Daily Kos: Hybrid Cars, Trucks, Buses, & Trains, an Industry Update

Hybrid Cars, Trucks, Buses, & Trains, an Industry Update
by Chris Kulczycki
Thu Oct 13, 2005 at 05:30:35 AM CDT

On Tuesday I wrote a diary about electric vehicles (EVs) that lots of Kossacks seemed to appreciate. But many seemed to feel that hybrids are the real answer. I agree, sort of; EVs are still my bet for the long term, but in the medium term -- the next decade or two --hybrids, particularly plug in hybrids (PHEV), may well be the dominant vehicle.

So what's are some of the new developments in the world of hybrids? Just look below the fold.

* Chris Kulczycki's diary :: ::

Despite some silly rhetoric from certain European manufacturers that neglected to develop them, hybrids are definitely going mainstream. Not only have hybrids been breaking sales figures most months (about 23,000 sold in August), but also car manufacturers are gearing up for huge demand increases. Ford announced that it would be able to produce 250,000 by 2010. Toyota foresees all of its cars being hybrids according to Bloomberg.com:

"Toyota Motor Corp., the world's second-largest automaker, said all of its vehicles may eventually be run by hybrid gasoline-electric motors, as record fuel prices curb demand for conventional automobiles.
Toyota, the world's first and largest maker of so-called hybrid cars, said it's aiming to increase hybrid production by 60 percent in 2006 and will cut costs and prices to make them more affordable.
``In the future, the cars you see from Toyota will be 100 percent hybrid,'' Toyota Executive Vice President Kazuo Okamoto said in Frankfurt, declining to give a time for achieving the target. ``We believe that in 10 years the world will be filled with hybrids.''"

One of our favorite Senators, Joe Lieberman, recently gave details of a bill he plans to introduce. Hybrids figure prominently. I know many of you are loathe to give Lieberman any credit, but this bill makes sense. It's almost enough to convince you that he's a Democrat: You must really read the whole speech, but here are some highlights:

...legislation that I will soon introduce that can enable us to cut consumption by 5 million barrels a day in the next 10 years and 10 million barrels a day within 20 years.
First, we need to rethink and then remake our fuel supplies. Gasoline is not the only portable source of stored energy. Tons of agricultural waste and millions of acres of idle grassland can be used to create new fuels.
And then we must remake our automobile engines as well. Vehicles that get 500 miles per gallon - or that use NO refined crude oil - are within our grasp. I know that sounds unbelievable but a little later in this lecture I am going to tell you how we can do it.
The bill I plan to introduce soon -with bipartisan support - begins with two goals and two mandates: that the United States save 5 million barrels of oil a day within 10 years, and 10 million barrels a day within 20 years.
It also requires that within two years 10 percent of our new cars sold in the U.S. be hybrid, hybrid electric plug-in or alternative fuel vehicles and that within 7 years 50 percent of the news cars sold in the U.S. be made up of those combinations...
Hybrids that use a use both a gasoline engine and electric motor for power are already getting 50 miles per gallon. Making them flexible fuel cars, as I've already said, can save us more than 2 million barrels of gasoline a day.
But we can do even better - dramatically better - with the plug-in hybrid that is just now on the threshold of commercialization. Like the present hybrids, it would use both a gasoline and electric motor. But the plug-in hybrid would be able to use the battery exclusively for the first 30 miles of a trip.
Think of that for a minute. Although Americans drive about 2.2 million miles a year, according the Census, the vast majority of those trips are less than 15 miles.
That means a plug-in hybrid would use zero - ZERO - gallons of gas or any combustible fuel for the vast majority of its trips. And experts tell me it could effectively get the 500 miles per gallon on longer trips.
Plugging in your car during off peak hours -when power is in surplus and cheaper - would soon just become part of the modern daily routine, like plugging in your cell phone or PDA before you go to bed.
And off-peak electricity can be the equivalent of 50 cent a gallon gasoline.

The new redesigned 2006 Honda Civic hybrid is probably the biggest news in hybrids today. It costs $23,350, or only about $2500 more than the non-hybrid version. Autobytel has a review and Green Car Congress has extensive technical information. The 2006 Civic is slightly larger, more powerful, and more efficient than its predecessor. It's good to see a new hybrid platform rolled out that leans more toward the efficiency end of the scale rather than the performance hybrids of late.

Daily Kos: Hybrid Cars, Trucks, Buses, & Trains, an Industry Update


Anonymous Anonymous said...

"That means a plug-in hybrid would use zero - ZERO - gallons of gas or any combustible fuel for the vast majority of its trips."

While I seriously believe in the need for hybrids and plug-in autos, there is a BAD mistake here.

Seems someone is forgetting how we get electricity INTO the grid... by hydro dams or nuclear reactors(both being reduced), solar plants or wind generators(increasing, but still negligible percentatge of the national or international whole) or coal or natural gas burning plants - the majority of the source for grid power NOW, and in the near future...
Plug-in grid electrics currently only -defer- the combustion to stationary, bulk, plants.

I've got a better way to conserve oil... quit buying cheap garbage shipped by OIL burning transports halfway around the world from China, that could be produced at home instead. What is the REAL, environmental, cost of Americans 'saving' a few cents on a piece of plastic that burns almost as much petro products in transport as it took to make it?

11/06/2005 10:49:00 PM  
Blogger lawnorder said...

Another miracle that saves us from Peak Oil debunked ?

It seems a common thread among the many answers to Peak Oil that I've seen
- Turkey into Oil: exagerated claims, exagerated yield (zero loss just like the hybrid claims above)
- Hydrogen Economy: Hydrogen fuel cells STORE energy, which still have to be produced

Beware of the "Don't worry, be happy" peddlers...

12/08/2005 02:45:00 PM  

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