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The Energy Dept. stopped its tests of hybrid batteries -- when the capacity remained almost like new -- after 160,000 miles. A taxi driver in Vancouver drove his Toyota Prius over 200,000 miles in 25 months, and the batteries remained strong (see BW Online, 12/28/05, "Taxicabs Start to Turn Green").
The Honda (HMC) Accord hybrid is the fastest family sedan on the market. The Lexus Rx400h and Toyota Highlander Hybrid share the same 270 horsepower system. The Lexus GS 450h hybrid sedan, expected later in 2006, will exceed 300 horsepower with 0-to-60 performance below six seconds. And the Toyota Volta concept is a 408-horsepower scream machine. (See Hybrids for more information).
The long list of celebrity hybrid drivers includes Leonardo DiCaprio, Cameron Diaz, and Larry David. They zip around Hollywood in their Priuses and appear on talk shows extolling the virtues of hybrid vehicles. These celebrities, and other early adopters of hybrid technology, were primarily motivated by the environmental benefits. As a result, they created an easy target for naysayers to brand all hybrid drivers as tree-huggers.
In the ensuing years, Americans of all political stripes have become more aware of the economic and political costs of oil dependency. Conservative pundits claim that our petrodollars end up in the hands of repressive Middle East regimes and their patrons. As a result, we fund both sides of the war on terror. In addition, auto workers have grown more interested in fuel-saving technologies, recognizing that they bear the brunt of Detroit's reluctance to abandon once-profitable SUVs.
Conserving fuel is now being championed as a way to tackle national security, jobs, and climate change, all at the same time. Frank Gaffney, President Reagan's Under Secretary of Defense, supports bipartisan legislation introduced in Congress to promote the use of alternative fuels and hybrids.
In an interview in National Review Online, he said: "It would stimulate far greater production of such fuels as biodiesel, methanol, and ethanol, preferably in 'plug-in hybrid' vehicles that will permit electricity also to be used as a relatively cheap transportation fuel."
Turns out that a good amount of training -- and, in case of fire, lots of water -- should be most of what a first responder needs upon arriving at an accident involving a hybrid.
Knowing a few basic things about hybrids -- the location and construction of battery compartments, the color (orange) used to designate high voltage cables, and the location of fuses that will isolate the electrical system -- is enough to help first responders save lives and remain safe in the process.
The numbers are encouraging but must be viewed in the context of the overall car market. The 200,000 hybrid car sales in 2005 represent 1.2% of the 17 million new cars sold last year. If every new hybrid driver doubled fuel economy from 20 mpg to 40 mpg for 40 miles of daily driving -- an optimistic estimate -- then a gallon per hybrid car would be saved every day. That's a whopping 100,000 gallons per day chalked up to hybrid car drivers. But we've only reduced our daily U.S. consumption from 400 million gallons to 399,900,000 gallons.
Hybrid technology is often pitted against fuel cells, diesel engines, and/or hydrogen as the silver bullet approach to sustainable mobility. The greatest hope and investment has been placed in hydrogen fuel cells. Yet on Dec. 1, 2005, the International Energy Agency (IEA) concluded that even under the most favorable conditions, hydrogen vehicles would represent 30% of the global fleet by 2050. The failure of hydrogen-powered cars to materialize rapidly underscores the risk of focusing on a single solution.
The debate over the future of automotive technology has now turned toward finding the best ways to combine systems and fuels in a single hybrid vehicle. The experience of mass-producing hybrid gas-electric vehicles has given engineers the insight needed to develop complex systems needed to combine multiple sources of power.
Originally posted by Regenmacher
Mazda's Hydrogen RX-8 rotary engine
Escape Hybrid E85 ethanol electric
I've never heard the plug-in one...I really doubt the 100 mpg though.
Though I'm a bit wary of using ethonol as topsoil erosion is proving to be a serious problem.
Originally posted by Murcielago
ok...now i'm no farm wiss, but I though that you planted corn in a field for a few years, and then change it so ...beans or something, for a couple years. And you keep changing it up which helps keep the nutrients in the soil (aka: topsoil.)
Originally posted by dirty_underground
the only problem I have ever found about the Hybrid is the fact that when you exceed the speed of 40 miles per hour the powerplant switches from battery power to gas. Which I am supprised to not see that on the top 10 list seeing as that is the only reason that i have not purchased a hybrid myself. As long as you do not exceed that speed it is well worth the money IMO.
If every new hybrid driver doubled fuel economy from 20 mpg to 40 mpg for 40 miles of daily driving -- an optimistic estimate -- then a gallon per hybrid car would be saved every day. That's a whopping 100,000 gallons per day chalked up to hybrid car drivers. But we've only reduced our daily U.S. consumption from 400 million gallons to 399,900,000 gallons.