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  • What is the point of hybrids?
  • Premier Icon molgrips
    Free Member

    if VW really wanted to make the most environmentally sound Passat they could, they could have made it less powerful, limited the top speed, fitted smaller wheels and tyres etc etc etc, but they knew that it wouldn’t sell.

    That was what the original Bluemotion thing was. But you don’t need to make a diesel less powerful to make it more economical. You just need to drive it more slowly.

    Premier Icon Superficial
    Free Member

    the answer to vehicle polution is to drive less.

    Amen.

    I think TJ is completely right that the real issue re: global warming is total energy usage (notwithstanding the local impacts of pollution in cities which is obviously important too).

    Does anyone know how much MPG-equivalent you can get from an electric car, if you take into account the average UK mix of ‘green’ electricity (wind turbines and the like) and fossil fuel burnt to power the national grid? There are presumably huge inefficiencies in electricity production / storage / transfer. I’d (genuinely) love to be wrong on this, but my sneaking suspicion is that overall electric cars won’t save a lot in terms of overall energy use.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Free Member

    I think TJ is completely right that the real issue re: global warming is total energy usage

    Everyone bar the idiots already knows this.

    So the BBC article just popped up on my feed, it says this:

    Transport and Environment’s analysis says a key problem with plug-in hybrids is that so many owners rarely actually charge their cars, meaning they rely on the petrol or diesel engine.

    So hybrids are good if people actually use them properly. The problem as usual is people not giving a shit.

    Does anyone know how much MPG-equivalent you can get from an electric car, if you take into account the average UK mix of ‘green’ electricity (wind turbines and the like) and fossil fuel burnt to power the national grid?

    Again this is a well researched question. Tailpipe emissions:

    https://www.carbonfootprint.com/electric_vehicles.html

    Lifetime newspaper article:

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/mar/23/electric-cars-produce-less-co2-than-petrol-vehicles-study-confirms

    And the study (not read this yet)

    https://www.nature.com/articles/s41893-020-0488-7.epdf

    Premier Icon zilog6128
    Full Member

    I’d (genuinely) love to be wrong on this, but my sneaking suspicion is that overall electric cars won’t save a lot in terms of overall energy use.

    Hybrids especially (with the frequent charging) are a natural fit with personal (i.e. on the owner’s house) solar panels & batteries (Powerwall etc). All the government needs to do is pump a bit of money into proper subsidies to make it actually attractive/affordable and I’d be the first in the queue! Then instead of burning petrol/diesel or indeed charging from coal-fired power stations etc you’ve got legitimately green/sustainable electricity for personal transportation.

    Premier Icon P-Jay
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    Does anyone know how much MPG-equivalent you can get from an electric car, if you take into account the average UK mix of ‘green’ electricity (wind turbines and the like) and fossil fuel burnt to power the national grid? There are presumably huge inefficiencies in electricity production / storage / transfer. I’d (genuinely) love to be wrong on this, but my sneaking suspicion is that overall electric cars won’t save a lot in terms of overall energy use.

    Harry Metcalf made a video about it recently, it varies from region to region, but in South Wales (where I live) despite having wind farms in every direction as far as I can tell, for some reason we have very poor energy creation efficiency, worst in the UK probably so in terms of Co2, it’s marginal at best if I’d be doing more good with say a Tesla 3, than my Superb Diesel that’s got AdBlue and Stop-start and does a genuine 40mpg urban and 55mpg on a run, and that’s me driving, not some lab test. That doesn’t factor in the greater cost (in energy) of making an EV or the extra weight of materials needed to build it.

    Of course, infrastructure is improving all the time and if we held off until the infrastructure was perfect it all becomes very chicken and egg.

    As for costs, plugging in at home is very cheap especially if you get the right tariff and a smart charger, it costs about £6 to fully charge a Nissan Leaf and it will go about 120 miles real-world (I think) so that’s about 5p a mile. Diesel costs 1.20 per litre, or £5.40 a gallon / 45mpg (average for my car) that’s 12p per mile, but if you need to charge on the move it can be as expensive as running a fairly pokey petrol car, I seem to recall one of the big charging station providers raised their prices 5-fold recently? I did some maths a few months ago and in terms of £ per mile plugging in a EV at a Motorway services costs the same as a 25mpg car.

    Of course, that should be a fairly rare occasion and doesn’t include Tesla who have their own system. I certainly wouldn’t plug in a PHEV at a charging station.

    My car can be swapped anytime between next June and June 2023. I’ll look at the Superb PHEV and the new Enyaq – I’m aware other brands exist, but I’ve got a mate who works at Skoda and a get a decent, if not amazing deal from him.

    Premier Icon mrmonkfinger
    Free Member

    Any idea how efficient, over a lifetime (not yours, the panel and battery), a setup like that is? Over and above commercial generation?

    I’m betting at our latitudes we might not find panels and batteries coming out that well.

    Premier Icon mrmonkfinger
    Free Member

    Back on proper topic, I’m dictionary target market for a PHEV, short commute, the occasional long trip.

    Making more commercial sense, was a diesel estate and an old runaround petrol.

    Premier Icon 5lab
    Free Member

    so here are some actual facts 😀

    https://www.nrcan.gc.ca/sites/www.nrcan.gc.ca/files/oee/pdf/transportation/fuel-efficient-technologies/autosmart_factsheet_16_e.pdf

    100kg weigh saving in a car leads to 0.4l/100km less fuel used. Lets assume that is the same the other way around as well.

    a modern car is maybe 200kg more heavy than one from 25 years ago (in canada, reading their graph, but its probably similar here) – so that’s 0.8l/100km less efficient than if they’d kept the weight off.

    Average lifespan of a car is approx 200,000km – lots go on further, lots die younger, so that’s 1600l of fuel used over 15 years or whatever, so from a cost perspective its a small cost (£10/month?) for the additional safety etc

    each litre of petrol burned apparently generates about 2.3kg of co2 so on the lifespan of the car, your emitting an extra 3,680kg of co2

    Premier Icon Skankin_giant
    Free Member

    Happy to be on our 2nd Hybrid. Misses hates driving but has to for work, she tried a Yaris hyrbid and loved it for the 5 years we had it, kids grew so she wanted something that worked the same so bought a Lexus NX, though I wanted the PHEV as her commute was going to be less, driving in-out of a valley twice a day might not have been on pure battery mind, but the only one that suited was the Mini Countryman PHEV which she didn’t like.

    Nothing “eco-warrior” about owning one, the main driver just prefers to drive a hybrid over a standard manual or auto. The NX might be better than a standard petrol of similar size/weight but my 13yr old RAV beats it’s MPG on average.

    Premier Icon nickc
    Full Member

    Cheers @P-Jay really interesting video, thanks for sharing.

    Premier Icon Drac
    Full Member

    Lifetime newspaper article:

    That can’t be right TJ says it’s not.

    Premier Icon theaccountant
    Free Member

    In the meantime the average conventional fuelled vehicle gets ever bigger / heavier, and the trend for large engined fuel inefficient 4x4s and SUVs (I hate that phrase – there is nothing “sports” about most of them) to take the kids to school in or go to the shops at the weekend in continues

    Regardless of fuel type we should be driving less – particularly shorter journeys – but if we do have to drive, using smaller vehicles and keeping them longer

    Nothing wrong with my VW Up! But then it doesn’t show how f*ck off rich I am does it??

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Free Member

    100kg weigh saving in a car leads to 0.4l/100km less fuel used. Lets assume that is the same the other way around as well.

    That does not seem right. Check my maths: if my car does 4.5l/100km with just me, and I put three more adults in to increase the weight by 200kg then that would suggest 0.8 an increase of 0.8 which would be 5.3l/100km or 52mpg. This does not match my experience – a full car would drop me from 61 to about 58 ish from experience.

    Premier Icon zilog6128
    Full Member

    Any idea how efficient, over a lifetime (not yours, the panel and battery), a setup like that is? Over and above commercial generation?

    I’m betting at our latitudes we might not find panels and batteries coming out that well.

    just Googling some very rough figures – I live in the South & happen to have an ideal, south facing roof so could potentially generate 3,000kWh per year. The high-performance Tesla has a 100 kWh battery so could potentially be fully charged almost every day (which would be unnecessary anyway). So I suspect a hybrid with a smaller battery (one I was looking at is about 14 kWh) could be charged every night no problem?

    Premier Icon TheBrick
    Free Member

    That 100kg => 0.4l/100km has to de dependant on a particular driving cycle. On single acceleration cycle 100km flat journey the extra fuel will be minimal. Maybe that figure is from a high degree of stop start to moderate (70-80kmph) speed?

    Premier Icon 5lab
    Free Member

    That does not seem right. Check my maths: if my car does 4.5l/100km with just me, and I put three more adults in to increase the weight by 200kg then that would suggest 0.8 an increase of 0.8 which would be 5.3l/100km or 52mpg. This does not match my experience – a full car would drop me from 61 to about 58 ish from experience.

    depends on the type of driving. I would imagine your 4-up driving is probably longer distances with minimal stopping/starting (?) – whereas the study above probably refers to an overall WLTP (or similar) test which has a moderate amount of stop/start driving. once you’re rolling the cost of weight is very small, but if you’re using the brakes at all you’re throwing energy away.

    It might also be that the study was based on cars which are less efficient overall (north american market) – so 0.4l/km might have been a 5% increase, rather than a 10% with your figures

    this https://www.h3xed.com/blogmedia/Ricardo_FE_MPG_Study.pdf has lots of data, but sadly presented with the worlds worst 3d graphs that are almost unreadable. I think the general pattern is 10% weight improvement is 5% fuel economy, with larger numbers on city driving vs highway

    Premier Icon ampthill
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    Really intresting thread. More interested in PHEV than i was. The looser here seems to be the car tax system and emission measurements

    Premier Icon zilog6128
    Full Member

    The looser here seems to be the car tax system

    yes obviously at some point they’ll need to revise the system (or get the money by inventing a different tax!) as the majority of new vehicles will be exempt!

    Premier Icon theaccountant
    Free Member

    It’ll be fuel duty that will be the biggest issue in terms of lost revenue and for which an alternative will be required

    Premier Icon 5lab
    Free Member

    It’ll be fuel duty that will be the biggest issue in terms of lost revenue and for which an alternative will be required

    it’ll be an extremely gradual change though – fuel duty only represents 1.3% of national income, down from 2.2% in 2000. If you continued the same rate of decline (0.045% a year), we would be heading towards zero income from the tax in 29 years anyway. Even if the ban on ICE sales kicks in in 15 years time (bearing in mind it doesn’t hit commercial vehicles) – that rate is probably managable.

    so yes, the revenue ‘need to be replaced’ but if its replaced with an actual, separate, tax, that’s political will rather than fiscal need

    Premier Icon P-Jay
    Full Member

    Yep, total fuel duty income for HMRC is £28bn per year, which is only about 2% of their income, but with Income Tax and NI only bringing in £300bn or so, we’d be looking at a 10% rise in those to recover it.

    VAT Brings in £120bn, so you’d need to raise that by 25% or so to recover it, 25% VAT rate is hardly a vote winner either.

    The problem is that you can’t do it progressively, or people will flood back to fossil fuels.

    Anyway, VW / Porsche, despite selling Bugatti to Rimac to get access to their EV tech, say it’s a load of old bollocks anyway, the future is carbon neutral synthetic fossil fuels. So that will be fun.

    Premier Icon Drac
    Full Member

    72 mile return trip today. I got 68mpg outward and 72mpg inward from one charge mainly on dual carriageway.

    36% emissions.

    Premier Icon hugo
    Free Member

    I think hybrid power is the best solution for most.

    Almost all journeys are doable with a small battery.

    Almost all people want or need the flexibility to have the potential for additional range.

    Seems to make sense.

    What’s the issue with two power sources? ICE cars already have alternators powering electrics for AC, starter motors, entertainment, heating. What’s the problem? Harvesting braking energy also seems like a no brainer.

    Loads of things use dual power sources. Don’t see the issue.

    (I live in a petro-state, so drive a 3.8l V6 4×4 SUV, so there we are)

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Free Member

    What’s the issue with two power sources?

    Packaging. You need a fuel tank and engine bay. On EVs they can put tons of batteries under the floor, this isn’t possible if you have a normal engine and fuel tank in place.

    ICE cars already have alternators powering electrics for AC, starter motors, entertainment, heating. What’s the problem?

    Completely different thing. The alternator is a tiny generator, the engineering required for electric power trains is far greater.

    However it’s not really an issue as it’s been pretty well engineered by most manufacturers.

    Premier Icon squirrelking
    Free Member

    On the dual powertrain thing, what’s wrong with an engine coupled to a generator separate to the drivetrain like you see in trains? Is that not how Ampera’s worked? Seems a lot more efficient than lugging two separate power trains about. With a light build I seem to recall high 100’s mpg.

    But still, PHEV’s come with exactly the same infrastructure issues as any other EV (if you want to use them as designed). Who is going to pay extra to lug a battery pack around that they can’t charge at home? Seems daft.

    Premier Icon tjagain
    Full Member

    On the dual powertrain thing, what’s wrong with an engine coupled to a generator separate to the drivetrain like you see in trains?

    You miss out on two things – you need a larger electric motor because you cannot feed ICE and electric power into the transmission and with a system like the prius you get a cvt like effect which gives a significant part of the fuel efficiency.

    You also lose energy in the changes from one type of energy to the other – again not an issue with the prius type system

    Premier Icon Superficial
    Free Member

    That can’t be right TJ says it’s not.

    The article kind of supports TJ, IMO:

    Scientists from the universities of Exeter, Nijmegen and Cambridge conducted lifecycle assessments that showed that even where electricity generation still involves substantial amounts of fossil fuel, there was a CO2 saving over conventional cars and fossil fuel heating.
    […]
    In the UK, the savings are about 30%. However, that is likely to improve further as electric vehicles grow even more efficient and more CO2 is taken out of the electricity generating system.

    So in the UK, electric cars save 30% of fossil-fuel use. Hardly a panacea, is it? Most people could probably buy a smaller / more economical care and drive carefully to achieve a 30% saving in fuel economy. Yes, a 30% improvement is good but it’s hardly the sea-change required to reverse global warming. We need people to take fewer journeys by car.

    I feel deeply uncomfortable to say it, but I’m firmly agreeing with TJ on this…

    On the dual powertrain thing, what’s wrong with an engine coupled to a generator separate to the drivetrain like you see in trains? Is that not how Ampera’s worked?

    I have no idea about the Ampera, but that’s how the BMW I3 range-extender works. The wheels are always powered by the battery but there’s an engine that can top up the battery from petrol. Seem like it’d be inefficient but I don’t know.

    Premier Icon zilog6128
    Full Member

    On the dual powertrain thing, what’s wrong with an engine coupled to a generator separate to the drivetrain like you see in trains?

    that’s exactly how the Ford Transit Custom PHEV works, and it makes a lot of sense to me! But clearly not to any other van manufacturer, as all the others are going down the BEV route. I see the eVito is available now… cheaper than the Ford, but a max range of 92 miles makes it suitable only for local deliveries really, whereas the Ford is a lot more versatile as you can just keep topping up the petrol if you need to!

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Free Member

    On the dual powertrain thing, what’s wrong with an engine coupled to a generator separate to the drivetrain like you see in trains?

    A series hybrid – Ampera/volt and the i3.

    For me, the advantage of this system is that the ICE only needs to be a generator, and not to power the car – so it can in theory be run more efficiently at the same revs and load all the time. It does not need to provide varying amounts of power like a traction ICE would. I think BMW use a two cylinder motorbike engine for this purpose, but I think perhaps an even more carefully designed generator could be yet more efficient. But of course, charging batteries is not very efficient. So they advertise it as a ‘range extender’ for those odd trips, rather than a normal mode of propulsion.

    Yes, a 30% improvement is good but it’s hardly the sea-change required to reverse global warming.

    I don’t think anyone with any sense is claiming that it is.

    You also lose energy in the changes from one type of energy to the other – again not an issue with the prius type system

    Actually it is – there isn’t an actual CVT with the belts and pulleys – it converts torque to speed by varying the power to and from the electric motors, battery and ICE to give the appropriate effect, and this involves generating power from one motor and feeding it to the other. This is only something like 85% efficient, but when you take into account the fact that a traditional gearbox also has losses the energy lost in the Prius system is more than countered by the other efficiencies it enables.

    Premier Icon Drac
    Full Member

    Yes, a 30% improvement is good but it’s hardly the sea-change required to reverse global warming.

    I think we all agree with that. 🤦🏻‍♂️

    Premier Icon tjagain
    Full Member

    Yes, a 30% improvement is good but it’s hardly the sea-change required to reverse global warming. We need people to take fewer journeys by car.

    thats why i call it a greenwash. Moving to more sustainable lifestyles is the only answer IMO Hybrids can only make a tiny contribution to overall energy consumption / emissions

    its the dark green / light green debate. Best explained I think using fabric conditioner as an example, The light green buys ecover fabric conditioner – the dark green does not use it

    the best way to reduce emissions from cars is to make them less convenient and cheap to use and to make the alternatives cheaper and more convenient along with lifestyle changes to make moving people around the country less needed

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Free Member

    thats why i call it a greenwash. Moving to more sustainable lifestyles is the only answer IMO Hybrids can only make a tiny contribution to overall energy consumption / emissions

    Greenwash is taking whatever you do normally and pretending it’s eco friendly. So it’s not greenwash to claim that hybrids are better for the environment, because on the whole they are. NO-ONE is claiming that it’s the solution to humanity’s problems.

    the best way to reduce emissions from cars is to make them less convenient and cheap to use and to make the alternatives cheaper and more convenient along with lifestyle changes to make moving people around the country less needed

    It is. But Toyota or Ford cannot do that, can they? That takes governments, and governments require voters. The problem lies squarely with governments and ultimately voters, not with car makers.

    Premier Icon Drac
    Full Member

    thats why i call it a greenwash. Moving to more sustainable lifestyles is the only answer IMO Hybrids can only make a tiny contribution to overall energy consumption / emissions

    Oooooh! You’re back then.

    Owning a hybrid can be part of a sustainable lifestyle TJ just a different one to how you live yours.

    Premier Icon tjagain
    Full Member

    Greenwash is taking whatever you do normally and pretending it’s eco friendly.

    correct – which is why hybrids are greenwashing. What you actually need to do is drive less.

    Owning a hybrid can be part of a sustainable lifestyle TJ

    Please tell me how any car owning can be part of a sustainable lifestyle.

    Premier Icon tjagain
    Full Member

    Oooooh! You’re back then.

    Bollox – forgot I was making me and other cross!

    Off for a nice sustainable walk from my house without any use of a car. I am trying to think how many miles I have done in ICE vehicles this year. I think its under 200 in the last 12 months ( plus someone else drove the vehicle back a couple of times so thats another hundred or so miles driven for my usage)

    edit – plus 100 miles in ferries

    Premier Icon slowpuncheur
    Free Member

    But then it doesn’t show how f*ck off rich I am does it??

    …and that there, is the crux of the issue. Unless you can disconnect the car/status symbol relationship, the best anyone can do is make cars more environmentally friendly. Now personally, I’d be more impressed by TJ commuting on a beaten up on CdF with tan wall tyres, than him driving a white Range Rover, but I guess STW isn’t the typical audience for those wedded to conspicuous consumption. TJ’s view is very laudable but convincing Mr commuter belt, golf club, school run, kitchen island, middle manager to ditch his car will take generations sadly.

    Premier Icon tjagain
    Full Member

    TJ’s view is very laudable but convincing Mr commuter belt, golf club, school run, kitchen island, middle manager to ditch his car will take generations sadly.

    could be done in a single generation – simply keep on increasing tax on road use and fuel use using that money to improve public transport and rural broadband

    Premier Icon andytherocketeer
    Full Member

    simply keep on increasing tax on road use and fuel use using that money on subsidies to bring prices of essential items that need to be transported (eg food)

    ftfy

    or to give land to everyone so they can grow their own potatoes, and a bike* to commute from home to their allotment

    (* delivered by a ship with a sail and thence by cargo bike, of course, and made from steel smelted in a parabolic mirror solar furnace) 😉

    Premier Icon Drac
    Full Member

    Please tell me how any car owning can be part of a sustainable lifestyle.

    Well there’s no point well all know your views on car ownership I’ve more chance of convincing you to wear a helmet. However, owning a one that is more environmentally friendly is better than owning a planet killing juice guzzler.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Free Member

    correct – which is why hybrids are greenwashing. What you actually need to do is drive less.

    No, it’s not greenwash. It IS environmentally MORE friendly to drive a hybrid. And that’s what Toyota tell us. It’s not up to Toyota how much you drive it, that part is up to you.

    It would be greenwash if a company said ‘we’re super eco friendly now because we’ve given all our sales reps Priuses’ when they have a far better option which would be doing all their sales meetings remotely.

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