Hybrid Myths

Posted By on February 8, 2006

Hybrid MythsNow just because it was printed in Business Week doesn’t make it ‘fact,’ but the January 31st article, “The Top Ten Hybrid Myths” by Brad Berman gives a pretty good primer on what hybrid technology is and isn’t. For those interested in cars and paying attention to automobiles, most of this isn’t new, but a good reminder as to the differences between makers and models in how they intergrate the technology in their vehicles. Just because the word “Hybrid” is stuck on the back of the vehicle doesn’t automatically make it a green, hyper-miler anymore. (nor has it necessarily been true even for those marketed that way — see USAToday article.)

Berman’s Top Ten Hybrid Myths:
1. You need to plug in a hybrid car.
2. Hybrid batteries need to be replaced.
3. Hybrids are a new phenomenon.
4. People buy hybrids only to save money on gas.
5. Hybrids are expensive.
6. Hybrids are small and underpowered.
7. Only liberals buy hybrids.
7. Only liberals buy hybrids.
8. Hybrids pose a threat to first responders.
9. Hybrids will solve all our transportation, energy, and environmental problems.
10. Hybrid technology is only a fad.

As a proponent of clean, renewable, American produced biofuels, I’ve often stated that biodiesel and ethanol are solutions that we can implement today. I am hopeful that technology and innovation will continue to solve the problems related to dependency on fossil fuels … I believe that the hydrogen fuel cells are in our future, but a long way off?

I also see hybrids playing a role too. Biofuels and hybrid techology will carry us a long way while improving our emissions and reducing our dependance on foriegn oil. I believe hybrids might also be part of the final solution and be intergrated into hydrogen powered vehicles … anyway you look at it, they help our vehicles improve how they use energy. Regenerative braking and engine cycling offer definite improvements and most likely will be in future vehicles. Consider that the International Energy Agency (IEA) concluded that even under the most favorable conditions, hydrogen vehicles will most likely represent only 30% of the global fleet by 2050, future of automotive technology will most likely refine and continue to use hybrid/gas/diesel/biofuel/electric vehicles for a long time. Jim Press, president of Toyota Motor Sales USA is quoted in the article, and his comment parallels my conclusion: “I think everything will be a hybrid, eventually. It will either be a gas hybrid, a diesel hybrid, or a fuel-cell hybrid.”


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