Simanaitis Says

On cars, old, new and future; science & technology; vintage airplanes, computer flight simulation of them; Sherlockiana; our English language; travel; and other stuff

WHY NOT HYBRIDS? PART 1

WHEN I STARTED SIMANAITISSAYS more than a decade ago (its longevity, quite amazing!), I figured a lot of it would reflect my 33+ years at R&T. However, it didn’t take long for me to realize I enjoyed researching and writing about more than just cars; to wit, books old and new, opera and other culture, travel old and recent, Sherlock Holmes and other sleuthing, and any stuff that tickled my interest—and I hope that of my readers.

Nevertheless, I return from my now traditional Holiday Hiatus with an automotive item: Everyone and their dog are hyping battery electric vehicles, but why not hybrids? 

I’ve been reading my weekly Automotive News and monthly SAE Automotive Engineering and find I’m not the only one asking. Here in Parts 1 and 2 today and tomorrow are tidbits about this. 

EV Efficiency. It’s easy to see the attraction of pure EVs. Automotive News, December 12, 2022, exhibited a most telling comparison of electric versus ice (internal combustion engine) propulsion.

Image from “EVs Cheaper Than an Exotic Sports Car, Almost As Fast,” Automotive News, December 12, 2022; source: AlixPartners.

I might quibble with some of the values. For instance, EVs would seem to have drivetrain losses as well. But the key ice 70-percent hit versus EV’s 18 percent is formidable.

ICE Locality. Infrastructure, of course, favors the status quo. I can refuel my conventional car at a multitude of gas stations seemingly at every corner and around the country. 

Sure, we all have electricity at home. But many of our homes aren’t equipped for adequate EV replenishment. And a goodly number of us live in complexes sans handy plug-in capabilities.

Plus, even the best of EVs fail to have the range of average ice counterparts. 

J.D. Power EV Index. Hans Greimel says “EVs Near Gas Cars on Cost, But That Clears Just 1 Hurdle,” Automotive News, December 18, 2022. In discussing the other hurdles, he cites J.D. Power, the highly respected auto consultancy, which has recently launched an EV Index assessing customer views on this matter.

Image from Automotive News, December 18, 2022.

Greimel writes, “But wide gaps in four of the six categories measured — including charging infrastructure and consumer interest in EVs — show there is still a long way to go before the two forms of propulsion are on equal footing.”

Infrastructure—a Complex Matter. Even in built-up areas, readily available charging stations aren’t as slam-dunk-reliable as gas stations. Greimel reports, “J.D. Power says more than 20 percent of EV drivers have been unable to use a public charger because of poor maintenance, software glitches or equipment damage.” 

Based on my one-person ice-propelled observations, other public chargers are already in use as I blithely motor by. 

Time for Fillup? Greimel notes, “The California Energy Commission last week approved a $2.9 billion investment plan to accelerate the state’s 2025 EV charging and hydrogen refueling goals. The investment will fund 90,000 new chargers across the state.”

“Meanwhile,” he continues, “at the federal level, last year’s $1 trillion infrastructure bill provides $5 billion to help states install chargers along interstate highways over five years. In September, the U.S. Transportation Department approved the charging station plans for all 50 states; Washington, D.C.; and Puerto Rico, covering about 75,000 miles of highways.”

Again, confessing to be something of a Luddite, I find the prospect of an interstate highway trip interrupted by a time-consuming recharge as ludicrous. The whole point of an interstate drive is to get there quickly.

What About Ultrafast Charging? Oren Ezer, CEO of Electreon, a wireless technology firm, writes in Automotive News, November 28, 2022, “Ultrafast Charging Could be a ‘Problem in Disguise.’ ” He notes that commercial recharging at high power levels (far exceeding 150 kilowatts) have major drawbacks including “increased costs and emissions, faster battery degradation, and additional pressure on an already overworked electric grid.” 

No surprise, Ezer proposes an enroute wireless recharging for commercial operations: “While ultrarapid charging may have an important role to play in reducing range anxiety and supporting consumer EV adoption, for fleet operators the answer could lie in a more practical, lower-powered and sustainable solution…..” 

I’d wonder whether consumers would accept faster battery degradation once experienced. There is no ice equivalent.

Tomorrow in Part 2, we’ll see a pitch for a concept already proven. Ask any Toyota Prius driver. ds

© Dennis Simanaitis, SimanaitisSays.com, 2023 

3 comments on “WHY NOT HYBRIDS? PART 1

  1. Juvenal Jorge
    January 1, 2023

    For me, two problems:
    1- lack of energy for HVAC and fridge;
    2- lack of sound from the boring, electric cars.
    The other hundreds of problems I left for the stupid politicians interfering with engineering problems. It’s a guaranteed laugh!

  2. Bill Urban
    January 1, 2023

    ​McKinsey & Co.:

    . . . the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) provides $7.5 billion to develop the country’s EV-charging infrastructure. The goal is to install 500,000 public chargers—publicly accessible charging stations compatible with all vehicles and technologies—nationwide by 2030. However, even the addition of half a million public chargers could be far from enough. In a scenario in which half of all vehicles sold are zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) by 2030—in line with federal targets—we estimate that America would require 1.2 million public EV chargers and 28 million private EV chargers by that year.2 All told, the country would need almost 20 times more chargers than it has now.

    Merely setting up more charging stations isn’t all that matters. The bill highlights equity, to name one specific priority. Electricity purchased at a public charger can cost five to ten times more than electricity at a private one. To keep EVs powered up, public charging stations will probably need to be economical, equitably distributed, appealing to use, and wired to a robust power grid. They will also probably have to present a viable business opportunity for the companies expected to install and operate them. States and businesses could better fulfill America’s need for public charging by taking such considerations into account in their planning efforts.

    https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/public-and-social-sector/our-insights/building-the-electric-vehicle-charging-infrastructure-america-needs

  3. Bill U
    January 1, 2023

    One day in a hybrid, Dec. 30 I drove 61 miles. There were two trips – the car was plugged in (110 volt) between trips 1.5 hours. This is a Volvo hybrid with a 41 mile range battery, and oh BTW, 455HP. I burned .31 gallons (194mpg for the day). End of day there were 3 miles remaining in the battery (personal preference, I never let the battery go to 0 miles).
    And this makes all the difference: when traveling further than the remaining battery miles, enter your trip or round trip in navigation, as I did for my 2nd trip of the day. The battery will then be apportioned over all or most of the trip.

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