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New Speed Record For Hybrid Cars

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  • The FASTEST...erm... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Sensible Clod (771142) <(dc-7) (at) (charter.net)> on Sunday December 26, 2004 @08:26PM (#11187757) Homepage
    actually, it's the only hybrid ever entered. In fact, they had to convince the people to open a new category in order to allow the vehicle, because it has more than one 'engine'. IIRC, it may also have been because the other 'engine' (elec. motor) doesn't 'use conventional fuel'.
    • by skywire (469351) on Sunday December 26, 2004 @08:55PM (#11187973)
      The so-called 'hybrids' use nothing but 'conventional fuel', albeit in an unconventional manner. For marketing purposes, the manufacturers lead the public to believe that they derive part of their energy from combustion of petrol and part "from electricity", which is meaningless but impressive to the average consumer, who doesn't stop to ask why, if that is so, he is not having to charge up his car every night.

      Our local newspaper recently published a glowing 'news story' (a regurgitation of marketing hype) written by a dreamy-eyed reporter who clearly believed that somehow there was a second energy source besides petrol involved. He even claimed that as long as a 'hybrid' was driven below a certain speed, it consumed no petrol (Lest I be flamed, let me make it clear that I am well aware that a 'hybrid' can switch its internal combustion engine on and off as needed while drawing current from the storage cells. The reporter's claim went far beyond that. If he were to be believed, we could all drive around for free the rest of our lives as long as we kept our speed under a certain threshold.)
      • by oozer (132881) on Sunday December 26, 2004 @10:09PM (#11188370)
        amen, somebody please mod the above post up.

        I read an article on here some time ago where somebody declared that a future depicted full of hydrogen powered vehicles was a "cruel hoax" and that hybrid cars were the best hope for the short to medium term. I can't comment of whether we'll ever be able to manufacture hydrogen in large enough quantites viably, but if you examine the facts, hybrid cars are the cruelest hoax that presents the car buyer today. Hybrid performance is awful in current models - that may improve with better battery technology (the electric motor is the easy part). However the gas mileage these things get is a joke. The Prius gets about 45mpg in realistic useage (based on the independent reviews I've read). That's worse than most european diesel cars get - diesel cars that have decent performance and aren't made of plastic in an attempt to compensate for the weight of lugging two complete power sources about all the time. Oh yes, and they're a helluva lot cheaper to make for the same reason.

        That's not to say I'm a big fan of diesels before anyone starts laying into them and me for all the problems they have. My point is that the hybrid cars claim of being an enviromentally friendly choice is a joke when it gets worse mileage than cars Peugot were making 10 years ago. Still, if it lets the rich people who can afford them feel better that's OK, as long as everyone else realises they are just a PR effort on the part of car manufacturers to make it appear like they give a damn.
        • by LiamQ (110676)

          However the gas mileage these things get is a joke. The Prius gets about 45mpg in realistic useage (based on the independent reviews I've read).

          For any car, fuel economy varies depending on the driver's habits (e.g., accelerating to a red light) and the driving conditions (e.g., snow). When you hear people complain that they get less than the rated fuel economy, consider that it's probably the driver, not the car. A driver who gets 20% worse than the rated fuel economy in a hybrid would probably also

        • by Dominic_Mazzoni (125164) on Monday December 27, 2004 @01:06AM (#11189185) Homepage
          The Prius gets about 45mpg in realistic useage (based on the independent reviews I've read). That's worse than most european diesel cars get - diesel cars that have decent performance and aren't made of plastic in an attempt to compensate for the weight of lugging two complete power sources about all the time. Oh yes, and they're a helluva lot cheaper to make for the same reason.

          I have a Prius, and you're right, I do get about 45 mpg. Keep in mind, though, that diesel is currently a little bit better than hybrid technology in terms of efficiency, but it lags far behind in terms of emissions...the hybrid is far, far better for the environment.

          Also, I fail to see how hybrid and diesel are mutually exclusive. Many of the technological breakthroughs that Toyota and Honda have pioneered in making their hybrid engines could be used with diesel engines, too, right? Regenerative braking, continuously variable transmission, fast-starting and stopping of the engine - there's no reason these can't be eventually used in virtually every automobile.
      • by jeif1k (809151)
        For marketing purposes, the manufacturers lead the public to believe that they derive part of their energy from combustion of petrol and part "from electricity", which is meaningless but impressive to the average consumer, who doesn't stop to ask why, if that is so, he is not having to charge up his car every night.

        Fortunately, most consumers know that the "from electricity" part is far from meaningless. Quite to the contrary: it enables regenerative braking, low-end torque, and instant startup/shutdown.
      • by ph43drus (12754) on Monday December 27, 2004 @04:31AM (#11189889)
        The parent is right that the cars only get their energy from gasoline. However, there is a deeper efficiency story here that just isn't as quick and easy a sound bite as "getting your car's energy from two sources---gas and electricity"---which is an awful marketroid half-truth.

        Anyway, to clarify on hybrids:

        The efficiency story goes like this: your normally car engine sucks as far as efficiency is concerned. This is because they have to operate over a wide range of speed and power requirements. Eg. from just taking off from a dead stop to running up a hill at 70mph or more. A spark engine can get to be about 30% efficient (this is from memory, it might even be up to 40%, I'd have to go look it up, and I'm feeling lazy ;). But anyway, the point is, that because of the requirements put on the spark engine in a car, it has to be designed for maximum power output, and this means for most driving the highest efficiency a car engine can attain is 20% (this would be for a tiny Japanese car which is engineered for fuel efficiency, like a Toyota Tercel or Honda Civic, other cars, like most SUVs, perform worse).

        The trick with the hybrids like the Prius is that they have the battery+electric motor to supplement the gas engine. So, the designers can do something important: they can pick a median power output (much below maximum required power output), and design the spark engine to be maximally efficient for that power output. This allows them to get the 30-40% efficiency out of the gas engine mentioned above. The hybrid only ever runs the gas engine at this power output. If this is too much, the electric motor run the wheels. If this is too little, the motor and the engine drive the wheels. If the batteries are getting low, the gas engine drives the electric motor to charge the batteries. When braking, part of the axel motion is used to drive the electric motor and charge the batteries (reclaiming some of the energy already expended to be reused---this is the regenerative braking that others have mentioned). Note: the designers at Toyota and Honda have taken advantage of the fact that an electric motor and generator are merely the same device, which one it functions as depends on which end the energy comes in, so there is no separate generator. (And if it occurs to you that the clutching system would be complicated because of this, you're right.)

        As far as being able to charge up your hybrid, there are some experimental models with that feature. You might eventually be able to do that; so if you just drive around town, you'd only rarely have to fill your tank (however, this feature requires that the bank of batteries is bigger, and 50% of the electricity in the US comes from coal, so the pollution/energy expenditure could end up being worse off the wall charge, depending on where your power comes from ;).

        Jeff
    • A stock Honda Accord Hybrid with 3.0L engine (255 HP) would fucking eat that. They won't even have to remove the interior, raise the voltage, or lower it 5 inches.
      • They won't even have to remove the interior, raise the voltage, or lower it 5 inches.

        Darn straight. Add 1 "R-Type" sticker to the trunk (or hatchback, if you lean that way) lid and you're all set, bucky.

        -Adam
    • by Andy_R (114137) on Sunday December 26, 2004 @09:13PM (#11188037) Homepage Journal
      Actually, almost all land speed record breakers in recent years have been dual engine hybrids. The LSR rules require the car to be able to go in reverse, and the common solution to this requirement is to stick a tiny electric motor in somewhere that can strain itself half to death while dragging the car a few inches backwards to fit the rules.
  • by avalys (221114) * on Sunday December 26, 2004 @08:27PM (#11187770)
    This car was not exactly "standard", as the summary claims.

    "An engineering group from Toyota Motorsport in the USA prepared the car by changing the gear ratios (4.32:1 to 3.2:1) and increasing the inverter voltage from 500 to 550 volts. A transmission cooling system was added to decrease the temperature of the inverter and electric motor to maximise efficiency. Ambient temperature on the salt flats was nearly 100 degrees Fahrenheit with nearly 100 degrees humidity. Ice was added between runs to keep the system cool.

    The interior of the car was stripped to save weight, a roll cage added for safety and the whole car lowered by five inches to improve the aerodynamics for this highly specialised record attempt. Even the 26 in front and 25 in rear tyres were made especially by Goodyear."


    With that in mind, hybrids have a long way to go.

    • With that in mind, hybrids have a long way to go.

      A long way to go for what?
    • All that and it still only got to 130mph.... let's not forget most modern vehicles easily reach that speed stock. So forgive me if I'm not all that impressed.
  • by zymano (581466) on Sunday December 26, 2004 @08:28PM (#11187772)

    An engineering group from Toyota Motorsport in the USA prepared the car by changing the gear ratios (4.32:1 to 3.2:1) and increasing the inverter voltage from 500 to 550 volts. A transmission cooling system was added to decrease the temperature of the inverter and electric motor to maximise efficiency. Ambient temperature on the salt flats was nearly 100 degrees Fahrenheit with nearly 100 degrees humidity. Ice was added between runs to keep the system cool.

    The interior of the car was stripped to save weight, a roll cage added for safety and the whole car lowered by five inches to improve the aerodynamics for this highly specialised record attempt. Even the 26 in front and 25 in rear tyres were made especially by Goodyear.


  • 130.794 mph (Score:5, Funny)

    by k4_pacific (736911) <`moc.oohay' `ta' `cificap_4k'> on Sunday December 26, 2004 @08:32PM (#11187823) Homepage Journal
    What, did it go off a cliff?
  • by dougmc (70836) <dougmc+slashdot@frenzied.us> on Sunday December 26, 2004 @08:32PM (#11187826) Homepage
    ... I got my Rabbit Diesel up to 94 mph. Down a steep hill, with a strong tailwind, and lots of time to accelerate. (Normal top speed on flat ground and no wind = 75 mph. 0-60 mph in 45 seconds -- seriously.)

    I was quite impressed. (The car, on the other hand, was shaking like mad and generally not happy about things.)

    The Prius has a slightly smaller engine (1500 cc vs. 1600 cc) but the Rabbit didn't have an electric motor to help. Also, the Rabbit wasn't modified for speed in any manner, though it _did_ have a `Turbo' button on the dash. (When one pressed it, I pushed on the gas harder, creating a `Turbo' effect of sorts. Great times!)

    • I believe it. My old 76 and 79 corolla, both with a 1.6l engine 90/75hp respectively could reach 120mph on a regular basis. While I've never gone that fast in a rabbit for 2.5hrs at a time to get more fuel, I've noticed that petrol Rabbits from the same vintage were roughly equal at least for 5 miles stretches.

      I've seen 80mph in a diesel Rabbit on a flat road once. It was a result of being tail gated by some jarhead in a bitchen Camero. I heard the most gawd awful noise and a large ball of black smoke
    • by killbill! (154539) on Sunday December 26, 2004 @09:55PM (#11188267) Homepage
      If you still think diesels stink, think again. In my country, even BMW sales are over 80% diesel.

      A nice example of modern Diesel engineering is the VW Phaeton V10 Tdi. It has 313 HP and, while officially electronically limited to 250 kph (155 mph), was tested at over 290 kph (180 mph) when it was released one year ago. It does 0-100 kph (0-62 mph) in 6.9 seconds (not too shabby for a 3 metric ton car). And yet, it still gets 27.7 mpg.

      To put it in a nutshell, I don't quite get what this hybrid frenzy is about. Soot emissions used to be a problem, but the latest cars get a soot filter that tackles it. On the other hand, batteries are an additional weight, and once at the end of their lives, are an environmental nightmare.
      Or could it be all about oil companies being too lazy to invest into cleaner gas-oil (like they sell in Europe)?

      If you're an American looking for a new car, I strongly suggest you gave the few imported diesel VWs, Audis or Mercedeses a try before you go the gasoline route.
  • Wait (Score:5, Interesting)

    by The_Mystic_For_Real (766020) on Sunday December 26, 2004 @08:36PM (#11187856)
    They didn't mention the statistic the matters much more (to most of us) than top speed, which is acceleration. Very few people ever drive above 85-90, and most driving is done below 60, so being able to go 130 doesn't matter that much.

    Where hybrid and pure electric cars really need to improve is the all important ability to get up to speed quickly and smoothly, and it doesn't appear that this car really addressed this critical issue.

    • Re:Wait (Score:3, Informative)

      by gad_zuki! (70830)
      Toyota estimates 10.1 seconds to go from 0-60. Which is average or near average.

      1993 Hummer 20.2 seconds.

      Now which car "has a long way to go" before its ready for the masses?
      • Different market. The Hummer appeals to the people who don't want to stop. So the slow acceleration doesn't matter as much.

        Honestly, the Hummer is more of a propaganda issue and limo replacement for the stars. I've only ever seen three in civilian hands. It is a usefull vehicle for the military, park ranger, and other off pavement uses. Otherwise, the newer ones are little different from big SUV's.

        It doesn't make much sense for on road usage, and most people with money who bought one for show ended up
    • Re:Wait (Score:3, Informative)

      by rebelcool (247749)
      But it does dispel the myth that hybrids are necessarily slow.

      The hybrids available today have acceleration times comparable to their class of vehicles they compete with. Its a nonissue...

      • The hybrids available today have acceleration times comparable to their class of vehicles they compete with.

        I have one. I couldn't agree more. My first car was an old VW beetle. It was gutless. Driving in Maine was a challange. I would take a run at hills just to do the limit when I neared the top.

        My old AMC Hornet was almost as bad, but with a bigger engine, it did better.

        My last car was a 4 cyl Ford Mustang. (OK Mustang Wannabe) It could not keep speed up the hill to where I work a 6.5% grade.

        My
        • And with my 4 cylinder car, in the same scenario, if I'd likely be doing 90 before I'm past. It's a 1.8 liter DOHC engine. There's one hill in town that I have some trouble with, but it's no 6.5% grade, it's almost 30%. I just have to shift into fourth.

    • Re:Wait (Score:3, Insightful)

      by JJahn (657100)
      The electric motors in hybrid cars provide for a much peppier and smoother acceleration, owing to their improving torque over a conventional combustion engine. So why would they need to improve what is already very good? The statistic that really matters right now is price.
    • You obviously dont live in Southern California. 60? Maybe on the side streets. The speed limit is 65-70 and everyone drives 70-90.

      Hybrids would have plenty of accelleration, but only if the car companies build them that way. I see the speed trials as an "In your face" from Toyota to Honda. Which is all good, a little chest beating gets the public interest and could spark a performance war between companies. I'm sure though this time next year Honda will be holding that title when the new hybrid Acco

    • Re:Wait (Score:3, Insightful)

      by fermion (181285)
      This is such a troll. A car is about energy management and energy tradeoffs. A hybrid is designed to use minimal fuel, with the compromise of acceleration, which is around 0-60 mph in 11.5 seconds. Something like an Accord has much lower gas milage, and about the same size, so it can accelerate to 60 mph in around 7.5 seconds. An Escape, which is bigger but still respects fuel economy, accelerates to 60 mph in around 9.0 seconds. A Miata which is designed to be quick and small, needs 6.5 seconds. OTOH
  • 230,197.44 Football Fields per hour! Note - American Unit Football Fields (why won't they switch over to the world football standard!)
  • by NZheretic (23872) on Sunday December 26, 2004 @08:40PM (#11187883) Homepage Journal
    Just as early twentieth century motor racing pushed the development of the automobile, the world desperately needs a world wide racing series for hybrid electric cars.

    The fantastic acceleration that in line wheel electric drive can potentialy deliver would make for some very exciting racing.

    • The problem with racing hybrid vehicles is that those vehicles depend on assumptions for city driving to make their milage gains.

      For highway driving, my standard gasoline engine actually gets better mpg than many hybrids. And it cost roughly 50% what a hybrid would of cost. Even at today's prices, that's alot of gas you have to save.

      When you're racing, you're not doing stop and go. You might be able to make it work with a twisty enough track requiring large amounts of braking and making it tight enough
  • by CodeWanker (534624) on Sunday December 26, 2004 @08:40PM (#11187888) Journal
    Let's face it, cool car ideas come from people who love cars the way most /.ers love processor overclocking, water-cooling, and case mods. Convincing a wider audience that tweaking a hybrid will make it jump up and dance is never a bad idea.

    Of course, as a side note, the industry's approach to hybrid autos is flat out wrong. Railroad trains are very efficient, well-proven hybrid designs: [dieselforum.org] their diesel engines are always running at the most efficient level, and their momentum is provided entirely by electric motors. Tres spiffy.
  • by cpenner461 (736929) on Sunday December 26, 2004 @08:42PM (#11187898)
    ...will probably not have a problem meeting or beating this record when it hits the streets. Its got a 255hp V6 that gets 37/29 mpg (highway/city). 2005 Honda Accord Hybrid info [honda.com]
  • by Duncan3 (10537) on Sunday December 26, 2004 @08:43PM (#11187903) Homepage
    The car at the starting point, gas engine reved up and getting louder, charging up the electric system...

    A slight yellow glow enveloping the car...

    Rocks and dirt flying up in a whirlwind around it...

    Driver screaming SUPER HYBRID SPEED WAVE!!! and darting off in a cloud of dust...

    Um... this car was Japanese right?
  • A question... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Infinityis (807294)
    Might I be so bold as to ask...what did the emissions and fuel consumption look like while driving at 130mph?
  • by conteXXt (249905) on Sunday December 26, 2004 @08:53PM (#11187968)
    130.794 mph should be more than enough for everybody.

    (ooops....did I say that?)

  • by HockeyPuck (141947) on Sunday December 26, 2004 @09:04PM (#11187999)
    You should check these guys out...

    The drag race pure electric cars/motorcycles...

    http://www.nedra.com/ [nedra.com]
  • I thought the electric motor only kicked in when you didn't need much power.
    • The electric motor is the only motor that drives the wheels - the gas engine runs a genset that generates the electric. When the car is stopped, the engine shuts down, when you go to drive (and thus use more current), the engine starts as needed.
      • The electric motor is the only motor that drives the wheels - the gas engine runs a genset that generates the electric.

        That's not how the Prius works. " the electric motor can power the car by itself, the gas engine can power the car by itself or they can power the car together." http://auto.howstuffworks.com/hybrid-car16.htm [howstuffworks.com]

        Of course, I wasn't right either. The gas engine in the Prius is only 76 horsepower. The electric is 67 horsepower. In order to get maximum power, you've gotta run both engine

    • I thought the electric motor only kicked in when you didn't need much power.

      Actualy, the electric motor combo (there are two in a Prius) are used as a transmission. This eliminates all friction parts in the transmission and hydraulic parts. Nothing shifts ever, even reverse. I expect the electric motors to have much less troubles than a typical transmission with it's torque converter, bands, clutches, shifters, fluid hoses, cooling...

      In a nutshell, the electric motors are used all the time. The car
  • by Graemee (524726) on Sunday December 26, 2004 @09:21PM (#11188083)
    I can see it now zipping across the salt flats, Dr. Banzai enables the overthruster and it's through the 8th dimension.

    Make sure they check for Red Lectroids in the grill.
  • by Stevyn (691306) on Sunday December 26, 2004 @09:22PM (#11188093)
    Hybrid Synergy Drive power-train???

    Does the marketing department have to defile everything an engineer creates?

    • But synergy:
      the action of 2 or more agents (e.g., drugs) working together to produce an effect greater than the combined effect of the same agents used separate

      So isn't the term "Hybrid Synergy Drive" accurate?

      They didn't make up a word, or lie, or misuse the word at all.

      The combination of the petrol engine to provide power and the electric motor to provide drive and low speed motoring create a driving experience better than either alone. If that isn't synergy, what is?
      • I suppose it was more of a knee-jerk reaction when I saw that word. It's starting to become the new "para-dig-um" of overused and out of context phrases.

        But yes, you are correct. This is the one time the word was used properly.
    • Look up synergy as it relates to AC power. It's a very valid term and is what the new Prius uses.

      In old style hybrid stuff, AC was converted to DC then back to AC at another frequency to drive a motor. Synergy is the method of elimiting one of the inverter stages and possibly the DC step entirely by sampling from one AC frequency to generate a second AC frequency by switching at diffrent points on the AC waveform. This makes the inverter smaller, cheaper, and more effecient. You no longer use a phase c
  • Potential (Score:3, Interesting)

    by confusion (14388) on Sunday December 26, 2004 @09:27PM (#11188113) Homepage
    The reality is that people like fast and powerful cars. Most of the afv/hybrib/electric cars to date have been pretty weak. If someone were to include an adequate amount of battery storage and substantial enough electric motors, your electric/hybrid car could leave just about anything else in the dust, in the quarter mile. It's certainly not going to win endurance races, but how often in real driving conditions do you use the full output potential of your car for more than getting up to highway+ speed.

    I know I was certainly sold on the TL because of the power, and I could see going with a hybrid so long as the performance were there.

    Jerry
    http://www.syslog.org/ [syslog.org]

  • ...GM and all other [American] auto pioneers follow the lead of TOYOTA. Recent product recalls from GM and FORD hammer home the fact that we as Americans are losing our edge!

    The best day to day itmems in America are made overseas! Who of slashdotters has a monitor made in USA?

    Answer: NONE

  • by smithmc (451373) * on Sunday December 26, 2004 @10:00PM (#11188291) Journal

    ...I'm sure this record will easily be crushed by the new Honda Accord hybrid [honda.com]. 240 hp 3.0L engine, plus electric motor, does 0-60 in under 7 seconds IIRC. With the speed limiter removed (and no other mods like ice cooling, ferchrissake), I'll bet it does 150 mph easy.
    • Definitely.

      In addition to the Honda you've stated, Lexus (aka Toyota) will also be releasing the RX400h (275hp hybrid) and then their is the rumored LS500 hybrid in typical toyota fashion all we know is that it will be a hybrid with more hp than the LS430.
  • One of the UK motoring programs (5th gear) did an economy test of various cars and it did not do that well. You only get the benefit of the electric motor when in stop start traffic. Once moving the batteries are being charged and the petrol engine is being used. Round town as a shopping cart it was good, as a commuting vehicle it sucked.
  • by scott9676 (808984) on Sunday December 26, 2004 @11:49PM (#11188876)
    My Insight can go 115 mph. And this is stock without being stripped, having a roll cage, or any other modifications.

    It has a 995 cc 3 cylinder gas engine putting out about 63 hp. In series it has a 13 hp electric engine. Because the 2 engines have different hp/rpm curves, it puts out 68 hp. But it only weighs 1850 pounds.

    The car goes 0-60 in 10.5 seconds, has really good handling, and drives kind of like a go kart. The only real bad thing is there isn't much sound insulation, so there is a fair amount of road noise.

    But even going 90 mph, it can still click off about 50 mpg. At 45 mph, you can get it into 'lean burn' mode and get a bit over 100 mpg.

    It's a really good commuter car, has a lifetime mileage of 56 mpg (would be a lot higher if I drove a bit more conservatively and didn't live in a hilly area).

    Also, there are some electric cars that go 0-60 in 3.6 seconds IIRC.
  • Diesel? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by faedle (114018) on Monday December 27, 2004 @12:35AM (#11189034) Homepage Journal
    One of the things that always has me kinda scratching my head is why nobody's making a diesel hybrid.

    It would seem that with diesel's natual tendancy towards lower engine RPMs (and with most diesel engines delivering peak torque around 2500 RPM), it would make a natural fit towards a design like Toyota's (generating power which is applied to the wheels by electric motors).

    In fact, that is how railroad locomotives work.

    Plus, there are all kinds of advantages to using a diesel engine, including the fact that the raw materials for diesel fuel need not just be petroleum.. diesel fuel has been engineered from coal and vegetable oil, and can theoretically (although I personally haven't seen practicle examples) be made from methane.

    If VW can make a turbodiesel New Beetle that can average 40-50MPG out of just swapping the gasoline engine for a diesel one, what could they do if they engineered a smaller diesel + electric motor combo?

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