Gas-Electric Hybrid Vehicles: Features you'd like to see.

marcbmarcb Member Posts: 152
edited March 2014 in Toyota
Gas Electric Hybrid vehicles are coming. By starting this topic maybe we can tell the manufacturers what features we'd like to see. I'll begin by posting some of my own wish list...and just be gone soon after.

Features I'd like to see in a Hybrid Electric Vehicle:

1) Ability to use the Gas-Electric engine as a 110v power source while camping.
(I have previously mentioned this in the Prius topic prior to the Dodge RAM contractor special).

2) Optional battery recharge plug for the occassion when I would like to fully recharge prior to long trips. This may prove most useful when preparing for long mountainous trips, when expecting heavy loads, or simply to proactively save on fuel.

3) Ability to activate regenerative "engine" braking on long downhills via a button. The feel should be something similar to turning off the OD button on long slopes.

4) Heat/cold air recirculating button when car is off/parked.


  • ryanbabryanbab Member Posts: 7,240
    I wouldnt like to see this feature. Leave the
    V-8's alone!
  • cyranno99cyranno99 Member Posts: 419
    Enough electrical power to run a TV and microwave oven.... a mini-RV if you will :)
  • rfruthrfruth Member Posts: 630
    The ability to switch between which engine is the default Rob Fruth Houston Tx
  • rfruthrfruth Member Posts: 630
    Reasonably priced upgrages (new battery technology etc) Rob Fruth Houston
  • rfruthrfruth Member Posts: 630
    We've all seen manufactures put high dollar station wagons on truck chassis and declare them SUVs. Please don't approach hybrids this way, don't add a few more idiot lights a CVT transmission electric motors & batteries then say heres your point A to point B hybrid machine that gets 40 MPG just like you wanted - thats part of it but only part. Rob Fruth Houston
  • rfruthrfruth Member Posts: 630
    The Honda Insight HEV is nice in my opinion but the instrument panel looks like something out of a space ship, not very user friendly, there must be a better way.
  • daysailerdaysailer Member Posts: 720
    I agree with rfruth's comment about instruments and I think that the Toyota Prius is even worse. The principles of good ergonomics and HMI design don't become obsolete with the change in drive system. The need for legible, linear scale instruments for vehicle speed, engine speed, engine temperature and fuel is no less in a hybrid than a conventional vehicle. Add to that the need to monitor the electric motor and battery condition/state of charge and a well organized instrument cluster DIRECTLY IN FRONT OF THE DRIVER becomes even more important.

    Form must not compromise function!
  • marcbmarcb Member Posts: 152
    Not sure if current HEVs already work this way...but it would be nice if the car can self diagnose a defective cell. The Battery banks in turn should be easily accesible so I can replace malfunction batteries as easily as I change flashlight batteries.

    In fact, if battery banks are easily replaceable and enough people start using HEVs, maybe it's possible to just stop at a gas station (or Walmart) and swap your discharged batteries for fully recharged ones (...sounds like a good future business).

    Also, why not use the VW 1.8 litre TDI engine technology? TDI makes 42 to 49 mpg as is. Mated to an electric engine it could shrink further to perhaps around 1 litre or less. Modify that into an Atkinson cycle and you have fuel consumption reduction serious enough probably to get consumers streaming.

    When that happens government may start requiring lower diesel sulphur content or seriously push biodiesel for further pollution reduction.
  • rfruthrfruth Member Posts: 630
    Force assist (sometimes want both motors) and force regen (sometimes want no motors) said differently the driver should be able to over ride what the car thinks is best. Rob Fruth
  • abbanatabbanat Member Posts: 57
    "Force assist (sometimes want both motors) "

    Rob, not sure what you mean by force assist, but if you want power from both motors, that's what you get (except at very low speeds, IIRC). They are parallel designs, meaning they work together, as opposed to a series hybrid (which has never been put into production). If the driver was able to manually override this feature, I don't think the vehicles would be certified for their higher mileage and it would also likely adversely affect their emissions certification. You run into a similar situation as flex-fuel vehicles, they get credit (CAFE credit, that is) for running on alternative fuel, but the benefits of that technology are never realized. In a hybrid, I suspect many people would manually override the engine control permanently for more power. The transmissions may also not be able to handle the additional torque at low RPM, but I'm just speculating on that one.
  • rfruthrfruth Member Posts: 630
    I don't have one but understand Honda Insight has a idle stop feature so at a stop when the clutch is pushed in (don't know about the CVT) the gas engine shuts off, to get rolling again the gas motor restarts and is the only power source for awhile, wide open throttle will bring the electric motor into play. I didn't even think about someone selecting both motors all the time so they could get a tax credit & use the HOV lane. Rob Fruth
  • abbanatabbanat Member Posts: 57

    I think you may have it backward,

    At a stop, the ICE shuts off and only the electric motor is used. Once underway (~15-17 mph) the ICE rapidly starts (it's imperceptible) and you're off and running, or jogging in the case of the Insight, with both the electric motor and ICE working together. At highway speeds, the ICE is only used unless extra assist is needed.

    Re: the CVT, I was referring to the Toyota, but Honda will be coming out with an automatic (i.e. CVT) Insight for 2002.

    I don't know where hybrids are granted HOV lane privileges. I know in California they do not qualify. Only dedicated AFVs (pure electrics and CNG) are allowed in HOV lanes. Hybrids are not AFVs because they use gasoline as their fuel.
  • rfruthrfruth Member Posts: 630
    I would have it backward if describing the Toyota HEV (cause only the electric motor does the work from a stop) but the Honda Insight uses its gas motor to get going never-the-less you are correct in saying there is one source of power until a predetermined speed or load is reached, it would be nice to have both from the get go sometimes (standing start with a heavy load on a hill etc) but then both could be used all the time thus defeating the purpose. Rob Fruth
  • abbanatabbanat Member Posts: 57
    My mistake. Admittedly, I have not paid as close attention to the Insight as I have the Prius. I assumed they followed the same philosophy.
  • rfruthrfruth Member Posts: 630
    The Escape & Prius do it one way (electric then gas) the Insight & Civic HEV will do it the other ? (gas then electric) not sure since haven't seen the description of the upcoming Civic HEV but I would imagine (hope ?) they (Honda) will leverage off the Insight, not bad for Edmunds townhall users but a mess for the general public some who have to think twice about 4 cylinder vs 6 vs 8. The beta max wars all over again ... Rob Fruth
  • abbanatabbanat Member Posts: 57
    Hopefully this time, the better technology will win!

    Okay, but what features would I like to see in a hybrid?

    I would like to see a hybrid that can be used in electric-only mode and have an electric-only range of around 15-20 miles. I would also like a plug-in for recharging that electric only range. That way, for trips around town, I don't have to use gasoline. Hopefully the electric motor would be able to get me up to neighborhood/boulevard speed adequately. When I run out of "juice" I can let the engine control system take over and run in normal hybrid mode (albeit with depleted batteries).
  • rfruthrfruth Member Posts: 630
    I'm tempted to say things like GPS and leather but the *main* thing I'd like to see is not a feature, its a reasonable price. For instance if a plane ole gas powered vehicle is 20 grand then the same vehicle in its hybrid form should not be 30 grand. Its a new world, time for a decent vehicle at a decent price. Rob Fruth Houston
  • crossedrealitycrossedreality Member Posts: 72
    How about performance?
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Member Posts: 5,525
    When you step on the gas pedal (the motor STOP feature is deacticated with either manual or CVT tranny equipped Insight), the gasoline engine as well as the electric motor provide power. At cruising speeds, only the gasoline engine works. During acceleration, the electric motor would again assist the gasoline engine to provide the extra power. During deceleration, the batteries are recharged.
    abbanat, the Insight has been available with CVT with the 2001 model.

    Civic HEV sedan
    We should have this car in USA by Spring 2002. It uses an advanced version of IMA-gasoline technology found in the Insight. The gasoline engine is a new design, with iDSI (intelligent dual sequential ignition). The gasoline engine also uses a 'variable' cylinder logic (shuts off one of the four cylinders when not needed). The displacement is 1.3 liters, and the gasoline engine alone is rated at 86 HP@5700 rpm, 88 lb.-ft@2800 rpm, and gets 47 mpg in Civic. This engine will be coupled to a more advanced version of the IMA (Integrated Motor Assist) found in the Insight, and supposedly delivers upto 30% more power, while being lighter and more compact (than in Insight). The overall mileage on the CVT equipped Civic HEV is expected to be 68 mpg.

    There is one possible improvement, however. The electric motor should be able to intercept during cruising, as well as be able to recharge the batteries during cruising. This will help further improve highway gas mileage.

    crossedreality: How about performance?
    It is too early to expect these new concept play a larger role in terms of performance. I don't see how they can't be applied to performance models though. The problem might be in profitability. Hybrid technology is currently an expensive option and not easy to get a customer base on. For that matter, the Civic HEV might have performance similar to that of Civic LX, perhaps even better, but with almost twice as good fuel economy. The downside, it might cost, atleast 1.5 times as much or more at the show room with a smaller trunk.
  • rfruthrfruth Member Posts: 630
    In light of the recent happenings in the middle east how about a 20 grand GM vehicle that runs on peanut oil so we could tell OPEC to find another sucker ? Rob Fruth
  • crossedrealitycrossedreality Member Posts: 72
    Bio Diesel and fuel cells for me, hybrid technology strikes me as the Beta of the car world
  • abbanatabbanat Member Posts: 57
    I see hybrids as the Dolby Pro Logic of the car world: It will stick around for about 10-15 years and then we will see a transition, just like most electronics manufacturers have transitioned to Dolby Digital and DTS. But just like Pro Logic, hybrids won't be useless when the transition comes because it will take decades to transition from a gasoline to hydrogen infrastructure.
  • rfruthrfruth Member Posts: 630
    Reduce our dependence on fossil fuel and ease congestion, wish a hybrid could do both don't know how though. Rob Fruth Houston
  • rea98drea98d Member Posts: 982
    I want a parallel hybrid that has a gas chugging V-8 assisted by an electric motor, not some microscopic 3-cylinder like the Insight has. My mid-sized V-8 T-Bird already gets 27-28 mpg highway, so if you add an electric motor to the mix, all of the hybrid's gas-saving tricks will up that figure even more, and for those times when I really stomp the gas pedal, I'll get not only the V-8's power, but all those extra horses from the electric motor. Who says being eco-friendly can't be fun?

    BTW, does anyone know of someone who's turned a hybrid into s sport compact? I'd like to see what an Insight could do if built for speed rather than fuel economy.
  • hiwaysanityhiwaysanity Member Posts: 216
    Current events may take care of this piece, at least gas that comes from Middle Eastern oil, and the resulting pump prices may help with the rest.
  • rfruthrfruth Member Posts: 630
    A regular ole gas powered car is complex enough, hybrids are bound to even more so, how about including a owners manual that also has a chapter of useful trouble shooting tips-&-tricks, recommended actions other than see your dealer. I can appreciate the manufactures & dealers have a working relationship but its seems things are made intentionally difficult I guess so we'll spend money with the service dept. Rob Fruth
  • dhanleydhanley Member Posts: 1,531
    Think of this:

    The current hybrids are parallel hybrids; the gas engine is attached to the wheels directly, and the enectric engine assists.

    Higher efficencies could be gotten with a serial hybrid; electric motors power the wheels, and a gas notor recharges a small battery pack to give more than a 5 mile range.

    The gas engine could be small, and only needs to be connected to the rest of the car by a cable which transmits power and generation commands.

    So, i'm pictuing a gas engine about the size and shape of, say, a golf bag or a suitcase that plugs in under the hood somewhere. If it breaks? Pop it out, and trade for a different one. Since these engines could be *mass* produced by a few engine manufacturers to common specs, a new gas motor could probably be about $1000. Trading a new/rebuilt one for your broken one to be rebuilt/recycled? Maybe as low as a few hundred bucks?

    Large cars or trucks could simply have 2-3 of these units charging the pack, still have the power required, and still use commodity items.

    A fuel cell could also be used, instead of a gas motor. It all dependsw on which is the most efficient.

    An electric powered air conditioner has similar benefits. A home A/C unit is $200. A complete electric car A/C should cost no more, *if* they're commodity items. I know people who've spent a lot more than that to get their car air conditioners fixed.

  • crossedrealitycrossedreality Member Posts: 72
    Uhrm...the laws of efficiency scream in pain at your suggestions.
  • rea98drea98d Member Posts: 982
    Fuel Cells will never catch on, mark my words!!! No, I'm not one of these people who stands in the way of technology and screams the Earth is the center of the solar system and the world is flat, but fuel cells work by combining hydrogen and oxygen to get water and electricity. Unfortunately, most of the hydrogen is already water, and to get if from there, you have to add in more energy than you would get out of the hydrogen, once you account for losses in the conversion, so water's out. Most other ways of getting hydrogen involve chemical reactions that are expensive even on a small scale. Really, the only practical way is to extract it from hydrocarbons, but then you're still A.), using fossil fuels, and B.) Creating more exhausts than just water, so you've lost the two key advantages to a fuel cell. It's not that I wish fuel cells any ill will, and I wish they were practical, but from my understanding, I'm not buying any stock in Ballard any time soon!
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Member Posts: 5,525
    Good points. I've thought about this (and mentioned in my earlier post too). The problem however is that the electric motor works well at lower rpm, so performance will be an issue. Sure, the issue could be solved by using more efficient batteries and larger electric motor, but that also means added bulk of the heavier component, and more drain of power, hence the need to have a very efficient recharging system. Which means, a small gasoline engine may not be able to keep up with power demands! But, this can offer a good promise if technological advancements can take care of the short comings, quickly.

    Honda has already committed to launching a fuel cell car by 2003. They have their fourth generation of the test vehicle (FCX) running right now. Other automakers like DCX and BMW have been doing their part too. So, where does the fuel cell stand now? Well, it is being experimented with, and the classic problems of 'bulk', 'speed', 'cost' etc., besides being practical will have to be addressed before launch, and most of it seems to have been covered. So, getting power out of combining hydrogen and oxygen is a non-issue anyway.
  • dhanleydhanley Member Posts: 1,531
    actually, the system i describe is known to be efficient. It's complex, but the gas engine can be highly efficient because it can be optimized to a very narrow HP and rev range, etc.

    there are new fuel cells that can combust gasoline directly. BMW's going to have one in their cars in 2-3 years pl plcae of a battery. Remember, i'm only suggesting them as a simpler alternative to a gas engine.

    true, but with the high RPM's an electric motor can reach, performance should be OK. High performance batteries should not be necessary; the system is optimized t only need to go a few mines before the gas motor kicks in.

  • rea98drea98d Member Posts: 982
    What's the advantage of a gasoline fuel cell?
    1, you're still using gas (read foreign oil)
    2, you still have more than just H2O coming out the tailpipe. Isn't that the two main advantages of the fuel cell?

    Also, the fact the Honda will launch it, and DCX and BMW are working on it doesn't impress me a whole lot. GM did launch an electric car, and several other automakers were working on them, several years ago, but the proved impractical, and the idea is dead now. CARB is the only one in the world still wanting an electric car, and it doesn't look like the carmakers are going to give in. So, when Honda launches the fuel cell, we'll have to see whether it takes off as a practical propulsion system. Like I said, I hope it does, I just don't think it will.
  • crossedrealitycrossedreality Member Posts: 72
    Unless you're somehow gaining power, you are not helping emissions at all by running a gas engine to fill the batteries. In fact, switching from mechanical force to electric force would make you lose power due to mechanical inefficiency. It would be more efficient to simple run the car off the engine in the first place.
  • dhanleydhanley Member Posts: 1,531
    Yes, i realize that the fuelcell is still polluting similarly to a gas engine. Tha advantages are efficiency ( less dependance on foreign oil ) and simplicity ( fewer moving parts, etc ).

    Crossedreality: i already explained where the extra efficiency is coming from.

  • crossedrealitycrossedreality Member Posts: 72
    Oh, really? Where?
  • dhanleydhanley Member Posts: 1,531
    post #32

    The gas engine can be very small, since it only needs to produce an average of what the car required. In cases except log uphill ascents, 10hp-20hp is plenty--remember it's a running average.

    The engine would never need to idle, or run with throttle. It could be optimized entirely for a particular RPM and a certian load. Much of the waste in an IC engine is because it is usually running at throttle because we hardly use he full power of even a small motor.

    Remember, there's a lot we can do because the engine doesn't need to conform to the regular profile of a car gas engine. It could be 1.5L making 20hp at always 300 RPM whenever running. It could be a stirling cycle.

    I'm not saying this is going to happen, or it's necessarily 100% the best soloution, just that it's reasonable, and it may occur. There's a lot of research going on. Burning hydrogen in a regular engine is another viable approach. Maybe there will be a huge advance in battery technology. I don't know.

  • crossedrealitycrossedreality Member Posts: 72
    But then you're using more power than you're creating 9/10ths of the time. Very rarely would the engine be producing more power than your using, so no surplus can result. And, anytime you're using exactly as much power as the charging power of the engine, you're still losing power because more power is lost from
    Mechanical - electric - mechanical (wheels)
    than would be from just running it straight from the engine. The laws of science are against series hybrids.
  • daysailerdaysailer Member Posts: 720
    While it is true that the average power requirement of an automobile is a fairly small fraction of the peak requirement, a series hybrid must have an electric drive equal to that peak requirement with a battery capable of supplying the power deficit for the worst case duration. If this is to be a true "alternative vehicle" it must replace the capability of existing vehicles and the worst case duration might be that necessary to top a mountain range with full payload, for instance. In any case, a series hybrid requires much more battery capacity than a parallel hybrid where the IC engine provides a greater proportion of the peak power requirement. A larger battery results in a much heavier vehicle which increases the power requirement which requires a larger electic drive which requires a larger battery which requires a larger IC engine, etc. There is no free lunch!

    Batteries are the achillies heel of EVs and the "huge increase in battery technology" that was the alchemy of the 20th century does not seem likely within the physics that we know.

    I'm guessing that the parallel hybrid will be the only viable alternative until a practical fuel cell system and infrastructure are developed and that ultimately the "practical" fuel cell will not use gaseous fuel.
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Member Posts: 5,525
    GM did launch an electric car, and several other automakers were working on them, several years ago, but the proved impractical, and the idea is dead now. CARB is the only one in the world still wanting an electric car, and it doesn't look like the carmakers are going to give in. So, when Honda launches the fuel cell, we'll have to see whether it takes off as a practical propulsion system.

    It would be logical to understand that fuel cell technology will not be a ground breaking success in a years time, or even a decade. When we are used to something, we usually don't like to give it up for something completely new, or atleast we are uncomfortable with it.
    GM and Honda had a brief run of their EVs, so were they successful? No, I don't think Honda EV plus was destined to stay, but remember, it gave way to a newer technology, the IMA hybrid system in Insight. Even that isn't going to stay, as the new Civic hybrid promises even better design, with more power, even cleaner emissions, more practicality, and better gas mileage (upto 68 mpg using CVT transmission, while Insight achieved that number only with manual).

    Technology evolves. And dhanley's points are valid, only too early to see them being practical.
  • daysailerdaysailer Member Posts: 720
    Yes, technology will continue to be developed and, EVENTUALLY, there may even be new technologies not yet conceived. Unfortunately, there are needs for some alternatives to "come on line" in the near future and CARB, in its infinite wisdom, has even mandated that technologies that don't exist be available NOW.

    You touched on an important part of the issue, public resistance, but public resistance is only partly due to fear of the unfamiliar. More significant is that any alternative must provide the utility that consumers need (or think they need) within an economic framework that they can afford. That means that for a transition to occur, alternatives must offer utility comparable to existing vehicles at similar prices. Anything else will require that consumers alter their use patterns (their utility needs change) and/or their economic situation must change. At present, only hybrids promise to approach the utility of IC(only) cars and they are HEAVILY SUBSIDIZED yet still cost more than comparable IC vehicles.

    EV advocates typically site average use statistics to project a market with a simplistic argument like : 'most vehicle trips are short, therefore most people can use and EV'. I think the following example is instructive: One morning not long ago, my Wife was about to leave to travel to another City, a day trip of about 250 miles, but discovered that the garage door spring had snapped and she could not get the car out. Fortunately, we had a "spare" car in the driveway which she could use. If the other car had been an EV (battery), she COULD NOT have made the trip, even with the most optimistic projections of EV range. My point is that though many people have "extra" cars that might be seen as prime candidates for replacement with alternative vehicles, few people are likely to do so if the alternative can only serve a limited subset of vehicle needs UNLESS it did so at much LOWER cost. Vehicles that offer reduced utility at HIGHER cost will likely sell only to a well heeled few who are enamored of things new and different or whose environmental concerns outweigh all others, which does not suggest a mass market.
  • marcbmarcb Member Posts: 152

    based on this article, it seems automakers short sightedness is why current hevs are not pluggable/rechargeable.

    to automakers: add my vote for pluggabble hevs.

  • wwestwwest Member Posts: 10,706
    How about more power from the same small engine.

    I've been driving a friend's Prius for the last week now.

    Why doesn't it have HID headlamps, dual mode like the Porsche ? HID uses a lot less power while at the same giving more illumination.

    Why are the tail/stop lights incandesent? LED bulbs, 10% of the power useage, are readily available.

    Why not a complete set of electrically powered accessories.

    Engine oil lubricating pump. As it is now as the engine revs increase to develope more power to the roadbed this pump drains away more and more power, needlessly, as the revs increase.

    Water pump - SAME

    Now that we have a HUGE well of electrical power why not have an electric variable speed constant displacement supercharger. It would simply idle along, using virtually no energy, only supplying enough airflow for a given engine speed unless you put your foot into it, WOT, then it would quickly spool up and supply enough positive boost to double the horsepower rating of the engine.

    I think the Ford Probe would be the perfect model for a mid or rear engine RWD hybrid. The Honda is to small to be really practical, and four seats make sense but why four doors. And if you have fold down rear seats who needs a trunk?

    On the other hand wouldn't a down-sized Porsche 911/996, with a tad more rear leg oom, look beautiful as a mid/rear engine RWD hybrid?

    Is the Prius power steering electric?
  • abbanatabbanat Member Posts: 57
    Yes, Prius power steering is electric.
  • daysailerdaysailer Member Posts: 720
    Although the option for "plug-in" charging makes imminent sense to increase the flexibility and maintainability of a IC-electric hybrid, the article is advocating it order to support a larger battery and increase the electric-only range. Since the battery is the weak link in the system, shifting the design compromise is this direction will increase vehicle weight and power requirements (IC and electric) while reducing payload and result in a less useful and/or poorer performing vehicle. An optimized hybrid will use the two drive systems in complimentary fashion to most effectively propel the vehicle throughout its operating cycle. A EV with IC assist is not optimum with current technology. As I've said, there's no free lunch!
  • marcbmarcb Member Posts: 152
    heres a guy who seemed to have done it. go to the CCD camera modification section part on this page:

  • daysailerdaysailer Member Posts: 720
    Providing plug-in (or other) charging to "top-off" the battery when idle makes imminent sense(although I have my doubts about the complexity and cost of a dedicated wind turbine). To operate as an electric-only vehicle is less than optimum and requires more battery, more weight, more engine, etc.
  • rea98drea98d Member Posts: 982
    My Thunderbird has these. Bad idea. There's expensive! When a normal brake light goes out, you've got it fixed for $1.95 at McParts. When the LED's go out, it's around $200 per side, as you cannot just replace the offending diode(s). The entire taillight must be replaced. Plus, I don't think the taillights pull enough juice to make a considerable difference. May get you an extra foot or two down the road, but not enough to amount to anything.
  • wwestwwest Member Posts: 10,706
    Dual mode x57 LED bulbs cost $48.50 from LEDTRONICS and I would be very surprised if one of them failed in a lifetime of driving.

    YOU likely could replace a single failed diode in your Thunderbird if YOU wanted to go to the trouble, but of course no dealer shop will bother.
  • rea98drea98d Member Posts: 982
    I think replacing a single diode in my T-Bird is so difficult to be dang near impossible. Anyway, the $200 to replace the LED panel in my car is about what a Ford dealer would charge, and they fail often (not completely, but only burn at about half the normal intensity), which not only further complicates repairs, but also makes getting a used replacement a crap shoot.
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