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Were hybrids ever the silver bullet?



  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    Mazda3. I do too much highway driving for a hybrid to be worth the price premium. But I'm both a gadget nut and work in the auto industry so I do follow the technology and the market. You really need to check Ford out again, they've really turned it around. My next car purchase may be a new Fusion, though likely the I4 rather than the hybrid.

    Anyway, just as a point of reference, Consumer Reports dropped Toyota's auto-reliable status a while ago. I hear they're thinking of giving it to Ford, they've jumped that far in their reliability surveys. Ford is definitely game to go against the Camry Hybrid. If they decide to make a Focus hybrid it'd probably be game against the Prius.

    GM on the other hand, i wouldn't count on.
  • cdptrapcdptrap Posts: 485
    Railroadjames, thanks for the new battery prices, they are really coming down! I asked our dealer about that last year (April '08) and for our '06 HH, labor included, it will be about $6000 "as far as they know" because they have not had to do any and price could go up or down when they do the first one. So the official Toyota dealer best-guess then was $6000 for the '06 HH.
  • cdptrapcdptrap Posts: 485
    I have to agree that Ford is the most innovative of the three US auto giants. I really hope FOrd makes it and starts to catch up to the Japanese. Fuel-Electric hybrid is nothing new and Ford should be able to do this.

    It will be so nice to see Ford come out with a Plug-In hybrid that can run the first 20 or 30 miles on electric alone at up to 60-MPH. Even in tough terrain, the juiced-up battery can still assist the gas engine resulting in significant savings. This will be something really worth looking into.

    The quality issue is a tough one to overcome and only time will heal this wound. I was a Ford person since birth because my family came from MI and we had nothing but Ford cars. We were used to the tinkering, home-repairs and all such activities on weekends. When the engine became more computerized, home-service became difficult and the constant visit to shops (once a year, several days at a time) in addition to our own home-service starting at around 25000 miles began to grow old. We finally broke down and got a Toyota and was completely sold. Our '06 HH has 45K miles and not one day in the shop for repairs; NOT ONE. Our 129,000-mile '99 Sienna was in the shop once, to fix a steering rack problem; ONCE! The best part is I no longer waste weekends doing anything to the cars. We just hop in, start up and off we go.

    I hope Ford catches up and starts earning these distinguished records. There is something homey about buying from Detroit again :).

    ps. Ford is really not just an "American" car company. It is more an international firm with manufacturing overseas. Toyota has factories hiring Americans right here at home. So "buying from Detroit" is about nostalgia, not about the often misleading "buy American" claim.
  • I've heard this (what I call misconception) long enough. What with paying $21,456.00 out the door back in '04 and what with tax rebates, gas savings and ...hold it great resale value. I fail to see the arguement that a Prius is anything but a smart choice for purchase. There are countless other reasons to buy a Prius (and/or HH) What did your Mazda 3 sell for out the door? What year was it. I think that your choice was a good one because Mazdas are truly a sound investment.

    p.s. The reliability that I stress so vehemently is litteraly the one area that Toyota has proven by buckets. Ask anyone that owns one and you'd be hard pressed to find less than confidence and satisfaction. Prius is a solid vehicle in these economically trying times. I'll be putting down a deposit on a 2010 very soon. Well, if my gov. checks don't start bouncing that is. I've enjoyed our fertile banter. Take care. I'm a retired Locomotive Engineer. I used to drive a kind of Hybrid Engine for the record. Diesel/ Electric. I really do miss the rails. :shades:
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    Sorry but there is a "hybrid premium." A hybrid engine is an engine upgrade over the base engine, same as a V6. Only difference is, it's an engine upgrade designed to save fuel. However, it saves much MORE fuel with city driving than it does with highway driving, and 90% of my driving is highway. That makes it difficult to justify, for example, paying $26,000 (plus tax and fees) for a car that gets 36 MPG highway versus paying $20,000 for a car that gets 33MPG highway. I'm only going 3 extra miles per gallon...when driving a 110 mile a day commute, that's a drop in the bucket. Now, if that was 110 miles of city driving it'd be a different story, and I'd probably be getting 41 MPG or better, an extra 5 or more miles per gallon, which would REALLY add up. Now, tax rebates are another factor, but remember that the Prius doesn't get any anymore. Not sure if the Escape still does but the Fusion will. That might help.

    Incidentally, my Mazda3 is a 2004 5-door..I was actually buying it to replaced a grenaded Chevy Corsica and was in a hurry, but I lucked out with finding the 3. Paid about $21,500 OTD myself. Really like it, but I bought it before I got this job with the long commute, and it's a bit punishing sometimes. Very interested in the Fusion as my next ride, though the Insight caught my eye (I like hatches).
  • I don't know where you get the impression that hiway driving is so reduced compared to city but your in for a rude awakening. My wife & I did an 8K trip to Montana and down to Utah and back to Valpo, Indiana. We averaged over 47 mpg's with the exception of the high mountains in Glacier Nat. Prk. Trips to Atlanta, Ga several times crowded 50 mpg's. Several times I've gotten 540 plus miles to a tank of gas (11 gal cap.) To tell the truth ...Short trips around town drop to 42-44 mpg's because the engine seldom warms up especially in real cold & frigid weather. It's 20 below as I write. Gosh I love my fireplace tonite. Like you I really like my hatchback. I have 2 dogs: one 70 lbs & one 105 lbs. It's easy access for them and cargo too. Lastly, remember that with a Prius Hybrid, with 2 drive motors that means after 100K miles the ICE engine worked only about 60 K miles and was duel assisted by and large much of the time with the Electric Mode. This is actually an asset when you consider traffic jams a big plus. When I'm sitting or crawling along in Electric Mode while a Hummer H2 is burning @ 10 mpg in the same framework I smile. I've gotten as high as 62 mpg's several times in this annoying trap. The Prius runs cooler too in extreem hot weather for obvious reasons. One other thing: the styling never seems to grow old considering that my 'o4 Prius looks just like an '09. What do they say? Don't mess with a good thing. :blush:
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    Well, I would never buy a Prius because I just strongly dislike Toyota. :shades:

    P.S. Thanks to TOYOTA I've saved enough $$$$$ in gas savings to actually get out and vacation each yr. Remember when gas was $4.50 -$4.75? I watched as a woman in a 3/piece suit filled a Hummer to the tune of $130.00 plus while I came & went to the happy tune of a $32.00 fill-up. She was back in 300 miles to do it again where as I wouldn't do it till well after 500 plus miles. The "price premium" seems a matter of perspective. :) :blush:
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    Well, I don't like the way Toyota's drive, I don't like their interiors, and i REALLY don't like their salesmen around here. Not everything is about money or the best fuel economy: I spend so much time in the car that I need to enjoy it and not be in a penalty box (or what I see as one anyway). That's why I'd consider an Insight or Fusion but not a Prius (much as I like hatches).

    Like you said, to each their own. The Prius is the right car for some, but not for me.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,850
    She was back in 300 miles to do it again where as I wouldn't do it till well after 500 plus miles.

    I agree she was stupid to buy the Hummer when she could buy a BMW X5 diesel or Mercedes GL320 CDI and gotten 700 miles on a tank of diesel @ close to 30 MPG. With a lot more luxury and performance at about the same price. I know you like your Prius. 15 minutes riding around with a friend turned me off on them COMPLETELY. I would rather spend 3 times as much for gas in my gas guzzling Sequoia than be subjected to that rough noisy little car. Taking an 8k mile trip in one proves you are one tough dude.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    Sorry but your 'hybrid premium' contention is just a shorthand notation for what is a much more complex cost analysis similar to Edmunds TCO.

    You look at the extra cost to acquire and say 'Ah ha...'

    But that is just too shortshighted. As railroadjames was implying above the analysis also has to include
    Length of Ownership
    Annual miles driven
    Average cost of fuel over the Length of Ownership ( you don't really think that fuel will remain at $1.75 for the next 10 years I hope )
    Equal vehicles and equal equipment ( not a Fusion vs a Mazda 3 )
    The 'value' of more horsepower

    and the one that negates the 'hybrid premium' considerations

    RESALE value.

    The only serious way to analyse these costs is to create a spreadsheet to accumulate the costs over the expected lifetime of ownership and then compare the total costs

    Here's why this is so important.. Yes in the beginning it does cost more to purchase a new hybrid with similar amenities over the non-hybrid version of that same vehicle. However if I told you that if you owned the hybrid for 7 yrs and drove 150,000 miles that in those 7 yrs that you'd end up spending $2000-$4000 less than for the pleasure of driving the non-hybrid....would you care what the 'hybrid premium ' was upfront? No you'd be more interested in the total cost.

    Who cares what the initital 'premium' is or how long it takes to 'recover' it. What matters is how much does this depreciating asset cost you while your own it. It only matters which costs less in total.

    We'll have to wait and see how Ford prices this FFH vs the non-hybrid version. But as an indicator, the TCH ranges from a 'premium' of $3000 to a 'discount' of $5000 vis-a-vis it's non-hybrid siblings. When sold at a discount obviously the whole 'hybrid premium' issue vanishes into thin air. It costs less to begin with and the savings just add up from day one onward.
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    KH, I know you're a hybrid nut, but some people don't care about saving $2000 over 7 years (in my case it would be less than that). Not if they can save that $2000 and more up front. Sometimes the "when" you get the money is more important than how much. Especially since I could take that up-front $2000, and over 7 years make 10-15% APY on it, which means it's more like $3400 or more. :shades:

    What matters if if a person decides that they like the car and feels that it's the right move for them. The choice as far as pro-hybrid isn't always financial either...some just prefer to burn less gas and don't care how much it costs them. More power to them, but everyone has different tastes and priorities.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    Well, I would never buy a Prius because I just strongly dislike Toyota.

    Then this emotion is the basis of your arguments. That perfectly valid as long as you don't try to rationalize 'good' vs 'bad' with spurious data that's easily disproven..

    Apart from likes and dislikes in a simply dispassionate analysis the hybrids cost the same or less overall than their non-hybrid counteparts.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    KH, I know you're a hybrid nut, but some people don't care about saving $2000 over 7 years (in my case it would be less than that). Not if they can save that $2000 and more up front. Sometimes the "when" you get the money is more important than how much. Especially since I could take that up-front $2000, and over 7 years make 10-15% APY on it, which means it's more like $3400 or more

    As I said in the prior post your likes and dislikes are perfectly valid and prolly more important. That's fine.

    Just don't try to justify your emotions with facts that don't exist. Your emotional reasons for now buying one are valid enough. Remember some of the TCH and presumably some of the FFH will cost $3000 to $5000 less than their non-hybrid siblings.....UPFRONT!!!

    Just ignore the facts and buy what you like.
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    Some will. But I still say that the hybrid version is an engine upgrade from the base powertrain and therefore costs more up-front, no matter what savings may or may not happen down the road. Fact. Period. Some people are not willing to pay more up front, that's all.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    But if Toyota isn't making any money on the Prius then I'm not seeing hybrids as the salvation of the automakers.

    Toyota has been making money on the Prius' since right after they were launched in 2001. Major misconception here.

    It has to do with cost accounting and the pricing structure.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    That's simply not true in every case. The TCH and the FFH are sold at a discount versus their V6 non-hybrid siblings. You can buy at TCH at $26K-ish vs $30K-ish for a non-hybrid Camry V6 XLE and save $4000 upfront and never look back.

    Over the lifetime of usage you'll end up saving $10000-$15000!!!!!

    Even if it is compared to the base powertrain at a $2000 premium does it make any rational sense to say 'I know it costs less up front but I like the idea of spending $2000 more overall to drive the non-hybrid.' No it's an emotional decision, which is fine. It's just not justified on a dispassionate economic basis.
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    Even if it is compared to the base powertrain at a $2000 premium does it make any rational sense to say 'I know it costs less up front but I like the idea of spending $2000 more overall to drive the non-hybrid.

    That's not it at all. If it's a financial decision at all, it's "Do I want to spend $2000 more now and save $3000 over 5-7 years, or do I want to keep that $2000 in my pocket now?" Very different thing. Not being able to afford to pay extra now, no matter how much it might save you later, is also an economic decision.
  • Somewhere in the vast number of posts here at various topics I explained that I saved over $10,000.00 in gas costs. That was a conservitive figure. No exaggeration. Just plain truth. This comparison was with a previous vehicle that got 16mpg's. After 6 yrs of trouble free miles and a ride that some say is rough but I say is decent and comfortable, my hiway miles seem to be a non-problem and just roll along. As to the car's quality, durability, and overall customer satisfaction, what can I say: Nearly 275,000 satified owners can't be wrong.
    As to Dealers that annoy and fail to present their product...well, all I can say is...When I walk into a dealers showroom I size up the salesmen. I look for one that gives me a fair amount of comfort zone or I ask around. There's almost always more than one person on the floor. Even Sales mgr's will often close a deal. I sold cars yrs ago for 4 yrs. A good salesman knows his product and that's the bottom line. I offer this too! I've owned well over 60 vehicles counting cars & cycles and never found anything that was as trouble free and dependable as my '04 Prius. ;)
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    This is another good example of it being a very individual situation. You got a GREAT amount of savings on gas from moving to a hybrid. Others with different driving habits might not.

    Dealers...salesmen...bane of people's existence...maybe some are good but a lot of them....uhh, aren't. :) Unfortunately, in my area, a lot of them aren't. The Toyota guys around here are as arrogant as the Honda ones...and that's pretty arrogant. Only reason i MIGHT put up with the Honda salesmen is because of their product. I don't like Toyota's products enough to put up with the arrogance around here (same with the local Chevy dealers incidentally, though there's this one local PontiBuickGMC dealership that didn't catch a case of GM arrogance).
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