Hybrid cars and dormancy, harmful?

If a hybrid car is laid up for a month on an airport parking lot while you're travelling overseas on a world tour, will it restart, run normally, and suffer no permanent battery damage? In an emergency, can a hybrid be
"jump started?"
NiHydride batterys self discharge over a month's time. That leads me to doubt there'll be enough juice to crank the engine. If it does start on its own, will the battery recharge itself to its previous capacity; ie, will it recover 100% of its efficiency, or suffer a permanent loss in capacity due to deep self-discharge?
I wonder how hybrid car batteries are any more durable than the the AA NiH batteries I use around the house? Regular household NiH batteries seem to deteriorate over time, holding less and less charge with repeated charge-discharge cycles. At what point do hybrid cars cease to operate when its NiH battery has worn down -- does the car's computer signal the owner to service the battery, or does the car simply not crank one cold morning, just like conventional cars? Could a hybrid be conveniently converted to run as a conventional gas engine powered vehicle with a regular lead-acid battery towards the end of its life, when it is no longer economical to replace a mult-thousand dollar NiH battery? This capability of running it as a conventional car would add to its resale value, otherwise it will be a total loss junk car.
My personal feeling is hybrids are being way oversold, maybe for political reasons. I can't see them as making engineering sense. A durable, reliable, efficient turbo diesel is far more appealing, particularly if somebody can figure out how to make a "flex-fuel" diesel variant.
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The Honda hybrids have a 12v battery and a 12v starter, and can be jump started just like any other car.
The Ford Escape Hybrid has an on board inverter, allowing the HV battery to be recharged from the 12v battery by pressing a button in the driver's kick panel.

There is a warning in the manual about long term storage, but I don't accept your premise that a NiMH battery will discharge fully in one month. The manual suggests starting the car and letting it run for 10 minutes per month, or disconnecting the 12v battery for longer term storage, after which the 12v battery may need charging, and the high voltage battery would be charged by the onboard inverter.

The hybrids have very sophisticated battery management. They never fully charge nor discharge, staying within a narrow range that is expected to allow the battery pack to last for the life of the car.
With proper charging, your home batteries would last longer, too.

I don't accept your premise that the battery pack is a multi-thousand dollar item. The Honda battery pack can be replaced for less than $1000 now, and there's no aftermarket demand yet. There are more cells in the Ford, currently putting it at near $2,000, but again, there is no aftermarket demand for them yet. There is a sealed lead acid battery pack ready to go to market as a replacement, at sub-$1,000 pricing, but it will offer less capacity, and there's no demand for it yet.
The Honda would run as a normal 67HP car without the IMA assist, if one chose to do that. The Ford Escape cannot run without the electric as delivered. It might be possible to do some drastic back yard modification of the hybrid system if that were desirable. It would be grossly underpowered without the electric boost.

That would be your personal opinion, then, wouldn't it? Some people would rather walk than drive a diesel.
If diesel is the answer, a hybrid diesel would be a natural adjunct, kind of like most train locomotives.
I think the Honda Civic IMA makes wonderful sense, a booster for a high MPG underpowered car.
The upcoming GM/Mercedes hybrids should be technology that is applicable to a wider range of vehicles.
The hybrid in the upcoming Saturn "greenline" is actually an aftermarket add-on that could have a broad range of applications.
The idle-stop alone, fitted to the Chevy and GMC trucks, is a remarkable savings in fuel in some applications, and although it is only fitted to gasoline engines, I don't see why it shouldn't work on diesels as well, as long as the diesels don't mind repeated start/stop cycles.
As I watch the PG&E meter reader working in my neighborhood, I think his vehicle is just crying out to be a Ford Escape Hybrid. He drives a couple hundred yards at low speed, leaves his Ford Ranger idling while he gets out to read a meter, gets back in the truck, drives a couple hundred yards...
New York cabs and some police department are moving to the Ford Escape Hybrid. "Idling" takes on a whole new meaning. Sometimes the engine is running, sometimes it's not. The passenger compartment is kept warm, the heater can run, and I would imagine that the savings in fuel (whatever that fuel might be, E-85 is soon to be an option), would be substantial.
Creeping in heavy city traffic, the Ford Escape gas engine starts every few minutes, runs for 20 seconds, and shuts off. If you aren't paying attention, you don't notice a thing. It even "creeps" in drive with the engine off.
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Nomen Nescio wrote:

Never heard of a Nickel Hydride battery. Is this something new. I've heard of Nickel Metal Hydride. :-)
All batteries self discharge over time. NiMH discharge faster than many others, but only about 30% in a month. This should leave more than enough energy to start the car. Even after two months you would have nearly 50% charge remaining which should still start the little engines in hybrid cars.
Matt
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My personal feeling is hybrids are being way oversold, maybe for political reasons. I can't see them as making engineering sense. A durable, reliable, efficient turbo diesel is far more appealing, particularly if somebody can figure out how to make a "flex-fuel" diesel variant.
The military has had "flex fuel" diesel engines for decades. In fact they are going away as COTS enables military buyers to pay military prices for civilian hardware.
A multifuel engine, as they are called, is a diesel engine modified in specific ways for low-cetane, non-lubricious, and low heat content fuels such as gasolines, kerosenes, and possibly alcohols.
The injection system is ruggedized to handle nonlubricated fuel. External oil is used rather than the fuel itself. A metering system is used to adjust fuel settings according to the thickness of the fuel. And in some cases, auxilliary hot tube or spark ignition is fitted.
Multifuel engines will run well on jet fuels, kerosenes, and light lube oils as well as unleaded gasolines. They generally tolerate leaded gasolines, especially avgas, very poorly.
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Sales Numbers and Forecasts for Hybrid Vehicles
Hybrid car sales have risen consistently in the U.S., since the Honda Insight debuted in the American market in 1999. In that year, only a couple of hundred Insights were sold. U.S. hybrid sales have generally doubled every year:
* 9,350 in 2000 * 20,287 in 2001 * 35,000 in 2002 * 47,525 in 2003 * 88,000 in 2004 * 205,749 in 2005 * 48,685 in 2006 (thru Mar.)
Hybrids represented 1.2 percent of the total vehicles sold in 2005. The Toyota Prius led the way with 107,897 cars sold for the year-52 percent of the total hybrid market. The next most popular hybrid was the Honda Civic Hybrid, which sold nearly 26,000 units. 2006 Hybrid Sales - By Model     Jan.     Feb.     Mar. Toyota Prius     7,654     6,547     7,922 Honda Civic     3,165     1,780     2,232 Toyota Highlander     2,263     2,631     2,987 Lexus RX 400h     1,477     1,803     2,470 Ford Escape     801     1,233     1,590 Mercury Mariner     97     108 Honda Accord     351     783     581 Honda Insight     59     72     79
Regional Breakdown The best indicator of adoption rates by geography are new hybrid vehicle registrations. In 2004, California strongly outpaced all other states with 25,021 new hybrid vehicle registrations, about 4.5 times that of second place Virginia with 5,613. Washington came in third with 3,441; Florida came in fourth with 3,272 and Maryland rounds out the top five with 3,238 new hybrid vehicle registrations in 2004.
Similarly, Los Angeles remains the top metropolitan area for hybrid vehicles with 10,399 new hybrid vehicle registrations in 2004, more than doubling the total from 2003. San Francisco came in second at 8,051 followed by Washington D.C. with 6,473 new hybrid vehicle registrations. New York came in fourth at 3,779 followed by Seattle with 2,857 new hybrid vehicle registrations in 2004. Each of these markets experienced significant growth in the number of new hybrid vehicle registrations compared with the previous year.
Where Do We Go From Here? What are the market research firms predicting for the rest of the decade? Some are more optimistic than others, but all see a dramatic and consistent increase over the next several years:
* By 2006, sales of hybrid vehicles will account for 10 percent of the 2 million midsize vehicles sold annually in the United States (ABI Research) * By 2007, at least 20 new hybrid models will appear in America (CSM Worldwide) * By 2007, over 400,000 hybrid vehicles will be sold in the USA (J.D. Power) * By 2008, 1.2 million hybrids will be sold in the U.S. market (Oak Ridge Labs) * By 2008, car buyers will have a choice of 35 hybrids (J.D. Power) * By 2010, 5 - 6% of all cars sold in America will be hybrids, assuming current petrol prices persist (ABI Research & Automotive Technology Research Group). * By 2011, about 35 hybrid models will be on the market , with that number exceeding 50 in 2012 (J.D. Power).
The most conservative estimate for 2010 and beyond has J.D. Power forecasting a plateau of three percent hybrid penetration in the U.S. market. The most optimistic and forward-looking prediction comes from Booz Allen Hamilton, a global strategy and technology-consulting firm. They predict that hybrid cars will make up 80 percent of the overall car market by 2015.
ExxonMobil, in its most recent outlook way out to the year 2030, pegs hybrid car sales at 30 percent of the new car market. The U.S. Energy Information Administration takes a more conservative longterm view, projecting hybrid sales at about seven percent, or 1.5 million sales, by 2025.
Despite rapid increases, hybrids as a percent of all vehicles in use will remain modest for a long time.
What Are The Manufacturers Saying? "Hybrids are different than most technologies," said John German, manager of Environmental and Energy Analyses for American Honda, "If an OEM is sitting back on developing diesel engines, he won't be in too much trouble. But with hybrids, it's becoming more and more sophisticated. You just can't turn it on. If you don't make the system now, as Toyota continues to make hybrids much cheaper and in greater numbers, the others won't be able to catch up."
German pondered that hybrids could reach 50 - 70 percent of the market in 10 years. He added, "I live in Detroit. I don't want to see the Big 3 go out of business. But that's a possibility."
Dr. Michael Tamor, manager of Ford's Sustainable Mobility Technologies stated, "If you think about the 15- to 20-year timeframe, you could argue that all vehicles are going to be hybrids. It's just a matter of which powerplant is used in the hybrid system." Tamor added, "To freeze time and pretend that hybrids are not going to happen doesn't make sense."
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Ford had the first hybrid on the market in terms of what is considered a hybrid today. However if you go back in time you will find that hybrids have been around much longer. Same thing with alternative fuels. Gasoline wasn't even the fuel of choice for a long time. That changed because it was and still is the MOST efficient fuel available in terms of supply, costs associated with production and availability.
Stat wise I very much doubt that hybrids will be the next evolution of vehicles, they are just a stop gap measure that the people have been led to believe is a great solution.
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There is a fundamental change happening Instead of one motor connected directly to the wheels then there are generators attached to every wheel There is electricity used to power each wheel forward and the same generators can produce energy when the car is slowing down The motor can run on much slower and more economical speed while generating electricity What the motor burns does not matter The real change is that we have a lot less moving parts in the car and it will make maintenance cheaper and easier A long the way towards good usage of theis new techniques there will be all kinds of experiments made and many of them may not be long lived What is quite obvious is that the car as we used to know it is going through a real challenge and it will definitely not survive in its old form A lot more of all kinds of electronics will be used and repairs will be done more like repairing computers and whole parts taken away and replaced It will not be economical to fix them in place like is done today This will of course cause some problems while the whole chain will learn to live with what is needed and when It is surely interesting that this has taken so long to start because everything needed for making hybrids has been around for a very long time One thing is for sure and that is that things are changing now and they are changing fast
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I'm in agreement with you on this, but hybrid's do have the potential of reducing our fuel consumption if intelligently sized. Unfortunately marketing has distorted the hybrid effectiveness. First the EPA hybrid test cycle wasn't realistic, second hybrids have been getting larger to hide the hybrid cost, third many hybrids have too large an engine, fourth there is little or no gain in steady highway driving.
An example of a hybrid with too large an engine is the Honda Accord hybrid that is more about faster acceleration than saving fuel- it doesn't save enough fuel to pay it's way, but it's very fast. Many efficiencies of the Prius and other hybrid's are not due to the hybrid technology, but due to technology than can be put into a non hybrid vehicle.
The Prius size hybrid makes a lot of sense, but it would be better if it were a more mild hybrid which combines a small engine with just enough electric power for reasonable acceleration and hill climbing. IMO Toyota blew it's marketing by selling the Prius II as Camry size, it's a Corolla with smaller trunk space. A look at the Prius weight compared to the much lighter Corolla tells another story on performance. I found that a Prius to equivalent the Corolla I would be interested in was over 50% more in cost, CDN $15,000 more. An expensive way to save fuel. I have a niece who bought the original Prius on the Echo platform. She likes it and tried to get me interested in it. It doesn't make sense for my driving cycle and space requirement. She bought it emotionally, has lots of income and doesn't even check the mileage.
So IMO hybrids make sense if properly sized and their use is urban heavy traffic driving.
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What a surprise, full of ponces and posers, especially film stars... ;-)
DAS
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Not much of a surprise. The commute in Los Angeles moves at about the same rate as the parking spaces outside a fast food joint. Hybrids would be in their best element there.
Ford displayed their best Escape Hybrid mileage in Manhattan, where some cabs are now Escape Hybrids.
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snipped-for-privacy@XReXXHybri.usenet.us.com wrote:

Of course ALL bets are off if you have to run the AC, which keeps the ICE running full-time on the current hybrid designs. Pretty much negates all advantage.
Given that most of the population doesn't live in climates like Seattle, that's a pretty big shortcoming of current hybrid technology.
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Not so. With the A/C in a normal mode, the Escape engine will start and stop. In "Max", or "defrost", the engine will not stop.
In the Honda Civic, A/C keeps the engine running, but it's style of Hybrid isn't as highly effective in stopped traffic as the Escape EV mode.
The MPG will be impacted, but far less than you seem to think. 5% of 50MPG is noticeable. 5% of 12MPG isn't.
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