Jan 12, 2012

Hybrids save fuel? Just askin'

I was reminded today about the value of hybrids when I caught this article from Industry Week: Detroit unsure over the future of green cars. Because really, do they save fuel? So it has a battery -- how do you recharge it?

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It's a coal- or natural gas-powered car. When you plug it into the wall, the juice comes (mostly) from an electric utility, and its power plant probably burns coal or natural gas, generating waste. It might be nuclear energy, generating fear along with radioactive waste. What's worse, the loss of energy in transmission is waste.

You can make a couple of arguments here. Some energy can be generated by capturing diverted energy when the driver brakes -- not an engineer, so can't describe that well, but I think it can be done.

You can generate some of the power from solar or wind farms. Or generate it from your solar-paneled roof or garden wind turbine. Frack a gas well and run your own generator. Realistically, though, how much electricity can you get that way?

Yes, you save on fuel made from imported petroleum. If everyone bought an electric car.

This sounds like alternative-energy bashing, which it's not. It's bashing promoting a let's-pretend world. Maybe burning coal or natural gas is the right way to fuel mobility, but if it is, let's be clear that we are making that choice.

Just sayin'.
Copyright @ 2005-2014 by Karen Wilhelm