According to this, lithiu ion will greatly enhance fuel economy of hybrids. Imagine what a super efficent diesel insight, with 100% carbon fiber body, super efficient drag coefficeint of .1, drive by wire regen braking, and 25% efficent solar panels on the roof and hood could do!
Carbon fiber alone cuts 60% of weight while being up to 9 times stronger than steel. So 60% less weight, and also a 60% smaller engine, increase fuel economy by at least 2 fold.
Now imagine a super efficent diesel engine that allows the engine size to be dropped to a mere .25 liters and more efficent lithium ion 2 batteries, which will be out by 2010.
We could realistically triple the mileage of the Insight to 153 mpg, real world combined driving as recorded by Consumer Reports.
Then imagine what being able to plug in the Insight could do, with lithium 2 batteries allowing 150 miles EV only crusing, and solar cells recharging 50 miles while you're at work.
Hell, you would hardly ever burn any gas at all! Fuel economy could balloon to 300, 400, 500 mpg, with a range of 7,500 miles possible with a 15 gallon tank. You would only have to fill up once every 35 weeks!
Almost once every 9 months! You would only burn 60 gallons of diesel!
And for those who think I am mad, consider the expiremental plug in Prius which got 250 mpg around a track. If a bigger car, burning gas, not made out of carbon fiber, and with a drag coefficeint of .26, and no on-board solar charger can get 250 mpg, than a smaller, sleeker, super efficent diesel, working off of onboard charging, lithium 2 batteries, and home plug in can sure as hell het 500 mpg. Come to think of it, 1,000 mpg may be possible with a plug in feature.
Imagine filling up once every 16 months and one week. You could drive around the entire continental US, 8,700 miles, twice! On one tank of diesel! (I know, you'de need a 16.7 gallon tank, which then lasts over 18 months!)
Imagine buying only 12 gallons of diesel all year! Today that would cost $30! $30 for one year's worth of fuel! Even if diesel costs $20/gallon in the future, it still amounts to only $240/year! Today with average regular at $2.2 and an insight getting 60 mpg real world, (AC and carefull driving)
you still pay $440!
I can't wait to see the mileage numbers fly when this new tech hits and people start clamoring for fuel economy.
A rule of thumb is that the mandatory fuel economy is 10 times the price of fuel. So at $2.20 for regular, a car needs at least 22 mpg to be economically viable.
By 2010 we shall see 80 mpg insights, that should be viable for 10 more years. Eventually thought gas will be $10/gallong and any car that gets under 100 mpg will need to be recycled into a new super efficent hybrid.