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Honda Civic Hybrid

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  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 7,235
    I'm not sure I want to open this can of worms again, but.....

    I had a 5 year old Civic VP. Due to an accident, it was totaled (other guys fault). Over the last 5 years, it averaged 38 MPG highway and 29 MPG city. For argument's sake, let's say it averaged 35 MPG for all driving.

    So, one of the first stops I made was to the local Honda store to see what a new one would run me. I thought an LX with automatic would be nice. With no negotiations, they came out with a beginning price of $15K. No doubt I could have bought it for less, but lets use that figure to make things simple. Let's also assume it gets the same MPG as my older Civic

    In the showroom is a 4-door Ciic Hybrid with CVT transmission. After inquiry, he said that all hybrids were selling for MSRP...nothing less, which would amount to a little over $20K, but let's use the $20K purchase price to make this easy. With the gas prices rising to $2/gal I had no reason to doubt him. To keep things simple, let's say that the hybrid gets 45 MPG overall.

    Both cars are equipped similarly. I drove both. Both were nice except for the glaring fact that the hybrid was much slower than the gas only model and possessed a few driving quirks (that I'd probably get used to over time).

    Let's move onto the financials.

    Based on say....15K miles/year driving the Civic hybrid, it would use 333 gal. of fuel @ $2/gal. That's $666 in fuel/year.

    Using the same 15K miles per year for the Civic LX automatic, it would use 429 gal of fuel per year. That's $858 in fuel/year.

    The difference between the two is $192 more for the Civic LX auto for fuel used in a given year.

    Let's say you keep either car to 100K miles. That's roughly about 7 years of useage. 7 years times $192 in fuel savings with the hybrid nets you $1,344 in fuel savings over the Civic LX.

    Some comparisons using the $5K price differential (probably more given the deals being made on the Civic) between the real world cost of the two cars....

    --you would have to drive the hybrid civic 19+ years to make up the difference in price over the civic LX auto
    --you would have to drive the hybrid 180,000 more miles than the Civic LX to make up the price differential

    That doesn't account for the added cost of replacing the hybrid's batteries if you did drive it that long. It also doesn't account for the much more lethargic acceleration of the hybrid when compared to the regular gas Civic LX.

    Buying a Civic VP? The above figures are even more dramatic.

    Point being, give Honda (and Toyota) credit for their entry in the hybrid sweepstakes, but from an economic point of view, they aren't quite ready for "prime time".
  • john1701ajohn1701a Posts: 1,897
    > they aren't quite ready for "prime time".

    It would be best to judge each hybrid individually, rather than generalize.

    The upcoming Accord-Hybrid will put putting more emphasis on power, than efficiency.

    The primary purpose of Prius is maximum emission reduction, not MPG. That's a big difference from Civic-Hybrid. And yet, it still delivers greater efficiency. (I'm averaging 54 MPG at the pump with my 2004 Prius.)

    The hybrid SUVs will place an interesting twist on things too. The Escape will be a good all-around balanced hybrid. The RX400h will instead put emphasis on power & speed.

    JOHN
  • midnightcowboymidnightcowboy Posts: 1,978
    I ran into the same thing at a Honda delaership last Saturday. They were selling for MSRP, salesman said the sold 46 Hybrids last month. The other Civics wee selling for a couple of hundred under invoice.

    Rising gas prices and fear and uncertainty, makes hYbrids go up in price. WOW.

    But with the HCH you get auto temperature and the cool blue instrumentation.

    I can order a 2004 Isight for MSRP with 90 day delivery. I'm just not sure.

    YMMV,
    MidCow
  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 7,235
    Everyone makes good points, but the Honda Civic Hybrid is the topic here.

    I can appreciate the hybrid cars being cleaner. That may be advantageous for some, but in all honesty, I've seen reports which show that even the largest SUVs have cut down their emmissions to the point where cows emit more pollutants than than they do.

    IMHO, the only other reason to have a hybrid Civic would be a financial one. I'm having a very hard time making that justification. The cool blue lights and temp control just aren't going to get it done.

    Now, if they offered some sort of performance gain, then that would get my attention. The current one's in the showroom today aren't there yet, however.

    Even using the previous mention of the Prius getting 54 MPG (that sounds a big high given just about every other report has the average closer to 42 MPG for the Prius, but we'll use the 54 number). That means it will use 278 gal of fuel in a year's use of 15K miles. That's $556 in fuel usage in a given year. That's a yearly difference in fuel costs of $302 over the Civic LX. You'd still have to drive the Prius approx 14 years to even out the cost differential between the Prius and the Civic LX. You'd also have to drive it approx 110,000 more miles than the Civic LX to make up the difference. You'd still have the cost of replacing the batteries during that period, which would make the equation even more lopsided.

    I think for the most part, hybrids are being bought more as a knee jerk reaction to the present gas prices without many doing any real financial comparisons.
  • john1701ajohn1701a Posts: 1,897
    > I've seen reports which show that even the largest SUVs have cut down their emmissions to the point where cows emit

    That seemingly tiny difference is actually quite massive when you step back and look at the big picture...

    There are 60 MILLION new vehicles sold every year worldwide!

    JOHN
  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 7,235
    Yeah, but how many cows are there?
  • john1701ajohn1701a Posts: 1,897
    > Yeah, but how many cows are there?

    Just because there is one type of poison does not mean we can allow another to go unchecked. We reduce where we can.

    Remember, we are dealing with tolerances, not absolutes. Our goal is to keep below a threshold.

    JOHN
  • blueiedgodblueiedgod Posts: 2,797
    Cow as well as humans and other animals emit CO2, carbon dioxide, cars emit CO2 and... NO2, NO3, CO, SO4, SO3 (all acid rain causing pollutants), as well as particulates such as soot. I have yet to see a cow that emitted soot. Manure may stink, but it is an excellent fertilizer. What does a car emit that is helpful?

    As to fiscal reasoning behind the hybrids, there is none. A motorcycle will cost you well under $10K, and runs 60 miles to a gallon, has great acceleration. Heck a bike costs $100 and no opertating costs besides the tires and maintenance.
  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 7,235
    Hey guys, I'm not trying to start a flame war here.

    I was moderately interested in the hybrids. Personally, I don't see what they offer for the price differential over the Civic LX. The LX has power everything, crusie control, A/C just like the Civic hybrid (or the civic EX). The EX costs about $1K more than the LX. The same numbers apply. I still couldn't make the justification for a hybrid regardless of the comparison you want to use...emissions, financial, equipment levels, model, etc.

    I think one big mistake is that some are not comparing real world out of pocket costs. Hybrids are selling for MSRP. In the real world, Civic LXs, EXs are steeply discounted. These are real dollars that come out of your pocket. If you want to compare MSRP to MSRP, that's OK by me. It doesn't reflect what's happening in reality, however.

    I can't make the case for hybrids over the regular Civics. Maybe someday they will get to the point where they make sense. That day, IMHO, isn't here yet.
  • warnerwarner Posts: 196
    I agree with others who can find no financial justification for buying a Hybrid, which is why I bought an LX instead. Using Carsdirect pricing, the automatic LX can be bought for $15,011 and the Hybrid can be bought for $19,744 - a difference of $4733. Someone mentioned all the extra "options" that the Hybrid has (in an attempt to justify the cost difference) - what exactly ARE those great options for $4,700? Front side airbags (available on the LX for $228), antilock brakes, automatic climate control, trip computer, variable-intermittent wipers (mine are intermittent as well, just not "variably intermittent"), rear spoiler (dealer offered this to me for $575 installed - didn't like it), and alloy wheels (I got the EX alloy wheels for $419). So, the options that are available for the LX to bring it closer to the equipment of the Hybrid would have cost me $1222. That leaves anti-lock brakes, automatic climate control, trip computer, and variable intermittent wipers making up the $3,511 difference. The anti-lock brakes would be a nice option - let's say those are worth $1,000. That would leave the climate control, trip computer, and variable wipers at a cost of over $2,500. Worth it??? My neighbor bought a new Hybrid and she loves it.....I don't see much difference between it and my LX (in fact, I hate the aluminum wheels on the Hybrid - like the EX Alloys much better). Everyone has their own motives I understand, I just don't think it's possible to justify their additional cost. Also, my LX is an ULEV so I doubt there is much if any difference in the emissions between the two vehicles. As long as everyone is happy with their choice, it's working out the way it should - I just could never justify that additional cost. The lowest mileage that I've gotten out of my first 3 tanks of gas was 35 mpg; the highest was 40 mpg. On this 4th tank I already have 250 miles on the first half tank, so this will probably be 40 or better as well.

                       Warner
  • warnerwarner Posts: 196
    Oh, and due to the batteries taking up the space they do, you also lose the fold-down rear seats with the Hybrid....

                    Warner
  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 7,235
    The financials really become glaring if you add in the cost of replacing the batteries in the hybrid. To justify the cost differential, you would have to drive the hybrid a long, long time for hundreds of thousands of miles. Probably, you'd have to replace more than one set of batteries if you want to keep the hybrid long enough for it to make economic sense. With the cost of those batteries thrown in, it never makes any economic or environmental sense.

    I didn't even include those costs in my analogy. I also didn't take into consideration disposal of those batteries. While some may be refurbished, some will not and end up in landfills....not the environmental impact we would hope for.

    Now, as you said, if your motivation is strictly to have a "gee whiz" hybrid in your driveway, then I have no issue with that. Their shortcomings are many, though.

    I find it impossible to make economic or environmetal sense of the hybrids so far.
  • john1701ajohn1701a Posts: 1,897
    Where is your proof that the battery-pack with *EVER* need to be replaced?

    The few real-world accounts we have of hybrids exceeding 150,000 miles have supported the fact that the battery-packs are still working just fine, with no evidence at all of replacement being needed.

    JOHN
  • lngtonge18lngtonge18 Posts: 2,228
    Where is your proof there is a such thing as a lifetime battery? Batteries degrade over time and will eventually need to be replaced. It's just a fact of life and no proof is needed that the batteries will eventualy fail in hybrids. Why do you think the nickel metal hydride batteries in my solar powered accent lights say they will need to be replaced every 3-5 years?? Granted, those are simple cheap batteries but they are made of the same thing.
  • john1701ajohn1701a Posts: 1,897
    > no proof is needed that the batteries will eventualy fail in hybrids.

    You are claiming (based on speculation) vehicle will stop working once the battery-pack gets too old, requiring replacement to be able to use the vehicle again. I am claiming (based on actual data) the battery-pack will outlast the useful life of the vehicle. That is a massive difference that you are not acknowledging.

    What are the reasons traditional vehicles die?

    For many, they just fall apart due to things like rust, fatigue, and growing annoyances. In other words, where is your proof that the battery-pack will fail *BEFORE* this? That is what you are claiming.

    In reality, the battery-pack, will likely outlast other components.

    Your assumptions are based on usage facts that don't apply to hybrids. The big one is that the batteries are used the same way as they are in rechargable devices. That is *NOT* true. The pack in a hybrid is never allowed to be deep-discharged like what routinely happens in laptop-computers, cell-phones, and power-tools. Avoiding that kind of stress is what allows for much longer battery life.

    JOHN
  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 7,235
    In all fairness, John, there's also no reliable widespread proof that these batteries will last past 100K miles, either.

    Fact is, they are warranted to last between 80K to 100K miles. Some will make it to 150K miles no doubt. But, that would be the exception rather than the rule as they are still nickel based batteries.

    Of course, all of this is dependent on how they're used. If you are "gentle" in driving your hybrid (light in town use and little to no highway), you will achieve the highest MPG. But, that's where battery use is maximized and the need for replacement will come sooner.

    If you do more demanding driving and spend more time on the highway where the gas engine gets the bulk of the work, it's reasonable to think the batteries would last longer, but you sacrifice MPG for the increased battery life.

    Climate also plays a part. If you live in wintery areas, batteries won't last as long as they would in warmer year round climates.

    Current replacement costs are around $3,000/battery pack. It's estimated that when more hybrids are on the roads and more replacements are needed, then manufacturing efficiencies will bring that cost down to $1,200/battery pack. That's assuming that more than just 10-12 models of hybrids come to market in the next several years, though.

    By that time, the hope is that fuel cell vehicles will be viable.
  • midnightcowboymidnightcowboy Posts: 1,978
    >> cows emit

    >> 60 million vehicles sold worldwide

    Over 60 million cows can't be wrong! Maybe the numbers of cows worldwide has decreased since the mad cow disease, but how do we control bovine methane?

    Wait those are only new vehicles and since the service life of a vehicle is 7-10 years and increasing the big picture is that there 110 or 100's of groups of "new 60 Million cars" added each year. The poor cows don't stand a chance with methane flatulation.

    But the point is emission reduction and hybrids are two independent variables. You don't have to have a hybrid to achieve significant emission reduction. A lot of cars that are not hybrid have a PZEV and California is gearing toward ZEV. The biggest problem is the 600 million or so polluting cars still in service!
  • john1701ajohn1701a Posts: 1,897
    > that would be the exception rather than the rule as they are still nickel based batteries

    How can you conclude that?

    The fact that the battery-pack is warrantied for 150,000 miles should be a big clue that they last at least that long. Why would an automaker knowingly incur that kind of replacement expense?

    > If you live in wintery areas, batteries won't last as long as they would in warmer year round climates.

    Exactly the opposite is true.

    Batteries love the cold. Yes, it reduces their capacity. But it also protects them from getting hot... which causes the chemicals to break down and corrosion to build up.

    Hot climates are much harder on batteries. Just ask someone living in Arizona. It is common to replace a 12V every 3 years or so. In Minnesota, they last around 7 years.

    JOHN
  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 7,235
    It's reasonable to assume that the answer is not PZEV or ZEV cars, but the need for effective mass transit to reduce the numbers of cars on the road.

    Can't disagree with you there, but that's been a thorn in the side of U.S. trasporation needs since our country expanded to both coasts.
  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 7,235
    John...we're just going to have to agree to disagree. I live in a winter climate. Winer months are always more of a problem with batteries than the warmer months. That's the reason for so many battery failures in winter months. You ever try to crank over your car in the winter? Very slow and hard on the battery. That's also the time when the battery is most likely to go into a "deep discharge" state.

    This is all getting away from the issue of trying to justify hybrids over plain ole' regular fuel efficient gas cars. A reasonable case can't be made.
  • badgerfanbadgerfan Posts: 1,565
    There certainly is a lot of methane coming out of some of the posters here(No offense, just joking).

    Seriously, though I am not a battery expert, I highly doubt you can infer what the battery life of the rechargeables in a hybrid vehicle will be based on the lead acid batteries used to start conventional cars in cold vs hot climates. These are completely different animals. Likewise, though there may be some life dependance on how often they are discharged and recharged, unless you can point me to a technical article addressing the issue with current hybrid cars on the road, I take those statements with a big grain of salt also. Essentially, time will tell on battery life when these hybrids get on the road for more years and in greater quantities, and even then, it will be hard to predict life as I am sure the battery technology is evolving, so what you bought this year or last year may not be a good basis for what you buy in two or three years.
  • midnightcowboymidnightcowboy Posts: 1,978
    Honda Civic Hybrid battery pack is only warranted for 8 years or 80,000 miles whichever comes first. Are you confusing the warranty of another battery when you keep mentioning 150,000 miles??

    Actually all Hybrids are basically too new to have any valid statistical or empircal data to predict the hybrid battery life within 2 or 3 standard deviations. If a person drives a car hard in extreme heat or extreme cold, they will probably require a battery replacement under warranty. A person who drives very easy and has mostly highway miles may never need a battery repalcement. Both extremes skew the average and the midpoint of expected battery life. Also we don't know the standard deviation ; it could be very narrow , but more likely it will be very wide.

    And speculation of battery replacement cost is not even close to correct. Currently Nickel-Metal Hydride batteries are being used in hybrid cars . They are a good secondary cell (rechargeable) technology. But more advance Lithium based technology is being used in PCs and other high end rechargeble electronic today. However, there are two main problems that need to be overcome: (1) reducing self-discharge and increasing storage density. The Lithum based offers the best solution espoecially in storage density. There are several Lithium battery types today; Cycular Lithium Ion, Prismatic Lithium Ion, and Polymer Lithium Ion. More than likely when rplacements are due in 7-10 years the replacements with be Polymer Lithium ION instead of Nickel-Metal Hydride. While increased production will reduce costs by absorbing initial tooling and research costs, we the general public, don't know how much of this cost is research and tooling as opposed to pure production costs. To speculate on the type of battery 7-8 years out is akin to predicting the PC in the 60's. We don't know if the cost will be reduced from $3,000 to $1,200 and we don't know what kind of replacment batteries will be offered.

    YMMV,

    MidCow
  • midnightcowboymidnightcowboy Posts: 1,978
    Absolutely agree that mass transit is the real answer. However, the problem is that it is very expensive, especially when you set it up to go to all places "needed" or is that "wanted" ; I get those two words confused after all the definitions and redefinitions.

    Just think if the 87 Billion $ that is being spent of Iraq rebuild this year were applied to mass transportation or to the development of alternate fuels.

    Until then the manual transmission HCH and the manual transmission Insight are the only available manual transmisison alternatives that provide high mileage with very low emissions. And of those two the HCH is the most practical overall!
  • john1701ajohn1701a Posts: 1,897
    I have real-world experience to back my claims.

    > You ever try to crank over your car in the winter?

    Again, this is REDUCED CAPACITY, not death of the battery.

    And since the battery-pack in a hybrid is grossly larger than what is needed to start the engine, it is a non-issue. In other words, it has over 100 times the power needed than a 12V that only has 1 or 2 times. So even if the capacity was reduced by 90%, you'd still have 10 times left... which is still far more than a traditional vehicle.

    Sorry, but having driven a hybrid in MINESOTA through 4 WINTERS now, I am very well informed about real-world operation. And my friends here who also own hybrids concur.

    JOHN
  • john1701ajohn1701a Posts: 1,897
    > Are you confusing the warranty of another battery when you keep mentioning 150,000 miles??

    No. You are simply forgetting about the PZEV version of HCH in CA, as well as the PZEV Prius in CA. They both have those longer warranties.

    > Actually all Hybrids are basically too new to have any valid statistical or empircal data

    7 YEARS is still considered new, eh?

    Prius first went on sale to consumers back in 1997. The prototypes are even older. And the original NiHM dates back even further.

    JOHN
  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 7,235
    We're on the same wavelegnth regarding both battery tech and the need for mass transit. Lithium batteries for automobile use are not yet a reality (and its not clear when they will be). I don't have anything technical to back this up, but I would have to think the constant charge/discharge state of hybrid batteries will indeed lessen their useful life.

    I'm in favor or coast to coast "bullet trains" with auxiliary trasport modes to dertain destinations (conventional trains? busses? monorails?.....??????). But, as you point out, something like that would take Federal and State mandates as well as a budget of trillions (plus some politicians that have more foresight than just their next re-election bid). We're also looking at a the scope of something like this that would take not years, but decades to complete.

    In the meantime, I'm still going to the grocery store in my car tonight and then, next month, drive to my July 4th celebration, 200 miles away, in my Pontiac Vibe (and get 36 MPG with a wagon filled with people and luggage) all for less than $40 in fuel cost for the round trip.

    John, with all due respect, you can TRY to justify your hybrid any way you want. I still can't see any business or environmntal case for them as things stand today. As mentioned, if you want to claim that you wanted some "whiz bang" technology to drive, I'll respect that. I can't see a case being made for any other reason, though.
  • john1701ajohn1701a Posts: 1,897
    > I still can't see any business or environmntal case for them as things stand today.

    Neither can I.

    Remember, my goal is and always has been long-term.

    So, I too am waiting for that critical-mass to be reached. It hasn't yet. In fact, I don't actually recommend buying a hybrid to anyone *TODAY* that isn't dead set on getting one. Waiting is perfectly fine.

    Nonetheless, that has absolutely nothing to do with the technology. It is all a matter of logistics. Training salespeople, training & tooling mechanics, getting third-party suppliers up to speed, and properly informing consumers (ending the misconceptions) are all independent of the design itself.

    It works and is very realistic from an operational point-of-view. So the ownership part will fall right into place as production increases and prices decrease.

    JOHN
  • What is so hard to remember about HV NiMH battery? They are rated for 10,000 recharge cycle before 20% capacity reduction. You'll still have 80% of the original capacity after 10,000 cycles.

    image

    Consumer AA NiMH batteries last 500-1,000 cycles. Lead acid battery life is much shorter.

    Don't forget about Vancouver Prius taxi driver who drove his classic Prius 160,000 miles before trading in with a new one.

    Dennis
  • I will be picking up my new civic hybrid in late June. One of the things I want to do is have an after market moonroof installed. Anyone out there who owns one had any experience with this? Does it impact the fuel effeciency(aerodymanics) or the warranty? I am considering buying the extended warranty, does that extent the battery warranty to 150k miles. I tend to keep my cars a long time. Any comments on these issue? By the way the waiting period has gotten a bit long since gas prices have spiked. Thanks mrwonderful1
  • midnightcowboymidnightcowboy Posts: 1,978
    Great comparison!

    I think you meant "Interior Security System" in stead of "Inferior Security System". If not, LOL

    The HCH is a solid quiet car. One person reported in the Edmunds Consumer reviews that is was noisey; On a test drive I found it very quiet.

    My only problem was that they are selling at MSRP and during the test drive I only got 37 mpg. Garnated I acclerated to get on the highway and probably wasn't driving the most frugal, but still I expected more.

    YMMV,
    MidCow
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