From: dh on
"C. E. White" <cewhite(a)> wrote in message
> "DH" <dh(a)> wrote in message
> news:468e4ff9$0$20568$88260bb3(a)
>> "C. E. White" <cewhite3(a)> wrote in message
>> news:468e5971$1(a)kcnews01...
>>> "DH" <dh(a)> wrote in message
>>> news:468e45aa$0$32552$88260bb3(a)
>>>> I'll have to ask one of the Prius owners around here (Frostbite Falls,
>>>> Minnesota) if the car was comfortable in the winter.
>>> I saw one reference where they commented on the excellence of the
>>> heater. I don't think you need to worry.
>> Simply using a heating element to speed up getting hot air from the
>> defroster is a good idea and, since I usually dress warmly in the winter,
>> anyway, probably meets my real need, which is to see the road. Even on a
>> conventional car, this would be a welcome feature. I wonder if any
>> luxury cars have it?
>> Reminds me of a feature that Chrysler once offered on their minivans, a
>> windshield heating element located where the windshield wipers park to
>> help keep the bottom of the windshield de-iced and wipers free (I can't
>> believe no one has copied this feature, nor that Chrysler seems to have
>> abandoned it).
> For several years Ford (and GM on some cars) offered an electrically
> heated windshield. The windshields had a very thin nickel coating on the
> glass and when a high frequency AC current was applied, it would heat the
> surface of the windshield. I had this feature on a 1986 Mercury Sable. It
> was fabulous. When you got in the car, you pushed the windshield defrost
> button, and after about 20 seconds, the frost on the windshield just
> turned to water. Unfortunately it was a pricey option ($1k). Ford (and
> GM ) eventually discontinued offering it. You can tell a car that has the
> feature because at certain sun angles, the windshield will have a bronze
> tint.
> Ed

Thanks for the reminder; I had forgotten about that. I knew a couple people
with that option and they agree; it was like magic.

I suppose windshsields break often enough to make supporting these things
difficult. I think cost is one reason antennas are no longer in the
windshield (although they are in the rearmost side windows on my minivan,

Posted via a free Usenet account from

From: Bonehenge (B A R R Y) on
On Sat, 07 Jul 2007 00:35:21 GMT, Jeff <kidsdoc2000(a)>

>Except for the microwaves of RADAR, all of these work on radio waves,
>not light. And the radio waves can come through the side windows, as well.
>I don't know if it would block microwaves, though.

I know. <G> The heated windshields messed with all of them as they
use high enough frequencies (that don't bend) so the side windows
didn't help enough. Microwaves are simply really high frequency

EZ-Pass, satellite radio providers, and some GPS manufacturers even
put it in their FAQs. EZ-Pass created a special unit that goes
outside, on the front license plate, to deal with the problem.
From: dh on
"Elmo P. Shagnasty" <elmop(a)> wrote in message
> In article <468EE014.7080507(a)>,
> Jeff <kidsdoc2000(a)> wrote:
>> >>> With those electric motors there to help with low end grunt and
>> >>> getting
>> >>> the car moving, the engine can be tuned more specifically for running
>> >>> at
>> >>> certain efficient speeds.
>> >> I always thought electric motors would make AWD very simple.
>> >
>> > They do. Someone's doing that today.
>> Who? Just curious.
> I've been trying to remember. I saw a mention of it in Car and Driver
> magazine, I believe.

Aren't those giant dump trucks used in open pit mines electrically driven
with a motor on each wheel?

Posted via a free Usenet account from

From: Bill Putney on
Jeff wrote:
> Bill Putney wrote:
>> Jeff wrote:
>>> Bill Putney wrote:
>>>> Jeff wrote:
>>>>> Cars can also have electrically powered water pumps, power steering
>>>>> pumps, valves, and compressors for the air conditioners, although I
>>>>> don't know if any do, yet.
>>>> An honest question: All those things suck energy whether
>>>> mechanically or electricaly powered (and the power has to ultimately
>>>> come from the IC engine). For each one, is the electrical version
>>>> inherently more efficient than a mechanically powered (belt or gear
>>>> driven) one?
>>> I think the electrically powered ones of these are usually more
>>> efficient, because they can be more efficiently shot off (even if you
>>> shut off the A/C, there still is loss from friction in the pulleys)
>>> and they operate at the proper speed (the A/C compressor in my car
>>> would run a lot fast if I drive in 3rd gear on the highway instead of
>>> 5th).
>> OK - makes sense.
>>> Plus, I think the generating mechanism on a hybrid means less wasted
>>> energy.
>> Assuming you're not meaning strictly the regenerative braking, can you
>> explain what you mean? You're saying that the mechanism it uses to
>> convert mechanical energy into electrical energy is more efficient
>> than the alternator (the auto mfgrs. are back to calling them
>> generators now) in a traditional car? How is it done?
> A generator converts mechanical energy to DC current, not A/C current.

Semantic technical point here: Yes - a generator converts mechanical
energy to electrical energy. It is only initial convention (before
portable alternators became practical with the development of compact
and efficient solid-state rectification means) that originally limited
the word generator to d.c. generating devices (basically from common
usage of the word in the context of the automobile).

Later, when the portable alternator was developed (or became practical -
and almost necessary due to the increasing current demands of cars),
just to distinguish the terminology, they came up with the term
"alternator" (which -yes - does suggest a.c. from a pure language
standpoint). However, there really is no reason the term generator -
from a pure language standpoint - could not mean alternator in that it
*generates* (i.e., no reason any device that generates *anything* could
not be referred to as a "generator").

NOW - having said that - one point I was making is that many of the auto
manufacturers have, within the last 5 or 10 years (not sure of the exact
time frame - they kind of snuck it in on us), in their documentation
(service manuals, etc.) gone back to the term "generator" to mean what
they had previously been calling (and you and I still call out of habit)
"alternators". And there's nothing wrong with that. If you look at an
alternator as a black box - ignoring what's inside - it turns mechanical
energy into d.c. voltage and current. So - hey call it a generator if
you want to. (And as I pointed out - even if it's final output *were*
a.c., from a pure language perspective, there would be no reason no to
call that too a generator.)

Just wanted to get that fun point out of the way.

Now - let's go a little further (and I'm not sure how this will tie in
to the discussion of hybrid cars) - what you and I know as alternators
pushed the "generator" (meaning d.c. generator) aside in the automotive
world because it (the alternator) was inherently more capable of high
current output across a much wider useable rpm range (i.e, the
traditional d.c. generator could not supply the increasing current
demands that cars were requiring in sustained low speed and stop and go
driving unless they were geared up to spin faster at low engine rpm to
the point that they would fly apart on the upper end of the rpm scale).

> Because Toyota is so concerned with efficiency with the Prius, having an
> efficient generator system must have been a priority. And the output
> doesn't have to be converted to D/C with a rectifier. There's power loss
> in the rectifier. (All automotive alternators have them.)

And perhaps there have been some technological developments that have
overcome the previous rpm range limitations of the (d.c.) generator.
Perhaps the engine is running at a more constant rpm with the drive
train used in the hybrid? I don't know.

> Plus, the drive to the generators is direct drive, not belt drive
> driven, so there is less friction loss with a generator than a belt-drive.

You may not have said that the way you intended to, but the way you
stated it, I don't buy that. There is nothing that says a (d.c.)
generator inherently has to be direct driven and that an alternator has
to be belt driven/cannot be direct driven. So unless I missed something
there, let's scratch that part of the explanation.

In reality, I would not be surprised to find out that what they use and
call a "generator" is actually more like what you and I commonly refer
to as an alternator. I would also suggest that there is a bit of
electronic processing done on the raw output of the waveform that comes
out of this spinning device as to muddy the difference between what you
and I think of as generators and alternators and their traditional
differences such that we might have trouble deciding which category in
traditional terms whatever is in the Prius really fits into. In
addition, it would blend with the manufacturers tendency to now call
alternators generators anyway.

> It is also inherently more efficient to drive these things from
> electricity than directly from belts, because they run at the proper
> speed, not a speed determined by the engine. Plus, you don't need to run
> the engine to run the A/C or other things, which saves on fuel (although
> you need to run the engine every now and then to recharge the batteries
> or otherwise recharge the batteries) and you can use regenerative
> braking to recharge the batteries.

All true - I see those points.

> SO there are a whole bunch of reasons why it is better to run these
> things off of electricity, not just one.

Got it.

Bill Putney
(To reply by e-mail, replace the last letter of the alphabet in my
address with the letter 'x')
From: Bill Putney on
Elmo P. Shagnasty wrote:

> In article <1ljt835qscr7uv0pjg4h31coeti2t5pefl(a)>,
> "Bonehenge (B A R R Y)" <DwightSchrute(a)> wrote:
>>>With those electric motors there to help with low end grunt and getting
>>>the car moving, the engine can be tuned more specifically for running at
>>>certain efficient speeds.
>>I always thought electric motors would make AWD very simple.
> They do. Someone's doing that today.

You mean like diesel locomotives? They've been AWD diesel electric for
years (but without the batteries).

Bill Putney
(To reply by e-mail, replace the last letter of the alphabet in my
address with the letter 'x')