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Modified Hybrid Cars Achieve Up To 250 Mpg (moved from ATSNN)

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posted on Aug, 14 2005 @ 09:44 AM
A small but committed group of environmentalists and hybrid car enthusiasts have demonstrated modified vehicles that can travel as far as 250 miles per gallon of gasoline. This remarkable achievement was realized by adding extra batteries and modifying the electrical system to enable plug-in recharges. Proponents argue that while modified hybrid cars still require some form of traditional energy generation, they help reduce the US dependence on oil because the plug-in energy may be produced by cleaner sources such as solar.
CORTE MADERA, Calif. (AP) - Politicians and automakers say a car that can both reduce greenhouse gases and free America from its reliance on foreign oil is years or even decades away. Ron Gremban says such a car is parked in his garage.

It looks like a typical Toyota Prius hybrid, but in the trunk sits an 80-miles-per-gallon secret - a stack of 18 brick-sized batteries that boosts the car's high mileage with an extra electrical charge so it can burn even less fuel.

Gremban, an electrical engineer and committed environmentalist, spent several months and $3,000 tinkering with his car.

Like all hybrids, his Prius increases fuel efficiency by harnessing small amounts of electricity generated during braking and coasting. The extra batteries let him store extra power by plugging the car into a wall outlet at his home in this San Francisco suburb - all for about a quarter.

He's part of a small but growing movement. "Plug-in" hybrids aren't yet cost-efficient, but some of the dozen known experimental models have gotten up to 250 mpg.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

Fantastic news for the future, especially if you are tired of paying $$$$ to fill up your gas tank. I drive a Honda Civic Hatchback that gets 34 mpg, but I still pay $20+ to fill the tank. The modified hybrid would work great for me because I drive about 150 miles per week.

There are, however, many key assumptions surrounding the concept of super-efficient modified hybrid cars.

The extra batteries let Gremban drive for 20 miles with a 50-50 mix of gas and electricity. Even after the car runs out of power from the batteries and switches to the standard hybrid mode, it gets the typical Prius fuel efficiency of around 45 mpg. As long as Gremban doesn't drive too far in a day, he says, he gets 80 mpg.

This creates a problem for those that drive long distances. Also, this doesn't appear to be a solution for big-rig trucks. Perhaps someone knows the percentage of pollution generated by 18-wheeler's? Maybe this isn't important, but I suspect it is.

Backers of plug-in hybrids acknowledge that the electricity to boost their cars generally comes from fossil fuels that create greenhouse gases, but they say that process still produces far less pollution than oil. They also note that electricity could be generated cleanly from solar power.

A big IF there. Solar power proponents have been promising the world for decades now. Some great strides have been made, but it's clearly not enough.

The point about converting hybrids into plug-ins and using the nation's large-scale electrical systems is a good one. I don't think we're likely to see a complete abondonment of traditional fossil fuel generated electricity, but the large scale generators appear to be far cleaner than the small scale ones used in cars and intenal combustion engines.

The bottom line is that energy consumption is a zero-sum game - we need energy to move the cars, etc. but if we can make some compromises that push us towards cleaner sources and less oil-intensive sources we'll be a lot better off in the long run.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: I'd like nothing more than to find a way to eliminate our need for Middle-Eastern oil. I'm sick of that region's insanity dominating US politics and economics.

posted on Aug, 14 2005 @ 10:31 AM
While it's a good idea on paper, it really only saves us money and pollution with vehicles. When they get plugged in to the wall, that electricity they use to charge themselves is often generated by oil burning power plants. Using oil generated electricity to power cars increases the tax on oil power plants, which makes them need to burn more oil to produce the extra power. All told, the pollution we're preventing from the car exhaust is being replaced with extra pollution from power plants.

The real solution to the pollution problem and the dependency on foreign oil is in alternative energy sources. Once we can reliably and safely produce power without oil, then we'll start to put a dent in the pollution and oil dependence issues.

Remember, the US depends on oil for many many things, not just fuel for vehicles. We use oil to generate power, make plastics, build solar cells, rubber, etc. The use of oil figures prominently into everything we do, and therein lies the problem. Alternative energy will solve some of the problem, but it won't solve all of it. We need to be able to figure out a way to replace the oil component in all of the manufacturing we do. That's a rather tall order.

I'd love to see us get rid of oil usage altogether, just as much as anyone else, but the solutions are still many years off, and perhaps not soon enough to save the planet from oil depletion and pollution problems.

By the way, I posted another article on this same subject a while back. Perhaps the discussion on that article would help with discussion on this one.

Hybrid-Car Tinkerers Scoff at No Plug-In Rule

[edit on 14-8-2005 by obsidian468]

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