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Why electric and hybrid cars suck.

Updated on July 16, 2011

Hybrid cars are not the answer! Hybrid cars suck!

Here is the real fuel issue.

Environmentalist and motor companies have been wetting themselves over electric and electric hybrid cars for many years now, yet the biggest environmental problems are more urgent than just pissing around with burning brown coal to feed some heavy little battery carrier that causes more pollution to manufacture and dispose of than it saves in a lifetime!

Even Honda built a hydrogen powered car, which uses most of it's passenger space housing the huge fuel tank required to drive any distance and a bankers income to fill. I realise they all have to look like they are doing something, but Honda of all people building this ridiculously expensive and useless fuel carrier is out there!

Having put the position firmly allow me to expand.

With all the bull-dust around "new" fuels pushed by a mainly bone ignorant motoring press, even the most conservative manufacturers have felt the need to design at least one completely pathetic vehicle based on some future technology which needs impossibly expensive infrastructure to work as every day transport does today.

The technical issues are passed over as if they don't effect outcomes. It may be convenient to forget that primary electricity sources such as brown coal and nuclear power stations are not pollution free ways to run your car, but as always, "out of sight out of mind" works at soothing the soul of the ill-informed.

A very nice non hybrid Cobra!

Pretty cobra! You could drive this for the rest of your life without making as much pollution as the manufacture of a "green" car to replace it.
Pretty cobra! You could drive this for the rest of your life without making as much pollution as the manufacture of a "green" car to replace it.

600 Million cars now run on Petrol

The problem.

  • There are 600 million vehicles In the world running around polluting the environment now with 5 gas emissions pouring out their collective exhaust pipes.
  • Even if we find a free fuel in abundance next week that does not cause any pollution at any part of it's cycle, it will still not save the environment from those 600 million vehicles unless they can be run on that fuel.
  • Most of the world fleet of cars and trucks could remain on the road for another 30 years with some lasting much longer, like 60 years!
  • Many people in the world do not have the means to buy another car. What should they do for fuel. Does every car owner need to take his car to the rubbish tip?

The whole motoring world is nuts if it thinks it can keep making cars without someone finding an alternative to petroleum for the current world fleet.

Internal Combustion Engines, hereinafter referred to as ICEs are the car and other vehicle engines or motors the world has had since the very beginning of vehicle manufacture.

They started life as slow turning or revving engines with low compression ratio's and longer con-rod stroke than bore size. eg Bore x Stroke.

Although inefficient at first they quickly became the cheapest form of transport by far. The ICE has come a very long way since then. Most modern ICEs are very fuel efficient and long lasting. All the engine management is computer controlled and they go a long way on one litre of fuel.

Micro biodiesel production

Making bio diesel fuel

Old Hemp for victory documentary movie from 1942

The solution.

The cheapest and best replacement fuel will be the fuel which is usable for early cars with carburettors and injection right up to and including the latest high tech cars on the market with fully computerised fuel delivery.

Petrol does just that, with only 2 products. Lead replacement or un-leaded.

Natural Gas conversions work well on ICEs that were using petrol, there is a lot of gas in the world, but current conversion to gas is way too expensive at least in Australia.

Our government gives a massive $2,000 towards your private car conversion and it is paid for by taxes of course.

Pyrolysis can be used to produce fuel from cellulose rich plants like hemp. but stupid law makers who apparently can't tell the difference between marijuana and hemp have stopped this being used in much of America.

Hemp has the best biomass and is a logical top contender as an alternative fuel to run in ICEs, but moral madness prevails..

ICEs will run on alcohol base fuels very well with little or no modifications. I do not know what may be a valid way to produce these fuel, but so far plants other than hemp seem more troublesome than petrol.

We need our land to grow food and if we are to grow fuel as well, it will need to be somehow complimentary to food crops or non invasive.

The world has got a lot of intellectual property and locked in someone's head is a solution.

This seems a good place to say all the fuel saving devices are total bunkum as I have shown clearly on another hub.

Maybe we could grow all our fuel. Holland was growing 16% of it's fuel needs last time I looked.

This hub will be updated with any decent ideas if I think of or hear of any.


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    • profile image

      Patrick 4 years ago

      Thanks for the ingthsi. It brings light into the dark!

    • profile image

      Kristina 4 years ago

      nice, my dad always loved his 96 LT-1 Camaro SS, and I always hated putting new plugs/wires and opti-spark on it. he just recently traded it in for a new Camaro SS though

    • profile image

      Sathya 4 years ago

      welllll i guess there are some shitty cars in here but hell its not my dmreas .more zonda's and skylines less maro's says my dream.

    • profile image

      not shure 4 years ago

      There is a company in canada that has been using a hydrogen amonia vapor for over 40 years. They power there plant and fleet vechicls off the same fuel. It burns clean and you still get all the advantages of the ICE

      There are alot of options out there but most of us our left up to what ever is mainstream.

    • profile image

      OL 6 years ago


    • earnestshub profile image

      earnestshub 7 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      Thanks for the heads-up Jake, I will check that out.

      With yields like that it sure would make a difference.

      It sounds pretty exciting!

    • JakeAuto profile image

      JakeAuto 7 years ago from Calif.

      There's a report out about the company Amyris developing a genetically modified version of cyanobacteria (microbe) that converts carbon dioxide, dirty water and sunlight into a liquid hydrocarbon that is functionally equivalent to regular diesel with a greater than 10,000 gallon per acre yield. That could make a difference.

    • earnestshub profile image

      earnestshub 7 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      Wow! That is a lot of good information Jordan. Agae is definitely attractive, and it makes sense to use fuel that will replace petrol without extensive modification to the existing internal combustion motor.

    • profile image

      JordanS 7 years ago

      Many car companies are choosing to go down the electric propulsion pathways, but the truth is they are heavy, (although having 100% torque) they are slow, have low range and are unsustainable. I’ve decided to speak out for the motoring enthusiasts and most of my generation.

      The reason we are fueling our vehicles today with petrol, is because they have an energy density that is many times more than that of the most advanced battery technology. Your typical family car carries about 60 liters of fuel, which weighs about 45kg which makes it account for less than 4% of the vehicles weight. A battery with the same amount of energy as 60 liters of gasoline would weigh 1.6 tonnes, and that is with Li-Ion batteries (the most advanced battery to date). On the Tesla Roadster the battery weighs 400kg, which accounts for more than a third of the vehicles 1.2 tonne + weight. The exterior of the car is made out of carbon fiber which is very light and very expensive, yet it still has a top speed of only 200 km/h (120 mp/h), and unlike liquid fuels, this weight does not decline as the vehicle uses the fuel up. They haven’t thought fairly with Electric vehicles, because what happens when you put all that weight in let’s say a boat or a plane. Weight is more critical in these applications as planes need to be light to say in the air and boats need to be light to be able to travel fast along the water. Boats use more fuel than cars so we would have to have an even heavier battery for these.

      Another problem with the batteries is their loss of capacity over time. Li-Ion batteries loose capacity at a rate of about 5-10% per year. After about 3 years the capacity of the battery becomes too low for good use, then you will have to get a new battery as a replacement it doesn’t matter if you use it or not, it is a constant degradation. Well no problem, right? We could just buy a new battery couldn’t we? Unfortunately for a car with only 320km (200mi) range it would cost $40,000 to replace the battery and then it would still degrade at the same rate and I doubt anyone spends $40,000 in petrol money in 3 years. In 3 years, the average family of four spends $10,200 on petrol. Even with a price decrease of 50% in Li-Ion batteries, it would still cost $20,000. That is a massive $9,800 saving, just by using petrol!

      Another important factor to consider is the convenience factor. Recharging an electric car with a 400km (250mi) range takes between 3-6 hours. At the pump you spend roughly 3-5 minutes filling up your car. Many argue that a battery pack change takes about 5 minutes, but where are you going to get your battery changed? A battery station? Thousands of cars pass through fuel stations each day, where are you going to keep the thousands of batteries?

      I’m not going to go into the “Where do you get your electricity from?” Because it’s a stupid argument because you can easily source the electricity from solar panels or other renewable resources. Speaking of renewability, the batteries are partially recyclable, but nowhere near to that of the internal combustion engine (the engine in your car today). Because in our cars today, the fuel gets used up and not the engines, the engines can be recycled. The same applies with the electric engines, but the batteries cannot. When the batteries have been used up, they can’t be used again, in the same way you can’t use burnt fuel again.

      Many enhancements are being made to the traditional Internal combustion engine these days such as lean-burn technology, which uses less fuel, making it more fuel efficient with the same or more power.

      Biofuels, that can be used in normal cars today, such as biogasoline, biodiesel, biobutanol etc are a much better source of fuel, as you can grow plants such as algae, sugar cane, nearly everything on the planet that grows can produce fuel. Unlike plants, metals cannot be grown which makes the batteries un-renewable and unsustainable.

      The most advanced biofuel technology to date is algae. Yes, algae. The pond and pool scum has a use. It can make petrol, diesel, jet fuel, the lot. And what is better is algae can be used in our sewage water or salt water and it can be grown on un-arable land, so it does not affect our food or freshwater supply. We can also turn other waste that we have to pay to dump in landfill, such as cheese waste, to make biobutanol, a biofuel that replaces our normal petrol without modification to engines.

      With Biofuels we can expect all the same and sometimes even better, performance from our engines and still be green at the same time (even greener than electric). Emissions still come out of the exhaust pipe, but the plants we use to grow the fuels take that carbon dioxide back from the air, as plants feed off carbon dioxide, which makes it carbon neutral. And by turning waste into fuel, we solve some of the waste problems as well.

      Scientists speculate that the USA would become completely self-sufficient for fuel if they used an area the size of one seventh of the area used to grow corn, to make fuel.

      There are many other benefits such as the more indirect ones. For example when we see a movie we all enjoy a fast and exhilarating car chase. The noise of the engines makes it exciting, with electric cars we would just get a boring whirring noise. And motorsports, where is the excitement in the vehicles being electric? Imagine a slower, shorter race in Bathurst with no noise. No enjoyment at all.

      Also many jobs will be affected in the switch to electric as well such as mechanics, a fair slab of auto parts stores, everything that has anything to do with engines.

      With further enhancements to the internal combustion engine and advances in biofuel technology we can still keep what we have all learnt to love. No 3 hour recharge, no expensive battery replacing, more excitement, more fun and more while still being greener than electricity!

      What has seemed to be the problem is also the solution. So when buying a new car, don’t go for the hybrid or electric car, get the one with a straight internal combustion engine and next time you fill up, if your car is made after 1990 it is most likely compatible with the E10 fuel you see everywhere, so fill up with E10 (which contains 10% ethanol which is a biofuel and also increases the octane rating of your fuel so it is better for the engine) and enjoy the internal combustion engine.

    • earnestshub profile image

      earnestshub 7 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      Thanks dcasas! I have been telling it like it is in the motor industry for 35 years now.

      Glad to know you can see through the bulldust!

      hybrid cars really do suck!

    • dcasas profile image

      dcasas 7 years ago

      hahaha AWESOME! Finally someone with the courage to say this in public, Im with you 100% on hybrids sucking

    • earnestshub profile image

      earnestshub 8 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      The solar cell technology has come a long way, so you may be right.

      Australia as is common, sold off it's best solar cell tech!

    • profile image

      scheng1 8 years ago

      Agree! Only when solar powered cars are available cheaply, then the whole environmental issue will be solved.

    • earnestshub profile image

      earnestshub 8 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      Well any process that contributes to fueling the current ICE's is a good direction to be going with fuel. Thanks for the input! eyem4anarchy.

    • EYEAM4ANARCHY profile image

      Kelly W. Patterson 8 years ago from Las Vegas, NV.

      There isn't a conflict between food and fuel with biodiesel Biodiesel consists of recycled vegetable oil which would have been thrown out anyway and was never intended to be used as a source of food. It might not be the ultimate solution but it's an effective way to address those 600 million cars in the meantime.

    • earnestshub profile image

      earnestshub 8 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      Thanks for all the info JakeAuto.

      It looks to me like the electric car is going to be our immediate future.

      As you know, we need to develop a fuel that runs in the 600 million ICE's out there now.

    • JakeAuto profile image

      JakeAuto 8 years ago from Calif.

      I recently saw Huel Houser visiting a Jahoba farm in the desert, there was government funding in the 70s when a replacement for sperm whale oil was first neeeded. It was mentioned that it can yield 150 gallons of oil per acre while soy only produces 100 gallons, they sell their oil to cosmetics companies for $650 a gallon. There's plenty of desert if they can automate the labor.

      In just strategic terms, a small amount of electric power is generated with imported oil, so going electric does lower the need for international meddling. Fixed power generation could, in time be more green. Smaller bio fuel powered generation stations located close to consumers would reduce distribution loss.

    • earnestshub profile image

      earnestshub 8 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      Spot on Misha. The truth is that petroleum as I stated is very hard to beat.

      Some people drink petrol too! :)

    • Misha profile image

      Misha 8 years ago from DC Area

      There are two problems with alcohol fuel. First, you will need almost two times bigger fuel tanks due to its low energy content and air/fuel ratio; second in countries like Russia you are risking to have your tank drained by bums every night :D

      But I heard they do well in Brasilia though :)

    • LiamBean profile image

      LiamBean 8 years ago from Los Angeles, Calilfornia

      "There is so much of this type of thinking that it makes the whole human species seem moronic."

      No, just some of the lawmakers. But in a way it's expected. Look who they hang out with...each other ;^)

    • earnestshub profile image

      earnestshub 8 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      There is so much of this type of thinking that it makes the whole human species seem moronic.

    • LiamBean profile image

      LiamBean 8 years ago from Los Angeles, Calilfornia

      "The hypocrasy of the association with marijuana and hemp is too crazy to believe."

      It's "nuckin futz" is what it is. Here we have a weed that grows almost anywhere, produces high quality fiber and oil, and we can't use it because it's related to cannabis sativa/indica? Crazy sheeeet man!

    • earnestshub profile image

      earnestshub 9 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      Thank you Lindagoffigan. we need to get on with fixing the fuel and associated environmental outcomes if we are to leave a better planet to our children.

      I enjoy your hubs very much.Take care, and many thanks for reading.

    • lindagoffigan profile image

      lindagoffigan 9 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Earnest, many thanks for commenting on the article I wrote about the alternative fuel being used in Britain. I re read you hub as I remember you had written on alternative fuel also. It is amazing the fuel choices that is available but of course has to be government regulated. I enjoyed writing the article in which you commented but I was not sure about the seriousness of fuel choices until I reread your article. Again, thank you for commenting.

    • earnestshub profile image

      earnestshub 9 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      Thanks very much Amanda. You are so right about the planet's agenda.

      I will be writing to Obama about it, in the vain hope that Biden gets some time to read it.

    • Amanda Severn profile image

      Amanda Severn 9 years ago from UK

      Fantastic hub Earnest, and some brilliantly informative comments. These are all practical solutions to one of the world's largest dilemmas. Now, how do we get all of our respective governments to get their heads around this? As CWB so rightly says the oil and coal lobbies are still so powerful, that it's hard to get anything sensible sorted. Right now, the financial tsunami is pre-occupying all the decision makers to such an extent that the needs of the planet are being pushed farther and farther down the agenda.

    • profile image

      ColdWarBaby 9 years ago

      Well...we can't have sense, not profit!

      This is free market capitalism dammit! Not some bleeding heart charity!

    • earnestshub profile image

      earnestshub 9 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      wow! Great links ColdWarBaby. Use of methane from our sewage systems would be great. We would not only have fuel, but a paying industry rather than a huge utility cost.

    • profile image

      ColdWarBaby 9 years ago

       Yes JamaGenee. Methane is produced by the decomposition or "digestion" of any organic matter. That's how certain lunatic types turn their asses into flamethrowers. The gas released by flatulence is methane. It's ubiquitous. Given the right equipment, any home with its own septic tank will be able to produce fuel from the sewage it generates.

      Every city or town that has waste water filtration systems is a source of huge quantities of methane. They burn it off as waste at every oil field. All forms of manure produce methane and even after the methane has been extracted the remaining solids still retain all the nutrient properties required for fertilizer. Vast quantities of methane are locked in the tundra in Alaska, Siberia and many other places in the arctic circle. It's frozen in the ocean floor as gas hydrate in massive amounts.

      Ironically this methane now poses a grave threat as a result of global climate change. As temperatures in the ocean and in northern latitudes continue to rise there is a high probability that the methane will be released abruptly in large quantities. This is what, in all probability, caused one of the greatest known mass extinctions in the history of Earth.

      Why hasn't this renewable resource been used worldwide for decades? Ask the lobbyists who work for the oil and coal companies, the nuclear power maniacs and even the hydroelectric industry.

    • earnestshub profile image

      earnestshub 9 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      The hypocrasy of the association with marijuana and hemp is too crazy to believe.

    • JamaGenee profile image

      Joanna McKenna 9 years ago from Central Oklahoma

      Cold War Baby, you make a great case for methane.  Supposedly (if you can believe the ad), the S.C. Johnson Co powers an entire plant from the land fill (garbage dump) next to it.  Would that be methane too?

      Tom Jose, here in the States, HEMP is a four-letter word - as in 'no way, jose' (sorry, couldn't resist!) - because it's a cousin of marijuana.  Makes no difference that a person could smoke hemp all day and *never* get the teeniest tiniest buzz. Ever. Once pot is legalized, which *will* happen because the case for keeping it illegal is wearing thin fast, this country will be awash in hemp fields, for all the reasons mentioned above. 

    • earnestshub profile image

      earnestshub 9 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      Intutionzone, hemp does have many uses and grows nearly anywhere. It may be a good use of some lousy soil to plant it where other vegetation is poor.

    • intutionzone profile image

      intutionzone 9 years ago from Pacific Northwest

      I still find surprise at the ignorance that the general populaton, including lawmakers, has towards hemp. I hadn't realized it was such a great fuel source, but that makes sense since it's great for just about every other use imagineable.

    • earnestshub profile image

      earnestshub 9 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      The poo works for me. If we could just harness the bullshit that comes out of our world leaders the fuel problem would be solved!

      I admit to loving motor engineering and being fascinated by the marriage of computers and engine/drive train management systems and all the other glorious inventions fitted to newer cars, but it is time to turn it all around before we lose the use of our collective legs.

      Speaking of legs, I had a wheelchair bound customer who got me to fit a stove hot 250cc motorcycle motor in his home made wheelchair then raced it in the first wheelchair races here in about 1972.(Just something that fell in my head about engines.)

    • profile image

      ColdWarBaby 9 years ago

      I'd say, given your point about the interim, that methane from sewage treatment would be best. It burns very cleanly and requires a minimum of modification on existing engines. It can be produced in great quantities from any and all organic waste.

      There's actually a large dairy farm here in the u.s. that is running the entire operation, electricity and fuel for all their vehicles, on the methane produced from cow manure.

      It's the ultimate in recycling. Turning shit into efficient, clean burning fuel. As opposed to burning dirty fuel to turn our environment into shit.

    • earnestshub profile image

      earnestshub 9 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      Hi ColdWarBaby. You make a lot of sense in your comment. but I do think a change of fuel for ICEs is most urgent.

      The infrastructure in place to fuel and maintain more than half a billion vehicles will not be disposed of quickly until the entire infrastructure of countries change. The car industry will go down screaming!

      I also agree CWB, long term ICEs may have to go, as will all forms of incomplete cycles of combustion, like our Australian bush fires which are contributing massively to the already dirty air.

      Quality comment, thank you.

    • profile image

      ColdWarBaby 9 years ago

      I'm not trying to be contrary. It's an excellent hub.

      Biofuels are not a viable alternative for much the same reasons you point to for electrics.

      All the farms and the equipment used to produce fuel crops are running on electricity produced by dirty technology and diesel fuel.

      Beyond that, in most instances it takes more energy to produce power from biofuels than you get out. The law of diminishing returns.

      Not to mention the conflict of interest you touch upon regarding food versus fuel.

      Ultimately the internal combustion engine will have to go. The sooner the better.

      We need, however, to address our main power supply before we worry overly much about the cars.

      There must simply by a major paradigm shift. We must change the way we think and live. The amerikan “non-negotiable” lifestyle doesn't need to be negotiated, it needs to be abandoned completely.

      Solar and wind can provide all the power needed by the entire planet. As a certain shoe maker is wont to say, we need to “just do it”.

      Of course it wouldn't be easy. Of course it would cause a lot of discomfort.

      Not nearly as much as what climate change is going to cause if this problem isn't addressed immediately.

      The global retrofitting of existing structures to utilize solar/wind energy would provided millions of jobs for many years.

      The building of a global power grid to do the same, ditto.

      A new or at least restructured auto industry, mandated to design and produce non-polluting vehicles, ditto again.

      GM built and leased a completely viable, fully electric vehicle, the EV1, in 1996. It was crushed, literally, because it became too popular. GM even refused to sell the vehicle to those who had leased it. The first viable automobiles where not gas, diesel or even steam driven, they were electric. Even Henry Ford built an electric first.

      It was oil and the men and I say men intentionally, that made their profits from it that pushed aside a technology that would have saved us from the ecological mess we now find ourselves in.

      Had profit and greed not been the drivers of our technology, had we applied common sense rather than capitalistic self-interest, we would now be living in a vastly different world.

      The human race will have to slow down. Instant gratification isn't necessarily a good thing anyway.

    • Tom Jose profile image

      Tom Jose 9 years ago

      What a great Hub. Very informative.. I often wonder why hemp isn't at the top of everyones minds since it can be used for so many things and is a very sustainable crop product

      Thank you

    • earnestshub profile image

      earnestshub 9 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      hi SiddSingh. Many countries have enormous amounts of natural gas. Australia has massive reserves. Gas can be transported easily too. The problem is it is costing in excess of AU$2,000 to convert from petrol to gas.

      The fossil fuel will run out eventually, and the biggest worry will be finding enough for petro-chemical supplies for making plastics. We need a new fuel fast.

    • SiddSingh profile image

      SiddSingh 9 years ago

      Hi Earnest,

      A thought provoking hub. Other than the obvious reason (i.e., pollution) of looking for an alternate fuel for all of thes 600 million vehicles, maybe we should also prepare for the day when the fossil fuels will run out. Some estimates put the total oil reserves to last for another 25-30 years.

      Here in India, even the local mechanics have mastered tweaking the current vehicles to run on LPG, which is used as cooking fuel. And they do it very cheaply too, costing less than 400 US dollars. I am not sure whether LPG is used elsewhere in world, is it?

    • earnestshub profile image

      earnestshub 9 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      Gday agvulpes. yes it is a farce. If we do not fuel the world fleet first, we will lose the environment before the new hybrid lot get sorted and sold.

    • agvulpes profile image

      Peter 9 years ago from Australia

      G'day earnestshub, you are right on the money. If we go down the hybrid track has anyone done the home work on how much this battery guzzlers will cost to maintain.

      At least with the ICE powered cars we already have an industry geared to build and rebuild the engines. And the batteries in the hybrids I've heard that they can cost up to $5000 to replace? Then how do we dispose of the old batteries?

    • earnestshub profile image

      earnestshub 9 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      Thanks Lissie, we tend to forget that fueling our cars has more than one environmental compnent.

    • Lissie profile image

      Elisabeth Sowerbutts 9 years ago from New Zealand

      I tend to agree - the reality is that if oil gets expensive enough then it will be worthwhile to invest in R&D to find altrenatives! I believe hemp is now legal in all states in Australia which makes a lot more sense as a crop than cotton and rice in a drought prone country! You can also run a diesel car on used vegetable oil with nothing more than a bit of filtering to get the chips out of it LOL


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