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Civic Hybrid vx Civic LX - How many miles before I break even?

warnerwarner Posts: 196
edited March 14 in Honda
I had a discussion with one of my wife's co workers yesterday regarding how long it would take to recoup the price difference between a new Civic Hybrid versus a Civic LX. Here's what I came up with:

How long it takes to make up the price difference on a Hybrid
The non-hybrid Civic is rated at 30 City/ 40 Highway. The Hybrid is rated at 50 both city and highway. So we’ll take the non-hybrid at an average of 35mpg and the Hybrid at 50mpg.
The non-hybrid Civic model that the Hybrid most closely competes with is the LX model. The MSRP on the Hybrid is $22,400 and it is typically selling for $2,000 over MSRP, but there is also a tax credit for 2006 on Hybrid vehicles so we’ll call it a wash and say the Hybrid sells at MSRP. The LX model with automatic has an MSRP of $17,869 or $4,531 less than the Hybrid. Dealers are typically more willing to deal on the LX than they are on the Hybrid, but we’ll leave that out of this equation. So we’re starting with a $4,531 deficit for buying the Hybrid (again, not figuring in the extra finance charges on that money if one were financing the purchase).

So how long does it take to recoup our more than $4,500 deficit? Read on…..

If gas costs $2.50 a gallon here’s how much the Hybrid recovers at a given mileage:


At 50,000 miles the non-hybrid has used 1429 gallons of gas, which cost $3572 while the Hybrid has used 1000 gallons of gas, which cost $2500. The Hybrid has recovered $1,072 at this point.

At 100,000 miles, the Hybrid has recovered $2,142

At 150,000 miles, the Hybrid has recovered $3,216

At 200,000 miles, the Hybrid has recovered $4,288

At 250,000 miles, the Hybrid has recovered $5,360

So at $2.50 a gallon, we’d have to drive about 211,000 miles to break even

If gas costs $3 a gallon, here’s the numbers: (We break even around 176,000 miles)

At 50,000 miles, the Hybrid recovers $1,287

At 100,000 miles, the Hybrid recovers $2,574

At 150,000 miles, the Hybrid recovers $3,861

At 175,000 miles, the Hybrid recovers $4,505

At 200,000 miles, the Hybrid recovers $5,148

This is assuming the batteries last long enough to not be a factor in this comparison

Warner
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Comments

  • falcononefalconone Posts: 1,726
    What about the tax credit and additional features on the hybrid?

    Since you have your calculator out, tell me how much additional money I will spend if I opt for a V8 over a V6 in the Grand Cherokee?

    How about if instead of a C Class Mercedes, I buy a Honda Accord? Same equipment in the Accord, better ride, better reliability. Your argument makes NO sense.

    People buy what they are happy with. Leave it at that.
  • warnerwarner Posts: 196
    What about the tax credit and additional features on the hybrid?

    I mentioned the tax credit in calculating the cost of the car. As far as additional features, which ones are you referring to?

    Since you have your calculator out, tell me how much additional money I will spend if I opt for a V8 over a V6 in the Grand Cherokee?

    I don't know because those vehicles are not what I was comparing. I'm sure you could do the math on those two vehicles if those were ones that you were considering buying. In fact, one could do this for ANY two vehicles that they wanted to compare. I was comparing the two Honda Civic models. The discussion that I had with my wife's co-worker went like this:

    Co-worker "Hey, Kristina told me you bought a new car"

    Me - "Yeah, I bought a 2006 Civic"

    Co-worker "Did you buy the Hybrid?"

    Me - "No, I couldn't justify the additional cost. I think it would take about 200,000 miles just to break even"

    Co-worker "No way! Do the math on it and you'll see that within 2 years you'd be broken even on it"

    Me - "Okay, I'll do the math and get back to you tomorrow"

    So I did the math and I'm going to get back to him today. I thought others on here might want to see how it all breaks down. Sorry if the numbers do not look favorable to you.


    How about if instead of a C Class Mercedes, I buy a Honda Accord? Same equipment in the Accord, better ride, better reliability. Your argument makes NO sense.

    I was not comparing a Mercedes to an Accord. I was comparing a Civic to a Civic. Besides the obvious technological differences, the vehicles ride and perform almost identically. It's as close to an apples-to-apples comparison as one could make.


    People buy what they are happy with. Leave it at that.

    I didn't tell anyone what to buy or not buy. I simply posted numbers so they could make a more informed decision about what they wanted.

    Warner
  • Your argument has 2 misconceptions:

    a - 'HCH trim level is most comparable to LX' - it isn't. It's comparable to the EX (you trade off 4 wheel disc brakes and the sunroof, but gain 15mpg, auto climate control, turn signals in the side mirrors, and a couple of other goodies (spoiler, etc). Not to mention significantly less pollution with SULEV (LX, EX) vs PZEV (Hybrid). Now, let's talk roughly $19.5 vs 22,400.

    b.- 'HCH can be only be had at MSRP + $2000'. I can tell you that I have a signed order at a local dealer in IL for a non-Navi '06 HCH at MSRP. The enterprising individual can go to Mark Roberts Honda in OK, and get one for MSRP minus $1500. Check it out. Just because you live in an area that charges a premium for a hybrid doesn't mean you have to buy the car locally.

    So - with those two things alone, we've narrowed the delta to roughly $2975, EX vs hybrid. (MSRP, no driving to Oklahoma to pick up a car, but if you did, the difference is all the way down to approx $1500).

    Now, let's figure in the tax credit...
    While the IRS figures haven't been released yet for the new tax credit, estimates are coming in about $1750-$2100 for this car. I used $2000 for my figures, since that's what I got as a deduction for last January's HAH purchase (nets about $650, according to my preliminary figures in TurboTax; the '06 credit will net the full amount).

    Now let's figure the savings (or, 'payback' in your analogy). This will increase with more miles driven per year. People who put miles on their car are prime candidates for hybrids. I average 25K mi/yr for the last 6 years, over 3 cars (my current one is an Accord Hybrid, btw).

    So...if I drive 25K mi/yr, and pay 2.50/gal for gas, I've saved $535/yr by driving the hybrid. Payback occurs in 5.5yrs for me (granted, I drive a lot of miles - but not as many as some people). 137,000mi to 'break even'
    Increase the cost of gas to $3.00, and payback occurs in 4.6 years ($642/yr). At that point, I have just about 115K mi on the car.

    And...in 4-5 years, I think we're going to be reminiscing on $3.00 gas as 'cheap', the same way everyone is about the 'new normal' - $2.25 - $2.50. Unfortunately, a year ago, 'normal' was about $1.85/gal.

    That's not a bad return, in my book. Thanks to the new tax bill, the HCH is comparable in cost to an EX, for me.

    Will I get 50mpg per gallon ? Well, given that I get better than the EPA combined for my HAH (34mpg), I expect to do at least as well in the HCH-II. And I don't have the overhead of 6 cylinders firing up, plus I can coax EV mode at will in the stop-n-slow traffic I face daily. So really, I'll be disappointed if I don't see somewhere in the neighborhood of EPA in the winter, and EPA + 15-20% in the summer (I've done that this past summer)

    So, you see...I'd like to thank you. I had debated in my head about perhaps purchasing an LX/EX vs. the hybrid. Your post prompted me to do the math and confirm that the hybrid was the right choice for me...again :)

    That is, as long as I hold onto the car for the 4-5yrs total. But even if I don't - have you seen residuals on hybrids lately ? I've seen examples of appreciation, vs. depreciation (not saying this will be typical, but if current trends continue, I think depreciation rates will be greatly reduced for the most fuel-efficient hybrids).
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,993
    I expect to do at least as well in the HCH-II.

    My question to you. Will you be satisfied driving the HCH instead of your hotrod HAH? Seems like going backward comfort & performance wise.
  • warnerwarner Posts: 196
    Your argument has 2 misconceptions:
    a - 'HCH trim level is most comparable to LX' - it isn't. It's comparable to the EX (you trade off 4 wheel disc brakes and the sunroof, but gain 15mpg, auto climate control, turn signals in the side mirrors, and a couple of other goodies (spoiler, etc). Not to mention significantly less pollution with SULEV (LX, EX) vs PZEV (Hybrid). Now, let's talk roughly $19.5 vs 22,400.


    If you really believe that climate control and turn signals in the mirrors is equivalent to 4-wheel disc brakes and a one-touch power moon roof, that’s fine. I wouldn’t make that trade personally, but I’ll accept that as valid. The mileage differences are the topic of this conversation, so you can’t say that’s an extra feature on the Hybrid. If you think the spoiler is an equal trade for the 16” alloy wheels that are on the EX, that’s fine too. Another trade I would never make. The spoiler can be added to the EX for a LOT less money than the 16” alloys could be added to the Hybrid. (and the Hybrid wheels are probably the ugliest wheels I’ve ever seen….but that’s opinion and shouldn’t be figured in to this discussion; we’re here to compare facts, not opinions). The only features that the Hybrid has over the LX are the Remote trunk release, 2 extra speakers and steering wheel controls, the climate control, and a $280 spoiler, and it doesn’t even have the 16” wheels of the LX. How much are those worth? That’s a matter of opinion. The EX does not add climate control to the LX, but adds everything else that the Hybrid adds PLUS 4-wheel disk brakes (how much are THOSE worth?), alloy wheels (at least $600 on the internet, not the crazy dealer prices), and a power moon roof (how much to install one of those again?).

    b.- 'HCH can be only be had at MSRP + $2000'. I can tell you that I have a signed order at a local dealer in IL for a non-Navi '06 HCH at MSRP. The enterprising individual can go to Mark Roberts Honda in OK, and get one for MSRP minus $1500. Check it out. Just because you live in an area that charges a premium for a hybrid doesn't mean you have to buy the car locally. So - with those two things alone, we've narrowed the delta to roughly $2975, EX vs hybrid. (MSRP, no driving to Oklahoma to pick up a car, but if you did, the difference is all the way down to approx $1500).

    While I did not say that the Hybrid could ONLY be had at $2,000 plus MSRP, according to www.carsdirect.com that is what MOST people are paying for the car. They also say that MOST people are paying full MSRP for the EX, so those are the numbers that I used for the comparison. I find it interesting that you choose to compare the Hybrid’s price where most people aren’t buying it (cheaper than most pay), but choose to price the EX at the TOP price that anyone could pay for it. Do you really think that those are real-world numbers? It certainly seems that you are manipulating the numbers in favor of the Hybrid. What could one buy an EX for if they shopped all over the country? Isn’t it fairer to compare numbers that way?

    Now, let's figure in the tax credit...
    While the IRS figures haven't been released yet for the new tax credit, estimates are coming in about $1750-$2100 for this car. I used $2000 for my figures .


    Your tax credit numbers are probably correct….and I also gave $2,000 for that.

    Now let's figure the savings (or, 'payback' in your analogy). This will increase with more miles driven per year. People who put miles on their car are prime candidates for hybrids. I average 25K mi/yr for the last 6 years, over 3 cars (my current one is an Accord Hybrid)

    So...if I drive 25K mi/yr, and pay 2.50/gal for gas, I've saved $535/yr by driving the hybrid. Payback occurs in 5.5yrs for me (granted, I drive a lot of miles - but not as many as some people). 137,000mi to 'break even'
    Increase the cost of gas to $3.00, and payback occurs in 4.6 years ($642/yr). At that point, I have just about 115K mi on the car.


    Even with all the numbers skewed unrealistically in favor of the Hybrid, you STILL have to drive the car more than 100,000 miles to BREAK EVEN? How many people are going to keep their cars that long? And here’s a real pertinent question for you….what do you think the resale value will be on a 4-5 year old Hybrid vehicle with over 100,000 miles on it, with the batteries well out of warranty (unless you live in CA)? I wouldn’t buy one for that reason ALONE, even if it were the same price as an EX.

    And...in 4-5 years, I think we're going to be reminiscing on $3.00 gas as 'cheap', the same way everyone is about the 'new normal' - $2.25 - $2.50. Unfortunately, a year ago, 'normal' was about $1.85/gal.

    Pure speculation. I can’t say you’re wrong, but you can’t say you’re right. And in 4-5 years, new technology will be available that will obsolete your Hybrid. It may be a gass-guzzler at that point in time, with over 100,000 miles on it and a questionable battery life left in it. Not for me, thanks.

    That's not a bad return, in my book. Thanks to the new tax bill, the HCH is comparable in cost to an EX, for me.

    With HEAVILY manipulated numbers, and the notion that the Hybrid is on the same trim level as the EX, and you driving it over 100,000 miles….let’s not forget to mention those small details. Oh, and while we're at it, let's not mention the extra cost of financing that extra several thousand dollars either, okay? Or do you think that most Hybrid buyers are just paying cash for their vehicles?

    Will I get 50mpg per gallon ? Well, given that I get better than the EPA combined for my HAH (34mpg), I expect to do at least as well in the HCH-II.

    I never questioned the mileage numbers. It was not part of the discussion.

    So, you see...I'd like to thank you. I had debated in my head about perhaps purchasing an LX/EX vs. the hybrid. Your post prompted me to do the math and confirm that the hybrid was the right choice for me...again. That is, as long as I hold onto the car for the 4-5yrs total. But even if I don't - have you seen residuals on hybrids lately ? I've seen examples of appreciation, vs. depreciation (not saying this will be typical, but if current trends continue, I think depreciation rates will be greatly reduced for the most fuel-efficient hybrids).

    You’re free to make that choice. It would be interesting to fast-forward 4 or 5 years and over a hundred thousand miles to see if your opinion has changed. The type of people who buy whiz-bang technology are going to continue to do that. Which spells trouble for a 4-5 year old hybrid vehicle with over 100,000 miles on it because in 4-5 years their whiz-bang hybrid won’t be so whiz-bang anymore.
  • xcelxcel Posts: 1,025
    Hi Warner:

    A few intangibles … Because of the Trip A/B FCD’s (Fuel Consumption Displays) and Instantaneous’ in the HCH-II, it has the capability to reach the EPA and far beyond if the new driver is willing to learn from them. FCD feedback is truly a wonderful thing. A previously game gauge trained hypermiler could do very well in the non-hybrid Civic but will do spectacular with the HCH-II. 53/70 mpg from each as a guess. Even with the best FE results, the out of pocket $ would skew the decision towards the non-hybrid in that scenario? In the real world with the average driver, the non-hybrid will more then likely languish in the mid 20’s to low 30’s. This guesstimate is for the mixed City/Highway - middle distance (15 - 20 miles) driver. The hybrid can do wonders for that individual. The short haul driver’s? The Hybrid will more then likely never reach its potential let alone the lower yearly mile total skewing the $’s saved toward the less expensive Civic in that scenario … I am not saying the HCH-II’s FE cannot be driven into the ground because it easily can but with the FCD’s in front of you, at least you know how you are driving in real time and can make the appropriate adjustment(s) vs. the non-hybrid Civic driver attempting to figure out what they received when they place $25.00 into the tank. That particular he or she will probably have no clue as to what we are talking about because they do not know how to divide miles driven/gallons of fuel filled ;)

    Honda Civic - Please post your gas mileage

    Although you make a very good point about resale with the pack question at 150,000 + miles, the Insight and Prius I’s have been out for over 5 years and if the HCH-II/Prius II’s resale is anything like those 2 hybrids, the hybrid owners have nothing to worry about.

    And other reasons to purchase a hybrid … Some just do not like consuming as much oil given where some of it comes from or emitting as much from the tail pipe. For those individuals, the Hybrid kicks @$$ ;)

    Someone posted above that the non-hybrid 06 Civic was an SULEV-II when it’s actually a ULEV-II. Honda could have made the non-hybrid just as clean but chose not too :( One more notch down the board but still very clean.

    Good Luck

    Wayne R. Gerdes
  • warnerwarner Posts: 196
    Hi Warner:

    A few intangibles … Because of the Trip A/B FCD’s (Fuel Consumption Displays) and Instantaneous’ in the HCH-II, it has the capability to reach the EPA and far beyond if the new driver is willing to learn from them. FCD feedback is truly a wonderful thing. A previously game gauge trained hypermiler could do very well in the non-hybrid Civic but will do spectacular with the HCH-II. 53/70 mpg from each as a guess. Even with the best FE results, the out of pocket $ would skew the decision towards the non-hybrid in that scenario? In the real world with the average driver, the non-hybrid will more then likely languish in the mid 20’s to low 30’s. This guesstimate is for the mixed City/Highway - middle distance (15 - 20 miles) driver. The hybrid can do wonders for that individual. The short haul driver’s? The Hybrid will more then likely never reach its potential let alone the lower yearly mile total skewing the $’s saved toward the less expensive Civic in that scenario…. I am not saying the HCH-II’s FE cannot be driven into the ground because it easily can but with the FCD’s in front of you, at least you know how you are driving in real time and can make the appropriate adjustment(s) vs. the non-hybrid Civic driver attempting to figure out what they received when they place $25.00 into the tank. That particular he or she will probably have no clue as to what we are talking about because they do not know how to divide miles driven/gallons of fuel filled


    Wayne, I don’t doubt that an educated and disciplined driver (aka Hyper-miler) can achieve greater than EPA estimates, likely even more above EPA estimate in a Hybrid than they could in a non-Hybrid. This goes beyond just having the gauges, though….it also involves a decision to change one’s driving style drastically. Obviously, someone’s decision to drive that way probably would affect my comparison which was based upon averages and standard test methods (EPA). My postings were directed at the AVERAGE buyer of either vehicle, not a specialty driver. As far as what the average driver will get in a non-hybrid, I can tell you that the 41,000 mile average that I got from my ’04 Civic LX 5-speed was 35mpg (for the record, that was EXACTLY between the city/highway EPA estimates for that vehicle), and believe me when I tell you that I am FAR from a hyper-miler in my driving style. I accelerate quickly and speed my butt off. My typical 20 mile commute to work almost always involves speeds around 80mph for as much of the trip as possible, and when that isn’t possible that means I’m in heavy traffic (stop-and-go), so my mileage would suffer even worse in that. And I hope that you are wrong (or joking) about people’s ability to figure their FE. I would hope that ANY driver of ANY car would be able to divide the number of miles by number of gallons if they so desired. I certainly don’t need a built-in computer to do simple division…..nor does my 10 year old son.


    Although you make a very good point about resale with the pack question at 150,000 + miles, the Insight and Prius I’s have been out for over 5 years and if the HCH-II/Prius II’s resale is anything like those 2 hybrids, the hybrid owners have nothing to worry about.

    You could be right….it was just a question that remains to be proven out one way or another. Personally, I would not buy such a vehicle with mileage that was beyond the warranty on such an expensive part. Others may have differing opinions. Either way time will tell.

    And other reasons to purchase a hybrid … Some just do not like consuming as much oil given where some of it comes from or emitting as much from the tail pipe. For those individuals, the Hybrid kicks $$

    I don’t fault anyone for buying a Hybrid (or any other car for that matter) for personal reasons. My initial post was directed towards those who were considering which vehicle to get based on cost, not emotion or personal tastes.

    Someone posted above that the non-hybrid 06 Civic was an SULEV-II when it’s actually a ULEV-II. Honda could have made the non-hybrid just as clean but chose not too One more notch down the board but still very clean.

    I knew that the non-hybrid was not a SULEV-II…that was not my post and it was not a factor in the criteria of my original post.

    Warner
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    The spoiler can be added to the EX for a LOT less money than the 16” alloys could be added to the Hybrid. (and the Hybrid wheels are probably the ugliest wheels I’ve ever seen….but that’s opinion and shouldn’t be figured in to this discussion; we’re here to compare facts, not opinions

    The wheels on the Hybrid, like those of the little Insight, are designed to be more aerodynamically efficient than those (albeit more stylish) rims on the EX (or wheelcovers from the LX). They produce less aerodynamic drag. You should know, that while the EX is designed more to a style standpoint, the Hybrid is designed to a function (electric A/C that allows the gas engine to shut-off and still cool the interior, the spoiler isn't for looks, but to make the car more efficient). The list goes on... :)
  • warnerwarner Posts: 196
    The wheels on the Hybrid, like those of the little Insight, are designed to be more aerodynamically efficient than those (albeit more stylish) rims on the EX (or wheelcovers from the LX). They produce less aerodynamic drag. You should know, that while the EX is designed more to a style standpoint, the Hybrid is designed to a function (electric A/C that allows the gas engine to shut-off and still cool the interior, the spoiler isn't for looks, but to make the car more efficient). The list goes on...

    Understood. I realize that there are MANY technical differences between the two cars. I believe that's WHY the Hybrid has the 15" wheels...because the low-rolling-resistance tires are only available in 15" size. The technical differences were not a factor in this discussion, but I was aware of some or most of them. The fact that they are there does not change any of the facts of the thread. I hope that I don't come off as an a**hole or sound negative towards the hybrid in my posts. I'm just convinced that it doesn't make financial sense to buy a hybrid today.

    Warner
  • If you like manual transmissions when does the CVT only hybrid ever break even ?

    I just ordered a Civic Si in Rallye Red. I don't think I could ever ever break even with the fun of manual shifting, the performance, the handling and the pure pleasure of driving.

    In some cases there just isn't a possible break-even. I guess that is why there are so many different types of vehicles, because each person has different wants and needs.

    Financially, I have analyzed and over-analyzed the cost savings of hybrids for a long, long time. And my specailization was linear programing, probability and statistics. From a pure financial point a hybrid is not a sound investment, but there are many other reasons to justify a hybrid. In most cases they have more advanced features and even instanteous mileage meters ( even though a 442 I had back in the 60s had a vacuum gauge that had economy and a BMW M3 with instantaneous mpg, IS300 with instanteous mpg, most NAV systems have) seem to be the biggest gimmick people latch onto about saving money or hypermiling. XCEL is right, you can drive just about every car for mileage and meet or exceed EPA estimates. But you have to change you driving habits in most cases. It is very, very strange that people will change their driving habits when they get a hybrid with fuel computers and instantaneous mileage meter, when they could just as well begin conserving with their existing vehicle.

    Anyway, good luck with your hybrid Honda Civic CVT. I sure you will enjoy it, just as much as I enjoy my 6-speed Accord Coupe and my soon to be 6-speed Civic Si.

    Double sixes,

    MidCow

    P.S.- Why so the hybrids come is such drab colors? No Rallye Red, or Atomic Blue.
  • eaaeaa Posts: 30
    I save on my 2003 HCH by getting 60+ mpg drivin smart, little brake wear, less oil changes with factory recommended 10,000 miles and less time stopped at gas stations.
    The cleaner air doesn't pay me directly but is precious, the reduced imported terrorist oil for oil changes and gas fill ups is priceless. The encouragement to Honda to make EVen better hybrids is paying for Everyone. Each new model gets better. Just like PCs and Cell phones we will soon get 100+ mpg and never need oil changes.
    Whats the payback on big fancy RIMS ? On leather seats ? On a monster sterio on a fancy paint job etc. Hybrid really pay off every mile.
  • ny1911ny1911 Posts: 11
    I own a company that does work in both the hybrid vehicle and renewable energy industries. Here are a few truisms within both industries:

    1. As the OP demnstrated, the paybacks from a financial perspective are currently unattractive.
    2. People that buy into hybrids, solar, etc, do so for a few separate reasons: they want to spend their money that way, they place a premium on environmental concerns or they want to hedge against a dramatic increase in conventional fuel cost.
    3. Consumers are uneasy with change. If we said gas would rise to $4/gallon and stabilize there for 20 years, folks would adjust their habits and budgets and drive the vehicle of their choice. When folks see gas go up $0.25 in a few days, they react as if they project that increase to a limitless price...human nature again.
    4. As we've seen here, anyone can justify their position by simply accepting a certain payback (or not) or taking the most favorable sets of numbers. That's human nature, but not totally objective.

    I just bought an LX over a hybrid. I'm wary of the battery issues (which are another environmental concern). We acknowledge in the industry that the hybrid is a transitional platform that draws heavily on evolving battery and power electronic technology. These present real reliability questions over the life of the vehicle and are sure to be significantly less expensive in the coming years. The Prius easily has the more sophisticated and clever drivetrain. It is, however, more expensive than the civic's. Only time will tell which one will prevail.
  • rysa4rysa4 Posts: 9
    " The Prius easily has the more sophisticated and clever drivetrain."

    Can you explain this to me?
  • jph3006jph3006 Posts: 49
    March 2006 Motor Trend magazine compares the Civic and Accord Hybrids to the similar cars (Prius and ?) from Toyota. They concluded Toyota's hybrid system was better than Honda's system in early 2006. Good luck with your research. I bought a Civic LX and not a Hybrid on 3/27/06.
  • ny1911ny1911 Posts: 11
    The Prius is really cool. It uses 2 electric motors, a planetary gear set and the internal combustion engine. The larger traction assist electric motor gets the vehicle moving and the smaller motor "starts" the engine once it gets up to speed. But it does so not by cranking the engine to a start, rather it locks one of the components of the planetary gear set forcing the engine to be coupled to the wheels (and kick over)...kind of like push starting a manual transmission.

    The prius was designed as a hybrid, and it has a more powerful electric motor. The civic is a basic parallel configuration, which works well, but is an adaptation of an existing platform. HAving said all of this, I don't know which one I would select. It really would come down to driveability, and I haven't driven the newest versions of either car.
  • john1701ajohn1701a Posts: 1,897
    > the smaller motor "starts" the engine once it gets up to speed. But it does so not by cranking the engine to a start, rather it locks one of the components of the planetary gear set forcing the engine to be coupled to the wheels (and kick over)...kind of like push starting a manual transmission.

    I would absolutely love to find out where you heard that. Do you remember?

    That isn't even remotely correct, and it's very easy to disprove too. Just try explaining how the engine is started while in reverse... which happens to me every single morning I pull out of the garage. That's too slow and the opposite direction.

    Anywho, the way the engine actually starts is the smaller of the two motors spins it all the way up to idle speed, waits for oil pressure to be established, then injects fuel and sparks.

    JOHN
  • rysa4rysa4 Posts: 9
    Thank you for your response. I can see your point. My only comment is that the HCH actually gets close to or at its EPA estimate for mileage while the Prius usually isnt even close to its EPA estimate.

    Of course that number is based on testing procedure which perhaps represents the engines comparatively moreso than the electric motors.

    At this point, I dont own either car FYI.
  • ny1911ny1911 Posts: 11
    I remember from our customer's dismantling of a prius. They are a tier I supplier. But there are now descriptions online: http://auto.howstuffworks.com/hybrid-car6.htm

    Maybe you aren't considering the flexibility afforded by the planetary gear set?
  • john1701ajohn1701a Posts: 1,897
    Oh! Now I know where your misunderstanding originated from. Having worked with the PSD for so many years, it never would have dawned on me that the description of tolerance could get interpreted that way.

    That particular engine activity is just the by-product of RPM exceeding a maximum, not the usual startup process. And just because the engine is in motion at speeds above 42 MPH, does not mean it is actually using any fuel.

    JOHN
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 3,794
    "And just because the engine is in motion at speeds above 42 MPH, does not mean it is actually using any fuel. "

    John, are you referring to the ICE? If it is not using fuel, but is turning, that would mean it is dragging down MPG, right? Otherwise how can an ICE be in motion without consuming fuel?
  • ny1911ny1911 Posts: 11
    If it is turning but not using gas, then it is braking the vehicle. How severe that is depends on the compression and friction of the engine. But this is nothing new. In my old '87 VW, when I took my foot off of the accelerator, the fuel would cut off. I still consider such an engine to be "running" though

    In order for the vehicle to stay moving without the engine using fuel, it must either be coasting or be driven by the electric motor...which would be an inefficient design. With the Prius, if the engine is not running (or being started,) it should not be spinning.
  • davhandavhan Posts: 21
    Interesting and quite accurate figures. But for one moment consider what will happen when (not if) gas goes up.
    I live in Australia so lets take a look at it from an Australian point of view.

    1/ A standard Civic is about AU$4,500 cheaper than the Hybrid version.
    2/ Petrol(gas) is now AU$6.00 per gallon and is expected to reach AU$9.00 by the end of 2006!

    So lets base it on 35mpg for the 1.8l Civic and 50mpg for the Hybrid. (incidently I own a 2006 Civic Hybrid and I regularly get over 50mpg).

    Based on these figures 1,429 gallons would cost AU$8,574

    Whereas 1,000 gallons would cost AU$6,000.

    Therefore it will take about 2 years at current fuel prices in Australia.

    At $9.00 per gallon it will take one and a bit years!

    Baton down the hatches America, your love affair with gas guzzlers is about to come to a screaching halt!!! :sick:
  • midnightcowboymidnightcowboy Posts: 1,978
    JOHN
    said "And just because the engine is in motion at speeds above 42 MPH, does not mean it is actually using any fuel."

    JOHN you understanding or misunderstanding about cars escpecially anything to do with engineering: gear, elvctrical, hydralics, barkes, trasnmission, engine, etc.

    Maybe you are considered by some a Prius expert, but you continue to amaze me with this latest statement that a gasoline engine can run without using any fuel. Wouldn't this be perpertual motion. Patent and market this and you will be a a gazzion billionaire and make even Gates look like a pauper.

    LOL,

    MidCow
  • melsinctmelsinct Posts: 11
    Back to the original topic, I have crunched all of the numbers and realize it won’t take me long to break even on buying the hybrid. I am in Connecticut, where hybrid vehicles are exempt from state sales tax (6%). That, in combination with the 2006 federal tax credit, means I will be paying roughly the same price for the Civic EX I was originally considering as I would for the Civic hybrid. For me it is a no brainer. I also drive 35 miles each way to and from work, and since I am starting out roughly even, I will save about $4,000 over 5 years of driving the hybrid.
  • roundtriproundtrip Posts: 105
    I hear ya! Wish I had the courage, extra cash, and ability to convince my spouse to buy the hybrid instead of the Civic LX/EX (whatever we get the best deal on) automatic. I drive 1400 + miles/month (mostly on hwy.) However, I don't know if I'm smart enough to do the math on my savings. :confuse: In addition, I'm one of those drivers who would have to relearn how to drive.(And according to one of the posts, I should probably change my habits anyway. That speeding ticket last month ate $151.00 of my savings.)
    Thanks for doing more than your fair share for the environment. :shades:
  • kenlwkenlw Posts: 190
    Actually (I do cost analysis on a daily basis) the original post's logic was pretty good. The later spiel about comparing mirrors and 4w disk was a bit bizarre....

    Anyway, the biggest flaw in hybrids is the life of the batteries. Not only does the warranty drop at 100k, the real world life expectancy isn't much more than that. So if you get luck and beat the expectancy by 50% (really long odds, btw) and get 150k from them, you've simply got to pay many, many $1000s to replace them at that point which basically fries the payback schedule.

    If you don't, the residual value (resale related) will be virtually nil. Altho I usually avoid any resale factors by driving them 'til the wheels fall off... this one is a bit large to ignore.

    For the most part, the cost justification must be based on a 100k life (or perhaps 150k if you feel lucky) or include the hefty maintenance costs. I think that all the other maintenance costs (water pump, belts, etc) are pretty much a wash between the 2 vehicles.

    Buy a hybrid because you want to, and I will never argue with you. But get into justifying it $$-wise, and I might challenge it a bit.
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 3,794
    "Anyway, the biggest flaw in hybrids is the life of the batteries. Not only does the warranty drop at 100k, the real world life expectancy isn't much more than that."

    In CARB states, the hybrid system (including batteries) is warranted for 10 years / 150K miles. Other states: 8 years / 120K.
  • kenlwkenlw Posts: 190
    ..realize that it is "which ever comes first". But good point. That wasn't the case when we did the analysis several years ago. Technology marches on.

    But realize the cost of that waranty is built into the price you pay upfront and is very difficult to determine. Now that hybrids are slower selling and production has increased, some discounts are available which should sweeten the pot, tilting some of the financial factors back in their direction.
  • I had a discussion with one of my wife's co workers yesterday regarding how long it would take to recoup the price difference between a new Civic Hybrid versus a Civic LX. Here's what I came up with:

    How long it takes to make up the price difference on a Hybrid
    The non-hybrid Civic is rated at 30 City/ 40 Highway.
    The non-hybrid Civic is now rated at 25 City/ 36 Highway.

    http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/calculatorCompareSideBySide.jsp?column=1&id=23502-

    The Hybrid is rated at 50 both city and highway.
    The hybrid Civic is now rated at 40 City/ 45 Highway.

    http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/calculatorSelectEngine.jsp?year=2007&make=Honda&m- odel=Civic%20Hybrid

    So we’ll take the non-hybrid at an average of 35mpg and the Hybrid at 50mpg.

    Actually the EPA sets the non-hybrid at an average of 29mpg and the Hybrid at 42mpg.

    The non-hybrid Civic model that the Hybrid most closely competes with is the LX model. The MSRP on the Hybrid is $22,400 and it is typically selling for $2,000 over MSRP, but there is also a tax credit for 2006 on Hybrid vehicles so we’ll call it a wash and say the Hybrid sells at MSRP.

    The non-hybrid Civic model that the Hybrid most closely competes with is the LX model. The MSRP on the Hybrid is $22,400 and it is typically selling for $1,000 under MSRP, and there is also a $1050 tax credit for 2008 on Hybrid vehicles so we’ll say the Hybrid sells at $20,400.

    The LX model with automatic has an MSRP of $17,869 or $4,531 less than the Hybrid. Dealers are typically more willing to deal on the LX than they are on the Hybrid, but we’ll leave that out of this equation. So we’re starting with a $4,531 deficit for buying the Hybrid (again, not figuring in the extra finance charges on that money if one were financing the purchase).

    The LX model with automatic has an MSRP of $17,760 or $2640 less than the Hybrid. Dealers are typically more willing to deal on the LX than they are on the Hybrid, but we’ll leave that out of this equation. So we’re starting with a $2640 deficit for buying the Hybrid (again, not figuring in the extra finance charges on that money if one were financing the purchase).

    So how long does it take to recoup our more than $2640 deficit? Read on…..

    If gas costs $2.50 a gallon here’s how much the Hybrid recovers at a given mileage:


    NOT BE SEEN IN OUR LIFETIME AGAIN 

    If gas costs $3.00 a gallon here’s how much the Hybrid recovers at a given mileage:

    At 50,000 miles the non-hybrid has used 1724 gallons of gas, which cost $5172 while the Hybrid has used 1190 gallons of gas, which cost $3570. The Hybrid has recovered $1602 at this point.

    At 50,000 miles, the Hybrid recovers $1602
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