Hybrid cars

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1,910
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Vista, CA
If a hybrid car is for those drivers that want to be kind to the environment and save money on gas, why do they limit the cars to the more expensive models? It appears that if you buy a hybrid you can only get an upscale version of that model car.
 

JHZR2

Staff member
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46,137
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New Jersey
I agree - look at the accord hybrid. Instead of making a super-high efficiency car that makes the powr of the 4cyl version, with much higher MPG, they make one that has more power than the v6 car, and though economy is good, it doesnt seem to me to be inline with the green image that they really could be offering. If v6ish power can give 37 MPG, 4cyl-ish power should give 45+. JMH
 
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12,385
Location
Northern CA
quote:
Originally posted by JHZR2: I agree - look at the accord hybrid. Instead of making a super-high efficiency car that makes the powr of the 4cyl version, with much higher MPG, they make one that has more power than the v6 car, and though economy is good, it doesnt seem to me to be inline with the green image that they really could be offering. If v6ish power can give 37 MPG, 4cyl-ish power should give 45+. JMH
The difference between 4 cylinder and 6 cylinder Acura/Camry class cars is more like 3 or 4 mpg. I can't see any reason for the spread to get any bigger in a hybrid of the same size shape and weight. It's more the power you use than the power you have available at full throttle.
 

LarryL

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1,910
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Vista, CA
The manufacturers have figured out that hybrids are for posers. Their effect, overall won't amount to much, and the owner's chance of recovery is nil. So the best thing that hybrids do so far is allow drivers to announce that they are better than the average motorist, because they care and are willing to stand up and be counted, and pay the bill. There is a stretch on hwy 15 north of San Diego where the speed limit is 70 and the flow of traffic is 80 to 85. There was a lady in a Toyota Prius in the fast lane doing 65 with a steady stream of cars passing her on the right. I would guess that she is showing the world how she cares about the enviroment. I passed her, four lanes to her right, in the slow lane in my 4Runner, at 70 miles per hour getting 18 miles per gallon. She is a much better person than I will ever be, and hundreds of drivers on 15 know that, too. A hybrid is the right car for her.
 
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4,844
Location
Saskatchewan
quote:
Originally posted by LarryL: If a hybrid car is for those drivers that want to be kind to the environment and save money on gas, why do they limit the cars to the more expensive models?
Because they're for show. For most (possibly all) drivers, an Echo or Corolla will use less total resources and energy over the life of the vehicle than a Prius.
 
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43,667
Location
'Stralia
We've got them at work (to show that our company that burns 40,000 tonnes of coal per day, producing 60,000 tonnes of CO2) is caring for the environmant. In our line of useage (country roads), a turbodiesel Peugeot would generate about 20% better economy.
 
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376
Location
Athens, Georgia
Well, there IS the Honda Insight. [LOL!] In general, though, your point is correct. The manufacturers have cynically but correctly understood that "green technology," like "green politics," is yet another manifestation of bourgeois conformity. However, it does not follow that hybrids are a bad idea. Like all compromises, they have good aspects (if widely used they could save huge amounts of oil) and bad aspects (they would still only be a band-aid on a slashed jugular), and individual people will make their own judgments as to what those are. The pain of a true oil shortage has not yet been felt. When that happens, there will be real change.
 
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Pensacola & Vero Beach FL
Larry: I hate to cloud this with facts, but the Prius, which on the inside is around four cubic feet short of a Camry, can be had for only $23,000, hardly the rich end of the spectrum in 2006 (but it certainly can be loaded with $10k more in options). Of the five Prii showing on the Pensacola dealer's inventory today, they're spread across that price range. The "appearance" you describe is simply not accurate. The used hybrid prices are nowhere near as crazy as the disinformationists claim either. I paid just over $20k for a heavily optioned (nav, smart key, HIDs, etc.) with 15k miles -- quite in line with normal used car prices. Second, you state that, "Their effect, overall won't amount to much, and the owner's chance of recovery is nil. So the best thing that hybrids do so far is allow drivers to announce that they are better than the average motorist, because they care and are willing to stand up and be counted, and pay the bill." Two problems here. 1) I'm already seeing a major overall effect, in saving gas money for myself, having gone from about 21 mpg overall to about 46 mpg overall. During the last work week, I used ~3 gallons of gas, where before, I'd have used almost 9. Multiply that across a year or two; it gets big fast. 2) I'm announcing nothing to anyone (but since you commented, I'm willing to point out the huge gas savings I'm enjoying...). I don't have this car for "eco-show," but rather, because it meets my needs AND actually gets 45-50 mpg. And I'm getting really tired of the Prius being continually compared to a Echo/Yaris or Corolla -- that's just plain misleading. The Prius is a larger car. Perspective: A Camry has 101 cu-ft of interior volume, a Prius 96 cu-ft, a Corolla only 90, and a Yaris even less. A Camry's cargo volume is 14-15 cu-ft (sub-model dependent), a Prius is at 14.4, and a Corolla 13. The wheelbases are 109/106/102/92, Camry/Prius/Corolla/Yaris. So I really don't care what an Echo/Yaris or Corolla would do in their lifespans, both cars are smaller than I want. Guys, don't buy a hybrid if you don't want one, it's that simple. But let's at least keep the facts straight.
 
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12,951
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Middlesex County CT
Thanks ekpolk, good summary of my annoyances with this topic. My parents have a Prius; they paid list ($23K) with no dealer adjustment (dealer didn't feel compelled to cash in on the phenonema) I have an Echo, and the Prius is not the Echo. My father bought it solely because it was an interesting, different vehicle. He still drives an LS, so it is not like he is a tree hugger.
 
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9,427
Location
Pensacola & Vero Beach FL
SG: Good to see I'm not alone on this one... I left a couple small details out of my previous post. The used Prius I mentioned is a loaded 04 model (the first MY of the current "Gen-II" or HSD Prius, not the micro-car that was the first generation Prius). Yes, some desperate folks (desperate for what, I wonder) are paying speculators ridiculous prices for near-new Prii, but I found real world depreciation to be in effect for a two year old example. Also, the Prius interior volume numbers don't tell the whole story. The car is proportionally narrower than its more conventionally shaped siblings, and this is, IMO, where it loses most of the vol in comparison to a Camry. So, with up to four passengers, the car will be every bit as accomodating as a Camry, and "roomier" than the Corolla. Of course, on the other hand, add a fifth passenger to the middle in the back, and things will become more cramped than in a Camry. Since I spend 95% of my driving time alone in the car, it is every bit as useful as the mid-sized cars I've owned before, and much more useful, especially with the hatchback, than a Corolla or Echo/Yaris ever could be.
 
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10,905
Location
Nokesville, VA
I think it's interesting that the same driving techniques that allow a hybrid to achieve good fuel economy will allow almost any car to achieve good fuel economy. You should see the average fuel economy on my ScanGauge shoot up (when I've just started the trip) when take my foot off the gas in 5th car when the light is red up ahead. Of course I'm usually getting passed by people who somehow think that if they get to the red light sooner, it'll change faster. Or something.
 
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772
Location
Chatham, Ontario, Canada
I just have to add my two cents here as well. I have a 2003 Honda Civic Hybrid. I purchased the car used in 2005 for less than half the dealer price. I don't drive it to look different. I drive it because it is a very comfortable car that gives great gas mileage and a lower insurance rate! Let me explain... We have a 2004 Dodge Intrepid as well. The HCH is so much more comfortable to drive on both short and long trips. The seats are firmer and I could drive across Canada in it. I get a sore back and neck driving three hours to Toronto in the Intrepid. I average about 50 miles per gallon with two (lead-footed) teenage drivers. The best mileage I have got has been 83 mileage per gallon. Yes that was following the speed limit in the slow lane on the highway. I take a hit in the F.E. department in the great Canadian winter but every car does. I still get 40 MPG in January. My insurance is about $300. cheaper with the HCH. I see it as a win-win-win situation. I guess like anything else on this board - don't knock it till you have tried it. Sorry for the long post.
 
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376
Location
Athens, Georgia
2fast, I don't know that the technology is yet up to a diesel hybrid, but it definitely seems to headed there. Here is a thread I started on diesel hybrids a few months ago: http://theoildrop.server101.com/cgi/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=42;t=003820#000000 Brian, You're right about driving habits. I'm pushing an average of 35-36 mpg in stop-and-go driving in a '93 Corolla, and I notice that I very often end up way ahead of those around me that gun their motors all the time, who think they are somehow moving faster than me because their mph are higher. It is a matter of strategically paying attention to the traffic, time, of day, and knowing the specifics of the roads one travels all the time. It is not unlike a chess game.
 
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9,427
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Pensacola & Vero Beach FL
Brian: Your point is absolutely correct. As I'm quickly learning, the benefit of good driving technique is magnified in the true hybrid. When I lift off the gas to glide into a red light, two things happen. First, the gas engine immediately shuts off, so no gas at all is burned. Second, the motor/generator switches to regen mode, and starts converting what would be wasted energy (decaying momentum) back into electricity. You can monitor it all from the driver's seat on this display. The lines you see grayed out turning into moving colored arrows to show the flow dynamically:  - So far, my favorite hybrid effect is watching the car run on nothing but energy recaptured earlier during coasting or braking. On my regular commute, there are a couple mile-long stretches on which you can maintain a steady 35 mph. On these, the gas engine shuts off (it can go electric only up to 42 mph) and the car purrs along reading "99.9" mph, burning no gas at all.
 
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9,427
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Pensacola & Vero Beach FL
Here's another thought, that I hope illustrates that some of these "global" prognostications about hybrids are senseless, because you need to examine each individual buyer's situation to see whether the car is worth buying or not (edited). Accounting for the high miles I drive, and the cost of operating my previous car (a G35 sedan, nothing terribly lavish), in less than two years, I will more than recover the money I would have "saved" last week had I bought a comparable I-4 Camry AND I will have covered the predicted cost of of one hybrid HV battery pack replacement. On top of that, tires cost less, insurance costs less, etc. I'm quite satisfied that switching to this car has improved my transportation cost situation.
 
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6,902
Location
Louisiana
Man that's what I like for the Prius-it's GREAT for my inner gadget geek! I'd have a wreck staring at that all day! Yes, people can save gas and all with a hybrid. But YES a lot of people bought theirs for green image. That's why the Accord and CIvic hybrids don't sell anywhere as quickly as the Prius-no one can tell if they are hybrids except for up close. Myself that's what I like (although the new prius isn't bad at all). I'd have considered one BUT I do highway commuting and not a lot of stop and go. I guess a diesel would be better for me than a hybrid.
 

LarryL

Thread starter
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1,910
Location
Vista, CA
ekpolk, you are getting your returns because you are smart enough to work with the hybrid, and admit to yourself that you are responsible for getting good mileage, and that the hybrid can only work well because of that. Many hybrid drivers are unhappy because they have not learned that just because you drive one, you will get the big numbers. The hybrids I have looked at on dealer lots have been loaded one. Some have packed stickers. It turns out that pepole are learning that the can get better mileage in any car if they think when they drive. Your comment about people racing to red lights is very true. I get beat to red lights all the time. I am such a poor driver that by the time I get to the light it has turned green and I have to just keep going. I don't even get to step on the brakes. Since you get tickets for speeding and not for good mileage, it makes driving for mileage more fun.
 
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9,427
Location
Pensacola & Vero Beach FL
Brian: You laugh, but believe it or not, the owner’s manual contains a warning about this. If you’ve been driving regular cars your whole life (who hasn’t), you don’t even consciously realize that your car provides a “built in” warning of its approach through its engine noise. A Prius at 25-30 mph, running on batteries alone, is darned near dead silent, except perhaps for whatever tire noise it might be making. Talk about stealth. Labman: Good point as to the highway application. With less stop-and-go on the highway, there’s simply less wasted energy to recapture and reuse. On the other hand, at least in my stomping grounds (rolling grounds???), the interstates (for me, I-10 and to a lesser extent, I-75) have become such a tangled morass themselves that you usually have plenty of stop-and-go, if not outright impersonation of a parking lot. And hey, as warped as it sounds, traffic jams are where a full hybrid is going to really shine. . .
 
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6,902
Location
Louisiana
I believe it! It'd be just like a parked car knocked outta gear and rolling downhill! [LOL!]
quote:
Originally posted by ekpolk: Brian: You laugh, but believe it or not, the owner’s manual contains a warning about this. If you’ve been driving regular cars your whole life (who hasn’t), you don’t even consciously realize that your car provides a “built in” warning of its approach through its engine noise. A Prius at 25-30 mph, running on batteries alone, is darned near dead silent, except perhaps for whatever tire noise it might be making. Talk about stealth.
 
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