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What type of hybrid should I buy?

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  • but, unfortunately, not of today.
    The concept makes imminent sense and we definitely need to become a more energy efficient society. But the hybrid examples available to date still do not make economic sense and are not equal in performance and utility to their conventional counterparts.

    I have three cars for two drivers and although I admire the Insights technology and fuel economy and presently drive a 2-seat car daily, the Insight could not substitute for my Miata, in spite of its larger cargo volume since it does not provide comparable dynamic capabilities.
  • Ahh yes DYNAMIC CAPABILITIES....What the heck does that mean ol'chap? I DO understand your enjoyment of the Miata but lets face it. The Miata hardly meets normal capabilities. (like 4 or 5 adults) or (decent storage).
    As for your statment..."hybrids do not make economic sense and are not equal in performance" well, you'd have a hard time proving that to Nissan, Ford, Honda, and Toyota since they are selling in access of 450,000 hybrids and growing. As for performance well, look out Miata here comes more than three hybrids from Toyota, Nissan, and Honda that will give you a run for performance.(and more to come)
    Last point is for you personally. Test drive a Prius or Accord hybrid and get back to this site. Then lets see what you've got to say about the cars of the future.
    Culliganman (seeing is believing)
  • pjyoungpjyoung Posts: 885
    Hybrids don't make economic sense? Look at the Toyota Prius - seats 4 adults in comfort (a fifth in a pinch), has 16 cubic feet of cargo space (as much as the 300M I traded in), will keep up with traffic on the highway (road trip to Manhattan KS to watch the KSU Wildcats lose) had me in traffic running at 80 mph with no complaint from the engine compartment and got 44mpg in the process. My "conventional counterpart" was a Chrysler 300M, and the Prius is a far better built and capable vehicle than that car ever was. I've got over 450 miles on this tank of gas (around town and the aforementioned 260 mile road trip) and the "low fuel" light STILL hasn't come on. When I fill it...it MIGHT take 10 gallons. Comfort....capacity...and tremendous fuel economy....and it's "not equal"? Gimme a break. It's miles ahead.
  • texasmomtexasmom Posts: 114
    My 6th grade son said that Friday afternoon as school was letting out (11/19) he and his friends saw eight identical (except for different colors) "weird looking cars" driving around in the neighborhood. When they were going past the school they had to slow down and he asked a driver what they were doing. They said they were demonstrating a new hybrid vehicle. He said it's name started with an "I" but he wasn't able to catch it.
    It's got me curious. Anybody know of a recently released hybrid vehicle starting with letter "I"--he's not sure about the name at all, for what it's worth.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,784
    The only hybrid vehicle available for sale now or in the near future that starts with an "I" is the Honda Insight. It is weird-looking, but it's been around for several years so it's hardly new.
  • texasmomtexasmom Posts: 114
    My 6th grade son said that Friday afternoon as school was letting out (11/19) he and his friends saw eight identical (except for different colors) "weird looking cars" driving around in the neighborhood. When they were going past the school they had to slow down and he asked a driver what they were doing. They said they were demonstrating a new hybrid vehicle. He said it's name started with an "I" but he wasn't able to catch it.
    It's got me curious. Anybody know of a recently released hybrid vehicle starting with letter "I"--he's not sure about the name at all, for what it's worth.
  • SylviaSylvia Posts: 1,636
    Get back on topic - this discussion is about "which type [or which] hybrid should I buy?"

    It isn't about whether or not hybrid is the right answer, but if it is for the individual, then which ONE should they purchase.
  • rfruthrfruth Posts: 630
    How are insurance rates for hybrids - Civic hybrid just another Civic, is the Prius insurance premium like that of a Camry ?
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,784
    The January '05 issue of Kiplinger's Personal Finance is their annual new car issue, and it has insurance figures for most new cars based on annual premiums for $300k liability and $500 deductibles on collision and comprehensive coverages for a 40-year-old couple in CA with spotless driving records. They don't show figures for the HCH, but it's $829 for the Prius vs. $789 for the Camry LE V6.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 29,176
    CA is mandating the purchase of HEV or CNG type vehicles. With the CNG limited range the Prius & HCH are the only two left.

    By January 1, 2005, the Department of General Services, CEC and ARB are directed to develop and adopt specifications and standards for all passenger cars and light-duty trucks that are purchased or leased by the state including, but not limited to, the following:

    1) Minimum air pollution emission specifications that meet or exceed the state's Ultra-Low Emission Vehicle II (ULEV II) standards for exhaust emissions,

    2) Procurement policies enabling evaluation of emissions and fuel economy and maximizing procurement of hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) or substantially fuel efficient vehicles and vehicle that meet or exceed SULEV standards, and

    http://www.eere.energy.gov/afdc/progs/search_state.cgi?afdc|CA
  • bjrichbjrich Posts: 125
    Hi plyoung
    Just found this article. Let us know how that tank ended up after the 450 miles. trip and around town.....Sorry Kansas lost.
    I am going to see the Rams this sunday, and I have never been to a football game...they are probably going to lose..
    Keep writing about the Prius. bjrich.
  • I think the primary purpose of a hybrid is to save gas. But unfortunately, more and more automakers are making muscle hybrid cars that, while more fuel efficient than their gasoline counterpart, just cannot be considered very fuel efficient. I guess one such example is the upcoming Lexus RX400H. Vehicles such as this really doesn't benefit the environment when you consider that the manufacturing process of the batteries itself creates pollution and burns gas.
  • pjyoungpjyoung Posts: 885
    Those are pretty much my thoughts...It seems like the Hybrid concept is going to become "how much horsepower will this give me". The funny part is....where in the United States does anyone have a need for 350 of 400 hp? Not many of the SUV's I am seeing with that much horsepower are ever towing anything....most of the "sports cars" that have that much horsepower are going the same speed I am in my Prius, and my Prius is quite capable of getting me a speeding ticket....even on the interstates of western Kansas - where the tendency to push the speedo up a notch or two is strong (flat scenery will do that to you)

    So it seems that 0-60 times are what matter most. And to be honest with you, I outgrew the boy racer phase before my 20th birthday...and these horsepower laden cars are affordable only to guys who are entering a midlife crisis and trying to recapture the glory days of their high school years. My Prius is rated a 0-60 in something like 10 seconds...nope, I won't be winning any stoplight challenges, but on the other hand, I haven't had any problems getting on freeways, I can make a right turn on red without impeding the flow of oncoming traffic, and I have power on tap to pass with confidence. And I find it to be a bit upsetting that the technology to deliver higher economy is being hijacked in the name of needless horsepower.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 29,176
    So it seems that 0-60 times are what matter most.

    I agree. Anyone that says they are trying to be environmentally conscientious, then buys a performance car whether it is a Ferrari or a Honda Accord Hybrid. I don't give them much credibility. If you are compelled to worry about 0-60 times. You cannot be worried about saving fossil fuel. The two are not synonomous. I believe those driving the current hybrids are wanting to do their part for the environment. The hybrid cars and SUVs on the horizon are more to salve the conscience of people that don't want to give up high performance to save the planet.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,784
    The hybrid cars and SUVs on the horizon are more to salve the conscience of people that don't want to give up high performance to save the planet.

    Fact: Many are going to buy V6-powered cars and SUVs, like Accords, Camrys, Altimas, Highlanders, and RX400h's. Isn't it better that people can buy vehicles of that size and power that get 30-40 mpg rather than 20-25? The current hybrids--Insight, Civic, Prius, and Escape--don't meet everyone's needs.
  • xcelxcel Posts: 1,025
    Hi Backy:

    Isn't it better that people can buy vehicles of that size and power that get 30-40 mpg rather than 20-25? The current hybrids--Insight, Civic, Prius, and Escape--don't meet everyone's needs.

    ___So what would be wrong with the current Accord or Camry I4’s being VCM’ed and possibly IMA’ed/HSD’ed to receive 40 - 45 mpg combined, having V6 like performance, and still maintaining the I4 based PZEV emissions std.’s. Oh, and cost ~ the same as the V6 ;-)

    ___Or how about the Euro Accord’s iCDTi in an American sized Accord or CRV receiving 40 - 50 mpg combined for less then the V6 today? Maybe VCM them for 50 - 60 mpg combined? Maybe install the future Honda designed 1.5 - 1.7 L iCDTi w/ both IMA and VCM that would be good for 70 - 75 + mpg combined in the true midsized Accord sedan or CRV SUV? All of these mid-sized cars and SUV’s would have 0 - 60 times in under 10 seconds.

    ___We have plenty to look forward too but it isn’t quite here yet … although it could have been :-(

    ___Good Luck

    ___Wayne R. Gerdes
  • pjyoungpjyoung Posts: 885
    That's right, they don't. But... where is the need for 300 horsepower in any car or SUV? Please don't site trailer towing as a reason...there are far far more SUV's running around with just a sole occupant 99% of the time that the "need" for 300 horses to tow a trailer just isn't there. And the "soccer mom" who needs the capacity to take everything to the soccer match....my kids soccer coach drives a Honda Civic. He brings a bag full of balls, cones, and other needs, along with his wife and two daughters to each game. He apparently doesn't need 300 horses under the hood to haul them all. The only thing he can't do is beat the 350 horsepower Durango from 0 to 60.

    I guess to summarize, I change your wording from "The current hybrids don't meet everyones needs" to "The current hybrids don't meet everyones wants".
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 29,176
    Fact: Many are going to buy V6-powered cars and SUVs, like Accords, Camrys, Altimas, Highlanders, and RX400h's.

    That is what free choice is all about. They can buy a Ferrari if they can afford it. The connotation that goes along with hybrid is saving the planet. We have shown many times that the manufacturing of a hybrid is much more polluting than a conventional ICE. Then when you add the fact of very little or no improvement in mileage over the more economical vehicles of the genre. I don't see where we are going ahead with this kind of charade. A 4 cylinder Accord will equal the mileage of the Accord hybrid with less overall damage to the environment. Same goes for the Ford Escape Hybrid. Edmund's with their Escape Hybrid are doing 25.5 mpg overall much worse than EPA. The only gains I am seeing is in the price.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,784
    How do you know the Camry hybrid will be a V6? Do you have some details on that, I haven't seen any yet? The Altima hybrid will be a 4-cylinder, and the prototype is delivering V6-like performance and 40+ mpg fuel economy. Who knows, maybe Honda has plans to offer the HAH in a 4-cylinder model--they are notoriously tight-lipped about their product plans. For now, someone who would buy a V6 Accord could by the HAH instead and save gas.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,784
    But... where is the need for 300 horsepower in any car or SUV? Please don't site trailer towing as a reason...

    Why not? Some people need to tow trailers, don't they? How about a little empathy for people who can't get by without a large vehicle? I don't need a large vehicle myself, but I recognize that some people need them, e.g. the horse rancher that needs to tow a horse trailer might very well need that 300 hp SUV or pickup. I know for sure a HCH or Prius couldn't do it. As for soccer moms, I know many moms (and dads) that regularly need to haul more than five people. So a minivan or SUV might work best for them. Again, I think we need to respect other people's needs and not assume that what is right for us is right for everyone, and look down our noses at others because they don't drive the most fuel efficient vehicles on the planet.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,784
    The connotation that goes along with hybrid is saving the planet. We have shown many times that the manufacturing of a hybrid is much more polluting than a conventional ICE.

    I've seen a graph that compares emissions during manufacture and operation of an average ICE car to that of the Prius. I haven't seen figures comparing ICE cars in general to hybrids in general.

    Hybrid powertrains are a technology, like manual transmissions. Putting your statement into this context is like saying, "The connotation of a manual transmission is greater fuel economy, not to make the car more fun to drive and getting quicker acceleration. You should only buy a car with a manual transmission if it offers greater fuel economy than cars with automatic transmissions."

    Every hybrid for sale today gets greater fuel economy than its closest ICE counterpart. People who buy these hybrids save gas. What's the problem?
  • Remember, the biggest complaint about the Prius is the MPG people are getting in real world driving situation. I believe the EPA rating is 50/60 highway/city or 55 mpg average combined. But most people are getting somewhere in the neighborhood of mid 40s mpg. While that is certainly respectable, it is also 10 mpg less than the EPA figure. One can conclude based on the Prius that the hybrid Lexus SUV might not get the same MPG as Lexus is advertising. If everybody starts to drive powerful hybrid cars thinking that they can have power and efficiency both at the same time then they are being somewhat mislead by auto companies.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,784
    We'll have some data pretty soon on the "power and performance" angle, as drivers get experience with the brand-new HAH. It will be some time before we see how well the RX400h delivers on fuel economy. I think what we'll see is typical of current behavior: drivers who drive with a lead foot will see poor fuel economy numbers. Those who drive with the goal of maximizing fuel economy, and use the extra power only when needed, will see good overall fuel economy numbers, at or above EPA estimates, just like many owners of Insights, HCHs, and Priuses do today.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 29,176
    Every hybrid for sale today gets greater fuel economy than its closest ICE counterpart. People who buy these hybrids save gas. What's the problem?

    That is not so. The Escape is not close to the 33 combined mileage it is rated for. I have not seen anyone with as many miles as the Edmund's Escape and they are at 25.5 combined. The 4 cylinder Escape gets 26 combined. Everyone knows the Prius is at least 15% below the EPA estimates. The Insight and HCH are the only ones in the ballpark.

    The added impact on the environment in the manufacturing of a hybrid is a fact. Without a significant increase in fuel economy and much lower emissions, the benefit to the environment is lost. In my mind cars like the Escape and Accord hybrid will never be as clean as their ICE counterparts. Their slight gain in mileage and emissions will not overcome the much higher amounts of SOx, NOx, CO2 & PM created during their manufacturing process.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,784
    My comment was relative to EPA numbers. I don't think it's fair to take one instance, Edumunds' one-year test that just started, and extrapolate it to all cars on the road. On top of that, you compared Edmunds' short-term experience with the EPA number for the standard 4-cylinder Escape. And we know that the performance of the Escape hybrid is closer to that of the V6 than the 4-cylinder. What is the average mpg of V6 Escapes in the real world?

    As for the Prius, even in the mid-40s it gets about 20 mpg more than the average automatic mid-sized sedan (compare for example CR's test of 44 with the Prius vs. mid-20s of other midsized sedans it has tested).

    What is the closest ICE car to the Insight? Recall that I was comparing hybrid cars to their closest ICE counterpart.

    The Escape hybrid is a PZEV-emissions vehicle. Do you have some data comparing the lifetime emissions of the Escape hybrid to the V6 Escape, which is the closest ICE counterpart to the hybrid?

    Anyway, I thought this discussion was all about discussing which hybrid is the best fit for someone's needs--not arguing (again) about the suitability of hybrid technology in general.
  • You are right. We have gotten off topic. Since hybrids main purpose is to save gasoline (IMO) I think the Prius and HCH should fit the bill for most prospective buyers, although judging by your posts you like the HAH, right?
  • The amount of SOx, NOx & PM created generated during manufacturing is probably dawfed by that of a diasel alternative in its service life.

    The upcoming SUV hybrid applications actually offers a simplified AWD system, obviating the need for mechanical drive shafts and transfer cases to the rear. So the incremental manufacturing cost will be drasticly reduced when a hybrid is compared to an ICE AWD.

    The logic behind hybrid SUV is quite simple:
    Replacing a 30mpg tin can with a 40mpg hybrid saves 100 gallons over 12k miles; replacing an 18mpg SUV with a 25mpg hybrid saves 187 gallons over 12k miles, at 30mpg saves 267 gallons, and a 35mpg hybrid would save 324 gallons!

    As to why SUV owners have to own SUVs to begin with, that's an entirely different topic, and those who are not commuting on two wheels or a pair of sneakers probably should not cast the first stone. For what it's worth, I telecommute, 30 paces from my bedroom to my office, in slipers, so I am holier than thou :-)
  • "For what it's worth, I telecommute, 30 paces from my bedroom to my office, in slipers, so I am holier than thou :-) "

    That would be the best solution. Can you imagine how much gas can be saved if everybody could work from home ? I am sure we might have to come to that in the not so distant future.
  • > Since hybrids main purpose is to save gasoline (IMO)

    And the main purpose of cars is for rich guys to race horses on weekends :-)

    Although the first commercial hybrid application was marketted as fuel mizers, hybrid technology was first used in car races until it was banned because it gave the haves "an unfair advantage" over the have-nots. The whole situaiton is a bit like Honda's VTEC a decade ago; first introduced commercially as a fuel saver (VTEC-E Civics) after racing sucess, before high performance VTEC engines tuned for power really catching the imagination of consumers. The later VTEC-E powered Civic HX never sold nearly as well as high performance Integras and RSX's despite being gobs cheaper.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 29,176
    You are right. We have gotten off topic. Since hybrids main purpose is to save gasoline (IMO) I think the Prius and HCH should fit the bill for most prospective buyers

    I agree with your choices and would add the Insight as the best solo or two person commuter available in the USA.

    I would argue with the assertion that the hybrid will cause less pollution in the manufacture of AWD. It is the electric motors and batteries that increase the manufacturing emissions. So far the only Life Cycle Assessment I have found came from Toyota for the New Prius. It clearly shows that airborne pollutants created during the manufacturing process of the hybrid to be much higher than the equivalent ICE car. That imbalance will not be in favor of the Prius until they both have been driven close to 100k miles. My conclusion is that the imbalance of the LCA for a car like a RX400h or HAH, could be considerably more than 100k miles. I believe that is much of the holdup with Toyota and the other automakers. Diminishing returns both financially and ecologically.

    All regulators at EPA & CARB are worried about is the emissions on the finished product. Most of the manufacturing pollution is dumped in another country. Try to build that Prius in CA from raw materials. I'll bet it would never happen.
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