Electric cars vs. plug-in hybrids: Which gets better economy?

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Thread: Electric cars vs. plug-in hybrids: Which gets better economy?

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    Electric cars vs. plug-in hybrids: Which gets better economy?

    Electric cars vs. plug-in hybrids: Which gets better economy?
    By David Booth, Postmedia News

    The automobile industry’s Holy Grail, the search for the alternative to the traditional internal combustion engine, is proving much more elusive than even a full-blown skeptic might had imagined. Electric vehicle sales have been a disaster. Hybrid sales, despite being 15 years on the market and with tons of positive publicity, account for less than 3% of the North American vehicle market. Indeed, if you take Toyota’s immensely successful lineup of Prius models out of the equation, sales of all types of “electrified” vehicles have been incredibly disappointing.

    :

    Thankfully (OK, hopefully), we at Driving are in the illumination business and, in the interest of providing clarity, recently tested Chevrolet’s latest extended-range Volt versus the brand-new plug-in version of Toyota’s Prius. We also brought along a couple of conventional cars — Ford’s Fusion, with its much touted EcoBoost 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine, and Audi’s A3, with its slightly less conventional 2.0L TDI turbodiesel — to provide a baseline for all our fuel economy measurements. And while we can’t guarantee our explanations and test results will be free of complication, we can promise that, if you manage to wade through all the fuel economy ratings contained herein, there will be some of that promised clarity.

    :

    FINAL THOUGHTS

    In the final analysis, each of these cars will find their acolytes. The Chevrolet is by far the more elegant engineering solution. It is a true electric vehicle with the backup of a gas engine to quell one’s range anxiety. But, because it offers both full electric and gasoline powertrains, it is significantly heavier than the Prius (1,715 kilograms versus 1,435, thanks mostly to that humongous under-seat battery), hence its off-electricity fuel consumption disadvantage. For much the same reason, it’s also more expensive; the PHEV Prius is cheaper ($35,700 base MSRP versus $42,000) and offers more standard equipment.

    On the other hand, the Prius’ interior is not as nicely finished as the Volt’s, nor is its highway comportment as refined. And frugal it may be, but for the first 50 kilometres or so it can’t match the Chevy’s emission-free motoring. Indeed, the most telling figure in this comparison of extended-range electric vehicle and plug-in hybrid technology is this:

    The very best fuel economy we saw on the Prius’s readout — 1.8 L/100 km during one of its initial 22-km “EV” sessions — was what our test Volt has averaged in its lifetime.

    Essentially, the Prius plug-in is the ultimate evolution of the hybrid technology that has been the primary “alternative” automotive solution of the last 15 years. It is everything the current leader in automotive “green” knows about making a hybrid. The Volt, on the other hand, is the industry’s first look at what is sure to be an even more electrified future.

    More at link.
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    GMI Contributor Premium Member zete's Avatar
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    Re: Electric cars vs. plug-in hybrids: Which gets better economy?

    Essentially, the Prius plug-in is the ultimate evolution of the hybrid technology that has been the primary “alternative” automotive solution of the last 15 years. It is everything the current leader in automotive “green” knows about making a hybrid. The Volt, on the other hand, is the industry’s first look at what is sure to be an even more electrified future.
    That's what I've been saying for years. Nice to see the media starting to state the same truth.

    I do love the fact that during their long term tests of each the Prius's best EV-rated fuel economy was 1.8l/100km which is what the journalists experienced over the lifetime of their Volt tester.

    For the curious, after 17 months and nearly 27,000km we're averaging 1.5l/100km (that's 2 winters, 1 summer). By the time the car is 2 years old in late October we figure it'll average about 1.3l/100km or so. I'd love to get to 1l/100km but considering the longer trips we do in summer, I doubt it. Note that after the first full year of driving we averaged 1.4l/100km.
    "Christians should not hold dumb opinions about the natural world based solely on misreadings of the Bible, especially opinions that can be demonstrably falsified by Reason, lest the Faith be subject to ridicule and mockery." -- St. Augustine of Hippo.

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    Re: Electric cars vs. plug-in hybrids: Which gets better economy?

    Carmakers are still trying to work out how much electrification is required,
    the truth is that it's not just one car or one specific amount.

    The whole point is to eliminate fuel usage and replace it with electric power,
    so the only questions remaining are how much do you replace and how much does it cost.

    Another market to explore is the performance hybrid/Electric vehicle which might consist of a Camaro
    with say, a Voltec battery, a 400 hp electric motor and a North/South version of Volt's I-4.
    Such a vehicle would have breath taking performance thanks to the electric motors and the ability
    in "HP mode" to replenish the battery on the run if needed whilst also providing the "run flat" safety net.
    Last edited by jpd80; 04-12-2013 at 06:21 PM.

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    Re: Electric cars vs. plug-in hybrids: Which gets better economy?

    A few points for thought
    they IMHO redefined an EV to cover the VOLT as a TRUE EV would FAIL to finish there test runs
    "B" the VOLT would not NEED the FULL 10 HR charge every night for AVERAGE users as MOST people do NOT commute 50+ K a day and if a commute averages 20-30K there is plenty of EV range after for runs to the shops ETC
    "3" the TRUE EV would require a DEDICATED 240V charge wiring which is a few Grand at the minimum and MORE if your panel/ wiring to the Garage/stall is not up to the task and that should be a cost add on not REQUIRED for the VOLT OR PiP
    "4" I see the PiP as the furthest extension of Parallel Hybrid drive and the VOLT is a "clean sheet" look at a BETTER hybrid not a better Battery EV car and GM's insistence the VOLT is an EV IMHO is doing more harm as most People I know think/thought the VOLT is like the leaf and BATT goes dead so does the car and most people get Hybrid but with 50+ K range B4 the engine kicks in

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    Re: Electric cars vs. plug-in hybrids: Which gets better economy?

    Quote Originally Posted by richmond2000 View Post
    "3" the TRUE EV would require a DEDICATED 240V charge wiring which is a few Grand at the minimum and MORE if your panel/ wiring to the Garage/stall is not up to the task and that should be a cost add on not REQUIRED for the VOLT OR PiP
    Several thousand dollars to run the equivalent of a clothes dryer or hot tub circuit to your garage? Or does that include the price of the charger?

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    Re: Electric cars vs. plug-in hybrids: Which gets better economy?

    Is it possible to use three phase Industrial power as a supply for a Fast charger option?

    I know the current crop of PHEVS and EVs are not set up for it but that could make a difference at charging stations.

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    Re: Electric cars vs. plug-in hybrids: Which gets better economy?

    On a cost-benefit-enjoyment basis, I say a diesel wins hands down. I just drove an Audi A8 diesel. First one the dealer got. It was a blast. Felt like a big old Detroit mobile from take off. Wafted along with great ease. And when you put your foot into it the low deep rumble of the engine is marvelous.

    Oh, and EPA 24/36. In a huge, luxurious beast of a car. Sheer pleasure.

    Nonetheless, the Cadillac ELR intrigues. Advanced drive systems are a luxury. Why shouldn't they be in luxury cars?

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    Re: Electric cars vs. plug-in hybrids: Which gets better economy?

    Quote Originally Posted by jbelant View Post
    Several thousand dollars to run the equivalent of a clothes dryer or hot tub circuit to your garage? Or does that include the price of the charger?
    I was going "ALL IN" with the charger and MOST Garages I have seen or dealt with are 15A 120V so a NEW cable needs to be trenched + new breakers and works permits ETC
    Quote Originally Posted by jpd80 View Post
    Is it possible to use three phase Industrial power as a supply for a Fast charger option?

    I know the current crop of PHEVS and EVs are not set up for it but that could make a difference at charging stations.
    YES and NO
    the Yes as in you could transform it into split phase 220 OR power a DC QUICK charger on 3 phase
    NO you can NOT put 3 PHASE directly into the car
    Last edited by richmond2000; 04-12-2013 at 09:51 PM.

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    Re: Electric cars vs. plug-in hybrids: Which gets better economy?

    Quote Originally Posted by richmond2000 View Post
    TRUE EV would require a DEDICATED 240V charge wiring which is a few Grand at the minimum and MORE if your panel/ wiring to the Garage/stall is not up to the task and that should be a cost add on not REQUIRED for the VOLT OR PiP
    While I see your point and agree with your point. I had a 240V 3.3KW EVSE installed at my house for ~$1300 and that included the EVSE and installation by an Electrician. (It actually cost me ~$650 because our provincial government gave me back 50%). This cost is not uncommon. But In my case the run was short and I had room in my pannel. For some people the installation could be much more expensive.

    Quote Originally Posted by jpd80 View Post
    Is it possible to use three phase Industrial power as a supply for a Fast charger option?

    I know the current crop of PHEVS and EVs are not set up for it but that could make a difference at charging stations.
    Battery's charge using DC voltage. The charger built into the car converts the AC voltage to DC. The vast majority of homes don't have access to three phase power so building a charger in a car to accommodate it is not practical. Currently there is new charging standards for direct DC fast charging. This to me makes more sense as this reduces the needed hardware on the car. Many of these DC fast charging stations (located in commercial or industrial locations) will likely be fed using three phase AC voltage. The Spark EV will be the first EV from General Motors to support the new SAE DC fast charging standard.
    Last edited by MechEng; 04-12-2013 at 09:57 PM.
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    Re: Electric cars vs. plug-in hybrids: Which gets better economy?

    There's a whole lot of analysis of EV's and electrification just based on the first baby steps we've seen so far. People want to make these big pronouncements about flops and failures and so on to act like Big Daddy Journalists, when we've barely seen the potential of electrification. IMO, Volt 2.0 will likely be a bigger game changer than Volt 1.0, maybe breaking into Prius sales territory. Plus what if something drives gasoline prices up a couple of bucks along with perhaps increased worry about the pounding effects of global warming (clearly the public's attention on that is trending upward)? Things could shift a lot faster toward the EV and its variants than most people are predicting. I actually think there's a better than 50/50 chance of that trend shift occurring before the end of this decade.

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    Re: Electric cars vs. plug-in hybrids: Which gets better economy?

    Everything except the actual drivetrain can and should be emphasized for running off of electric. Current designs in most cars could easily allow for electric power steering, electric cooling fans, accessories, etc. and it would all help improve economy without implementing these stratospherically complex hybrid systems that nobody wants and can't afford anyway if they did want one.
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    Re: Electric cars vs. plug-in hybrids: Which gets better economy?

    As useful as this test is, the problem with it comes down to this.

    Markets are too unfamiliar with range extended electric vehicles or plug in hybrid vehicles. What set of testing can a consumer group use in order to get results that are the most applicable to the average consumers. While a lot of people may go on a 200KM trip often (124 miles for those who are not too familiar with metric) normal trips do not often include these ranges. The average miles driven per day is around 36 miles a day (really this estimate comes down to whos data you use and what parameters you use). The truth is, in taking that into consideration then suddenly the 10,000 miles between tank stories make sense (though these may be on the extreme side). What seems to be normal though is people average 200+MPG with their Volt, suddenly that overly optimistic 230MPG marketing push makes sense. My daily commute involves 18 miles of driving a day to and from work and maybe some local driving which would amount to 3-5 miles. AT the most I may drive 23 miles a day with some rare trips exceeding 80 miles both ways. Fact is for me I would get much lower fuel consumption in Chevy Volt then I would in a Toyota Prius plug in.

    On the flip side if I commuted much longer (this article states that 160KM is a turn point to when the Toyota becomes cheaper) that may be different. Though at 160KM (about 100 miles) even my longer trips wouldn't break that point. Really the only counter argument in this case to the Chevy Volt over the Toyota Prius plug in vehicle would be the Nissan Leaf. There is always the counter argument of, what if I want to do something like drive to Las Vegas for a quick week end trip (something that I can not do in the Leaf). Truth be told I don't even like Vegas that much however this is something that one would have to consider. Though maybe it makes more sense to rent a car for longer trips like that, or even better high speed rail (if and when it gets built).

    I guess if you drive 100+ miles a day and do regular trips over the range of the Nissan Leaf then at the moment the Toyota Prius plug in vehicle makes sense. If you drive less then 90 miles a day and never ever make long trips then the Nissan Leaf. If you drive about 30-40 miles a day and make long trips from time to time then the Chevy Volt is the obvious shoe in.

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    Re: Electric cars vs. plug-in hybrids: Which gets better economy?

    I know this is only in California But what about the New Fiat 500E? combined millage of 116mpge

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    Re: Electric cars vs. plug-in hybrids: Which gets better economy?

    Quote Originally Posted by MechEng View Post
    While I see your point and agree with your point. I had a 240V 3.3KW EVSE installed at my house for ~$1300 and that included the EVSE and installation by an Electrician. (It actually cost me ~$650 because our provincial government gave me back 50%). This cost is not uncommon. But In my case the run was short and I had room in my pannel. For some people the installation could be much more expensive.
    I read 2K put out there and it was $1500 to add 50A service to my Garage for a welder ETC

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    Re: Electric cars vs. plug-in hybrids: Which gets better economy?

    Quote Originally Posted by richmond2000 View Post
    I read 2K put out there and it was $1500 to add 50A service to my Garage for a welder ETC
    It depends on location and your abilities. I installed the Voltec myself with a total outlay (PVC conduit, wire, and charger) for $540. It is mounted a couple of feet from my breaker box in the garage. The 220V charger is an option and, for the average commuter, is not needed. One thing people have to remember is the Volt doesn't need to be tethered and can be your only car. I would like to see improvement in the fuel economy, but it beats a lot of gas cars in that category as well.

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