« Taking War Off The Table? | Main | The NY Times and the Half Empty Glass »

The 500mpg Carburetor and the 250mpg Hybrid

The AP is doing its best to spread the ever growing "250mpg hybrid" myth. Back during the first gas crunch the stories were everywhere that someone had developed a carburetor that would give 500mpg but the greedy oil companies killed him [bought him out etc] and refused to let the technology come to market. Even respected publications like Popular Science and Popular Mechanics hinted that this technology was out there "somewhere."

Fast forward to the preset gas crunch and the AP is running wild headlines and downright bogus infographics.

"Experimental Hybrid Cars Get Up to 250 Mpg "


I want a modified Prius that gets 250mpg, don't you? Ironically, so does the guy in this story.

CORTE MADERA, Calif. - Politicians and automakers say a car that can both reduce greenhouse gases and free America from its reliance on foreign oil is years or even decades away. Ron Gremban says such a car is parked in his garage.

It looks like a typical Toyota Prius hybrid, but in the trunk sits an 80-miles-per-gallon secret -- a stack of 18 brick-sized batteries that boosts the car's high mileage with an extra electrical charge so it can burn even less fuel.

Gremban, an electrical engineer and committed environmentalist, spent several months and $3,000 tinkering with his car. ...

The extra batteries let Gremban drive for 20 miles with a 50-50 mix of gas and electricity. Even after the car runs out of power from the batteries and switches to the standard hybrid mode, it gets the typical Prius fuel efficiency of around 45 mpg. As long as Gremban doesn't drive too far in a day, he says, he gets 80 mpg.

Ok so Mr. Gremban spent an extra $4000 or so on his car, then an ADDITIONAL $3000 tinkering and he is getting a whopping 80mpg -- IF he doesn't drive real far. That's not quite the 250mpg the inforgraphic described.

Where did they get that figure from???

Others are modifying hybrids, too.

Monrovia-based Energy CS has converted two Priuses to get up to 230 mpg by using powerful lithium ion batteries. It is forming a new company, EDrive Systems, that will convert hybrids to plug-ins for about $12,000 starting next year, company vice president Greg Hanssen said.

So now if I spend an extra 4000 on the car and an ADDITIONAL $12,000 (next year supposedly) I'll be able to save a ton at the pump! Great! I bet they'll be beating customers away.

But still a vaporware claim that someone will make a 230mpg car next year does not make a 250mpg car today, for that we must read on....

University of California, Davis engineering professor Andy Frank built a plug-in hybrid from the ground up in 1972 and has since built seven others, one of which gets up to 250 mpg. They were converted from non-hybrids, including a Ford Taurus and Chevrolet Suburban.

Frank has spent $150,000 to $250,000 in research costs on each car...

So Professor Davis has spend about $1.5 million on research and presumably years of his life. So far he has produced exactly 1 car that can get "up to" 250mpg and I suspect that only happens when it is going down hill.

To get to my problem with this story, just return to the first 2 sentences: "Politicians and automakers say a car that can both reduce greenhouse gases and free America from its reliance on foreign oil is years or even decades away. Ron Gremban says such a car is parked in his garage."

Clearly this article shows that yes, this technology is years away. We are nowhere near 250mpg and won't be any time soon. You can't go buy a Prius and hack in an extension cord to get 250mpg.

The story makes it sound like we'll have them in a year or two.... When today the only way to get them is to spend a million dollars in research and a few dozen years of your life. This is one of those "accurate but fake" stories like last weeks story about online dating.The facts in it may be right but it paints a completely inaccurate picture of where this technology stands today.

Saying that some experimental hybrids get 250mpg is sort of like saying some experimental aircraft can achieve orbit.

One day we'll have 250mpg cars and it will be thanks to the tireless efforts of people like Professor Davis and Ron Gremban, but as for today, it is no less mythical than the 500mpg carburetors.

via OTB

And I didn't even get into the fact the reporter was just being a politcal hack.


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference The 500mpg Carburetor and the 250mpg Hybrid:

» Don Surber linked with Myth Of 250 MPG Car

» Middle Earth Journal linked with Hybrid Mania

» Don Singleton linked with Get Up to 250 Mpg

» Deinonychus antirrhopus linked with The 250 MPG Hybrid

Comments (49)

The story is completely mis... (Below threshold)

The story is completely misleading anyway. Where does all the electricity come from to charge and manufacture those batteries? Much less the environmental disaster of disposal or even recycling. I would love to see a study of the *real* cost in oil. 250 mpg my a**.

Well obviously Jeff, the so... (Below threshold)

Well obviously Jeff, the solution to charging those batteries is to use a fuel cell! Once everything runs on hydrogen, we won't have to worry about gas or coal or oil or uranium or hydroelectric as energy just magically flows out of our good intentions! The world will be all candy canes and lolipops (provided it doesn't harm the precious ecosystem, naturally) and we'll live in peace and love and unicorns will frolick with the dolphins, at least that's what the environmental groups tell me.

More important, if you're p... (Below threshold)

More important, if you're plugging your hybrid in to charge the extra batteries, you're burning coal, natural gas or something more expensive and polluting than gasoline!

The reporter should ask what his electricity bills look like!

Whenever there's a gas crun... (Below threshold)

Whenever there's a gas crunch, bullcrap news stories like this one proliferate. Cheap, limitless energy is here! Cars that get 50, 100, 250 mpg!
Let's all ride the bus, that way we don't burn oil!
There are fleets of fully laden oil tankers waiting just outside US territorial waters! Somebody in California invented a method of changing water into gasoline but he was kidnapped by Halliburton!

Current lithium-ion battery... (Below threshold)

Current lithium-ion battery technology is not suitable for vehicular applications, as this battery system does not take kindly to high-drain applications.

Hell, my 95 Jeep Wrangler (... (Below threshold)

Hell, my 95 Jeep Wrangler (with the modified, souped up engine) can get 300 miles to the gallon. I just have to push it instead of using the gas pedal.

And you can't run the AC.

There are other solutions out there. That's a safe assumption. Hell, a softball sized chunk of uranium could effectively power your car for about 75 years. Unfortunately those grannies who forget to change their oil would be driving nuclear bombs with the turn signal left on.

These are funny stories though because people believe them. I mean, if someone designed a car that got 250 mpg, why hasn't he patented the idea and sold it to billions of people, effectively making him the richest person this side of Mars? Because he's afraid the gas companies will kill him if he does (although having his name and idea printed in a magazine wouldn't exactly endear him to said assasin weilding CEO's now would it?)?

As long as Gremba... (Below threshold)

As long as Gremban doesn't drive too far in a day, he says, he gets 80 mpg.

Guess what, telecommuters get even better mileage. That's right better even than 500 mpg; some days I don't drive at all.

Cue the church lady it's time for the Superior Dance.

"telecommuters get even bet... (Below threshold)

"telecommuters get even better mileage."

LOL, rock on capitano, rock on. I try to convince my customers that I can suport them from home but they just don't believe that I'll do the work or something. I think they fear that I'll let one of those drinking bird toys hit enter for me while I play golf. *


*yes, its stolen from the Simpsons.

Paul:How do any of t... (Below threshold)

How do any of these hybrids compare to the 230 hot dog HEMI barbecue?

In a related story the anti... (Below threshold)

In a related story the antiquated measurement known as the gallon has been replace with the new gallon, which is equal to 5 old gallons and the mile has been shortened from it's original distance of 5,280 to a new, more efficient 2,500.

So, if you spend $12,000 ex... (Below threshold)

So, if you spend $12,000 extra on a hybrid car (for a new, higher-powered battery pack that you have to recharge regularly), you get a car which can (sort of) get 250 MPG.

On the other hand, with $3 a gallon gasoline, you could drive a regular car getting only 20 mpg about 80,000 miles for that extra cash. Not including the money you spend daily recharging the thing by pugging it into the wall, of course.

We appreciate all the comme... (Below threshold)

We appreciate all the comments abour our project. Of course, the story isn't as simple as "250-MPG cars". And of course there's no free lunch.

I urge you to read the CalCars FAQ and our 3-page Fact Sheet, found in PDF form at http://www.priusplus.org and in text form at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/calcars-news

For a quick response to that big issue: why an electric car is cleaner than a gasoline car even on the dirty national (50% coal) grid see section 4 of http://www.calcars.org/vehicles.html

I'll clear up a few things: we're talking about SUBSTITUTING electricity for some of the gasoline, and eventually, substituting biofuels for some or all of the remaining gasoline. These things have costs, but they are cheaper and cleaner (using "well-to-wheel", that is, apples-to-apples measures of all the energy and pollution through the entire fuel cycle).

CalCars is nonprofit; for-profit EDrive will sell conversions, but our goal is to incentivize car companies to sell plug-in hybrids; they can do a better job of it, and we think they can sell for $3,000 more than conventional hybrids, which will provide a payback.

To keep things lively, we will add a link to this blog at http://www.calcars.org/kudos.html -

by Felix Kramer, founder, California Cars Initiative http://www.calcars.org and the PRIUS+ campaign http://www.priusplus.org

I remember those old storie... (Below threshold)
Sue Dohnim:

I remember those old stories about the car with a prototype engine (or carberator, or whatever) that accidently got shipped and sold. This was back in the 70s, and from what I understand, the stories were even old then.

Snopes has the best write-up on it.

Googling the name Charles Nelson Pogue gets you extra goodies, like patent numbers and pictures. It's too bad I don't know anything about cars (stupid double X chromosome - grrrrrrrr) because all of the drawings are like gibberish to me and it'd be interesting to know if these devices would even function, much less get 200 mpg.

Hey Felix,Why doesn'... (Below threshold)

Hey Felix,
Why doesn't any of your website info address the energy of production of these extra hybrid batteries?
I note that the only links on your website to EPRI (Electric Power Research Institute) studies make the claim that new, more advanced batteries "will be capable" of reaching cost parity with non-hybrids.

I conclude from this that current batteries are NOT capable, as only the theoretically improved batteries theoretically "Might" be able to do so.

In other words, the construction of the hybrid batteries causes an input of energy GREATER than the energy "Saved" by the hybrid, when compared to a non-hybrid of comparable power.

This is all feel good pseudoenvironmentalism at its worst.

What we should be doing is pushing for the construction of nuclear power plants first, then worrying about how to use the clean energy when it is available. Since it is not, you are WASTING energy by buying and using hybrid vehicles.

Yea and in World War II the... (Below threshold)

Yea and in World War II they had a car that could run on water -- remember? LOL
Thanks for bursting this bubble
BTW my Mustang gets 22-25 mpg and that is regularly doing 90 on the freeway. Did I say 90? I meant the posted speed of 70, Mr. State Trooper. Typo

Doesn't crap like this floa... (Below threshold)

Doesn't crap like this float into the news every August?

As the owner of a 2005 Priu... (Below threshold)

As the owner of a 2005 Prius no one can accuse me of being a hybrid-basher, but that 230MPG number that was quoted in the article is extremely misleading:

"The result is EV driving and electrically boosted gasoline driving for the first 50 to 60 miles with a gasoline efficiency of 100 to 150mpg. After the 50-60 mile 'boosted' range, the vehicle performs just like a standard Prius until it is plugged in again."

"Q7: Can I really get over 200mpg with EDrive on my Prius?

A: Yes, but it requires low speeds (55mph freeway) and mild acceleration in city driving. Most Prius EDrive users will likely get closer to 100mpg."


One more thing -- and I pos... (Below threshold)

One more thing -- and I posted this -- what would it run on? Electricity. And how do we get more than half the electricity in the United States? By tearing down mountains to get the coal.

"And I didn't even get into... (Below threshold)
Cardinals Nation:

"And I didn't even get into the fact the reporter was just being a politcal hack."

But that's the real story behind the story; the thinly veiled assurtion that government (in the form of Bush the Evil) doesn't want to make the world, and your life, better. You can almost hear the clarion cry of "Here! Look here! Here's proof the Neocon Cabal exists only to line the pockets of Enron, Exxon, and Haliburton. Killing the planet and your take-home pay is of no concern to them."

There's nothing to this story except conspiracy theories, professors in labs tinkering with concepts and very poor journalism.

> More important, if you're... (Below threshold)

> More important, if you're plugging your hybrid in to charge the extra batteries, you're burning coal, natural gas or something more expensive and polluting than gasoline!

Uh, yes you're likely burning coal, natural gas or something (nuclear? hydroelecftric?). But coal is NOT more expensive than gasoline in terms of cost per unit energy, and as far as I know, neither is natural gas. Also, because they're being burned in a big facility, the conversion to electricity should be pretty efficient and the output should be mostly CO2/water thanks to high burn temperature and pressure. Burning fuel in a small reciprocating motor is likely a good deal less efficient than in a big turbine generator facility.

It's certainly far from "zero emission" if you're charging the batteries with power generated by burning...

This is why I think electric cars will come into their own when the vast majority of power is nuclear. Hydroelectric isn't so good for river life, solar is too big. Wind and geothermal are OK but nuclear is still a lot more practical.

Let me get this straight. I... (Below threshold)

Let me get this straight. I can get 80 mpg with the $4,000 upgrade if i don't drive very far. How far are we talking about-less than 80 miles or less than 100 miles etc.?

I invented a car that uses ... (Below threshold)

I invented a car that uses no fuel, has no emissions, and gets unlimited miliage. The only problem is that so far, it only works when running down-hill.

Beck, my truck has such lou... (Below threshold)

Beck, my truck has such lousy mileage that if I left it parked for months I'd still have to fill the gas tank every couple of weeks.

I wonder why no car company... (Below threshold)

I wonder why no car company has targeted the little-old-lady market with electric cars.

My mom says that an old lady in our town drove a 1910-vintage electric car--might have been Edison or Detroit Electric--around town up until the 1960s. The thing could not go fast, but it did what he lady wanted; it got her to the store and back.

The GM EV-1 experiment was to make a car that could go freeway speeds. What if that wasn't necessary? If 40 MPH is an acceptable top speed, it opens up the possibilities dramatically. And range doesn't matter if you're not going much past town and you plug it in every evening. And maintenance is a lot less for an electric, too, with fewer moving parts; that's important because old ladies always feel like the maintenance guy is scamming her with unnecessary repairs (and often, he is).

Please disregard my first p... (Below threshold)

Please disregard my first post. I found the answer to the electricity problem:

"Einstein proved that all matter is Energy, that vibrates and different frequencies. Tesla himself was on the verge of learning how to tab into these vibrations, to be able to supply unending, free energy to all the world to power or homes our vehicles etc. as soon as his financial backers found out about this, his funding was cut to protect the interests of various financial powers, such as oil industries etc."

It should be easy to resuscitate Tesla's method. ;)

Like Boifromtroy said, it's... (Below threshold)

Like Boifromtroy said, it's not taking into account that you're getting the miles per gallon by using an external power source -- plugging the car in at night to pre-charge the batteries (rather than letting them charge as you drive). It's not as if you're getting all that mileage from more efficient use of gasoline per se. On the same basis, electric cars get infinite miles per gallon.

Having said that, it'd be useful if they gave better stats on how much money you'd spend on charging. The article quotes a quarter. Riiiight. Maybe if they installed solar panels or something.

I recently read a cost-rati... (Below threshold)

I recently read a cost-ratio analysis of what fuel cell driven vehicles actually cost and it isn't lightweight, much less currently cost efficient. Just trendy. But the amount and cost of the energy involved inorder to allow even one fuel cell vehicle to motivate is huge when compared with battery and/or petroleum byproduct driven.

We could be allowing alternative vehicles for varoius conditions, much like wearing appropriate clothes for climates: allow those little old ladies (and men) to drive golf-cart and/or three-wheeler battery operated vehicles on roads in neighborhoods/around towns (a certain area within cities and towns and homes, etc.), build less roads and more train tracks, charge far more for trucks in suburbia, things of that nature (sorry, suburbanites, but someone in Marin County does not require an F250 in parallel with someone in Montana -- not specifically, just as example here, to consider appropriate vehicles per application).

Not trying to suggest the dreaded "ban SUV" thing, just saying, there are alternatives to our fuel and transportation woes but humanity isn't ready for them.

My chief preference would be: horses. Allow people to use horses in more areas ... course, that means we have to have hay and habitat available, so maybe it's a even better idea than I initially thought.

There's a neat, three-wheel... (Below threshold)

There's a neat, three-wheeled, closed chassis, battery powered vehicle being made (or was, last I checked) in Hollister, CA called "The Sparrow" that is very, very appealing. You can park the thing in a motorcycle space, goes 200+ (last time I checked) on a charge, even offers heated seats!

People in urban environments and around suburbia could make great use of vehicles such as that and forego larger gas guzzlers, is my point. How, well, incentives would make them more appealing.

Hey S:Before getti... (Below threshold)

Hey S:

Before getting too enamored with that horse thing, you might want to ponder this:

"The authors conveniently forget to describe life in New York City in 1900, when 100,000 horses walked the streets, creating 2.5 million pounds of manure requiring daily disposal, when 15,000 horses annually died in the city, requiring sanitary disposal, or the filth and disease that horse transportation bred, all of which amply prove the inaccuracy of that fable." [the fable that horses are better than cars] source

I read the full article, an... (Below threshold)

I read the full article, and it costs the 80-mpg guy a whopping $0.25 cents to charge the extra batteries.

The article also said that the average American drives 30-50 miles a day.

So, if the extra electricity you get from 'plugging-in' each day allows you to cut your daily miles/gallon down, then you're saving money. Sign me up.

Given, it's not 250 mpg's, but as much hyperbole that the AP spawned, this blog posting swings as much the other way in negativism.

This technology is HERE today. Just needs to be developed, and it so happens it's being developed by hobbyists. The costs will come down as soon as they're in production.

To poke fun at this sort of thing is one thing, but the point the AP makes is that change is coming SOON, and it will be good for the environment, and it will be great for the pocketbook.

If you don't believe this, then you're a dinosaur. Maybe we can make some oil from your remains some day if all this doesn't work out?

Eric said:>This tech... (Below threshold)

Eric said:
>This technology is HERE today.

GREAT! Go buy one!

Then Eric said in the very same breath...
>Just needs to be developed, and it so happens it's being developed by hobbyists.

OH, so it's NOT here today.

I'd debunk you Eric but you did that yourself in the same paragraph.

Then Eric added to the confusion:
>If you don't believe this, then you're a dinosaur.

Eric, you're a dinosaur.

Recharge for $0.25?<p... (Below threshold)

Recharge for $0.25?

Let's do the math.

25 cents, in the average US retail electricity market, will buy you about 2.5 KWh of electricity.

Convert to BTU's ( multiply by 3413), that's 8540 BTU's, or the energy of approximately 1/14th of a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline.

Even at 100% efficiency, someone much better at math than me is going to have to explain how that 1/14th of a glallon of gasoline is going to boost a Prius from 45 mpg to 200 mpg - or even 100 mpg - or anywhere above 48.2 mpg.

Even if the electricity is bought at wholesale rates (4-5 cents per KWh), you can't make this math work out, or anything like it.

Math - it's a wonderful thing.



Incidentally, mrs llamas dr... (Below threshold)

Incidentally, mrs llamas drive an all-bells-and-whistles minivan. It includes an instantaneous mpg display option. Under some driving conditions, this display maxes out at 99.9 mpg, which I suspect is the limit of the system's ability.

So what's the issue? Pontiac is selling cars that get 'up to 99.9 mpg' - right now!



Here's a simple way of look... (Below threshold)

Here's a simple way of looking at the economics for the conversion.

It's like having a second small fuel tank, only you fill this one with electricity at an equivalent cost of $.50 to $1/gallon. The exact number depends on what you pay for electricity -- and what future rates will be for plug-in hybrids. You refill at home, from an ordinary 120-volt socket, with energy that's cleaner, cheaper and not imported.

Here are our assumptions:
PRIUS: 260 Watt-hours per pure-electric mile at Ron Gremban's cost of electricity (8.5 cents/kiloWatt hour) gives a cost of 2.2 cents/mile. Multiply this times the 45 miles/gallon Ron gets on gasoline and you have the equivalent of $0.99/gallon gas. Take Pacific Gas and Electric's EV (electric vehicle) rate of 5 cents/kWh and you get 59 cents/gallon.

TYPICAL 18 MPG SUV: 400 Watt-hours per pure-electric mile at Ron Gremban's cost of electricity (8.5 cents/kiloWatt hour) gives a cost of 3.4 cents/mile. Multiply this times that 18 miles/gallon and you have the equivalent of $0.61/gallon gas. Take Pacific Gas and Electric's EV (electric vehicle) rate of 5 cents/kWh and you get 36 cents/gallon.

EPRI's 2003 report showed that nickel-metal batteries designed 5 years ago for Toyota RAV4Es turned out to last over 125,000 miles, not the expected 75,000 miles. This meant the lifetime TCO (total cost of ownership) of a plug-in hybrid was lower than any other vehicle. Their new study will be out shortly. For a long discussion of battery issues (we think they ARE ready now) see message on our Open Source-style Conversion Discussion Group: http://autos.groups.yahoo.com/group/priusplus/message/468

Paul's post:--------... (Below threshold)

Paul's post:

Eric said:
>This technology is HERE today.

GREAT! Go buy one!

Then Eric said in the very same breath...
>Just needs to be developed, and it so happens it's being developed by hobbyists.

OH, so it's NOT here today.

I'd debunk you Eric but you did that yourself in the same paragraph.

Then Eric added to the confusion:
>If you don't believe this, then you're a dinosaur.

Eric, you're a dinosaur.

No, you are! Nice comeback for a first grader, Paul, but I'd expect more from a respected blogger. And sorry to "confuse" you with my assertion that technology which is here today is constantly under development.

Are you not aware that technology is constantly developed, and re-developed, with more and more innovation?

This 'plug-in' hybrid technology is already here, created by hobbyists, but further development is needed to bring it into production for the mass market. However, I could have one today if I wanted to spend the money.

If that's hard for you to understand, then maybe science isn't your thing to be reporting on?

what about this aircar??: w... (Below threshold)

what about this aircar??: www.theaircar.com why aren't these in every garage

Llamas,I repsect y... (Below threshold)


I repsect your mathematical breakdown on the costs of electricity versus the cost of gasoline. However, that misses the point here. The issue is we're running out of gas, and it's getting more expensive, so we need an alternative, a way to replace the gasoline, or at least substitute for it part of the time.

The point of a 'plug-in' hybrid is to add extra battery power that decreases the need for gasoline for the first 20 miles of each day. Since the average American drives 30-40 miles a day, this is going to greatly improve fuel efficiency, no? And this is just the start of the idea. Suppose you could charge the car enough to handle the first 40 miles of driving each day?

If you're worried about "wholesale electricity costs", then install a solar panel on your house. Then the electricity that fills your car will be "free", although as stated above, there is no free lunch, especially with an upfront cost of installing a solar panel (however that energy can also be used to power your home, which is a completely different discussion, but it's also another technology that's being used today).

I realize "free" is a relative term, but it would be nice not to have to worry about the price of oil at $65/barrel. I have no control over that, but I do have control if the solar panels on my home help power my car each day.

Many of the cost analyses for powering cars is done in comparison to how relatively "cheap" gas is, although its prices are growing day by day, and we could be running out of it this century. Maybe we shouldn't be relating it to gas prices anymore? I realize that gas is what we have to work with TODAY, but times are changing, and so is technology.

"Saving energy" is not what we're talking about here. Nor are we talking about an "energy crisis". We'll always be the least energy efficient country on the planet, nothing will change that. What we're talking about here is lowering our reliance on gasoline, and therefore increasing our self-reliance as a nation.

Most people shoot down these types of conversations because they're "pie in the sky" thinking, or because we already have "cheap sources of energy" to fuel our cars. But the technology that will change things is here. I understand that living as a consumer in Today's World, that I woke up today and realized: "The cheapest way for me to get to work is to put gas in my car." That's the way the infrastructure is setup. That's the consumer market at work, but it does take time to change people's thoughts about things, such as personal transportation, and while articles like the AP's "250mpg car" are indulgent, they serve a very valuable purpose.

In my opinion, this AP article does way more of a service than a disservice in that it attempts to change people's thought patterns, and get them thinking about their next purchase of an automobile. While the 500mpg carburetor was a myth, a 250mpg hybrid is a reality today, if only as a prototype.

Some day my car (along with millions of other people's) will break down, and a new one is needed. Hybrid cars do not cost more than many other cars on the highway today, so the "too much up front cost" argument doesn't fly. The next car I buy will be a hybrid because it uses less gas, and that will be better on my pocketbook in the long term. If I MUST buy a car (and we all do) then why not buy one that will cost me less to use day by day?

I'm at a loss as to how add... (Below threshold)

I'm at a loss as to how adding batteries ups the vehicle efficiency. Batteries are notoriously heavy, in Joules/kg, compared to gasoline.

llamas correctly points out that .25 cents will get you about 3 kW/hrs of electricity, which is used to charge a NiMH battery at 66% efficiency, meaning you've got 2 kW/hrs in the battery. This will be used in an electric motor at about 90% efficiency, meaning you've got 1800 Watt hours applied to the wheels. If drained during the first hour, that's just providing 2.4 horsepower (1 hp = 746 watts). In comparison, the Toyota Prius is a 98 hp vehicle, with the electric motor providing up to 44 hp, so the 44 hp motor could drain the extra battery charge in about 3 minutes and 15 seconds.

Yet good NiMH batteries can only store about 80 Wh/kg, so that extra 2.4 hp added 50 lbs to the vehicle. If you wanted a full hour of battery time at its potential 44 hp you'd need 32,824 watt hours, weighing 410 kg or 902 lbs. This would bring the 2921 lb Toyota Prius to 3823 lbs, making it 31% heavier even without the extra framework to support all the extra weight.

In theory you're saving energy. In reality your hauling around a half ton of dead weight, which is why we use gasoline, which stores 44 MJ/kg, or 12,000 Wh/kg instead of the 0.288 MJ/kg storage capacity of NiMH. -- Gasoline offers 150 times the energy per unit mass, important when you have to haul all your fuel around.

One thing you're all missin... (Below threshold)

One thing you're all missing - 80mpg that costs $3000 has a break-even point of over 40,000 miles at $2.60/gallon if your current car gets 25mpg. If the upgrade were free you'd save $70/month if you drove 1000 miles/month. No real big financial incentives as it stands now...

Mr. Gremban is getting 96 m... (Below threshold)
Jim Smith:

Mr. Gremban is getting 96 mpg with his modified Prius. Nevertheless, the technology is viable enough that Toyota is looking at it.


The general handwringing ne... (Below threshold)

The general handwringing negativity about this article is misplaced. All such developments are expensive in their prototype stages, but these engineers deserve applause for expanding the hybrid paradigm. Those eco-warriors who diss this innovation should also check out the Union of Concerned Scientists UCSUSA website under 'plug-in hybrids'. We do need to know how much it costs to charge the additional batteries [but it appears to be a small amount], we do need mass-production to bring down the costs, and of course we do need solar & wind power generation of electricity. But why the whining guys? Quite soon oil will hit $80 a barrel and then move onwards towards $100. Dont we know this is Peak Oil time? The world is changing faster than politicians and economists can imagine.

Like Omg!!!!! Liek totally<... (Below threshold)

Like Omg!!!!! Liek totally

ummm just to add - the elec... (Below threshold)

ummm just to add - the electric hybrid that exists and is in development (as I watched it on 60 mins with the representative from Toyota speaking on development plans) gets 1000 miles to the tank and though does not get 250 mpg it does get around 100 mpg and that sure is a hell of a start. That would cut my gas bill 70-100 a month. Even now it is possible to soon get the battery accessory pack added to the Toyota Prius, though they said it would be best to wait as the technology can be brought down dramtically in cost. The cost of charging the litium battery pack at night equals that of running a hairdryer for 15 mins. Hate to burst your negative bubble, but the 100 mpg hybrid in hitting the market - I suspect the 250 mpg is not all that far away ..

What made me laugh is when ... (Below threshold)

What made me laugh is when I went to California on holiday and I saw advertisments boasting about some new car that could manage a measly 35 mpg. Over here in England my dad drives a 1998 Audi A4 1.9 TDI turbo diesel. Out of the factory it gets 70 miles to the gallon, and it is fast as hell too! I cant understand why this technology isnt in the states yet. By the way the gas over here costs the equivilent to $10.00 a gallon. OUCH!!

Well, I SUPPOSE that the ga... (Below threshold)
Fly by guest:

Well, I SUPPOSE that the gas made today, which burns at about a 14/1 air/fuel ratio COULD be made to burn at a 75/1 air/fuel ratio. did they invent metals that won't melt? How do they melt it to make motors?

What's the compression ratio?

It must have one kick ass starter to turn it over, probably bigger than the engine in my regular deadly greenhouse gas producing 2.0 Chevy Crap-o-lier.

How does it NOT violate the law of thermodynamics?

(Do reporters even know what that means?)

(I thought co2 was needed for plants to grow?)

Maybe if we could stop leftist moonbats from breathing and their MSM enablers from printing retarded articles about everything we can save the world from complete (bubble bursting) retardation.

high mpg is no big deal. st... (Below threshold)

high mpg is no big deal. start with an lpg systom and bild a new evap. you must heat gas to 450 f to fully vaporize it. liquid gas will not burn. This is a simple little thing that will blow your mind. have fun.

high mpg is no big deal. st... (Below threshold)

high mpg is no big deal. start with an lpg systom and bild a new evap. you must heat gas to 450 f to fully vaporize it. liquid gas will not burn. This is a simple little thing that will blow your mind. have fun. this never gets posted, I aredy know that.

Dear popsfixit:I h... (Below threshold)

Dear popsfixit:

I have considered modifying the evap/purge system on my car in efforts to deliver more vaporized fuel and deliver less liquid fuel to the engine. I'm also curious to see how the computer reacts & what results I may see regarding mpg and/or performance.. I plan to try the first leg of mods today.

I'd like to learn more details about your idea and share some of my ideas. Email me at: [email protected]


and my 11 MPG SUV averages ... (Below threshold)

and my 11 MPG SUV averages 50 MPG when I only drive downhill !






Follow Wizbang

Follow Wizbang on FacebookFollow Wizbang on TwitterSubscribe to Wizbang feedWizbang Mobile


Send e-mail tips to us:

[email protected]

Fresh Links


Section Editor: Maggie Whitton

Editors: Jay Tea, Lorie Byrd, Kim Priestap, DJ Drummond, Michael Laprarie, Baron Von Ottomatic, Shawn Mallow, Rick, Dan Karipides, Michael Avitablile, Charlie Quidnunc, Steve Schippert

Emeritus: Paul, Mary Katherine Ham, Jim Addison, Alexander K. McClure, Cassy Fiano, Bill Jempty, John Stansbury, Rob Port

In Memorium: HughS

All original content copyright © 2003-2010 by Wizbang®, LLC. All rights reserved. Wizbang® is a registered service mark.

Powered by Movable Type Pro 4.361

Hosting by ServInt

Ratings on this site are powered by the Ajax Ratings Pro plugin for Movable Type.

Search on this site is powered by the FastSearch plugin for Movable Type.

Blogrolls on this site are powered by the MT-Blogroll.

Temporary site design is based on Cutline and Cutline for MT. Graphics by Apothegm Designs.

Author Login

Terms Of Service

DCMA Compliance Notice

Privacy Policy