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Two-Mode Hybrid: Simpler than the stupid Internet would have you believe.

Hokay, so. We’re talking about hybrids this week here at the VehicleVoice Interntronic Webblargh. Saving gas (and gas money) is a subject near and dear to my heart, as the more patient and visionary among you may have gathered from last week’s slightly garbled missive. This time around, let’s talk about the two-mode hybrid system that George liked so much on the Yukon earlier this week. Development of this particular system was a joint project between BMW, General Motors, Daimler, and Chrysler.

That guy from Futurama approves

I wanted to write this piece back on Wednesday, because I spent yesterday at the Chrysler Proving Grounds driving the hell out of a bunch of ’09 models, and I didn’t want the specter of Dread Responsibility hanging over my head while I was trying to have fun. So I turned to my friend the Internet and said, “Internet, please explain to me how this two-mode hybrid system works. Use small words.”
The Internet was unable to comply. The problem with doing research online is that the kind of people who are apt to update Wikipedia entries or post to message boards or make their own webpages on a subject is that you have to have a near-fanatical love for a subject in order to devote that kind of time and mental energy to the endeavor. So you wind up with a lot of pages that go into sub-atomic detail about the system, and not a one that just says “It can be gas, electric or both at various times, and it’s different from other hybrids because the electric bits can kick in when you’re cruising along at speed, not just when you need a little extra power.”

This is the kind of image that gets prefaced with “To put it simply…” I don’t think that word means what they think it means.

I guess I would have figured it out eventually, but I was raised by Nintendo and cable TV, and I lost my ability to sit still and puzzle something through back around 1992. So I went into Thursday with Dread Responsibility lurking nearby, and then Steph plunked me down in the driver’s seat of a two-mode hybrid and explained it in the terms above. And I felt pretty dumb, because it turned out to be pretty simple, but I had been gearing up to hear it explained with either a long spiel about tech stuff or “A wizard did it.”
He might be on the payroll, but he wasn’t available at Chrysler yesterday – no skirts allowed on the track.

Anyway, I have to wait until August to tell you about the hybrid I drove, but in the meantime, if you are scared and confused about how this crazy two-mode stuff works, you can come back here and be reassured, because I went through the trouble of being confused and bewildered for you already. You can tell me how grateful you are in the comments.

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