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  • What is the point of hybrids?
  • Premier Icon SaxonRider
    Full Member

    Considering the negative coverage of hybrids in today’s BBC, I am wondering why manufacturers even bother. Why don’t they just sink their efforts exclusively in electrics?

    Premier Icon mboy
    Free Member

    Not sure if serious, or living under a bridge and snacking on Billy Goats… 🤔

    Premier Icon pondo
    Full Member

    Wouldn’t be without one. Compromised for sure, but has a foot on many different worlds.

    Premier Icon Drac
    Full Member

    Has your post been stuck for 5 years?

    Premier Icon jimdubleyou
    Full Member

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-54170207

    If the survey is based on data from…

    drivers who have chosen to record their mileage and fuel consumption for surveys or who drive company or leased vehicles whose fuel efficiency is recorded.

    … then it’s going to be skewed as loads of execs got them as company cars to offset their tax liability (as discussed in a previous STW episode).

    The emissions from ours (when it arrives next month) will be 0 Monday to Friday as Mrs Dubs will charge it at work once a week or so.

    Until the council dig up the tiny grass patch outside our house and turn it into EV parking, a BEV alone isn’t going to cut it for us and buying two cars isn’t really an option…

    Premier Icon onewheelgood
    Full Member

    The main point of a hybrid (like the original Pious) was to reduce emissions in city centres. Plug-in hybrids are different – if most of your journeys are short you can almost avoid using the ICE at all, but still have the range for the rare occasions you need it. A recent Harry’s garage video explains it quite well – https://youtu.be/k15n6QAe8cE

    <edit> That BBC article is an idiotic statement of the bleeding obvious.

    Premier Icon simon_g
    Full Member

    Plug in hybrids work well for a lot of people – plug it in regularly, do much of your local driving or commuting on electric, but have the ability to do the big journeys without hassle.

    The problem is that because our taxation (particularly around company cars) is based on official CO2 figures, plenty of people got them to pay less tax but never bothered with the plugging in bit.

    I’ve read the paper behind that coverage, they cherry-pick the Kia Niro PHEV which is one of the worst for running it’s engine when it doesn’t really need to. The Golf GTE we had could be run as a short range EV in all conditions without running the engine at all.

    The CO2 emissions from a typical PHEV are about 117g CO2/km on the road only slightly better than from a conventional hybrid car like a Toyota Prius 135g CO2/km. A conventional new ICE car has emissions of 164-167g CO2/km on the road (diesel and petrol respectively)

    So they’re not perfect but do better. And the majority of PHEVs sold are larger cars like the Outlander so not a good comparison to a Prius.

    As for why manufacturers bother? Fleet CO2 averages, and the fines they get if they’re too high. It’s a way to go on selling big SUVs without the big fines. What I find even more pointless are the “mild hybrid” systems they’re fitting to everything in sight – 48v and not enough power to even move the car on electric alone.

    I love proper EVs, I drive one despite the compromises, but PHEVs will have their place for the coming decade or so.

    Premier Icon ransos
    Free Member

    A comfortable, upright riding position, reasonably quick, and can take panniers.

    Premier Icon AD
    Full Member

    I have a Countryman PHEV. By coincidence I had just filled the 36L tank before lockdown. I refilled the tank again 1750 miles later. Mine is plugged in whenever it is parked at home. So for me, a hybrid makes sense.
    Admittedly it is a bit more rubbish on long runs though…

    Premier Icon MarkyG82
    Full Member

    I go round in circles.
    From:
    The companies need to reduce their average co2 blah blah blah….
    To:
    I could drive all week and cover 3000miles year on leccy.

    And then I remember you still need to maintain the engine and you have to charge it every single day!

    Premier Icon tjagain
    Full Member

    Very little point. they are greenwash. well there would be a bit more point if they made them smaller and lighter but as it stands lifetime co2 emissions are not significantly decreased ( far greater emissions in production and disposal)

    Premier Icon robbie
    Free Member

    Guy I sit next to at work had a Merc estate hybrid for 3 years as a company car. Hated it. When he first got it the battery range was 25 miles from fully charged. When he handed it back after 3 years the range was down to 13 miles.
    And he reckoned it cost far more on long journeys as had to carry the weight of the batteries around. Just a tax dodge really.

    Premier Icon davosaurusrex
    Full Member

    Company Passat GTE here. Always charge it, always empty the battery every working day and get around 55mpg overall. Weekends are nearly all on battery. Long journeys across the continent have still consistently seen 44mpg, fully laden. So with lower BIK it works well for me compared to a diesel, still contemplating the practicalities of a BEV next year though.

    So like just about everything else, ever, it depends. Who’d have thought?

    Premier Icon wobbliscott
    Full Member

    They’re really just a stepping stone to get people out of ICE cars and on the way to full EV. Once there is a half decent charging network in the country and fast charging then there is no point to hybrids. For example if you could have a Tesla and wanted one then why would you consider a Hybrid? But for non Tesla BEV’s the national charging network is woeful so Hybrids still have a place.

    But even BEV’s are not the answer. Hydrogen fuel celled EV’s have to be. Convenience of filling up like an ICE car, can utilise excess electric generated from windmills when the wind is up but small levels of demand, so use that to create the hydrogen and you’ve killed two birds with one stone.

    Premier Icon bikerevivesheffield
    Full Member

    @wobbliscott you love your acronyms

    Premier Icon jonnyboi
    Full Member

    They are a tax dodge. I owned a outlander phev for three years and it started out as a good idea but was hopelessly compromised.

    25 mile real world EV range, 25-35mpg using ICE. And that was when new.

    By the end it was 17 mile EV range. Yes we managed with one car for everything but in hindsight it wasn’t worth it

    Premier Icon squirrelking
    Free Member

    Plenty of us can’t viably run electrics, as much as we would like to.

    HTH

    Premier Icon joshvegas
    Free Member

    Very little point

    So because i only have onstreet parking i should just buy a diesel/petrol. Or are you suggesting i should drape a cable across the pavement?

    Premier Icon squirrelking
    Free Member

    Company Passat GTE here. Always charge it, always empty the battery every working day and get around 55mpg overall. Weekends are nearly all on battery. Long journeys across the continent have still consistently seen 44mpg, fully laden.

    You do realise you could get miles better economy from a diesel right? I mean, if you’re city driving then fine but otherwise that’s pretty poor.

    Premier Icon falkirk-mark
    Full Member

    I have been looking into getting a Passat/superb PHEV however the skoda is that new they are 10 grand dearer than the petrol equivalent (7000 litres petrol/ 50000 miles?) plus you still have a cost charging it up so are we looking at one hundred thousand miles before it is breaking even with the petrol/diesel. Doesn’t seem to make sense financially

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Free Member

    Very little point. they are greenwash. well there would be a bit more point if they made them smaller and lighter but as it stands lifetime co2 emissions are not significantly decreased ( far greater emissions in production and disposal)

    Don’t listen to TJ, he really does not know what he’s talking about. He was unable to back any of this up satisfactorily ten years ago when we were arguing constantly about it.

    I have an old hybrid. It has the fuel economy and CO2 of a diesel, but far less NOx – almost none in fact. And it’s a lot more economical in town than my diesel. The battery is nickel and really not that big.

    Today’s plug-in hybrids are a good solution – their batteries are a lot smaller than full electric cars which makes them affordable and , but for most trips they can run electric only. But they can still be used for long trips on petrol so range anxiety is not an issue.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Free Member

    You do realise you could get miles better economy from a diesel right? I mean, if you’re city driving then fine but otherwise that’s pretty poor.

    That depends on his mileage. The perfect usage for that Passat GTE is a short commute < 30 miles, with the occasional long trip. If you do 200 miles a day and use your battery during that then yes it’s less efficient than a diesel overall. However it’s also petrol so let’s not forget 55mpg from a petrol with negligible NOx or particulates in a big car is pretty good.

    Premier Icon duncancallum
    Full Member

    I’m not a fan compromised on both side though the technology is now minimising this.

    Futures on full electric or very efficient engines and CVT boxes to keep them in the clean zone. Some hybrids will have the small high boost ICE to run a charging system but still not convinced.

    Premier Icon tjagain
    Full Member

    Molgrips – I proved you wrong then and nothing has changed. You need to look at the complete lifetime emmissions. Hybrids do not reduce this. what they do is reduce in town emissions. they do not reduce lifetime environmental penalty even plug in ones by any significant amount.

    You are carrying a lot of parasitic weight which increases emmissions totals as you need more energy to move that weith. manufacture of the batteries is highly toxic and produces its own emmissions.

    simple greenwash to make folk driving think they are doing something

    You need to look at total lifetime environmental costs not tailpipe emmissions.

    Premier Icon Edukator
    Free Member

    According to the Fraunhoffer institute hybrids are a bit better than their equivalent diesel or petrol stablemates over lifetime in terms of CO2, full electrics are better still even with the Germany electricity generating mix. Charge at night in the UK and you’re into very low CO2 figures.

    In terms of lifetime vehicle environemental cost it’s the same but the payback mileage can be very long.

    In CO2 terms hydrogen is a disaster, several times the electricty consumption of a battery electric if the H comes from electricty (which given the generation mix in most of Europe means it’s worse than burning petrol/diesel) and far worse than running on natural gas if the H comes from natrual gas.

    Premier Icon Drac
    Full Member

    I’ve had my Golf GTE for 3 years the range when I got it was 26 miles after 3 years that has dropped to 26 miles.

    I’ve been testing a hybrid today at work. The biggest complaint from those before me was the MPG was only 30mpg, I asked how they were charging it. They had been letting the car charge the battery, by the end if today I had the MPG over 60mpg.

    well there would be a bit more point if they made them smaller and lighter

    They come in many forms including small.

    Premier Icon Cougar
    Full Member

    Oh, cars. I very nearly moved this thread into the bike forum.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Free Member

    Also, my colleague has a new model Prius. His long term average driving around Hampshire is low to mid 70s MPG, and it’s not even a plug-in. So that’s not bad for a decent sized car.

    Premier Icon stgeorge
    Free Member

    @wobbliscott you love your acronyms

    ICE to me is In Car Entertainment. totally confused

    Premier Icon thestabiliser
    Free Member

    It reduces the chance of heritable disease over a pedigree stock

    Premier Icon rickon
    Full Member

    This thread is missing photos.

    Premier Icon stgeorge
    Free Member

    You need to look at total lifetime environmental costs not tailpipe emmissions

    TJ, don’t agree with a somethings you say, but this is spot on.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Free Member

    Molgrips – I proved you wrong then and nothing has changed.

    Lol in your head you did, but none of your arguments had any substance. Your faith in your own argument is not enough, I’m afraid 🙂

    You are carrying a lot of parasitic weight

    How much extra weight? The battery in my car is about 30kg, the entire car is around 1300kg, which in 2006 was pretty light for a family car. It’s 200kg less than my other car which is a similar size inside. You say ‘a lot of weight’ but it’s not a heavy car so you’re just plain wrong.

    Futures on full electric or very efficient engines and CVT boxes

    So the Prius is both of those things. The petrol engine is a pseudo-Atkinson cycle engine which is more thermodynamically efficient than a normal petrol engine (but less than a diesel). It is full electric when driving slowly. The battery is charged from energy that would otherwise be wasted in a normal petrol engine, as well as braking.

    You could equally ask what’s the point in lugging 250 miles worth of batteries around town when you are only driving 10 miles to work. The hybrid solves that issue.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Free Member

    TJ, don’t agree with a somethings you say, but this is spot on.

    This is not a radical viewpoint, basically everyone already knows this although TJ thinks he’s a genius for uncovering it.

    He hasn’t managed to prove to me that the lifetime costs of a hybrid are actually greater. As far as I can tell, no-one has, and I tried quite hard to find a definitive answer back when we did this last time.

    Premier Icon Edukator
    Free Member

    Your friend is getting better than the official figures out of his Prius, Molgrips. That’s unrealistic. I suspect if he did brim to brim checks and corrected his mileage it would be nearer 60 mpg over a long period.

    I did some proper checking on my Dacia and found I could just match the best official figures driving really carefully on country roads (with a lower limit than the UK, don’t want to be anti-social slow do we) in Summer. Driving up and down to the ski resort in Winter was another matter.

    Same with the electric, at this time of the year I’m getting very close to the WLTP numbers – 385km. Going up to the ski resort on a snowy day takes nearly half the battery, there’s no regeneration on the descent because the battery is too cold and by the time I’m home it’s down to 45% after only 110km.

    Buy a car to suit your use. If you live in a town house with no outside plug and no handy public charger there’s not much point going electric, but if you have a long commute from a house with a drive and have a two-car household then having at least one elctric is a no brainer.

    Lots of motorway miles, not much point in a hybrid. Lots of town miles then a hybrid, plug-in hybrid or better still electric means you’ll poison your fellow citizens less.

    Premier Icon ads678
    Full Member

    ICE to me is In Car Entertainment. totally confused

    Institute of Civil Engineers to me!

    Premier Icon Sui
    Free Member

    Ah, this article is dross click bate, backed up by a pathetic I’ll informed ngo and an “expert” that has made a living out of presenting data with no Context.

    For others, there are valid points everywhere. Electric has a large long term future to play In emission reduction, but is not without its downsides. Where major gains can be had quickly is fixing existing fleets and what they burn, in the name of sustainable fuels, there are a number of names associated with this, but it is in effect carbon cycling.. There are vehicles and liquid fuels tha make a pure ev look bad In the whole Life cycle, the converse is also true.

    It is also very true, that some pure ICE vehicles do/ can emit similar emissions over the life of a vehicle that EV s can, this can be further bettered by fixing what goes in them

    PHEVs and at a minimum Hybrids must and will prevail for the next 20 years as a way to keep economies ticking over, and at the same time help to fix the mess we’ve all created.

    At some point over the next few years we will all be asked to put a price on our image and the environment, and that will be the cost of swapping out fossil for renewables, but until people’s mindsets change it will be slow.

    These articals and those peddled by a number of NGOs are stifling progression in the transport sector as they are too short sighted and often biased towards individuals who have a knack of shouting loudest or affiliations with dubious intentions..

    Back to the point, PHEVs have a good point, if you as an owner can be bothered to use them correctly…

    Premier Icon Sui
    Free Member

    Also to add, Pure EVs are still about 3-10K more expensive than an ICE alternative, every ev on the market is heavily subsidised, to the point where most OEMs still don’t make a single £/€ from them.. Its a false economy at the moment.

    Premier Icon garage-dweller
    Full Member

    Totally agree with tj about needing to consider the whole life cost but (as is usual for a lot of debates) the whole thing around EV, Hybrid, PHEV, Petrol, Diesel is always framed in such a depressingly one dimensional manner.

    BEV’s are not the answer for everyone
    Diesels are not the answer for everyone
    etc.

    We need to get away from this binary, tribal(?) and overly simple approach to complex issues whether its method of propulsion, Brexit, climate change or bloody Covid.

    Zero-emission at point of use vehicles bring big advantages to air quality in populated areas but they come with downsides for long-haul/heavily loaded work (weight, range, ability to tow) and real unanswered questions about whole life environmental (and carbon) cost.

    We also need to remember that they still generate particles (tyres and brakes), BEV’s more likely to weigh more (size for size) and they’re silent which isn’t massively helpful to cyclists and or the partially sighted.

    Whenever you read behind the marketing spin and think about real world use most of the BEV and PHEV stuff seems to be a bit compromised for “heavy lifting” whether it’s weight, economy, lack of towing or roof rack capacity, shape and/or interior space compromises to fit the batteries in. Some of those big PHEV/BEV’s can barely pull the same as a 1.0l Ford Focus. Those that manage more seem to need to have certain energy saving systems shut down for the sake of train stability so the ranges presumably take a disproportionate knock.

    The smart money for long distance work or towing with electric seems to be on hybrids right now but the choice is really limited because not all are homologated for tow bars – that also means no tow bar bike racks and potentially no lighting socket for a strap on rack either – not sure I’d clip in on a hybrid, you’d want the dedicated wiring kit.

    Then there’s a heap of other issues:

    What goes into batteries and where does it come from – some of the rare minerals are mined in countries where (shall we say) Health & Safety is a secondary consideration? What is the environmental cost of extraction – not just CO2 but destruction of the natural environment? I know oil’s pretty rubbish for this too by the way.

    Where’s your electricity come from? Nuclear, hydro, coal, biomass, wind, gas? What are the environmental consequences of that?

    More mass means more energy – but balanced with regenerative technology what is the net position?

    Bulky batteries have led to some tall designs => poorer aerodynamics/range impact.

    It seems to me the point of the hybrid is to combine the torque delivery of an electric motor, the benefits of regenerative braking and an efficient drivetrain. Whether whole life wise that’s better or worse than a BEV, PHEV or ICE will be user dependent and what we really lack is guidance and options that get the consumer and fleet user to the right vehicle that takes into account whole life environmental and actual costs.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Free Member

    I didn’t realise the tests had changed. From Autotrader:

    The Prius certainly delivers impressive mpg and emissions figures, although the latest WLTP tests have pegged the official figures back. Originally combined economy wasclaimed at 94.1mpg on cars with 15-inch wheels while 17-inch alloys return a claimed 85.6mpg. These figures are now 68.4mpg and 59.6mpg respectively. That’s more of a reflection of the new test structure putting an emphasis on driving with the engine running rather than the Prius doing anything badly, and these figures are more likely to be achieved in everyday running than the older NEDC consumption figures.

    So the old tests, with which I’m more familiar, suggested 94mpg combined, and he got around 73. That’s a reasonable ratio.

    It seems to me the point of the hybrid is to combine the torque delivery of an electric motor, the benefits of regenerative braking and an efficient drivetrain.

    It’s about harvesting the energy that would otherwise be wasted in inefficiencies. Petrol engines are very inefficient at low load because of pumping losses in the throttle. By charging the battery at the same time, you need to throttle the engine less – the speed is controlled by the power you divert to the battery. And you can use a smaller engine which has the throttle more open when cruising – because the electricity you saved can be used to add power for acceleration.

    Also it’s a myth that they are poor on motorways. My Prius is at its most efficient on motorways like most cars, low 60s MPG – similar to my diesel. The difference is that the diesel drops to about 38mpg in city traffic, whereas the Prius goes down to about 55. This is a 2006 car and two models ago – the new ones are much better in economy and vastly better cars.

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