Hyrbid Cars, part 3

11 August, 2005 at 12:22 pm (doric)

Now that I have archives happily built into the design of the site, I now feel like I can begin having running series of related comments. In that spirit, I had a couple of earlier posts about Hybrid cars that an article in the Keene Sentinel reminded me of this morning.

But now, hybrid technology seems to be heading the way of earlier technologies such as four valves per cylinder and variable valve timing. Those technologies can also be used to improve fuel efficiency, but in many instances they instead became another way of building cars with greater power and faster acceleration.

Manufacturers have been downsizing the gasoline engines in some of their hybrids only a little or not at all. And some are adding the electric motor essentially as a “green turbocharger,” as Consumer Reports magazine puts it.

Consider Honda. The company has two older-style hybrids — the two-passenger Insight, which the EPA says can get 66 miles per gallon on the highway, and the five-passenger Civic, which can get 51. The EPA estimates that the 2005 Honda Accord Hybrid gets just 37 miles per gallon, compared to 30 for the non-hybrid version on which it is based. According to Consumer Reports, which performs what it says are more accurate mileage tests, the actual difference is even smaller: The hybrid averages only about two miles per gallon better than the standard Accord.

More in link.

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