2002 Honda Civic Hybrid
Author sees buying gasoline electric hybrids like the new Civic Hybrid from Honda as a form of political expression.

Defend the Country - Buy a Hybrid

EVWorld reader shares his opinion on dealing with oil dependency.

By M. L. Simon

I think it is time that the American people take on the job of defending the country.

The best defence is to quit financing our enemies. We need to stop sending money to the oil barons of the Middle East. The guys who with their oil money have been financing teachers of hatred and bringers of terror to their customers in the west.

Did you know that all the exports not counting oil of the Arabian countries of some 600 million people barely equals the exports of Finland, a country of five million. The whole region is one big oil financed welfare system. Once the price of oil falls below $15 dollars a barrel they will have to start working for a living. Idle hands are a devils playground. And we have been paying to keep them idle for too long. We can encourage productive work by reducing our need for oil and by helping to bring in a hydrogen/electric economy.

The question is how? The answer is gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles.

The reason to start with hybrids is that they represent a known technology with no new fuel distribution system required. In addition they help build the infrastructure for vehicles that are basically all electric. But no one wants to give up their big truck or SUV. Well this is America, no need to. But that solution is a little way off, the 2003 and 2004 model years. I will talk about those solutions a little farther on. What can be done now? There are two hybrid electric vehicles currently on the market.

Honda makes the Honda Insight - a two seater hybrid electric vehicle that gets 61 mpg in the city and 70 mpg on the highway. The Insight is available now. A Honda Civic Hybrid is planned for the near future. In addition Honda is part of the California Fuel-Cell Partnership designed to bring fuel cell vehicles and their fueling stations to the streets and roads of California.

The Insight is Honda's first step along this path.

The Toyota Prius seats five and is available now. It gets 45 mpg in the city and 52 mpg on the highway. It has a continuously variable transmission system for the gasoline engine as well as an electric motor. The transmission helps the engine run at nearly constant speed, the most efficient and least polluting way to run a gasoline engine.

Now for those SUV and heavy truck replacements. The Ford Escape a Hybrid SUV that gets 40 mpg city and 29 mpg highway will be available in 2003. It replaces the 2001 Escape that only gets 18mpg in the city and 24 mpg highway.

The Dodge Durango SUV scheduled for sale in the 2004 model year will have 4WD and will be about $3,000 more than its all gasoline counterpart. it will get 18.6 mpg combined city/highway compared with 15.5 mpg for the conventional vehicle. Production in is planned for Newark, Delaware.

If you want to contact DaimlerChysler's hybrid vehicle division executives here is a list of contacts: http://www.canadiandriver.com/news/001006-2.htm

In addition Dodge is building the Dodge RAM HEV. It is a hybrid with a built in 60 cycle generator capable of 20 kW continuous and 30 kW peak for one minute. Enough to power for four to eight houses. The gas mileage is expected to be up to 20 per cent better than the current model. This is such a good idea that the Army is using a diesel version for it's Commercially Based Tactical Truck (COMBATT) program.

Normally the Army would need to haul a 2,500 pound generator to perform the work the generator in the truck does. The whole generator battery system only adds at most 300 pounds to the weight of the truck. And because of the built in battery the truck can be operated in a stealth mode with the engine shut down. A commercial version of this truck will be for sale in the 2004 model year. About twenty months from now. I can hardly wait.

No doubt that these vehicles will cost a bit more than currently available vehicles do. But isn't it better if you can afford it to pay a few thousand more per vehicle than to send your son or daughter to a carrier battle group off the coast of Saudi Arabia? The more people that buy these vehicles at the start of production the sooner the bugs will get fixed and the sooner the price will come down. The sooner we will get to an all hydrogen economy.

All the vehicles mentioned are put out by reputable auto companies so the risks are relatively small. Worth taking to free the country from the oil sheiks.

M. L. Simon is an industrial controls designer and an independent political activist. Copyright 2002, M.L. Simon

Times Article Viewed: 4058
Published: 24-Mar-2002


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