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Slideshow: Fisker Says 'Plug-In Hybrids Make More Sense Than Pure Electrics'

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Re: Eco-friendly?
edgyone   2/28/2013 10:17:22 AM
True. But this car could serve a market that exists and do so in a more fuel efficient manner. It would be interesting to see what the carbon footprint of manufacture vs ownership for all cars is. I wonder if the gas cars would have less of an impact because of the lack of batteries and solar cells.

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consider the source
BanjomanF   2/28/2013 10:21:24 AM
Remember that a (non-plugin) hybrid still uses fossil fuels or biofuel as it sole power source.  The increase in efficiency comes primarily from regenerative braking, which recovers energy that would otherwise be lost to friction and stores it as electrical charge.  This is at the expense of having an entire secondary electric powertrain and large battery to haul around everywhere, which is a lot of added weight and expense. This is partly why high-efficiency gasoline vehicles are more than competitive with hybrids.

A plug-in hybrid changes this equation; now one can use electricity as the primary or alternate energy source.  Commuters who recharge every night may drive electric-only for weeks or months at a time, only using the combustion engine for longer trips.  Of course, fossils fuels may be used to generate the electricity somewhere, but the point-source pollution is easier to monitor and control at the power plant, and as long as electricity for the consumer is less expensive than other fuels, the plug-in hybrid may make a lot more sense economically and ecologically.

My wife and I just went shopping for a new car, and drove the Honda Civic hybrid. We liked it, but the mileage ratings were not significantly better than the gasoline version, for a lot more money.  The plug-in version is not available until later this year.  We wanted to buy a hybrid to "do the right thing", but it made no sense economically.

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Fisker market
JRoque   2/28/2013 11:06:39 AM
Hello all. I have a VCR that I'm converting to digital - that will make it so much better! Hybrids are like compact fluorescent lights: we wish we could do LED but we settle for CFL.

I cannot understand the Fisker business model. The car looks nice but it's no performer. The ICE is too small (2.0L, 260 HP, 20 MPG,  0-60 in 6.3 seconds) for the supercar price tag and the battery is too small (20 kWh, 32 miles range) for the average tree hugger. It's also very small inside - subcompact, per EPA rating - yet weighs 5300 lbs. What segment of the market are they targeting? Why wouldn't you go for a Tesla that has much better performance, seats more people and has more range? The Tesla is also not a bad looking car and you can charge it at home or on the road for free.

Common sense
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Common sense   2/28/2013 11:08:13 AM

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Hybrid vs pure electric
j-allen   2/28/2013 11:10:45 AM
What "makes sense" depends on what one is trying to do.  If you commute a short distance to work, make local shopping trips, and have access to a gas car for the occasional long trip, then even a simple electric with lead batteries "makes sense."  If you do long distance trveling all the time, then it does not.  It's like asking whether a shovel or a hoe makes more sense. 

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Re: Good point
ltron   2/28/2013 12:58:46 PM

I just went through a similar exercise. However I basically bought the gas version of the hybrid.

The ICE only car is EPA rated for 42MPG highway and from what I was able to see from a number of owners was that this was conservative. Now that I have the car I find that high 30's is not unreasonable even for my short trip city driving.

My normal routien is actually even more stringent that the EPA city driving cycle. However with mild Hypermiling techniques I can push 40MPG. While a Prius might get well over 50MPG doing this, even 38MPG is so close it seems far less practical

One thing that struck me was that it's somewhat difficult to drive the car in a manner that will get this sort of economy. The car does have a real time MPG indicator that is helpful but it could be a lot better. What strikes me is that I think the performance of the new crop of "40MPG" ICE cars could be much better if drivers were provided better tools. I suppose a lead foot remover would top the list.

I suppose that this is a bit of a problem since the companies don't get any credit for it from the EPA. However the potential savings seem obvious. Basically we need to get the driver in the loop.

This same car easily exceeds it's 42MPG highway rating.

It strikes me that the Hybrid has driven the mfg to find new efficiencies in the ICE part of the system. These new efficiencies are now flowing over into the ICE only vehicles.



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Typical take-the-easy-way-out car company mentality
akwaman   2/28/2013 1:42:57 PM
Fisker makes a great point, that the automotive companies are making a (not-in-demand) model of electric that not many want, just to cheat on the CAFE standards. Typical of the mentality that got the automotive companies in trouble in the first place, fighting regulations (with countless millions of wasted dollars) instead of using them to their advantage and just designing cars the way they are supposed to.  Obviously, the majority of the American public wants to be economical, that is why these standards are being pushed.  Instead of bowing to the will of the people, the auto companies are copping out of a challenge by throwing money at something just to cheat or beat the system, the American public, and mankind itself by sticking to archaic technology and refusing to progress into the next millenium.  These lame tactics by the automotive companies breed contempt and keep us 'tied' to the pump, with the oil industry deciding when how our budgets get organized.  Shame on the media for repeating the pro-oil propaganda of lumping all electrics and hybrids into the same category.  It's time we opened our eyes to the future, and it is not ICE driven, unless we are using H2 for the power source.


Charles Murray
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Re: Eco-friendly?
Charles Murray   2/28/2013 6:10:54 PM
I agree, edgyone. As stylish and impressive as this car appears to be, I doubt we'll see a lot of engineers driving around in these.

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Re: Good point
GTOlover   3/1/2013 8:39:46 AM

Excellent observations of driving habits. I am shopping for a vehicle with top MPG. It seems that ICE only cars can get great MPG (driven correctly). However, the hybrid still gets better (when driven correctly).

I think many purchase the hybrid for the sticker MPG but in practice drive with no intention of optimizing MPG.

The pure electric still suffers from range anxiety. Until that is solved, it will remain a small percentage of car sales.

I think the auto manufacturers are optimizing ICE and batteries because they have to, but they will eventually have to address letting the car control driving habits. Perhaps even automated driving (or at least control the acceleration/deceleration functions, and not the old Toyota way;-)


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Re: Good point
ltron   3/1/2013 11:37:18 AM
The really great part is the range of choices we have today.

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