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Larger hybrid vehicles lose fuel consumption advantage
Description: A North American trend for hybrid-electric vehicles that are heavier and more powerful is eroding the fuel consumption advantages of hybrid technology.
Date: 27 March 2007
Source: environmentalresearchweb
"The types of hybrids that are in production have changed significantly," researchers Milind Kandlikar and Conor Reynolds told environmentalresearchweb. "In early 2000, consumers had the choice of only two compact cars, the Toyota Prius and the Honda Insight. Now there are three hybrid SUVs [sport utility vehicles]: the Ford Escape hybrid, Toyota Highlander hybrid and Lexus RX 400h; and two high-performance hybrid cars: the Honda Accord hybrid and Lexus GS 450h." Hybrid-electric vehicles combine a conventional internal combustion engine alongside an electric motor and features such as regenerative braking, batteries and reduction of engine idling time to cut fuel consumption. The technology made up about 1.6% of new vehicle sales in the US in 2006, and take-up is projected to increase. In the same year, around 30% of total US hybrid sales were sport utility vehicles. Between 2000 and 2006, the average curb weight of hybrid-electric vehicles (weighted by sales volume) increased by 30%. Similarly, the hybrid-electric systems now deliver 60% more power. Click here to read the full article.
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