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Old 08-03-2010, 02:35 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by robchalmers View Post
Ok, I'll widen it a bit, I stil don't understand the advantages of Hybrids...
There has been a lot written on this, which you can find with a bit of searching. But the simple explanation is mostly to do with engine size. It takes a lot more power to accelerate a car to cruising speed than in does to cruise at a steady speed. With a conventional car, you have to size the engine to produce the power needed to accelerate, which means that when cruising - most of the time, for most people - you're carrying around a lot of extra engine that's running at much less than its best efficiency. (See various threads of BSFC.) With a hybrid, you can have a smaller engine running more efficiently, because you have the electric to accelerate.

There are also a couple of myths in previous posts. First, that hybrids are only good for city driving. Now this may be true of the Prius, but it's emphatically not of the 1st gen Insight. With mine, I might get 50-60 mpg or less in city driving (I don't do enough to have good numbers, though), but on an open, level highway I can frequently be cruising above 80 mpg.

Second, it's not true that the engine must recharge the batteries. If you drive properly (and it helps to have a MIMA system or similar) most of the charging will come from braking, recovering energy that'd otherwise be wasted.
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