Any Petrol Heads Out There?

  peter99co 23:00 02 Mar 11
Locked

Fisker ready for March production

click here

Has Top Gear had a go at this one yet?

It is kitted out with a four-cylinder, petrol-powered, range-extender engine.

Range-extender cars have batteries too, as well as petrol-powered engines that drive a generator, which in turn sends power to the car's electric motor

  WhiteTruckMan 23:19 02 Mar 11

"Fisker Automotive will be the second company in the world to launch an electric car with a range extender, just a few months after General Motors' Chevrolet Volt went on sale."

If thats the case can someone tell me what hybrids do then? I thought the whole point of the likes of a prius (for example, other ugly cars are available) was to run off a battery and have the combustion motor for when the batteries flagged.

WTM

  Chegs ®™ 00:53 03 Mar 11

I can't see any difference between a hybrid & these so called "range extender engines" but I'm sure someone will explain that a hybrid has an alternator charges the battery whereas these have a generator that powers the motor directly.

  Blackhat 09:26 03 Mar 11

From what I read in the article a range extender has a small petrol motor that drives a generator to power the electric motor only, a hybrid has a petrol motor to power the car in the conventional way. The extender is therefore less pollutant.

  interzone55 17:10 03 Mar 11

Blackhat has the correct answer.

the range externder engines are much like a diesel-electric train. They are very efficient because the engine is running at much the same rate all the time - no speeding up / slow down cycle - this means that fuel economy is optimised.

I see no point in anyone outside London buying a Prius, as the only benefit of these cars is the congestion charge exemption, as a standard diesel engine is more economical than a diesel hybrid, because the small engine in the Prius is working harder than a larger engine would...

  OTT_B 21:56 03 Mar 11

with this car. Not to mention a business plan that is going to fail, and fail miserably.

The price and production volumes were the first things to raise an eyebrow. £72k and 15000 units per year? Well, ok, maybe. But that depends on how the performance and economy specs match with similarly priced competitors.

Top speed: 120mph

Accel to 100kph: <6s...hmmmm really? All the time? I doubt that running on the 4 cylinder turbo engine it would still produce anything close to the 400bhp quoted power rating.

Fuel economy: (from the Fisker website) "100mpg average annual economy"...... There's no information on how that figure has been calculated, but I'm tempted to believe this is based on the research that says the 'most' journeys in cars are less than 50 odd miles (and therefore in the case of the fisker karma, would purely be on battery). So how about the economy on engine generated power?


Then we come to production volumes and volume ramp up. 15 000 units per year with ramp up to full production between start of production on 21st March, and October. Well, that may be so, but I can guarantee that they won't sell that many cars!
My prediction, unless they have a multiple hundred million pound marketing budget, is that they will get first year annual sales of between 500 and 1000 units, increasing by maybe 1000 units per year for 3 years. By then the company would have gone bust or sold out.

There is no unique technology in this car that I can see, so nothing that will attract the necessary early adopters.
Its price point is excessively high also - if someone is spending £72k on a car, the odds of them caring that much about fuel economy is pretty slim, and for that price you can get a car that will travel just as far on a tank (if not further) and produce 400bhp whenever needed. By way of comparison, Mercedes only produced about 80000 S Class derivative cars last year.

This car, as it stands, is doomed to failure. If they do produce a cheaper car it would have to be a lot cheaper. No more than £20k retail before any discounts.

  ams4127 22:20 03 Mar 11

I am very wary of all these hybrid cars. Take the Toyota Prius for example. Yes, it's very good and does about 48 mpg. But......

It has been calculated that, if you remove the electric motor and batteries, the weight saved would enable an mpg figure of about 65 to attained.

My personal feeling is that the only logical way forward is the use of a hydrogen fuel cell. Whether this will happen in my lifetime is doubtful.

  OTT_B 22:34 03 Mar 11

Prius combined fuel economy figures are up around the 70mpg mark, depending on age and spec.

  Strawballs 02:15 04 Mar 11
  interzone55 08:51 04 Mar 11

That's only the manufacturers claimed figures and can never be attained in real life use.

This is because the tests are carried out in conditions that make best use of the battery, rather than the engine.

I know of no-one who's managed to average more than 45mpg in a Prius, and that figure drops as battery performance degrades. Yet a couple of people at work with Diesel Octavias, a similar sized vehicle with a 1.9l engine, manage an average of over 50mpg.

Hybrid cars are the emperor's new clothes, fuel cell cars are the way forward, or total electric for commuters...

  OTT_B 15:56 04 Mar 11

I wholley agree with what you have said about test method. It should be noted, though, that new test criteria are due to be introduced for PEVs and HEVs that will take short battery life into account.

I know one person who has a Prius, but he reports far better than 45mpg, but most of his runs are short distance.

Hybrids with petrol engines generating electricity have got some future - maybe not a long one, but the industry is in an odd position at the moment where battery manufacturing volume is needed to bring down costs and supply money for further development of the technology.
*IF* battery technology can be developed to a point where a family car can drive 300 miles without stopping, and take less than an hour to fully charge, then PEVs have a rosey future. Until then, PEVs especially will remain a very very low volume product.

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