Sorry for the heretical question - I may not become very popular on this website.
Why this question? I read this article today:
Hybrids not profitable, Nissan exec says
WASHINGTON (AP) A top Nissan Motor Co. executive in North America said the hybrid market remains an unprofitable proposition in the auto industry despite the interest in alternative vehicles.
"Hybrids today are not a very viable economic proposition. It's still a loss-making proposition," said Dominique Thormann, Nissan North America's senior vice president for administration and finance, on Thursday.
So the car industry is not profiting, the consumer has to pay a premium of $3000, the tax payer has to reimburse the driver for the higher price with tax incentives, the mileage in real life does not come close to the 55mpg, stated by the EPA for the Prius --- so who is actually winning?
Of course, you will say "The environment" - really? Aren't there other, equally beneficial but less expensive possibilities?
I was recently in Europe and had an Opel (= GM - they HAVE the technology!!) station wagon with diesel turbo engine as a rental car.
Man, what a car. The acceleration was excellent, the typical diesel clack, clack totally missing, very comfortable sound level, and you could stick your nose into the tail pipe. Almost no smell. The best was the mileage. This car seemed to run on air.
At 70 mph the board computer showed 48mpg at 60mph more than 55 - so this is hybrid range, isn't it, without the additional gadgetary of the hybrids, which produce a big chunk of toxic waste every several years.
Now I wanted to know what the car could do - even at indicated 150 mph (you read right - Germany does not have speed limit) it consumed a mere 25mpg.
And costs? Europe is horrible expensive with fuel, but the diesel was about $1 cheaper per gallon than regular gasoline.
I found this very convincing and dug a bit deeper. Where did the old "loud and dirty diesel" go?
Europe has done quite some development. No wonder that more than 50% of new cars are now diesel.
With common rail injection the Euro4 standard diesels have 93% less suspended particulate matter (SPM) than in the 1990s. The new Euro5 standard with carbon filters will reduce this to 97%.
Smoking a cigarette, vacuuming your living room, frying your steak, using your charcoal barbecue or open fire place creates actually much more SPM.
CO2 is less than gasoline engines and de-Noxification is on the horizon with two competing systems from Honda and Daimler-Chrysler.
But where is the US standing in this respect? Bottleneck was the fuel -- up to now 500ppm sulfur compared to 15ppm in Europe.
With ultra-low sulfur diesel now gradually becoming available in California, we will hopefully see more of these cars.
I recommend the following articles for further background information on this topic:
http://www.vda.de/en/aktuell/presse/fil ... yer_en.pdf
http://www.vda.de/en/aktuell/presse/fil ... aub_en.pdf