Fuel Efficient Cars

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Fuel Efficient Cars

Post by Henrik on Fri Feb 25 2011, 17:19

With the cold temperatures and record levels of snow we have been seeing in Europe so far this year, you can’t be blamed for questioning all the talk about global warming. Granted, the summer was hot, but we have had serious amounts of snow since late November, when normally there would be nothing until late December and even then it would not stay for long. Yet, I have read that 2010 will go down in history as being the hottest year on earth ever. So, even if we are freezing in the snow now, the climate is getting hotter.

As we all know, there is a lot being done to try and change the trend, and at the same time also reduce the consumption of fossil fuels. As we are all interested in cars, this is an area where there has been a huge focus on new fuel efficient and less polluting cars. Sure, Jeremy Clarkson will continue to promote continuous increase of power at the cost of ever increasing consumption figures, but even him and his team built an electric car. Who can forget that hilarious episode? I still catch myself laughing out loud just thinking about their side impact test!

But let’s get back to production cars. Until recently, the main focal point has been hybrid cars, with the Toyota Prius the obvious star of the show. As much as I applaud fuel efficiency, and some manufacturers’ effort to produce ever more frugal cars, the whole hybrid thing has always bothered me a bit in its actual application. In all honesty, the hybrids we see on the streets today are nothing but an excuse to try and give people a better conscience. I believe the advanced technology in the hybrids is just a poor cover-up for what is not a very good product.

The Prius is an over priced mid size car, that is ugly and has poor handling. It is not practical in comparison to the competition in its class, and there are far more economical cars available on the market today. If we then also factor in the pollution generated to produce the batteries in the car, as well as the mess that will be created when they are discarded, it is far from a “clean” car. For sake of comparison, here are the average fuel consumption figures for a Prius, and a similarly sized VW Golf Diesel:

Average consumption Prius: 46 mpg (4.7L/100km)
Average consumption Golf: 41 mpg

So, the Golf TDi, which is a much better car than the Prius, is almost as fuel efficient. Yet it does not use any costly and complicated hybrid system to reach this result. And that is the Golf; you should see the sort of figures you can get if you go down a bit in the size of car and get something like a VW Polo diesel. This is a car which is now pretty much the size of the origonal Golf, and it has an average fuel consumption figure of 80.7 mpg!

And now we get the Chevrolet Volt. This car has been announced for years, and has been made out to be the future of car production. The way it has been talked about, it was to be the first seriously viable electric car, with 0 emissions and extremely good fuel economy. Having been presented this year, it has won a number of prices, especially in the US. So let’s look at the figures we get for this revolutionary car:

Average fuel consumption: 60 mpg (3.9L/100km)

Well, you may ask then how come it uses fuel if it is supposed to be an electric car. The answer is that it is yet another hybrid, although one working in a different way to the Prius. Basically the normal fuel engine does not actually drive the car, but generates electricity to drive an electric motor and/or charge the installed batteries.

So, to present its strong points, Chevrolet are telling us that the car can be run entirely on the batteries so as to produce 0 emissions. It can be connected to a normal electric socket to charge the batteries. Sounds good, no? Well, if you chose to go in only battery mode, the actual range of the car becomes an average of 35 miles (56km). Now I know I could not even get to and from work on one charge. But then, when you have used up the full charge, you switch to all gas mode and your fuel consumption becomes 37 mpg (6.4L/100km). I am sure you can agree that this is actually a pretty damn bad result, one that can be achieved by a large number of the cars currently being used in Europe.

But I am a bit hard on the Volt. It is clear that depending on how it is used it can be a very clean and efficient car. The thing is, I believe it is going about the problem the wrong way, and we could have considerably more efficient and clean cars in a simpler way. Continuing development of electric cars is a good thing, especially focusing on battery technology, but it seems to me that they are today not in their current state viable options. Instead it is much easier for manufacturers to produce considerably more efficient combustion engine cars by focusing on reducing weight and improving aerodynamics rather then ever more comfort and passive safety features. Even though such a car will never reach 0 emissions, obtaining figures of 100mpg is certainly not impossible, especially considering that the Polo is already at 80 mpg (surpassing 90 mpg on highway driving). And when you factor in the emissions produced to generate the electricity for an all electric car, you certainly will not have a 0 emission car there either.

Personally the range of a car and the ease of “refueling” are two absolute key factors that speak against electric cars today. A 35 mile range is just laughable, and it is still far too difficult to recharge your car.

So would I buy a Chevrolet Volt? Hell no!

Would I buy a VW Polo diesel? No, I would prefer the Seat Ibiza instead with the same fuel consumption but a lower purchase price.

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Re: Fuel Efficient Cars

Post by Gelert on Fri Feb 25 2011, 22:51

I paid UK£1000 in 2007 for my knackered old Golf. It does about 40 MPG...but that's 'cos I've got a heavy foot in an 1800cc, plus it was previously owned by "A. Noah - Bespoke Boat Builders"...

But I hear your point.

If and when I buy a brand new car, I'm hoping that KERS plus added doodahs have filtered-down from Motor Racing. I'm with Bernie / Toad / et al, when they say that Motor Sport needs to be RELEVANT - and one of those immediate and very hi-tech relevancies is "Recoverable Energy".

I've got nothing against "Battery Power" per se.
But I can't stand the "drive" that one gets from a "hybrid" - I drove an Electric-hybrid Mini (BMW-flavour) about a year ago - ghastly thing.
Furthermore, your facts-and-figures Henrik re: distance-versus-recharge requirements, do nothing to inspire confidence in "Electric" vehicles.

I'm also extremely miffed that Diesel - which was heralded as the "greatest-thing-since-save the dolphin", and was taxed as such, has since been taxed out of all proportion - to the extent now that Sue's 1400cc diesel costs more to run (fuel) than my KOG...! (knackered old golf).

So - to recap:
Don't watch "Marley And Me" if you love dogs.
But do watch "Marley and Me" if you love dogs.

scratch


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Re: Fuel Efficient Cars

Post by Henrik on Sat Feb 26 2011, 09:58

Gelert wrote:So - to recap:
Don't watch "Marley And Me" if you love dogs.
But do watch "Marley and Me" if you love dogs.

scratch


That pretty much sums it up.

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Re: Fuel Efficient Cars

Post by gueuzeman on Sat Feb 26 2011, 13:21

Not sure what a Jamaican musician has to do with fuel efficient cars...

scratch

The tax issue for the fuel makes perfect sense, if you're buying less, revenue is down. sooo...........

Think about a car that would run on air. Who's going to make any money off that?

The problem I have as a tradesman is a vehicle having enough power to get all my tools, tile, and cement products around. It's all heavy.

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Re: Fuel Efficient Cars

Post by da silva on Sat Feb 26 2011, 13:37

Gelert wrote:I paid UK£1000 in 2007 for my knackered old Golf. It does about 40 MPG...but that's 'cos I've got a heavy foot in an 1800cc, plus it was previously owned by "A. Noah - Bespoke Boat Builders"...

But I hear your point.

If and when I buy a brand new car, I'm hoping that KERS plus added doodahs have filtered-down from Motor Racing. I'm with Bernie / Toad / et al, when they say that Motor Sport needs to be RELEVANT - and one of those immediate and very hi-tech relevancies is "Recoverable Energy".

I've got nothing against "Battery Power" per se.
But I can't stand the "drive" that one gets from a "hybrid" - I drove an Electric-hybrid Mini (BMW-flavour) about a year ago - ghastly thing.
Furthermore, your facts-and-figures Henrik re: distance-versus-recharge requirements, do nothing to inspire confidence in "Electric" vehicles.

I'm also extremely miffed that Diesel - which was heralded as the "greatest-thing-since-save the dolphin", and was taxed as such, has since been taxed out of all proportion - to the extent now that Sue's 1400cc diesel costs more to run (fuel) than my KOG...! (knackered old golf).

So - to recap:
Don't watch "Marley And Me" if you love dogs.
But do watch "Marley and Me" if you love dogs.

scratch


Don't forget that the UK gallon is different from the US gallon when quoting mpg figures.

How you drive has a far greater effect on fuel economy than what you drive, TG portrayed this beautifully when they had a Prius follow an M3 around the track.

NiMH requires the Nickel to be mined in Canada then shipped to China/Japan to be made into batteries and stuck in a car only to ship somewhere else in the world, how efficient. The same goes for Lithium.

I don't like dogs!
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Re: Fuel Efficient Cars

Post by TopContender on Sun Feb 27 2011, 03:17

I was reading some article talking about how some companies were going toward turbos to create more efficient engines. I wish I had the article, but they claim that the engines were much better than the current Hybrids.
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Re: Fuel Efficient Cars

Post by eso on Sun Feb 27 2011, 16:02

While working last summer I had to move the homeowner's cars out of their garage in order to get all their belongings from the 2nd floor of the home into their garage (They were spending their summer in the northeast and the scope of work had escalated due to severe water damage)

The Prius was dead since it had been sitting for almost 2 months. I called a Toyota service center to make sure I knew how to correctly jump the car. This was important because doing so in the normal manner could have burnt up the microprocessors.

So with knowledge in my grips I popped open the bonnet on the Carrera and jump started the Prius with the Porsche's battery. Once I had a bit of a charge I pulled the Prius out and drove around the block a few times and then drove over to pick-up the homeowner's assistant to help with the car re-locations.

Upon returning the the home I turned over the wheel of the Prius to the assistant since had never driven a manual transmission...

I jumped into the Carrera, started it and we drove the cars over the another property owned by the customers.

I don't have a clue why the homeowner has the Porsche, other than it is a design icon and he is into design. When I first went to look at the work at his home I rode with him, and he would routinely be in 3rd gear and observing the 25 MPH speed limit.

I, on the other hand, could have observed the speed limit doing nothing more than using the clutch to get moving from a stop sign. But I really didn't observe the speed limit (I didn't drive completely stupid either). I did want to kick in the boost, and I did want to shift both up and down without driving like a jerk or being too unsafe. It was a short drive to the other location but I did begin the get a sense for how the Carrera would drive.

The assistant then drove me back to the project in the Prius.

I can say definitively that the Carrera is a far more satisfying driving experience than the Prius.


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Re: Fuel Efficient Cars

Post by Gelert on Sun Feb 27 2011, 19:46

eso wrote:The Prius was dead since it had been sitting for almost 2 months. I called a Toyota service center to make sure I knew how to correctly jump the car. This was important because doing so in the normal manner could have burnt up the microprocessors.

So with knowledge in my grips I popped open the bonnet on the Carrera and jump started the Prius with the Porsche's battery. Once I had a bit of a charge I pulled the Prius out and drove around the block a few times and then drove over to pick-up the homeowner's assistant to help with the car re-locations.

Upon returning the the home I turned over the wheel of the Prius to the assistant since had never driven a manual transmission...

I jumped into the Carrera, started it and we drove the cars over the another property owned by the customers.
That's good driving, what with the jump leads still connected... Laughing

Back off-topic: am I correct in assuming that an awful lot of Americans cannot drive a "Manual" gear-shift car?
I watch films / TV shows made in America, and there seems to be a greater-than-reasonable chance of the story-line pivoting about this very subject...

If you tried to base a British-made film / TV Show around the fact that the salient moment in a story-line was the inability of the character to drive a Manual Shift, it wouldn't get into the script - let alone off the cutting-room floor - unless of course it was to make the very point re: the character's inabilities...

Just an observation.

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Re: Fuel Efficient Cars

Post by gueuzeman on Mon Mar 07 2011, 02:46

Fuel efficient cars at the Geneva auto show-
http://editorial.autos.msn.com/slideshow.aspx?cp-documentid=1182109

Some neat stuff.

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Re: Fuel Efficient Cars

Post by Henrik on Mon Mar 07 2011, 08:10

There are a few interesting concepts being displayed in Geneva, and some good looking ones too. But I still have the same problem with most of these, in the real world they just don't do it.

The all electric cars proposed are far too limited with regards to the range in my opinion to be a contender to the car as we know it today. Take the Toyota IQ, which is a tiny car. You would think the electric version should be pretty good. With a range of 60 miles, it is too limited! With a normal petrol car, you could live with a 60 miles range because it is quick and easy to fill it up again. But with an electric car you just can't do that. There are not plugs everywhere for a recharge, and the recharge just takes too long.

As for the hybrids, as I have mentioned in the initial post in this thread, they are making things to complicated and expensive for not a lot of results. To be honest, on the slide show from Geneva, I think the only really reasonable offer there is the Cooper SD. Fun, fast, and frugal. There are no real downsides or compromises to it. Now if they would just make it lighter it would be perfect.

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Re: Fuel Efficient Cars

Post by gueuzeman on Mon Mar 07 2011, 13:19

If they made it lighter, it would be a motorcycle. Smile

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Re: Fuel Efficient Cars

Post by Revs on Mon Mar 07 2011, 13:27

they could do more by banning large cars and 4wds than developing eco cars that never hit the market in meaningful numbers, prices and daily applications...
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Re: Fuel Efficient Cars

Post by Henrik on Mon Mar 07 2011, 17:00

gueuzeman wrote:If they made it lighter, it would be a motorcycle. Smile

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cheers

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Re: Fuel Efficient Cars

Post by Henrik on Mon Mar 07 2011, 19:14

The new car at Geneva this year that really has my attention is Morgan's new three wheeler. I absolutely love this! As far as a fun car goes it is perfect! It is light and nimble, accelerates well and handles like a race car. You can have a blast without going at insane speeds. Seriously, I could see this as a safe alternative to my bike...




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Re: Fuel Efficient Cars

Post by Gelert on Mon Mar 07 2011, 20:51

Henrik wrote:The new car at Geneva this year that really has my attention is Morgan's new three wheeler. I absolutely love this! As far as a fun car goes it is perfect! It is light and nimble, accelerates well and handles like a race car. You can have a blast without going at insane speeds. Seriously, I could see this as a safe alternative to my bike...



Mmmmmm...skinny tyres for snow - CHECK.
Right-hand drive - CHECK.
Convertible - CHECK.
Somewhere between 2-wheels and 4-wheels - CHECK.

What's not to like...? study

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Re: Fuel Efficient Cars

Post by eso on Tue Mar 08 2011, 01:59

Gelert wrote:
Henrik wrote:The new car at Geneva this year that really has my attention is Morgan's new three wheeler. I absolutely love this! As far as a fun car goes it is perfect! It is light and nimble, accelerates well and handles like a race car. You can have a blast without going at insane speeds. Seriously, I could see this as a safe alternative to my bike...



Mmmmmm...skinny tyres for snow - CHECK.
Right-hand drive - CHECK.
Convertible - CHECK.
Somewhere between 2-wheels and 4-wheels - CHECK.

What's not to like...? study

Wow, a new version of this?



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Re: Fuel Efficient Cars

Post by Revs on Tue Mar 08 2011, 05:32

WWI fighter ace livery - CHECK! pirat
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Re: Fuel Efficient Cars

Post by Henrik on Tue Mar 08 2011, 08:17

It's funny how everybody knows the Morgan from "The Party". I guess it shows how memorable the car really is, since that is probably the only movie it has ever been in. Mind you, who can forget that movie...

This new Morgan is actually based on an American design. A company called ACE built the Cycle car a few years back. Being a modern copy of the old Morgan, using a Harley engine, got Morgan's attention. This then lead to Morgan bringing out this one.

I forgot to mention, it is economical too! I think something like 65 mpg.

This really is my sort of car!

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Re: Fuel Efficient Cars

Post by eso on Tue Mar 08 2011, 15:32

Henrik wrote:
I forgot to mention, it is economical too! I think something like 65 mpg.

Indded, who can forget "The Party"?

Not real practical for a family of Four though...


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