If hybred cars use some gas & some electricity, where does the electricity come from? If it comes from burning coal, how does that help the enviroment?
Plug-in hybrids, the first of which will be the Chevy Volt, do use electricity from the power grid, so some coal might be burned. The efficiency of electricity generation is better than burning gasoline in an internal combustion engine, so it’s still a net plus. Regular hybrids get their electricity from the gasoline engine.
Vehicles do not have electric generating coal furnaces installed in them. The electricity comes from large batteries installed in the car that can power the vehicle.
They have regenerative braking systems that capture some of the energy from the brakes. The rest comes from the gas engine.
Tom and Ray did a special on alternative fuel vehicles a while back. They said that studies show vehicles that get electricity from the power grid are more environmentally friendly than conventional cars.
The numbers have been crunched and it is more environmentally friendly to product energy for electric cars from a combination of the same sources we use now than to continue on with the millions of individual pollution makers which cars are.
The reason is simple. Electric motors are 90%+ efficient converting energy to motion while the ICE is 30%. You can easily tell by the relatively low cost of the electricity needed to charge the batteries for propulsion for a given distance in an EV.
Using a generator, especially one as large as a power plant, to power an electric motor is more efficient than using a normal internal combustion engine. Coal burning power plants have environmental emission regulations that are stiffer than the emission standards for cars. Add to that the regenerative braking, which uses your forward momentum to recharge the batteries when you slow down in a bybrid, and you come up with fuel economy higher than you can get with a normal internal combustion engine.
Talk to someone who owns a large RV. They get better fuel economy running the roof air conditioner off a generator than they get running the air conditioner that resides under the hood and is powered by the engine.
An internal combustion must generate its own power, and a lot of the energy generated from the burning of fuel is lost as heat. A power plant does a better job of capturing that heat and utilizing it.
First, let’s assume you’re talking about the hybrid cars on the road today, which are not the plug-in type. They have a different type of braking system. In layman’s terms, when you hit the brakes, the spinning wheels are used to power a battery charger that adds charge to the big battery in the car. Doing this causes the car to slow down. Basically you’re recovering some of the energy that you originally used to get the car up to speed and saving that energy for getting the car up to speed the next time.
Wow! I didn’t know all that. Thank you.
Neither did many of us til we conversed with each other and did the research to do so.
Various electric car designs are desirable because in the long run fossil fuels will become scarce and therefore expensive. Then there is the money exported to the oil producing countries that don’t like us. Remember, there are many ways to produce electricity that don’t burn fossil fuels: nuclear, wind, solar, etc. And to put things in perspective Baker built a plug-in electric car in 1912. It used a battery designed by Thomas Edison and would go 100 miles on a charge. It cruised at 30 mph, as did most cars in 1912. Jay Leno has one that he drives regularly. IOW, the technology is not that revolutionary.