Hybrid Cars

If many automakers have a version of a hybrid car – and if our oil resources are 1) precariously dependent upon unfriendly nations, and 2) severely limited and projected to run dry, perhaps in our lifetime – then I have one question:

Why are all new cars not being built with hybrid or electric engines – and the standard internal combustion engine rapidly going the way of the dinosaur?

I don’t get it, I truly don’t.

(I also believe that a hybrid SUV is an oxymoron and in a sane universe would implode, like a matter/antimatter reaction.)

I don’t believe that cost is an good-enough answer. Sure, a Toyota hybrid Camry costs considerably more than a standard. I strongly believe that a big part of that differential is charging what the market will bear, and the rest is volume disadvantage. If most new cars were hybrid, both of those issues would disappear.

(No, I’m not in favor of bailouts for the Big 3, businesses should succeed or fail on their own merits. The automakers are the ones who made poor business decisions, and failing to move fast enough into the hybrid/alternative market is one of them.)

5 Responses to “Hybrid Cars”

  1. Ilya Says:

    Performance and range in hybrids and electrics are still considerably behind good old internal combustion. To make a slower and more limited distance-wise car attractive to an average person, it needs to be cheaper, and right now, hybrids are simply more expensive to manufacture. If most of the new models were hybrids or electrics, large segments of the population would likely postpone buying new cars until they improve. Little effect on the environment, a lot of distress on the near-term profits.

    I think this was the thinking: Hybrids and electricals need to improve further before they can become a mainstream offering.

    My 1.4 pense.

  2. Random Michelle Says:

    DRAT! I wrote a response to this already!

    Two things that come to mind about hybrids.

    1) The excellent mileage is for in-town driving, Interstate driving (IIRC) is comparable to my Corolla (which has gotten 42 mpg driving in Ohio). 2) By their very nature, hybrids are automatic transition vehicles A) I don’t like driving automatic transmission vehicles–they’re less fun B) in snow and ice I greatly prefer standard transmission because I can easily control my speed–starting and stopping–with the transmission. (I’m very good at starting on hills in second gear when it’s icy.)

    So that’s why *I* am not particularly excited about hybrids.

    That and the cost.

  3. MWT Says:

    My current car only gets 28 mpg, which was good at the time it came out but isn’t so good nowadays. So a hybrid would be an improvement. I’ll probably buy one the next time I’m in the market for a car.

    Full electric will only work for me when it becomes possible to drive them long distance (and by long, I mean 800+ miles in one day). Either the batteries need to charge a lot faster, or there have to be battery switching stations along the way (which means that batteries would need to be standardized across all cars).

  4. Mary Rotert Says:

    I want an electric-diesel hybrid pick-up truck that can tow, and seat 4 comfortably. I’d buy one soon it it existed now. Mary

  5. Mark Says:

    hybrids are a mediocre solution. They are better than nothing but aren’t much of a solution.

    Things really need to change. For example: many hi-milage cars available in Europe can’t be sold in the US due to overly-restrictive safety issues (things like being unable to take it out of park without the brake on) but are getting far more milage then hybrids. http://www.popularmechanics.com/automotive/new_cars/4276559.html shows the Beemer A-Class which gets 52 mpg. The Fiesta has 148 hp (compared to 78 in the prius and gets 48mpg)

    Personally I think the issue could be solved via existing market forces. By charging $1 or $2 per gallon in taxes everyone would howl but then things would change. People would actually find it cheaper to do something and thats when real change comes, not from altruism (sadly)