Monday, February 28, 2005

  Honda Sells Snake Oil ! Film at eleven...

Ok, I am an environmentalist.

Let me qualify that.

I am in favor of creating a sustainable technological society. I am NOT a Luddite. I love technologies that create tools, which are at once more efficient and less wasteful. LED lighting is one example. Brighter than incandescent, they use far, far less power (milliamps) and LED's don't, as a rule, burn out. The higher cost will go down with mass production.

So it is with electric cars. From a strictly mechanical standpoint, electric vehicles are faster than internal combustion engines, are far more efficient and rarely if ever wear out. An internal combustion engine it is often said - as far as space heaters go, makes a passable form of transportation. Gas engines are at best around 40% efficient from the standpoint of energy used to power generated. The worst electric motor is about 60% efficient. There will come a day when we all drive roomy, incredibly fast electric vehicles which last on average 15 years without any major maintenance. We will then look back on the clunky, slow, needlessly complex gasoline precursors and ask ourselves "what the heck were we thinking?"

To that end, America has become increasingly enamored with Hybrids. Hybrids take the edge off of IC automobiles by assisting an IC motor at key moments of low efficiency - acceleration, braking, long, sustained travel at high speed. Basically, the worst enemy of IC motors is the inertia of its own internal components. Well, that and heat waste.

So Hybrids made a fantastic entree to the US auto market overcoming concerns of early consumer adoption and price and utility factors. People LOVE them. As consumer demand increased, I guess it was only a matter of time before the first Bogus Hybrid Come-On hit the market.

Enter the 2005 Honda Accord Hybrid. Look at the Mileage:

29 mpg City and advertised 32-mpg highway...

Ok, let me get this straight, the standard Accord gets 21 to 30 MPG city/highway and costs a base $24,000. For $30,000 I get a measly 9mpg boost for city driving with no appreciable increase of highway efficiency?

By way of comparison, my 2002 Celica GTS gets 27/32 city/hwy and those are ACTUAL recorded mileage figures based on MY two years of ownership. Why does my 3.8-liter engine run faster, accelerate more rapidly and run on less gas overall than a Honda HYBRID 4.0-liter engine with electric assist? Even my 14-year-old 91 Honda Civic Si hatchback STILL gets 28/31 ! Clearly Honda was so eager to enter the hybrid sedan market that they assumed that consumers would by anything with a gas/electric sticker on the window.

Do yourself a favor, save $6,000, buy the gas Accord, get the same mileage and tell Honda that unless they are serious about expanding the gas/electric hybrid market they need to get out of the way. Let those who ARE serious get the job done. Remember; unless we say otherwise, auto manufactures always assume that we are morons.

Prove them wrong.


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