Alt Fuel #1 – Hybrids and Plug-In Hybrids

Everyone harps on about the Toyota Prius as the hybrid (though the Honda Insight is stealing some of its thunder), though there’s more and more choice of alternatives as time goes by. And thank God for that.

Pros:
– Very economical and very autonomous. Or so they say.
– Quickly evolving and becoming more and more widespread.
– With the arrival of plug-in hybrids, there are a whopping three possible sources of power for the car: the local power grid; the petrol pump; the car’s own motion. And that’s brilliant.

Cons:
– The current ambassador of hybrids is the Toyota Prius. I say “Hybrid” and your mind pictures a Prius. This is very bad. The Prius is stupidly ugly (by far, one of the ugliest cars ever on the road), unsexy, and undesirable. If it was conventionally-fuelled, you’d be embarrassed to drive one and people will point and laugh at such a ridiculous-looking car. Honda’s hybrid and those Lexus cars are just as bad and still blandly awful in that unavoidable Japanese way.
– If not driven properly, a hybrid can be as consuming and pollutant as any other normal non-hybrid. Then again, this is true of absolutely any car, as idiot portuguese drivers like to demonstrate every day, so this point is a bit moot.
– Still a tad expensive for what you get, though let’s face it, you’ll probably compensate in fuel savings in no time, so another moot point.
– Autonomy can be improved but only with modding and tuning.
– No more home repairs. You can change the oil and the sparkplugs yourself, but anything electrical and it’s off to the brand garage.
– A shiny brand new hybrid is expensive, as I’ve said. But couple that to the fact people will probably be throwing away their old petrol cars en masse. It doesn’t matter how many scrappage incentive programmes you try, there are lots of non-recyclable components to cars that will accumulate massively if there are too many cars being junked.

Intro
Hybrids and Plug-In Hybrids
Plug-In Electric Vehicles
Biodiesel, bioethanol and such
Carbon-neutral Algae-based fuels
Hydrogen fuel cells
LPG
Hybrid Retrofitting
Petrol/Diesel

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