What kind of car should I buy?

The question of what kind of car should I buy? Electric, hybrid, conventional gas or diesel?

There are so many announcements lately, this company or that company going full electric on such and such day in the very near future. Really?

Let me begin with the fact I have been driving 3 kinds of hybrid predominantly in the last 8 years so I have some idea about it perhaps.

The Full Electric Car Conundrum

Should I or shouldn’t I jump the ship and go full electric? Both feet in, kind of just do it. Right?

Going electric has it’s advantages and some disadvantages.  Let’s see what are the cons and the pros.

The pros are:  The electric car will need less service as there are a lot less components to be dealt with. A full electric car will cost less money to run, to “fuel” or fill up and to maintain it.

Correct, these are the pros, providing it’s made half decently, it should be fine for a while.

How long? The battery pack has an 8 years manufacturer warranty so your battery pack should be fine for 8 years mostly worry free.

Keep one thing in mind it’s your responsibility to maintain a decent level of battery charge.  Meaning you can’t just leave and have your car sit for months on end.

It must be plugged in to get replenished or maintained, if you leave your vehicle for an extended period of time for any reason.

Also, a full electric vehicle is better for the environment over its entire life cycle than a gas-powered vehicle.

Electric cars, during everyday use, lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions than gas-powered vehicles. The electric vehicle, biggest environmental impact is produced during manufacturing.

Cons are: You will need to work with the battery range on board and the time to have it recharged.  It could take considerable time and some effort especially in the winter when range anxiety is a real thing.

Electric cars have numerous different charging rates from basic 110 v to 800v systems. The higher the voltage the faster the charging rate is in direct correlation.

Electric BMW i4

Hybrids

Hybrid propulsion, which is both often convenient and has a very reasonable gas mileage, depending on the size of the battery. You may use only the electric motor, especially for quick local trips like going shopping or for groceries.

There are myriad different hybrids, so you will need an expert’s advice or need to study the subject vehicle as each has their specific traits like pros and cons.

Plug-in hybrids are very convenient and will cut your fuel cost substantially.  They are fairly complex. Having dual propulsion is inevitably more complex than having one.

Most electric and hybrid vehicles will have a sub 12 volt system. Which will require a traditional battery replacement every 4 to 5 years or so, to keep the on board consumers working properly.

Electric or high output hybrids  have a separate high voltage system. Mostly 380v or higher predominantly to provide the electric motor with large quantities of stable electricity when required.

The traditional consumer operated systems are 12v only at this point onward to prevent high voltage systems getting near the occupants of the vehicle at all times for safety reasons.

Pros and Cons for Hybrid Cars

Pros of the hybrid cars are ease of use and convenience. In most cases, if you run out of electricity the vehicle can continue on the on board gas engine. Some electric cars have similar set up for instance the i3 which has a REX on board.

Cons are: You have the complexity of the dual propulsion and have a battery to deal with as well. No special interaction required except if it’s a plug in hybrid. If you drive a plug in hybrid, than you are encouraged to have it plugged in to be recharged, as soon as possibly can.

Again just like an electric car, you can’t leave the vehicle unplugged for extended periods of time, or the battery pack will be damaged. All you need to do is plug it in into the wall and forget about it for storage purposes.

Repair and Maintenance

Finding a hybrid or electric vehicle specialist in case you need it, might not be simple. Especially if you live somewhere in a small town or in a small city.

Conventional Gas or Diesel Vehicles

Then there are the conventional gas or diesel vehicles which have been through a tremendous change in the last decade or so and still going on as we speak.

Pros and cons for the conventional gas or diesel vehicles are numerous. The pros are: Ready to repair and maintain anywhere. Easy to refuel and quick to do so. The network to repair and maintain the vehicle is straightforward, no special procedure and minimal preparation required for long term storage.

Cost of maintenance spread out over time, unlike say a lithium ion battery replacement on an electric vehicle.

Cons are: Emission is greater than hybrid or electric. Maintenance is more prevalent, requires periodic fluid and component replacement. Need to refueling to keep it mobile and tend to be noisier than hybrid or electric vehicles.

There are many other advantages and disadvantages of all of the electric, hybrid or traditional consumer operated systems.   I can talk about them for hours.

At the end, you have to make the decision: Which one to buy? It’s totally up to you and your needs and maybe your location where you live.

Your decision should be based on your needs. How are you going to drive that car? Short trips, long drives, or just leisure driving?

Any questions? How may we help? Telephone: 905.795.0419

Bosch ServiceTechmax Auto Repair Inc.

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Modern Hybrid Automobile

What is the modern hybrid automobile? How does it work and what are the differences between hybrids in general?

Hybrid BMW 5Hybrid BMW 5 Series

Modern hybrids could be split into two main categories. One of them like the BMW 3 and 5 series, Mercedes-Benz, Lexus -Toyota, Ford and numerous others are based on the principle of a highly advanced gas combustion engine, with the help of an electric motor and a relatively small lithium ion or nickel metal hydrate battery pack for electric energy storage. Worth to note the Toyota Prius also works on a similar platform but they are a world apart from a performance hybrid in general which we would like to talk about .

The second type of Hybrid propulsion is built more toward electric driving like the Chevrolet Volt (Cadillac ELR ) for instance, where the combustion engine is truly a range extender versus the BMW hybrid, where is the combustion engine is the heart of the propulsion system which is based upon.

I remember to reading about BMW in particular, they were already experimenting with compressed liquid hydrogen as a fuel source on their 7 series cars in 1972. Unfortunately at this point in for our daily driving nothing is as stable at normal outdoor temperatures as the “old” refined gasoline or diesel fuel as a source of energy storage for everyday driving when the driven distance is considered .

Let’s look at what’s available on the market today. There are endless variations of the modern hybrid cars available today in fact here are too many to list, you need to focus on your way of driving and daily commute to make an informed choice. The modern hybrids are very energy efficient. Due to the help of the electric motor which will propels the vehicle forward in stop and go traffic, and also will help out the combustion engine if needed in hard acceleration, or with spirited driving, in many cases most accessories are driven by electric motors to be able to provide maximum comfort when the combustion engine is not working say in slow traffic for instance .

The modern hybrid drive train also recovers the kinetic energy, by coasting to stop with the help of the electric motor and regenerative braking, instead of converting the kinetic energy into heat by using the traditional brakes.

Your traditional brakes still work the same except they are applied in a later stage of the pedal effort to help recover the kinetic energy from the vehicle forward motion .

Let’s look at today’s highly advanced combustion engines. We are slowly reaching the point in the combustion engine development where there is very little room for improvement of the internal combustion engine. For instance we have electric water pump, variable oil pump, variable camshaft and intake passages, variable fuel pump and the list goes on. Pretty much most of the combustion engines parameters are influenced by an advanced army of electric motors and myriad of sensors and of course the mighty computers which overlooks the entire operation.

We have today reduced the reciprocating mass in the modern engines to an amazingly small components yet we are still going further in the development of these highly sophisticated internal combustion engines. I have been working on these cars since 1976 and I can tell you the changes are astounding compared to yesterdays design and engineering principals in general we had engines ten years ago with adequate power, today the same engines produce at least twice the power with nearly half of the fuel spent doing it right on front of your eyes, the progress is just amazing towards efficiency.

Have you watched Formula 1 lately, or have you seen the new super cars of late? They have one thing in common, they are all hybrids.

Please let me explain: Did you know? Formula one is a precursor of the road technology in the extreme. The new 2014 rules state it, engine has to be 1.6 liter and has to have a KERS system to help reducing the race cars fuel consumption.This technology is finding it’s way to your car today.

Hybrid bmw 7Hybrid BMW 7 Series

Ladies and gentlemen this is a parallel hybrid system very much like BMW’s current performance hybrids on the road today. There are many others as well like Porsche Panamera, Mercedes-Benz and Lexus as well just to name a few.

The same could be said about the new hyper cars of late say the McLaren P1 or the Porsche 918. Both are using an electric motor to boost the output of the traditional combustion engine, in particular ever more so on the F1 race cars.

Due to the engine size and the turbo lag which would make the current race cars non-drivable with the help of the electric motor this modern hybrid cars became more powerful than yesterdays ultra high performance engines.

Just for instance we had the Bugatti Veyron with thousand plus horsepower from an 8.0 liter W16-4 turbo fed engine. which in fact was an engineering masterpiece to the Mclaren P1.

Mclaren P1 has “only” 3.8 liter twin turbo engine, but with the help of the electric engine, the 3.8 liter output 916 horsepower combined today. How’s that for progress?

A BMW hybrid is like your traditional BMW just better in every way.The BMW hybrid, includes their famous sporty razor sharp handling, luxury, style and performance. The big difference is they are extremely fuel efficient in daily driving. Worth to note, try before you buy, you should really test drive one. You may be pleasantly surprised how good the modern hybrids are and how much the technology improved over the years. Better get used to it we will be seeing more of them in the near future, so get ready and enjoy.

Don’t be afraid about their complexity. A modern internal combustion engine is very – very complex machine by itself. Gas or diesel, hybridization will not make it worst, if anything probably better in the long run.

The purpose of this short article is intended to clarify some of the myth and mystery hanging around this high tech cars with their advanced and very efficient propulsion systems, and I may ad, you can enjoy them without fear and have a peek into the future of our mobility coming to your neighborhood already.

If you are interested more in the details how hybrid cars work, and if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask me or my staff. We will be happy to assist you any way we can. Call us for more details at  905.795.0419

Have a happy motoring and thank you for reading .

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