Hybrids - Page 3 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 03-24-2013, 06:26 AM   #29
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Taxi Service

I was particularly interested in the use of Hybrids in Taxi serviced, One of the concerns is battery life, typically the batteries are warrantied for 100,000 miles. In taxi service there were zero battery pack failures.

Typically our goal with a vehicle is ten years of service, our Honda CRV tow vehicle just finished it's 9th year with almost 200,000 miles. Still towing well.

In addition the hybrids had much better service records than traditional gas powered taxis.

I know many people tow with diesels, though I doubt most of our trailers require a large diesel engine to tow successfully. I have considered a small diesel and would own one though the large fuel cost differential is a concern though I plan to take a close look at the VW.
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Old 03-24-2013, 09:15 AM   #30
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I think part of the reason for most hybrids having a low tow rating is power output. Use the example of most compact pickups. The V6 model has a larger (sometimes a lot larger) tow rating than the 4cyl model. Of corse part of the tow rating has to do with the larger brakes and higher load capacity suspension.

However most hybrids also trade larger engine for smaller with electric boost. Problem when towing is when you run out of electric power you are stuck with the smaller engine. Second part of this equation is the engine is optimized for economy and is less powerful (Atkins cycle I believe most common).

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Old 03-24-2013, 09:36 AM   #31
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Now diesels are seemingly built for towing. Better torque curve and better efficiency under higher load. The current 2.0L TDI used in the VW Beetle, Jetta, Golf, and Passat is used in their Amarok pickup with a different turbo setup. The tow ratings for it are 6100 to 7000lbs. The listed engine output is not much higher but area under the curve is better suited to towing and hauling.

Now towing a much smaller load I think it is as reasonable to consider a TDI as a hybrid. I haven't looked at the current tow ratings but I believe mine is listed 1000lbs no brakes, 2000lbs with brakes. The newer cars are more powerful and heavier. That and the Germans tend to over build on safety and brakes.

And I get 28 to 32 MPG towing mostly like my CRV counter part does. Isn't that sort of the whole point of this discussion?

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Old 03-24-2013, 11:46 AM   #32
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Jason,
Actually lowest operating cost is the goal.

Diesels over the long haul may be the solution. The only thing the VW diesel has against it is VW's reliability, expensive service intervals and the high USA price of diesel, a 10-20% premium in price.

I haven't seen the hybrid's power curves yetbut I suspect they are pretty good.

As to high speed towing, I don't do it. In terms of high speed driving the hybrids are fine.
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Old 03-24-2013, 02:21 PM   #33
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I think part of the reason for most hybrids having a low tow rating is power output. Use the example of most compact pickups. The V6 model has a larger (sometimes a lot larger) tow rating than the 4cyl model. Of corse part of the tow rating has to do with the larger brakes and higher load capacity suspension.
I don't think power has anything to do with the tow rating, at least for those manufacturers (everyone other than Toyota) who have so far refused to follow the SAE towing performance standard for ratings.

The larger engine has a higher tow rating because it is equipped to handle more sustained power output, with a larger radiator, more transmission cooling capacity, and so on. Typically the smaller engine will have more than enough power to tow effectively, but up a long mountain grade or at sustained high speed on a freeway, it will be running at greater power output than the design expects and will eventually be unreliable due to overheating of some component. In a hybrid vehicle intended for light-duty use, that could easily be a generator or motor in the hybrid transmission system.

For comparison, look at light and medium duty commercial trucks. Ford uses the same PowerStroke diesel in everything from an F-250 to an F-550 (and maybe beyond - I didn't look), and while the heavier trucks have much higher tow ratings, they have no more power. Look under the hood of an F-250 and an F-450, and you will see that the heavier truck has larger coolers - six of them, for everything including power steering fluid.

When GM was still building medium-duty trucks, I noticed that the same Vortec 8.1 L V8 was available in that same range as my Ford example; these were GM, so that meant from 2500 pickups to 5500 trucks. The heavier trucks had much higher towing capacity, and the peak power output of that same engine was actually lower in the heaviest trucks - the engine might be expected to run flat-out for sustained periods hauling all that truck and load, so it had to be kept down to a power output that it could reliably sustain.
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Old 03-24-2013, 03:29 PM   #34
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I have a concern/question about braking with the hybrid- I understand how that works, but if you downshift instead of activating the car brakes, you don't activate the trailer brakes. Doesn't this lead to the potential for the trailer to push the car or for problem handling on downhills?

Otherwise I'm impressed by the mileage he gets. I wonder how the Highlander does? I didn't think the hybrid had the same 3500 lb limit, though. Unless he just means he figures it is okay to go with the V6 limit instead of the hybrid limit.
The non-hybrid Highlander has a 5000 lb tow rating with its 3.5L v6. The hybrid is rated to tow 3500, and its v6 is a lower output 3.3L.

As pointed out by others, just because someone benefits from regenerative braking on a downhill grade, that does not mean they are foregoing use of actual brakes when safety dictates. And as for trailer pushing, a person could use the brake controller to activate trailer brakes only for a time if desired... but in most instances, if one feels the need for braking, one will simply use the brake pedal and all the brakes will be applied.

I will be interested to see what the Ford engineer says about the Escape hybrid and towing. Norm, when will you get to talk to him?
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Old 03-24-2013, 03:36 PM   #35
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I wonder how many drivers, when faced with a situation where manually applying the brakes to the trailer is the best option, would have the presence of mind to do it.
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Old 03-24-2013, 04:10 PM   #36
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I will be interested to see what the Ford engineer says about the Escape hybrid and towing.


To heck with the manufacturer's engineer- what do The Real Experts have to say about it?

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Old 03-24-2013, 04:14 PM   #37
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Mike, As soon as I get home I plan to contact him, hoping to get some info before we head off to Newfoundland. I also plan to test drive a CMax when I get home.

Glenn, The brake controller in the hybrid responds just as is does in a traditional tow vehicle. However I believe everyone should be prepared to manually activate their brakes.

As part of our start up procedure I manually activate my trailer brakes as we start out. First to be sure that the brakes are working and second , to make sure I know where the manual activation control is not that it moves but practice reduces anxiety in a panic.
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Old 03-24-2013, 04:29 PM   #38
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I tow with one of the smaller tow vehicles and I never see my temperature climb. Of course we have a manual transmission.

As far as I can tell the Ford/Toyota CVT is basically a manual transmission. I don't believe there is a transmission cooler on their CVT. Someone let me know if it's possible to overheat the CVT.

Small motors can move big items, it's simply a question of gearing and desired speed. I find our little 2.4L engine fully capable of propelling my Scamp at adequate speed. Whether the combo of a 100 hp electric motor and a 2.0L atkinson engine is yet to be seen. The attitude that big engines are required to produce horsepower is really a thing of the pass. Today's small engines produce the power of yesterday's V8s and people towed in the good old days. Most amazing today's engines have superior life to yesterdays and can run all day at high speed.

My personal biggest fear was not the horsepower or torque available because they appear to exceed what I have. My concern was battery cycles measured in miles. The taxi test has relieved some of that.

The size and weight of the proposed vehicles, Escape Hybrid and CMax Hybrid are very similar to my Honda. There torque and horsepower are similar. Can they cut it towing my Scamp 16?

As to the SAE towing requirements, I question towing requirements that probably the majority of towing vehicles can not meet yet would be applied to RVers. Of course the majority of towing vehicles are semi's and I am forever passing them on steep grades though they fly by me on the way down.
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Old 03-24-2013, 04:44 PM   #39
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Ford Hybrid Transmission info

Here's some info on the Ford Escape's Hybrid Transmission.

The gear selections are Park, Reverse, Neutral, Drive and Low.

The Drive position is the normal forward position.

The Low position simply selects a different computer algorithm so that when you take your foot off the throttle, you get a deceleration that feels like a manual transmission. And on a grade, you don't coast as fast in L as you do in D with the brakes recharging the batteries and causing the vehicle to slow.

In Reverse, the vehicle only operates in electric mode.

Applying the brakes in any gear selection activates the trailer brakes.

I admit to being a beginner, just learning about Hybrids and certainly just want to know more.
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Old 03-24-2013, 11:06 PM   #40
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As to the SAE towing requirements, I question towing requirements that probably the majority of towing vehicles can not meet yet would be applied to RVers. Of course the majority of towing vehicles are semi's and I am forever passing them on steep grades though they fly by me on the way down.
The recent SAE towing standard has nothing to do with semis; it is specifically for light-duty vehicles with towing capacity under at set limit (13,000 pounds as I recall). It is for RVers. I would hope that any vehicle that we might use would at least come close to passing this test standard with a trailer at the rated limit - Toyota doesn't seem to be having much of a problem with it.
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Old 03-24-2013, 11:46 PM   #41
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I tow with one of the smaller tow vehicles and I never see my temperature climb. Of course we have a manual transmission.
It would be very rare for a vehicle with a manual transmission to have a transmission temperature gauge. The engine coolant temperature gauge doesn't say anything about the transmission temperature.

Conventional automatic transmissions get hot mostly due to churning of the hydraulic fluid in the transmission's torque converter; a conventional manual transmission doesn't have that, and doesn't need a cooler for its fluid. A typical manual doesn't even have a pump for the fluid - it just essentially splashes around.

My motorhome does have a transmission temperature gauge. Once it warms up to normal operating temperature, it stays at essentially the same value - even climbing mountain grades - despite hauling a load almost equal to the GVWR and only 20% short of the GCWR... but it is designed to work and has appropriately sized transmission fluid cooling.

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As far as I can tell the Ford/Toyota CVT is basically a manual transmission. I don't believe there is a transmission cooler on their CVT. Someone let me know if it's possible to overheat the CVT.
The Synergy system is a gear set used as a power splitter, combined with a generator/motor set used as an electric transmission. The gear set is the same type as typically used in automatics (planetary), but the gear type (planetary or spur) doesn't matter to efficiency or heat generation - the planetary is chosen because it can act as a power splitter/combiner. Most of the heat in an automatic comes from the component used to couple the engine to the transmission (the torque converter); a manual has a clutch that isn't in the transmission fluid, and the Synergy system doesn't need anything at all in this role. Another source of friction and thus heat is the components which connect the desired gear set (more clutches in an automatic); a manual has synchros that are not slipped under power, and the Synergy system doesn't have an equivalent because it only uses one gear set.

The sources of heat and the components which could be damaged by heat in the Synergy transmission are the same: the motor/generators. Electric motors and generators can be quite efficient, but not as efficient as a gear set, and a few percent of the energy going through them is lost as heat. Not all of the power passing from the engine to the wheels goes through the electric path (some goes through the gear set), but that's still a lot of power turning into heat. The motor and generator in Toyota's system are not liquid-cooled, as far as I know, so there would be no cooler. They could be - high-performance electric cars routinely have liquid cooling systems.
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Old 03-25-2013, 11:24 AM   #42
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Cooling info

The Escape has extensive cooling system. Actually the batteries are heated in cold weather and cooled when they get hot.

The Escape has water cooling for the motor/generators on the CVT. A separate cooling system with its own radiator and electric water pump circulate coolant through the (gas and electric) motors and also the DC-DC converter. This converter provides 12 volt power to the system and replaces the alternator on a non-hybrid.

Certainly the different technology requires different supporting system.

I clearly admit that I am always concerned about being an early adapater of new technology and rarely buy first year technology though I am deeply interested recognizing that it often becomes the future option.

Thermal Management

It is certain that the new mpg standards will require changes that will effect us.
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