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View Full Version : Would you buy a car that gets 250 MPG?


Herzig
08-13-2005, 02:43 PM
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20050813/ap_on_hi_te/hybrid_tinkerers

Experimental Hybrid Cars Get Up to 250 Mpg

By TIM MOLLOY

CORTE MADERA, Calif. - Politicians and automakers say a car that can both reduce greenhouse gases and free America from its reliance on foreign oil is years or even decades away. Ron Gremban says such a car is parked in his garage.


It looks like a typical Toyota Prius hybrid, but in the trunk sits an 80-miles-per-gallon secret a stack of 18 brick-sized batteries that boosts the car's high mileage with an extra electrical charge so it can burn even less fuel.

Gremban, an electrical engineer and committed environmentalist, spent several months and $3,000 tinkering with his car.

Like all hybrids, his Prius increases fuel efficiency by harnessing small amounts of electricity generated during braking and coasting. The extra batteries let him store extra power by plugging the car into a wall outlet at his home in this San Francisco suburb all for about a quarter.

He's part of a small but growing movement. "Plug-in" hybrids aren't yet cost-efficient, but some of the dozen known experimental models have gotten up to 250 mpg.

They have support not only from environmentalists but also from conservative foreign policy hawks who insist Americans fuel terrorism through their gas guzzling.

And while the technology has existed for three decades, automakers are beginning to take notice, too.

So far, DaimlerChrysler AG is the only company that has committed to building its own plug-in hybrids, quietly pledging to make up to 40 vans for U.S. companies. But Toyota Motor Corp. officials who initially frowned on people altering their cars now say they may be able to learn from them.

"They're like the hot rodders of yesterday who did everything to soup up their cars. It was all about horsepower and bling-bling, lots of chrome and accessories," said Cindy Knight, a Toyota spokeswoman. "Maybe the hot rodders of tomorrow are the people who want to get in there and see what they can do about increasing fuel economy."

The extra batteries let Gremban drive for 20 miles with a 50-50 mix of gas and electricity. 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.

"The value of plug-in hybrids is they can dramatically reduce gasoline usage for the first few miles every day," Gremban said. "The average for people's usage of a car is somewhere around 30 to 40 miles per day. During that kind of driving, the plug-in hybrid can make a dramatic difference."

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.

Gremban rigged his car to promote the nonprofit CalCars Initiative, a San Francisco Bay area-based volunteer effort that argues automakers could mass produce plug-in hybrids at a reasonable price.

But Toyota and other car companies say they are worried about the cost, convenience and safety of plug-in hybrids and note that consumers haven't embraced all-electric cars because of the inconvenience of recharging them like giant cell phones.

Automakers have spent millions of dollars telling motorists that hybrids don't need to be plugged in, and don't want to confuse the message.

Nonetheless, plug-in hybrids are starting to get the backing of prominent hawks like former
CIA director James Woolsey and Frank Gaffney, President Reagan's undersecretary of defense. They have joined Set America Free, a group that wants the government to spend $12 billion over four years on plug-in hybrids, alternative fuels and other measures to reduce foreign oil dependence.

Gaffney, who heads the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Security Policy, said Americans would embrace plug-ins if they understood arguments from him and others who say gasoline contributes to oil-rich Middle Eastern governments that support terrorism.

"The more we are consuming oil that either comes from places that are bent on our destruction or helping those who are ... the more we are enabling those who are trying to kill us," Gaffney said.

DaimlerChrysler spokesman Nick Cappa said plug-in hybrids are ideal for companies with fleets of vehicles that can be recharged at a central location at night. He declined to name the companies buying the vehicles and said he did not know the vehicles' mileage or cost, or when they would be available.

Others are modifying hybrids, too.

Monrovia-based Energy CS has converted two Priuses to get up to 230 mpg by using powerful lithium ion batteries. It is forming a new company, EDrive Systems, that will convert hybrids to plug-ins for about $12,000 starting next year, company vice president Greg Hanssen said.

University of California, Davis engineering professor Andy Frank built a plug-in hybrid from the ground up in 1972 and has since built seven others, one of which gets up to 250 mpg. They were converted from non-hybrids, including a Ford Taurus and Chevrolet Suburban.

Frank has spent $150,000 to $250,000 in research costs on each car, but believes automakers could mass-produce them by adding just $6,000 to each vehicle's price tag.

Instead, Frank said, automakers promise hydrogen-powered vehicles hailed by
President Bush and Gov.
Arnold Schwarzenegger, even though hydrogen's backers acknowledge the cars won't be widely available for years and would require a vast infrastructure of new fueling stations.

"They'd rather work on something that won't be in their lifetime, and that's this hydrogen economy stuff," Frank said. "They pick this kind of target to get the public off their back, essentially."

luv
08-13-2005, 02:50 PM
I think I'd wait to get one of these like I waited to get a DVD player and computer. Once they've been out a while, they tend to be cheaper. That, and to get one of the first and have something break or go wrong. You'd probably have to just buy another one with as much as it would take to fix it (sending for parts, finding someone that knows how to work on them, etc). Guess I'll just wait and see. Charging your electric car. Wonder how much that would make the utility bill go up? Less than what gas would cost?

Skip Towne
08-13-2005, 02:56 PM
I'd settle for a small pickup that got 125 mpg. That would be 6 times better than what I have.

KILLER_CLOWN
08-13-2005, 03:20 PM
Sad thing is, Most of us will be dead before we see this become reality. Oh well, in the meantime i'm paying $2.50 a gallon and loving it the american way!

Simplex3
08-13-2005, 03:24 PM
"They'd rather work on something that won't be in their lifetime, and that's this hydrogen economy stuff," Frank said. "They pick this kind of target to get the public off their back, essentially."

Give that man an award. He's got this whole thing figured out. If it can't be a success or failure until after you aren't responsible then it's the best kind of plan up in DC.

Bowser
08-15-2005, 12:33 PM
I'm not sure. That thing have a Hemi?

Hoover
08-15-2005, 12:40 PM
duh, I don't think I could afford one that got 250 mpg, that would rock!

Goapics1
08-15-2005, 12:42 PM
The price tag for a car like that is prolly $250K.

Brock
08-15-2005, 12:49 PM
will the batteries fit in my trash dumpster when they go bad?

Goapics1
08-15-2005, 12:51 PM
will the batteries fit in my trash dumpster when they go bad?
Just burn 'em.

htismaqe
08-15-2005, 12:51 PM
I traded in my Jeep (18mpg) for a Toyota Corolla (40mpg). Smartest decision I've ever made.

Taco John
08-15-2005, 12:53 PM
If it was affordable, and I felt safe in it, absolutely.

Soupnazi
08-15-2005, 12:55 PM
The article ignores the environmental/economic cost of the coal/oil required to generate the electricity he fills the batteries with when the vehicle is plugged in.

I can get 250 mpg too if I am going downhill with a tailwind.

morphius
08-15-2005, 01:01 PM
The big issue is how many years of driving the thing does it take you to recoup that $12,000 upgrade, I could have screwed up the math, but it would take me nearly 12 years...

buddha
08-15-2005, 01:07 PM
GM, Ford and Chrysler have always done a great job of buying up new technology and making sure it never gets into production. Toyota is now big enough and powerful enough to probably make this happen on some scale. They cars will be "expensive" at first, but people will buy them off waiting lists.

This would be the proper reward for our oil baron President and his big money oil buddies in Tejas who have been robbing all of us blind for the past five years...! Does anybody REALLY think that gas should cost $2.65 per gallon?

Ridiculous.

htismaqe
08-15-2005, 01:12 PM
The big issue is how many years of driving the thing does it take you to recoup that $12,000 upgrade, I could have screwed up the math, but it would take me nearly 12 years...

Seriously?

Bear in mind that this was before gas hit $2.50 a gallon here in Iowania, but:

I was filling my Jeep 3 times a week at $35 a pop. That's $105 per week or $420 a month. I fill up my Corolla 3 times every 2 weeks, at $20 a time. That's $120 a month.

That's $300 a month or $3600 a year.

morphius
08-15-2005, 01:22 PM
Seriously?

Bear in mind that this was before gas hit $2.50 a gallon here in Iowania, but:

I was filling my Jeep 3 times a week at $35 a pop. That's $105 per week or $420 a month. I fill up my Corolla 3 times every 2 weeks, at $20 a time. That's $120 a month.

That's $300 a month or $3600 a year.
I put in about 16 gallons every 2 weeks in my Altima, which is about $40 (<5 miles from work). Which works out to $1040 a year in gas, so about 11.5 years to get up to $12000.

htismaqe
08-15-2005, 01:25 PM
I put in about 16 gallons every 2 weeks in my Altima, which is about $40 (<5 miles from work). Which works out to $1040 a year in gas, so about 11.5 years to get up to $12000.

Hmm...I guess the savings would have to take into account how much you drive.

I commute 81 miles round trip every day.

ENDelt260
08-15-2005, 01:31 PM
The article ignores the environmental/economic cost of the coal/oil required to generate the electricity he fills the batteries with when the vehicle is plugged in.

It does?

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.

What I find funny is they jump straight to solar and don't even mention nuclear.

ENDelt260
08-15-2005, 01:32 PM
I was filling my Jeep 3 times a week at $35 a pop.

Jeebus, you drive a lot.

JOhn
08-15-2005, 01:34 PM
Jeebus, you drive a lot.
I have to fill ours everyday, at about $30 each time. :cuss:

htismaqe
08-15-2005, 01:35 PM
Jeebus, you drive a lot.

81 miles a day. Can't you read?

:D

ENDelt260
08-15-2005, 01:38 PM
According to Yahoo maps I drive 22 miles a day round trip.

When I worked for Motorola I only drove about 5 miles round trip. That was nice. I hardly ever bought gas.

JOhn
08-15-2005, 01:39 PM
We are averaging about 275 miles a day, of course it all work, and the vehicle is written off a a work vehicle to. But he still adds up quick.

HemiEd
08-15-2005, 01:49 PM
I'm not sure. That thing have a Hemi?


Nope, and they ugglier than shit.

htismaqe
08-15-2005, 02:04 PM
ROFL

I got neg rep for this:

Seriously?

Bear in mind that this was before gas hit $2.50 a gallon here in Iowania, but:

I was filling my Jeep 3 times a week at $35 a pop. That's $105 per week or $420 a month. I fill up my Corolla 3 times every 2 weeks, at $20 a time. That's $120 a month.

That's $300 a month or $3600 a year.

The rep was:

keep this in mind....even the dumbest minds need a break...with that information I have given you, go eat a snickers and leave the thinking to someone else who knows whats going on

Guess who it was from? ROFL

onescrewleftuntwisted
08-15-2005, 02:05 PM
i would have to set them up like roller skates,

no way i can fit in that car

Goapics1
08-15-2005, 02:06 PM
Guess who it was from? ROFL
Phil/Ghostof/Phobia/Redrum or whatever he is going by today.

htismaqe
08-15-2005, 02:06 PM
Phil/Ghostof/Phobia/Redrum or whatever he is going by today.

Redrum_69

Bowser
08-15-2005, 02:06 PM
ROFL

I got neg rep for this:



The rep was:

keep this in mind....even the dumbest minds need a break...with that information I have given you, go eat a snickers and leave the thinking to someone else who knows whats going on

Guess who it was from? ROFL

Ghostof strikes again?

dirk digler
08-15-2005, 02:09 PM
I traded in my Jeep (18mpg) for a Toyota Corolla (40mpg). Smartest decision I've ever made.

I bought a 2003 Corolla not too long ago. I love that car and I will defintely buy another Toyota in 10 yrs when this car finally craps out.

I would definitely buy a car that gets 250mpg as long as it was safe and comfortable.

Radar Chief
08-15-2005, 02:20 PM
GM, Ford and Chrysler have always done a great job of buying up new technology and making sure it never gets into production. Toyota is now big enough and powerful enough to probably make this happen on some scale. They cars will be "expensive" at first, but people will buy them off waiting lists.

This would be the proper reward for our oil baron President and his big money oil buddies in Tejas who have been robbing all of us blind for the past five years...! Does anybody REALLY think that gas should cost $2.65 per gallon?

Ridiculous.

:LOL: :loser:

morphius
08-15-2005, 02:28 PM
Redrum_69
Yup, I got one from him as well, though mine was more like, "Hahahaha I just stepped on a crack"

luv
08-16-2005, 01:20 AM
Would you buy a car tha... 08-15-2005 02:27 PM Redrum_69 Please try to curb your pets

Why on earth did I get this? I only posted the one time. Does this person just not have a life or what?

Logical
08-16-2005, 01:37 AM
It would have to be incredibly stylish. Hybrids are just so damn geeky looking. No reason for it really, it ls like they are saying only a geek will buy this hybrid so lets style it for the geeks.

badgirl
08-16-2005, 05:39 AM
If the gas prices doesn't go down I am going to buy me a bicycle to ride to work it would be 10 miles each way, that would be ok in the day but I don't get off work till 10:30 at night and someone may hit me if they don't see me or even on purpose. :deevee:

I thought about buying a horse, but after having to feed and maintain it, well that would cost and be to much trouble, so I guess it will have to be a bicycle and just hope for my safety :(

Mile High Mania
08-16-2005, 06:18 AM
I'd love to have a 250 mpg vehicle, but I've seen some of those hybrids... and I wouldn't like my chances of survival in a head on collision with a tricycle.

I put a lot of miles on my car and back in April, I traded in my Yukon XL for a new Odyssey. I lost a few points on my man card, but since I have 2 kids under 4 now... I can deal with it. I like the mpg a lot better and I'm not spending as much on gas now.

It has the DVD system (which is awesome with kids for long road trips), leather, sunroof, all sorts of storage and comfortably fits as many as my Yukon did. I tried a number of smaller SUVs and the seats were not as comfortable. The seats in the Odyssey were as close as I could find to what I had in the Yukon.

The crazy thing is since mid April... I've nearly put 11,000 miles on the vehicle. Insanity. I was spending $70 or more at one point in March and April every 6 days on gas for the Yukon... I've cut that in half.

HemiEd
08-16-2005, 06:41 AM
I'd love to have a 250 mpg vehicle, but I've seen some of those hybrids... and I wouldn't like my chances of survival in a head on collision with a tricycle.

I put a lot of miles on my car and back in April, I traded in my Yukon XL for a new Odyssey. I lost a few points on my man card, but since I have 2 kids under 4 now... I can deal with it. I like the mpg a lot better and I'm not spending as much on gas now.

It has the DVD system (which is awesome with kids for long road trips), leather, sunroof, all sorts of storage and comfortably fits as many as my Yukon did. I tried a number of smaller SUVs and the seats were not as comfortable. The seats in the Odyssey were as close as I could find to what I had in the Yukon.

The crazy thing is since mid April... I've nearly put 11,000 miles on the vehicle. Insanity. I was spending $70 or more at one point in March and April every 6 days on gas for the Yukon... I've cut that in half.


Ah so, ve tank you very much.