Interesting, CNG has the two of the same fundamental issues as pure electric-energy density and refueling locations. Even though it has several advantages over pure EV-lower cost (typically I assume), relatively easy conversion from conventional and faster reueling time, it is still uncompetitive.
Excellent points, Dave Palmer. CNG still has issues that cab drivers don't like. As you point out, the main one is refueling. Cab drivers were feeling nervous about running out of gas and not being able to find a station. Another is lower energy density, which means more gas stations visits, unless you have huge CNG tanks on board. Huge tanks also means less space for luggage.
Uncreative, your logic is exceptionally well thought out--hybrids were never going to be the "be all, end all" transportation. They filled the gap for a couple of years until EVs could really catch up. As you said regarding rising consumerism for cars around the world, petro fuels are never going to be cheap again. I'll miss my Dodge Hemi (sigh).
@Charles: The hybrid taxis in Chicago got a big boost from subsidies -- the city reimbursed fleet owners for buying hybrids. But once they were available, they quickly became a hit with taxi drivers, who realized that higher lease rates were more than balanced by the lower fuel costs. Taxi drivers have to pay for gas out of their own pockets, so lower fuel costs mean more take-home pay.
On the other hand, the city's attempt to promote CNG taxis has been a big loser. Allowing CNG taxis to skip the front of the line at the airports, where drivers can get higher fares, wound up resulting in CNG cab drivers picking up airport passengers, then high-tailing it back to the airport with an empty cab. In other words, half the time they were driving without a passenger, hardly the greenest outcome. When the skip-to-the-front-of-the-line incentive was discontinued, hardly any drivers wanted a CNG cab anymore. It wasn't worth the hastle of trying to find a CNG refueling station.
The moral of the story is that incentives can help encourage people to try new things, but people will only stick with it if the underlying economics make sense.
With due respect, the whole HYBRID concept is fallacy, are mediocre at best, and a not a "real" indicator of fuel efficiency trends. I mean, you really have to question the HYBRID concept altogether from day one... Why would anyone buy a HYBRID rated at 40-45 MPG's when you could buy a standard true and tried off the shelf Corolla at about 35+ MPG's? No $5K battery to replace and higher maintenance costs to absorb. In other words, the HYBRID concept never made any sense to begin with. Simply put, HYBRIDs were and are simply an interim step to what truly makes does make economic sense - ALL electric vehicles.
I am in the oil and gas related business and although there are some new explorations, most notably in the South America region, the era of cheap oil has most likely passed. Even if conventional gas vehicles were to accomplish 75-100 MPG's would this be enough to accommodate 1-2 billion new cars as 3-4 billion people from emerging economies have more "wants" including cars. Think about that for ONE second, there are currently over 1 Billion cars worldwide (http://wardsauto.com/ar/world_vehicle_population_110815), very conservatively adding an additional billion cars would require that oil output almost double. Do you foresee this as the least bit possible? Not likely no matter what the price. Combustible engine would have to be rated at 300MPGs to even stand a chance.
Yes, there are some wonderful hybrids out there, Rob. But the dual-powertrain is costly. It's worth mentioning, though, taxi fleets seem to be sticking with hybrids. If you're driving your car for 300,000 miles, as those guys do, the higher initial costs are not very important.
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