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Discussion Starter #1
Wouldn't it be cool if they solstice was made into a hybrid car? Does anyone still think this would be possible for the solstice? Wouldn't that be just great?
 

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It could be possible, but it'd be years down the road. It is very unlikely. Not to mention that the batteries and hybrid system would add a decent amount of weight, and could sacrifice performance.
 

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I really think it would be cool, however there is no trunk space now, where are you going to put batteries, control systems, etc??
 

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Discussion Starter #4
hybrid

I'm sure if GM wanted to do that they could. Also, add more weight to it if necessary, and the increased cost of the car will be made up in a lot less gas being used. I've never come across a hybrid roadster before.
 

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Of course, it's nothing thats been spoken of concerning the Solstice, but given that hybrids can realize significant acceleration gains, I think that "hybrid" + "sports car" will become a common equation in the future.
 

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daddyking said:
I'm sure if GM wanted to do that they could. Also, add more weight to it if necessary, and the increased cost of the car will be made up in a lot less gas being used. I've never come across a hybrid roadster before.
Not likely to either. Not for many years. Have you ever driven a Hybrid? They're not exactly rocketships. Pretty much the slowest cars you can buy. If you want a 2 seat hybrid that saves lots of gas, get a Honda Insight. 2 seats, highest mileage in America. Available now.
 

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The Solstice doesn't need a hybrid engine. It needs an insanely powered good old fashioned gas gulping high performance engine. There's plenty of oil up in Alaska, someone just needs to get the balls to kick the caraboo off their precious grazing land and let Exxon drill!
 

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AeroDave said:
Not likely to either. Not for many years. Have you ever driven a Hybrid? They're not exactly rocketships. Pretty much the slowest cars you can buy. If you want a 2 seat hybrid that saves lots of gas, get a Honda Insight. 2 seats, highest mileage in America. Available now.
That is only because current Hybrids have mostly been made from economy cars with the purpose being maximum fuel economy and not performance. However, Honda’s new Accord hybrid is the fasted version of the Accord, as the hybrid motor is teamed to the basically stock Accord V6 instead of a detuned diminutive 4 banger such as in the Prius hybrid. It also incorporates displacement on demand, and gets around 29 MPG city. A V6 hybrid car that is faster than the standard V6 and gets better economy. Now that’s cool (if its really worth the extra $3000).

Actually, performance cars are an obvious choice for some sort of hybrid powertrain. Especially in cars using high revving motors that are short on low end torque. An electric motor makes maximum torque right away, so it could easily help acceleration of a car with a high revving engine, getting it underway quickly while the engine spools up. This would assist in cars like the Toyota Celica GTS that needs 6800 RPM to get to the hot cam, or a turbo car to help compensate for turbo lag. Right now the technology is a little expensive, and the batteries still carry a weight penalty, but in the future both negatives could decrease making them much more viable in widespread use. (in fact, right now there is some supplier problems to meet current demand for hybrid batteries without adding additional models).

As for the Solstice becoming a hybrid… its not going to happen in the near future. GM does not seem to have many plans to make hybrid power trains widely available. They are concentrating on fuel cell R&D and seem to think the future is in that technology.
 

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Actually speaking of Toyota and hybrids, they supposedly have a hybrid super car in development. It's a concept of course, but they're trying to show the benefits of electric cars for more then just economy.
 

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brentil said:
Actually speaking of Toyota and hybrids, they supposedly have a hybrid super car in development. It's a concept of course, but they're trying to show the benefits of electric cars for more then just economy.
There was also the concept-E Eclipse, although I'm not sure if they ever actually made a working model. Ugly as sin if you ask me, it did have one intriguing design feature: When the hybrid motor was activated, plasma bolts flowed through the headlights and/or tailights (like those found in the decorative round balls that respond to human touch). Performance wise, the hybrid motor boosted the horsepower output to 470.

Unfortunately, the next version of the Eclipse won't feature the "E-boost" hybrid system, but it is expected to look just as fugly as the concept!
 

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Fformula88 said:
As for the Solstice becoming a hybrid… its not going to happen in the near future. GM does not seem to have many plans to make hybrid power trains widely available. They are concentrating on fuel cell R&D and seem to think the future is in that technology.
And I think this is a smart move. Hybrid technology is a band-aid sollution to our energy problems, fuel cells are much closer to being a real solution. I think we are in agreement that electric motors are awsome and should be powering our cars. However the problem with hybrids is batteries. They are heavy, require lots of heavy copper cabeling and are an enviromental desaster waiting to happen. Imagine if most of the world's cars were hybrid, what would we do with all the dead batteries and all the toxins they contain? Obtaining enough materials to build all those batteries wouldn't be easy either.

Battery technology is getting lighter, but at a cost. Fuel cells are a more complicated problem to solve, but well worth it IMHO. As to hybrid roadsters, the most likely to tackle that niche would be Toyota, and if their past roadsters are any indication, I wouldn't count on stellar performance (or looks), but there is no doubt a small market of people looking for a Prius in a more attractive package. I see your point about using hybrid technology to boost performance, and not just economy. Intersting idea, we'll have to see how the hybrid plays out in the market place. I'm not sure the trade off of complexity, cost, weight and loss of interior space is worth the performance gains, but we won't know until someone builds a performance hybrid. Solstice hybrid? Never going to happen (Not this one anyways, maybe generation 3 or something!). :cheers
 

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I just got done with a big discussion on another forum about alternate propulsion technology. Lots of folks are really geeked about fuel cell technology, but the problem is the best fuel cells use hydrogen, and hydrogen has physical properties that really make it not-so-good for a primary transportation fuel.

I've studied this subject way in depth, and even though hydrogen is great energy content per mass, it sucks because it's not dense (same energy content occupies about 4 times that of gasoline or diesel). For talking purposes, 1 kg of hydrogen is energy equivalent content to a gallon of gasoline or diesel (about 140 MJ, give or take).

Range is problem one for fuel cell vehicles. Supply of hydrogen is petroleum-based, that's another. Fuel cell cost is another.

AND (get this, it's a big point) fuel cell vehicles still use electricity and electric motors as the propulsion system. Why waste energy converting petroleum products into hydrogen (a very inefficient and cumbersome way to carry energy), just to squirt it into a fuel cell to get electricity? Additionally, why try to do this when hydrogen supply is not clean, it does nothing to reduce carbon emissions, and there's energy wasted in changing states, and development and research is required to figure out how to store it safely and efficiently, as well as figuring out how to economically mass-produce fuel cells, all while the typical fuel cell is only operating at about 55% efficiency?

Many fuel cells, at the hint of sulfur, or carbon monoxide, can be rendered unusable.

Yes, there are alternate input fuel cells, but they are worse off, either employing unacceptable operating temperatures (molten carbonate salts?) or use copious amounts of poisonous substances that include lithium, or phosphoric acid, or use steam pre-reformation (and give off CO2).

What is really needed is a ultrabatticapacitelectrostorecovery device with a 50% improvement in MJ/kg, with power density approaching a reasonable level of J/kg. That turns out to be the most efficient tank-to-road energy usage.

I could go on, but I'll stop now (don't want to bore anyone here).
 

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... then there's that whole "Hindenberg" drawback to using hydrogen as a fuel. What happens when you get into an accident?

Solsticeman said:
What is really needed is a ultrabatticapacitelectrostorecovery device with a 50% improvement in MJ/kg, with power density approaching a reasonable level of J/kg. That turns out to be the most efficient tank-to-road energy usage

huh? Are you talking about a flux capacitor? (1.21 Jiggawatts!)
 

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solsticeman said:
fuel cell vehicles still use electricity and electric motors as the propulsion system. Why waste energy converting petroleum products into hydrogen (a very inefficient and cumbersome way to carry energy), just to squirt it into a fuel cell to get electricity? Additionally, why try to do this when hydrogen supply is not clean, it does nothing to reduce carbon emissions, and there's energy wasted in changing states, and development and research is required to figure out how to store it safely and efficiently, as well as figuring out how to economically mass-produce fuel cells, all while the typical fuel cell is only operating at about 55% efficiency?
Can't be too much worse than the energy we are wasting right now refining crude oil into gasoline. We can also get Hydrogen from water. Admittedly it takes a lot more energy to break the H2O molecules than we would gain from the resulting hydrogen, but the process is simple and can be done with power generated from wind farms, solar collectors, hydroelectric dams, nuclear power plants or even burning fossil fuels. Even if we use fossil fuels, the enviromental advantage would be that the resulting pollution would be centralized and more managable.

Yeah, fuel cells aren't too good now, but they hold the promise of getting us off of fossil fuels eventually, and in time I think they could. You're right, we could also use a super wonderful battery storage device too, but from what I've heard, a more efficient battery that would make a standard electric car more practical is even further off than the fuel cells. It's all dreaming for the future, maybe we'll get nuclear fusion after all. I often wish we had put in electric rails when we built the highway system so we could all drive something like slot cars! For now we'll have to stick with Gottleib Daimler's great invention and battle over the hell hole known as the middle east.
 

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2KWK4U said:
... then there's that whole "Hindenberg" drawback to using hydrogen as a fuel. What happens when you get into an accident?
Hydrogen can be stored as a hydride that is more or less innert and then broken down to base hydrogen only when needed, so the amount of raw hydrogen in your car is minimal. Anyhow that's how I understand the solution to the storage problem. Energy storage is the whole problem with alternative fuels or motive powers.

No free lunch, but if we spend just a fraction of the amount of brain power and money working on this problem as we do to entertain ourselves, fight each other and figure out ways to sell ourselves stuff we don't really need, we could have this licked in no time. Alternative power sources are not really a priority right now in our world. Like good procrastinators, we always wait until the bitter end because it seems the path of least resistance.
 

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Hindenburg: was from the diesel fuel burning for 10 hours afterward, and the aluminum-laquer paint (basically a pre-cursor to solid rocket fuel) on the exterior structure. The hydrogen dissapated within 30s to 1min after the bags burnt open, and burned out above the hindenburg.

Hydrides have only slightly better energy content in hydrogen storage than batteries have in electrical energy storage. Then, it takes energy (heat) to get the hydrogen back out of the hydride matrix - then run it through a 55% efficient device to convert the hydrogen into electrical energy and run it though an 80% efficient motor/trans to get the energy to the road???

There's dollars being wasted on fuel cells, which need 80% improvement on storage of hydrogen, 45% improvement on fuel cell efficiency, magnitudes of improvement on fuel cell cost...

All this, when there's demonstrated technology that requires research for Al-O2 and Zn-O2 rechargable fuel cells (or metal fuel cells, or metal fuel batteries if they are made rechargeable). Microtechnology would be great here - and all we need to make electrical energy storage viable is a 35% increase in storage capacity and power output (MJ/kg or Whr/kg for those who think in terms of watts of energy), the secret is in the structure of the battery and the choice of the cathodes/anodes, whether you carry both or let the "air" be the anode, etc.

We can get hydrogen from water, but you're missing my point - it takes electricity to do that, at 70% efficiency. Then you've got gaseous hydrogen that requires more energy to compress and store. And more energy in transportation to the fueling site. Then over half of that energy is again wasted by the time it goes from the storage device on-vehicle to the road. Here's the key: NO MATTER WHERE THE INITIAL ELECTRICITY COMES FROM.

It's easier to use petroleum reformation to make hydrogen - but that's cheating. We're then using the stored energy in petroleum. There's a much more efficient way to get petroleum energy to the road - convert it to gasoline or diesel and burn it in an ICE. You get about the same atmospheric carbon, but the well-to-road efficiency is much better.

Solar energy is currently 7%-15% efficient - solar cells only convert that much into electricity. There's not enough land mass to have solar farms to generate electricity on the scale to replace current coal-burning needs today, nevermind wasting 75% of it on the "hydrogen economy". If we can make that much electricity, why not just use it straight to power our vehicles in the form we know best - electrical?

There are only a few places where wind farms work reasonably consistently and well. HI, CA, some places in OK I've heard are experimenting with wind-farms.

Nuclear? No problem for the plants, but the mining operations for U-235 are very very environmentally messy. Granted, the waste product of spent uranium are not much, but tell that to the folks displaced by uranium oxide mining operations and downstream contamination. Not good.

The production of petroleum-based fuels are actually pretty efficient - that's why gasoline is only $1.20/gal (without silly taxes, remember). But we're relying on energy stored in the petroleum from hundreds of millions of years ago.

The best performing fuel cell vehicle I've seen yet is the HydroGen3 - zero-60 in about 19 seconds. Not exactly a track burner - and a far cry from that LS1 Solstice that everyone seems to want.

I agree that brainpower is what is needed - but it must be applied in the direction that Physics, Math, Material Science and other disciplines are pointing. Directions that make sense.

So we get a new fuel cell and find some magic way to carry around hydrogen for vehicles. So what?

But say we just get a 30% improvement in battery technology. That might be enough to get the range of a 4-person electric vehicle to over 250 miles practically. It might make hybrids another 10% efficient. It would impact energy storage and production, lighter batteries to start the Solstice with, longer lasting cell phones, laptops you can actually watch a couple of movies on a plane with, hearing aids that need new batteries only every couple of years, medical devices that require minimal to decade-long maintenance schedules... where do you use electrical energy today, and where in your life do you use internal combustion engines?

A better elecrical storage device benefits us in so many superior ways. It would also allow us to explore hybrid on/off grid energy technology for our homes, businesses. The coal we burn to make electricity today would be used much more efficiently - meaning for every gram of carbon we emit to atmosphere, we actually utilize the energy for it.

As I said, I've researched this quite a bit. It's not a topic with a black-and-white answer, and that's part of the problem. We all want a superficial, all-problem-solved solution. That's just not gonna happen.
 

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So, what's your take on E85, Solsticeman?

I'm kind of ashamed to admit that I know very little about hybrids. Is it true that you have no A/C at the stoplight when the gasoline engine shuts down in a strong hybrid (Prius). Wasn't that rather short-sighted? Shouldn't they have just used an electric compressor?
 

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Solsticeman, your knowledge in this area is very impressive, and does make a lot of sense. The failure of past electric cars, particularly the EV1, seems to be directly related the batteries. They also are a limiting factor on Hybrids, which make up for it with gasoline engines and regenerative braking (although the current batteries in hybrids are far better than the EV1’s battery back).

A breakthrough in battery technology would solve so many problems. Do you know why GM may be pursuing fuel cell technology so aggressively when an advanced battery may be no more difficult to develop and would promise far more applications and energy savings? GM is dumping tons of money into its fuel cell program. So much so that some analysts are afraid the companies future may depend on it based on the size of investment being made.

I am speculating, but it appears their thinking is that a fuel cell would be cheaper, easier, or quicker to develop than an adequate advanced battery so they see it as the best answer to operating electric cars in the near future. The only other reason I can see is that by producing the electrical energy onboard the car, you avoid any potential recharging negatives in battery powered electrics, primarily the time it could take to recharge the battery.
 
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