Hybrid Car – More Fun with Less Gas

40 mpg Prius vs 50 mpg European Diesel cars - Page 13

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Posted by Ray O on May 4, 2006, 9:17 pm

"Hybrid engine" is a misnomer.  A vehicle with a hybrid propulsion system
uses an internal combustion engine and a generator/starter and a special
transmission that "mixes" the power from the IC and electric motors.

Toyota's hybrid system does start and shut off the IC engine as needed, it
is not horrendous and most people are not aware that it has started or

Ray O
(correct punctuation to reply)

Posted by Michael Pardee on May 6, 2006, 12:06 am

Yes - I think all variations stop altogether. In the Toyota system the
engine is cranked by using the pair of motor/generators differentially to
spin the engine up to 1100 rpm (IIRC) before feeding fuel and spark. Since
some Prius cars are over 200K miles and running sweetly the strategy must be
working. There aren't many engines that get oil pressure before being fired

What amazes me is that except for the occasional shudder when coming to a
stop that Bill mentioned, I can rarely tell when the engine starts or stops.
I would hazard a guess the engine restarts an average of something like once
to ten times per mile in city driving. There is no starter sound ever - just
"hmmm" and the engine is running as if by magic. OTOH, having the engine
shut down is unnerving to new drivers (at least it was to my wife and me!)


Posted by Andrew Stephenson on May 4, 2006, 5:35 pm
        m.dixon4@ntlworld.com "Martin Dixon" writes:

As you seem to realise but shrug off, the energy to charge the
batteries would still have to come from somewhere.  Needing to
seek out a mains socket would involve some energy wastage, to
which add those occasions when you are caught short with a flat
battery, to which add the energy used in hauling around the much
larger (and heavier) batteries required to give a decent range.

Sorry but TANSTAAFL (There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch).
And I doubt the oil companies would have much say in the matter.
Andrew Stephenson

Posted by DH on May 4, 2006, 11:25 pm

He's still referring to a hybrid.  The IC engine would recharge the
batteries.  If I understand him correctly, he's thinking of a hybrid with a
significantly bigger battery, that could simply go further without using the
IC engine at all.  If the car was used just for shorter commutes, the IC
engine would never need to run.  However, if the owner decided to take it
out of town, he'd be spared the need to plug in every 30 or 40 miles (or
less) by virtue of charging the battery from the IC engine.

An optional battery pack that lay flat on the trunk floor, perhaps, would
extend the range of the vehicle in electric-only mode and would be an
interesting option.  An expensive option, no doubt.

If you were going on a long trip, it would probably be even more helpful to
be able to remove the battery for the trip.  That would increase the
capacity of the car, probably improve its overall fuel economy and you'd not
be likely to be plugging in much along the way.

And the car then becomes the ultimate flex-fuel vehicle.  It's mostly fueled
by whatever the power company finds to be cheapest at that particular time.
Overnight, it's their base capacity, which is typically the cheapest
electricity they can make.  The nukes run all the time and probably make up
the basest part of the base capacity in most places, so the car would be
partially "nuclear-powered."

I could use a car like that.  90% of my daily drives are under 20 miles.  If
you could add enough optional battery to a Prius to give me 20-mile range
(maybe 10), I'd drive it as an electric vehicle most of the time.  The thing
that keeps people from buying an Electric Vehicle is that while 90% of their
trips are under 20 (or whatever) miles and, it's the other 10% that rule out
the limited range of the EV.  When they do go out of town, the maxium range
of an EV becomes a real problem.  Who wants to stop every 100 miles on a
1000 mile trip and wait 6 hours to recharge the car?  A hybrid solves that
problem, using gas to both get a 400+mile range and 5-minute "recharges."  A
hybrid with a bigger, removeable battery can act like an EV 90% of the time.
As an EV, of course, it's carrying around a lot of unnecessary weight (up to
90 lbs of gasoline, the IC engine, etc) but there are tradeoffs for

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Posted by Ray O on May 5, 2006, 4:40 pm

You can go to toyota.com and look at Prius faq's and info about hybrid
technology to learn why the Prius does not offer optional battery packs,
plug-in chargers, etc., even the response to a question about whether the
Ford Escape uses Toyota's technology (it does).

It is natural human nature for people to think that their ideas are better
than what the automakers have designed and built, but in most cases, the
automotive engineers have thought everything through pretty thoroughly.
Other factors to keep in mind are the marketability of a product, production
and retail costs, and utility of the product.

Ray O
(correct punctuation to reply)

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