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principle behind the hybrid is that the petrol engine efficiency drops as you throttle it back (because effective comp ratio is reduced as you are not allowing the cylinder to fill). by introducing the hybrid system you reduce the amount of part load operation, either by making it work harder (driving plus charging the battery) or not at all (stopped and the battery driving the car).

if you do a lot of city driving it will save fuel. if you spend most of the time running at pace it won't.

whether you save money considering the amount of extra cost is debatable, ditto the environmental issue. but with volume and experience, the cost will come down and the benefits go up, so there is an argument for supporting the technology. a bit like nuclear power - not as good as they said it would be so far, but has the potential if we stick with it and keep developing it.

i think the prius is kind of cool.

i've just got back from china where i lived 'under a rock' for 8 years. carbon dioxide issue seems bigger than I thought, I'm thinking about this. of course my carbon footprint has more to do with the amount of flying i do for work than the amount of driving i do......
 
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