Monday, September 10, 2007

Commentor asks why I'm bitter about Hybrids and what is my answer to high fuel costs, so here we go...

Hybrids, they're great for some folks. Mostly people living in or around major urban centers. But I've never really been convinced that they're a long term answer. In my last post on the Volvo ReCharge Plug In Hybrid Concept, one commentor says that I seemed bitter. Well I wouldn't go that far, let's just say I'm not a fan. I'm actually one of the few people I know that could benefit from a Hybrid, as the majority of my driving is "City" traffic at lower speeds, and that's where Hybrids shine. Although Al Gore's kid did recently prove that a Prius can top the century mark on the highway. But let's think about Hybrids seriously. For people that do long commutes they don't make as much sense. The Highway MPG is good, but not stellar for the added cost of a Hybrid. Hybrids cost more than comperable vehicles to build, purchase and maintane. And then there's the question about life of the vehicle and what happens at the end. Hybrids are new technology, they have more computer controls than a conevetional Internal Combustion Engine vehicle. So over the useful life of a Hybrid can we expect more service problems? And where will you have it service? And what about when the car is wrecked or just met it's end, then needs to go bye bye? Will there be environmental issues with the batteries? Who covers that expense if there are?
Hybrids are nice and they make us feel good, but what's a better solution? Diesels! I've said it before and I'll say it again. Ask yourself why in Europe and the UK Diesels acount for about 50% of the market. It's because they get 15-20 % better fuel economy. But Diesel emissions smell right? Well yes and no, but we'll come back to that. Diesels make more sense for rural/suburban drivers than Hybrids and don't have those nagging service/end of life issues. Diesels do cost more than gasoline versions, so there is a price penalty to get into one, but they last longer too. Stricly speaking money spent on a Diesel vehicle is money well spent. We've all hear of those Volvos/Mercedes that the town doctor or banker has been driving for the last 20 years, well more than likely a Diesel.

But the comment also asked what I would do about the rising fuel costs. Well Diesels give us several oportunities here. First because they use less fuel they save there, but here's the kicker they can burn Bio Diesel with little or no modifications and burn cleaner and eventually cheaper.
Anyone who's read my blogs over the last 2 years knows that I love the idea of Bio Diesel for several reasons. It doesn't come from OPEC, it burns cleaner than any petrolium based fuel, it's renewable and we can make it here in the United States. Bio Diesel also makes more power than Petro Diesel. It's a no brainer folks! Why pay more for a Hybrid when you can pay more for a Diesel?
I'll take the Focus Turbo Diesel pictured above!


J. Scott said...

Not to mention, what is going to happen when everyone in California comes home and plugs their car in? They already have problems keeping up with demand when the thermometer reaches 90.

Also, where do these people think the electricity comes from?

Anonymous said...

Why do you think biodiesel is the answer? How much cropland would it take to power anything like the current American vehicle fleet with biodiesel? Until you know the answer to the question your blowing smoke up your own rear end.

John in Seguin said...

...when everyone in California comes home and plugs their car in?
The 220 v A/C units are going all day, and at night they don't run as much.

Most experts say that night-time re-charging of plugin hybrids would actually help the power companies, as they wouldn't have to scale down the power at night.