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Justin VP
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If something sounds too good to be true... Wow, lots of people jumping the gun on this. IT'S A PAPER. Wait until it's been proven through real life testing and extensive abuse before declaring the end of all other storage regimes. Yes, this is promising and exciting. Don't forget, it's still in the laboratory stage. Cost, durability, safety, scalability, constructability, cold weather performance... lots to be verified before this can be considered a real technology. My caution aside, it sure seems like a good UC like this could mate well to a bank of batteries to allow better regen from braking.
@ Stan, You talking about features, which only matter to engineers. Features don't matter unless they provide a benefit. The benefits of this car, good mileage, it feels like it's high quality (been in a Hyundai lately?), and competitive price are why folks are buzzing, and other companies are quaking.
Lots of big claims in here, which makes one very skeptical as to whether any of it is real or not. Smells like vapor.
Glad to see my city is finally getting on board. With our cheap electric via hydro, and strong tech sector, you'd think we'd be leaders in this area, but for some reason we lag a bit.
Hydrogen fuell cells make more sense on farm equip than they do on commuter cars. I agree with much of what the article says. Farmers already have their diesel trucked in, so bringing in a tanker to refill the hydrogen isn't really any different. They'd need 10+ hours run time on a refill, or have their own mobile refilling trailer. Making your own via wind, etc. seems like wishful thinking for all but the largest factory farms. Cost of equipment would be insane for the benefit. I guess you could have a huge 3megawatt wind turbine installed if you're sited well for wind, but then you'd probably just want to sell it back to the utility, and you wouldn't own the equipment anyway. It would be way more efficient to just pull from the grid, and use a grid with a good ratio of renewables. This is another example where smart metering would be very efficient. Reform your hydrogen at night while excess baseload exists and power is cheap.
Nice that Ford finally has a V6 full size truck. To those who question towing with a V6, well our old 2-ton farm trucks are 6 cylinders and can tow 15,000 lbs or so. Yes, they're very slow and not particularly efficient. Towing capability is about transmission strength and cooling, not power. My dream truck for my business is still a small 4 cyl Ranger with a sturdy 6 speed automatic transmission - gas or diesel, I don't care, just give me decent mileage. Tow 4000 lbs and get 30 mpg hwy. I have a feeling I'm not the only business owner who would love this setup. I think with the Transit Connect now in the US that Ford realizes this and might have something in the works. Here's hoping. It also seems to me that they could mate the Escape hybrid platform to a durable 6sp tranny and drop it in a Ranger. That would be even better.
It bugs me that car companies and the media all just use hwy mileage in these articles, when most of the driving public does at least 60% of their driving with a city profile. I'd rather see how Hyundai stacks up in city mileage or 60/40 combined. A mid sized 4 cylinder usually get's low 20's for mileage, and this is where hybrids really outperform.
Towing? I rarely see an Explorer towing anything more than a herd of kids to soccer practice. The soft suspensions make towing anything heavy a bit dodgy, anyway. I bet Ford will offer a V6 with plenty of power and towing capacity if that's what the buyer wants. I'm still waiting for a Ranger 4x4 with the Ecoboost 4cyl engine and 6 speed auto transmission. I'd really like one as a work truck. A bit smaller than the current ranger wouldn't hurt either. It seems like 30mpg hwy in a small 4x4 shouldn't be all that hard... but no one is doing it in the U.S.
If the diesel is 35% better than it's predecessor, it'll still only get about 18 mpg. The 6.0 gets 14-15 (real life driving, not EPA).
Its a good improvement over the 6.0 Ford, which got abysmal mileage compared to GM and Dodge/Cummins. We have a 6.0 Ford diesel as a work truck, and it's really thirsty. Should have bought the GM or a gas engine. I'm still not sure why they're making these things with 385 HP. 225 HP and a good transmission will haul anything you need to haul. None of us come close to using all the power these trucks have, even when hauling 10,000 lbs of equipment. At least give us a smaller diesel alternative that is more thrifty, and cheaper to buy. Sometimes I get the feeling that those of us buying these for business use are in the minority. They're just a luxury car (complete with leather and fancy stereo) to most buyers.
If the differentiation argument was as strong as you imply then the original Honda Insight would have sold in higher numbers. Differentiation is certainly a selling point for some buyers. But I have heard anecdotal evidence from several buyers that they avoided the Prius because of image and styling. My wife is one, she opted for an Acura TSX even though the efficiency of the Prius was very desirable to her. I believe the success of the Prius is primarily due to the fact that it is a very good, practical, reliable very efficient car. If the other cars on this list are, good, reliable, efficient, then they may sell very well. I personally look forward to the Focus, but have doubts as to whether VW can build a reliable hybrid. They're not exactly good at building reliable electrical systems.
I think this is great. An idea doesn't have to actually work out to be important. Car mfr's will learn a lot in the process, and maybe it'll be the next best thing. The car will probably be a wee bit expensive, since we all know that batteries aren't yet ready for primetime at a reasonable cost. But it'll still sell to early adopters, and you need a first step before a second step. And those of you who think this is a terrible idea, just don't buy one. Consumers vote with their pocketbooks. EVs, REVs, Hybrids, etc... bring them all to market and see what makes the most sense. None of of know yet what the best option for the future will be. On my part, I'm sure enjoying watching the evolution of transport. In the big scheme of things, there's a fast change happening right now, and what makes it fun is that we really don't know how it'll shake out.
It's nice to see Silicon Valley types getting into the auto business. Their influence could be a game changer by bringing an eagerness for fresh thinking and innovative ideas. However, I think the venture capital types might be a bit surprised at how hard, expensive, and slow it is to build up an effective auto company. That said, if anyone can do it, I bet they can.
Demonizing Venture Capital is just silly. They take investor money and make high-risk bets based on the soundness of a technology and the quality of the startups management team. Without VC, how would good ideas make it off the ground? They have the potential to make a lot of money, which gives them the ability to invest in 10 firms that will fail for every one that will succeed. Without the ability to fail, a new technology will never get off the ground. If the government wants to fund certain initiatives, they can, and then it's a nice 1-2 punch in combination with VCs. Both have a role to play, but VC does a much better job of evaluating promising technology that politicians who are primarily bringing home the bacon and secondarily looking for good technology to support. The other option is to just let huge businesses do all the innovation. The banking mess shows how well that can work.
What does "20 miles per gallon diesel equivalent" even mean? Phrases like this really twist my trousers and make suspect hype and spin. I am hoping that electric bus drivetrains become commercially viable. Low soot, low noise, low carbon - there really seems to be a lot of upside. They just need to get past the cost and range issues. Easier said than done, I know.