A Commentator From Automotive News/ Europe. Very Interesting Reading:
Marketing, not logic, drives demand for hybrids
Automotive News | October 8, 2007 - 12:01 am EST
Combining a gasoline engine and an electric motor to power a vehicle is the most ineffective and most expensive method of cuttong carbon dioxide emissions.
If pure logic had been the only determinant, not a single hybrid vehicle would have been on display at the Frankfurt auto show this year — not even from Toyota.
The reason: Combining a gasoline engine and an electric motor to power a vehicle is the most ineffective and most expensive method of cutting carbon dioxide emissions.
It costs the buyer of a hybrid vehicle in Europe 1,000 euros (about $1,425) to block the emission of one ton of CO2. But just $710 will achieve the same savings by using an advanced diesel or gasoline direct-injection engine.
The consumer pays:
So much for the economic expertise of pro-environment politicians, who are happy to conceal the fact that the consumer will be picking up the tab for the extra expense.
But it's well-known that rational thought doesn't always shape political resolve.
It's also clear that for a long time, consumers have been buying vehicles they really don't need, whether a seven-seat van or a high-riding SUV or, worse yet, a combination of both.
Consumers often demand certain features and never use them. If Porsche had delivered the Cayenne with just rear-wheel drive, chances are that just 1 percent of consumers would have noticed.
So why not a hybrid drive? It's about as helpful to the environment as a Volkswagen Touareg with heavy-duty four-wheel drive is useful on flat terrain.
But as long as the customer is ready to spend thousands of dollars on superfluous features, why not?
In the end, the success of hybrid drive is a success of marketing.
Buy the kid a bike:
A few weeks ago, an executive informed me that her son would not let her drive him to school in an Audi Q7 because of the climate debate. In response, she gave up her company car and now drives “a boring station wagon.”
A “hybrid” emblem on the trunk might have reconciled her son with the Q7, she thought.
I would have handed him a bicycle.