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A problem with plug-in hybrids?

olegoleg subscriber Posts: 13 Bronze Level Member
edited March 2008 in Environmental
These days, I hear more and more about the future of plug-in hybrid cars:
[quote:t9re0hp4]Toyota took a big step Wednesday toward marketing plug-in hybrid cars -- vehicles that run mostly on rechargeable batteries and can go 100 miles on a gallon of gas -- when it announced it would provide two specially made Priuses to the University of California for testing on U.S. roads.
The cars look like normal Priuses, but unlike the showroom model, the experimental version runs mostly on its electric motor and plugs into a 110-volt house current for overnight charging. Kwong said the car will travel up to 7 miles on electricity alone and can go up to 60 mph in pure electric mode.
One potential problem I see with the plug-in hybrids is that most people I know don`t park in a garage! What good is a plug-in hybrid for anyone who parks their car in a driveway, carport, on the street, or any other place that is not within easy reach of an electric outlet?
This needs to be addressed - are there any creative solutions?


  • olegoleg subscriber Posts: 13 Bronze Level Member
    I guess I missed the part of it only going 7 miles on electric.  That does kind of defeat the purpose.
  • spungeyspungey subscriber Posts: 2
    When plug-in hybrids become sensible (and I think they will in about three or four years) then apartment managers will start running power cables out to their parking lots, carports, and garages.  If you`re the first to design a power plug locking cover that works with your apartment key (so your neighbors don`t plug into your slot and cost you $$), you might have a product.
  • ayjayayjay subscriber Posts: 7

    Do you think the US is ready for plug-in cars? What about the fully electric plug-ins of ~10 years ago?

    I didn’t know anything about them at the time, but I did see Who Killed the Electric Car? a few years ago. I don’t think most people outside CA knew that electric cars were actually being used for everyday driving by regular people. CA had even developed some infrastructure for these cars: plug-in stations.

    According to the movie, electric cars were squashed by the government, automotive manufacturers, and of course Big Oil. All 3 still have quite a bit of power.  I do think we’re in a different place now, with $3.50 gas and an ongoing war, but I still wonder if plug-in hybrid cars will get a foothold.  

    Of course, we also need to work out how to produce electricity with renewable resources so that we aren’t burning natural gas and coal to power our plug-in cars. . .
  • greenspinnergreenspinner subscriber Posts: 1
    Here`s some food for thought. In the 30`s GM,Greyhound, Standard Oil, Firestone, and some others, formed a company to buy municipal streetcar systems and dismantle them. Most  of these systems were electrical. They were trying to get GM`s diesel bus business to expand. One city they targeted was LA, they completely ripped out the entire electrical systems. In 1949 GM was convicted with criminally conspiring with Standard Oil and Firestone to replace electrical transportation and to monopolize sale of buses. Fine $5,000. Of course the aftermath was buses spewing tons of carbon monoxide into the air and, of course GM has a lucrative bus business.
    Henry`s Ford`s model T of 1908 got 21 MPG 100 years later the average gas milage is 25MPG,
    The electric car was invented before the gas car.
    Boy, we sure have come a long way.
  • ticktubesticktubes subscriber Posts: 1
    Here on the East Coast of the USA, I know several Prius owners ... they all have a garage or carport. I hope to get a plug in electric when GM comes out with the Volt.
    Possibly, apartment dwellers with short commutes could invest in a mover`s dolly and a large portable battery? I expect some employers will also create plug-in parking, to "green" their image.
  • JulioFJulioF subscriber Posts: 0
    What is it about the "7 miles" statement that all y`all don`t understand?  You`re scoffing because???
    Re-read it.
    It`s a HYBRID.  Hybrids run on electric and gas.
    With the improved electronics, the car achieves 100 MPG! That`s about twice the MPG that most of the best Hybrids are getting these days. A VERY huge improvement!
    The car probably can take you to the neighborhood store down the road and back without using any gasoline (if you live in the city or near a store, of course).  But that`s NOT the primary selling point.
    Think about it. Your current vehicle gets what - 25 MPG on a good day?  You drive an average of 15000 miles.  15000/25 = 600 gallons per year = about $1920 per year spent on gas (at $3.20/gal).
    With this hybrid, the numbers are 15000/100 = 150 gallons per year = about $480 per year spent on gas!
    You would be right in saying that the added expense of a hybrid over a conventional model wipes out the benefit, and you`d be correct in many situations. Last I checked, hybrids added about $3000 to $4000 to the price of a vehicle.
    But let`s say you live in a rural area. Or you drive a lot in your job. Let`s look at some other numbers.
    At 25000 miles per year:
    25000/25 = 1000 gallons = $3200 spent on gas.
    25000/100 = 250 gallons = $800 spent on gas. The $1600 savings recoups the added hybrid expense in about 2 or 3 years!
    At 30000 miles per year:
    30000/25 = 1200 gallons = $3840 spent on gas.
    30000/100 = 300 gallons = $960 spent on gas. The $2880 savings recoups the added hybrid expense in about 1.5 or 2 years!
    My wife drives 40000 miles per year:
    At 40000 miles per year:
    40000/25 = 1600 gallons = $5120 spent on gas.
    40000/100 = 400 gallons = $1280 spent on gas. The $3840 savings recoups the added hybrid expense in about 1 year, then we are saving $3840 annually as compared to the current vehicle!
    Taking it further, she is driving an SUV, with mileage of 17 MPG. Let`s plug this in and see the numbers:
    At 40000 miles per year:
    40000/17 = 2353 gallons = $7530 spent on gas.
    40000/100 = 400 gallons = $1280 spent on gas. The $6250 savings recoups
    the added hybrid expense in about 8 months, then we are saving $6250
    annually as compared to the current vehicle!
    In four years, the hybrid has put $25,000 into our wallet which would have been polluting the air and otherwise contributing to the development of the Middle East. But now, after four years, our savings allow us to purchase a NEW hybrid with the funds saved!
    Yes, the electric recharge is going to be an added expense. We`d need to know this number, too. Would it be $50/month? $100/month?
    And we`d need more electric generation to meet the demand. More nuclear, solar, or wind. Not more coal-fired!
    And, right now, there isn`t a mass-produced car out there which plugs-in. It will be a nice amenity for apartment management to provide... the facilities to charge your car overnight. A point of differentiation among apartment complexes vying for residents.
    This 100 MPG Hybrid is HUGE! And, like any product, not everyone will have a use for it. But for those who do...JulioF3/18/2008 2:21 PM
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