight in engine to batteries.

Not exactly. A 2010 Prius weighs in at 3000 pounds curb weight. thats about 500 pounds heavier than my much larger saturn Ion 2.

When you sit in the Prius you note that the interior is sparse and cabin itself is a bit unprotected. I know it meets the minimal crash testing laws but it sure doesnt look to be very protective. Obviously they had to shave weight from the cabin to allow for the large battery pack under the back seat


The curb weight of a Prius is 3,042 -- the curb weight of a Saturn ION 2 is 2,805. Another car for example, the Jetta has a curb weight of 3,285 with the diesel engine.

The Prius seems safer than the Saturn Ion according to the IIHS:
Saturn ION 2
Toyota Prius
The Saturn ION scored better with the NHTSA:
Saturn ION 2
Toyota Prius
Maybe because the offset test at the IIHS is more severe than just a standard frontal test that the NHTSA uses.

My vote -- get a Dodge Charger or Challenger HEMI! There is no substitute for cubic inches...
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Message 941299 - Posted: 19 Oct 2009, 8:57:09 UTC - in response to Message 941283.  
Last modified: 19 Oct 2009, 9:07:33 UTC

A guy in my condo just bought one of these little critters. It's a real tiny car and it wasn't cheap!

Is this the wave of the future?
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