Posts Tagged ‘hybrids’

An Engine in a Suitcase, Or an Electric Car?

November 19th, 2012
2013 Ford Fiesta

2013 Ford Fiesta

In my book, many interesting conversations can be had using the words “turbochargers” and “superchargers.”

In a conversation with a friend this weekend, though, my mention of the words were met with a blank stare. I guess not everyone is into cars or even terribly knowledgeable about what makes them tick.

Our talk began with a question. My friend asked, “What do you think of electric cars?”

Well, that’s quite the can o’ worms in my world, and talking through the answer took the better part of the next 30 minutes. We discussed everything from the environmental impact of battery manufacturing to electricity production to supporting infrastructure to the mechanics of how superchargers and turbochargers work in gas and diesel engines. Of course, my bottom-line answer to her question was this: Electrics have the right idea in saving fuel, I’m just not convinced of their execution. I’d prefer to go with an economical turbo gas or diesel vehicle.

Like maybe the 2014 Ford Fiesta, with a 1.0-liter EcoBoost 3-cylinder.

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Are Americans Finally Learning to Think Small?

May 3rd, 2012

FIAT 500 Abarth, rear

The jury is still out on the question of how serious Americans are about converting to smaller, greener cars. Still, there is some evidence that the market share for these vehicles is increasing.

In March, small car sales went up, as people reacted to rising gas prices. Honda was the only one of the majors whose sales dropped (by 5 percent). In April, demand for smaller cars went down: sales of the Cruze fell 5 percent; sales of the Fiesta, 44 percent.

One takeaway is that people are confused about what they want and need in an economy that is anything but reassuring and sends out ambiguous, even contradictory, signals.

But what about the real small stuff and the EV-hybrid bunch? We talked about Chrysler yesterday, and the company sold 336 percent more FIAT 500s (3,849 cars) than it did a year ago. Finally, Chrysler brought in new marketing blood.

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Are Hybrids Already a Dying Breed?

April 6th, 2011

The best reason to own a hybrid

Our man jgoods wrote a scathing piece on minivans last week. While I’m no fan of the people-movers either, I certainly see their benefit, especially considering that for the past three days I’ve been touring the country as part of a caravan consisting of one Dodge Caravan, one Chrysler Town & Country and my family’s SUV.

The ease of loading passengers and gear into the vans is almost enough for me to secretly wish I had one too, but then an epic blizzard in Wyoming brought me back to reality, and my AWD SUV was suddenly the best family car I’ve ever owned.

So while I won’t own a van, I hold nothing against them. My problem is with hybrids, vehicles I believe aren’t worth the gas that goes in ‘em. And it seems I’m far from alone on this…

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