Fossil vs Hybrid vs Electric

Last time, we explored “self-charging hybrids“.

Today I present an overview of the four most common ways of powering a car in 2020 – little disclaimer there since this almost certianly won’t be the case in 2030!

1) ICE – Internal combustion engine car

This car is 100% powered by fossil fuels, i.e. fuels up with petrol or diesel to burn in the “combustion chamber” (engine).

An ICE powertrain
The drivetrain for a petrol powered car

ICE cars get a around 30-55mpg (miles per gallon) in combined (urban and rural) driving conditions.

2) Mild hybrid – what Toyota and Lexus like to call “self-charging”

These are also 100% powered by fossil fuels.

When braking, some energy is recovered from the spinning wheels which feeds a small battery – similar to how a 12-volt battery is charged. The car can then drive a limited distance on this charge. Any physicist will tell you “self-charging” isn’t possible, the energy comes from somewhere – in this case it’s from the petrol that was burnt.

Mild hybrid cars get a around 35-60mpg on average.

3) PHEV– Plug-in hybrid electric vehicle ⛽🔋

These cars can drive a short distance (10-25 miles) on electricity alone. They can be plugged in to charge like an electric car or filled up with petrol and driven like an ICE car.

They have regenerative breaking to recover energy back into the battery. So once they use up their charge, they are effectivly a mild hybrid.

The disadvantage of PHEVs is they are less efficient than EVs in electric mode and less efficient than an ICE cars in petrol mode, since they are carrying the weight of an engine and fuel tank, as well as a motor and a battery.

Plug-in hybrids get a around 50-75mpg on average.

4) EV or BEV – Battery electric vehicle 🔋

These cars are 100% powered by electricity. That energy could come from the UK grid (currently still 30% fossil fuel powered) or it could come from renewables – such as charging solar panels on your roof.

An EV powertrain
The drivetrain for an electric car

Many electric cars have one-pedal driving, recovering energy back into the battery, right until the car stops – the most efficient way of slowing down.

Electric vehicles can achive over 175mpge (miles per gallon electric)!

Here’s another article from the series explaining why electric cars are so efficient. 🙂

RoadWarrior USB Car Holder Review

This is the sixth article in a series reviewing the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini.

Is the sat nav redundant? Smartphones and tablets have arguably made laptops, desktops, mobile (or cell) phones and sat navs redundant. My S4 Mini is now my sat nav, so I need a car charger to hold my phone on the go so it can act as my sat nav.

After a lot of research I decided to get the a RoadWarrior – great name.

What Does It Do?

The reason I chose the RoadWarrior is because of its functionality. The car holder both charges a phone and holds it. It also has an extra USB port you can use to charge another device. Its most attractive feature however is its inbuilt FM transmitter inbuilt, meaning you can link your phone to your cars stereo.

Does It Work?

Ever looked at something online and though that it looks too good to be true? Well I was sceptical about the RoadWarrior. However whilst it does have  a few faults, it does generally do what it says it does. With some cars depending upon where the cigarette lighter plug is, it can be in an awkward place, meaning that the RoadWarrior can get in the way. This isn’t the fault of the holder and it does have a flexible arm which is movable so you can reposition it.

The FM receiver does work, and it relatively easy to set up (if you remember to flick the on/off switch on the side like I didn’t) just tune it to an unused frequency using the buttons and then tune your car stereo to the same frequency.

The charger does work reasonably well and still works when charging two devices (i.e. a phone and anything else plugged in to the spare USB). The power plug is a little wobbly and does sometimes disconnect which is annoying.

My biggest problem with the RoadWarrior is how it holds my phone. Whilst I appreciate it is designed to hold a variety of phones I don’t feel all to confident in putting my phone in and taking it out. The adjustable clamp does hold it in place, but my phone can still move a little, which I worry is damaging the connector. Furthermore, to get my phone out, the instructions say I have to bend it forwards and then pull it out. I am also concerned that this movement might be damaging my phones power connector – a costly thing to replace!

Rating

The RoadWarrior is a really great device. I feel its greatest feature is its FM transmitter so you can connect your phone to your car, whilst charging it, even if your car doesn’t have bluetooth of USB port. My main problem with the charger is how securely it holds my phone, nothing has gone wrong yet though.

Overall I rate the RoadWarrior USB Car Charger 4 star.Four Star

Next Week

Next week I will be finishing the series!

The Future of Personal Transport

I am a cyclist myself. I don’t have a car here in the USA, although I do have one sitting on the drive in Italy. The problem with cars is not only that they pollute but also getting stuck in traffic.

When I go out on my bike I know exactly how long it will take me to do my trip, presuming that I have done it before. So I can get to my music lessons in 25 minutes, or to the dentist in 20. If I take a car though sometimes it takes 10 minutes, but sometimes it takes half an hour or more, so I have to leave with ample time to adjust for these problems.

Oh and a million people a year are killed in cars, although biking is certainly no safer. What we need is an alternative, and today for you ladies and gentlemen (and third Gendered) I have started saving up for my answer and dream, a flying car.

The Terrafuggia flying car as a car

The Terrafuggia flying car as a car

No longer the stuff of dreams, local Massachusetts company Terrafuggia are now taking orders for their series of flying cars that will be launched in 2015.

A prototype exists already, and in this CNN video we can see the CEO driving it to the gas station, filling up and taking it for a fly. At a little over $275 000 it may not be in everybody’s price range, but could this seriously change the way we move around in the near future?

I think the USA is the perfect place for such a machine as there are plenty of open spaces for take off and landing, but I can’t see them selling many in Hong Kong or Singapore, or even my home city of Manchester to be honest.

The Terrafuggia flying car as an aircraft

The same Terrafuggia flying car as an aircraft

But returning to the craft itself the spec is interesting. As the website states “the Transition® is the transportation of the future today.  A street-legal airplane that converts between flying and driving modes in under a minute, the Transition® brings a new level of freedom, flexibility, and fun to personal aviation. It gives the pilot the option to land and drive in bad weather, provides integrated ground transportation on both ends of the flight, and fits in a standard single car garage at home.  The Transition® can fly in and out of over 5,000 public airports in the U.S. and is legal to drive on public roads and highways. It is the only light aircraft designed to meet Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, and it is also equipped with a full-vehicle parachute for additional safety”

It can fly 500 miles on a single tank of gas, travels at 100 mph, has automated landing capability, is equipped with a parachute in case of emergencies and you can learn to fly it in less than a day.

The company is also working on an electric vertical take off craft, but this is still in the design stage.

I like the idea, what do you think? No more ice cream for the kids, health club for the wife or golf for me and I reckon that by the time I’m 60 I could buy a second hand one.