Join a panel of experts in the debate over petrol-electric propulsion
12 December 2007

What’s your view on the significance of the hybrid electric car? Will it form a vital part of the future of the automobile, or is it on over-hyped, unimportant irrelevance? Whatever your opinion, a new online debate on the subject today provides an opportunity to put it across, and to read the thoughts of experts on the subject.Sponsored by Lexus, this debate brings together the thoughts of a panel of experts, from global business forecasters to professors of engineering, on prickly questions like “can hybrids make a difference,” “where will the hybrid fleet get its energy,” and “does going hybrid save enough money to make sense?”You can access the debate at www.thehybriddebate.com. Once there, you’ll be able to choose between five key areas of discussion: environment, business and economy, families and lifestyle, urban planning and politics and energy. Between those five categories, the organisers of the forum hope to have covered off every area of everyday life in which the hybrid car has an impact, and in doing so, to take the debate over the importance of alternatively powered cars in new directions.The debate’s star attraction is Sir Bob Geldof. “I drive a hybrid car to avoid London’s congestion charge, “ says Bob. “Ultimately I think hybrids are really just an articulation of our anxiety about climate change.”“We need to do much more than change the car we drive to make an impact. Transportation has a part to play, but to really help the planet, we need more nuclear power.”

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Comments
33

12 December 2007

Hmm a debate about hybrid cars, sponsored by Lexus. Are we supposed to take that seriously. I mean they wouldn't happen to be the company with the largest rage of hybrids, who are owned by the company that sells the worlds best selling hybrid would they?

"I drive a hybrid car, because I think a V8 with a small electric motor is more socially responsible than a small diesel"

What a load of tosh. Nothing more than a thinly veiled marketing excersise.

12 December 2007

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Motors_EV1

The EV1. An electric car made by general motors from 1996-99. It had a range of over 150 miles and could crusie comfortably at 70mph, with a top speed of 80mph. 0-60 was around 8 seconds. The car was set to rip the guts out of the entire petrol industry, I mean, it didnt even need much in the way of maintenance, just replace the brakes discs and thats about it. (only a handfull of moving parts). Yet despite GM struggling to meet the inital demand, the program was pulled and most of the cars they could get their hands on were scrapped. The technology is there, they just dont want us to have it. Theres a film about it.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Who-Killed-Electric-Chris-Paine/dp/B000MGBPHO/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=dvd&qid=1197458448&sr=1-1

12 December 2007

[quote jimcumming]

Hmm a debate about hybrid cars, sponsored by Lexus. Are we supposed to take that seriously. I mean they wouldn't happen to be the company with the largest rage of hybrids, who are owned by the company that sells the worlds best selling hybrid would they?

"I drive a hybrid car, because I think a V8 with a small electric motor is more socially responsible than a small diesel"

What a load of tosh. Nothing more than a thinly veiled marketing excersise.

[/quote]

A cynical view and one I whole heartedly agree with.

Car Manufacturers have been trying to find viable alternatives (for what ever reason) to the petrol engine for years and the only viable one to really catch on has been Diesel, funnily enough another internal combustion engine. The benefits to consumers was immediate in fuel saving and increased range. Consumers to date do not see immediate benefits to alternatives.

Carrying on the Cynical theme, Government, instead of heavily taxing existing forms of powering cars etc. should plough money into helping scientists to develop a real viable and tangible alternative to the internal combustion engine, that would give instant benefits to all including the environment ( the old addage in sales, people by BENEFITS not FEATURES). This may have a positive effect on todays motorist, than the negative effect they keep getting for hitting us with further stealth taxes. And once and for all, prove that they too are bothered about the environmental impact that their so called advisor's say current cars are having!

We all know that they are not bothered (other than paying lip service to it) as we are the biggest cash cow they have after banning fags!

12 December 2007

Jon, was my post up when you posted yours? Looks like you didnt spot it. Alternative technologies do exist, they existed 10 years ago! The EV1 is proof of it. This wasnt a G-wizz type car, its was a proper normal car with real world performance figures. It scared the oil industry, and they destroyed it. BP alone makes 11billlion a year. Do you think they are just going to sit there and let electric cars take any of their profit from them?

12 December 2007

Seems to me that the really green thing to do is keep your car for as long as you can. In a cradle to grave calculation, apparently hybrids don't do so well. Car makers and governments obviously don't want us to stop buying new vehicles of any kind; it's such an important part of the first world's economy. There is no doubt that car firms want to be around as long as possible and they will develop and make whatever the market demands. The price of fuel is already having an effect on car economy and the growing scarcity of oil and other raw materials will surely have an effect on how cars are powered, their size and weight and useability.

Personally I can't wait to see what solutions they come up with. It's amazing how clever companies can be when they're really pushed.

12 December 2007

I don't think that petrol-electric hybrids are the solution at all. The Toyota Prius, for instance, has been over-stated, because it fares just as good or worse than a diesel engine for fuel efficiency. For carbon dioxide emissions it fares better...but only if you have a light foot, or else the car will run on solely engine power and those outputs would certainly rise to a level similar with non-hybrid cars.

Diesel-electric cars are a much better solution, since they would give unmached economy. Combining diesel and petrol technologies, like Mercedes is doing with the DiesOtto engine, is another interesting solution I believe, since it is powerful, economical, has few emissions and yet has a small cubic capacity.

However, manufacturers should also focus on the basic rules: weight. Of course, various improvements have already been made, such as reducing wire thickness and so on, but cars today have become very heavy...but then again, there are so many laws and regulations that in fact contradict weight loss...so I hope everyone realises how hard it is for manufacturers to produce light, safe, economical, refined, technological, stylish, comfortable cars, since many factors contradict each other.

 

- Follow your own star -

12 December 2007

Is nobody listening to me? Electric cars have the technology to outperform internal combustion engines! The ev1 is 10 years old so imagine would could be done with todays levels of battery refinement.

12 December 2007

Lithium Polymer Batteries are very good and do not lose charge when left for weeks without being used. They have long been used in RC Helicopters for this reason and they give very consistent discharge voltage.

The big problem with them is they are difficult to charge correctly and can be very volatile if over heated (I'm talking low temps), chargers for them tend to be very technical and very expensive. A 20 cell 18 volt 8000 MaH pack costs in excess of £250 each. Large Heli's need two of these, and they give approx. 15 minutes flying time!

Imagine how big these would need to be to power a car and the care required to charge them safely without blowing yourself up.

But it can be done at a price.

Interesting link. Note the safe charging advice

http://radiocontrol.wikia.com/wiki/Lithium_polymer

12 December 2007

I've just watched the 'Who Killed the Electric Car' on youtube, and it is a very interesting watch if not a little unbalanced. The major issue with an all electric car is where does the electricity come from.

One of the major advantages that they fail to mention is that by using electricity you are effectively using a standardised form of energy. This energy can be generated in any number of ways, some good, some bad. But at least these vehicles have the flexibility to adapt. Any car that runs on a specific fuel is in danger of becoming obsolete very quickly indeed.

12 December 2007

Couldn't agree with Jim more.

Why on earth would Lexus sponser a "debate" if they thought for a second the conclusion may deduce Hybrids arn't the silver bullet Toyota/Lexus think they are.

You don't becoming the number one manufacturer in the world by entering into public debates that are going to hurt your brand image.

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