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Re: E-M:/ Hybrid cars

Enviro-Mich message from "William Tobler" <williamtobler@critterswoods.org>

For what its worth:

The highway fuel economy results from the use of an Atkinson cycle engine with variable valve timing.
It does not come any of the hybrid features, which under steady highway speeds amount to a lot of dead weight and several unnecessary energy conversions that lower potential efficiency considerably.

Any of the manufacturers could in principle use Atkinson cycle engines. They were invented in 1882 and maybe would cost $100 to manufacture into a new engine.

----- Original Message ----- From: "Ariel Shaw" <ariel@environmentalcouncil.org>
To: "William Tobler" <williamtobler@critterswoods.org>; <enviro-mich@great-lakes.net>
Sent: Friday, May 25, 2007 9:28 AM
Subject: RE: E-M:/ Hybrid cars

I have to strongly disagree with the assertation (made for the second time) that hybrids do not get good highway milage. I drive a Prius and 90% of my driving is on the highway, and I get FAR better milage on the highway than I do in the city--it is easier to maintain a steady speed, there is less stop and go traffic--which may charge the battery but also causes the gas engine to come on each time you much accelerate back to the speed limit from a slow or stopped position. My car gets 50 mpg, primarily from highway driving, which is more than twice what my last car got. And while hybrids may take new resources to build, what do you think other cars are using? If someone is going to buy a new car, I would just as soon have them buy a hybrid--more consumer education is neccesary about the battery, surely, but how many people recycle the batteries out of their traditional cars, anyway?

-----Original Message----- From: owner-enviro-mich@great-lakes.net on behalf of William Tobler Sent: Fri 5/25/2007 9:23 AM To: enviro-mich@great-lakes.net Subject: Re: E-M:/ Hybrid cars

And this is one of the roles that the environmental groups should be playing, and have failed miserably IMHO. This is consumer education, and changing "not green" consumers into "green" consumers that are willing to pay at least the costs to be green. Companies can't subsidize these products for very long.

What the big 3 did and I criticize them strongly for was to abandon the small, higher efficiency car market to the Asian imports because more profit could be generated elsewhere. It was a wrong green decision, but was also a wrong corporate sustainability decision. First, you give away a very substantial market share. Second, you give away the "entry" level market to fierce competitors, and those "entry" level consumers will some day be shopping for something more fancy but consumer loyalty is a major factor. And third, you are not prepared to survive the next gas/energy crisis. This was a blunderous corporate decision made 8 - 10 years ago.

I am not at all convinced that hybrids are especially green anyway. 1st, it takes a considerable amount of new resources to make a hybrid (in part, reflected by the incremental price). Second, it takes a considerable amount of resources to dispose and recycle things like the batteries and electronics (IF it gets done). Third, those manufacturing and disposal industries for electronics and batteries are not exactly the greenest thing around based on their histories (I've got an industrial recycling yard near my home - not, not, not green) . Fourth, the hybrid feature in hybrids is not beneficial for those of us who are predominately freeway drivers. For these people, high fuel economy comes from elsewhere, which may or may not be included in a hybrid car. The job function of a coworker of mine was to perform "cradle-to-grave" analyses on some of these questions, instead of the half-truths that one sees bantered around.

And lastly, I have a limited number of dollars that I can dedicate to green. Whether this is donations to environmental groups, donations to politicians and then the extra expense related to things like recycling, and then just trying to live greener. I see much (most) of those donation dollars WASTED on the next campaign to get more dollars, and the infighting, instead of being used for the purpose given.

----- Original Message ----- From: Chuck Cubbage
To: enviro-mich@great-lakes.net
Sent: Thursday, May 24, 2007 10:56 PM
Subject: Re: E-M:/ Hybrid cars

I find one of the "decision" factors in selecting cars to be quite interesting. Re hybrids, invariably "payback statistics come up. I wonder how often that criteria is applied to the many options one can get when shopping for different versions of different makes. My bet is that payback has very little to do with people's selection. If they want a red car with air, Bose stereo, ABS, how many of them worry about the payback ? But just let the topic of being green come up and all of a sudden - "it just isn't practical given the payback...." becomes the mantra. There are other reasons than personal finance to select "green" maybe?

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