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Hybrid Study on Emissions?

mo460mo460 Posts: 3
edited March 21 in Toyota
Is anyone aware of a comprehensive study on hybrid vehicles including the emissions of the recharging electrical supply? With the poor efficiency of gasoline engines and those of electrical devices how can a vehicle that uses both be better than one that uses only one?

Comments

  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    You will have to clarify what you mean by "emissions of the recharging electrical supply".
  • mo460mo460 Posts: 3
    When the vehicle gets recharged, if plugged in to the house, the house gets its power from somewhere? If the power was from a gas fired electrical generator, would it be possible that the total emissions per mile be higher than a modern gasoline engine only vehicle? My main concern is, does the Hybrid really improve the environment when all is taken into account? I do know that the conversion of Gasoline or Electricity to mechanical motion is not very efficient. It seems that any vehicle which uses gas has poor efficiency but when you use gas and elec. wouldn't this worse?? I saw a study where a comparison of paper vs plastic bags was done. The study included what seemed to be everything, even down to the chainsaw fuel used to get the trees for the paper!
  • mistermemisterme Posts: 407
    Hybrid cars don't have plugs and therefore not recharged on the power grid.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,963
    If the power was from a gas fired electrical generator, would it be possible that the total emissions per mile be higher than a modern gasoline engine only vehicle?

    The last version of the EV-1 built by GM was capable of 180 miles on a single charge. Most people would be charging over night when the lowest usage of the power grid is occurring. I have read several owners reports and they were all sad to give up the car when the lease ended. The fact that they used far less energy in itself would tell you that it was less polluting. For us to think about cutting back on fossil fuel usage, the only alternative for large scale use of electric vehicles is nuclear power. We are still producing 50+% of our electricity with coal. Most new generation coming on line is natural gas. So we are very far from cutting back on fossil fuel usage.

    The University of New Hampshire did a study on producing biofuel from algae. They claim it is not out of the realm of feasibility to power our cars and become GHG neutral.

    For now oil is king. The current hybrid craze is just a smoke screen that is doing little to alleviate the problem. It is just allowing people to drive twice as far on the same amount of money.

    A plugin hybrid such as the Prius would help some. I think it is being held back by some pretty high powered companies. First off they have to get a lot of batteries and who controls that commodity?
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,963
    To answer your original question. Toyota did a study that concluded that the Prius was more polluting during the manufacturing process. Over the life of the car it made up for the difference and was less polluting overall. This was provided you drove the car 150k miles before recycling. The only aspect that was not overcome in that life cycle analysis was PM. Particulate Matter was higher from the Prius over it's life cycle.
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    Hybrids do not get plugged in. Most of the electrical energy they use comes from regenerative braking... the energy that is otherwise lost as heat. So, they "recycle" energy.

    And even if they could be plugged in, and that energy comes from power plants that pollute, but so would the energy that is required to refine additional petroleum (besides transportation and delivery at the gas stations).
  • mo460mo460 Posts: 3
    Thanks robertsmx for the reply! Your right, I had not realized that the latest cars don't plug in. My previous research on the web I had not found a good " how it works" that described this. It seems to be very simpily that the hybrids are small engines and elec motors that work together to supply enough power to accelerate and and then the small engine has enough power for the crusing. they also have the motor to recharge the Batts. When braking. Gosh I was getting 50 MPG in the sixtys on my 600CC Fiat and we used the generating feature on our slot cars for braking?
  • As has been stated in other posts, hybrids don't plug into the electric grid to get recharged. Even if they did, here in Southern California the electricity generators are either natural-gas fired, nuclear, or hydroelectric. Exhaust emissions from these sources of electricity as compared to exhaust emissions of the current crop of hybrids would seem to be even.

    Now, where electricity generators are fuel-oil fired or even coal fired, it would be obvious to anybody that the comparison of exhaust emissions between such powerplants and the current crop of hybrids is a win for the hybrids.
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 3,792
    "Even if they did, here in Southern California the electricity generators are either natural-gas fired, nuclear, or hydroelectric."

    I suppose that coal-fired plant in the Mojave desert is generating electricity for some other state... nope, actually for Cal-Edison. There is a controversy on right now as to if it will stay open...
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    As I pointed out earlier, a plug-in vehicle will indeed draw energy from an electric power plant. But so will production and delivery of additional gallons of petroleum that a non-hybrid would need.
  • eaaeaa Posts: 30
    It has been studied and hybrid make less emissions than any vehicle except pure electric s. The electric comes from power plants that are regulated and have scrubbers on them to meet certain standards. 50% of US power comes from coal fired power, 17% from scary nuclear.
    As was noted in another response hybrids make most of their power from coasting and regen braking, power lost on regular vehicles.
    Hybrids are very clean. Most are also smaller and lighter and more aerodynamic like the Prius at .25 CD.
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 3,792
    "As was noted in another response hybrids make most of their power from coasting and regen braking, power lost on regular vehicles."

    Unfortunately not true. Hybrids simply recapture energy that was first expended (in one form or another) by the ICE. Either the battery was originally charged by the ICE, or the ICE contributed to the speed being used to be converted to regenerative braking. And of course the ICE created the speed used for "coasting".

    No one has yet created the engine that will "make" power, a.k.a. "perpetual motion machine".
This discussion has been closed.