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Hybrid cars: a misinformed craze?

car.jpgGreenbang largely wants to share this story with you because it’s got the term “misinformed craze” in it. Great wordage, I think you’ll agree. Anyway, the phrase is being bandied about by two French researchers, who believe that hybrid vehicles are just delaying the advent of more environmentally responsible technologies.

Wired tells it like this:

They worry a “misinformed craze for hybrid vehicles, especially in the U.S.A.” could hinder the development of more sustainable technologies as automakers devote their resources to hybrid technology. They specifically cite hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles as one area that may languish, though they concede that technology won’t be viable on a commercial scale until 2025 at the earliest.

They note that “the quest for low emissions, clean and high-mileage vehicles in on its way and should be at the top of the manufacturer’s agenda,” but they question whether hybrid technology is sustainable given its complexity and cost. They have a valid point. Toyota sold the Prius in Japan for three years before it saw a profit, and Ford recently announced that its line of hybrids it began selling in 2004 will turn its first profit this year.

3 Comments

  • Isaac McIsaac
    Posted February 16, 2008 at 2:56 pm

    Toyota actually has one of the best performing FC vehicles out there. It was recently driven from fairbanks to vancouver proving its durabilty and toughness. if people weren’t such zealots, in one camp or the other, they could actually understand the engineering. A Fuel cell vehicle IS an hybrid/electric Vehicle. Using a carbon emiting fuel is a interim solution. EG
    if every driver in the world had a Prius now, emmisions are reduce about 50%, then @ 7% market growth(not out of line for Toyota)in ten years emmissions are back to where they are now. Entirely replacing carbon emmiting fuels(including Bio) is the whole point. either the atmospheric carbon cycle is overloaded or its not. Almost every technology in a hybrid can and will be applied to a FCV. regenerative brakes, ultra capacitors, long range batteries etc. if you are interested in a sample of what the future really looks like check this:

    http://www.nrel.gov/hydrogen/proj_wind_hydrogen.html

    http://www.greencarcongress.com/2006/12/xcel_and_nrel_u.html

  • Lee
    Posted February 15, 2008 at 5:04 pm

    It’s refreshing to see the fuel-cell advocates telling the hybrid advocates they are misinformed and crazy. Previously it was only big auto manufacturers and their PR minions telling us we were misinformed and crazy for buying so many hybrids.
    Coincidentally, those telling us we were misinformed and crazy were also the ones who had missed the hybrid boat. A quick look at profit figures shows clearly why the anti-hybrid auto manufacturers are feeling so painfully covetous of Toyota’s success with hybrids.

  • John Gartner
    Posted February 15, 2008 at 3:23 pm

    It is important to consider the source of any “report.” As I pointed out here http://www.matternetwork.com/2008/2/hybrid-critics-fuel-cell-ties.cfm
    the university that produced this report has close ties to a company firmly in the fuel cell camp. Coincidence that they don’t like hybrids?

Comments are closed.

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