Plug-In Hybrids Use Over 17 Times More Water Than Regular Cars, Researchers Say

  • Published on March 12th, 2008 by
 

waterWhile plug-in hybrids offer great increases in fuel efficiency, they may come at a surprising cost: water. A recent study from Environmental Science & Technology found that plug-ins require the consumption of 3 times more water, and the withdrawal of 17 times more water, than their gasoline counterparts. As Popular Mechanics pointed out last week:

A 30-mile commute in a gasoline-powered car would require the withdrawal of 18.9 gallons of water… The same commute in a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV), meanwhile, would take a whopping 318 gallons…

So what accounts for the increase in water usage? PHEV’s don’t require water directly, but the power plants that power them do:

Any power plant that runs steam turbines uses water, whether fired by coal, natural gas, or nuclear energy, says King, a mechanical engineer at the Bureau of Economic Geology at UT. Many plants consume water by running it through cooling towers where it evaporates away. Plants can also tie up water resources via withdrawal, in which plants recycle water that is drawn from a reservoir.





This is enough of an increase to warrant consideration by public policy-makers, especially in arid climates. If 25% of the nation’s fleet converted to plug-in vehicles it would require an additional 1 billion gallons of water for electricity generation. For comparison, that’s almost half the total urban water used by the state of California in one year.

But no one, including the study authors, is saying that plug-in hybrids should be blacklisted. It just adds an important consideration for water-stressed areas that have plans for a grid-based automotive fleet. It also highlights the importance of using sustainable (wind, solar) sources of electricity for electric vehicles.

And as far as the alternatives go: PM pointed out that growing a bushel of corn requires 2200 gallons of water, which only makes 2.7 gallons of ethanol. I would take a fleet of plug-ins over a fleet of Flex-Fuel vehicles any day.

Related Posts:

Get 120 MPG Out of Your Prius (Plug It In)

Sick of Gas?: Convert Your Car To Run On Electricity

Will Plug-In Hybrids Become the Standard?

Source:

See the study here.

ES&T (Feb. 20, 08): Plugging in to more water use

Popular Mechanics (Mar. 7, 08): Plug-in Cars Could Drain U.S. Water Supply, Researcher Says

Photo Credit





About the Author

In a past life, Clayton was a professional blogger and editor of Gas 2.0, Important Media’s blog covering the future of sustainable transportation. He was also the Managing Editor for GO Media, the predecessor to Important Media.

  • It’s not like the water is annihilated; it just evaporates and goes into the water cycle in the environment. Might cause excess thermal pollution, might make for more rain down in central Cali.

    And remember, it’s not just about doing the best per mile, it’s also about lessening the dependence on non-renewable fossil fuels, which might come at a slightly higher cost.

  • Think about that for a second though. The water we drink isn’t annihilated either, but it’s not available for anyone else for a while…

    It’s definitely about reducing dependence on fossil fuels, and I think that overall, electric vehicles probably do a better job than their alternatives.

  • Think about that for a second though. The water we drink isn’t annihilated either, but it’s not available for anyone else for a while…

    It’s definitely about reducing dependence on fossil fuels, and I think that overall, electric vehicles probably do a better job than their alternatives.

  • David

    The higher usage of water is quite an important problem seeing as how many people forget that freshwater is a scarce resource. Just because it evaporates doesn’t mean it’s ok to use more.

    I won’t admit that I understand how power-plants are designed, but wouldn’t you think that they could just recycle the high pressure steam used to turn the turbines and wouldn’t it be more efficient to reuse this already hot water to revaporize it again as steam. Though the higher usage of water will become a moot point once more of the grid is based off of wind and solar (PV not thermal).

  • David

    The higher usage of water is quite an important problem seeing as how many people forget that freshwater is a scarce resource. Just because it evaporates doesn’t mean it’s ok to use more.

    I won’t admit that I understand how power-plants are designed, but wouldn’t you think that they could just recycle the high pressure steam used to turn the turbines and wouldn’t it be more efficient to reuse this already hot water to revaporize it again as steam. Though the higher usage of water will become a moot point once more of the grid is based off of wind and solar (PV not thermal).

  • Rob

    This is so bogus. The cars will mainly charge at night, using excess electricity from the grid. Unless we suddenly could exchange most of our fleet for plug ins, there probably wouldn’t be any need at all for excess generation. Not only that, there are promising studies around vehicle to grid flows during peak hours that could actually stabilize the grid and reduce the need for day time power generation.

    Finally, people can charge their cars with solar power from their own roofs–a direction we need to be heading in.

    It doesn’t surprise me that this bullshit comes out of Popular Mechanics. There’s tremendous resistance to change in certain industrial sectors. PM seems to be a mouth piece for the old guard.

  • Rob

    This is so bogus. The cars will mainly charge at night, using excess electricity from the grid. Unless we suddenly could exchange most of our fleet for plug ins, there probably wouldn’t be any need at all for excess generation. Not only that, there are promising studies around vehicle to grid flows during peak hours that could actually stabilize the grid and reduce the need for day time power generation.

    Finally, people can charge their cars with solar power from their own roofs–a direction we need to be heading in.

    It doesn’t surprise me that this bullshit comes out of Popular Mechanics. There’s tremendous resistance to change in certain industrial sectors. PM seems to be a mouth piece for the old guard.

  • Patrick

    Wow- what a waste of a read and valuable article real estate! Of course using electricity is a problem: coal and oil are used as the source, and that is the issue. That’s why the best solution for the source is solar parks, wind, wave and tide.

    Focus! The root of the problem is the source of the energy- oil and coal. This article should be removed- are you people serious? The problem is coal and oil, change the source, and you solve the issue. We shouldn’t waste time by writing or reading about what is already known. Everyone is skirting the root- it is so simple, and we should all focus on it like a laser beam- coal and oil companies must die (so must ethonal and biofuels because they are false solutions even worse than fossil fuels), and these companies will not go away unless we organize and stand up to them. Disassemble BigOil and BigCoal – tell them to take their sick profits and go away.

    Here’s an article that explains how a 10 X 10 mile plot of solar can power the entire US. The cost? $400 billion. After it’s built though, the cost of your energy… well think about it, sunshine is free. Solar grid + electric car. Spread the word. This is the vision.

    http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=a-solar-grand-plan&page=1

    We should march on Washington to make this happen. Washington is oil and coal, so it’s a huge effort to get them to stop.

    Please comment!

    Pass it on!

  • Patrick

    Wow- what a waste of a read and valuable article real estate! Of course using electricity is a problem: coal and oil are used as the source, and that is the issue. That’s why the best solution for the source is solar parks, wind, wave and tide.

    Focus! The root of the problem is the source of the energy- oil and coal. This article should be removed- are you people serious? The problem is coal and oil, change the source, and you solve the issue. We shouldn’t waste time by writing or reading about what is already known. Everyone is skirting the root- it is so simple, and we should all focus on it like a laser beam- coal and oil companies must die (so must ethonal and biofuels because they are false solutions even worse than fossil fuels), and these companies will not go away unless we organize and stand up to them. Disassemble BigOil and BigCoal – tell them to take their sick profits and go away.

    Here’s an article that explains how a 10 X 10 mile plot of solar can power the entire US. The cost? $400 billion. After it’s built though, the cost of your energy… well think about it, sunshine is free. Solar grid + electric car. Spread the word. This is the vision.

    http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=a-solar-grand-plan&page=1

    We should march on Washington to make this happen. Washington is oil and coal, so it’s a huge effort to get them to stop.

    Please comment!

    Pass it on!

  • Brent McCoy

    This article shows me one thing: The author is not following the developments in Green technologies. There is no mention of the rendering of ethanol alcohol from any cellulose vs. corn nor those concerning the new technologies in the making of hydrogen gas from an “on board” unit for transportation. The author and PM should keep up or shut up.

  • Brent McCoy

    This article shows me one thing: The author is not following the developments in Green technologies. There is no mention of the rendering of ethanol alcohol from any cellulose vs. corn nor those concerning the new technologies in the making of hydrogen gas from an “on board” unit for transportation. The author and PM should keep up or shut up.

  • Brent: Anytime you want to guest post on that, you just let me know…

  • Brent: Anytime you want to guest post on that, you just let me know…

  • Patrick

    Clayton, I won’t to apologize for the harsh response in my last post here… it’s just that I get so frustrated by how much information is out there yet we seem to not be focusing on the people and the products involved in steering us in the wrong direction. I would love to see an article listing (again and again) the evils of oil and coal and exposing the people (oil and coal CEOs, lobbyists and senators who respond to them), as well as the praises for the best chance / best solutions like solar, water, and wind energies. I believe that America is not nearly angry enough at these Oil and Coal big wigs who are to blame for slowing progress toward cheaper cleaner fuels. I believe that shinning the light on them is just as important as shining the light on the best solutions. These execs and senators need to know that we are angry that they are holding us back- and America needs to know that they are doing so by backhanded behind closed door deals. The past 3 energy bills were blocked because they included repeals of the $13.5 BILLION TAX DOLLARS that we GAVE to OIL and COAL here- your tax dollars!!! They are stealing from us left and right, before the pump in our taxes and wars, at the pump, and after the pump in smog. Oil and coal are the root of so much evil and we cannot be angry enough at them… we cannot afford to not be scathing mad at them, screw the jobs and profits in their industry- they are ripping us all off so so badly and the more we pity them the more they rip us off, they are sick and ruthless and they have been ripping us off and lying to us for a 100 years (1919 we started subsiding them with our tax dollars) and it’s their turn to pay…

    AMERICA, GET VERY MAD AT OIL and COAL!!! They are the cause, focus on them like a LASER BEAM!!!

    Clayton, Thank you for your time. Best of luck and I wish you best at Gas 2.0… you have so much power there, to choose the best power and lead us all to it!

    Patrick

  • Patrick

    Clayton, I won’t to apologize for the harsh response in my last post here… it’s just that I get so frustrated by how much information is out there yet we seem to not be focusing on the people and the products involved in steering us in the wrong direction. I would love to see an article listing (again and again) the evils of oil and coal and exposing the people (oil and coal CEOs, lobbyists and senators who respond to them), as well as the praises for the best chance / best solutions like solar, water, and wind energies. I believe that America is not nearly angry enough at these Oil and Coal big wigs who are to blame for slowing progress toward cheaper cleaner fuels. I believe that shinning the light on them is just as important as shining the light on the best solutions. These execs and senators need to know that we are angry that they are holding us back- and America needs to know that they are doing so by backhanded behind closed door deals. The past 3 energy bills were blocked because they included repeals of the $13.5 BILLION TAX DOLLARS that we GAVE to OIL and COAL here- your tax dollars!!! They are stealing from us left and right, before the pump in our taxes and wars, at the pump, and after the pump in smog. Oil and coal are the root of so much evil and we cannot be angry enough at them… we cannot afford to not be scathing mad at them, screw the jobs and profits in their industry- they are ripping us all off so so badly and the more we pity them the more they rip us off, they are sick and ruthless and they have been ripping us off and lying to us for a 100 years (1919 we started subsiding them with our tax dollars) and it’s their turn to pay…

    AMERICA, GET VERY MAD AT OIL and COAL!!! They are the cause, focus on them like a LASER BEAM!!!

    Clayton, Thank you for your time. Best of luck and I wish you best at Gas 2.0… you have so much power there, to choose the best power and lead us all to it!

    Patrick

  • Shaya

    Regarding Patrick’s first post, for the most part I agree and don’t see any need for him to apologize, but that is his business.

    Where I disagree is his call to march on Washington. We don’t need a 10 by 10 solar array. The sun is a decentralized source of power, so why centralize it and have to keep paying someone for it? Besides, on average about 19% of electrical energy is lost in transmission. And then there is the construction and/or maintenance of the transmission lines, not to mention the people living near them being bombarded with potentially harmful EMF’s.

    You want solar, put it on your roof. Don’t wait for Washington.

    For what it is worth, I have put my hard-earned money where my mouth is. Since July 2002, I have been driving an all electric – not a hybrid – Rav4 EV that is powered by the solar panels on the roof of my home. The pay-back period for the panels is estimated to be 7 years. Considering that both the price of electricity and the price of gasoline have risen, they are probably paid for already. That should give me another 18 years (expected life of panels is 25 years, but not sure if anyone really knows)of free electricity. In all fairness, I need to disclose that I live in sunny southern California, but that was not by accident.

  • Shaya

    Regarding Patrick’s first post, for the most part I agree and don’t see any need for him to apologize, but that is his business.

    Where I disagree is his call to march on Washington. We don’t need a 10 by 10 solar array. The sun is a decentralized source of power, so why centralize it and have to keep paying someone for it? Besides, on average about 19% of electrical energy is lost in transmission. And then there is the construction and/or maintenance of the transmission lines, not to mention the people living near them being bombarded with potentially harmful EMF’s.

    You want solar, put it on your roof. Don’t wait for Washington.

    For what it is worth, I have put my hard-earned money where my mouth is. Since July 2002, I have been driving an all electric – not a hybrid – Rav4 EV that is powered by the solar panels on the roof of my home. The pay-back period for the panels is estimated to be 7 years. Considering that both the price of electricity and the price of gasoline have risen, they are probably paid for already. That should give me another 18 years (expected life of panels is 25 years, but not sure if anyone really knows)of free electricity. In all fairness, I need to disclose that I live in sunny southern California, but that was not by accident.

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  • Patrick

    Shaya,

    I completely commend your efforts with personal solar and the hybrid. I wish everyone would do the same, however, I do not feel that everyone will and I believe it is a huge mistake to think for a moment that they will. While the grand solar park may not need be in one spot, I think it we should have parks paid for with tax dollars and that electricty pumped into the grid to those who will never put up solar panels- those being the vast majority of the US. I don’t think we have the time to wait to wait much longer. Break that park up into four or eight different sections or as many as is feasible. At the very least, let the government massively subsidize new electric companies. The point being that we cannot rely on the public to do it themselves and we cannot rely on the government to do it themselves without being pushed to do so- that is why I think a March around the concept is a great thing to do, to show the govenment and energy companies that we’re serious that we dont want coal and oil sources at all and to discourage them from thinking up new scemes to try to force it down out throats.

  • Patrick

    Shaya,

    I completely commend your efforts with personal solar and the hybrid. I wish everyone would do the same, however, I do not feel that everyone will and I believe it is a huge mistake to think for a moment that they will. While the grand solar park may not need be in one spot, I think it we should have parks paid for with tax dollars and that electricty pumped into the grid to those who will never put up solar panels- those being the vast majority of the US. I don’t think we have the time to wait to wait much longer. Break that park up into four or eight different sections or as many as is feasible. At the very least, let the government massively subsidize new electric companies. The point being that we cannot rely on the public to do it themselves and we cannot rely on the government to do it themselves without being pushed to do so- that is why I think a March around the concept is a great thing to do, to show the govenment and energy companies that we’re serious that we dont want coal and oil sources at all and to discourage them from thinking up new scemes to try to force it down out throats.

  • Patrick

    Shaya,

    I completely commend your efforts with personal solar and the hybrid. I wish everyone would do the same, however, I do not feel that everyone will and I believe it is a huge mistake to think for a moment that they will. While the grand solar park may not need be in one spot, I think it we should have parks paid for with tax dollars and that electricty pumped into the grid to those who will never put up solar panels- those being the vast majority of the US. I don’t think we have the time to wait to wait much longer. Break that park up into four or eight different sections or as many as is feasible. At the very least, let the government massively subsidize new electric companies. The point being that we cannot rely on the public to do it themselves and we cannot rely on the government to do it themselves without being pushed to do so- that is why I think a March around the concept is a great thing to do, to show the govenment and energy companies that we’re serious that we dont want coal and oil sources at all and to discourage them from thinking up new scemes to try to force it down our throats.

  • Patrick

    Shaya,

    I completely commend your efforts with personal solar and the hybrid. I wish everyone would do the same, however, I do not feel that everyone will and I believe it is a huge mistake to think for a moment that they will. While the grand solar park may not need be in one spot, I think it we should have parks paid for with tax dollars and that electricty pumped into the grid to those who will never put up solar panels- those being the vast majority of the US. I don’t think we have the time to wait to wait much longer. Break that park up into four or eight different sections or as many as is feasible. At the very least, let the government massively subsidize new electric companies. The point being that we cannot rely on the public to do it themselves and we cannot rely on the government to do it themselves without being pushed to do so- that is why I think a March around the concept is a great thing to do, to show the govenment and energy companies that we’re serious that we dont want coal and oil sources at all and to discourage them from thinking up new scemes to try to force it down our throats.

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  • Sounds like a vote in favor of solar electricity which requires no water to produce.

  • Sounds like a vote in favor of solar electricity which requires no water to produce.

  • I don’t get it, electric cars will be charged mainly at night where electric cars will HELP us store energy for the power plants that we can then sell back to the power plants when they need it most! France is going to do this. They’re going to set-up parking lots where people can HELP the power industry! People can buy electricity at night when it’s cheap and re-sell-it back to the power company when they need it most – during the day! The electric car – if done right- can actually help us store energy that is currently wasted!

  • I don’t get it, electric cars will be charged mainly at night where electric cars will HELP us store energy for the power plants that we can then sell back to the power plants when they need it most! France is going to do this. They’re going to set-up parking lots where people can HELP the power industry! People can buy electricity at night when it’s cheap and re-sell-it back to the power company when they need it most – during the day! The electric car – if done right- can actually help us store energy that is currently wasted!

  • mr.dobalino

    Blah Blah Blah

    Guess where it’s heading?

    Rob said, “vehicle to grid flows during peak hours that could actually stabilize the grid and reduce the need for day time power generation.”

    Please remember to plant in the spring and harvest in the fall…

  • mr.dobalino

    Blah Blah Blah

    Guess where it’s heading?

    Rob said, “vehicle to grid flows during peak hours that could actually stabilize the grid and reduce the need for day time power generation.”

    Please remember to plant in the spring and harvest in the fall…

  • d

    With 1 trillion dollars worth or american income going to gas: $150 crude barrel times 20 million barrels a day times 365 days, that is 1 trillion a year, and about $3 billion dollars a day.

    Doing the math: 50 million $20,000 cars bought outright, would cost 1 trillion dollars…, if all electric may start to pay out.

  • d

    With 1 trillion dollars worth or american income going to gas: $150 crude barrel times 20 million barrels a day times 365 days, that is 1 trillion a year, and about $3 billion dollars a day.

    Doing the math: 50 million $20,000 cars bought outright, would cost 1 trillion dollars…, if all electric may start to pay out.

  • ds97

    This article is retarded. To the extent that a plug-in car is charged at night it uses spare electric capacity in the grid. This means that no extra resources are required to power the vehicle.

  • ds97

    This article is retarded. To the extent that a plug-in car is charged at night it uses spare electric capacity in the grid. This means that no extra resources are required to power the vehicle.

  • stlwest

    I don’t really see why it is gonna require a whole lot of new power plants, most usage will be off peak when people get home from work and will charge overnight.

    But you should plan on people who will stop using heating oil this winter opting for electric space heaters due to the excessive costs. I have natural gas and unless I get a new furnace electric is cheaper for me than nat gas. I suspect it will be the same this winter.

  • stlwest

    I don’t really see why it is gonna require a whole lot of new power plants, most usage will be off peak when people get home from work and will charge overnight.

    But you should plan on people who will stop using heating oil this winter opting for electric space heaters due to the excessive costs. I have natural gas and unless I get a new furnace electric is cheaper for me than nat gas. I suspect it will be the same this winter.

  • Paul

    I love it when the liberal lefties get all twisted up around their own badly-thought out ideas! I didn’t even know that cars used water! Not a drop goes into mine. So tell me, what does an environmentally conscious tree-hugging dirt worshiper drive in this world? Certainly not a plug in car, they use too much water. And the big bad oil companies are going to screw us with gasoline (never mind the fact that the EPA and other lefty groups won’t let them drill for more oil or build refineries to increase supply). Oh no, global warming wouldn’t allow me to drive a gas powered anyway! What global warming? In 1988 we had two weeks over 90 degrees… in 2008 we had zero days over 90 degrees. And record snowfalls in the winter for the last two years. Sounds like global COOLING to me!

    Yes, I’m a right winger that is merely pointing out the flaws in the lefty “logic”.

  • Paul

    I love it when the liberal lefties get all twisted up around their own badly-thought out ideas! I didn’t even know that cars used water! Not a drop goes into mine. So tell me, what does an environmentally conscious tree-hugging dirt worshiper drive in this world? Certainly not a plug in car, they use too much water. And the big bad oil companies are going to screw us with gasoline (never mind the fact that the EPA and other lefty groups won’t let them drill for more oil or build refineries to increase supply). Oh no, global warming wouldn’t allow me to drive a gas powered anyway! What global warming? In 1988 we had two weeks over 90 degrees… in 2008 we had zero days over 90 degrees. And record snowfalls in the winter for the last two years. Sounds like global COOLING to me!

    Yes, I’m a right winger that is merely pointing out the flaws in the lefty “logic”.

  • Kris

    Does anybody realize that corn, the main source of American Ethonol, is grown no matter what the end use is? American Farmers raise grain in the most efficient ways possible because the only way for them to make a profit is to maximize income and minimize cost. Ethonal is made from a small portion of the kernel of corn. Also there are by products from the portion of a corn kernel that the ethanol is produced, this is used to feed livestock and produce other products like corn-board and corn based plastics.

    If you were to add up all the energy that it took to create the fossil fuel based gasoline I think some of you green heads would vomit and crap your pants. The processes that created natural crude oil are far inferior to the direct production of highly refined ethanols based corn and plants.

    If one were to take into account the processes it takes to create energy, I am convinced that ethanol plants are the most efficient. Oil Refineries require huge amounts of water to create high quality oils and gasoline. Ethanol is fuel, usable by slightly modified internal combustion engines. Ethanol is basically moonshine. Old timers could run their High compression 440 mopar engines on “moonshine”, high proof alcohol, corn based ethanol.

    Oil reserves are vast volumes of fluid created from decomposed broken down life forms from thousands or millions of years ago. How much energy did that take to create.

    I have nothing wrong with hybrids, it make sense. there is an interesting example of where college engineering students from retributal colleges design drag racing cars utilizing 5 horsepower Briggs & Stratton engines to see how fast they can accelerate given a specific energy input. One team surprised everyone when they used the 5 hp engine to power an air pump and store the energy in a compressed air tank and then used the highly compressed air to power an air motor similar to those used shop tools. the results were incredible. the stored energy showed its strength as the car rocketed off on the dragstrip making the traditional direct drive gasoline engine powered cars look like slow moving slugs. This is a simple look at a hybrid system, where a main power source is used to store small amounts of energy several times over, maybe millions of times over, to add up to a short pulse of high powered thrust. Imagine blowing up a balloon and letting it go when it is completely full of air. when full and released it flies considerable distance, but an empty balloon will not move a foot with a hefty breath of air.

    Years ago the best way to gain economoy in a car was to either turn off or cut the belt to your AC compressor, this causes less resistance on the engine and there for took less gasoline to keep the motor turning. a proper hybrid would use the most efficient fuel source available with the most efficient engine size, compression ratio, super/turbocharger, and most efficient storage battery along with an efficient alternator. Also to consider is durability. Sure a 4000hp v8 top fuel drag race engine is available, but they might break down after fewer than 1000 revolutions where as a 12.7 liter Detroit Diesel may be good for 15 million cycles.

    In all honesty Hybrid Drive is a very complex system as a whole, but broken down could be considered a simple design problem waiting to be solved.

    When broken down, one would need to know operating revs, generating power of the alternator, fuel consumption at given rpms, storage rate of the battery system, and the draw amperage of the electric wheel motors.

    Honestly 100mpg cannot be impossible with so many areas to improve on efficiency. Board track racers of the past have performed very well in efficiency tests, but they were in situations where they had minimal rolling resistance and extremely low wind resistance.

    Its all a matter of what we are willing to put up with in order to achieve high mpgs. drive in a soup can with very little acceleration and it is possible, but people want/need to go fast so …

  • Kris

    Does anybody realize that corn, the main source of American Ethonol, is grown no matter what the end use is? American Farmers raise grain in the most efficient ways possible because the only way for them to make a profit is to maximize income and minimize cost. Ethonal is made from a small portion of the kernel of corn. Also there are by products from the portion of a corn kernel that the ethanol is produced, this is used to feed livestock and produce other products like corn-board and corn based plastics.

    If you were to add up all the energy that it took to create the fossil fuel based gasoline I think some of you green heads would vomit and crap your pants. The processes that created natural crude oil are far inferior to the direct production of highly refined ethanols based corn and plants.

    If one were to take into account the processes it takes to create energy, I am convinced that ethanol plants are the most efficient. Oil Refineries require huge amounts of water to create high quality oils and gasoline. Ethanol is fuel, usable by slightly modified internal combustion engines. Ethanol is basically moonshine. Old timers could run their High compression 440 mopar engines on “moonshine”, high proof alcohol, corn based ethanol.

    Oil reserves are vast volumes of fluid created from decomposed broken down life forms from thousands or millions of years ago. How much energy did that take to create.

    I have nothing wrong with hybrids, it make sense. there is an interesting example of where college engineering students from retributal colleges design drag racing cars utilizing 5 horsepower Briggs & Stratton engines to see how fast they can accelerate given a specific energy input. One team surprised everyone when they used the 5 hp engine to power an air pump and store the energy in a compressed air tank and then used the highly compressed air to power an air motor similar to those used shop tools. the results were incredible. the stored energy showed its strength as the car rocketed off on the dragstrip making the traditional direct drive gasoline engine powered cars look like slow moving slugs. This is a simple look at a hybrid system, where a main power source is used to store small amounts of energy several times over, maybe millions of times over, to add up to a short pulse of high powered thrust. Imagine blowing up a balloon and letting it go when it is completely full of air. when full and released it flies considerable distance, but an empty balloon will not move a foot with a hefty breath of air.

    Years ago the best way to gain economoy in a car was to either turn off or cut the belt to your AC compressor, this causes less resistance on the engine and there for took less gasoline to keep the motor turning. a proper hybrid would use the most efficient fuel source available with the most efficient engine size, compression ratio, super/turbocharger, and most efficient storage battery along with an efficient alternator. Also to consider is durability. Sure a 4000hp v8 top fuel drag race engine is available, but they might break down after fewer than 1000 revolutions where as a 12.7 liter Detroit Diesel may be good for 15 million cycles.

    In all honesty Hybrid Drive is a very complex system as a whole, but broken down could be considered a simple design problem waiting to be solved.

    When broken down, one would need to know operating revs, generating power of the alternator, fuel consumption at given rpms, storage rate of the battery system, and the draw amperage of the electric wheel motors.

    Honestly 100mpg cannot be impossible with so many areas to improve on efficiency. Board track racers of the past have performed very well in efficiency tests, but they were in situations where they had minimal rolling resistance and extremely low wind resistance.

    Its all a matter of what we are willing to put up with in order to achieve high mpgs. drive in a soup can with very little acceleration and it is possible, but people want/need to go fast so …

  • There are similar discussions going on at other sites on transitional technologies. As soon as people assume that a single solution is the only solution, we run into trouble – because every technology has its limitations. Those here who are thinking systemically are going in the right direction.

    PHEVs are a transitional technology. EVs are also transitional. The solution is much larger than what we drive. It lies in how we live. For our current civilization to survive, we must redefine our purpose and set about living within the carrying capacities of our local environments. That will take life and economic changes of an order of magnitude that most people prefer not to contemplate.

    So – a tiny step in the right direction is to reduce our use of fossil fuels for everything. PHEVs do that – a little. And remember, it’s not the PHEV that uses too much water – it’s the power plant. It is good to know that fossil fuel-powered electrical generation uses too much water. Perhaps that, along with climate change issues will help us move towards better options. Eventually, we’ll begin to conserve and preserve – then perhaps we’ll survive.

  • There are similar discussions going on at other sites on transitional technologies. As soon as people assume that a single solution is the only solution, we run into trouble – because every technology has its limitations. Those here who are thinking systemically are going in the right direction.

    PHEVs are a transitional technology. EVs are also transitional. The solution is much larger than what we drive. It lies in how we live. For our current civilization to survive, we must redefine our purpose and set about living within the carrying capacities of our local environments. That will take life and economic changes of an order of magnitude that most people prefer not to contemplate.

    So – a tiny step in the right direction is to reduce our use of fossil fuels for everything. PHEVs do that – a little. And remember, it’s not the PHEV that uses too much water – it’s the power plant. It is good to know that fossil fuel-powered electrical generation uses too much water. Perhaps that, along with climate change issues will help us move towards better options. Eventually, we’ll begin to conserve and preserve – then perhaps we’ll survive.