Sunday, August 14, 2005

250 MPG Hybrid?

There is an AP article (see FoxNews, for example), that has the sensational headline of, "Experimental Hybrid Cars Get Up to 250 Mpg."

While I've been impressed with the success of hybrid cars so far--especially the amount of energy that can be gathered via regenerative breaking--using miles-per-gallon to rate such a vehicle is highly misleading. This experimental hybrid plugs into the wall and stores extra energy in batteries. Such a concept is not new and really pushes the definition of what a hybrid car is. Would a pure electric car be rated at infinite mgp? You have to look towards the end of the article to find this admission:
Backers of plug-in hybrids acknowledge that the electricity to boost their cars generally comes from fossil fuels that create greenhouse gases, but they say that process still produces far less pollution than oil. They also note that electricity could be generated cleanly from solar power.
Also of note is that the inventor, Ron Gremban, is getting about 80 mpg, not 250 mpg:
Even after the car runs out of power from the batteries and switches to the standard hybrid mode, it gets the typical Prius fuel efficiency of around 45 mpg. As long as Gremban doesn't drive too far in a day, he says, he gets 80 mpg.
Overall, the engineering accomplished by Gremban seems impressive. It is unfortunate that the AP feel it necessary to sensationalize the story given the high gas prices.


Krzys said...

One thing that startles me is why there is not mention of nuclear power.

Dan Karipides said...

I wouldn't be too startled. The article mentions that instead of fossil fuels, solar power could be used to create the electricity for plug-in hybrids. For people in favor of hybrids in general, support of solar over nuclear power is not surprising.

Keith Kannenberg said...

But krzys, don't you know that nuclear power is eeeeeviiiiil?