Will Lexus be crushed by its own promo site?

20 November 2007

dust cartThe Hybrid Debate is a web site sponsored by Lexus, purveyor of high-priced hybrids, so we weren’t expecting to find much genuine discussion – more a series of puff pieces and sage agreement that hybrids are a jolly good idea. It was a pleasant surprise, therefore, to find that the invited bloggers who are populating the site with content are actually debating the merits of hybridisation by pointing out some genuine pluses and minuses.

For example professor Roger Kemp, a specialist in energy and engineering from the University of Lancaster, has some top tips on where it’s a waste of time to buy a hybrid:

“Mountainous areas like Norway or Switzerland may be the best places, as hybrids can use their electric power to drive up mountains and reclaim it, through regenerative braking, on the way down,” he says, “[but] flat sparsely-populated areas, like Wyoming or central Australia, are fundamentally bad places to introduce hybrids.” [He does concede that gridlocked urban areas are also ideal.]

He also has some pertinent ideas about where it’s best to put a hybrid powerplant:

“Hybrids offer the greatest benefits when they are used in vehicles with a low average power demand and frequent bursts of high power ... a dust cart is a particularly good candidate for conversion to a series hybrid as it operates on a stop-start duty cycle and has high and ‘peaky’ auxiliary loads of crushers, conveyors and lifting jacks.”

We somehow doubt that Lexus has this branch of the automotive world in its sights.

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