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aostling
01-11-2009, 09:37 PM
This may give prospective hybrid buyers a choice. It will cost less than a Prius. The dashboard looks a little busy, though.

From http://www.wired.com/cars/coolwheels/news/2009/01/insight11

http://i168.photobucket.com/albums/u183/aostling/dashboard.jpg

danlb
01-11-2009, 09:58 PM
I'm glad they brought back the insight. The original was really neat. This one is a 4 seater instead of a 2 seater, so it might just make it this time. The hypermiler video game will be a great way to teach people how to drive.

Fortunately, there are already a dozen different hybrid models available, so this just adds one more choice to the mix.

I'm still partial to my Prius. :) I would not sell it for $50,000.

Dan

J Tiers
01-11-2009, 10:29 PM
An "infinite range" hybrid really beats the maybe-it-will-never-come Chevy Volt, which can never travel farther than 350 or so miles. The Volt hasn't got the engine to keep up, apparently you keep sliding down towards zero the whole 350 miles. One you can gas up and go makes sense.

All this electric-only car stuff really has the consequence of trapping everyone in their city...... To travel, you MUST fly, then rent, and then never go farther than 30 or 50 miles from base......

Tourism industry will go belly up unless some sort of "mother ship" service is available to let people travel, or maybe this is a plan to keep the serfs held at home.....????.

danlb
01-11-2009, 11:03 PM
I'm not an expert, but it's not really as as bad as it might be.

I commute 70 miles a day. When running errands, I do another 25 miles.

Did you know there have been electric cars available 10 years ago that could do that? And still have 1/3 of their charge left? Built by Ford, Toyota and GM too.

But I agree with the idea that most of us want a car that will match all possible uses. That's how the car industry sold so many SUVs. They pushed the 1 in 365 scenarios. Heaven knows it's hard to bring home a load of lumber in a family sedan. Both of my cars are sedans and I will be pressed into renting a truck ($40) to bing home the next load of landscaping materials.

When all I had was a cheap old piece of cr*p car, I'd rent a large sedan for long trips. I saved a fortune in insurance as well as gas, and traveled in luxury. It worked rather well.

Now I drive my hybrid on all trips. Once we drove 3,000 miles in 2 weeks. Won't do that again soon.

It's hard to say what the Chevy Volt will or won't do. Last I looked they had
objectives but had not committed to any specific hardware. Objectives are easy to talk about, but are generally meaningless.

Dan

J Tiers
01-11-2009, 11:51 PM
It's hard to say what the Chevy Volt will or won't do. Last I looked they had
objectives but had not committed to any specific hardware. Objectives are easy to talk about, but are generally meaningless.



The performance I have seen stated gives an "all dead" miles of 350 or so. The strong but I admit officially unstated subtext is that that is "it", that you will have to charge the thing somehow, because the engine isn't big enough to run it and charge it.

I've seen a lot of EVs, most had 40 to 60 mile range. The 40 would "usually" get me to work and back.... in good weather, with no side trips, and an immediate plug-in when I got home.

The 60 would give a little better cushion, but St Louis is a big city in metro area, I have had to go places where I DID put well over 60 miles on the vehicle, in one or two trips over one day, and never left the metro area.

The scenario for running out of juice is not good.... a towing charge, and no more driving until tomorrow. No "jump" possible, the battery would need a real charge.

JCHannum
01-12-2009, 01:00 AM
I have yet to see an honest account of the cost to own an electric or hybrid for what would be a normal life span. Let's say five years and 150,000 miles, including initial purchase, recharging and fuel costs and battery replacement cost. I question if any would stack up very well against a comparable gas engined econo car of comparable features and comfort.

The other thing I don't see is the battery replacement. Battery technology is evolving very rapidly, and is an EV or hybrid destined to become like a cordless drill, and be obsolete in five years when batteries are no longer available?

tony ennis
01-12-2009, 01:10 AM
Guy at work has a Prius. In the 2 years I've known him his expenses have eclipsed the expenses of my F150 and the Wife's Explorer combined.

Economically, the Prius makes no sense. I think people who get one choose it for a different reason.

aostling
01-12-2009, 01:57 AM
Battery technology is evolving very rapidly, and is an EV or hybrid destined to become like a cordless drill, and be obsolete in five years when batteries are no longer available?

Newer batteries of equivalent capacity are likely to be more compact, so they should fit in the available space of an earlier car. But are there other issues with such an upgrade, like voltage or impedance matching?

danlb
01-12-2009, 02:32 AM
Toyota produced the RAV-4 EV and sold it to meet California's zero emissions mandate. There are thousands of them on the roads. 120 to 150 miles per charge.

They stopped making them when California lifted the mandate. I have an aquaintance who loves his. It charges from a solar panel on his house.

As for total cost of ownership, it works out well for a Prius. Buy one for $25K, drive it for a year or two, sell it for $20K - $25K. Good deal

I have 84K miles on my 6 year old Prius. The only extra costs were tires and scheduled maintenance. As a 2002 model, the batteries are only guaranteed to 100K miles. There are no signs of deterioration, so that does not worry me. If I do ever need to replace it I'll pull a pack from a wreck.

I figure It's cost me about $4,500 in gas so far to drive 84K miles.

From Toyota press releases, as far as Toyota is concerned, the life of the Prius is defined as 180,000 miles, and the nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) battery is expected to stay perky at least that long. Toyota stands behind that claim with a more-than-respectable battery warranty: 100,000 miles or eight years, in 42 states. In the eight other states that have adopted higher standards, it is 150,000 miles or 10 years.

If I sell my car for $1000 (at 12 years old) after buying it for $21,000 (inc taxes and lic) I will lose 20,000 on the deal. After driving it 180000 miles, my cost per mile will be significantly less than it was for the F150 I just sold for a $14,000 loss after driving it for just 50,000 miles.

Oh. The F150 needed transmission work, wiring and some other stuff too. It only got 10 -12 MPG. It cost around $11,000 just in gas.

I don't regret the purchase of the hybrid at all.

Dan

tony ennis
01-12-2009, 02:48 AM
In terms of fuel economy, I expect the Prius to compare favorably to a Ford F150. Out of curiosity, how many sheets of drywall can that Prius haul at a time?

Ford F-150 costs less than a Prius too.

Just sayin'

barts
01-12-2009, 03:44 AM
In terms of fuel economy, I expect the Prius to compare favorably to a Ford F150. Out of curiosity, how many sheets of drywall can that Prius haul at a time?

Ford F-150 costs less than a Prius too.

Just sayin'

Most cars accrue the majority of their mileage commuting... carrying one person from place to place; since not everyone installs or uses sheet goods in their job, there is a large market for fuel efficient vehicles that can seat four people on short trips in comfort. The Prius does a good job; I really like ours. It's comfortable, reasonably safe (we have two teenage drivers) and gets excellent mileage. We also own a diesel F250 crewcab 4x4; since I can bicycle to work, it sees maybe 5k miles a year now on vacations, ski trips, etc.
But when I need to haul home a new machine tool, I'm happy I have it. The 7000 lb F250 is a terrible daily driver unless you really need the weight or towing capacity.

One vehicle cannot do everything, and picking one is always a series of trade-offs. Last summer's $4+/gal fuel was a wakeup call that fuel efficiency is going to be more important in the future than it has been for the last 20 years. Sizing your vehicle based on the most extreme use may no longer make economic sense.

- Bart

Bguns
01-12-2009, 04:21 AM
http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news04/2006/03/cr_hybrids.html

Mark Hockett
01-12-2009, 05:27 AM
On the island were I live I have heard that we have the highest number of hybrid vehicles per capita than any other city in the U.S., because of all the greenies that live here, so I get to work on a lot of them. The Toyota dealer told us that we work on more Prius's than they do so here's my take on the subject. The Prius is good for stop and go city driving, that is where they get the best fuel mileage. Highway driving they really don't get much better mileage than a comparable size gas engine vehicle. The Honda's and Toyota's that I see are holding up very well and are usually only in the shop for maintenance. The only problems that I 've seen have been with the first generation Prius. We have one customer that uses one on a paper route and has about 200,000 miles on it. I put a hybrid unit (transmission) in that car about a month ago and have done brakes a couple of times. Replacing brakes on a hybrid is very rare as they use regenerative braking, so the brakes don't get used as much as a gas vehicle. The car still has its original battery. The Prius battery is totally rebuildable with individual cells about the size of a D battery and I have yet to replace one on any hybrid, I have replaced the normal 12 volt battery on quite a few Prius's . The cells on the Prius's hybrid battery can be checked with a scan tool so there are fairly simple to check. When fully charged they put out over 270 volts so they can be very dangerous to work on, and for some operations I wear linesman gloves.

One interesting side note is if the hybrid battery goes dead you can not charge it with a normal battery charger, I was told that the charger costs over $10K and most dealers don't even have them. What we do on Prius's is tow the car to the top of a hill and let it coast down. The hill is about 1/2 mile long and by the time the car gets to the bottom the battery is almost fully charged. The Prius has no conventional starter as it uses the hybrid unit as the starter, generator and drive motor.

danlb
01-12-2009, 09:05 PM
http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news04/2006/03/cr_hybrids.html


Strangely, consumeraffairs.com is neither non-profit nor a governmental agency.

Their article did not give any facts or figures... and their conclusions conflict with my experience.

I was offered close to original MSRP last year for my 2002 Prius. That would not happen with any other car.

Re Mark Hockett's post... he asserts that the hybrid does best around town. While that can be true, I manage to get better than 45 MPG on a 70 mile daily commute that includes a coastal mountain pass, city driving, stop and go crawl and 65 mph freeways. On a flat open highway the toyota hybrid design does quite well.

The 270 volt battery packs is less dangerous than the 220 volt wires in your house. We don't play with those without protection either.

And I like the "how to charge the 270 volt traction battery". Since it only needs a small charge to get everything running, sending it down a hill is a clever idea.

BTW, the 270 volt battery only goes dead when the car is not driven for a long time (IIRC, 6 months or more). Like all batteries, they run down after a while when not used.

Dan

danlb
01-12-2009, 09:06 PM
In terms of fuel economy, I expect the Prius to compare favorably to a Ford F150. Out of curiosity, how many sheets of drywall can that Prius haul at a time?

Ford F-150 costs less than a Prius too.

Just sayin'


I can fit 2 sheets of drywall in a Prius.

My local home depot sells them in 1/4 sheet size. :) They fit in the back seat.

Dan

JCHannum
01-12-2009, 10:05 PM
The Consumer Affairs link answers my question, and verifies my suspicions. It is a recap of a Consumer Reports write up. Consumer Reports is a non-profit organization.

Bottom line, based on five year, 75,000 mile period, total cost to own for a Prius or Civic hybrid is $3700 to $5250 more than the cost to own a comparable econo conventional powered model by the same manufacturer. Move up to larger sized vehicles and the difference exceeds $10,000.

tony ennis
01-12-2009, 10:11 PM
I've talked to several Prius owners. Every one of them loves it.

danlb
01-13-2009, 01:47 AM
The Consumer Affairs link answers my question, and verifies my suspicions. It is a recap of a Consumer Reports write up. Consumer Reports is a non-profit organization.




And I can sell the Hybrid for 3 to 5 thousand more than the conventional car, which was omitted from the original consumer reports. Which is part of why they published an update showing that some of the hybrids have a decent payback in less than 5 years even when gas was $2.00 a gallon.

It's easy to manufacture a scenario in which anything looks bad.

Part of the trick is to compare a hybrid with the cheapest thing that looks like it. The 4 cyl Yaris VS the Prius is a good one. But the Yaris has less power, less interior room, is narrower. I would not take a Yaris through a mountain pass if I could avoid it. Nor a Kia, or a Sentra. The econo versions are underpowered. I've enjoyed taking my Prius through the Oregon Cascades and the California Sierra Nevadas. It gets better mileage while providing plenty of power.

A better comparison is when you can compare the hybrid and conventional models of the same car. Unfortunately, almost all of the hybrids in this class produce MORE power than the conventional counterparts. They are not optimized for fuel economy, so the fuel savings are only moderate. The end result is that it does not pay back, or barely breaks even.

But think of it this way. When you get the V8 option that produces an extra hundred horses and gets a few less MPG, are you expecting to get back that extra two or three thousand dollars? Of course not.

I think the future will be hybrids for the next 20 years while we get people used to the reality that electric works fine for urban driving. The hybrids will evolve to low powered long range machines to maximize economy. At some point gas will be too expensive for even hybrids to exist. But that's 30 or 40 years away.

I could, of course, be all wrong about that part.

Dan
* Yes I AM very happy with my car and would recommend that model to anyone.

Mark Hockett
01-13-2009, 02:32 AM
Dan,
You mention the power from the hybrids. We have a customer that owns an Accord hybrid. It has a V6 but feels as powerful as a V8, the acceleration is very strong.
Its funny, this morning I show up at the auto repair shop where I help out while my new shop is being built, http://www.mattsimporthaven.com/ , and there are three hybrids. One 2006 Honda and two 2006 Prius's. The Honda was in for an oil change, one Prius was in for an oil change and the right front headlight was out and the other Prius was towed in with a dead 12 volt auxiliary battery. I think there was something left on in the car overnight and the battery could probably have been charged but the customer insisted we put in a new battery. The other Prius needed a new HID light bulb which cost $150 for the bulb, that is the first time I have seen a Prius loose an HID bulb. They probably could have had it fixed under warranty at the dealer but many times its a hassle to leave the island so people just pay to have us fix their car.

danlb
01-13-2009, 03:18 AM
A lot of folks are discovering the joys of HID headlights. They work for a certain number of hours, then Poof. There are reports that they often burn out within days or weeks of each other. That shoudl not be a problem since it is illegal to drive with a burned out light, but people tend to press their luck.

My model is the "weak" one (Gen 1.5 from 2002) and yet it feels as though it has as much general power as my wife's V6 Camry. It's as smooth, but not as fast off the line.

The 12 volt battery is required for safety purposes (boots the controls, runs the headlights, steering and brakes if the propulsion system dies) but all the Toyota based models I've seen have whimpy 12 volt batteries to save weight. I added a solar charger to mine when I had a bad back and was unable to drive for a year. It's now 6 years old with no signs of distress. :)

Matt, your web site says your passion is honda and Toyota hybrids. Do you like one (technically) better than the other?

Dan

J Tiers
01-13-2009, 09:54 AM
The payback assumes buying either one or the other..... hybrid or non-hybrid.... You spend the money either way. Not a choice between NOT spending and spending.

The payback for dumping your existing car instead of keeping it, and buying a hybrid to replace (which many people have done), is uniformly negative over 100,000 miles.

To save the money used to purchase, you need gas at $10 per gallon , or more, depending on your current mileage. Mine is 25 MPG, so it will take a LOT longer than if I was driving a big truck at 12 mpg.

If I drove a Rabbit diesel, at 52 MPG, it would be a WHOLE LOT longer for payback to dump it and replace with a Prius. That's more MPG than the PRius gets......

JimH
01-13-2009, 11:03 AM
Just read a write up on next year's Prius. They are changing from NiMH batteries to LI. This provides more capacity at the same (or similar) size. Also said the new battery provides the capability to add modules for even more capacity. Module adding will supposedly be available in 2011. Also, a "built in" roof mounted solar panel as a top end option. The gas engine will increase from 1.5 (75hp) to 1.8 liters 100hp) and will provide a small increase is gas mileage. (50 EPA versus 46 current).

I have 2 Prius, a 2005 and 2007. Have had no problems with either and really enjoy filling up for around $15 (current price). I added a engine block heater for winter, to offset a small mpg loss warming up that 1.5L engine.

J

Edit: Futher reading indicates the new LI battery may not occur in 2010.

JCHannum
01-13-2009, 11:16 AM
When they first came on the market, the Prius was selling for several thousand dollars over the sticker price. The used market was similarly inflated due to supply and demand. This is an artificial situation and will not last, if it is still the case. When the pipeline is filled, this advantage will dissappear. The article sited compared each manufacturer's comparable conventionally fueled car to the hybrid, as close a realistic comparison as possible.

A factor in the overall cost of ownership that has yet to be mentioned is the fact that your friendly state and federal governments are losing significant tax revenue with every gallon of gas you do not purchase. Those hybrids require the same dollars to maintain the roads they are driven on. This will not last, and there will be some method determined to extract this from you. Hopefully, it will take some sort of $/mile rate imposed directly on hybrid and EV owners, and not become yet another broad based tax.

barts
01-13-2009, 01:06 PM
A factor in the overall cost of ownership that has yet to be mentioned is the fact that your friendly state and federal governments are losing significant tax revenue with every gallon of gas you do not purchase. Those hybrids require the same dollars to maintain the roads they are driven on. This will not last, and there will be some method determined to extract this from you. Hopefully, it will take some sort of $/mile rate imposed directly on hybrid and EV owners, and not become yet another broad based tax.

If we're going to do this, let's also increase the taxes paid by truckers - their 80,000 lb rigs cause 10,000 times as much damage to the roadway as a sedan. And we should also graduate taxes by weight; my 7000 lb F250 is a lot harder on the road than my Prius... and my Nighthawk motorcycle ends up costing more in gas taxes than my Prius, despite causing much less damage.

The best and simplest way to fix the revenue shortfall w/o a new tax is simply to raise the existing one somewhat.

- Bart

A.K. Boomer
01-13-2009, 01:07 PM
I predict a total disaster for the "new" american car manufacturer in the form of psychologically induced panic/insecurity/inadequacy to its potential buyers --- You see - the automobile is so much more than what we think it is, and to have it in a form that is purely electric (like the chevy volt and many others that are soon to follow) Is a huge mistake, there is too many variables and systems including some of the most basic needs of man (fight or flight) not to mention stuff many others just plan take for granted (honey I think im having chest pains but it might just be gas again --- maybe we shouldnt call the ambulance this time - you know what it costs us on the deductible last time -- is the "volt" all charged up --- "NO -- I told you I had to use it this afternoon to drop off your dry cleaning" Fuqe, now i really think I am having chest pains...)
OR --- honey -- its time, "time for what" My water just broke!
"Damn woman -- I told you that I had to use the volt to pick up beer for the game didnt I... Weve got enough juice to make it to my Moms house" ----never mind,,, WHAAA WHHAAAAAA --- "EHWWWW sweets ,,, How come he's all blue? that never happened to timmy? hey why does it look like theres a rope around his neck?

Soon crap like this will make the news (when I say soon I mean within the first week of major sales) Then people will start actually thinking for themselves and maybe even a light bulb will flicker in their head and they might even connect a neuron to some useful form that tells them in some way shape or form that its not a good idea to have a piece of crap sitting in their driveway that they cant rely on, esp. since weve all heard about the rolling blackouts and stuff -- and thats with no electrical demands to speak of being utilized for private transport - Trust me -- I have an uncanny ability of predicting failure and this one is a no brainer, personal transportation is not something you want to have to "plug in and wait to charge up" In fact - many people will die, many stupid people -- but just the same they are people - arent they?:confused:

Alistair Hosie
01-13-2009, 04:23 PM
steering wheels on the wrong side what are they thinking oh oh :D Alistair

Spin Doctor
01-13-2009, 08:23 PM
steering wheels on the wrong side what are they thinking oh oh :D Alistair

Only if you drive on the wrong side of the road :rolleyes::rolleyes: