Reader Rant: I Want a Plug-In Hybrid

by on March 19, 2009 · 2 comments

in Economy, Energy, Environment, Labor, Reader Rant

by JEC

I want a plug-in hybrid. A vehicle with lithium-ion batteries good for 40-45 miles, two wheel drive, a six speed computer controlled transmission with a computer that starts a small generator; an 11 hp portable generator is rated for 6200 watts, and yes, burns gas, for now. Modular construction would make it easy to replace the gas power generator with a fuel cell or other non-internal combustion power source. Oh yes, laminate into the vehicles roof PV solar cells. A roof size array may only provide an extra 500-600 watts a day, but they would help recharge the batteries during the day when you’re sitting in the parking lot or even running around town.

I think it should weigh about 2,200 lbs, suitable for four adults with the back seats that fold flat to create open space. A nice sound system and 16 inch wheels with 8 – 9 inches of clearance (our streets are in bad shape, we need the clearance).

And I’d like to buy it for under $20,000. Detroit, this should not be difficult. Electric cars with a 40 mile range were sold commercially 90 years ago. Certainly we’ve made some technical advances since then. And consider, compared to large internal combustion engines, electric motors are inexpensive to build plus with less weight and standardized components, this should not be hard to build at under $20,000.

Oh yes, let’s go test driving in September, 2010.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar mr fresh March 19, 2009 at 9:23 pm

and my daughter would like pony for her birthday.


avatar Neighbor Guy March 22, 2009 at 1:33 pm

Getting a reliable battery down to a feasible size and weight is the biggest piece of the puzzle. The car would need to be as lightweight as possible to squeeze all the electric range manageable before going to gas, but with 600+ pounds of batteries to cart around, it’s hard to imagine the rest of the car could go on a diet sufficient enough to make up even half the difference. There was an interesting article a few months back in the Atlantic discussing GM’s work on the Chevy Volt (that they had originally intended to launch in 2010), shrinking the battery and reducing drains from other sources that would suck directly from the driving power instead of an alternator (like that nice sound system) were the biggest issues.


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