// Reality check- hybrids, fuel efficiency - Page 7
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  1. #61

    Reality check- hybrids, fuel efficiency

    Adam --

    Don't know about other hybrids, but in my FEH I have the option for 3 different types of a/c. 1) regular a/c, which shuts off when the vehicle goes into EV mode; 2) maximum efficiency a/c, which recirculates the cool internal air and also shuts off when the vehicle goes into EV mode; and, 3) full-time a/c, which means the gas engine is on all the time.

    Since the only time the car runs in total ev mode in my travels in when stopped at stoplights or traveling under 25 mph on city streets, option #2 works 90% of the time. For me, the only time I tend to use #3 is when I'm driving home into the setting sun, and sitting at stoplights during commute time for multiple light changes. Even with that I've still averaged 28-30 mph this summer.

    Hope this helps!

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  3. #62

    Reality check- hybrids, fuel efficiency

    The 2004 and later Prius has an a/c that is all electric and cools quite well while not dragging efficiency down very much. Last winter, I would usually get around 48-49 mpg; this summer (heat index just hit 110) I've been getting between 43 and 46 in my own car and between 42 and 44 in the carpool Prius. The Prius also has temperature controls on the steering wheel, so you don't have to go poking at the center console to change the temperature.

    Like pretty much any vehicle in real heat, you should open all the windows when you first get in and run the a/c full tilt until it starts to feel cool, about 15 seconds. Then roll up the windows and drive away. And do everything you can to park in shade, even if you have to walk a little farther to get to where you're going.

  4. #63

    Reality check- hybrids, fuel efficiency

    From an earlier post:
    "How much you benefit from a hybrid depends on how and where you drive it. You will benefit less if you

    1. Drive very short distances in cold weather
    2. Drive extremely fast
    3. Drive up mountains
    4. Drive with your AC blasting all the time.
    5. If you drive right up to the light and jam your brakes vs slow stops. "

    Funny thing is I do all these things in my 2002 VW Golf TDI (yes, it's a DIESEL) and my TDI *STILL* consistently gets it's published EPA numbers of around 42MPG/City and 49MPG/Hwy. I consistenly get around 45MPG and go around 700 miles between fillups while driving it aggressively.

    I also did some simple power mods (chip tuning, bigger injectors) to it which brought it's stock 90HP and 155ft-lbs torque up to 130HP and 235ft-lbs. It now has butt-kicking torque and can beat the pants off a lot of gassers in a drag race. The neat thing is my mileage actually IMPROVED slightly!

    After logging 170k miles and still going strong (actually doing better than when new), my TDI is definitely a long-term keeper.

    I hope the carmakers are successful in meeting the tighter emission standards in 2007 using ULSD. Honda and BMW have announced plans to have DIESEL cars here in 2007. I'd love to see the Honda Accord DIESEL in the USA. A Civic DIESEL (already in Europe) would also be cool.

    I'd buy an Audi A2 TDI (gets near 100MPG w/DIESEL) or a VW Lupo TDI (rated 81MPG) in a heartbeat if they were available here.

    Too bad we're not getting the 77MPG DIESEL version of the Zap/Mercedes/SMART car. We have to settle for the lower MPG gasser version instead.

    DIESELS Rule; gassers drool.

  5. #64

    Reality check- hybrids, fuel efficiency

    For the un-named post above:

    Some of your points are good but you lost me with the diesel.

    My unmodified HCH is routinely going over 900 miles/tank and mid-upper 60's MPG.
    My last tank went to 941 miles and 13.6 gallons which comes to 69.2MPG.

    Most people see around 45.

    Are you aware of the recent Prius marathon?

    Each of these drivers easily exceeded 100MPG in the unmodified car.

    The unmodifeid Insight averages about 66MPG, and many hover or exceed 100MPG.

    The jetta is rated at 36MPG combined.

    This is on par with Corolla or regular Civic.

    VW does not last nearly as long as gassers.
    Look at the used cars at Auto Trader.

    The last time I did a search per mileage there were 2 pages of Hondas with +300K miles, 7 pages of cars 200-300K range, and 18 pages of cars for sale with 100-200K range.

    Toyota was very similar.

    I did the same search for VW and 1 car had 310miles, the rest of the first page had +200 miles and 1-1/2 page with over 100K miles.

    VW has a less than poor overal quality track record, and most turn smokey and/or diesel smelly after a few years.

    Wonder why the Lupo won't sell here?
    You can have a car that goes 0-60 in 18 seconds.
    Not much market here for such a dangerously slow car. (Not yet anyway)
    I've read some Lupo's have been modified to less than 10sec but MPG drops below 30?

    Diesels deliver only above average MPG, poor stigma and occasional concern finding a filling station.
    No, personally I'm not drueling.

  6. #65

    Reality check- hybrids, fuel efficiency

    most of the exmple hybrids discussed are early birds in this strive for technological solution to fuel consumption. I dont find the results as attractive as the possibilities. For I come to this debate from the view of one who has worked on diesel/electric submarines, which have some profoundly different approaches. Where the electric drive is configured behind a diesel powered generator plant, and peak needs come from the battery supply (yes on the surface). NO rigid mechanical drive is used, and only rigged for emergency use.
    Given this, the fuel efficiency of a constant speed diesel plant will far outstrip any petrol plant u can describe, and be smaller to boot.
    So if this where a car, it would be slower and suffer in acceleration i hear the sceptics say. The facts are this, electric propulsion in acceleration is better met by electric drive, for acceleration is from torque, and speed from power. Where rather odly, the electric motor can provide max torque at start (and sythesis can multiply this by a factor of 4) against a petrol engine, that needs to get on the power, to provide any useful torque at all. Seen in this way, all that one needs to do is calculate the torque required for user friendly acceleration (recall the GM electric effort would out accelerate all but the Corvette) Yes HP would be short, and hence max speed quite some way from the 120mph u all seem used to
    Im wondering at what point some of u guys will find it acceptable to start saving on fuel, when theres non left? when its $5 a gall, $10, $20?
    think about it

  7. #66

    Reality check- hybrids, fuel efficiency

    For Steve above:

    I'm getting better than 36 mpg combined with an automatic Passat TDI diesel. Transport Canada numbers for the previous generation Jetta with manual transmission (of which we also own an example, a station wagon), is 44.6 mpg (combined average). The automatic is rated at 39.6 combined.

    I have NEVER had an issue with finding diesel fuel. Certainly with a range of 1000 km+ per tank you have plenty of time to plan ahead.

    I consistently meet or beet the rated numbers on both our TDIs, without any special driving techniques other than to drive smoothly at speeds of up to 70 mph, a speed I consider reasonable and prudent in my part of the world.

    Neither of my TDIs are modified except for euro-spec headlights on the Jetta and bi-xenon headlights on the Passat (all OEM and legal in Canada).

    Can one honestly say that hybrid drivers, not driving in marathons, consistently get the high numbers you cite? I hear of much disappointment with hybrid owners not getting the rated numbers. Most TDI owners DO get the rated numbers.

    As far as comparing to Corollas or Civics, TDIs have safety features not even available on most Corollas or Civics: ABS on 4 disc brakes on even the most basic models; front and side airbags with available side-curtain airbags; and electronic stability program (ESP) available on even the most humble Golf CL for only $400 CDN. Not even available as an option on ANY Civic or Corolla. Drive in a winter storm once with ESP and you'll never want a car without it again, it's that remarkable.

    I won't even bother to compare a TDI to an Insight. Suffices to say that an Insight is useless as family transportation. If we are to make comparisons with the Insight, a smarter choice would be the Smart (no pun intended), another two-seat urban runabout.

    I'm not entirely against hybrids if that 's what it takes to get people into more fuel efficient cars. Moreover hybrids probably DO make better sense for city driving and short trips where regenerative braking shines. However some hybrids are highly questionable. For example you'd probably be better off overall, getting a 4-cyl Accord than a hybrid V6 Accord. The mileage difference will only be about 5 mpg on average, but the car will cost thousands less and you still get a ULEV engine.

    As for smokey VW diesels, I have yet to see a severely smoking TDI (about 50% of VW's sales in Canada are TDIs). What you say is true of the older indirect-injection diesels that relied on entirely mechanically adjusted injection pumps.

    I will agree though that VW reliability has been spottier than either Honda or Toyota. Our current TDIs have been 100% reliable in about 50,000 km of driving each but our first TDI (99.5) wasn't so great.

  8. #67

    Reality check- hybrids, fuel efficiency

    A response for the (Un-named) above:

    You had mentioned in your previous post:
    “I have NEVER had an issue with finding diesel fuel. Certainly with a range of 1000 km+ per tank you have plenty of time to plan ahead.”

    You make my point …with a gasser you don’t have to plan ahead. Where ever there is a station there is fuel.
    Also, 1000KM = 621 miles which is good but...
    Personally, I've beat that by 320 miles.

    “Can one honestly say that hybrid drivers, not driving in marathons, consistently get the high numbers you cite?"

    While some are disappointed, 99% love their car and get close if not better than the EPA rating.
    Shall I suggest the multitude of Jetta complaints ranging from windows falling out to glow plug failures to filler tube fires and successful lemmon claims?

    “(ABS and ESP) available on even the most humble Golf CL for only $400 CDN. Not even available as an option on ANY Civic”

    Yes, the Hybrid Civic has both of these and many other features that the regular Civics do not.
    Not for $400 extra though, it comes as standard equipment.


    “hybrids probably DO make better sense for city driving and short trips where regenerative braking shines”
    Actually, regenerative braking accounts for only about 5% recharge. Prius is the best choice for city and shorter commutes, while the HCH is a great longer distance runner.
    I commute my HCH almost 100 miles a day. 50% is highway, 45% freeway and the rest is terrible 5:00PM rush hour Atlanta traffic.

    The Accord question-
    While the Accord Hybrid offers scant MPG benefit, it does offer the highest performance Accord they make… with improved economy.

    While most people won’t get near my MPG, can you (Or anyone you personally know) consistently pull almost 1,500Km tanks consecutively in a stock Jetta…and with an automatic transmission?

    Honestly, I’m not anti-diesel and can understand the excitement by their owners.
    Should I post my mileage and say that hybrids are better than diesel in a popular Jetta forum and point out all the problems associated with diesel autos?
    No, I’m not going to do that.

  9. #68

    Reality check- hybrids, fuel efficiency

    You're more than welcome to debate hybrid vs diesel over at www.tdiclub.com.

    No doubt some folks won't take kindly to it but the smarter ones will realize that hybrids have their place and that the world will be a better place without great honking V8 SUVs. Personally I think it's great that we can debate two realistic fuel-saving alternatives. What's wrong with that?

    My point basically is that hybrids don't make sense for everyone. In normal, long-range highway driving, with normal traffic conditions, I believe diesels have the edge. That's the type of driving I do. In the city, it's a different game. I can get on the highway in our Jetta, flick on the cruise control at 70 mph, and get 60 mpg (imperial, 50 mpg US), without even thinking about special driving techniques. I can do the same in the Passat and get 50 mpg (imperial, 42 US).

    On the other hand, you can just drive in the city without worrying about shift points to stay in the torque band; starts-and-stops help you with regenerative braking.

    However, one reason why you see TONS of TDIs up here in Canada vs hybrids, is because of simple economics. We do not get tax breaks for driving hybrids. The price premium for a hybrid over a non-hybrid is prohibitive. For most folks they will never recover their investment.

    On the other hand, a Jetta TDI costs a mere $1500 more than a gas model, and a Passat TDI cost only $500 more than an automatic gas Passat. If you drive 60,000 km a year like I do, that's an attraction no hybrid can match ($7000+ for a HCH over a regular Civic LX).

    Hopefully though like with all new technology, mass distribution will eventually bring the price differential down to a level that makes hybrids attractive. Honestly, I think this would be a Good Thing as it will give us another fuel-efficient alternative. That way everyone would have an efficient vehicle available that's tailored to their driving needs: city vs. highway.

    Mike G.

  10. #69

    Reality check- hybrids, fuel efficiency

    The attraction of hybrids is in the possibilities. Diesel is limited as hydrocarbons still must be burned and the potential economic energy sources are limited. I've looked through the bio-diesel arguments and find them almost as unsatisfying as the "hydrogen economy. Diesel is a little more efficient than standard gas but mostly gets better economy because a gallon of diesel has more energy than gas. So diesel advocates are to a certain extent fooling themselves about efficiency. For example, a methanol engine can be more efficient in turning all available chemical energy into motion than a diesel, but will never match the diesels MPG because it contains less energy.

    Gasoline/electric hybrids can easily become plug-in hybrids, which is where hybrids get really interesting. Now your energy sources become potentially very diverse since not only can electricity come from any source including wind, hydro, or coal, but a gasoline engine with simple existing modifications can run methanol, ethanol, or any blend of three. I don’t see diesels (other than trucks) having any long term future in the USA. Hybrids on the other hand will have difficulty in Europe where existing tax laws discriminate against the higher weight of hybrids (i.e.- batteries and electric motors).

    So lets no follow Europe’s path as it is a dead end that will only transfer our dependence to a different single source energy (mostly Middle Eastern oil!). Soon it will be the Europeans that are questioning why they are not using hybrids like America. It will be nice to see the tables turned.

  11. #70

    Reality check- hybrids, fuel efficiency

    Actually it's more than the thermal content of diesel. Diesel's thermal content is about 10% better than gasoline. However direct-injection diesels are on average 30% more efficient than an equivalent displacement gas engine (one reason is that there is no need to maintain a stoichiometric ratio of gasoline to air to maintain the combustion process; this in essence means that a gas engine requires a minimum amount of fuel to run at low loads that may actually be greater than the amount of energy required to do the job; a diesel engine does not have this requirement, the injectors can inject precisely the amount of fuel required for the job; and at low loads or idle, a diesel uses a surprisingly small amount of fuel).

    Moreover diesel requires less energy to refine as it is lower-grade distillate of petroleum than is gasoline. That's an impact that is not immediately seen by the consumer but certainly is important to consider in the entire hydrocarbon cycle.

    Hybrids too use hydrocarbons. Like you I'm skeptical about mass use of biodiesel. However diesel-electric hybrids should be even more efficient than gas-electric hybrids.

    Mike G.

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