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February 01, 2005

Comments

Bill

Moving from traditional gas and diesel burning autos to hybrids will be a hard sell to capitalist Americans who are accustomed to excess. Sure, they are novel, and a step in the right direction - but with America and it's wide open spaces and petroleum burning musclecar traditions I'm not sure they will entirely catch on with the mainstream public anytime in the near future.

These energy-smart vehicles are better suited to tightly spaced urban areas. More immediately the Hybrids and their conceptual offshoots will enjoy success as utility and commercial vehicles; such as fleet vans, taxicabs, transport vehicles and the like.

Save the planet? Sure, eventually. Don't hold your breath though.

Vanessa

I agree with what Bill and JP said about hybrid vehicles taking a long time to integrate into the American culture. But, I also think that this is normal for any kind of big change occurring in a developed culture. People resist change-- unless it is to lose weight or make money. As more of the "open" people become aware of their environmental impacts and take measures such as purchasing hybrid vehicles, others will begin to see it as "normal" and the masses will evenutally follow.
My sister just got a Toyota Prius and the car is awesome. Straight-up, it's a cool car to drive. The technologies in the car are very advanced. The GPS, climate, audio, etc are all controlled by a touch screen- which you expect form cars these days- but the car also starts by pressing a button, gets good acceleration, and the car gets a whopping 60 miles a gallon!!!
My mom currently drives a Lexus RX and is on the waitlist for the Hybrid version that will be released at the end of this year. Now this is a good idea. It looks exactly the same as the regular Lexus RX but you get so many more miles. This is the way that hybrids will become part of regular society-- as more car manufacturing companies produce the same luxury vehicles but as hybrids. This way people won't feel like they are compensating looks, or class for the environment.
The Environmental Defense is a fantastic organization with a technological innovation branch that partners with large corporations to find ways to reduce their impact on the environment. No money is exchanged in the partnership!!! One of the coolest partnerships is with FedEx, where the ED and FedEx created a hybrid delivery truck that is now being used to deliver FedEx packages in NYC and other states. Now, every time a new FedEx truck is ordered, it is a hybrid truck, therefore eventually all FedEx trucks will be hybrid. These trucks last A LOT longer and will save FedEx A LOT of money in the long run. This integration sets an example for all delievery companies. The link for the project is below incase anyone is interested in finding out more.

http://www.environmentaldefense.org/partnership_project.cfm?projectID=3

Uncle Rick

Don't get me started! Diesel Rules! Actually I believe the "law of diminishing returns" has kicked in on highway diesel engines. Environmentalists seem to be focused on the exhaust stack and not the efficiency of the engine. The engine now has to burn more fuel and oil change intervals increased (and they don't hold a few quarts of oil they hold cases)with the technology of putting less particles in the air.
So with a life expectancy of 1-mil. miles, you lower the MPG by .5 mpg and double the oil change interval - did you help or hurt the environment? Grand Pa Sheehan got 50+ MPG from his Volkswagen Rabbit Diesel back in the late 70's! Last but not least - Diesel Fuel delivers a high BTU. Converting the fuel to energy - others fuels don't produce the energy this fuel does (for the $). Thanks for letting me rant!

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