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RE: Hybrids are the 'next diesel': Tell Me I'm Wrong

RE: Hybrids are the 'next diesel': Tell Me I'm Wrong

Monday 20th March

Hybrids are the 'next diesel': Tell Me I'm Wrong

Why a 680hp Porsche symbolises all that's wrong with hybrids



I still don't buy the whole hybrid thing. That a vehicle packing two separate powertrains and requiring both a tank of petrol and a big heavy battery can be sold as the eco choice has to be the biggest con since, well, we were told to buy diesels because they were better for global warming.

Know your enemy!
Know your enemy!
VW's scandal exposed the lengths manufacturers are prepared to go to in order to hit - or appear to hit - the targets given them by legislators. And also our willingness to believe the hype of it being about saving the planet when the real inspirations are, respectively, selling new cars and saving a few quid off our tax bills. Meanwhile governments remain in control of an endlessly adjustable tax threshold that can either throw incentives to certain voters or penalise others as their needs require.

For me Porsche's Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid truly exposes the hybrid myth and extremes both manufacturers and customers will go to in the name of expediency. Because, let's face it, neither party is motivated by a desire to save the planet.

Coming to a company car park near you soon
Coming to a company car park near you soon
The joke is on...
I'm sure there will be amusement value in driving a 680hp Panamera. But at what point does adding electric motors and batteries to a luxury saloon ALREADY packing 550hp from a 4.0-litre internal combustion engine possibly equate to a sensible allocation of resources? Because, what, the ability to plug your twin-turbo V8 Porsche into the mains, allowing it to be dragged along under electric power for a few miles, buys you lifetime membership of Greenpeace? Through gritted teeth I'd call it four-wheeled virtue signalling, much as I hate the term.

Just as generations of diesel rep saloons have been relentlessly engineered to limbo under ever lower legislative bars for favourable numbers on business users' payslips these latest hybrids seem breathtakingly cynical. How many of those Mitsubishi Outlander PHEVs are bought for anything other than 'scoring' 41g/km, 166mpg and therefore slashing your tax liability? I'm guessing it wasn't for the looks or handling, that's for sure. And yet there it is, Britain's best-selling PHEV according to the Mitsubishi UK website.

Well you're not buying it for the looks...
Well you're not buying it for the looks...
If Porsche were just a little more honest about it and presented the Turbo S E-Hybrid as simply the fastest Panamera you can buy I'd feel a little more comfortable. After all, is spending £137,140 on an electrically-assisted Panamera because it scores 97.4mpg and 66g/km really more eco conscious than spending £115,100 on one with just the V8 and 30mpg and 214g/km on the same test cycle? Is £22K, all that additional complexity and another 315kg on a car 190mph already weighing over 2,000kg really worth a power-to-weight gain of just 20hp per tonne?

Number crunching
The answer will be yes if the E-Hybrid will, in effect, give you both bragging rights AND pay for itself through Benefit In Kind, Congestion Charge exemption and incentivised parking schemes that favour plug-in vehicles. Whether they're Twizys or 680hp Porsches. The Panamera is just an extreme example - versions of these calculations are going on up and down the land as execs ditch the diesels and switch to petrol hybrids because the tax rules encourage them to do so. Why wouldn't Porsche build a car to satisfy this market? Why wouldn't we buy it and enjoy the sense we'd beaten the system? "Courage changes everything" as Porsche's strapline for the Panamera goes...

An 'honest' use of electrical power?
An 'honest' use of electrical power?
This is why the LaFerrari is the one out of the so-called hypercar holy trinity I'm most comfortable with. All exploited electricity to boost the power of already awesome internal combustion engines. But only Ferrari was honest in the motivation for the application of the technology - namely more speed. It could have turbocharged the car to the same ends. But in this context electrical assistance meant it could maintain its brand values of screaming naturally-aspirated power at the heart of the beast. And a sell-through from KERS technology in F1. Why pretend it was about anything else?

And that's what I'd like to see from hybrids. A more honest use of electric power to fill the holes in the power bands of internal combustion engines and make them operate more efficiently. Rid them of the need to power the car for a token electric only range for impressive CO2 numbers and you don't need a huge battery, weight can be kept down and the petrol engine downsized. It's like a smarter version of forced induction, letting us keep the character of our high-rev zingers while giving them a helping hand to deal with their peakiness. And a true way to bridge the gap between dependence on internal combustion and the inevitable electric future.

Did Honda get it right the first time?
Did Honda get it right the first time?
Motivating factors
Honda got it right with its Integrated Motor Assist system in the 'mild' hybrids it has built since its first Insight. There was an interesting car, built to be light, aerodynamically efficient and as fast as a larger engined car through clever application of technology. Not a bloated, over-complex tax-dodger.

As the whole diesel thing has proven, the way cars are legislated provides very little motivation for free-thinking on solving the actual problems. And instead diverts creative energy to hitting meaningless targets. Again, look at Honda and the way it responded to California's emissions crisis with the CVCC engine. While everyone else strangled huge, inefficient V8s with smog gear and turned them into underpowered gas guzzlers it built a small engine that burnt its fuel more efficiently.

Enough of the half measures already...
Enough of the half measures already...
If we're going to make cars move solely under electric power make them electric only. With both product and investment in infrastructure that actually works for its customers Tesla continues to embarrass the mainstream manufacturers. What, for instance, if Porsche had put all the considerable development resource and expertise required to build a car like the Turbo S E-Hybrid into the production Mission E? Sure, it wouldn't have it in showrooms now. But it would have brought it one step closer. Alternatively what if the 911 Carreras hadn't gained controversial turbos but instead a mild hybrid boost that preserved the high-revving naturally-aspirated character at the top end, augmented with an electrically assisted mid-range? They tried it with the GT3 R Hybrid race car after all. I'll work on the assumption the answer is because they wouldn't have hit the CO2 numbers required to sell the cars under current tax rules, rather than build a car that would be both faster, cleaner and more characterful.

I hope we'll look back on these cars with a sense of embarrassment, as we do those monstrously over-engined 'smog beaters' of the 70s. There are smart ways to integrate electric power into our mobility needs. I'm just not convinced a 680hp Porsche Panamera counts as one of them.

[Sources: Honda]

Author
Discussion

SteveSteveson

Original Poster:

3,082 posts

78 months

Sunday 19th March
quotequote all
Hybrids are like turbos. They can be used to make cars faster or more green. The question with cars like the Porsche and Ferrari is, what engine would you need to get the same result without the hybrid? Hybrids biggest advantage to a turbo is not reducing averages but taking over when the petrol engine is at its worst, in slow moving stop start traffic.

ManiSBhogal69

1 posts

35 months

Sunday 19th March
quotequote all
Dan, isnt the problem in reality the legislators?

Without restriction do we honestly believe Porsche would saddle their icon with Turbos knowing it could held on to natural aspiration with the inclusion of electric assistance?

As with the Tax laws set up in the late 90s for film investment, as with Expenses scandals, as with all other issues in our world all generally come from legislators not consulting broadly enough due to inefficiency that makes our user experience of things less effective than they should be. Almost entirely I blame this bureaucracy for being where we are with Hybrids, Diesels, Petrol, LPG and Pure Electrification and so on....

We cant blame Porsche for building cars to beat tests or perform well in them if the tests are intrinsically flawed, again this comes from the legislator and rule makers all the way to a top of the government level. If we as Pistonheads and Petrolheads are as enthusiastic about our modes of transport we should lobby aggressively for change on how we are assessed and manufacturers are forced down a hole they might not have gone in.

Ive

132 posts

84 months

Sunday 19th March
quotequote all
I am driving a 2nd gen Prius as my daily.
Same argument as for the Honda. the hybrid part makes a small petrol engine very efficient and clean.
It provides the same torque and power as a small turbodiesel (120Hp), about the same mpg, but without the emissions.
By the way, the 2nd gen Prius battery pack weights 43kg, so about twice the weight of a lead starter battery of any bigger diesel engine, e.g. 72Ah of a BMW 6 cylinder engined car.

saxy

80 posts

39 months

Sunday 19th March
quotequote all
OP clearly doesn't understand what the hybrid market is going on. There are 2 types of hybrids in this world. One for sensible fuel economy. The other is for outright speed

A hybrid Lexus / Toyota that delivers 80% more range in city driving is clearly useful. Most fuel is used during low speed acceleration and the electric motors with loads of torque replace the ICE.

The hybrid in this Panamera clearly is the Mclaren P1 or the 918 type. It's called "Turbo S" for a reason. S for speed not for sensible. Besides, batteries are getting much lighter. A hybrid car may only need 100kg of batteries to gain huge loads of extra mileage. An electric car however relies solely on batteries and hence needs nearly a ton of it to be viable.

JonChalk

121 posts

25 months

Sunday 19th March
quotequote all
Agreed.

Full-on petrol, no hybrid, until such time as I can get all-electric 300hp and 350mile range, for less than £30k, coupled with ability to top up my motive power source when and wherever I like (within realistic limits).

Not far away, I hope - I reckon 5 years - until then bring on turbo-charged petrol engines - vroom, vroom.
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NJH

2,478 posts

124 months

Sunday 19th March
quotequote all
Only flaw in the argument blaming legislators is where do you think the legislation comes from in the first place? Politicians don't have a clue about environmental science or product safety. All of this stuff ultimately comes from specialists sitting on standardisation committees whom themselves come from the same huge multi-nationals that implement the resulting legislation, or industry bodies intimately related to them. It was a theme in Brexit but the EU is hardly unique in that respect, I can't think of a single industry or area of human endeavour where the people setting the standards are completely independent of those who implement the standards.

Tryke3

473 posts

9 months

Sunday 19th March
quotequote all
You are wrong because you are missing the point. Technology has to move forward, and by taxing it thats the only way it can move very quickly. Do you think that we would have 2ltdis with 200bhp out the factory if there wasnt someone there pushing the manufacturers ?
Is pistonheads just click bait for uneducated ?

steve1386

49 posts

87 months

Sunday 19th March
quotequote all
Ive said:
I am driving a 2nd gen Prius as my daily.
Same argument as for the Honda. the hybrid part makes a small petrol engine very efficient and clean.
It provides the same torque and power as a small turbodiesel (120Hp), about the same mpg, but without the emissions.
By the way, the 2nd gen Prius battery pack weights 43kg, so about twice the weight of a lead starter battery of any bigger diesel engine, e.g. 72Ah of a BMW 6 cylinder engined car.
I'm sorry, but a Prius will never achieve the same real word economy as a diesel, nor will any hybrid. If the battery is fully charged, then they are only useful in short, stop-start city traffic.

Take one on a motorway for a long journey and you'll be lucky to see 40mpg.

On top of that you have to tell someone you drive a Prius!

bitchstewie

13,683 posts

125 months

Sunday 19th March
quotequote all
steve1386 said:
I'm sorry, but a Prius will never achieve the same real word economy as a diesel, nor will any hybrid. If the battery is fully charged, then they are only useful in short, stop-start city traffic.

Take one on a motorway for a long journey and you'll be lucky to see 40mpg.

On top of that you have to tell someone you drive a Prius!
I switched from a Golf TDi to a Toyota hybrid (albeit with a Lexus badge on) and the real world economy is almost identical in that both achieve 52-55mpg across a tank of fuel with 40 miles a day commute.

If I did long motorway journeys daily it might be a different situation, but I don't so it isn't so I guess somewhere someone's driving whichever vehicle is best for that use case.

998420

596 posts

66 months

Sunday 19th March
quotequote all
Why do you hate the term Virtue Signaling, when it perfectly describes the utterly absurd posturing stupidity we have got ourselves into.

Politicians will say anything to get into power. Look at the center/left now, desperate to churn out anti immigration rhetoric they were denouncing as racist months ago as the polls are telling them they have to, or someone else will get elected.

Just as the Socialists hide their terminally flawed dreams behind lies about looking after the little people, Greens have been shilling and selling Green Business as a public smoke screen of virtuous planet saving, while us, the mug public, pay for it.

Look at your local councilors viewing their latest eco energy center, marvel at the massive backhanders and benefits in kind they have trousered, knowing that Nuclear Energy is cleaner and greener, but lacks the political posturing, the virtue signaling, and the backhanders for them and their kind.

pppppppppppppppp

45 posts

37 months

Sunday 19th March
quotequote all
NJH said:
Only flaw in the argument blaming legislators is where do you think the legislation comes from in the first place? Politicians don't have a clue about environmental science or product safety. All of this stuff ultimately comes from specialists sitting on standardisation committees whom themselves come from the same huge multi-nationals that implement the resulting legislation, or industry bodies intimately related to them. It was a theme in Brexit but the EU is hardly unique in that respect, I can't think of a single industry or area of human endeavour where the people setting the standards are completely independent of those who implement the standards.
The problem is you have to set the bar somewhere. A test environment is never going to reflect the real world, because in the real world each journey is different. Just like we have a national speed limit which applies not only to motorways where you can see a mile ahead but also to winding 1930s dual carriageways.

The only truly sensible way to tax cars is to tax the fuel, which of course is already done. This of course isn't popular with a lot of people because it penalises against those who rely on their cars and have no public transport. But then again, those people tend to live places where house prices are lower, but they won't see it like that, which is understandable.

As for the technology, it's no different from petrol engines; manufacturers engineer their cars to hit emissions targets, 0-62 times and pointless laps round the Nurburgring. This doesn't necessarily means fast and efficient for the customers

mstrbkr

6,862 posts

113 months

Sunday 19th March
quotequote all
You're not wrong.

However I think hybrids "work" when they replace the (for example) 400bhp V8 with a combined 400bhp from a 4cyl petrol engine and electric motor. In the case of the Panamera, it is a bit of a joke.

Olf

11,717 posts

133 months

Sunday 19th March
quotequote all
Tryke3 said:
You are wrong because you are missing the point. Technology has to move forward, and by taxing it thats the only way it can move very quickly. Do you think that we would have 2ltdis with 200bhp out the factory if there wasnt someone there pushing the manufacturers ?
Is pistonheads just click bait for uneducated ?
Ah someone who says' You are wrong'. Love that because they themselves are always at least partially wrong. Or in this case just plain naive.

Governments don't tax to incentivise technological development. They might suggest they do but we all know that's b/s. They tax to raise revenue. The customer who benefits from tax raising actually still prefers not to be taxed and so he stops buying products that are heavily taxed. Producers of products that are heavily tax respond by finding ways to reduce that tax to make their products more attractive.

If it were the other way round as you suggest, diesel engines would not have evolved to the state they are and they wouldn't have captured the market they have. Everyone knows burning heavy oil is worse for the environment, they've known that for years - but if you declare the only modifiable variable in reducing environmental damage is CO2 then you induce unintended consequences. You pick the engine that has most chance of limbo'ing under CO2 hurdles. And for a while most of us fell for it.

Olf

11,717 posts

133 months

Sunday 19th March
quotequote all
mstrbkr said:
You're not wrong.

However I think hybrids "work" when they replace the (for example) 400bhp V8 with a combined 400bhp from a 4cyl petrol engine and electric motor. In the case of the Panamera, it is a bit of a joke.
I don't actually think we know that - what are the actual emissions of that 4cyl (not on a test cycle) when it's programmed to offer the same performance as the V8. I think if we've learnt anything in the last couple of years it's that these 'clever' small capacity engines might look good on a test bench but all sorts of badness is happening out on the road.

We need to stop - re-appraise and start again.

rtz62

1,129 posts

70 months

Sunday 19th March
quotequote all
Ive said:
I am driving a 2nd gen Prius as my daily.
Same argument as for the Honda. the hybrid part makes a small petrol engine very efficient and clean.
It provides the same torque and power as a small turbodiesel (120Hp), about the same mpg, but without the emissions.
By the way, the 2nd gen Prius battery pack weights 43kg, so about twice the weight of a lead starter battery of any bigger diesel engine, e.g. 72Ah of a BMW 6 cylinder engined car.
Without the emissions...
The electricity used to charge the cars batteries is produced somewhere, just not usually where legislators and politicians live.
Until we harvest electrickety from wind or sea farms, the semantics are that we are just depositing the carbon footprint somewhere else other than city centres or adjacent to motorways. Or the muitl million £ mansions of the worlds 1% who form the richest demographic.
Funny how we never focus on countries like the good old US of A where vehicular transport is still predominantly gas-guzzling V8's, yet the political powers that be there won't, or darent legislate against them, as it would be seen to be akin to revoking their right to carry arms.
I often wondered when our politicians will turn their attention to banning F1 due to the carbon footprint caused by the fans, the teams travelling by air etc, and thence air transport itself.
Safe to say, those same politicians will no doubt still travel in behemoths that cost a fortune to build and maintain, not only just in the cost of those raw materials to build but also to propel.
As an aside, can anyone tell me why our politicians still insist on travelling to summits by air and road, when video conferencing would be the the most efficient way of 'meeting'? (Yes, I know the answer will include, having jollies, back-handers etc!)

Guybrush

3,782 posts

121 months

Sunday 19th March
quotequote all
But what's the point? Performance boost because of the torque probably, but not economy. Batteries are heavy, they need to be carried and the energy they need is not 'free', the onboard engine needs to supply it. Plus, as to 'the new diesel', yes but mainly because of the resources and pollution in manufacture and distribution of the batteries about which the media has gone mysteriously quiet.

DPSFleet

65 posts

76 months

Sunday 19th March
quotequote all
simply the law of unintended consequences.....more, is better it seems.

Oz83

278 posts

54 months

Sunday 19th March
quotequote all
I don't have a problem with these whatsoever. If you can drive in the city under electric power and therefore 'move' the pollution to where it will be less harmful, surely that's a good thing? The fact that there is a 500+ hp petrol engine attached to it for when you hit the open road should be a petrol heads dream come true.

Swoxy

2,651 posts

125 months

Sunday 19th March
quotequote all
steve1386 said:
I'm sorry, but a Prius will never achieve the same real word economy as a diesel, nor will any hybrid. If the battery is fully charged, then they are only useful in short, stop-start city traffic.

Take one on a motorway for a long journey and you'll be lucky to see 40mpg.

On top of that you have to tell someone you drive a Prius!
People's "real world" can be different and Toyota / Lexus currently sell nine hybrids in the UK in addition to the Prius.

bitchstewie

13,683 posts

125 months

Sunday 19th March
quotequote all
Incidentally, and no idea how true this is, but apparently 15 of the worlds largest cargo ships are supposed to emit as much at all the worlds cars combined.

It's something I read and doubtless somewhere there's a counter article but if it's even half true it does show a little of the futility of anything we can do as motorists.