Friday, March 4, 2016

Ryan Rubear Arrives Ten Years Too Late

I can't recall visiting "motorburn" before. And whether or not I think their tagline "Because cars are gadgets" is insipid or not (it is insipid), I have to wonder if this article was written ten years ago and stuck somewhere until it popped up today, someone slapped a new photo on it and voila! Something to publish. Yay motorburn!
So here goes. Let's try, to make sense of this thing. I love a good exercise in futility.
The hybrid – which draws its go-forward juice from both an internal combustion engine and an electric motor – was once seen as the long-term future of personal mobility.
Well yes, but wait, "was once seen"? What the hell does that mean?
And it certainly made sense. Here was a model that saved fuel, reduced tail-pipe emissions, and served up a generous helping of instant torque. What was not to like?
Exactly.
Today, however, such a belief isn’t necessarily as widely held.
Huh? How could that be? The logic is irrefutable.
Yes, the majority of the world’s big automakers are now investing obscene amounts of cash in the development of either all-electric or hydrogen technology (or both) instead, which paints a gloomy picture for the internal combustion engine. The hybrid, it seems, is no longer the eco-world’s holy grail.
Ruh roh. First, we have "obscene amount of cash" being spent to develop these new technologies and somehow, hybrid isn't new enough. Or because hybrids use an ICE they suck, now? Maybe the dude explains it better...
But before these manufacturers can overcome the numerous hurdles standing in the path of full-electric and fuel-cell vehicles – such as satisfactory battery range and the chicken-or-egg infrastructure problem – they need to bridge the gap. And many appear to be turning to the hybrid in a bid to do so.
Ok, I'm getting played here. So now the "new" technologies are facing numerous hurdles (someone break it to Elon) and now hybrids are good again? Perhaps Senor Bubear will get to a cogent point soon? Perhaps...
Of course, certain car-makers recognised – and acted on – this potential years ago. Toyota, for instance, hit a staggering eight million hybrid sales just last year, with the now-iconic Prius fearlessly leading the way. And the world’s largest automaker aims to take that total figure to fifteen million by the time 2020 rolls around.
I swear, this was written seven years ago and recycled, wasn't it? Oh, and newsflash Mr. Bubear, Toyota itself has revised their once rosey and optimistic view on the future of Prius. Sadly, Toyota sees slower sales future for Prius for a number of reasons not the least of which are artificially depressed gasoline prices in the near term and perhaps as important or more importantly, increased competition from EVs (ever heard of Tesla) and plug-in hybrids now and in the long term.
Indeed, the new fourth-generation Prius is the latest in a surprisingly long line of hybrids offered by the Japanese automaker and its luxury arm, Lexus. But it also has an eye on a more distant future, having recently launched the hydrogen-powered Toyota Mirai in selected markets.
Dude, you have definitely been drinking.
Hyundai, interestingly, seems to be taking aim directly at the Prius, launching a three-prong attack on the most recognised hybrid nameplate around. Yes, the Hyundai Ioniq – which runs on an all-new, dedicated platform – will take the fight to Toyota with a choice of three powertrains: electric, hybrid, and plug-in hybrid.
Yeah, well, good points other than, this or this. And then there's this. So not exactly the future you're outlining here.

Then he blathers something about Kia. Sorry, I fell asleep. Did I miss something? Sadly, no.
In addition to these dedicated models, there are also more and more hybridised versions of existing vehicles popping up. Indeed, the premium manufacturers seem to be leading the charge here, with everything from a BMW 330e and Mercedes-Benz C350e to a Volvo XC90 T8 Twin Engine and even a Porsche Cayenne S e-hybrid on offer. 
Then there is the growing number of high-performance models (think of the McLaren P1, Porsche 918 Spyder, and LaFerrari hypercars) and some sports-cars (like the BMW i8) that take hybrid technology in an entirely different direction.
So, why are many of the industry’s major players now turning to hybrid tech if they don’t likely believe it to be a long-term solution? Well, automakers (even when they’re not working feverishly on electric or fuel-cell tech) are battling to find new ways to make the internal combustion engine more efficient.
Yes, in a bid to meet progressively more stringent regulations and appease more demanding customers, the automobile manufacturing industry has been turning to methods such as downsizing, supercharging, and turbocharging. 
Here Ryan, let me offer you some help.
But, as the internal combustion engine’s potential optimal efficiency nears and these methods are exhausted, the returns are increasingly diminishing. However, adding a hybrid element – essentially a form of electric assistance – opens up all sorts of doors in terms of improving fuel consumption and cutting emissions.
2005 called and it wants its news back please.
And it’s this potential that has led to what may soon be a fairly large-scale adoption of hybrid technology. And this, oddly enough, will ultimately end up prolonging the life of the internal combustion engine.
Contrarian bullshit double fake out wisdom FTW!

Yeah, I'll be visiting motorburn again real soon.