Transportation: 2020 Honda Fit to feature hybrid drive system

The 2020 Honda Fit will be available in a hybrid model that features two motors. Honda says this supports “vehicles driven mostly with an electric motor”. If true, this may be similar to the 2020 Ford Escape, where local driving can be done as an EV, and on the highway use can switch to a gas motor or combined gas/EV operation.

Source: Honda Global | October 23 , 2019 “Honda Unveils the World Premiere of All-new Fit at the 46th Tokyo Motor Show 2019”

I currently drive a Honda Fit and love it, with typical gas mileage of all-in-city driving of about 38 mpg and combined mileage of about 42 mpg. This is my 2nd Honda Fit, having upgraded an older edition with 5-speed manual transmission to a newer 2015 edition with CVT. The 2020 Fit is thought to be available in the spring of 2020, but some have said it might not be sold in the U.S. Apparently the typical U.S. consumer wants expensive and large SUVs with huge engine power. 2020 Honda Fit mpg estimates have not yet been released.

Toyota also has new hybrids and it seems there were be many vehicles offering 50 +/- miles per gallon equivalent.


Transportation: What does the MPG rating mean when used on an Electric Vehicle?

It does not mean much:

The MPGe rating is really only useful for comparing the relative energy consumption of gasoline (or hybrid) cars with that of electric cars. The Focus EV uses the energy equivalent of 1 gallon of gasoline for each 105 miles of travel, compared to a hybrid Prius, which would use roughly 2 gallons of gasoline for every 100 miles it travels.

Source: Decoding Electric Car MPG | Edmunds

What might be more useful would be a comparison between CO2-equivalent outputs.

For example, where I live, 56% of the power generation comes from coal-fired power plants which produce “greenhouse” gases.

Switching from a gas powered vehicle to an EV outsource one’s personal gas-produced CO2 output to the coal plant and may not have as large an impact on GHG emissions as you might think.

Transportation: The 2020 Ford Escape Hybrid works as an EV in town, or gas powered/EV hybrid on the highway

The Escape’s surprise is the new plug-in hybrid, an intriguing model that promises an EV range of at least 30 miles before the four-cylinder engine kicks in to help. In the real world, this means folks with shorter commutes can drive to and from work without ever using a drop of gas.

Source: 2020 Ford Escape Hybrid Review: Why It’s the Best Way to Escape – Motor Trend

This is very innovative and solves the big weakness of current EVs – which is the ability to do long distance car travel without having to make numerous recharging stops. Youtube is filled with videos of EV enthusiasts showing how they have driven cross country “successfully”, where success is not what most people want to do. For EV enthusiasts, the challenge of making it work is the whole point, whereas for the rest of us, getting from point A to point B is the purpose of the drive.

The two main problems for cross country travel, depending on vehicle, are the need to stop every few hours and, if a rapid charger is available, plug in for an hour or more to top off the battery. They try to do this with a stop near a restaurant or coffee shop, if possible, but since rapid charging stations are at limited locations, this may put you at less than desirable cafes within walking distance.

The second main problem for EVs is that for those of us who live in cold winter climates (most of North America, geographically), the range is reduced by 20% to 30% in cold weather. This occurs both due to the effect of cold on the battery chemistry and due to using the battery to power the vehicle’s electrically powered heater.

The hybrid approach used here by Ford overcomes these limitations of EVs – enabling EV operation around town, which is likely half or more of the total vehicle miles driving, but then adding gas-based for longer trips.

Finally, EVs are not “carbon free”. For example, where I live, 56% of our electrical power generation comes from coal-fired power plants. Thus, EVs here are 56% powered by coal. (We are installing solar PV on our house within a few weeks, so there is that option – but power generation is greatly reduced during the winter months.)