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Auto Execs: Plug-In Hybrids Will Soar, Pure EVs Decline

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sblozis   2/11/2013 10:02:39 AM
2012 Prius Plug In - Charge 120V about 3 hrs takes 3.05 kWHr which give about 10.2 miles range (3.4 m/kwhr)

30 mile commute on 101 from Morgan Hill to San Jose– 50 MPG gas only and 75-80 MPG fully using 3.05 kwhr battery charge (as high as 106 MPG in slow traffic) driving to keep acceleration in the "ECO" zone

2015 Prius Plug in will have 60 MPG gas only with 20 mile range battery

Rates with PG&E

E1  = Tier 1 (up to 363 kwhr) = $0.13; Tier 2 (up to 471 kwhr) = $0.15; Tier 3 (up to 725 kwhr) $0.30: Tier 4/5 $0.34

E9A Part- Peak (winter – weekdays 7 AM to midnight and weekends 5 – 9 PM) = Tier 1 (up to 363 kwhr) = $0.10; Tier 2 (up to 471 kwhr) = $0.12; Tier 3 (up to 725 kwhr) $0.30: Tier 4/5 $0.34

E9A Off- Peak (winter – not part-peak times) = Tier 1 (up to 363 kwhr) = $0.05; Tier 2 (up to 471 kwhr) = $0.07; Tier 3 (up to 725 kwhr) $0.16: Tier 4/5 $0.20

Calculated Breakeven Point between gas and electric charges

$3.40 gas = $0.23 kwhr

$4.00 = $0.27 kwhr

$4.60 = $0.31 kwhr

Concern, when gas prices went down it was better to use gas instead of charging at home (charging at work is free, work pays about $0.16 kwhr commercial rates) since charging the car (even if done at night during off peak rates) would push cumulative usage into the Tier 3 rates running the furnace during the day at the higher tier 3 rates (e.g., $0.30 kwhr - $0.07 kwhr = $0.23 kwhr which would be $3.40 gas). With the 2015 Prius the breakeven point would be even higher so customers would need to balance gas prices, electricity prices and electric conservation (e.g., use CFL, disconnect phantom loads, etc) to stay in lower tier rates (or live in areas that don't have tiers) vs the additional cost of the plug in hybrid.

Concern, 10 miles is nice EV range but not really long enough unless you are driving around town. 20 miles would be better and then switch to gas engine if you need to go further.

Concern, in the colder weather the engine would start automatically for climate control defeating battery only operation (once warmed up them it would go to EV mode).

Agree that EV demand will go down and PHEV demand will go up as gasoline prices continue increase.

I could use an EV for my commute but there have been situations (e.g., need to drive to Monterey after work and then return home) where the EV would not have had the range and absent a back up gas car or finding EV charging station/waiting for the EV to charge, it is much better to have the PHEV and just drive to where you need to go on gas instead of having range anxiety.

Comment, Ford C-Max Energi is PHEV with 20 mile range and 47 (EPA)/~40 (reported) MPG with better handling/interior than Prius. Not that I dislike the Prius which drives OK and consistently gives great gas mileage but the C-Max was not available when the Prius was ordered and would have warranted serious consideration in side by side comparison.

Elizabeth M
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Re: Makes sense
Elizabeth M   2/11/2013 9:51:09 AM
Hmm...well, that's a shame about lithium-ion...but perhaps there will be some breakthroughs in energy harvesting? If pacemakers can run on a human heartbeat--the very thing they are regulating--what about batteries recharging on the power of a car engine? I know it's a much bigger fish to fry and maybe I am just dreaming, but some kind of regeneration of energy could be an option in the future.

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Startin acceleration
aurizon   2/11/2013 9:39:59 AM
The problem with smaller engines is the lack of start up acceleration to traffic speed. Once you reach traffic speed, surprisingle small engies will cruise you along.


With an electric booster for start or lane change, a vehicle could be made for the average speed. The long steep hill might be a problem, but if the boost is given a 2-3 mile range it will still be small and will deal with most hills.

Such a small elecric boost could be an electric motor right in the drive train, after the transmission and always rotating, making power to recharde the start battery as you run.

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Re: Plug-In Hybrids
ChriSharek   2/11/2013 9:36:43 AM
Why are we dragging our heels!  PHEVs are here and early adopters will benefit the most!  CNG infrastructure has a long way to go - electricity is everywhere!

25,000 miles on my Volt, 215 mpg, and haven't done an oil change yet. 

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Re: Plug-In Hybrids
plasticmaster   2/10/2013 5:07:03 PM
I'd be ecstatic for a renewable energy source that would eliminate my need to stop at a "station" every 300 miles or less.

There are plenty of fossil fuel alternatives that COULD be more efficient than standard gasoline although they all have some downside that makes them too costly to manufacture for the masses. (ie. Natural gas, propane, hydrogen)

And renewable resources are still a way's off (Biodiesel, Ethanol, solar, compressed air, hydrowater power, electricity, etc...), both from a cost AND efficiency stand-point.

Somehow, eventually, before I die of old age, I would welcome an alternative (or combination of alternatives) to the ICE. Just think: How many other technologies do we have that have gone virtually unchanged for over 100 years? (yeah, I know... quite a few)

And, yes Mr. Murray, Donald Sadoway hit the nail on the head.


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Plug-In Hybrids
Gorski   2/9/2013 3:13:39 PM
I agree that downsizing and increasing efficiency will extend the life of the internal combustion engine, combined with hybrid technology to reach mandated mpg in the future. What I'm waiting to see is an IC engine that uses compressed natural gas or compressed air to eliminate petroleum fuels.


Gorski PE

Charles Murray
User Rank
Re: Makes sense
Charles Murray   2/8/2013 5:47:27 PM
Battery energy, recharge and cost will definitely improve, Liz, but we're going to have to wait a while before we get to the point when pure EV range matches hybrid range. It looks like lithium-ion batteries won't get us there. Take a look at this blog post from Donald Sadoway, MIT battery expert, to learn what battery scientists are thinking.


Charles Murray
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Re: Driving habits
Charles Murray   2/8/2013 5:41:14 PM
You drive a 45-year-old car, GTOlover? Let me guess: a 1967 GTO? Please tell us about it.

User Rank
Re: Driving habits
GTOlover   2/8/2013 4:50:10 PM
My post was not about guessing, it was about optimizing!

User Rank
Re: Driving habits
akwaman   2/8/2013 4:30:11 PM
All cars get worse gas mileage when you drive in a less-than-economic fashion. To dispel the myth about hybrids, I took a 2000 mile trip in my Prius, Drove, well... let's say in excess of the speed limit (70) most of the way, and recorded 47 mpg average on the trip.  My wife doesn't even know what it means to drive economically, and she still gets well over 40mpg when she drives the Prius around town.  It is sure easy for people to guess what it's like to own a hybrid, to guess how much/little power, guess how much gas mileage they could get under those hypothetical conditions, but as a scientist, I like to rely on facts instead of what I 'want' to believe.  Don't worry, the ICE will be around in 50 years... in MUSEUMS.

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