Diesel & petrol alternatives? Your thoughts please

KellyHenderson replied on 14/09/2017 14:26

Posted on 14/09/2017 14:26

Good Afternoon,

Hopefully you have now received your September Club Magazine and read the Ask Your Club article (see attached photo) regarding the future of caravanning post 2040.

Have you already changed your vehicle from diesel to petrol?

Is anyone already towing with a hybrid? Maybe a Tesla Model X?

Has the news affected your plans for your next towcar?

It will also be interesting to see how motorhomes evolve into hybrids and/or electric models, which alternative to diesel would you prefer to buy; Hybrid or electric?

 Are you concerned about so few alternatives to diesel at the moment? Would you choose petrol instead if they were more widely available? There is now a VW T6 camper with a petrol engine available. 

Has this news made you think about switching to a car and caravan? Equally would caravanners consider trading in their car and caravan to purchase a hybrid or electric motorhome?

From the questions above, we would love to have your feedback.

One thing is for sure, there will be some interesting times ahead.

Lutz replied on 14/09/2017 16:13

Posted on 14/09/2017 16:13

I was towing with a Lexus RX400h hybrid for several years until last year. Whilst the car was super economical solo in city driving and able to tow my 1800kg caravan with ease, the benefits of a hybrid powertrain dwindled on the motorway and even more so when towing. I have never had a car where the fuel consumption varied so much, from really excellent to just about acceptable. For that reason I probably would not buy a hybrid again unless forced to do so for economical or political reasons.

At about the same time as I sold the Lexus I also got rid of the second car in the family, which was used more as a local runabout. Replacing two cars with one meant that the yearly mileage would almost double on the remaining car. For reasons of economy I therefore bought my first diesel, although under other circumstances I would have chosen a petrol again and despite the bad press that diesels have been faced with recently. Untypically, perhaps, I went against the grain with my choice of engine.

Pure electric is out of the question so long as the range of electric cars and the choice of a suitable tug for an 1800kg caravan is so limited.

brue replied on 14/09/2017 16:41

Posted on 14/09/2017 16:41

Our present Mercedes based motorhome is diesel. However we have pxd our petrol car for a BMW hybrid with a range extender. So far so good. The BMW is awaiting homologation for towing , so we're awaiting the results. However once our motorhome runs out of steam ( or we do !) we will just run our car. No doubt there are further developments in the pipeline, we see even Morgan are  now developing an electric car, it looks like the future will be very different for motoring in general. 

brue replied on 14/09/2017 16:56

Posted on 14/09/2017 16:56

Couldn't get back on to edit but our car is not a hybrid, it's electric with a range extender, must get my facts right! But having trouble posting on here just now. smile Such is modern technology.....

ocsid replied on 14/09/2017 17:10

Posted on 14/09/2017 17:10

IMO the technology has to change out of all recognition to deliver really viable alternatives to our present tow cars and van based motorhomes.
Saying that I have little doubt it will, not least because it must; batteries have got to develop and things like fuel cells for in use electrical power generation from liquid or gas, high power density fuels could well come into play.

So for sure we will not be early adopters as I see present and immediate offerings are going to be technically trumped very quickly, making their depreciation eye watering. We will hang in with what we have 2 x Euro 6 while we can and if big cities don't want us the feeling will be mutual and certainly not a worry.

DougS replied on 15/09/2017 14:45

Posted on 15/09/2017 14:45

Too much knee jerk reaction IMHO at the moment.

If you just need a run about with limited range then electric may be acceptable to you. Battery life and residual value of vehicle after 6 or 7 years is a worry (unknown?)

Hybrids are complex and may be good solo but will rely on engine to supply the power after a short period towing or after long distances?

Hydrogen is a non starter in my (and this book's) opinion see:

http://www.withouthotair.com/c20/page_129.shtml

It gives practical details on most of the technologies touted to be "the answer" (it's a little dated  but the basics don't change and changes in technology can be noted)

In the meantime, I've bought the diesel car 6 years ago and intend to keep it for the foreseeable future.

Towing caravan is a high demand activity which may, in the fullness of time be banned?

ocsid replied on 15/09/2017 16:29

Posted on 15/09/2017 16:29

 

I think that actually the comment decrying hydrogen in the above link that states basically "Honda using hydrogen in a fuel cell uses just as much energy as fossil fueled cars do today" is more positive than negative.

The immediate quest is pollution reduction not energy reduction. Despite best efforts lugging a certain mass about in the same way as we do today will need the much the same energy anyway, though hopefully extracted from the source fuel more efficiently. If a replacement for wheels tyres and tarmac can be introduced we could clip back the rolling energy bit, but I doubt big changes are imminent.

It is IMO the infrastructure ramifications that will nail "charge at home and on street" electric vehicles; I feel whilst it might be possible in thirteen years to build sufficient generation, I simply can't see it being delivered to point of need. Therefore IMO the power for electric drives I feel will have to mainly be dispensed much as today in a high power density fuel but one that is convertible to electric energy at point of use. That with vehicle battery support to supply short duration peaks, ie a hybrid of sorts.

DougS replied on 15/09/2017 17:35

Posted on 15/09/2017 16:29 by ocsid

 

I think that actually the comment decrying hydrogen in the above link that states basically "Honda using hydrogen in a fuel cell uses just as much energy as fossil fueled cars do today" is more positive than negative.

The immediate quest is pollution reduction not energy reduction. Despite best efforts lugging a certain mass about in the same way as we do today will need the much the same energy anyway, though hopefully extracted from the source fuel more efficiently. If a replacement for wheels tyres and tarmac can be introduced we could clip back the rolling energy bit, but I doubt big changes are imminent.

It is IMO the infrastructure ramifications that will nail "charge at home and on street" electric vehicles; I feel whilst it might be possible in thirteen years to build sufficient generation, I simply can't see it being delivered to point of need. Therefore IMO the power for electric drives I feel will have to mainly be dispensed much as today in a high power density fuel but one that is convertible to electric energy at point of use. That with vehicle battery support to supply short duration peaks, ie a hybrid of sorts.

Posted on 15/09/2017 17:35

Accept your point about the immediate aim of pollution reduction but IMHO the fossil fuel reduction comes very close after (unless you are a climate change denier) The reference needs to be read in full for an overview.

The things I picked up about Hydrogen were the facts that it is not a dense energy source (so may have range problems), the tanks needed to store it are under extreme pressure or very low temperature hence heavy and expensive plus the problem that leaving it parked for any length of time means the tank may be empty when you return? Plus yet another set of infrastructure issues to tackle.

Obviously, there are many options to explore and business  as usual probably isn't one of them.

Alex Cassells replied on 16/09/2017 07:08

Posted on 16/09/2017 07:08

Hi, we have an Outlander PHEV and our experience is similar to Lutz. Day to day solo, we do not use any petrol. When towing it does the job well being heavy enough and very stable. But the battery life is negligible when towing and the engine is noisy when worked hard.

When our old Touareg kept having expensive problems, we chose to buy our first ever new car, to try to avoid future expensive repair bills. The fuel savings we made by choosing the PHEV allowed us to buy (PCP) new. 

Whilst it's a far from ideal towcar, it suits us as an all rounder one car family. It also swung the pendulum from a 3ltr high consumption all the time user to an, only when towing high consumption user. And whilst it wasn't our first consideration it has had the secondary benefit of lowering our families emissions.

We are very happy with it. Cheers, Alex.

Kennine replied on 16/09/2017 11:32

Posted on 16/09/2017 11:32

PHEV vehicles do not solve the pollution issues which the Global Warming prophets of doom keep thumping on about.

PHEV vehicles use fossil fuels, not quite as much as conventional fossil fuel vehicles but they do not conform to the ideal principle of "All Electric" vehicles.

"No Emission Cars"  such as the top of the range Tesla are currently leading the way in proper EV vehicles but others like Aston Martin and Porsche will follow within a couple of years.  ( cheaper makes currently on the market now )

K