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Old 02-20-2013, 08:58 PM   #101
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The plug-in-prius would be a bad choice if you're looking for a car for a long trip. It only has enough charge for 7 miles on electric only driving, so after your first 10 minutes, it's pretty much the same as a non-plug in prius. If you do a lot of driving around town, and very occasional road trips, the economics might work out.
I wonder how long it will be until the car asks where you'll be driving and then uses GPS/onboard maps/crowd-based traffic reports/topographic info to optimize fuel efficiency. For example, with foreknowledge of upcoming grades a hybrid could make a smart choice on allocating battery power for best use on upcoming hills, etc. The logic now used by the Prius and others is pretty darn good, but limited to historic and present state info. Being able to look ahead in time would allow even more refinement. Or, maybe they are already doing this.
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Old 02-21-2013, 02:23 AM   #102
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Originally Posted by samclem View Post
I wonder how long it will be until the car asks where you'll be driving and then uses GPS/onboard maps/crowd-based traffic reports/topographic info to optimize fuel efficiency. For example, with foreknowledge of upcoming grades a hybrid could make a smart choice on allocating battery power for best use on upcoming hills, etc. The logic now used by the Prius and others is pretty darn good, but limited to historic and present state info. Being able to look ahead in time would allow even more refinement. Or, maybe they are already doing this.
Interesting concept. I had been thinking that, eventually, our car's computers would be able to interact with the "traffic system" to both save time and fuel. Imagine being able to set your destination, aiming your car and letting the computer more or less set your speed.

Well, my hopes for such a system were dashed recently. There is a stretch of coast road that leads to our house. There is no alternative for going downtown (other than a 40 or so mile opposite-direction circle of the island). The 6 mile section of 6 lane divided road/street usually takes about 20+ minutes to traverse in moderately heavy traffic (there is no light traffic except late night). There are about 20+ intersections to allow mauka/makai traffic onto said road. So, there are a similar number of traffic lights to allow for this traffic to enter. One day, during one of our non-rare wide-area power outages (can you spell HECO) we headed down this same stretch toward downtown. All traffic lights were completely OUT. Our trip took about 10 minutes. All side street traffic simply merged onto the road whenever there was a little space. There were NO back-ups at the sides streets. Traffic moved smoothly without stops. IOW, a driver's paradise in Paradise (which is typically a traffic hell). So, with NO traffic technology, traffic moved at the very fastest safe speed (about 5mph over posted) on one of the most frustrating roads this side of LA. At that point, I gave up on technology ever truly solving traffic problems. Naturally, YMMV.
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