Hybrid not a sideshow

The need for energy-storing hybrid systems is anything but a sideshow writes Caspar Lucas.

Peter Joyce is wrong to dismiss hybrid technologies (Hybrid Smokescreen).

The key to cutting both the cost and the environmental impact of transport systems is to reduce their energy needs. There are only two fundamental ways to achieve this: reduce vehicle mass and store braking energy (otherwise lost as emitted heat) for re-use to power the vehicles away again.

And what is a hybrid powertrain if not a propulsion system with built-in energy storage?

The current minimal use of regenerative braking in transport systems — and this is not limited to roads — is little short of a financial and environmental scandal.

The potential savings in carbon dioxide emissions, pollution, cost and energy (20 per cent minimum with today’s technology) are staggering.

Given that systems such as electrified railways that permit direct and instantaneous transfer of energy from braking to accelerating vehicles are never going to form a significant proportion of the global transport market, the need for energy-storing hybrid systems is anything but a sideshow.

Caspar Lucas, Stourbridge, West Midlands