Hybrids are coming...get your name on the list

Discussion in 'General Motoring' started by Peter Eberl, May 23, 2004.

  1. Peter Eberl

    Peter Eberl Guest

    Kidd you not...2 years tops..Hybrid drive vehicles are in development
    stage..no idea if Honda or Toyota drive versions...at the same time I'm
    bugging dealership to see if Subaru will drop a V6 into the Forester
    anytime soon. I've got a Forester and a H6 VDC Sedan that really ROCKS
    Peter Eberl, May 23, 2004
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  2. Peter Eberl

    oothlagre Guest

    Toyota and Honda have had hybrids for about 3 years now. My friend has a
    Prius. He got one of the first ones available.
    oothlagre, May 23, 2004
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  3. Peter Eberl

    TG Guest

    Have you been hiding under a rock? I'm thinking 5 years or so is when the
    first mass produced Honda insight went on sale. The hybrids have not been a
    big deal though....The insight and Prius are extremely ugly and the insight
    doesn't have any room, the Civic is nice and a fairly normal car but what's
    the point? The economy isn't that great.
    Now if Mitsubishi rolls out the all-wheel-drive Eclipse hybrid in '06 I
    WILL get exited. TG
    TG, May 23, 2004
  4. Using today's average gas price here, the typical 20k kms per year
    and city consumption (the hybrid forte), yearly gas costs are:

    Civic Si (gas only) $1456
    Civic Hybrid $892
    Insight $710
    Prius $728

    I would say the Prius (or any hybrid) makes lots of economic sense.

    Gas today here is 91¢/litre
    Consumption, city, from CanadianDriver.com
    Civic Si 8.0l/100km
    Insight 3.9l/100km
    Civic Hybrid 4.9l/100km
    Prius 4.0l/100km
    Dave Null Sr., May 23, 2004
  5. Peter Eberl

    Walt Kienzle Guest

    From your analysis it looks like this type of vehicle makes sense where you
    live. I'm in the US and this past week E-85 fuel was on a promotional sale
    of US$0.85 per gallon. At this price, I believe that the annual fuel cost
    for an FFV Ford Taurus would be lower than the Insight. Admittedly, E-85 is
    not usually priced that low, but an FFV (Flexible Fuel Vehicle) Taurus is
    much more readily available and is more spacious than any of the Hybrids you
    listed. I believe that the Taurus would have lower initial and maintenance
    costs too. Too bad Subaru doesn't do FFV, Bi-Fuel CNG or LPG (the solution
    I like the best), or Hybrid.

    I realize that your reply is based on the previous poster's claim that "the
    economy isn't that great" and that statement has to be put into context.
    For you, that statement might not be true. For him - and me - his statement
    is very true. Here is why: Even with what are historically high prices for
    gasoline (in my area it is actually E-10 fuel that is sold as regular
    petrol), it still is substantially lower priced than $0.91/liter. The
    recent "outrageously high" price would be about US$0.54/liter, and during
    bargain times it would be about half that price. With that low a price for
    fuel, even for what we consider high priced gas, it would likely take longer
    than the life of the car for the fuel cost savings to pay back the
    additional cost of a Hybrid or most any other alternate fuel vehicle. E-85
    is the exception, because manufacturers are not charging extra for this
    feature. Unfortunately most of them aren't doing a very good job of
    advertising its availability.

    Walt Kienzle
    Walt Kienzle, May 23, 2004
  6. You may have missed a few recent articles in US newspapers regarding
    hybrids. It seems they get MUCH worse mileage than their EPA ratings. The
    EPA tests do not accurately measure the true fuel consumption of a hybrid

    Charles Perry P.E.
    Charles Perry, May 23, 2004
  7. Note that they're still getting the best mileage overall. The big
    problem is that Toyota, et al, CANNOT use realistic numbers -- they are
    required by law to display and advertise the EPA numbers and as you
    note, the EPA's testing gives erroneous numbers for hybrids.

    Fruit Pie the Magician, May 23, 2004
  8. Don't forget the cost of batteries! I understand Toyota recently upped
    their warranty on the battery pack to 100k miles to help entice people
    to buy the Prius. Why? The article I read said the battery pack alone is
    $2000 US. Something to think about...

    Rick Courtright, May 24, 2004
  9. Hi,

    FWIW, a Los Angeles TV station recently did a head to head with a Honda
    Insight and a Toyota Prius to see what they would do in a typical "drive
    around SoCal" kinda loop of freeway, city, etc. with lots of traffic all
    the way. At the end of the test, the Honda returned ~55 mpg, the Toyota
    ~59 mpg. Don't know how that compares to EPA specs, but we can't forget
    where "YMMV" originally came from!

    Rick Courtright, May 24, 2004
  10. Peter Eberl

    TG Guest

    Factor in the Toyota Echo and other high fuel economy gas only models that
    cost 1/2 as much as the hybrids....initial and overall cost are important,
    not just how much you save on gas. TG
    TG, May 24, 2004
  11. Peter Eberl

    TG Guest

    The Toyota Echo can be had for under $10,000 at 38 MPG combined.
    The Volkswagen Golf and Jetta TDI models get 32/41 respectively (combined
    city and hwy) and cost thousands less than the hybrids. Hybrids are getting
    better and I like the development of new choices but they are certainly not
    answer for the vast majority of consumers at this point. TG
    TG, May 24, 2004
  12. These are not EPA ratings.
    Dave Null Sr., May 24, 2004
  13. in

    Of course all my numbers were local, including Canadian $ and ¢.
    So our gas is approximately 66¢US/litre. Our taxes are higher

    Given the same size of vehicle, and that the Prius is actually
    a chunk larger than the one gas-only Civic, the ~C$700 per year
    will pay for batteries long after the warranty has expired.
    It is also assumed that the Prius (or Civic) will have the same
    bulletproof type reputation (or even better). Toyota or Honda
    know that people are going to jump on the reliability statistics
    and have probably spent more than 'normal' on quality control
    and design.

    Gas will only be going up in price. Maybe not as dramatically
    as in the last couple of months, but given the world oil situation
    and China's increasing rate of consumption, up is a given.

    That means the C$700 number is likely very conservative in
    the longer term.
    Dave Null Sr., May 24, 2004
  14. Peter Eberl

    Ed P Guest

    I own a 2004 Toyota Prius hybrid, which now has close to 5000 miles on
    it, and also follow the Prius-2G group on Yahoo Groups. The following
    is my 2 cents on this whole hybrid thread and not specifically in
    response to the above messages.

    I can tell you that indeed Prius owner mileage varies and this has been
    an active topic on the group. My wife commutes about 45 miles each way
    to work on I-66 in Northern Virginia and averages about 55 mpg and has
    seen one tank over 60 mpg. Others report from around 40 mpg to over 70 mpg!

    If one buys a hybrid *solely* for gas mileage, they will find a
    relatively long payback period of several years as compared to other
    high-mpg cars that are not hybrid. However, hybrids -- and the Prius in
    particular -- offer a variety of features; such as, very low emissions,
    good overall driveability and size, interesting (indeed fascinating)
    technology and features in addition to the high mpg. An important
    feature for buyers in Norther Virginia is that the hybrids qualify for
    special Clean Fuel license plates, which in turn permit (through June,
    2006) the cars to be operated in High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes with
    only the driver aboard.

    Battery pack replacement expense is not the only issue. With all of the
    high tech components and computers, it appears advisable to buy Toyota's
    7yr/100k service contract and replace the car about the time the
    contract runs out. Fortunately, history with the 2001-2003 Priuses
    bodes well for the 2004 model's reliability and longevity.

    What is *important* to understand is that hybrid technology appears to
    be a viable alternative and that hybrids can and do drive with much of
    the feel and performance that one would normally expect from a car. It
    will be interesting to see how the Toyota Highlander, Lexus, Ford and
    other brands of hybrid SUV's perform.

    Anyone interested in the hybrids should view the FAQ's at Yahoo
    Groups/Prius-2G or http://www.vfaq.net.

    Ed P
    Reply To address munged.
    Ed P, May 24, 2004
  15. Peter Eberl

    Walt Kienzle Guest

    I don't see what your point is here. My point was that you can't say that
    the previous poster was incorrect because of the circumstances where you
    live or how much you or some mythical "average person" drives. Your prices,
    higher taxes included, may make what you say true for you, but please don't
    claim that someone else is wrong because of that. BTW I noticed you
    deleted, without comment, my text about fuel in my area that costs about
    US$0.21/litre. No matter. Just as a basis of comparison, the last time I
    fueled up (aside from the US$0.21/liter) I paid about US$0.41/liter.

    I also question your price adjustment from CAN$ to US$ for the cost of gas.
    Are your wages increased by 20% or so compared to someone working in the US
    to make up for the lower value of the CAN$? Unlikely. Please correct me if
    I am wrong, but I expect that a CAN$ being spent by you has the same impact
    on the family finances as a US$ spent by me. As an example of how prices
    are adjusted down to correspond to the lower value of the CAN$, I know that
    many cars (Chrysler minivans come to mind) that are identicaly equipped to
    the US conterparts and are sold for substantially less in Canada because of
    this differential - so much so that US residents buy their cars in Canada
    and import them themselves to save thousands of dollars. The problem has
    gotten so bad that US dealers have been given approval to deny warranty
    service for vehicles bought in Canada. Exceptions are made for Canadians
    experiencing warranty issues while traveling in the US.
    Actually I dispute this number also, primarily because I only drive 12,000km
    per year. Again, averages don't apply to everyone, so you can't shoot down
    someone else's claim because of circumstances applicable to you but not to
    them. Even if the number is accurate and the savings will pay for the $2000
    batteries, it wouldn't have also fully paid for the extra $5,000 to $10,000
    initial purchase price (compared to a similarly sized conventional car, plus
    the markup above list price that many dealers are charging for these limited
    supply hybrids) and the extra insurance costs for a car more expensive to
    buy and repair.
    Probably not a good thing to assume with new technology like this. I expect
    that the extra quality control and testing will make the quality ratings
    break even with the normal vehicles at best, particluarly with the low
    volume hybrid cars. Do you realize that Toyota only sold about 4,000 Prius'
    last year?
    People have been saying this for the past 30 years, and I don't believe this
    any more now than I did last year, or the year before, or the year before
    that, etc. Adjusted for inflation, gas in the US is still less expensive
    than it was 20 years ago. Sure, we will run out eventually, but by that
    time I expect to be dead, my Subaru will be an antique, and technological
    advancements will have a replacement solution fully implemented. Crude oil
    prices are dropping already from $42/barrel to 40.50/barrel, but that is
    only a small part of why prices are high. The cost of gasoline is high in
    the US because of a drop in the number of refineries over the past 30
    years - not a single new refinery has been built in the US since the early
    1970's, but many refineries have been closed since then because of age, lack
    of profitability, or inability or lack of cost effectiveness to make
    improvements required by regulations (environmental, safety, etc). That,
    combined with with governmental requirements for different blends of fuel in
    various regions which change twice a year is causing a supply shortage in
    gasoline that causes a temporary shortage during the transition from winter
    to summer fuels that happens each Spring, and to lesser extent each Autumn.
    When supply finally catches up with demand, I fully expect prices to drop by
    20% from their current levels. I have been doing my part - I haven't bought
    gasoline since the end of April.
    According to my figures, I didn't even buy $700 worth of gas for all of my
    driving last year -- or any other year. My credit card company reports that
    I have bought $252 of gasoline so far this year (that doesn't include the
    $20 in fuel rebates I received from BP/Amoco recently). Even adjusting that
    amount to make it comparable with the CAN$, it would be impossible for me to
    save $700 unless I didn't drive at all. No hybrid needed for that.
    Walt Kienzle, May 24, 2004
  16. Peter Eberl

    oothlagre Guest

    I agree. My brother has a '92 Saturn sedan. 35/40 mileage. Then again, the
    car is made mostly out of fiberglass.
    oothlagre, May 24, 2004
  17. Nowhere did I say anybody was wrong. I just stated that for a typical
    driver here a hybrid can make economic sense. I also didn't mention
    that Venezuelans rioted a few years ago when gas went from 5¢ to 10¢ a
    And I have virtually free health care. It's a different country with
    different tax structures.
    All I said was that hybrids make sense here.

    Since the mini-van you're talking about is made here, there are cost
    advantages for us.
    And I drive less than 5,000 kms per year so a hybrid is not cost effective
    for me. People need to do their own comparisons. Some people value clean
    air. As soon as the tax system is reformed to penalize polluting vehicles
    here, the hybrids will have major economic advantages.
    Likely because they're limiting their quality control costs.
    Which is why SUV and truck sales continue.
    Which is why I always promote lowering consumption as a tool to keep
    your costs down - it is very effective.
    Dave Null Sr., May 24, 2004
  18. I agree, but it seems to be an alien concept to way too much of our
    population. TV stations trying to make news are having a field day with
    runaway gas prices here in SoCal, and only one thing seems to be
    constant with the attitude of people interviewed: "I can't afford these
    prices, but no way am I gonna get rid of my gas hog or cut back on my
    driving." With that kind of attitude, is there any solution until we run
    out completely?

    Rick Courtright, May 24, 2004
  19. Peter Eberl

    oothlagre Guest

    That's funny. They took the same attitude over the rolling blackouts. New
    power plants were needed to be built, but "not in my backyard" attitude

    Just an observation.
    oothlagre, May 24, 2004
  20. Peter Eberl

    Ignignokt Guest

    Hybrids are most effective in city driving -- lots of stop-and-go. This is
    the environment where internal combustion engines are least efficient. Here
    in the US most people (not all) tend to drive longer distances at constant
    speeds. I know I do. Hybrids lose their advantage in such long-distance
    driving. This is why they're so much more popular in Japan and congested
    parts of Europe than here in the United States. I'm not trying to dismiss
    the benefits of hybrids, just to put those benefits into a realistic
    context. The benefit a particular person will see from a hybrid depends a
    great deal on the type of driving he does. And my mother owns a Prius, so
    I'm not talking *completely* out of my butt here.

    - Greg Reed
    Ignignokt, May 25, 2004
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