A Hummer That Gets 100 MPG?

Apr 23, 2009 by Miranda Marquit weblog
A plug-in hybrid hummer with better gas mileage than the Prius?

(PhysOrg.com) -- One of the more interesting vehicles unveiled at the the Society of Automotive Engineers World Congress in Detroit is an electric Hummer that gets, according to its developer Raser Technologies, 100 miles per gallon. This electric hybrid plug-in Hummer is being billed as better than a Prius in terms of environmental friendliness. And maybe it is. My Prius "only" gets about 55 miles per gallon on average.

Raser Technologies is a company based in Provo, Utah. For years, Raser has been developing truck engines designed to make trucks -- which are the most popular vehicle in the U.S. -- more environmentally friendly. Indeed, between concerns about the environment and worries about dependence on foreign oil, it is no surprise that this most-American of vehicles is getting a makeover. Soon, Raser hopes, businesses and families will be able to make use of the roomy Hummer while getting gas mileage that will be the envy of compact drivers.

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.
Electric H3 HUMMER. Promotional video from Raser Technologies website.

The hybrid Hummer will be charged with a 110 volt outlet (taking eight hours), and is compatible with a 220 volt outlet (cutting charging time to four hours). A four-cylinder engine also helps recharge the lithium battery after the power is reduced through driving. However, this separate engine is not attached to the drive train. The first 40 miles of driving is done entirely with the electric engine. After that, the hybrid feature kicks in. The hybrid Hummer has a range of 400 miles, but the fact that few people would drive so far on a regular basis is part of the reason that Raser can claim the vehicle gets 100 mpg. Jalopnik offers some math that exposes the long-range fuel economy of the electric Hummer:

"For the first sixty miles the Raser Hummer runs in all EV mode and from there it will run on a constantly operating generator, resulting in an asymptotic decline in average fuel economy. It does get the dramatic 100 MPG fuel economy the company claims -- as long as you don't go further than 60 miles in a day. The actual, long-range economy is a less headline-grabbing 33 MPG."

Table: Raser Technologies, Inc.

Even so, this is pretty impressive for a vehicle on the scale as the Hummer. The Hummer isn't expected to be in commercial production until 2011. The price hasn't been set, but it is estimated that the hybrid engine alone is likely to add between $15,000 and $20,000 to whatever the base price ends up being. Obviously, it will be up to incentives and tax breaks for energy efficient vehicles to bring the electric Hummer's price down to something that is more generally affordable.

© 2009 PhysOrg.com

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User comments : 17

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joex
4.3 / 5 (12) Apr 23, 2009
This is complete marketing bull. First, this type of hybrid system is being used in the upcoming Chevrolet Volt, where a gas engine exists to charge a battery and the ONLY engine connected to the wheels is the electric motor.

Second, you have to consider the cost of electricity that you plug in. This is why the correct unit is MPGe -- Miles per Gallon Equivelant. When you do this, you don't get that sliding scale shown above where you have essentially 33mpg, 100mpg and then infinite mpg for daily driving under 40miles.

So this vehicle is correctly classified using MPGe, due to its less conventional hybrid setup, and when you do that my guess is its nowhere near 100MPGe, but instead closer to 33MPGe. Without knowing more, thats the best that can be established: atleast 33MPGe and less than the infinite claimed above for 40 mile daily drivers.
dirk_bruere
3.6 / 5 (5) Apr 23, 2009
Wow! Your Prius gets about the same as my diesel VW
deatopmg
3.4 / 5 (5) Apr 23, 2009
and your TDI VW is far less harmful to the environment too when cradle to grave is taken into consideration.
E_L_Earnhardt
2.8 / 5 (4) Apr 23, 2009
If most of your driving is to work and back home it works out well, and you have a great truck to haul people and stuff when you need it. Your employer pays for the re-charge! (maybe!)
Lord_jag
4 / 5 (7) Apr 24, 2009
April fools anyone??
Roach
5 / 5 (7) Apr 24, 2009
I've seen a hummer average infinite MPG... all the way until it hit the ground. They can also get close to 32ft/s/s acceleration. And that's an H1... Ok I lied the H1 still only gets 6MPG even in freefall with an empty fuel tank.
wiyosaya
3.7 / 5 (3) Apr 24, 2009
Yes, anyone must be an April fool to consider this article even remotely credible. The article is not even consistent with itself. Take these two statements, for instance:

"The first 40 miles of driving is done entirely with the electric engine."

and

"For the first sixty miles the Raser Hummer runs in all EV mode and from there it will run on a constantly operating generator"

Technically, this vehicle is not an electric vehicle. It is a series hybrid that you can plug-in. There is nothing new here. Train locomotives have been using series hybrid technology for years.

If they really want to innovate, why not make the structural members of this vehicle out of carbon fiber? The weight reduction alone would give them significantly better mileage.

What we really need is more reports of myths.
david_42
3.7 / 5 (3) Apr 24, 2009
What absolute garbage! Stupidity like this claim harm all legitimate efforts. Electricity isn't free, nor does using a battery have no environmental impact, regardless of the distance.
austux
2.3 / 5 (3) Apr 24, 2009
If they really want to innovate, why not make the structural members of this vehicle out of carbon fiber? The weight reduction alone would give them significantly better mileage.


A simpler approach: become a vegetarian.

In fact, becoming an outright vegan will save more energy than the entire lifecycle energy cost (including manufacture, that is) of a Prius.

An article on the topic: http://www.goveg....ming.asp
bmcghie
2.5 / 5 (2) Apr 24, 2009
^ Sure, but humans like to eat meat. They are also pretty good at doing so. Certainly not well enough to justify the amount of meat most people eat... but our GI tract is supposed to deal with it.

Why do I even care?! As a cheap student, I never buy meat anyways. :) Say on, austux, say on!
LucFerris
3 / 5 (2) Apr 25, 2009
This really ain't a bad idea if you think about. It would use a lot of electricity, which would be detrimental to the environment. At the same time though, if society chooses to adopt renewable energy as a basic need, then this whole thing suddenly becomes very feasible. Woohoo!!!!!!!
John_balls
1 / 5 (1) Apr 26, 2009
Unreal, people are bitching about an SUV that for the first 40 miles drives in all electric mode.

I guess you guys did not hear the part about 75% of all drivers in the USA drive less then 40 miles a day.

This car would be perfect for me and my newly installed solar panels. It would cost me nothing to drive this vehicle. Bring it on!!!
Damon_Hastings
3.7 / 5 (3) Apr 26, 2009
Oh, give me a break. They ignored the cost of the electricity??? So does that mean these jokers would market a pure-electric Hummer as getting "infinity miles per gallon", then? (After all, any positive number divided by zero is inifity.) What a complete crock.

Electricity is not free, people. It costs about 15 cents per kWh, compared to 25 cents per usable kWh in gasoline. Combined with the 33 mpg long-term efficiency of the Hummer's drivetrain, this would take that 100 mpg figure they're so proud of immediately down to 45 mpg, and that's just for the first 60 miles! Like the article says, the efficiency goes down to 33 mpg after the first 60 miles. Of course, 45 mpg and even 33 mpg are pretty good for a Hummer, but I resent that these are *not* the numbers being released in the marketing material.

Also, I might point out that the vast majority of electrical plants use coal, which emits CO2 and various carcinogens. Electricity is not an energy source; it's an energy carrier. I get tired of companies talking about it as if it's all free and has zero emissions. We're slowly reducing its cost and emissions, but we're only just getting started.

This article would be more interesting if the author went to the trouble of computing a real cost (and pollution) comparison, with electricity included.
John_balls
1 / 5 (2) Apr 28, 2009



Also, I might point out that the vast majority of electrical plants use coal, which emits CO2 and various carcinogens. Electricity is not an energy source; it's an energy carrier. I get tired of companies talking about it as if it's all free and has zero emissions. We're slowly reducing its cost and emissions, but we're only just getting started.



This article would be more interesting if the author went to the trouble of computing a real cost (and pollution) comparison, with electricity included.


Yea it would and could of been all free if instead of sending our money on ill begotten wars in Iraq and instead put that into buys solar panels for homes then it would be free.

The iraq war is going to cost trillions but I only think it cost about a trillion dollars to put solar panels on almost every home in the united states.


We would also gain efficiencies due to the economies of scale of such a large project and it would be probably cheaper then that.
entreprenosis
5 / 5 (1) Jun 04, 2009
People, I worked directly with the top man at Raser Technologies on an IC engine for their hybrid vehicle company. They were only interested in marginal investment and a quick fix.

You can credit me for giving them the idea of using a Hummer in marketing of their "high MPG" vehicle. However, this was supposed to be used for an IC Engine that would have generated around 100 MPG in actual results, and it became obvious to them that this would have completely killed off any real and perceived advantages of hybrid vehicles. Oh yes is is possible and doable.

This 100 MPG marketing hype is just that -- all hype. First, a simple perusal of the article shows "unlimited mpg" at low daily miles. What a farce. Secondly, they know that the grid can't begin to support the needs of transportation for a significant number of U.S. drivers. Two thirds of the energy used in the U.S. goes directly for transportation. Try dropping gas and oil and substituting grid power and you will have a real energy crisis. Third, over 50% of grid power is provided by coal, so electricity is neither clean, free, nor even an energy source.

BTW, the article mentions that their Hummer has a 33 MPG at 200 miles. But don't they claim that the Hummer has a max range of 600 miles? What's the MPG here? And why can't you go 700 miles? Could it be that the engine cannot really support the operation of the Hummer on it's own power? What's the mileage, efficiency, emmissions, and lifecycle of their IC engine? What kind of performance do you sacrifice for using this thing?

The record for fuel economy is 15,212 mpg set on June 26, 2005 by the ETH Zurich PAC-Car II. Of course it offers significantly reduced performance from those of real vehicles used. What's the performance capability and real MPG evivalence of this Hummer towing a boat to and from a lake 100 miles away? Can it even do it?

This whole "release" is pure hype. Raser has lagged significantly in breaking into the Hybrid Vehicle market, and their claims on this vehicle exaggerate the real-world performance that you would get. This is a pipe dream.

An advanced IC engine of the type that I discussed previously, not only creates real MPG results, but increases the overall performance of the vehicle. The engine which is built to meet a specified HP and MPG range, does so while providing increased reactivity or acceleration. You get this by optimizing combustion efficiency, mechanical efficiency, heat loss, and intake/exhaust. Of course, you have to change the basic structure of the engine, but this yeilds a net positive in energy density.
ithinkthereforeiam
5 / 5 (1) Jun 15, 2009
And now for "The rest of the story..."

How do these guys at Raser come up with their 100 MPG? Simple, they claim that if you drive 60 miles per day that the first 40 is powered by electricity and the next 20 is provided by their 33 MPG onboard engine. Therefore, only 1/3 of the distance traveled was provided by gas at 33 MPG, so it's as though you got the equivalent of 3 times 33 MPG, which equals 100 MPG.

Now let's see what Raser isn't telling you. First, their 200KW electric motor costs MONEY to operate! How much, you ask? Easy. If you drive 40 miles on electric power -- half in the city and half on the freeway -- you will spend about 1 hour driving (20 miles @ 30 MPH = 40 minutes, plus 20 miles @ 60 MPH = 20 minutes). Raser's 200KW motor is rated at 100KW continuous, so 1 hour of driving will likely consume roughly 100KWH worth of electricity (100KW times 1 hour). The average cost of electricity in the U.S. is 11.5 cents/KWH; therefore 100KWH costs your $11.50, got it? That's eleven dollars and fifty cents to go forty miles!!! Luckily, you get to go the next 20 miles on good old gasoline @ roughly 33 MPG, which would consume 6/10ths of a gallon of gas if the gas engine powered the vehicle directly. Unfortunately, it first has to power a generator, which then charges batteries, which then powers the electric motor. Still, lets be generous and assume that this gas engine takes you 20 miles on 2/3 of a gallon of gas, which costs $1.67 (2/3 times $2.50).

So the grand total to travel 60 miles in Raser's shiny EREV (Extended Range Electric Vehicle) only cost you $13.17!!! Isn't that great? Of course, you would've only spent $5.00 if you could've driven all of that distance powered by their good gas-mileage IC engine. Or you could've paid $7.50 in any vehicle that averaged 20 MPG. However, where's the fun in that? Look, you're driving a high tech "EREV"... ooooh! One that cost you an extra $25K, and that added an extra 1,000 pounds of weight to the vehicle. Nice extras, huh?? BTW, did I forget to mention that their 100KW motor only provides 134HP in continuous mode? But wait you say, it gives 268HP at peak operation. Yes, that's about what the new Ford Taurus provides (except for the Ford Taurus SHO, which gives 350HP). So you'll be riding around in your new EREV Hummer in a reduced 134-268HP powertrain... can you say "put, put, put"?

Does anyone see anything wrong with this?? Now do you see why Raser omitted mentioning the cost of electricity and only focused on their fuzzy-math MPG gas equivalent calculation? In reality, at today's prices, their Hummer only got the equivalent of
11.4 MPG ($13.17 divided by $2.5/gallon = 5.27 gallons, and 60 miles/5.27 gallons = 11.4 MPG)!!!!!!!!

The fact is that electric vehicles have NOTHING to offer in solving America's transportation needs. They are not cost-efficient nor are they technologically superior. The demand for electricity in the U.S. is expected to grow by a taxing 25% over the next decade. Raser's Hummer draws 100KWH of electricity in order to travel it's first 40 miles, which is well over 3 times the power that your house draws in a complete day! Talk about an instant energy crisis! It's a good thing that battery technology is still limited and that they added an IC engine to extend the range, otherwise their Hummer would've used 150KWH of electricity, or more than 5 times the daily draw of an average home!!

This conveniently omitted information might explain why Raser has also entered the geothermal power market%u2026 they realize that switching to EV's would require well over a 300% increase to America's annual electric power consumption.

My question is this, why couldn't Raser (and KSL) be upfront and honest with us about the true costs of Electric Vehicles? Afterall, consumers have shown that they are willing to pay more for efficient green power.

Could their hesitancy in telling us the whole story be due to the fact that EV's are neither cost-efficient nor green compared to standard IC engine technology?
ormondotvos
not rated yet Aug 16, 2009
Your figures for continuous electric motor consumption are egregiously incorrect. Imagine electronic laughter.

LOL