Saturday, July 21, 2018 Detailed Auto Topics
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There is an awful lot of hype concerning hybrid vehicles these days. All sorts of claims are made, particularly by those that profit from the sale of hybrids. This short piece is aimed at bringing a bit of balance to the hype, and geared to an overall cost approach.

The biggest reason one might consider buying a hybrid†is the fuel mileage claims. I say claims, because results obtained by many who purchase these vehicles seem to be a great deal lower than promised. There are a number of reasons for this, but the way mileage is measured for advertising and the mileage received in the real world vary by several factors.

1.) Air conditioning is not used during EPA testing. This has a major effect on hybrid mileage. When operated on high, the air conditioning system may prevent the vehicle from using hybrid mode at all. The gasoline engine is normally needed to power the air conditioning compressor. When air conditioning is used, mileage may drop drastically.

2.) Testing is done at very moderate temperatures. Cold weather may diminish the hybridís battery efficiency, requiring more fuel to operate.

3.) Mileage test are conducted for very short distances, 11 miles for city and 10 miles for highway. The hybrid variances in mileage do not show as well in short distances.

The effect is, many people do not obtain mileage anywhere close to the claims.

A second, perhaps larger problem†is the complexity of the design. Hybrids have all the same problems of a petroleum vehicle, combined with the complexities of an electric vehicle. There are even a number of hybrid specific complexities added in.

For instance the battery must be kept warm. This involves up to three water pumps on some models as well as hot water storage. The transaxle must be able to be powered by the fuel engine and the electric motor. Some cost several thousand dollars to replace.

The generator, electric drive motor and battery are also extremely expensive components. For instance the battery can cost up to $6,000.00 or more.

Perhaps most worrisome is the future of the hybrid is very uncertain at this point.†Many high efficiency fuel vehicles get equal or better mileage, for less cost and without the added complexity. The fuel cell vehicle also poses a substantial risk as it may provide better mileage with far less complexity. If sales drop enough car makers could discontinue the hybrid and those who own them could be in a difficult position.

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