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SCI/TECH: Hybrid-Car Tinkerers Scoff at No-Plug-In Rule

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posted on Apr, 3 2005 @ 03:29 PM
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Much to the chagrin of hybrid car manufacturers such as Toyota and Honda, independent electric car tinkerers are proving that a plug-in version of an average hybrid car can be much more fuel efficient than the production models currently available. By adding more batteries and a plug-in option, these tinkerers have been able to up the fuel mileage of the Prius from the 40 to 45 mpg of a stock model to 65 to 100 mpg for the modified version. Another tinkerer has used more advanced batteries, and in claiming up to 180 mpg for his Prius.
 



www.nytimes.com
But the idea of making hybrid cars that have the option of being plugged in is supported by a diverse group of interests, from neoconservatives who support greater fuel efficiency to utilities salivating at the chance to supplant oil with electricity. If you were able to plug a hybrid in overnight, you could potentially use a lot less gas by cruising for long stretches on battery power only. But unlike purely electric cars, which take hours to charge and need frequent recharging, you would not have to plug in if you did not want to.

"I've gotten anywhere from 65 to over 100 miles per gallon," said Mr. Gremban, an engineer at CalCars, a small nonprofit group based in Palo Alto, Calif. He gets 40 to 45 miles per gallon driving his normal Prius. And EnergyCS, a small company that has collaborated with CalCars, has modified another Prius with more sophisticated batteries; they claim their Prius gets up to 180 m.p.g. and can travel more than 30 miles on battery power.

"If you cover people's daily commute, maybe they'll go to the gas station once a month," said Mr. Kramer, the founder of CalCars. "That's the whole idea."

Conventional hybrid electric cars already save gas. But if one looks at growth projections for oil consumption, hybrids will slow the growth rate of oil imports only marginally, at best, with the amount depending on how many hybrids are sold. To actually stop the growth of oil imports and potentially even reduce consumption, automakers have focused on developing cars powered by hydrogen fuel cells.


Please visit the link provided for the complete story.


Car company executives claim that the modifications do have a negative side, however. The addition of more batteries ups the cost of the car and adds significant weight to the vehicle, where weight is already a concern in an electric vehicle.

A representative for a battery manufacturer states that the constant up and down charging of batteries is very hard on batteries, significantly reducing their lifespan, but proposes an alternative approach to the plug-in hybrid. In this approach, a flywheel would be used in conjunction with the batteries to reduce wear on the batteries. He is currently working on a design using this approach that he expects will get several hundred miles to the gallon.

With some fine tuning, this could be very promising for the near-future of cars, until next-generation fuel sources are widely implemented.

Related News Links:
www.businessweek.com




posted on Apr, 3 2005 @ 07:42 PM
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Nice find! I've been considering buying a hybrid for quite awhile; the only concern is power (the ones I've driven tend to be a bit slow if you're trying to pass on a highway.) I wonder how hard it is to modify the stock models to this kind of system (and how much extra room it takes).

My brother-in-law is part of a hobbyist race team and is a good mechanic. If I could find some good info, I'd run it by him. I have a 110 mile round trip commute each day and gas is getting awfully darn expensive.



posted on Apr, 3 2005 @ 07:42 PM
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It is nice to hear that people and companies are there trying to make that work and be some what economical.



posted on Apr, 3 2005 @ 07:55 PM
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claiming 180 mpg when you are supplementing gas with kilowatt hours does seem to be misleading in a way... especially considering a good portion of american electricity does come from oil fired power plants.



posted on Apr, 3 2005 @ 08:05 PM
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Originally posted by Sugarlump
claiming 180 mpg when you are supplementing gas with kilowatt hours does seem to be misleading in a way... especially considering a good portion of american electricity does come from oil fired power plants.


True!

But, if the tinkering proves out...and some official "upgrade kits" become available. It will make it possible to install a couple of dedicated solar panels in your backyard, or even integrated into the body of the car.
A supplement, so to speak...almost like a constant drip, drip,,drip into your gasoline tank.! OR a trickle charge, while you are parked at work...



posted on Apr, 3 2005 @ 08:18 PM
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even solar panels require oil from manufacturing and in the panels themselves...



posted on Apr, 3 2005 @ 08:49 PM
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Wow, people are even turning hybrid cars into ricers.. butthis time instead of superficial HP, it is MPG.

No offense to the people who claim to get more MPG by adding batteries and even charging the batteries with other methods then the engine, it is just playing a shell game with the numbers. instead of gas you are using Coal gas, or nuclear power plants energy... but insteadof getting it from a gas station you jsut use an outlet

I personally want to get a hybrid, but the cost is a little out of my raech still



posted on Apr, 3 2005 @ 08:52 PM
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Did any of you guys see that all electric car the Japanese built that can go faster then a bullet train at 370+ KPH
0-100 Kph in 4 seconds
Dunno about the range though, but it seems all electric is going to overshadow Infernal Combustion sooner or later.



posted on Apr, 3 2005 @ 08:54 PM
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Honestly, I think the appeal of hybrids to many people is the lower gas usage (translating into less money spent on gas). For most people, I really don't think it has anything to do with pollution.

However, another way of looking at this is that higher performing hybrid cars combined with a switchover of power plants from coal/oil to alternative sources such as nuclear could actually lessen the severity of the oil shortage, and also have the added side effect of reducing polution.



posted on Apr, 3 2005 @ 09:16 PM
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Watch the last part, amazing stuff IMO. Metallic Solar Panels and Algae pollution controls. Wild Stuff


www.pbs.org...

EDIT: Forgot link

EDIT2: This is just a test

[edit on 3-4-2005 by sardion2000]



posted on Apr, 3 2005 @ 09:51 PM
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Originally posted by namehere
even solar panels require oil from manufacturing and in the panels themselves...


Maybe so, but only once.
You don't burn them, and replace them on a weekly basis!



posted on Apr, 4 2005 @ 01:25 AM
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Great news


Let's see what accidents involving these 'lead sleds' look like before everyone buying one.

Auto accidents are bad enough with gasoline- baterry acid and fumes


wow

[edit on 4-4-2005 by JoeDoaks]



posted on Apr, 4 2005 @ 06:00 PM
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I really do hope these cars and type of fuel will pan out for every body. I want to see the time when the U.S. will not half to import energy.
But on the flip side of that, it is the oil company that sponcers the annual contest to see who can build the car that gets the highest gas millage, and what has the science and engereing contest done for general populas?

I will live it to the populas of ATS to fill in that blank.



posted on Apr, 4 2005 @ 06:03 PM
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Quote from the original post


A representative for a battery manufacturer states that the constant up and down charging of batteries is very hard on batteries, significantly reducing their lifespan



This hardly makes sense at all -- in the hybrid vehicle, the battery is charged and discharged in succession all the time.



posted on Apr, 4 2005 @ 06:11 PM
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Originally posted by obsidian468
.........fuel mileage of the Prius from the 40 to 45 mpg of a stock model...........


40-45 mpg in a hybrid car is very poor. I had a '91 diesel VW Jetta(stock) that got that and I am still kicking my self for not keeping it. The consumer is really getting ripped off and mislead if those stats are correct for a stock hybrid car. There are all kinds of ways to make an engine more efficient plus the hybrid technology. There is no reason why 100 mpg diesel/electrictic hybrids should not be on the market. The technology is here.



posted on Apr, 4 2005 @ 07:33 PM
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Originally posted by Aelita
Quote from the original post


A representative for a battery manufacturer states that the constant up and down charging of batteries is very hard on batteries, significantly reducing their lifespan



This hardly makes sense at all -- in the hybrid vehicle, the battery is charged and discharged in succession all the time.


This is the same principle that requires cell phone batteries to be replaced once a year. During acceleration, periods of uphill driving, etc, the strain placed on the battery is significantly higher, thereby drawing a larger charge from the battery (similar to why the gasoline consumption in a standard car is higher in city driving than it is in highway driving). This sort of high strain on a battery can cause it to lose its ability to hold a charge faster, thus the idea for the flywheel design to lessen the strain on the battery during high strain driving situations.



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