I've driven cars since 1970 and until 2005 never had air conditioning.
I didn't miss it, except possibly for one summer day in 1994.
However, since owning a car with a/c I do appreciate it, and can afford
to buy a car that has it.
My point is that it isn't really necessary in the UK - unlike a heater.
Having said that my father (now long gone) drove cars without heaters
until about 1960. I think the mini in 1959 was the first entry-level
saloon that had a heater as standard.
A/C is nowhere near as necessary as a heater. My first three cars didn't
have it. I *think* my 1993 Mark III Golf had A/C. I know my various Peugeots
(306 and 308) have had it.
I managed without until then. There were days when I got into an unbearably
hot car and had the blower blowing "cold" (ambient air temperature) air onto
me to keep me cool. There were a few days when this wasn't sufficient,
especially if I was stuck in a traffic jam and had *only* the blower,
without the added ram-jet effect of the car travelling along at 60 mph to
force air through the dashboard vents.
When I got a car with A/C it made a tremendous difference. Firstly it kept
the car to a bearable temperature on the relatively few scorching hot days.
Secondly it dried the air which made it demist the inside of the windows a
lot more quickly on cold damp mornings. I used to have to wipe the inside of
the windscreen and side windows before it was safe to drive, and they
quickly misted up again; now I have A/C, I put the heater on hot with A/C to
get hot dry air, which demists the windows and keeps them demisted. Warm dry
air is better than hot humid air for doing this (the A/C chills as well as
dries the air, and the heater has to overcome the chilling).
A/C is very nice to have, but not essential like a heater is. I've never
appreciated a heater more than the freezing cold day that the windows of my
1993 Golf spontaneously went down and wouldn't go back up, just as I parked
at work. That lunchtime (*) I had to drive about 10 miles to the garage in
sub-zero temperatures with the heater on full blast blowing very hot air out
of all the vents to try to counteract the chilly air that was coming in
through the windows. The fault was found to be a burned-out loom, and
neither VW nor the branch of Halfords which fitted my alarm would accept
responsibility, so I had to fork out about £400 for that.
(*) Fortunately when I explained what had happened, the security guys at
work let me park right next to their office so they could keep an eye on the
car, since it was insecure with the windows open (but the doors dead-locked
so they couldn't be opened by anyone who put their hand in through the open
I would suggest that a decent heat pump AC system is essential for
battery powered cars! Since its a far more efficient way of heating and
demisting. (also not many people would be so keen to buy a car without
AC anyway these days)
The i8 also has a range extender version.
Not a huge range, I admit.
Today is Boomtime, the 53rd day of Bureaucracy in the YOLD 3183
I don't have an attitude problem.
Which is a shame. I imagine it is a lot easier to drive an electric car
because there is no gearbox (or at least, there is one fixed ratio) so you
are controlling the road speed directly without having to take into account
the fact that in a petrol/diesel car the torque/acceleration is greater in a
lower gear so the amount of throttle you need depends on what gear you are
in; this is fine in a manual where you *know* what gear you are in, but I
find automatics change down on demand so it's difficult to get just the
acceleration you want - too little throttle and it stays in a high gear but
with little engine power, fractionally more throttle and it changes down
when you wouldn't in a manual and then gives an unexpected surge of
acceleration. Whenever I had an automatic car on a site visit at work I
found it very difficult to accelerate smoothly out of roundabouts because of
the unexpected change down - I never managed to estimate the right amount of
throttle to get it to stay in third and then apply increasing engine power.
Electrics would have that discontinuity. I imagine that it is possible to
set an acceleration limit in the controlling software, as well as a speed
But everything depends critically on range. So a petrol/diesel-electric with
a decent size of battery and electric rather than mechanical drive at all
times, would seem to be the way forward.
As a matter of interest, how much energy is put back into a battery by
regenerative braking. It would be interesting to see comparative mpg figures
for the same car, being driven in the same conditions, first with regen
turned off and then with it turned on.
(*) The ultimate was a Ford Focus that I was one given as a hire car, which
I presume had a fault. It would get up to about 50 but if I tried to go
faster, it changed down. I managed to get 50 in any of 4th, 3rd or 2nd gear
with correspondingly higher engine speeds. Painful on a motorway.
Some of the latest more hybrids can get about 20 miles on battery alone
at reasonable but not high speed. They are fitted with a 8.8kwh battery
116 years ago a columbia electric could about 3 miles on battery power
with a top speed of 14mph, really we have not progressed an enormous amount.
My neighbour has a Prius, some days he reverses off the drive on battery
alone and the engine starts as he pulls off down the road; other days,
it only moves a few feet then the engine starts while he's still on his
What sort of figures do you get in practice (as opposed to OEM claims)?
Motorway cruising and town driving ?
You might manage a bit more on a long downhill stretch or less uphill.
But basically yes - the battery is there to allow the petrol engine to
run for short periods at absolute maximum efficiency acting more like a
capacitor or reservoir for the energy that it produces and then feeding
it to the electric drive train as needed. I do wonder how well the
battery will tolerate this regime long term but they claim it works OK.
I wonder how it damages the vehicle more than running out of petrol in a
normal vehicle and running crud from the bottom of the tank through.
Anyone have an explanation ?
As I mentioned elsewhere in this thread, the car is designed with petrol and
electric systems as complements of each other. This enables each system to
be optimised for the functions it's best at, rather than having to cover
every eventuality as a single-mode car would be.
If you run the car with only one system operational, that system is run out
of its usual operating range, which can cause undue stress. In a hybrid the
petrol engine is the ultimate source of energy and the fallback system in
case of problems. Running without it means the car has no option but to run
the electric system out of tolerance if you make excessive demands on it
(the car not being able to tell whether not responding might cause danger to
the occupants; it is safe to not start but it is not safe to shut down
Yes when I said about needing to take into account charge in battery I
hadn't realised that the battery in petrol hybrid had such a small capacity.
I'd assumed that it could manage maybe 50 continuous miles on its charge so
as to not require the engine to be used at all while in a city.
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