TO THE EDITOR:
Years ago, my favorite engineering professor said something I recall when I drive a hybrid: "Don't use two tools to do one job."
Interpretation: Don't use two powerplants to propel one car. I believe there's merit in that.
Consider the architecture of a hybrid: A small internal combustion engine is paired with an electric motor and heavy battery. This is heavier than efficient gasoline-powered engines. Hybrids require a transmission (more weight) because gas motors operate within a narrow rev range.
The car needs stronger springs and dampers and bigger brakes. As weight increases, the benefit for the hybrid diminishes. I see more drawbacks than advantages.
That professor taught me the simpler engineering solution is best, but hybrids are complex and expensive. More parts to go wrong as miles accumulate.
A solution: A single propulsion technology should be superior to a hybrid.
Electric car company Tesla is full of smart people, but challenges remain, including charge time and supercharger availability.
Motorcycle manufacturers offer efficient and powerful internal combustion engines in lightweight race cars. Motorcycles pollute more than electric cars but are still very efficient.
With reduced weight and improved streamlining, clean-burning internal combustion engines may have a future. With gas stations on every corner, refueling is fast and practical. Fuel prices have plummeted during the economic slump, making lightweight gas-powered cars cheap to operate.
Hybrids confuse me. Yes, I'm hoping for another decade enjoying an internal combustion engine nearing redline. Maybe I should ask my professor.
DANA LITTLE, Akron, Ohio