Hybrid automobiles entering market in many forms
Full electrification is expensive; you know it; I know it. Witness the cost of the Chevy Volt and the Nissan Leaf even after the government subsidy. Who can afford a $450 per month lease payment? For certain, those on fixed incomes cannot.
No matter how much the cult of full electrics cry out that the cost justifies the benefits, simple fact is, the public needs affordable electrification of the automobile.
It is not so much that public hates electrification. Fact is, they don’t. They just want to be able to afford it on the wages that they earn.
Enter the Chevrolet Malibu Eco, for example. Now here is a car that meets the public somewhere in the middle. To set the stage, though, consider how the Chevrolet Malibu Eco achieves an EPA-estimated 25 miles per gallon city and 37 mpg highway fuel economy. Read the latest TN report by John Goreham: 2013 Chevy Malibu Eco (don't call it a hybrid) saves customers big money on fuel
Electrification on the Light Side
I have been witness to other electrification members at the various shows as well. One that comes to mind is the electric supercharger. It avails supercharging without the use of exhaust [correction: turbo is implied]. This makes that lag at low RPM literally disappear.
Keep in mind, though, with hybrids there is really no advance full-electric propulsion that negates all use of the ICE. That's why I view the Chevy Malibu Eco as indeed a hybrid, but with a flair that keeps the cost affordable. It uses electric steering as well as eAssist technology.
Point is, these particular choices of electrification are considered electric-light, because they do not negate the IC engine, but improve the energy drain, thus improving gas mileage. Besides, it is a key feature to stop-start whereby the engine shuts off whenever the car stops at red lights.
So, on-demand is an important aspect to light electrification. For example, electric power assist steering operates on demand, consuming power only during steering maneuvers instead of constantly draining engine power to operate a hydraulic pump. In addition it reduces CO2 emissions and maintenance cost by eliminating the need to dispose of hydraulic fluid.
For the record, I have packaged both hydraulic as well as electric assist steering systems when I was part of the vehicle integration design team. Electric steering saves on the outside packaging, but introduces that bulky electric motor into the interior just above the shins off the driver. Trust me when I state that it’s no picnic routing wires around it, as well as providing enough space for the bolster to protect the knees.