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2008 Saturn Vue
GM has high expectations for its plug-in Saturn Vue Green Line

Last week, DailyTech reported that GM is set to introduce a plug-in Saturn Vue Green Line hybrid in 2008 for the 2009 model year. The company has been a bit behind in the development of hybrid power trains in relation to Toyota and Ford. The news was a welcomed announcement for the automotive industry. The market for hybrids is expected to expand from around 200,000 units per year in 2006 to 800,000 units per year in 2012.

But while the announcement of a plug-in hybrid was seen as big news for the company, this latest announcement is even more awe-inspiring. GM has stated that its plug-in Vue Hybrid will achieve 70 MPG. Those numbers seem almost unbelievable for a 3,500 pound vehicle -- even for a plug-in hybrid. For comparison, here are some mileage figures for four of the most popular hybrids on the market:

  • Toyota Prius: 60/51 (city/highway)
  • Toyota Camry Hybrid: 40/38
  • Honda Civic Hybrid: 49/51
  • Ford Escape Hybrid (4x2): 36/31

That being said, the industry is abuzz about the implications for such a fuel-efficient crossover. "They may not be as far along the development path as Toyota, but they have to maintain a perception in the market that they are pursuing and will deliver advanced technology," said Robert Toomey of E.K. Riley Advisors.

Japanese rival Nissan is also impressed with GM's new hybrid technology. "GM's plug-in hybrid technology is very exciting. It's certainly something I'd be interested in exploring," said Nissan product manager John Curl. Nissan just recently cut its ties from Toyota in hybrid development and decided to go it alone.

While Toyota is currently leading the field when it comes to sales of hybrid vehicles and is betting heavily on the technology, GM is looking to produce advanced hybrids as a mere pit stop on the way to its ultimate goal -- production hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles. "We continue to make significant progress in this area, and we continue to see fuel cells as the best long-term solution for reducing our dependence on oil," said GM CEO Rick Wagoner.



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question i've always had about hybrids
By lwright84 on 12/8/2006 11:34:06 AM , Rating: 2
does the fact that it's a hybrid affect it's safety rating at all? would a hybrid version of a car with a 5-star crash test safety rating still get 5 stars?

i ask because i've been wanting to get a somewhat large vehicle for my wife to drive and for a family car (large sedan like accord/camry or a mid-size SUV like Vue/Escape) and am almost more worried about safety ratings than fuel efficieny.

anyone have any information on this i would greatly appreciate it.




RE: question i've always had about hybrids
By TomZ on 12/8/2006 11:43:34 AM , Rating: 2
The laws of physics will always dominate star-ratings, which are relative a particular class (size) of car. If you are in a small car and have a collision with a large vehicle, then you are at a higher risk than you would be if you were in a larger vehicle, period.

The only negative concern about larger vehicles is if they are large enough, or poorly designed, to where you are more likely to lose control than a small car. But for most minivans and modest-size SUVs, that is not a concern.

And I am in the same boat as you - I value safety more than fuel economy when transporting my family from point A to point B.


RE: question i've always had about hybrids
By lwright84 on 12/8/2006 11:58:15 AM , Rating: 2
i understand that, but gov't & insurance crash ratings are the only reference point we have other than being in an *actual* accident (or those really cool jetta commercials lol).

i just want to know if all the extra hybrid technology and parts (battery, etc) will negatively effect the safety rating of the vehicle or not.


By Bonrock on 12/8/2006 12:42:20 PM , Rating: 2
I can't give you a definitive answer on the impact that the hybrid technology will have on vehicle safety for every model. However, I can point you to the IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) crash test results for the Toyota Prius, which are very good:

http://www.iihs.org/ratings/rating.aspx?id=641

Based on that, I have to conclude that it's very possible for a hybrid to be safe. Also, in the crash test results for the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, and Honda Civic, they don't make a note anywhere that the results don't apply to the hybrid versions of those cars, so perhaps the IIHS believes the results would be similar?


RE: question i've always had about hybrids
By FITCamaro on 12/8/2006 5:24:08 PM , Rating: 2
You could just learn to be a defensive driver. You don't have to drive a 5000 pound SUV to be safe. I was rearended in a 87 Camaro by an S10. Guess which one of us drove away.


By Ringold on 12/8/2006 5:35:08 PM , Rating: 2
I don't doubt you drove away. S10's were built about as sturdy as match boxes, and I've heard their insurance premiums reflected that.

I also had an 82 Corvette for a while. I had a feeling that in a major accident, I've be impaled by a random column of steel jutting out of some part of the car, but in a more mild collision, got the impression it would just giggle.


By masher2 (blog) on 12/9/2006 8:09:59 AM , Rating: 1
> "You could just learn to be a defensive driver...I was rearended in a 87 Camaro..."

No amount of driving 'defensively' will safeguard you from any and all accidents...as your own accident attests.


RE: question i've always had about hybrids
By oneellama on 12/9/2006 12:14:45 AM , Rating: 3
You are correct that the laws of physics apply (can't do much about that), but I believe your use of the physics is flawed. Industry lobbyists have used similar arguments for years to mount successful emotional appeals against Congresss raising Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards (higher mpg standards = smaller cars = more deaths).

quote:
The only negative concern about larger vehicles is if they are large enough, or poorly designed, to where you are more likely to lose control than a small car. But for most minivans and modest-size SUVs, that is not a concern.


Not true. You avoid becoming a vehicle fatality from the combination of avoiding an accident in the first place and being well protected if your avoidance efforts fail. The former involves many factors, including driver visability, maneuverability, braking distance, rollover risk, and even driver psychology. Factors in the latter include application of active and passive restraints, the design of crush zones in the vehicle, center of gravity, and (yes, finally) mass.

Many studies have been conducted to evaluate the combined and parsed effects of these (and other) factors on vehicle fatality rates. These studies raise lots of questions without necessarily providing consistent answers. For example, it is definitely true that all other things being equal , a large SUV will "win" in a collision with a subcompact sedan (your physics argument). But the puzzling thing is there are lots of data showing that more children die in SUV accidents than in smaller sedans, even when adjusting for sales penetration and mileage. One explanation is that the smaller sedan drivers tend to be better at the first issue -- accident avoidance -- than the SUV drivers. Some of that comes from the vehicle design (e.g., maneuverability, better road feel data fed to the driver) and some from the driver "design" (e.g., evidence that SUV drivers have a false sense of security, and thus making driving choices that impede accident avoidance). For an interesting article on this effect, see http://www.gladwell.com/2004/2004_01_12_a_suv.html

I think the bottom line on crash safety is that you need to look at individual models. You can view crash ratings of current hybrids at http://www.automotive.com/new-cars/safety/27/hybri... and see that today's new hybrids stack up very well against their conventional counterparts, but a future model is an unknown.


RE: question i've always had about hybrids
By masher2 (blog) on 12/9/2006 8:47:42 AM , Rating: 1
> "But the puzzling thing is there are lots of data showing that more children die in SUV accidents than in smaller sedans, even when adjusting for sales penetration and mileage..."

I've seen similar figures many times, but while they are usually adjusted for market penetration, I've never seen a set adjusted for mileage...there is no data on that. There is also another crucial missing factor-- passenger riderage. People with large families tend to buy larger vehicles. I've seen more than one news story about an SUV loaded with 7, 8, or even 10 people being involved in an acciddent. You don't tend to see that often with a Honda Civic.

Still, there is a bit of truth in such statistics. Larger SUVs excel in multicar accident safety. However, in single-car accidents (which make up a large portion of the total), smaller, better-handling autos tend to perform better.



RE: question i've always had about hybrids
By oneellama on 12/9/2006 7:49:08 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I've never seen a set adjusted for mileage...there is no data on that.


I'll take your word for the first part of this statement, but not the second.

The NHTSA study http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/cars/rules/regrev/evaluat... is a relatively recent example (I worked with others, in a previous life...). It illustrates one of my points, which is things are not always cut and dried. Regression analysis showed a positive correlation between a weight reduction of 100 lbs and an increased number of fatalities in vehicle-to-vehicle collisions in 1991-99 MY vehicles (Table 1). On the other hand, when data from the same database were sorted into ten subcategories (covering both cars and light-duty trucks) and normalized for vehicle miles traveled, midsize 4-door SUVs had a higher fatality rate than all of the other categories except the very smallest of the cars -- average curb weight of just 2,100 lb (Table 3); also, not shown in the table is that the sample size for that very light category is small.

My primary points were that (1) this is an issue where the information is often contradictory, (2) vehicle fatalities depend upon many factors, not just on vehicle mass, some of which favor larger vehicles and some that don't, and (3) hybrid vehicle safety is better examined at the model level than relying solely on the physics of mass. Do you agree?



By masher2 (blog) on 12/10/2006 1:39:26 AM , Rating: 1
> "I'll take your word for the first part of this statement, but not the second. The NHTSA study..."

Interesting read; thanks the for link. But I stand by the assessment that accurate data on miles travelled by vehicle type doesn't exist. This study admits such-- they are extrapolating based on a sampling of odometer readings from vehicles actually involved in crashes. This is valid only if one assumes the uniform distribution of the sample set (those involved in crashes) is representative of the population at large. I submit that it is not. For example, large SUVs are driven by two wildly disparate sets-- one, a low-risk, high-mileage set of suburban dwellers with larger families, and a high-risk, low-mileage set of younger urban dwellers, driving Escalades and Hummers primarily for curb appeal. That second set has as much as five times the accident risk of the first, yet averages perhaps half the mileage.

Another skew factor is the quality of miles driven. Every long-distance commuter in my acquaintance with an SUV uses a small passenger for their normal daily commute. They use the SUV evenings, at night, around town, or when commuting in inclement weather (snow, ice, etc, under the belief it lends additional safety). I think this is a fairly common pattern for those with an SUV *and* multiple passenger cars. But since all the above instances have an elevated risk, it obviously distorts the data further.

Another flaw in the study. When comparing fatality rates on SUVs to lighter vehicles, they specifically removed from consideration all two-door vehicles -- the highest risk category of all. I understand their reasoning for doing so...but it's still going to skew the data. Every teenage driver in America is either behind the wheel of their own car (almost definitely a two-door) or the family car (very likely a SUV, or at least a larger, heavier vehicle.) Yet if they have an accident in the first instance, the data is ignored. Their crash is only counted if they happen to be behind the wheel of their parent's car.

However, my flat statement that "no data set has been corrected for miles travelled" is indeed incorrect. The DOT is at least attempting to do so, even if the methodology is suspect. I thank you for the correction.

> My primary points were...[snip]...Do you agree?

Certainly. Crash safety is a complex subject with many factors. A heavy, poor-handling vehicle may be less safe than a lighter, well-handling one. But even this study admits that vehicle mass is a crucial factor in a multicar collision.


By drank12quartsstrohsbeer on 12/8/2006 11:55:30 AM , Rating: 1
Another concern I have is the safety of the batteries in a crash. Will they come flying into the passenger compartment?

Will rescue workers get electrocuted if they cut through a power cable, trying to free an occupant?

Would acid leak from the batteries if they are damaged?



By TomZ on 12/8/2006 12:14:56 PM , Rating: 2
I don't think you have to worry about these things. Hybrid cars are still engineered for, and have to follow, safety regulations. Power cables aren't in close proximity to passengers to where they would become a concern in an accident, and the types of batteries that are used don't have liquid acid that could leak. Post-accident fire would be the main risk, as with today's vehicles.


By Kuroyama on 12/8/2006 12:50:36 PM , Rating: 2
At least in the Prius the battery is under the center rear seat, so if a collision were to be bad enough to knock the battery out of place or crack it then you'd already be dead anyways. As far as rescue work is concerned, I cannot say, although there is a cable in the engine which you are supposed to unplug to make everything safe.


By Anonymous Freak on 12/8/2006 2:34:50 PM , Rating: 3
The batteries are perfectly safe. They are so firmly mounted that, as someone else mentioned, if the crash was hard enough to knock them loose, you'd be dead already.

As for cutting through a cable? At least in the Prius, if the car detects a crash, it shuts off the power at the battery, so the high-voltage cables don't have any power flowing through them.

They are 'solid' NiMH batteries, not liquid, so nothing will 'splash' on you. And they are not Lithium Ion, so you don't have to worry about them exploding.


RE: question i've always had about hybrids
By mlittl3 on 12/8/2006 12:54:53 PM , Rating: 2
I love how you guys are worried about the safety of hybrid car batteries and voltage even though every car ever produced (except complete electric) have a tank of highly explosive liquid strapped to the bottom of it. Worry more about that and not the extremely unlikely event of a danger due to the battery.


By slashbinslashbash on 12/8/2006 1:39:56 PM , Rating: 2
Except that gasoline is NOT highly explosive in its liquid form.

http://www.intuitor.com/moviephysics/

See the sections on "Flaming Cars" and "Cigarettes as Lighters"


RE: question i've always had about hybrids
By masher2 (blog) on 12/8/2006 1:40:23 PM , Rating: 2
You've been watching too many Hollywood movies. It's actually quite difficult to get a gas tank to explode under the conditions of a typical accident. The action-movie scenes of two cars colliding and going up like firecrackers are pretty much straight fiction.


RE: question i've always had about hybrids
By timmiser on 12/8/2006 2:09:58 PM , Rating: 3
Yes, it is true that cars don't explode like they do in movies but fuel tanks do rupture and catch fire in a less dramatic way but still just as deadly.


By masher2 (blog) on 12/8/2006 2:28:03 PM , Rating: 1
It's possible, but again very unlikely. A battery bank containing the same amount of energy as that gas tank is quite probably slightly more dangerous, as releasing that energy only requires a short circuit, and not an actual spark.


By johnsonx on 12/8/2006 6:07:41 PM , Rating: 2
I love the car explosion scenes in Hollywood movies (particularly from the 70's and 80's) wherein cars explode in mid-air for no apparent reason; I guess they explode simply because they got too high off the ground, or started falling too fast.


By Hoser McMoose on 12/8/2006 1:37:20 PM , Rating: 4
There is very little about a hybrid that would specifically change the main safety aspects of a vehicle. While certainly you couldn't say flat-out that hybrid == standard ICE versions for safety, it's unlikely to be significantly different.

The engine side of things should affect safety one way or the other, probably less than, for example, switching from an I4 model to a V6 model of the same car. The batteries are a little more complex because a.) they are within the passenger section (usually under the rear seat) and b.) they weigh a couple hundred pounds in most hybrids, especially plug-in hybrids. This will affect the dynamics of things getting tossed around inside of the crash structure of a car, so it's something that the car designers will have to consider, but it's unlikely to have a major impact. You're probably a lot better off with a 200lbs battery pack firmly bolted into place than you would be with a 200lbs passenger sitting in the next seat held in only by a seatbelt (if even that!)

Other safety concerns like exploding batteries (a la Sony laptop batteries) are a valid worry, but to the best of my knowledge the car companies have gone to great lengths to ensure such a situation does not occur. As others have mentioned, you do also already have 100lbs+ of rather combustible liquid in your gas tank anyway, which is again going to be a bigger worry.

Beyond all that though, I'll leave you one piece of my unsolicited personal thoughts on life: The safest car to be in when there is a collision is the one which didn't get involved. What I mean by this is that the most important safety features are those that help avoid collisions to begin with. That means things like good brakes, good suspension, low center of gravity (SUVs need not apply here, this is the reason why some large SUVs are some of the least safe 4-wheel vehicles around) and perhaps most importantly, good tires. If you live in an area that gets lots of snow and ice (as I look out my window I see we're up to 20-30cm or snow this week!) then get a set of proper winter tires.

Obviously you'll never be able to completely avoid all collisions, but minimizing them is by far the most important aspect of vehicle safety if you ask me!


By Texas PHEV on 12/9/2006 11:54:48 AM , Rating: 2
Great questions:
I have a Prius Hybrid and I am more interested in safety then economy too. My hybrid has duel airbags, side airbags, curtain airbags, and all sorts of other safety features. As far as the batteries, they are dry as compared to you normal car battery. Think about your laptop battery. Have you ever seen one of those leak? The High Voltage cables are routed under the car and not through the passenger compartment. If fire and rescue needed to cut you out after a crash, they would cut the doors or roof off, not the bottom of the car. Also, with over 100,000 hybrids on the road today the fire departments have been trained in hybrid safety and all high voltage cables are bright orange for extra safety. The Prius has been around for ten years now and it has an amazing safety record. Don’t you think you would have heard about a problem from media sources by now, instead of just rumors from people who don’t drive them anyway? I feel safer in my car then I do when I have to rent cars like the Ford Mustang. We felt like we were in a submarine in that car and we could not get as good a view of the road or our surroundings. Funny thing is we always thought we wanted one. Before you pass judgment one more thing…I own a Jeep Grand Cherokee and a big Pickup truck too. I mostly drive the Prius to save my wallet, not the world. However, sometimes you need a big truck or SUV, but I find that the need for those while still there is far less then I thought.


Hydrogen vs E85
By archcommus on 12/8/2006 1:35:34 PM , Rating: 2
I thought the general consensus recently was that hydrogen was rubbish and isn't going anywhere and the only people that support it are clueless folk like Bush. I'm not saying this is my opinion, this is just the kind of stuff I've been reading a lot lately. It just seems ridiculous to have to overhaul every fueling station on the planet. Wouldn't it make a lot more sense to develop engines that can run on a higher percentage of E85? That fuel comes from the crops, why would we complain about using that?




RE: Hydrogen vs E85
By Trippytiger on 12/8/2006 1:49:50 PM , Rating: 2
Ethanol production (from corn, typically) is relatively inefficient and expensive compared to gasoline production. Your fuel costs would rise while your fuel economy dropped (because ethanol has less energy per volume than gasoline or diesel).

That's why people would complain about using more ethanol. The good news is that companies developing cellulosic ethanol processes predict that ethanol will be very price-competitive with gasoline before too long, and I hope that they're right.


RE: Hydrogen vs E85
By Hoser McMoose on 12/8/2006 2:25:37 PM , Rating: 4
Hydrogen isn't entirely rubbish, it's most just so incredible impractical that it's likely to remain "15 to 20 years from widespread deployment" for a very long time to come. I don't think Bush is entirely *clueless* for supporting it, it's a strategy. He can look like he's actually doing something for the environment while not actually doing anything. By supporting a technology that is so far away from being viable he is trying to give himself some room so that he doesn't have to provide any REAL solution.

As for ethanol, at least as produced from corn, it's probably worse than hydrogen. Oh sure, it's available now, but it just doesn't make any sense. The energy content is lower and the production requirements higher than gas or diesel. It's at best only just barely self-sustainable (ie in an entirely ethanol-based system it would take nearly 1L of ethanol to produce 1L of ethanol). The actual cost is being subsidized while gas and diesel are taxed, so you don't see the actual costs, but if you did you would find ethanol to be quite a bit more expensive.

Really, when you get right down to it, the only reason why the US has any interest in corn ethanol is because it comes mainly from farmers in Iowa as opposed to oil workers in Saudi Arabia or Nigeria.

Now, that being said, it's not a complete write-off. First off, one of the big problems is that most ethanol vehicles are actually flex-fuel vehicles, ie they are gasoline engines that can run ethanol. They tend not to take advantage of the fact that ethanol can run with higher compression ratios than gasoline, so the loss in performance and fuel economy from E85 is much higher than it should be. Also corn is a pretty crappy crop for ethanol, it's only used because there are so many corn farmers in the US, many of whom have found themselves struggling to make ends meat. Brazil has demonstrated widespread ethanol use with sugar cane is much more effective. Other crops are being investigated, though in my mind I see more potential in biodiesel rather than ethanol.

The long story short of this though is that there is no simple answer. None of the options out there have real obvious potential to dramatically reduce our consumption of fossil fuels in the next 20 years. Even full electric cars aren't going to do much when 60%+ of North America's electricity is generated from fossil fuels.


RE: Hydrogen vs E85
By masher2 (blog) on 12/8/2006 2:31:58 PM , Rating: 1
> Really, when you get right down to it, the only reason why the US has any interest in corn ethanol is because it comes mainly from farmers in Iowa as opposed to oil workers in Saudi Arabia or Nigeria."

Let's not forget that corn crops require a vast amount of petroleum to produce-- primarily in the form of fertilizer, but also in fuel for farm machinery and transportation. More fossil fuels are used in the conversion of corn to ethanol. That's a big part of the reason why ethanol isn't yet practical. Every gallon of ethanol contains a substantial amount of oil in it...even if you can't see it directly.


RE: Hydrogen vs E85
By NegativeEntropy on 12/8/2006 2:56:46 PM , Rating: 2
To me the ultimate nail in the coffin of corn based ethanon is that if you turned every kernel of corn produced in the US to ethanol, it would replace ~18% of the gasoline consumed.

I really hope corn based ethanol does NOT take off -- it will negatively inpact the price of many other foods like meat and anything else that uses corn as an input.

Now cellulosic ethanol does have some potential, but we'll need a patchwork of solutions until we have truly available and low cost non-fossil fuel based electricity to make hydrogen with. Remember, hydrogen is not an energy source, it is an energy storage medium that requires water and electricity to produce.


RE: Hydrogen vs E85
By Ringold on 12/8/2006 5:21:39 PM , Rating: 2
I think some of those problems could get negated. Crops could be expanded, biofuels used in transport, and waste material burned to power the process, etc.

But no one mentioned the most valuable resource of all, beyond oil, beyond even food! Water! That's the ultimate deal-breaker to me. Most of the nations aquifers are becoming critical, here in my home state of FL they're going further and further inland to get water as the wells closer to the oceans are pulling in more and more salt. Down in Dade County, they dumped sewage at one depth for years and pulled in their water from another depth and now, guess what, sucking in so much water has pulled in the sewage water from the neighboring depth.

If I understand correctly, the only place to get more water efficiently would be desalination plants, and thats expensive, isn't it? Have I correctly heard nuclear plants can double as desalination plants, or is that one of the mystical benefits of cold-fusion?

Which, btw, leads me to the conclusion of just building a ton of nuclear plants.


RE: Hydrogen vs E85
By masher2 (blog) on 12/8/2006 5:41:53 PM , Rating: 2
> "Have I correctly heard nuclear plants can double as desalination plant..."

Yep...in fact, several nations (Japan, India, South Korea, etc) already operate nuclear desalination plants.


RE: Hydrogen vs E85
By number999 on 12/8/2006 3:08:03 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
at best only just barely self-sustainable (ie in an entirely ethanol-based system it would take nearly 1L of ethanol to produce 1L of ethanol)
It counts on whos' studies you look at. Some studies suggest the ratio of energy going in and the energy you get out rate from below 1(some sponsored by gas companies) to 3 or 4. Gasoline is much higher but dropping due to the fact that oil supplies are getting lower and lower and it takes more to get it out.

Have to agee with the hydrogen stuff. Considering the stories of hydrogen cars seem to have extremely compressed tanks and infrastructure costs, you have to wonder about large scale viability. Hydrogen keeps being in the future or around the corner. Probably the closet thing to an approaching hydrogen economy is in Iceland.

There are also ethical considerations to consider when using food crops to generate fuel. It's food. Rising worldwide populations and reducing food available for people, and causing food commodity prices to increase on a worldwide scale. Seems a little much just so people can keep driving in the developed world.

quote:
obvious potential to dramatically reduce our consumption of fossil fuels in the next 20 years. Even full electric cars aren't going to do much when 60%+ of North America's electricity is generated from fossil fuels

Should add that the fossil fuels used are mostly coal and natural gas. Not a lot of oil is used to generate electricity. Could go the route France took. "We have no oil, no gas, no choice." They went big time nuclear although that too would have it's problems.


http://www.technoride.com/article/Alternative+Fuel...
Comparison of various alternative fuels pros and cons
http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/earth/2690...


RE: Hydrogen vs E85
By Ringold on 12/8/2006 5:31:02 PM , Rating: 2
I always call foul on the 'using a food stock' part.

If the cost rises, then foreign countries have options. If they're already growing corn (for some reason, I don't think I've ever heard of CORN paddies in the third world) and prices skyrocket, that's good for them! It becomes a cash crop! A lot of third world countries are largely agrarian, so that would seem to be an opportunity for them.

If it happens to be a third world country that loves to eat corn, then again, trust me, they'd get over it and learn to love beans, potatoes, or any other lower-cost alternative. Corn, as I understand it, is something of a luxury food to begin with.

If they're so utterly poor that they can't afford as a nation to have the infrastructure to partake in the global market in such a way, then trust me, the external price of corn or sugarcane will have zero effect on such an economy.

I don't know who first started to propagate this whole flawed idea. It sounds like a classic liberal propaganda piece, but then again, it's striking against renewable energy, so.. an self-flagellating liberal? A crooked oil exec mentally agile enough to make a liberal excuse to suit his own purposes? No idea, but regardless, holds no water. Markets are more elastic then that, people will either profit from it or grow something else, and continue to buy it or eat something cheaper, at no consequence to themselves except upside in the case of being able to profit from it, bottom line.


RE: Hydrogen vs E85
By number999 on 12/8/2006 8:36:41 PM , Rating: 2
Commodity prices are grouped. When oil jumps up, energy prices go up even if they have nothing to do with oil. Natural gas, electricity, uranium, etc. The price of food as a group would go up when one takes off in the way that would happen if corn were used as a major feedstock.

Food is a necessity, if they trade it away, what do they eat? Borrow money on the markets? Grain surpluses are common in the first world but not in developing countries. They will become even greater in debt and poverty because they are mostly agrarian. They don't have a lot of trade in anything else to pay if for any reason local production gets disrupted.

I've taken Macroeconomics and read the Wealth of Nations and read up on a lot of classical liberal ideas that would make most modern conservatives blush. The question isn't whether the markets will readjust to change. They will, they always do. My objection is the the suffering it will cause. Blind faith in the power of markets is fine but Milton Friedman (who just died 2 weeks ago) wrote that corporations have no morality. If corporations do not, do you think markets have them? When the prices of oil have gone up, has the world in general become a better place for developing countries? Mixed at best.


RE: Hydrogen vs E85
By Ringold on 12/9/2006 4:11:12 AM , Rating: 2
I'll admit, your on to something, but that's a little different.

If oil prices go up, other energy commodities trade up because (and this is getting a little micro-economic for my macro-loving self)a lot of our energy use isn't very elastic. For example, I drive about 50 miles a day, and if it went up $10 a gallon extra, guess what, still 50 miles a day for years until I can move closer to where I commute. Fuel use gets shifted around a bit; oil demand growth slows a bit, but the cheaper fuels demand growth rises, leading to the whole basket of energy fuel stocks rising. Energy use is astoundingly inelastic.

Food is immensely more elastic than energy, though. If pizza becomes expensive tomorrow, you don't keep eating pizza out of momentum, you go eat hot dogs immediately. If a farmer is growing corn and he is *able* to sell to market, then he'll have money to buy his food (assuming inflation is stable enough that its worth risking storing wealth that way). If not, then his/her expense doesn't change (I dont know how seed or whatever pricing works), his crops already in the ground, he's just going to eat it like he always does. If he can't grow corn any more for some reason, then he'll plant something else. I don't really think it'd cause any great suffering, especially beyond what already exists. Places with the greatest suffering aren't in failed economics or market failures, it's places with failed or corrupt governments meddling in those markets or directly assaulting the people.

I don't know, but I can't even bring myself to see even short-term confusion. A local economy would either be so destitute it wouldn't know what a commodity market is much less what corn is trading at, or it'd likely have a clue and therefore either be able to participate in some way or at least avoid getting caught in any cross fire.

Final note worth remembering; crop prices are artificially high for most foods anyway as it is thanks to government price manipulation to help farmers out. I could be wrong, but I just see a massive amount of elasticity within food, more so than in almost any other part of the economy that I can think of.


RE: Hydrogen vs E85
By number999 on 12/12/2006 5:51:29 PM , Rating: 2
You brought up some good points too. Glad we could get toegether on this. Bro's are both analysts.

Considering the dependencies, would food commodity prices behave more as a group or less? Anyway, not a statistical economist or analyst. Just wanted it said as something for people to think about.

You have a point on the artificiality of food crop pricing. Farm products and macroeconomics. I remember it too well. Overall profits drop as production goes up and commodity prices drop. It may be worth it just to get the gov't out of corn subsidies and quotas.

BTW May have acted a little out of it to you. Sorry. Some responders just PO me and it tees me off.


RE: Hydrogen vs E85
By Grast on 12/8/2006 4:10:52 PM , Rating: 1
A hydrogen economy is not rubbish. It is mearly not economical at this point. The main distractor to a hydrogen economy is the power needed to create hydrogen from sea water. The power requirements are enormous and as such not reasonable at this time.

HOWEVER.....

The real solution is the development of fusion technology. It has the best chance to generate the power the world will need in the next 100 years. Solar, tidal power, wind, geo-thermal, and all other methods of generating power have serious limitation which can never be implemented every where in the world.

A fusion power plant using a deturium + deturium fuel mixture without Lithium component is the best realistic possiblity to generating 1000's of megawatts of power which is extremely eco-friendly. The power plant would produce no air emmisions. The current waste possibility of fusion is the inner casing of the reaction chamber. Once the chamber is depleted it would need to be handled due to radioactivty. This is one of the hurdles of fusion technology. The material science needed to create the reaction vessel based on current fusion models.

While fusion technology is decades away from being feasable, I my opinion we need to stop fussing around with techonology (solar, wind, hydro) which is not capable of generating the power the world needs and start putting time and money into a real solution.

A hydrogen economy is possible if we give it a change with fusion technology.

Later..


RE: Hydrogen vs E85
By Texas PHEV on 12/9/2006 12:15:30 PM , Rating: 2
Boo! I hate hydrogen. Why? I takes four times the energy to reclaim hydrogen then it does just to collect the energy in batteries. Ethanol is great for farmers and our country, but do you really want to keep spending money at the pump each week? With batteries, you can fill them with wind, water, or solar energy cheaper then you can make hydrogen, or ethanol. Why keep paying for things we really just don’t need anymore?

I am in the process of converting my 2006 Prius into a Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV). A PHEV is a regular hybrid with a gas engine and an electric power train too. You add a second battery pack to the existing hybrid in the truck and you can plug it in at night. For me a PHEV with a 30 mile range would be perfect as I could drive to work and home each day on electricity and when ever I have the need to drive further, once the second pack is empty, the hybrid just reverts back to its normal driving. For me my Prius will revert back to the 50 mpg average I often see.

Right now with the batteries you can buy on the market, there life is such that you will use up the pack and have to replace it long before you will see a return on your investment. However it works out to be about 30 bucks a month to use cleaner energy and to thumb my nose at foreign oil. For me it is worth it, maybe it is not for you. But the really good news is that new batteries have been developed and are on the way in 2007 that will make this type of technology worth it. Whit those new batteries, within ten years we will be able to have hybrids that can be tuned to different markets. Some hybrids would be able to beet out today’s fastest street legal cars, then others will be able to carry and tow better then today’s trucks and SUV’s and finally there will be midsized sedans that will be so much better on fuel that the Prius’ 50 mpg will be laughable. All these hybrids will be stronger, safer, and cleaner then the cars we have today. You will just have to get use to getting rid of the vroom vroom sound.


RE: Hydrogen vs E85
By masher2 (blog) on 12/9/2006 12:35:48 PM , Rating: 2
> "With batteries, you can fill them with wind, water, or solar energy cheaper then you can make hydrogen..."

The advantages of hydrogen are primarily a significantly higher energy density, allowing for a far longer range, and the ability to be refueled instantly. A PHEV vehicle can only run off the grid for short trips around town...then its back to gasoline. Plus after exhausting its charge, it requires hours-long recharge sessions, which makes it impractical for many drivers.

Finally, there is the third advantage that, longterm, hydrogen is the environmentally cleaner solution, as a national PHEV fleet will generate several hundred million battery backs as industrial waste, every ~7 years, as they degrade and must be replaced.


GM, it took long enough
By number999 on 12/8/2006 4:19:29 PM , Rating: 2
GM comes out with with a full real hybrid. It took long enough. They kept coming out with so called hybrids that only applied the minimal technology like engine shutdown/instant on tech, and how long have hybrids been on the market? Their ealier attempts to produce hybrids was more marketing than anything else. Full hybrids actually run only on electricity at low speeds rather than the electrical motor adding power to the ICE.
http://www.hybridcenter.org/hybrid-watchdog-whats-...

Heck even the chinese are starting to try to get into the game. Although with the size of their market and potential hit to their balance of trade, what else could they do. Although I don't expect the Chery to hit anywhere else.
http://www.autoblog.com/2006/11/16/chery-unveiling...

For the 70 MPG rating. My guess is simply a translation of the energy carried in the battery from the outlet to its gasoline equivalent energy and it's performance on the road tests to figure out. I have no idea how solar cells on the car skew that figure though. A University of Toronto prof, put cells on his Prius to jump that thing to 100MPG but it doesn't say the cost (and considering the solar energy density of Toronto, something of a feat). Adding regenerative braking to the others wheels would allow more power to be captured, instead of only using the front (I assume front because that is usually where the greatest benefit is).

On pure electric mode this vehicle only gets 10 miles on a full charge. Don't know whether it's inductive charging or direct charging but it does use Lithium-ion batteries. One thing to note is with these PHEVs is gasoline settles so it's required that you actually use the vehicles in gasoline mode,

...(gasonline, if it)is left for a certain period of time, gums and varnishes may build up and precipitate in the gasoline, causing "stale fuel." This will cause gums to build up in the cylinders and also the fuel lines, making it harder to start the engine. Gums and varnishes should be removed by a professional to extend engine life. Motor gasoline may be stored up to 60 days in an approved container. That or special fuel addictives have to be added.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gasoline

Electricity costs in terms of gasoline gallon equailent energy is one of the cheapest around. Prius PHEV is about $0.03/mi ($0.019/km), based on 0.262 kWh / mile and a cost of electricity of 0.10 $ / kWh from the Wikipedia PHEV link. They also say a a dollar of electricity would be equivalent to a gallon of gasoline.


A great comparison chart exists for fuels and their costs, comparing a trip from NY to California in a Honda Civic. This is a great chart. Dl this PDF if it's the only this you look at from my addition to this blog.
http://media.popularmechanics.com/documents/Fuel_o...

from the May issue containing pros and cons of the various technologies.
http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/earth/2690...

100 MPG Available Now Pop Mech article
http://www.popularmechanics.com/automotive/how_to/...

The Plug in electric vehicle wiki link
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plug-in_hybrid_electr...

Great site for hybrids and tech from the Union of Concerned Scientists. Car comparisons, technology definitions and links to other articles.
http://www.hybridcenter.org/

Other alternative fuel comparison sites
http://autos.msn.com/advice/CRArt.aspx?contentid=4...
http://www.csmonitor.com/2006/0801/p01s02-usec.htm...




RE: GM, it took long enough
By masher2 (blog) on 12/8/2006 4:42:34 PM , Rating: 2
> "For the 70 MPG rating. My guess is simply a translation of the energy carried in the battery from the outlet to its gasoline equivalent energy..."

Rather more likely is they ignore the charge altogether, and simply factor the gasoline consumption over an "average" daily commute of x miles. This makes the mileage a pure numbers game, as you can hit whatever MPG figure you wish based on your trip assumptions.


RE: GM, it took long enough
By number999 on 12/8/2006 5:04:15 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
altogether, and simply factor the gasoline consumption over an "average" daily commute of x miles
Actually its over a track to simulate the average driving conditions that are no longer pertain to today's normal conditions.

These are standardized tests that are used for all vehicles. Not artificial ones like charging up going to the store and coming back and seeing how much gas is used. Are they artificially high, yes. Consumers Reports puts the Prius for example at a combined city/hwy of around 45 MPG if I remember correctly but then all of them have been affected although hybrids are more affected than regular cars. When the new standards are in place, we will see more realistic figures.

What the article most likely meant was MPGGE (Miles per Gallon Gasoline Equivalent) instead of MPG.
The gasoline equivalent value is calculated based on the lower heating value of gasoline (42.6 kJ/g) and the density of gasoline (749 g/l) for all vehicles. For electric vehicles the energy used is determined by integrating total power out of the energy storage system while accounting for coloumbic losses during a hypothetical recharge.
For EV: mpgge=distance/(ess_energy_out/ess_coulombic_eff)*4 2600*749/.264172;
%42600=lhv of fuel(J/g), 749=density of fuel(g/l), .264172gal/l
For others: mpgge=mpg_base_fuel*42600*749/fc_fuel_lhv/fc_fuel_d en;
%42600=lhv of fuel(J/g), 749=density of fuel(g/l)


which they shortened to not confuse people with extra terms which they were not familiar with or how to obtain it. To assume that they are just messing around with the numbers arbitrarily without actually looking up some sort of definition of how they're doing it is not reasonable. They have to follow some written out procedure.


RE: GM, it took long enough
By masher2 (blog) on 12/8/2006 5:52:29 PM , Rating: 2
> "What the article most likely meant was MPGGE (Miles per Gallon Gasoline Equivalent) instead of MPG"

No, I'm sure the original quote was for MPG. The current Vue hybrid only gets 32MPG...there's no way that the next generation is going to be over twice as efficient. The figure is the typical numbers game, calculating the gasoline used over a "typical" drive, and ignoring the charge itself.

> "To assume that they are just messing around with the numbers...is not reasonable. They have to follow some written out procedure"

Says who? GM NA President Clark can spout whatever figures he wants in a press conference...there's no legal requirement for him to use any set algorithm for deriving them.

Every other plug-in hybrid rating I've seen has been the same numbers game. I've seen claims of 150+ mpg from modified hybrids. A figure than can be met actually...if you only drive a few miles per day.




RE: GM, it took long enough
By number999 on 12/8/2006 7:45:42 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
current Vue hybrid only gets 32MPG...there's no way that the next generation is going to be over twice as efficient
For one, it isn't the same car and it doesn't get the same calculations. The new Vue is redesigned and looks like a full hybrid (which means it runs just on the batteries at low speed) while the present one isn't. With under sized batteries (36V) and inefficient regeneration, it's a lame excuse for a hybrid which is why it's fuel economy is not much better than a regular Vue.
http://www.hybridcars.com/suvs-minivans/saturn-vue...

Some vehicles have been introduced or will be introduced to the market with the hybrid label, but really only use some conventional technology improvements to gain marginal fuel economy improvements. Such improvements would be laudable if introduced as standard options throughout a model fleet. But to make these improvements to only a small number of vehicles and use the "hybrid label" to gain a greener stature undermines the integrity of the hybrid market. We have labeled these vehicles as "hollow hybrids" and, as a "caveat emptor" for hybrid consumers, we list these models below.

Conventional Vehicles profiting from the hybrid image
GMC Sierra "hybrid" pickup
Dodge Ram "hybrid" diesel pickup
Chevrolet Silverado "hybrid" pickup
Saturn "Green Line" Vue SUV

http://www.hybridcenter.org/hybrid-timeline.html

quote:
there's no legal requirement for him to use any set algorithm for deriving them
There are. Otherwise the industry would use any and all manner of definitions to make themselves look good. Consumer confidence would be in the dumpster. I found the following at a government site.

CAFE
Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) is the sales weighted average fuel economy, expressed in miles per gallon (mpg), of a manufacturer’s fleet of passenger cars or light trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 8,500 lbs. or less, manufactured for sale in the United States, for any given model year. Fuel economy is defined as the average mileage traveled by an automobile per gallon of gasoline ( or equivalent amount of other fuel ) consumed as measured in accordance with the testing and evaluation protocol set forth by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

The “Energy Policy Conservation Act,” enacted into law by Congress in 1975, added Title V, “Improving Automotive Efficiency,” to the Motor Vehicle Information and Cost Savings Act and established CAFE standards for passenger cars and light trucks

Which of course that the standards of expressing the fuel economy is legally set. The equivalent amount of fuel is why gasoline equivalent is used in a lot of places.

It also describes totally the procedure to derive the fuel economy.

The CAFE law provides for special treatment of vehicle fuel economy calculations for dedicated alternative fuel vehicles and dual-fuel vehicles. The fuel economy of a dedicated alternative fuel vehicle is determined by dividing its fuel economy in equivalent miles per gallon of gasoline or diesel fuel by 0.15. Thus a 15 mpg(gas equivalent) dedicated alternative fuel vehicle would be rated as 100 mpg. For dual-fuel vehicles (vehicles that can use the alternative fuel and gasoline or diesel interchangeably), the rating is the average of the fuel economy on gasoline or diesel and the fuel economy on the alternative fuel vehicle divided by .15. For example, this calculation procedure turns a dual fuel vehicle that averages 25 mpg on gasoline or diesel with the above 100 mpg alternative fuel to attain the 40 mpg value for CAFE purposes.
http://nhtsa.gov/cars/rules/CAFE/overview.htm

And so you have it. They have to use the procedure to derive the fuel economy. It's part of the law. No buts or whys. The procedure to get the economy of each separate fuel might be a problem but that is currently being addressed. According to the present set rules, this is how it plays out.


RE: GM, it took long enough
By masher2 (blog) on 12/8/2006 11:01:37 PM , Rating: 2
> "The new Vue is redesigned..."

So it is. It's still not going to get over twice the mileage of the old Vue. Nor is it going to far exceed the MPG of Toyota and Honda's best hybrids...particularly when its a larger and heavier vehicle.

> "They have to use the procedure to derive the fuel economy. It's part of the law"

If you think "the law" prevents a GM executive from quoting whatever figures he wishes, you're mistaken. Until the Vue is being advertised for sale with a specific EPA MPG estimate, the law doesn't apply.


And so you don't have it.


RE: GM, it took long enough
By number999 on 12/9/2006 2:32:11 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
It's still not going to get over twice the mileage of the old Vue
The way of calculating it is different if you actually read the CAFE procedures. The new Vue is a plug in hybrid. That may classify it as dual fuel. The battery in the old model is a puny 36V job which it isn't in the new one.

quote:
...think "the law" prevents a GM executive from quoting whatever figures he wishes, you're mistaken. Until the Vue is being advertised for sale with a specific EPA MPG estimate, the law doesn't apply
They all follow the same standards. And the law does apply. There has to be a uniformity of testing even for pre-mass produced vehicles. Even pre-production cars have to go through EPA testing and that's whrere the figure they quote for fuel economy comes from. The differences between electricity and gas are dealt within the CAFE rules.

You moan and BS about the inaccuracy of the economy numbers and there it is. I actual find the bloody rules the manufacturers have to follow. You don't like it, so you go on this childish, selfish, petty, self-indulgent excuse. I said it before, you're a joke. You can't admit any iota of being incorrect.

I once read a story about an evolutionary scientist who, after a presentation destroyed his life's work, thanked the presenter because the true nature of intelligent discourse and science is also the ability to admit error and change. It is the true fanatic and zealot who will not, cannot admit error. I have facts, I have the CAFE rules referenced and presented and linked up. What do you have that makes you right in the face of it? Dogmatic belief? Your experience? What you've read somewhere? Fine, but what make you think it's right? Where is the proof ? References to anything but your own prejudices? Because so far there is nothing but hot air. I pity anyone who interacts with you if this is your typical response to disagreement. Bury you head, it doesn't change anything.


RE: GM, it took long enough
By masher2 (blog) on 12/9/2006 8:24:39 AM , Rating: 2
> "You moan and BS about the inaccuracy of the economy numbers and there it is. I actual find the bloody rules the manufacturers have to follow. You don't like it, so you go on this childish, selfish, petty, self-indulgent excuse, I said it before, you're a joke..."

Thanks, but I'll refrain from the personal attacks myself. And you're still missing the point. The "bloody rules" you found are those governing MPG calculation for advertisement upon actual vehicles. There are NO LAWS preventing an auto executive from claiming figures for future products. Should GM claim too wildly, they might run afoul of some SEC guidelines...but they certainly won't violate any CAFE standards.

Had you stopped to think for a minute, you'd realize that a vehicle which hasn't even been built yet could not possibly have undergone official testing . The plug-in model of the Vue won't be out till the 2009 model year. Any MPG figures are therefore those of a GM president embellishing the remarks of a middle-manager's second-hand quoting of some engineers WAG (wild-ass-guess) estimates, based on their informal testing of a concept Vue.




RE: GM, it took long enough
By masher2 (blog) on 12/9/2006 9:01:06 AM , Rating: 2
Dec 5, 2006: "At the Greater Los Angeles Auto Show, [GM] committed to manufacturing versions of its hybrid Saturn Vue SUV with a much larger battery pack that can be charged via an ordinary household socket... The actual rollout date will depend on the development of suitable battery technology , according to GM chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner..."

http://www.technologyreview.com/read_article.aspx?...

And there you have it. GM hasn't even developed the batteries for this vehicle yet, and you think they've done official CAFE MPG testing on production vehicles?

I hate having to use a web link to prove something as common sense as this, but sometimes its necessary.


RE: GM, it took long enough
By number999 on 12/9/2006 10:02:20 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
GM hasn't even developed the batteries for this vehicle yet, and you think they've done official CAFE MPG testing on production vehicles
The battery is the similar to a fuel tank in the car. Except for the weight of the fuel, what does the fuel tank contribute to milage? It is there only for the range. Obviously you didn't think that one out. As for CAFE/EPA tests. The manufacturer is required to do them or provide a vehicle to test on according to the CAFE website already referenced.


To check the viability of the CAFE procedures with respect to the Vue lets look at some estimated numbers.

Both powertrains tested to EPA standards.
The conventional engine gets 30 mpg. This is the upper end for a standard vue so it's fairly reasonable. And choosing it simplifys the calculations until the last line.

Assume the Vue gets 30 mpgge. Is this reasonable? It should be same as the gas milage since it's gasoline equivalent milage and the only thing changing is the power source. Equivalent energy gives equivalent milage.

According to the CAFE rules, this is a dual fuel car so lets use the procedure to calculate milage

Electical powertrain
30/0.15 = 200 mpg

Combine with the conventional milage
200+30 = 230 mpg

Average it
230/2 = 115 mpg

Now divide it by 1.5 as stated in the CAFE rules.
115/1.5= 76.67 mpg

It seems reasonable and fairly close to what was stated from GM, especially since I choose a high milage to begin with, the Vue obviously gets less but I didn't want to bother since I'm sick and tired of trying to prove my point.

The milage rating isn't a set standard on what people will get but a standardized way of comparing milage performance. Some standardized way of applying the electrical plug in component had to be included. What people get will depend on their driving conditions and habits.


RE: GM, it took long enough
By masher2 (blog) on 12/10/2006 1:54:23 AM , Rating: 1
> "The battery is the similar to a fuel tank in the car. Except for the weight of the fuel, what does the fuel tank contribute to milage?"

You forgot a few large factors. First and foremost is that a battery pack is *not* a fuel tank. It has a coulometric charging efficiency, which results in large amounts of lost energy. NiMH batteries typically have a charging efficiency of around 66%. Ever seen a gas tank which dumped one gallon on the ground for every two that went in the tank? I didn't think so.

Worse, the charging efficiency depends on the design of the batteries, the charger, and, most importantly, the rate of charging. Furthermore, unlike the weight of a fuel tank, the battery weight of a PHEV is a serious consideration in mileage. In short, without having the actual battery itself, there is no way one could accurately determine the vehicle's mileage.

But all this-- and you in particular-- still dodges the main point. This vehicle has not been built yet, therefore it cannot have undergone mileage testing . It isn't just the batteries that haven't been built yet...the entire PHEV version is still on the drawing boards.

The MPG figures are pure smoke and mirrors. They were NOT arrived at by any formal testing. They're part guess, part marketing campaign. This should be obvious to anyone with a grain of common sense.


RE: GM, it took long enough
By number999 on 12/10/2006 2:04:08 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Furthermore, unlike the weight of a fuel tank, the battery weight of a PHEV is a serious consideration in mileage. In short, without having the actual battery itself, there is no way one could accurately determine the vehicle's mileage
Obviously they create weight constraints on the weight of the battery. They know approximately what the weight it's going to be and it's effect on milage. It goes on all the time in engineering. The new Boeing and new nuclear plant designs for example.

The milage rating is a approximation rating comparison of milage performance . You don't see the rating with a full tank or half tank or an almost empty tank. Milage changes with cargo and the number of people in the car. Also stop trying to change the discussion to battery efficiency. It was always about how GM produced the numbers, which I have demonstrated by example.

quote:
This vehicle has not been built yet, therefore it cannot have undergone mileage testing .
Wrong. Prototypes have been built, at least of the newer Vue, and shown. The only thing is that the battery design hasn't been finalized, that's much different then not having been built. How much is the milage going to change by adding charge control circuitry to the newer Vue? The tested prototypes are where the numbers are from. No one is implying that the final commercial product will be anything. No one can tell the future.

Finally, using your logic then about not able to give approximate numbers from something not actually made, are engineers lying about the power they can develop from the new generation of nuclear reactors, or the range from the new Boeing plane? Or are you implying the engineers making cars and SUV's are incompetent? If they can mathematically figure out the performance of a reactor, I think the engineers are smart enough to figure out the performance of a SUV. How much is being pre-ordered from Boeing for a plane that hasn't been built?

Here's the new Vue at the LA auto show.
http://www.autobloggreen.com/2006/11/29/la-auto-sh...
http://news.en.autos.sympatico.msn.ca/article.aspx...

PS
Also the charging efficiency can be disputed. Although it is stated in Wikipedia, it is referenced from http://www.powerstream.com/NiMH.htm
which doesn't even reference where they got the information.
Simply looking it up though you get
65%-95% at
http://betterpower.en.alibaba.com/product/50059481...
or
Boosting up to a 98% charging efficiency at
http://www.nimhbattery.com/maha-powerex-mh-c204w-n...
or 85% at
http://www.steves-digicams.com/lightning4000.html

best spot to figure it out would be from a Sept 2006 article
http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/xpl/freeabs_all.jsp?isn...
but I'm not a member of IEEE even though they keep sending me membership info so I can't get in to see it.

I think think the 66% is the typical coulometric charging efficiency of NiMH under straight trickle charging, which may not be the most efficient way.


RE: GM, it took long enough
By masher2 (blog) on 12/10/2006 6:07:16 PM , Rating: 1
> "They know approximately what the weight it's going to be "

And they know "approximately" what the charging efficiency will be, and "approximately" how much more efficient the drivetrain will be...and a thousand other approximations for a vehicle not yet built. And thus, the MPG figures are just a rough approximation themselves, and not the product of any real-world testing. Thanks for finally agreeing.

> "Wrong. Prototypes have been built, at least of the newer Vue, and shown..."

No prototype of the PHEV version of the Vue has been built. Only the upgraded non-plugin hybrid.

> "If they can mathematically figure out the performance of a reactor, I think the engineers are smart enough to figure out the performance of a SUV"

You've already agreed with my original point, so I don't know why you're going off on this tack. Yes, of course an engineer can give an accurate approximation. However, as I have repeatedly said, this approximation is neither the result of any real-world testing, nor is it the product of any specific, legally-mandated procedure. Nor is GM legally required to use any such in quoting those figures. Not until they have an actual vehicle for sale, and are plastering the value on the side window.

Your earlier postings were incorrect. I think you see that now, so we can move on.



RE: GM, it took long enough
By number999 on 12/12/2006 5:15:48 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
This makes the mileage a pure numbers game, as you can hit whatever MPG figure you wish based on your trip assumptions....GM NA President Clark can spout whatever figures he wants in a press conference...there's no legal requirement for him to use any set algorithm for deriving them.
These were your original posts. The fact is it isn't a made up number. You're the one who said because it was a plug in and could basically run without fuel, GM could make up numbers as large as they wished. Wrong again. You even stated earlier that the milage couldn't be bigger than the Prius. Wrong again. I admit to a mistake. I wasn't sure about how the energy in the battery was applied to milage and made an error but I can at least say I did in the heat of the exchange. The thing that you can't accept is the fact that anyone can be right except you and the sad thing is you can't even say you can be wrong. Nice world view. You can run with Bush.

quote:
PHEV version of the Vue has been built. Only the upgraded non-plugin hybrid.
They are of course going to use the PHEV components of the newer Vue. There will not be major modifications because it would cost too much to create a separate line. That means of course that over 90% of the vehicle is going to be the same and that would be a conservative estimate. It most likely not be the powertrain or the exterior, making it's performance characteristics similar if not identical.

There is no going off in a tangent. I quoted what you originaly wrote. There is no agreement with what you have to say. In fact you can't even remember what you even wrote. You are the one putting things off tangent.

The original implication was that GM was pulling the milage out of a hat. I've shown that they haven't. It's just too bad that you don't get the point of a blog and just spout your opinionated view out there without actually trying to actually sharing real information or trying to develop real points. If your second post was the formuala that I found out, then I would've thought your first post may have had merit, as it stood it was just argumentative and added nothing as did subsequent posts even after I showed an example of milage calculations to get around 70.


I will belief it when I see it.
By Grast on 12/8/2006 11:04:19 AM , Rating: 3
70MPG is a very large claim. I am high skeptical about this cliam. Additionally, a plug in car does not solve any issue as to the use of fossil fuels for energy. Whether you are burning gasoline or using electricity created from gas turbines, coal, or oil, you are still using fossil fuels.

The only solution is fusion and a hydrogen economy. I just wish we could get past this and move on.... Until then, let me drive my gasoline car/SUV in peace.

later...




RE: I will belief it when I see it.
By Hare on 12/8/2006 11:16:03 AM , Rating: 2
You can get energy from tidal water, water turbines, wind, solar etc etc. Electric cars powered by fossil fuels are more efficient than gasoline powered cars. It's also easier to take energy back (motor brake etc.)

For a practical and truly ecological car, get a modern diesel. Too bad you can't get one of those in the US...


RE: I will belief it when I see it.
By TomZ on 12/8/2006 11:48:42 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
You can get energy from tidal water, water turbines, wind, solar etc etc.

LOL, and at what scale and what cost? Hydroelectric dams are reasonable, and solar on a small scale, but ... tidal water?
quote:
For a practical and truly ecological car, get a modern diesel. Too bad you can't get one of those in the US.

The issue is not availability - they are readily available here - but demand. American consumers still remember the noisy, dirty diesels from the 1970s and 1980s. Change takes time. Anyway, I don't see how diesels, apart from being slightly more efficient, really help solve the oil dependency problem at all. The goal should be to move towards an energy source that is renewable and environmentally friendly.


RE: I will belief it when I see it.
By Hare on 12/8/2006 12:33:46 PM , Rating: 2
I was just making a point. I wasn't saying that these energy sources were practical, cheap or widely available. Well practical at least. Here anyone can buy "green" energy, it just costs slightly more.

I was under the impression that quality diesel is just beginning to be available in the states. At least the diesel quality used to be awful compared to European diesel. I wasn't saying that diesel is the ultimite solution either. Right now it just seems to be the best practical alternative. Batteries are not too friendly on the environment and as said before with electric cars most of the energy still would come from fossil fuels.


RE: I will belief it when I see it.
By TomZ on 12/8/2006 12:56:00 PM , Rating: 2
Some of the "quality" diesels, e.g., Mercedes' Bluetec diesel, aren't marketed here yet because they don't meet emissions standards, particularly those in California. But there are lots of other diesel models available here.

Here is an interesting web site that talks about the state of diesels in the USA: http://mydrive.roadfly.com/blog/ExJxZ3/


RE: I will belief it when I see it.
By Hare on 12/8/2006 2:23:31 PM , Rating: 2
Thanks! I'll check it out.


RE: I will belief it when I see it.
By Kuroyama on 12/8/2006 12:54:34 PM , Rating: 2
This claim likely hinges on the "plug in" part. If you charge the battery off of a wall plug BEFORE driving then of course you'll have great fuel economy because much of your driving is actually using the power you got out of the wall, and not being generated from the engine. I don't see enough detail in the article to tell if this is the case, but similar claims of absurd fuel economy for a plug-in vehicle have often been based on such trickery, so it seems possible here as well.



By marvdmartian on 12/8/2006 3:26:23 PM , Rating: 2
Not to mention, that the (alleged) 60mpg of the Toyota Prius hasn't really held up in real world driving (there's been articles about people in California getting closer to 40mpg while driving theirs). Wait until the EPA guidelines change in a year or two, to reflect more "real world" driving (i.e.-running the a/c, etc), and we'll see just how good these cars really are on gas mileage.

The other problem I have with the claim of 70mpg on a plug-in hydbrid is this--while your mileage might be claimed as 70mpg, due to the miles driven on a full charge, plus the gasoline used to drive that far, it fails to take into account the cost of the power to charge the batteries off of the wall outlet. Claiming 70mpg in a car like this would be like saying a Chevy Suburban or Ford Expedition can get 40mpg in the city......as long as it's only running downhill, with a tail wind!!


RE: I will belief it when I see it.
By masher2 (blog) on 12/8/2006 1:44:37 PM , Rating: 2
> "70MPG is a very large claim. I am high skeptical about this cliam."

The number is pure fiction, essentially. You can make up any figure you want for the MPG rating of a plug-in hybrid, and it'll be accurate-- under the right conditions. When such a vehicle starts a trip fully charged, its getting infinite MPG- its not burning gas, its using wall current. The longer the trip, the less your mileage. A several hundred mile journey would net you the standard mileage of a "normal" hybrid, or about half this claim. But a very short trip might give you 150 MPG.


RE: I will belief it when I see it.
By iNGEN on 12/8/2006 5:52:33 PM , Rating: 2
Remember, according to the EPA themselves. Their MPG ratings are not an approximation of empirical fuel economy. They are a representation of relative fuel economy, because the test conditions are identical during the testing of every different vehicle. The rating is strictly for comparison between models.

Although masher's comments are very valid. The plug-in charge serves much the same function as buffer and prefetch in a hard drive.


By redsquid5 on 12/8/2006 3:27:53 PM , Rating: 2
Oh, it will get 70 mpg in the US government test just fine; we already know that the rating from these tests does not hold up in the real world. AND the test is not designed to measure any cost of a pre-test electrical charge, so the rating is even more bogus.
My wife's Civic hybrid is getting about 40 mpg on mostly freeway driving.... watch the mileage display, and it goes from 5 to 100 mpg as you go. Tootle down the freeway at 45 and you can get better than the rated 50 mpg...
A friend has an electric car he powers completely off of solar power - infinite mileage by the government ratings. About $20000 in solar panels and maybe 80 mile range (not the latest in technology....)



is 70mpg in 2007 impressive?
By RamarC on 12/8/2006 10:55:52 AM , Rating: 1
considering honda had 60+mpg civics and gm had production all-electric cars 20 years ago<b/>, 100mpg cars (gas or hybrid) should be commonplace by now.




RE: is 70mpg in 2007 impressive?
By sdedward on 12/8/2006 11:07:10 AM , Rating: 1
I completely agree except that cars 20 years ago didnt have airbags, anti lock brakes, stability control, and sensors up the wazzoo. Every little thing adds weight to the car. The safety and comfort features that we take for granted all come at a cost. I dont give a rip about 20 cupholders but driver, passenger, and side curtain airbags are a good thing to have.

Im not defending the carmakers as fuel efficiency should be much, much better (9 MPG for a modern vehicle is an atrocity), but we need to be completely realistic about fuel efficiency and applaud the recent trend on the part of the automakers to be conscious about it. Positive reinforcement, not tough love :)


RE: is 70mpg in 2007 impressive?
By TomZ on 12/8/2006 11:36:31 AM , Rating: 5
quote:
Im not defending the carmakers as fuel efficiency should be much, much better (9 MPG for a modern vehicle is an atrocity)

Sorry, but you can't blame the automakers, you can only blame yourself. Automakers are very good at producing precisely what customers want, and what most American customers want now are big truck-like vehicles, without regard to energy efficiency or cost.

If you want to change the overall MPGs, you have to convince consumers that they want smaller vehicles and/or more expensive vehicles with more sophisticated energy-efficient technology. Automakers always follow demand.


RE: is 70mpg in 2007 impressive?
By number999 on 12/8/2006 2:43:46 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
can't blame the automakers, you can only blame yourself
Probably enough blame to go around everywhere.

Automakers lobby like mad to ease restrictions, get benefits(like the SUV tax deduction) or get around them by trying to reclassify vehicles so they can get around present fuel economy restrictions. They also reinforce the need for power and size in their ads. How many people realize that today's idea of Santa Claus is from Coca-Cola Norman Rockwell sponsored ads. Before that, Santa was dress in green half the time. I don't blame the car makers, considering market saturation and mean lifespan of vehicles, you want to maximize profits. It is far more profitable to sell large cars/SUV's than smaller fuel efficient ones. What I do blame them was the fact that it takes a superlarge threat to make them realize to diversify their products to include fuel efficiency. Every time a fuel crunch happens, the US seems to lose market share.

As for the consumer, in the end he/she bought the vehicles and let themselves take the market in this direction.

It's a big feedback loop, what came first - chicken or egg question. Both affected and caused the present situation. The thing is who was complacent and who took advantage.

SUV tax deduction
http://www.hybridcenter.org/hybrid-vs-hummer.html


RE: is 70mpg in 2007 impressive?
By oneellama on 12/9/2006 1:48:38 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Sorry, but you can't blame the automakers, you can only blame yourself. Automakers are very good at producing precisely what customers want


I think that's hogwash. There's plenty of culpability to go around -- consumers, manufacturers, and politicians.

The domestic manufacturers -- GM in particular -- have taken an incredibly short-sighted view of "what customers want," and they have also intentionally sold the consumer on the safety and desirability of larger, higher-performance vehicles where the real motivator was high profit margins. There is no doubt that many consumers (and politicians) were willing buyers.

Recent market trends driven by fuel price volatility have shown the vulnerability of the manufacturers to these conscious decisions on their part. The Titanic did not sink because it couldn't have chosen a different course; it was the arrogance of those who thought it could not be sunk and the fact it was so massive it couldn't change course quickly enough once danger was sighted.

Toyota made a strategic decision a decade ago to invest in hybrid R&D not because consumers were banging at their door for a Prius, but because they believed (1) fuel prices would begin to rise significantly in the 2004-2008 timeframe due to constraints on worldwide refining capacity, (2) a market would develop for significantly more fuel efficient vehicles that preserved key consumer attributes, (3) they could make money in that market by providing an entirely new, high quality, technologically sophisticated product, and (4) it was consistent with their corporate environmental policy.

GM's reaction, in public and in private, was to scoff. They claimed it was a stunt, that Toyota had no intentions of really mass producing hybrids, and that they would merely take a loss on each of the few they sold in order to reap PR brownie points so as to sell other, conventional vehicles. In their arrogance, GM undermined political overtures and research efforts specifically designed to help catch them up with foreign manufacturers so we could preserve the economic benefits of a healthy domestic vehicle industry.

Toyota sold its 500,000th Prius last June. It outsells many conventional-powertrain models of the domestic manufacturers. Supply of the model has consistently struggled to keep pace with demand. Nice stunt.

Now, with fuel price volatility arriving as predicted, GM has suddenly gone through a green epiphany. During the weeks of the highest fuel prices last summer, television ads touting the millions of eco-friendly GM flexible-fuel (E85) vehicles on the road saturated the airwaves. But...only a handful of those vehicles have EVER seen a drop of E85 fuel. Why are they on the road? Because it was cheaper for GM to make the simple E85 modifications to the gasoline versions of the powertrains than to risk fines for missing the Corporate Average Fuel Economy requirements. E85 vehicles get a sweet fuel economy credit if they CAN use E85, regardless of whether they ever DO.

Do I blame GM? You bet. Their failure of vision and leadership is an economic disaster for our country, which translates into a lot of pain for a lot of people, particularly here in Michigan. Meanwhile, Toyota's building a huge new R&D facility right up the road. Ask them if Toyota always "follows demand."

Meanwhile, I hope GM's plug-in hybrid is real, reliable, desirable, sells like hotcakes, and sets a new course for the company -- before it hits the iceberg.


RE: is 70mpg in 2007 impressive?
By masher2 (blog) on 12/9/2006 8:39:43 AM , Rating: 2
> "The domestic manufacturers -- GM in particular -- have taken an incredibly short-sighted view of "what customers want..."

GM built all-electric cars ten years ago. The last year they made them, they sold four HUNDRED. No company can force people to buy an unpopular product. And if they continued to try and sell while raking up massive losses, they'd be neglecting their responsibility to their shareholders...shareholders which pretty much includes most anyone with a 401K or mutual fund investment.

Since you're so quick to blame automakers, I have to ask you-- did you yourself purchase one of those all-electric vehicles? Or is this just a bit of self-righteous hypocrisy?

> "millions of eco-friendly GM flexible-fuel (E85) vehicles on the road saturated the airwaves. But...only a handful of those vehicles have EVER seen a drop of E85 fuel"

Once again, GM can sell cars...but they can't force people to buy E85 gasoline. Most people don't WANT to, primarily because its a higher-cost alternative, even with billions of dollars per year of federal subsidies.

BTW, how much E85 did YOU buy last year?

> "[GM's] failure...is an economic disaster for our country...Meanwhile, Toyota's building a huge new R&D facility right up the road..."

Nonsense. Given the number of GM autos built outside our borders, and the numbers of Toyota's built inside them, GM's market share losses don't translate into any real pain for the nation. It may be a "disaster" for some overpaid, underworked UAW members...but for the rest of us, its business as usual.



RE: is 70mpg in 2007 impressive?
By oneellama on 12/9/2006 5:02:18 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
GM built all-electric cars ten years ago. The last year they made them, they sold four HUNDRED. No company can force people to buy an unpopular product. And if they continued to try and sell while raking up massive losses, they'd be neglecting their responsibility to their shareholders...shareholders which pretty much includes most anyone with a 401K or mutual fund investment.


I wondered if someone might bring up the EV-1 here in an effort to show GM's virtuosity on the eco-friendly front and responsibility to shareholders. The EV-1 has been the subject of a lot of investigation and there are whole websites dedicated to it, so rather than rehash it all here, consider exploring this site: http://www.sonyclassics.com/whokilledtheelectricca... (maybe even watch the film) or this one http://www.pbs.org/now/shows/223/index.html. Perhaps then we could exchange some more thoughts.

My central point was that GM has suffered from a dumbfounding lack of vision, and that failure affects a lot of people. I used Toyota and the Prius, and GM's contrasting approach to hybrids, as an example. There is nothing in the EV-1 debacle that undermines that central point; if anything, it underscores it.

quote:
Since you're so quick to blame automakers, I have to ask you-- did you yourself purchase one of those all-electric vehicles? Or is this just a bit of self-righteous hypocrisy?


I wasn't quick to blame GM; I came to it rationally, step by step, example by example, over a 20+ year career right in the midst of it. I wouldn't be intellectually honest without holding them responsible for their part, which is substantial.

As for my personal purchase decisions, there are of course many other answers other than the two you present (either I purchased an EV-1, or I am a self-righteous hypocrite.) My wife and I make major choices carefully, combining social consciousness with many other factors. I don't say that to broadcast self-righteousness, rather to respond reflectively on your blunt character criticism. Fuel economy and environmental impact have always been prime motivators in our vehicle puchases. I switched careers in part so that I could work very close to where I live (5 blocks), yielding a substantial decrease in my vehicle miles traveled.

As for GM's electric vehicle, my first hands-on exposure to an EV-1 was through a GM engineer who arranged for me to drive, inspect, and evaluate the vehicle. I had the same opportunity with the Prius, before a single one hade been sold in the US. I'm not going to defend in this forum my credentials to do these things honestly and with credibility, other than to say I wouldn't have had the opportunity had I lacked the credibility. From a consumer and technology point of view, the EV-1 was quite impressive. To be sure, I discussed with the engineer the pros and cons of owning one, as we both saw it. But I lived in Michigan, not California, and in practical terms, it would have been...well...very impractical. That was no more hypocritical for me than it was for lots of others who might have wanted one, including (by the way) the GM engineer.

I don't think it would be polite or productive to challenge you to a side-by-side comparison of our personal choices, measured on an hypocrisy meter, although who knows? Maybe we would find common ground, rather than descend into name calling. Personally, I have no problems of conscience as I reflect now on my vehicle purchase decisions, nor do those decisions add or subtract in any substantive way from the points in my earlier post.

quote:
Once again, GM can sell cars...but they can't force people to buy E85 gasoline. Most people don't WANT to, primarily because its a higher-cost alternative, even with billions of dollars per year of federal subsidies.


You missed my point. GM knew when they put the cars on the road that they weren't ever going to see E85. The fuel infrastructure, even in the best of circumstances, wouldn't be in place until long after the vehicles were scrap metal. The point is that GM did it for CAFE credit, not for the environment. Now, recognizing that fuel economy and the environment are coming onto the public's radar screen, they're advertising whole-hog like they're environmental superstars. You're tuned into hypocricy? THERE'S hypocrisy.

I am no fan of the E85 tax subsidies. My own opinion is that as currently constituted they are neither environmental nor defensible as an element of a wise national energy policy.

quote:
BTW, how much E85 did YOU buy last year?


Why do you insist on these hand grenades? I have no desire to slam you personally. See my previous comments on purchase decisions, above, if it's important to you. I make no claims to personal perfection. I try to be reflective and thoughtful. GM has never, to my knowledge, felt that was a factor in their strategic decisions.

quote:
> "[GM's] failure...is an economic disaster for our country...Meanwhile, Toyota's building a huge new R&D facility right up the road..."

Nonsense. Given the number of GM autos built outside our borders, and the numbers of Toyota's built inside them, GM's market share losses don't translate into any real pain for the nation. It may be a "disaster" for some overpaid, underworked UAW members...but for the rest of us, its business as usual.


At the beginning of your post, you state that GM has to be motivated by duty to their shareholders, and you cite the breadth of this impact with "shareholders which pretty much includes most anyone with a 401K or mutual fund investment." Do you not see the conflict between the quote immediately above and the earlier one? Either GM's market share losses have an important effect, or they don't. Your opinion of UAW workers is clear, but what caused you in two paragraphs to forget all those 401(k) and mutual fund investors?

Your dismissal of the value of UAW workers speaks for itself. Even if you consider them to be the scum of the earth, you forgot about all the white collar workers and the supporting industry employees who, I assure you, don't see this as "business as usual." In the region where I live, the impacts are palpable.

Don't get me wrong. I want GM to be successful. What I am saying is that there's a lot riding on the quality of their strategic decision-making -- for employees of the company and related industries, shareholders...and the environment. I believe their decision-making regarding hybrids, electric vehicles, and fuel economy requirements up to this point has been short sighted and deplorable, and they need to get their act together. I've given some examples here and in my initial post of why I think that' so. You haven't written anything, yet, that causes me to change that point of view, though I assure you I read your response and thought about it.

If you want to give it another try, I'll be glad to listen, but pardon me if I don't put a lot of weight on the personal stuff.


RE: is 70mpg in 2007 impressive?
By masher2 (blog) on 12/10/2006 2:15:02 AM , Rating: 1
> "GM knew when they put the cars on the road that they weren't ever going to see E85. The fuel infrastructure, even in the best of circumstances, wouldn't be in place until long after the vehicles were scrap metal. The point is that GM did it for CAFE credit, not for the environment..."

Then blame CAFE, not GM. The federal government sets the credits, you can't blame a company for playing by the rules.

As for E85 being unavailable, thats an overstatement as well. There are well over 1000 stations around the nation and, in areas where E85 is actually somewhat cost-competitive with gasoline (primarily some Midwest locations) its actually not hard to find at all. In any case, its not the responsibility of an automaker to build and operate fueling stations. You might as well blame them for the lack of hydrogen depots, or 100 kilowatt insta-charge stations for electric vehicles. That's not their job.

An automaker builds cars . And, as a public corporation, has a legal responsibility to its shareholders to turn a profit. That means selling a product people want.

And people don't WANT fuel efficient cars. They thumbed their nose at diesels, they laughed at electric cars and, should gas prices drop a bit more, sales of hybrids will dry up also. People want large, powerful vehicles with unlimited range. And they're willing to pay extra for the privilege.

I would say the problem is "us" the people...but in truth, there really isn't any serious problem. Gasoline is cheaper than bottled water, will remain plentiful for at least the next half-century or more, and the environmental impact of switching wholly to hybrids would be negligible at best. Assuming the technology of ten years ago, a switch to all-electric vehicles would have actually HARMED the environment.

To everyone crying the sky is falling, I say calm down. The problem isn't nearly as serious as you claim.

> "Either GM's market share losses have an important effect, or they don't"

Good question. GM judged (rightly) that people didn't want all-electric cars. That saved stockholders money...though not before they lost billions down that drainhole. GM then concluded that hybrids were not a sufficient step forward, and decided to pursue a two-prong approach of E85 (short term) and hydrogen (long term).

In hindsight, Toyota and Honda's short-term solution appears to have been a wiser choice. But hindsight is always 20-20, isn't it?


By Alexstarfire on 12/26/2006 5:59:08 PM , Rating: 2
It may be true that the problem is "us," but that's always been a problem. You forget that if there aren't any new gas-only vehicles, then gas-only vehicles will eventually die off. You can't maintain a car forever.

Just because most of us are the problem doesn't mean that the rest of us can't do something about it. Ever heard the expression of "the few controlling the many."


RE: is 70mpg in 2007 impressive?
By number999 on 12/10/2006 3:17:57 PM , Rating: 2
As a moderate voice oneellama, I'd watch getting into it with Masher2. You'll start to feel frustration as his posts are somewhat belligerent.

As for the EV-1, well it was a limited product that was available only in a few west coast states.

Gen 1 cars got 55 to 75 miles (90 to 120 km) per charge with the Delco-manufactured lead-acid batteries, 75 to 100 miles (120 to 160 km) with the Gen 2 Panasonic lead-acid batteries, and 75 to 150 miles (120 to 240 km) per charge with Gen 2 Ovonic nickel-metal hydride batteries...80% charge in 2-3 hours... Seems like a decent range and charging times not too bad.

It was leased, never sold, to the public. It was never push into the market or really advertised. The publlic tried to buy some but was told no, even as the leases expired. According to
http://www.answers.com/topic/general-motors-ev1
GM stated that they spent over $1 billion developing and marketing the EV1, though much of this cost was defrayed by the Clinton Administration's $1.25 Billion Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles (PNGV), so billions is quite an exageration.

As for blaming CAFE. It was meant to help create fuel efficient cars in the wake of the '73 crisis. It was GM and others that have circumvented it and fought similar legislation instead of working with it. GM and others forgot the lessons of '73. I certainly wasn't surprised about what happened when gasoline prices rose.

As for financial losses. Well almost every new technology or product introduced started with financial losses. Nuclear power plants? Look at Ballard Fuel cells, can you really say it's actually made a profit? It is the hope of it's potential or it's long range ability to amatorize the losses with future earnings that keep it going. GM has a responsibility to direct projects today into future products so it can stay in business, now and in the future, as well as trying to satisfy the shareholder's more short term objectives. Something it and many others have had a problem dealing with.

What is GM now, junk status bonds? It's a sad state of affairs and ultimately the mistakes of past mismanagement.


RE: is 70mpg in 2007 impressive?
By edge929 on 12/8/06, Rating: -1
RE: is 70mpg in 2007 impressive?
By Tamale on 12/8/06, Rating: -1
By Hoser McMoose on 12/8/2006 1:53:37 PM , Rating: 2
The Honda Civic HF did indeed get 55mpg (you MIGHT have bee able to push it to 60mpg on the highway), but here's the thing. Getting 60mpg is easy if you a.) don't mind having a 58hp engine (that's what the Civic HF had) b.) don't mind a very small coupe, and c.) don't have to worry about emission controls (remember that emissions and fuel economy are NOT the same thing). Cars like these are widely available in Europe and Asia, almost all companies produce at least one.

So why don't you see these in North America? The first reason is that North America (well, California in particular) has had the most stringent emissions controls on cars for many years, it's only just now that the Europeans are catching up and Asia is further behind still. While emission controls are a good thing, they often lead to either lower performance or lower fuel economy, or both!

The second and much more important reason is that simply no one here WANTS such a car. Sure, we'll talk the talk about low fuel economy, but it's only one of several criteria that we all use when purchasing a vehicle. And the fact is that a tiny 58hp car just isn't going to find enough buyers in North America to make it worthwhile.


70 MPG?
By moretoys on 12/8/2006 12:02:34 PM , Rating: 2
If this is a plug in, does that mean it does not charge the car while driving? If that is the case, is 70 MPG really that big a deal, where others charge when operating on fuel? Wouldn't the 'free' power you pay for from the electric company need to be factored in?




RE: 70 MPG?
By hunter44102 on 12/8/2006 1:50:18 PM , Rating: 2
It probably has 40-50 mile range that it will run on the Charged batteries. This will cover most people's daily commute. Once you go past this mileage, the engine will kick in.

But your question brings up a good point, how would they maintain the 70mpg rating even when the engine kicks on. It seems too good to be true for a 3500lb vehicle.


RE: 70 MPG?
By masher2 (blog) on 12/8/2006 2:39:58 PM , Rating: 2
> "But your question brings up a good point, how would they maintain the 70mpg rating even when the engine kicks on..."

They don't, of course. The figure is pure marketing invention. Drive the car 3 miles a day, and you'll get infinite mpg. Drive it 300 miles per day, and you'll average maybe 30mpg.


RE: 70 MPG?
By Clienthes on 12/9/2006 8:57:23 AM , Rating: 2
Would you mind spreading your FUD in another thread? We get it that you don't believe the numbers.

They're required to use a standardized method to obtain fuel efficiency numbers. The method is flawed and yields exaggerated numbers. These number are still valuable for comparison.


RE: 70 MPG?
By masher2 (blog) on 12/9/2006 9:05:41 AM , Rating: 2
> "They're required to use a standardized method to obtain fuel efficiency numbers..."

They're required to use that method only for deriving official figures used for advertisement and sale of actual vehicles. There are no requirements governing what an auto executive can claim about forthcoming products.

As I already said, this vehicle hasn't even been built yet, won't be available until the 2009 model year at the earliest, and much of the technology (including the all-important battery pack) is still under development. This "70MPG" figure is simply marketing puff, made to drum up a little positive buzz for GM. It certainly isn't the result of any real-world testing on actual vehicles.



RE: 70 MPG?
By number999 on 12/8/2006 4:43:57 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
40-50 mile range that it will run on the Charged batteries
The range is just 10 miles on a fully charged Li-ion battery pack.

It's easy to see where they got the figure. Full tank of gas, full charge on the battery and drive the test course until you stop and then divide everything up. For electric vehicles they have something called gasoline gallon equavilent energy. That is used to help figure it out.

The gasoline equivalent value is calculated based on the lower heating value of gasoline (42.6 kJ/g) and the density of gasoline (749 g/l) for all vehicles. For electric vehicles the energy used is determined by integrating total power out of the energy storage system while accounting for coloumbic losses during a hypothetical recharge.
For EV: mpgge=distance/(ess_energy_out/ess_coulombic_eff)*4 2600*749/.264172;
%42600=lhv of fuel(J/g), 749=density of fuel(g/l), .264172gal/l
For others: mpgge=mpg_base_fuel*42600*749/fc_fuel_lhv/fc_fuel_d en;
%42600=lhv of fuel(J/g), 749=density of fuel(g/l)

http://www.altfuels.com/glossary3.php
good comparison chart
http://media.popularmechanics.com/documents/Fuel_o...



By BPB on 12/8/2006 1:06:36 PM , Rating: 2
http://autos.msn.com/advice/article.aspx?contentid...

quote:
In an interview, Larry Burns said the company is still committed to having a production-ready fuel cell vehicle by the 2010-2011 time frame, but emphasized that a go-ahead production date has not been finalized. "We have to have some assurance that fueling stations are available in a critical enough density to make sense for our customers."

If this is true who cares about a 2009 SUV hybrid. Give me hydrogen.




By TomZ on 12/8/2006 2:31:10 PM , Rating: 2
I don't really understand the approach of using hydrogen as a fuel.

Hydrogen is found on or near the earth's surface only as a constituent of other chemical compounds, notably water and hydrocarbons. Hydrogen can be released from these other compounds, but it always requires energy to do so - more than can ever be recovered by using the released hydrogen as a fuel. So for all practical thermodynamic purposes, hydrogen is an energy storage medium, not a source of energy. From an environmental or energy security point of view, producing hydrogen for use as a fuel (as in a car) is only worthwhile if the energy used to make the hydrogen comes from renewable sources (solar, wind, hydro, geothermal, etc.), or if the engine running on hydrogen is efficient enough to at least make up for the energy used in producing the hydrogen. Otherwise, it is more economic and less polluting to just burn the hydrocarbon in the first place.
http://www.h2fc.com/reframe.php?top=/global/tech.s...



By masher2 (blog) on 12/8/2006 2:38:00 PM , Rating: 3
Hydrogen isn't a fuel; it's an energy transport mechanism. One can consider a hydrogen fuel-cell as just a rechargeable battery...one with somewhat more capacity than normal, and a near-instantaneous recharge time. You "charge" your battery by adding hydrogen produced from the local power grid.


What about cars?
By Spivonious on 12/8/2006 10:55:42 AM , Rating: 2
If a 3500 pound SUV can get 70mpg, then it's not much of a stretch to say that a 2000 pound car can get over 120mpg.

It will be interesting to see what happens when this technology becomes commonplace in a few years.




RE: What about cars?
By hubajube on 12/8/06, Rating: 0
RE: What about cars?
By NegativeEntropy on 12/8/2006 2:58:40 PM , Rating: 2
the 70MPG claim is likely rubbish -- note they did not specify the boundary conditions to get this 70mpg. It's likely something like this:

If you:
1) Plug in your SUV when you get home from work and
2) Drive it 10 miles round trip to and from work the next day then
3) you will get "70 mpg".


RE: What about cars?
By Xenoid on 12/9/2006 2:55:27 AM , Rating: 2
3 is only valid if you drive downhill, both ways.


Initial Post Is Not Correct!
By Greg Wuellner on 12/8/2006 3:14:46 PM , Rating: 3
GM said the Saturn Vue will launch a 2-mode hybrid in 2008 as a 2009 model. It said that powertrain will get a 45 percent improvement in fuel economy.

There was no date promised for the plug-in variant. GM said that will depend on the rate of development of lithium-ion batteries.




RE: Initial Post Is Not Correct!
By spwrozek on 12/8/2006 10:46:51 PM , Rating: 2
Finally someone who knows what is going on! I have been reading all these posts looking for someone who knows what they are talking about. There is one model that is a 20% improvement, and then the one you mention at 45% improvement.

The plug-in variant 'is realistic but timing is down the road as not all the technology/infrastructure is developed yet' (quote from extremely reliable source who I cannot reveal).



Is this a Diesel VW Golf?
By Saist on 12/10/2006 11:33:26 PM , Rating: 2
a quick scan/search of the messages posted here didn't show that anybody had bothered to bring this point up:

VW's Diesel Golf is capable of getting 75 miles to the gallon, reported on air by Jeremy Clarkson on BBC-Two's Top Gear Show. For those who don't watch Top Gear, Fuel Consumption is normally NOT a priority. Jeremy does drive a Ford GT if that gives non-viewers an idea. Cars that get 5 miles to the tank are big news for Top Gear. Cars that get above 30 miles to the gallon are rare on screen. To single out a Diesel Car from VW on a show that normally avoids even approaching the subject?

The point is, Today's and tomorrow's Hybrids are not even at the fuel efficiency of Yesterday's Diesel Engines, not to mention not even close to the performance either.

Would someone mind telling us why hybrids are special then? Looks to me like the "average" media isn't interested in reporting that we can already get better fuel consumption from a known process, not a "research in motion" process.




RE: Is this a Diesel VW Golf?
By number999 on 12/12/2006 5:30:11 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
...that we can already get better fuel consumption from a known process, not a "research in motion" process.
One of the problems is that the north american interests are of major concern to most of the writers here. Hey, it's where they live. The problem is diesel fuel standards are way lower in North America, which means diesel particulates are too high for Enviro standards. New fuel standards are supposed to come in. There is also bad history of diesels due to poor models being released in the past. Diesel fuel costs as much or more in NA than the generally lower cost in say Europe.

75 MPG is probably the present limit of Diesel tech. The TDI Lupo got approximately the same milage but with lots of comprimises. A hybrid is a stepping stone to higher milage by using electricity. Prius' have been modified to plug in hybrids that reach 100MPG+. Most are hoping the electrical components can be crossed over to the potential fuel cell car which of course is electrical in nature.

Technologies to get to 100 MPG.
http://www.popularmechanics.com/automotive/how_to/...


anything smaller?
By lucyfek on 12/8/2006 12:33:21 PM , Rating: 2
i want 100 mpg right off the bat and don't consider it necessary to carry spare steel with me.
the less money the gas extortionists get the better (not to mention the greenhouse scare;)




Corn fuel
By Alexstarfire on 12/8/2006 3:56:01 PM , Rating: 2
It's not just that we don't want to deal with the middle east anymore it's also that we have a lot of farmers that are getting paid not to grow food, in an effort to stablize food prices. There is a lot of farmland in the US that just goes to waste. The price of E85 would surely plummet if the US actually used all of its farmland to it's full potential.

I'm pretty sure gasoline wasn't very cheap when it came out either, but once all the plants and refineries were built the prices fell. Why wouldn't that happen to any other fuel that eventually gets mass produced?




About safety ratings
By Dfere on 12/12/2006 8:51:58 AM , Rating: 2
You can do a few things about not getting into a crash. Safety ratings are a second resort. Perhaps Tomz and some of the posters assume this already but, as a motorcycle rider for years, I point out there are more than a few things you can do.

1) Do not drink and drive.
2) Do not drive after 1:00 AM on commercial streets anywhere people drink.
3) Review weather forecasts when travelling. Change travel plans accordingly.
4) Do not pay attention to that smokin babe in the SUV as you race past in your Camaro
5) Wear hot pink leathers on your motorcycle so the idiot who learned to drive using threat/reaction instead of conscious decision actually notices you for more than the threat potential of a speed bump, should he hit you.

OK, but the first three are valid, and the fourth we have done.




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