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What's your reason for buying a Hybrid?



  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 3,786
    "For me, it's not an issue because I bought a bump-to-bump 100K warranty when I bought the car. I will trade the car before 100K miles. So why do I care where it gets serviced?"

    Because the person who buys that used car is going to care; if repair costs are expected to be high, the resale (or trade in) value will be less. Only time will tell. If the hybrid technology takes off even more, then parts will be plentiful. If some of the other technologies become common (low sulfur diesel is probably the biggest possiblity in the near term), then the parts may cost. Most likely, it will be somewhere in between the extremes of either possiblity.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    Sure, all cars need servicing. By the time my car has 100K miles on it, the "hybrid training" will have branched out to many of the "certified AAA" mechanic shops.
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 3,786
    Sorry, I misread that last sentence.

    You are making an assumption about hybrid parts availablity and training of hybrid technicians. Maybe both will be common; maybe not. Note also that while hybrids remain so popular, Toyota has little incentive to expand their spare parts or training; the dealers make $$ doing those exclusive repairs.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,404
    I think you have to look at a Prius as a computer gadget, not just a car. So repairs will be akin to getting a 5 year old PC or CD player fixed. No one is going to "repair" an old's going to be major component replacement, in the same way that no one is soldering single connections on motherboards anymore.

    In other words, an old Prius will be more like repairing both a computer AND a car, and the technician is going to have to be a REAL SMART person. Will anyone that smart want to work in a car dealership?

    Time will tell. I'm thinking old hybrids will not be repaired when they have a major breakdown, but recycled. It will not be cost efficient to repair them.


  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    That would put Hybrids into the "disposable car" category, and that would be VERY BAD for everyone.
  • ideleidele Posts: 200
    I hedged my getting an RX400h by leasing. So I know what the residual lease value is. If , when the lease is up, I can sell it for more than the residual value on the lease, which is likely since the mileage allowance is 15000/year and I generally drive less than that, I'm ahead. But in any case I can just turn in the car. with no further concern. There is quite a good aftermarket for used Priuses and I expect the same will be true for the Lexus crossover. As far as my experience with the Lexus hybrid, it has been great.. The hybrid synergy drive is a major technological advance and I can't see any reason to go back to the old technology. So my next car will also be a hybrid
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,404
    But really ALL cars are heading for the "disposable car" category, don't you think, and have been for some years now. I mean, I do wish to avoid gross generalities, but only in America do we seem to solve a consumption problem by buying something else.

    Nothing wrong with disposalibility if there is a really good recycling system set up---maybe even factory buy-back plans, where Toyota can take the old hybrid and shred it into stuff for new hybrids.

    I see hybrid technology as strictly interim and short term-- a 10-15 year thing and then a dead end or a morph into something completely new.


  • Why did I buy a Hybrid? Looking at least what the Highlander we bought has:

    - the ICE part is a standard Toyota ICE (sure different transmission), on the Highlander much of the vehicle is the same as the non-hybrid
    - it uses advanced electronics/computers, as does any other car you buy, but integrates them even more fully since the computer does much more control of the vehicle (drive by wire). As a comparison, modern passenger jets are fly by wire, so it's not new technology. All can fail, but wires and circuits, well designed and constructed, should be more reliable than mechanical/hydraulic components. Yes, can't tinker in the driveway and maybe you need a dealer to do the service, but reliable means less need for service. I work with technology every day and while I kiddingly say I hate computers in fact the transition to more advanced electronics has made the work I do (video production) better, more efficient and more reliable. It's the same with they HH.
    - the other electrical rather than mechanical components - power steering, etc. - are based on electronics and electric motors - again less complicated than the hydraulic/mechanical components they replace and so - designed and manufactured well - they'll be more reliable. Electric motors are amazing, simple things and modern digital control systems are very reliable. Sure, they require skilled persons to work on them, but for the average person who would never consider changing their oil much less doing a valve job what does it matter how the thing works, if it keeps working and is reliable it's a good thing. Electronics tend to just work until they fail, and if their duty cycle is well designed, they'll never fail in the normal life of a product. Mechanicals fail, and that's on any vehicle.

    Unlike computers, which are commodities which are cheap and disposable since service labor is expensive - same as just about electronic device today - any vehicle for a long time is far from "disposable" - maybe the batteries in a hybrid need to be replaced eventually, that''s an unknown, but they are replaceable, and even if the cost really is a couple of thousand dollars, that's still a small % of the total purchase price (and I've spend more than that on repairs on a non-hybrid) so while it's a "maybe someday needs to be replaced" thing that is far different from disposable. It's easy to point at the battery pack and say "see, it's disposable" (actually recycleable according to what I've read somewhere) but the rest is so like any other vehicle that's hardly disposable. A part breaks/fails/wears out you fix it, replace it, or trade it in or junk it. Just like with any other vehicle. And some things are actually simpler - the AWD HH is only about $1500 more than FWD and is a lot less complex than standard AWD.

    In sum, the hybrid to me was attractive because I found it to be a good application of technology that makes the vehicle more efficient, which reduces our dependence on oil, imported and domestic, reduces direct to the air pollution, and the use of electrical components in some systems is a very positive feature. The Highlander Hybrid specifically serves our needs well and is a great vehicle to boot. If you're looking for a direct return on investment through fuel savings it takes a while, but we keep our vehicles for over 100,000 miles so that's not an issue. Not for everybody, we have our reasons to choose. But to us we're happy with our choice and investment. Definitely the best vehicle I've ever owned. - John
  • falcononefalconone Posts: 1,726
    If you take your theory and use that ratio, every car model pales in comparison to the total number. I stand by my assertion that the Prius is NOT a niche vehicle. Is the CRV a niche vehicle? How about the Chevy Impala?
  • I have not seen Prius asking for more then MSRP...I got mine in less then a month...even though I was told by the Dealers 6-8, Dealers I talked to, that there was a 6+ month waiting list.....

    Once they realize you are serious and have the cash...They will find you one....there are lots of toyota dealers just be persistant..

    P.S. the kiss of death is to go on a waiting list....Tell them you will buy from the first dealer that can get you the car you want ...Right Color and Features...
  • I can assure you my Lexus LS430 is far more complicated to work on then a Prius...It has MORE computers...More exectronics...More everything...

    Yet...There are plenty of AMERICAN MEN smart enough to work on my Lexus...Yes guys that SMART want to work in a Car Dealership....Or own their own shop and repair these machines...

    Host...Shame on you for doubting the intelligence of the good old avg. American Working man.....P.S. the Prius is as good as any Chevy or Ford or Toyota on the road today...Plus...It is a Hybred...Will you fix you chevy at 100,000 ...Maybe not but someone will want that car and will fix it.
  • Michael_Mattox said: "My niece in Houston wanted to evacuate but her Pickup only gets 12 Miles per gallon and there was no way she could sit in those lines and NOT RUN OUT OF GAS...(She could not buy Extra Gas tanks or Gas to fill them.) How nice it would have been for her to own a Hybrid where the engine turns itself off in stop and go traffic and at very low speeds you can run on the battery... "

    Actually all type of cars were stranded including Priuses and other hybrids. You can only run on the battery so long before the gasoline motor needs to recharge it. The problem was the highways were never designed to handle a mass evacuation of 2.2 million people. When a normal 3-4 hour drive became a 25-35 hour drive, people ran out of food, water and GAS And then the gas stations ran out and the tankers and special Texas DOT vehicles couldn't resupply because the roads were clogged.

    While there will be some changes to improve the situation, it will still exist when the next major evacuation occurs and it will affect all driviers : hybrid or not.


  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    In the smaller hybrids, you get 500 - 800 miles per tank. That's more than a pickup with a 31 gallon tank that gets 12 MPG.

    So, sure, hybrids ran out of gas too, but they went a LOT FARTHER before they did.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,404
    I'm not doubting the intelligence of the average working man, only doubting that he'd want to take a B.S. degree in order to work on a car for a living. I guess it depends on whether a mechanic will get the same or better salary than a computer geek in the high tech industry.

    I know of no independent shops working on hybrids at the moment.

    I think hybrids are definitely a "niche" vehicle and will remain so. Why? Because gasoline engines are nearly as efficient and will become even more efficient. Right now, if you strip out the electric part, the Prius gas engine is no more efficient, or only slightly more efficient, than a normal gas engine of equal size. You can see this if you run a Prius constantly at highway speeds. The fuel economy drops to the same as or close to the most gas-sipping of the Honda Civics, or VW TDIs. Once gas & diesel engines gain a bit more fuel efficiency, they will compete toe to toe with hybrids with less complexity and cost.

    Where the hybrids might do better is in heavier vehicles that can carry more battery power and then run a smaller gas engine.


  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    I think we are going too far off the edge about what it takes to become a Hybrid mechanic.

    They are not going to be "rebuilding" the HSD parts or the IMA parts.

    They are going to hook the car up to an analysis computer and run tests.

    When a test indicates that a part is bad, they will then replace it, using the tools and mechanic skills that all basic mechanics possess.

    That's not rocket science my friends. It won't take a Bachelor's degree to learn how to do that.
  • larsb siad:

    "So, sure, hybrids ran out of gas too, but they went a LOT FARTHER before they did. "

    And you point is??

    My point is that they still didn't make it to their destination !

    The problem is we you are stop-stop-stop-go-stop-stop-stopstop-go-stop-stop-stop-stop-stop the batterys need to rechage the air conditioners kind of need to run ( high 90s degrees), peopel need food , people need water, people need restrooms.

    ... the mileage drops like an anchor; people were probably getting 2-5 mpg in regular cars and 5-9 in Prius. There wasn't any 500-800 miles per tank; mor like 150-200 at best.


  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,404
    An analysis computer? Okay, fair enough. Costing how much? One computer for each type of hybrid made? Who's going to buy these machines? Hybrid diagnostics are definitely not standardized and I rather doubt they will be.

    Hybrid repair will be more like rotary engine repair or Ferrari repair----just a few specialists to do it with proprietory equipment I think.


  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 3,786
    "If you take your theory and use that ratio, every car model pales in comparison to the total number. I stand by my assertion that the Prius is NOT a niche vehicle. Is the CRV a niche vehicle? How about the Chevy Impala?"

    Well, let's see, I think they sold around 1/2 million GM light duty trucks. That is a pretty significant amount.

    But I was actually speaking of hybrid technology as a niche market. Sorry, should have been more clear there.
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 3,786
    " When a test indicates that a part is bad, they will then replace it, using the tools and mechanic skills that all basic mechanics possess."

    That is precisely why it will be so expensive to fix, if the price of the components doesn't come down...
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    Do you really think the major AAA Certified larger shops, who have purchased analysis computers for EVERY type of new technology in the past (anti-lock brakes, traction control, all the complicated computer systems in cars from 1990-2005) so that they might compete with the dealers are going to all of a sudden "concede" all that repair business to the dealers, with more than a million hybrids on the roads in the USA in a few years?

    I don't think so. It's the cost of doing business, and the larger shops don't want the dealers keeping all that pie.
This discussion has been closed.