Hybrids Fuel Economy Dropping

All in the name of speed.

So much for saving the planet, eh? If the fuel economy’s the same, I can’t see the point of buying a car with an incredibly complex set up.

I’ve heard lots of people complain that hybrid cars were underpowered put-puts, but it does seem pointless to spend thousands of dollars extra on a hybrid if there’s no appreciable fuel savings.

You don’t understand. It’s a hybrid. They’re always good.

Well, that depends upon how you look at it, doesn’t it? If the electric motor is providing a boost in order to attain the higher horsepower ratings, isn’t it reasonable to saythat more power is being generated with less fuel? In other words, a car that would ordinarily be a 300 horsepower car can potentially be a 400 horsepower car with the boost from the electric motor with no increase in fuel consumption. That’s a plus if you ask me.

People don’t want slow, underperforming cars, so if you can give them what they do want and save gas in the meantime I’m all for it. Otherwise we have a car bought only by a group that buy it for its elitism so they can prove how good they are with their earth saving vehicles.

Besides, it’s not like the Insight and the Prius are going away, and even so their EPA fuel mileage ratings were already vastly inflated.

You seem to be under the inpression that the electric motor doesn’t use gasoline. The batteries which power the electric motor are charged by a motor-generator which is friven by the gasoline powered engine. Some of the charging is regenerative, from use of the driveline system to slow the car, but not most. No free lunch.

And that generator is operating at all times unless it disengages, which means that motion that might otherwise be wasted is constantly charging the batteries. The fuel consumption due to loading is more than balanced out by the output of the electric motor acting in cooperation with the gasoline powered motor.

Hybrids can and do give you better economy because they allow for a much smaller engine to be used at a more efficient power setting. That’s why Toyota’s Prius, a car that weighs 500 pounds more than a Corolla, is able to exceed 50 MPG on the highway, and potentially higher in the city. Keep in mind that fuel economy gains can be very sensitive to driving patterns, even moreso than with conventional autos. Regenerative braking can provide a huge boost, almost doubling economy in typical city driving, but only if you avoid hard stops; energy dissipated in your brake pads will not help you. That’s the reason why many hybrids have real-time displays of fuel economy; it helps develop good driving habits.

In contrast, Honda’s approach on the Accord was to use the hybrid system as mild electric supercharger. Both the hybrid and non-hybrid Accord use the same 3.0L, V6 engine, so there’s no energy savings due using a smaller engine. What is gained is acceleration; they hybrid Accord has a 6.9 second 0-60 time, compared to 7.4 seconds for the non-hybrid. Additionally, this comes with fuel economy gains of 10-15%.

Either way is a tradeoff. You can have the same performance and burn less gas, or you can burn the same amount of gas and drive a little faster. But to say that hybrids have no impact on performance or economy just isn’t true.

This is not necessarily true.

I would much rather drive a sluggish environmentally friendly car than a high performance car. In fact these days I refuse to own a conventional car. I guess I’m not typical though.

Unfortunately I can’t afford a Prius so I have chosen to not have a car at all. I either walk or take public transport.