The type of car people should own has now become a political issue.
The administration is pushing battery powered vehicles, BEVs, in an effort to eliminate gasoline powered ICEs which have served people very well.
What would be the optimum type of vehicle, given efficiency, cost, and emissions? This article confines itself to basic issues, while some other reviews include compact vehicles, pricing of models, and features.
Setting aside hydrogen powered vehicles because of their lack of availability and little support from the auto industry and politicians in general, we can review key features of ICEs, BEVs, and Hybrids.
Gasoline powered vehicles have become very efficient as measured by miles per gallon of fuel. The current EPA standard for 2026 is 40 mpg, i.e.fleet average. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), said this would result in a fleet wide average improvement of 12 mpg for 2026 models compared with 2021.
Fuel is readily available throughout the country and it only takes a few minutes to refuel a vehicle.
Range for most ICEs is around 400 miles.
The power train requires routine service, such as oil changes.
BEVs require large batteries that can weigh over 1,500 pounds. They use rare materials, such as Lithium, Cobalt, and Nickel, that must be imported from foreign countries. China’s CATL is a major supplier of Lithium-phosphate batteries with a plant using CATL technology being proposed for Michigan.
Range for BEVs priced below $60,000 is typically 250 to 300 miles.
Recharging batteries can take 20 minutes to an hour with a fast charger, otherwise it can take several hours with a level 1 or 2 charger.
While routine maintenance is minimal, batteries degrade slightly over time.
Like ICE vehicles, hybrids are easy to fuel: And like ICEs, require routine service.
The Lithium-ion battery used in hybrids is considerably smaller than the battery used in a BEV, so that 25 or more hybrids can be built with the materials required by a single BEV.
While it can still take several hours to recharge the battery, it can be done at home, overnight, without causing delays.
Since the average trip by US drivers is only 37 miles per day, it’s possible for drivers to rely on gasoline for the preponderance of daily commuting. The owner of a hybrid can get over a hundred miles per gallon of gas for day-to-day routine local driving, while still being able to rely on gasoline for long, two or three hundred mile trips.
Hybrids are far superior to BEVs by avoiding substantial use of imported and difficult to mine materials. Hybrids are also less harmful to the environment than BEVs.
Hybrids can be more fuel efficient than ICE vehicles.
If anything, the administration should be encouraging the use of hybrids, not BEVs.
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