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By Victor T. Barrera on May 21, 2009 with 13 responses

Raser Technologies Shows Off 100-MPG Hummer on Capitol Hill

A Hummer that gets 100 miles to the gallon is virtually unheard of, but Raser Technologies along with Sen. Hatch from Utah displayed a GM H3 that will hopefully push the development of plug-in hybrid technology towards the realm of consumer affordability.

Sen. Hatch showing off the candy apple red H3 to the media.

Sen. Hatch showing off the candy apple red H3 to the media.

Given Barack Obama’s recent fuel efficiency standards, vehicle manufacturing companies are putting forth more of an outspoken effort to develop technologies that are cleaner, more efficient, but more importantly, affordable to the common consumer.  Alongside the car companies themselves are a multitude of different, more independent groups finding ways to turn current market vehicles into some of the most fuel efficient machines on the road.

Normally when you think of fuel efficient vehicles, GM’s Hummer doesn’t exactly come to mind.  But yesterday, Raser Technologies showcased its 100 mile per gallon Hummer with the help of Utah Senator Orrin Hatch. Capitol Hill was filled with cameras and journalists as Sen. Hatch test drove the candy apple red H3 plug-in hybrid; the vehicle boasted a little over a 400 mile range without either a charge or a fill-up.  Hatch invited his fellow politicians to try out the technology for themselves; he noted how indispensable the development of plug-in hybrids are to weaning the Unites States off of oil while keeping the development of such important technology at home.

Hatch’s personal plea amongst his fellow politicians culminated into a direct appeal to Barack Obama that such technology needs to be fostered, both in the context of short and long term goals in our energy policy.  Hatch, who’s been an outspoken advocate of hybrid technology, has high hopes that it’ll become more affordable so that the average hybrid vehicle sold won’t cost much more than its non-hybrid counterpart.

Currently, the GM restructuring plan involves seeing the Hummer brand sold off in China. Hatch urged Obama to prevent the selling of the well known gas-guzzling behemoths, especially since he believes “the US is on the cusp of integrating environmentally friendly and affordable hybrid technologies” into these normally environmentally disastrous vehicles.

Kraig Higginson, chairman of Raser, said that although the current trend is to turn smaller, more compact vehicles into hybrids, there is still little done to address the fact that it’s the utility of SUVs and trucks that some citizens could never live without.  Offering a cleaner, more fuel efficient hybrid alternative to the vehicles some Americans need the most may be a key turnaround point within the whole scheme of the plug-in hybrid revolution.

People such as farmers, parents, and business owners aren’t driving gas guzzlers just cause, they’re holding onto them because hybrid technology has yet to make its debut in an affordable manner on the vehicles they need.  Hopefully, companies like Raser and politicians like Sen. Hatch can open up some eyes in Washington, D.C. and make vehicles like this a market reality.

  1. By Mike on May 21, 2009 at 9:16 pm

    If they can make a hummer go 100mpg, think of what a Civic or an Accord could do. 500mpg +

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  2. By Smith on May 21, 2009 at 9:37 pm
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  3. By Corndawg on May 21, 2009 at 9:50 pm

    @Smith

    According to the article you linked, it does get 100 MPG, but only for the first 60 or so miles. For city folk, a 60 mile range does the job most of the time. Believe me, if we’d have our city cars and trucks getting 100 miles on the gallon, it’d go a long way toward helping out with the energy situation.

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  4. By lordjazz on May 21, 2009 at 10:29 pm

    Nice hummer, although I’m not feeling the color… Some odd orange flavor…

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  5. By John Jones on May 21, 2009 at 10:38 pm

    Wow, now you are talking dude!

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  6. By waxner on May 26, 2009 at 12:55 am

    SUVs and trucks are the number one selling vehicle in America. Unlike the Volt and other hybrid cars we didn’t have to build an entire car around the battery packs. There was plenty of room in the back of the Hummer to install them, and they don’t affect the ground clearance of the vehicle.

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  7. By Dennis on June 15, 2009 at 5:39 pm

    And now for “the rest of the story…”

    How do these guys at Raser come up with their 100 MPG? Simple, they claim that if you drive 60 miles per day that the first 40 is powered by electricity and the next 20 is provided by their 33 MPG onboard engine. Therefore, only 1/3 of the distance traveled was provided by gas at 33 MPG, so it’s as though you got the equivalent of 3 times 33 MPG, which equals 100 MPG.

    Now let’s see what Raser isn’t telling you. First, their 200KW electric motor costs MONEY to operate! How much, you ask? Easy. If you drive 40 miles on electric power — half in the city and half on the freeway — you will spend about 1 hour driving (20 miles @ 30 MPH = 40 minutes, plus 20 miles @ 60 MPH = 20 minutes). Raser’s 200KW motor is rated at 100KW continuous, so 1 hour of driving will likely consume roughly 100KWH worth of electricity (100KW times 1 hour). The average cost of electricity in the U.S. is 11.5 cents/KWH; therefore 100KWH costs you $11.50, got it? That’s eleven dollars and fifty cents to go forty miles!!! Luckily, you get to go the next 20 miles on good old gasoline @ roughly 33 MPG, which would consume 6/10ths of a gallon of gas if the gas engine powered the vehicle directly. Unfortunately, it first has to power a generator, which then charges batteries, which then powers the electric motor. Still, lets be generous and assume that this gas engine takes you 20 miles on 2/3 of a gallon of gas, which costs $1.67 (2/3 times $2.50).

    So the grand total to travel 60 miles in Raser’s shiny EREV (Extended Range Electric Vehicle) only cost you $13.17!!! Isn’t that great? Of course, you would’ve only spent $5.00 if you could’ve driven all of that distance powered by their good gas-mileage IC engine. Or you could’ve paid $7.50 in any vehicle that averaged 20 MPG. However, where’s the fun in that? Look, you’re driving a high tech “EREV”… ooooh! One that cost you an extra $25K, and that added an extra 1,000 pounds of weight to the vehicle. Nice extras, huh?? BTW, did I forget to mention that their 100KW motor only provides 134HP in continuous mode? But wait you say, it gives 268HP at peak operation. Yes, that’s about what the new Ford Taurus provides (except for the Ford Taurus SHO, which gives 350HP). So you’ll be riding around in your new EREV Hummer in a reduced 134-268HP powertrain… can you say “put, put, put”?

    Does anyone see anything wrong with this?? Now do you see why Raser omitted mentioning the cost of electricity and only focused on their fuzzy-math MPG gas equivalent calculation? In reality, at today’s prices, their Hummer only got the equivalent of 11.4 MPG ($13.17 divided by $2.5/gallon = 5.27 gallons, and 60 miles/5.27 gallons = 11.4 MPG)!!!!!!!!

    The fact is that electric vehicles have NOTHING to offer in solving America’s transportation needs. They are not cost-efficient nor are they technologically superior. The demand for electricity in the U.S. is expected to grow by a taxing 25% over the next decade. Raser’s Hummer draws 100KWH of electricity in order to travel it’s first 40 miles, which is well over 3 times the power that your house draws in a complete day! Talk about an instant energy crisis! It’s a good thing that battery technology is still limited and that they added an IC engine to extend the range, otherwise their Hummer would’ve used 150KWH of electricity, or more than 5 times the daily draw of an average home!!

    This conveniently omitted information might explain why Raser has also entered the geothermal power market… they realize that switching to EV’s would require well over a 300% + increase to America’s annual electric power consumption.

    My question is this, why couldn’t Raser be upfront and honest with us about the true costs of Electric Vehicles? Afterall, consumers have shown that they are willing to pay more for efficient green power.

    Could their hesitancy in telling us the whole story be due to the fact that EV’s are neither cost-efficient nor green compared to standard IC engine technology?

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  8. By Blake on July 28, 2009 at 3:40 pm

    Very enlightening! But how does this engine compare with the Chevy Volt? Or is that a lot of hype too?

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  9. By DHill on February 19, 2010 at 12:07 pm

    Regarding above post, battery pack is 41 kWh according to booth at SAE World Congress, and by those numbers it would cost $4.71 to recharge at 11.5 cents/kWh. It is not a 100 kWh battery pack as stated above. At electric-only range of 40 miles, this is barely 1 mile/kWh which is pretty inefficient by most EV standards, but not bad since this is a truck. These numbers do not account for depth-of-discharge management electronics which likely de-rate the battery pack somewhat (i.e., it might only use 41 kWh of a larger number). By these numbers, electric-only cost per mile is about 11 cents per mile. If total range is 400 miles (I’ve read as high as 600) and the tank capacity is 23 gallons, and if gas is $2.50/gal, then it is $4.71 for the first 40 miles, and 23*$2.50= $57.50 for the next 360 miles (15 cents per mile). Total cost to drive this thing is about 15 cents per mile on average for long trips when you deplete the gas tank, 11 cents per mile on average for your typical work commute. Plug in your own regional electricity numbers and gas prices to make this more relevant to you. Obviously, it would be more cost effective if gas were closer to the $4.00/gal mark like the end of 2009. Presently, Li-ion polymer batteries cost about $1000/kWh of capacity, so the battery pack alone would be nearly $40,000. Add in the base price of the vehicle and total cost would be easily ~ $80k+, assuming they get a stripped chassis without engine and transmission but add in the new powertrain and batteries. That’s near Tesla territory, but you trade two seats and fun driving for utility. This is not yet an attainable vehicle for the average driver, but a good demonstration of what can be done and a little hope for the future. For comparison, the Tesla battery pack is 53 kWh and reportedly gives that car a 200+ mile range, so this is about 3-4 miles per kWh. The Tesla costs ~$100k and is based on a stripped and modified Lotus Elise.

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  10. By DHill on February 19, 2010 at 1:40 pm

    Correction: “$4.00/gal like the end of *2008*”

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  11. By ron on October 5, 2010 at 7:42 pm

    That’s a great technology!

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  12. By Paul Appleton on December 21, 2011 at 7:59 pm

    I like Dennis’ analysis. At first I almost bit on Orin Hatch….now I realize why our Congress has a 0% approval rating and droppping…..they can’t think or understand money or energy.

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  13. By Paul Appleton on December 21, 2011 at 8:04 pm

    BTW, buying the $40K battery is a fool strategy. Mitusbishi is outfitting the town in Illinois, I hope to see Shai Agassi/Better Place supply NYC, Chicago taxis with battery exchange ( Renault first, then hopefully, BYDs)…from there on it will be overwhelming consumer demand.

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