Comments: 'Lectriccars!

Lessee, $7,500 times two-hundred-thousand adds up to, fifteen with eight trailing zeroes... $1.5 ba-ba-billion. Per automobile manufacturer. A car company would have to be nuts not to make some to collect their share of OPM*.

That said, I'm warming to the gasoline-hybrid tech. Electric motors can't be beat for torque, efficiency, quietness, simplicity and longevity. It's the electricity storage and replentishment that falls short - along with ability to create heat as needed. Both of these problems are easily solved with a petrol-powered generator. Clever folks have found a way to share this petrol power between charging and wheel turning. And at least one of government's declared intentions with this multi-billion dollar bonanza is coming true: Higher volumes of hybrid systems are bringing costs down and quality up.

Pure electric still has obstacles galore, but I'm convinced that hybrid will soon be as ubiquitous as unleaded gasoline, which was unimaginable in the days of "ethyl" gas. I hope I'm wrong, 'cause if I buy one I'll really enjoy being "better" than all the other single-occupant drivers who can't use the express lane and the front row parking.

Posted by johngalt at July 13, 2017 2:48 PM

I think we all agree with whatever tech that could win out in a non-subsidized field.

The manufacturers certainly share your enthusiasm for hybrid. I confess to two concerns, either or both might be unfounded:

-- Thanks to Penn & Teller's show on Hybrids, every tine we spot one the lovely bride and I yell "It's like having two extra lesbians in the trunk!" If you don't get the allusion, you should look up the program ("Nukes, Hybrids & Lesbians"), but the theory is that two engines and mechanisms to switch between them add quite a bit of weight. (At least ten years old, your reports of innovation might have obviated this -- though it is still funny.)

-- How much are the manufacturers counting on government back-pats and consumer halo effect? I see the (I am not a Lexus guy, but outrageously sexy) Lexus L500C advertised. in a conventional or hybrid. I'd love Clarkson, May and Hammond when he gets out of the hospital to evaluate them side by side and honestly.

Posted by jk at July 13, 2017 6:47 PM

I don't get the allusion. I did look up the program. It's on Prime! Now I'm almost guaranteed to watch all eight seasons, not needing a Showtime subscription or having to watch on my PC.

One of the points they made about "nuclear" is that you can say it without the word "bomb." Accordingly, you can say the word "hybrid" without the word "Prius."

P&T accurately concluded that the ugly Prius with non-remarkable fuel economy is "no good for a family of four." Yours truly is ogling a hybrid that is perfect for a family of six. It is the first ever hybrid minivan, and is also a plug-in hybrid. It gets 33 mpg instead of 22, and that's without plugging in. Charging at home regularly gives fuel economy equal to the Prius. Or better. (Mfr claims MPGe of 84.) And to top it off, it's Italian! Or maybe it's a Mopar. It's hard to tell these days but either way is fine by me.

Do I have concerns about the battery life? Yes. The fly-by-wire hardware and firmware? Naturally. But I also trust in Moore's law to bring battery costs down before the 100,000 mile (or 10 years, but mine will never take that long) warranty expires. To buy a replacement battery today is priced at $13k, but I'm told that is a "placeholder" price that will come down by the time they're actually available.

I've driven one of these and I liken it to driving a spaceship. It's so quiet that all you can hear is a fan sound from the engine compartment. But only from outside the car. Inside it's virtually noiseless.

On top of all this there is the significant fact that Chrysler is still a tax credit eligible manufacturer, so between Federal and State "hippie credits" it costs $12,500 less than the dealer price by the time I prepare my tax returns. Pass the patchouli bro!

But now I gotta go 'cause it's time for pre-race coverage of the New York ePrix, all electric Gran Prix race. (11:00 MDT today on Fox) Right on, dude!

Posted by johngalt at July 16, 2017 12:47 PM

I'm going to cede to your "authoriteh." Any biases you might bring to the evaluation would run the other way. Ergo, if you have been won over with the technology, I am convinced.

Though I'd still like to see the subsidies disappear...

Posted by jk at July 17, 2017 11:54 AM

As would I. It irks me to see, as Jon Caldera describes it, "government subsidizing rich, white guys buying their vanity cars." But it exists whether I participate or not so, as long as it's there...

As Penn explained, its not about the "hybrid" (or the "nookulur") it's about what you do with the technology. Since it was born from the urge to be more efficient in the name of conservation, emissions reduction and all-around minimalism, it was natural that its first incarnations were the hair-shirts of the automotive specie. But eventually, some human or another will use it to create "bloody hell fire.

The world's first hybrid minivan is somewhere in between.

Posted by johngalt at July 17, 2017 2:59 PM
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