Hybrids are the solution to the problem of EVs, which are being pushed on us to salve a problem that is – at best – grossly exaggerated and at worst entirely confected. Of a piece with the ‘Rona, which people were assured would kill us all – or at least – kill a lot of us, indiscriminately – when in fact it killed very few who weren’t already on their way to being dead already, as from old age or some chronic, pre-existing debility.
Either way, the “problem” – of a “changing” climate – won’t be solved by driving energy hog EVs that cause at least as much – and probably a lot more – in the way of the bogeyman gas, carbon dioxide, to be produced as is “emitted” by energy-efficient hybrids.
Models like the Ford Maverick and – more famously – the new (just redesigned) Toyota Prius. The latter approaches averaging 60 MPG, which means it uses very little gas and for that reason, driving it results in very little in the way of gasses being “emitted.”
Bogeyman gasses and otherwise.
The Maverick is comparably efficient – given it’s a truck. It is much larger – and much more capable than the Prius, in that it can be used for work as well as transportation. Yet it still averages 40 MPG – which is about 30 percent better than a non-hybrid truck manages. And it manages to be much less expensive than other trucks, listing for just over $22k to start.
Now imagine what these two hybrids might have been if it had been possible to design them as diesel-electric hybrids.
You know, like diesel-electric locomotives.
Why do you suppose the railroads use them rather than gas-electric locomotives? Could it be on account of diesel being a far more efficient way to generate electricity, which in turn powers the traction motors that move the locomotive?
Even though diesel fuel is more expensive than gasoline fuel, it is still so much more efficient it is less expensive to use it to generate the electricity that propels a diesel-electric locomotive. That matters when you’re in business – and are trying to remain in it. Using gas rather than diesel would increase the cost of business, if you’re in the railroad business. And not just because gas is less efficient. Gas engines cost more – over the long haul – because they don’t last as long. Diesel engines last longer because diesel isn’t just a fuel – and it’s not a solvent (as gasoline is).
It is a lubricant as well as a fuel.
Diesels last longer because burning diesel also lubricates the wear surfaces of the diesel, such as the cylinder walls. In a gas engine, these are washed down by the solvent-gas, which is one of the reasons why a gas engine might go 200,000 or more miles before it starts burning oil – whereas an oil burning engine often goes twice that long.
A hybrid car – or truck, like the Maverick – is a smaller-scale elaboration of the diesel-electric concept, sans the diesel. Hybrids cars – most of them – are not exactly the same in that the gas engine also turns the wheels (as opposed to just charging the batteries that power the electric motors) but the point is the same.
And if a diesel rather than a gas-burning engine were used instead, a hybrid car – or truck – would be both much more efficient and (as is true of diesel engines generally) longer lived. It’s why diesel engines are used on over-the-road trucks, which rack up lots of miles, very quickly.
It is hard to say exactly how much more efficient a diesel-electric hybrid car would have been without actually having one to put to the test. But we can extrapolate from what was made – very briefly and just a few of them – by VW, before it became a kind of crime to put a diesel engine in anything sold in this country.
VW had been working on a diesel-electric hybrid commuter car that averaged 150 miles-per-gallon. VW also sold a number of diesel non-hybrids that averaged nearly 50 miles per gallon. Pairing an engine that efficient with an electric storage battery and motors that could propel the car a third of the time – with the rest of the time the diesel engine turned off, as the gas engine is turned off when it is not needed to move the car, in a conventional gas-electric hybrid – would surely result in a diesel-electric hybrid capable of averaging at least 60 miles-per-gallon or better, in the case of a smallish commuter car like the Prius.
And 50 for a diesel-hybrid truck such as a Maverick laid out that way.
These are probably under-estimates of what is possible.
Isn’t a shame it is de facto illegal?
Of course, the stock answer given is that it was necessary to out-regulate (as opposed to outlaw) diesels in passenger cars because of their “emissions.” In fact, it was necessary to regulate them off the market because their efficiency presented an existential threat to the rationale for the forced (via regulation) electrification of transportation. Highly efficient, highly economical, very affordable diesels make inefficient, uneconomic and unaffordable EVs look like synthetic meat compared with grass-fed steak.
And even more efficient, economical and affordable diesel-electric hybrids would have made that comparison even less favorable – to the EV.
There’s the real answer to the question.
And now you know.
. . .
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