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  • new Honda Insight hybrid

    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...9/01/insight11

    Last edited by aostling; 01-11-2009, 09:40 PM.
    Allan Ostling

    Phoenix, Arizona

  • #2
    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
    At the end of the project, there is a profound difference between spare parts and extra parts.

    Comment


    • #3
      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.....????.
      1601

      Keep eye on ball.
      Hashim Khan

      Comment


      • #4
        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
        At the end of the project, there is a profound difference between spare parts and extra parts.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by danlb
          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.
          1601

          Keep eye on ball.
          Hashim Khan

          Comment


          • #6
            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?
            Jim H.

            Comment


            • #7
              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.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by JCHannum
                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?
                Last edited by aostling; 01-12-2009, 02:32 AM.
                Allan Ostling

                Phoenix, Arizona

                Comment


                • #9
                  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
                  At the end of the project, there is a profound difference between spare parts and extra parts.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    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'

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by tony ennis
                      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
                      Bart Smaalders
                      http://smaalders.net/barts

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        These guys have something to say about it...

                        http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news0...r_hybrids.html

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          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.
                          Mark Hockett

                          Comment


                          • #14

                            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
                            At the end of the project, there is a profound difference between spare parts and extra parts.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by tony ennis
                              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
                              At the end of the project, there is a profound difference between spare parts and extra parts.

                              Comment

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