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Hybrids the Real Payback

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Comments

  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    I'm sorry but there is so much wrong with this post that I can't think of where to begin...

    At the start.
    1) You have arbitrarily chosen a 40-41 mpg figure despite literally thousands of other reports to the contrary showing the real value is 47-48 mpg. You ignore the new EPA values entirely. CR's one testing value is far outweighed by the thousands reporting something else. Here's a hint ONE sample value does not carry an equal weight to thousands of others showing a different value. Maybe the ONE sample value is wrong. Cherry-picking data points? It's illogical, it's basically ignorant and it makes your entire follow-through fallacious.

    That's it in a nut shell.

    BUT....... you compound this goofiness with trying to justify one of the dumbest presentations in modern times.. the CNW trash. I hope that if you're employed that you don't do this on a regular basis.

    [quote]
    3:Those hidden costs are different than maintainence. The number obviously considers the manufacture of the batteries main component at that Canadian facility and then their being shipped all over the world as part of that expense. Batteries are amazingly hard on the environment to produce. $20K per car in extra environmental damage because of the batteries actually seems quite small a figure to me. Yes, Toyota *says* they have recycling technology, but the initial cost to make them is enormous. NiMh batteries are just not friendly to the environment. There's a reason laptops and cellphones went to Li-Ion.
    **quote**
    Toyota buys about 1,000 tons of nickel from the facility each year, ships the nickel to Wales for refining, then to China, where it's manufactured into nickel foam, and then onto Toyota's battery plant in Japan.
    ***
    Toyota seems to be eating this cost on each car as well - it can't be cheap to buy and ship all of those materials. I'd not be surprised if the batteries actually did cost a lot more than the $4500 Toyota says they will sell you one for as a replacement(of course that's with your old one taken as part of the deal)

    My napkin math has the Prius batteries coming in at about double their listed cost to Toyota (8-10K) They are clearly selling them at their materials cost instead of what it costs them.
    [unquote]


    The underlined statement is just false. You seem to be prone to making up stuff to suit your purposes. In fact NiMH batteries are considered 'green technology'. They are the least intrusive of all the batteries; i.e. the least harmful on the environment. Try Cobasys, an American company, for starters if you want to learn more. The last statement about Li-Ions replacing NiMH is just dumb....more made up stuff.

    The rest of your suppositions are supported by no facts just your own personal prejudices. They aren't worth discussing.

    Minor points:
    Cost of fuel: The article specifies $3.61/gal as the current avg.
    ..what if you're a 'trader' and exchange every 3-4 yrs..Cost?
    ..what if you're a 'keeper' and run the vehicles into the ground in 12-14 yrs? Cost?
    ..where do you think the price of fuel is going? Up? Down? Level forever?
    Annual miles: 13000. Agreed
    Tax credits were gone on Sept 30th 2007. Agreed.

    Resale values I didn't factor in, but I suspect they are close to each other IOW, you don't know and you're just guessing. This speaks volumes about your methodology... it's seat-of-the-pants ... at best. YOU ARE ON AN AUTOMOTIVE SITE. Here they have pretty accurate numbers here. It doesn't take that much effort to do the job right.

    What if you are a trader exchanging every 3-4 yrs? What if you are a keeper for 12-14 yrs?

    So I will do one for you from scratch... next post.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    This is simple actually if the right tools are used. A spreadsheet is good but pencil works fine too.

    Assumptions:
    Two 4c 5-door hatchbacks from Toyota
    2008 Prius package #2 priced at $24000
    2009 Matrix base with Stability Ctl priced at $20500

    Miles driven:
    case 1..13000 mpy
    case 2.. 20000 mpy

    Length of ownership:
    Case A .. 4 yrs
    Case B .. 10 yrs

    Resale values ( from Edmunds )
    Case A 4 yrs .. 50% of MSRP
    Case B 10 yrs = $1000 flat.

    Cost of fuel: ( $.50 increase per gallon per year )
    2008 .. $3.25
    2010 .. $4.25
    2012 .. $5.25 ---> the 4 yr average is $4.25 / gal
    2014 .. $6.25
    2016 .. $7.25
    2018 .. $8.25 ---> the 10 yr average is $5.75 / gal

    Fuel economy figures: 2008 / 09 EPA values
    Prius 46 mpg Combined
    Matrix 27 mpg Combined

    The equation: Cost of purchase and fuel usage
    ( MSRP - Resale= Net Veh Cost ) + ( Ann Miles * Length of ownership = Tot Mi Driven ) * ( Avg cost of fuel ) / ( Avg Fuel Economy )

    Case 1A: 4 yrs @ 13000 mpy
    Prius ( $24000-$12000 ) + ( 13000 * 4 * 4.25 ) / 46 = $12000 + 4805 = $16,805
    Matrix ( $20500-$10250 ) + ( 13000 * 4 * 4.25 ) / 27 = $10250 + 8185 = $18,435

    Case 1B: 4 yrs @ 20000 mpy
    Prius ( $24000-$12000 ) + ( 20000 * 4 * 4.25 ) / 46 = $12000 + 7390 = $19,390
    Matrix ( $20500-$10250 ) + ( 20000 * 4 * 4.25 ) / 27 = $10250 + 12590 = $22,840

    Case 2A: 10 yrs @ 13000 mpy
    Prius ( $24000-$1000 ) + ( 13000 * 10 * 5.75 ) / 46 = $23000 + 16250 = $39,250
    Matrix ( $20500-$1000 ) + ( 13000 * 10 * 5.75 ) / 27 = $19500 + 27685 = $47,185

    Case 2B: 10 yrs @ 20000 mpy
    Prius ( $24000-$1000 ) + ( 20000 * 10 * 5.75 ) / 46 = $23000 + 25000 = $48,000
    Matrix ( $20500-$1000 ) + ( 20000 * 10 * 5.75 ) / 27 = $19500 + 42600 = $62,100

    That's 4 separate cases. Every one favors the Prius over the 2009 Matrix, it's natural companion for comparison purposes. The trends are obvious. In the short term the two vehicles are approximately equal in cost. As the miles increase and the vehicles are kept for longer periods of time the numbers are far in favor of the Prius.

    Factors like opportunity costs of money not spent and financing will reduce these differences. Other factors like taxes, insurance, maintenance, and repairs are approximately equal according to Edmunds TCOs. Local incentives may swing the decision solidly in favor of the Prius...or any of the other hybrids.

    BTW there is a reason that the Prius is the single hottest vehicle in the US, now that fuel is jumping up towards $4.00 per gallon everywhere. The US public knows that these figures make sense personally. If they are looking for a mid-$20K vehicle then the Prius is money in their pocket.

    If they are looking to minimize total transportation costs then a bicycle is the best choice as a purchase.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,969
    Your gas prices are totally hypothetical with no basis in reality. You like to quote the oil men. Well look back at some of their quotes from 1980 when oil was over $30 per barrel. If you had said it would be a steady rise back then as you do now you would have been totally wrong, as were the doomsayers back then.

    Basing the payback on a hybrid with gas prices that are not likely, makes all your calculations shaky at best. See $4 per gallon gas
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    No 'basis in reality'? C'mon. Since the early part of the decade this $.50 / gal increase is exactly what the reality has been. Since 1-1-2001 the price of gas has gone from about $1.25 to $3.50. Now what were we saying about reality?

    I agree though that gas prices are very likely to fluctuate but I'm certain that they will increase at least this amount if not more. I'm personally betting on this in my own daily life. IMO, thus far borne out by the last 6 yrs, not to plan for such increases is to hide under the covers against the oil boogeyman. I prefer to face it and deal with it.

    Precisely see the $4/gallon gas thread. All the signs point to oil and fuel prices doubling over the next 10 yrs....minimum.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,969
    All the signs point to oil and fuel prices doubling over the next 10 yrs....minimum.

    I would say many of the opinions point to higher prices. I just don't think they have good sound information backing the opinions. Buying a hybrid as a hedge against possible future gas hikes would probably be good for someone that puts a lot of miles on a car. Then I have always said that. Those of us that want to keep a car for 20 years and under 100k miles would not be the targeted audience for a hybrid.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    Agreed, as always. :shades:
  • gwmortgwmort Posts: 22
    I have driven my prius for 5.5 years and 98,000 miles. I have never had a mechanical or electrical maintenance issue with the car (but have replaced tires twice). Day to day operating and cost of maintenance to date it is the lowest I have ever had (only used American cars before the Prius).

    When I was looking at hybrids as an early adopter the cost of the replacement battery spooked me, so I planned to trade it in before the battery warranty expired (8 yrs/98000 miles). I think it would be fair to compare the Prius up to that point with any other car with similar powertrain warranty. Now that I am used to and comfortable with my Prius I don't intend to turn it in anytime soon.

    As to gas prices and the side by side comparison, I think kdhspyder did a great job above. Even if you disagree with the numbers, the trend will still bear out. That is to say into the future gas prices will rise, the more they rise the more economical a car with higher mileage becomes, that is all.

    I think the more pertinent discussion would be with plug in hybrids coming in the next two years, and anticipating not only rising gas prices but actual fuel shortages. How much more valuable will a PHEV be than a conventional when the conventional can't be fueled at all?
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    A few things t consider:

    Nice trick, btw, in comparing the Prius' mileage to the Matrix's lowest (city) mileage. That one almost got by us. The Corolla gets 27/35 with the 1.8L engine. this is lot closer to the Prius, which is rated at 48/45. Please recalculate with 31mpg for the 1.8L engine.

    1: Any smart person buys the Vibe and gets GM's financing or their 1-3K rebates(dep on time of year, ~2K is common). This makes the short and middle-term comparisons very nearly even, other than a couple of things: Insurance, interest, registration, and so on - all are marginally higher for the Prius. This adds up every year, bit by bit.

    2:The long term scenarios don't include a replacement battery pack or the fact that a ten year old Prius will sell for NADA minus the cost of a new battery pack. This is the same as buying a car with 100K on the original automatic transmission. Please deduct the price of a new one when it comes to actually getting it sold, because no buyer will offer you anything else. That battery pack is a huge minus. It's a very close comparison between the two. Well, sort of...

    3: The real problem is that you should compare base models with automatic. The typical person who is interested in truly saving money will buy one with as few options as possible and add a better after market radio and so on themselves. Only faker Yuppies will load out a Prius to 25K+.

    I get a 2008 Vibe 1.6L with automatic selling for 18,706 from Cars Direct(including delivery charge). This is a base model with automatic, power windows and entry, and A/C. $1250 cash back right now. $17,456 net cost.

    I get a Prius in base trim for 21,760 from Cars Direct

    ****modified***
    Case 2B: 10 yrs 20000 mpy
    Prius ( $21700+300 ) + ( 20000 * 10 * 5.75 ) / 46 = $22,000 + 25000 = $49,300
    Vibe ( $17500-$3000 ) + ( 20000 * 10 * 5.75 ) / 31 = $14,500 + 37,096 = $51,600

    Actually, you'd sell such a Prius for $0/pay to have it towed away most likely(the $300) - it would hit the end of the warranty and drop instantly $6500 in value(cost of a replacement battery pack). The Corolla at ten years old is actually worth about $3K. 49,300 vs 51,600. $2300 difference. That's $230 a year you are "saving" with the Prius. But add in those hidden costs because the Prius is a more expensive loan and extra tax, registration, insurance, and so on and it's a complete wash.

    In effect, it never pays for itself relative to a standard economy type car.

    Now, compare a VW TDI:(for fun)
    http://www.autoblog.com/2007/11/08/vw-jetta-tdi-delayed-until-late-summer-2008/

    Jetta TDI ( $23,000-$5000(better resale value)) + ( 20000 * 10 * 6.325(Diesel is about 10% more to buy) / 45 = $18,000 + 28,110(!) = $46,110. There's a reason people in Europe run TDIs ;)
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    No you misread again and again you misunderstood that the Corolla Matrix is a 5 door hatch like the Prius is a 5-door hatch.
    The EPA numbers for the Matrix are.. 25C / 31H / 27 Combined
    The EPA numbers for the Prius are.... 48C / 45H / 46 Combined

    No tricks here that's what they are. You were mistakenly comparing the Corolla sedan to the Prius. You have to use the Matrix/Vibe numbers.

    Your point 1.) is very subjective because while the Vibe and Matix are the same vehicle there are buyers that will not buy a GM product under any circumstance just as there are GM buyers that will never set foot in a Toyota store. But I agree if GM is giving away it's Vibes then it may be more economical to buy the less expensive vehicle. Then again it may not be ( see below )

    Your point 2.) is just speculation and it's false as indicated by the actual auction values on the original Prius which are now just reaching the limits of the hybrid warranty at 8 yrs ( there are still 2 more years for the CARB states ). There is in fact no discount for the older Prius'. They still carry a $500-$1000 premium over a similar vehicle ... In today's Black Book values, both vehicles with 105,000 - 110,000 mi...
    2001 Gen 1 Prius = $3900
    2001 Corolla LE = $3150
    those are the numbers right now today if two buyers were to trade today.

    Your point 3.) again is pure speculation on your part based on your own biases and preferences. What if your view of the typical buyer is different than someone else's. This is a HUGE market with widely differing incomes and tastes and requirements. You can't just put everybody into one little 'basic' box. Toyota has recognized this and frankly is wildly successful in finding these significant niches. Your view of the buyers is biased and too limited to be of any true value. In fact you have no clue as to who is really buying these.

    Forget the Jetta TDI... the new one is going to be killed, maimed and left bleeding on the side of the road as all the rest of the new hybrids pass it by. First it's a VW and it's got two strikes against it before anyone even looks at the fuel prices. Bad timing about that debut this year, sorry 'bout that VW.

    Your modified case two is tainted by two errors...

    If you want to do a Cars Direct comparo on the two base trims that's OK and the
    $21700 and $17500 buys are reasonable. However you keep coming up wrong values on the resales ( see above ) and you keep using the wrong fuel economy numbers ( see above ). You've got to do it right or it's too easy to pick apart your argument. Here I'll do it right for you.

    A 10 yr old Corolla ( there was no Matrix/Vibe back then ) base model is 'worth' $1000 today at auction according to the Black Book. An 8 yr old Prius is 'worth' $3900 at auction today. That's as far back as the book goes. Let's say a 10 yr old base Prius is also 'worth' $1000 at auction.

    Cost of Vehicle Depreciation:
    Prius ..$21700 - $1000 = $20700 plus fuel cost
    Vibe ...$17500 - $1000 = $16500 plus fuel cost

    Fuel Cost using EPA fuel economy numbers, right off the site.
    Prius 48 / 45 / 46 combined
    Vibe 25 / 31 / 27 combined

    (20000 * 10 * 5.75) / 46 = $25000 fuel cost
    (20000 * 10 * 5.75) / 27 = $42600 fuel cost

    Total Vehicle Depreciation + Fuel cost
    Prius = $20700 + $25000 = $45700
    Vibe = $16500 + 42600 = $58600........that's $13000 more than the Prius

    This assumes that both are next to worthless at 10 yrs and 200,000 miles. The Vibe owner will spend that much more than the Prius owner over the course of ownership. Those are the numbers there's no way to get around them for this given case.

    Now if fuel somehow drops back to $1.95 for the better part of 10 yrs or the driver only drives 5000 miles a year the equation changes greatly.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    plekto says, "There's a reason people in Europe run TDIs "

    You are correct sir. And that reason is the lower taxes on diesel fuel. That is what caused Europe to become a diesel vehicle haven.

    Take away the artificially reduced diesel fuel costs in Europe and the situation would have never developed.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,969
    Take away the artificially reduced diesel fuel costs in Europe

    That is not true in all countries. You are leaving out the main reason that people buy diesels in the EU. They get 30% to 50% better mileage than the gas version of the same car. Diesel in the UK is higher than UG. Yet they still sell more diesels than gassers. They can hardly give a hybrid away over there because they are not good handling cars at high speed. That is a big issue with most Europeans. We will settle for a squishy ride and fast 0-60 times. Or in the case of the hybrids just a squishy ride.
  • tpetpe Posts: 2,342
    Consumer reports got *35mpg* combined for their Prius

    I'm not sure where you got that number from but it wasn't CR. I just checked their website. In their road test they got 35/50 city/hwy mileage and 44 overall. Their road test of the Matrix yielded 19/36 city/hwy and 27 overall.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    Sales of hybrids have been slow in the UK for two reasons - lack of favorable tax incentives and the availability of decent diesel alternatives that have only slightly higher emissions than the Prius but cost a lot less.

    Actually there's a third reason and that's the cost of a Prius in the UK compared to the US. Prices start at £17,777 in the UK ($36,000) but start at $20,950 in the US.

    So Toyota has not really made the UK a "level playing field" for the Prius. Makes perfect sense that in that particular scenario the Prius would lose out to lower cost diesels.

    Doesn't give the Prius a black eye in any way. As you know, the owner satisfaction surveys in the UK almost always have the Prius at or very near the top of the list. As in the USA, the UK buyers who can afford a Prius do indeed love it.

    And FAR fewer people complain about the Prius ride than you seem to think, Gary.
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    1: The Vibe *is* the same car as the Matrix and lots of people are well aware of this. Any person who is looking to save money as opposed to making a yuppie statement will cross-shop, especially with GM offering silly incentives.

    2:A worn out transmission and out of warranty battery pack on a ten year old ANYTHING will net you a car with zero resale value at auction/trade-in, no matter what KBB actually says. But let's give you the benefit here for the sake of he argument, since it's only $1000 we're talking about, anyways.

    Actually, I'm being generous here with the Corolla. If I was cross-shopping the Prius, I'd actually put it up against a Fit. 5 doors, better cargo area, better price, high MPG, and nearly identical performance. This comparison is fair, IMO, or as fair as it can get, considering that Toyota makes a 5 door Corolla in Japan and Europe but doesn't import it to the U.S.(why I said it's basically a Corolla and not a Matrix - we just don't *get* the 5 door Corolla here, but they do make one)

    http://www.toyota-europe.com/cars/new_cars/corolla_verso/index.aspx

    Anyways...

    Let's compare the Fit, then. Get the Fit with automatic:(1 inch larger wheels and a louder stereo and fog lights isn't worth $1300 "Sport" package, IMO)
    Fit: 14,750+250 for an after-market stereo with an IPod/MP3/Aux port/jack.
    Prius: 21,700

    Cost of Vehicle Depreciation:
    Prius ..$21,700 - $1000 = $20700 plus fuel cost
    Fit ...$15,000 - $1000 = $14,000 plus fuel cost

    Fuel Cost using EPA fuel economy numbers, right off the site.
    Prius 48 / 45 / 46 combined
    Fit 27 / 34 / 31.5 combined

    (20,000 * 10 * 5.75) / 46 = $25,000 fuel cost + one replacement battery pack (let's say a very generous $4,500, factoring in future economy of scale) No way it's going ten years and 200K without needing one.(see below)
    (20,000 * 10 * 5.75) / 31.5 = $36507 fuel cost

    Total Vehicle Depreciation + Fuel cost
    Prius = $20,700 + $25,000 +$4,500 = $50,200
    Fit = $14,000 + $36,500 = $50,500

    Silly close.

    It's just not worth it, IMO, since that replacement battery pack is a major hurdle.
    Also, ten year old electronics are a major problem if they start to degrade. If anything goes, it's lots of money to fix and it won't run. Plus, the transmission is about $3500 to replace. It's a hideously expensive car to fix if anything breaks. Not that it is prone to breaking, but when it does, something like a Vibe/Matrix/Fit/etc will cost a fraction as much, mostly because they aren't filled with bleeding-edge technology.(BMW and Mercedes have the same problem as well)

    http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news04/2007/07/used_hybrids.html

    http://money.cnn.com/2006/03/06/Autos/tipsandadvice/hybrid_resale/index.htm
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,969
    Prices start at £17,777 in the UK ($36,000) but start at $20,950 in the US.

    That could mean one of two things. The UK has a huge tariff on cars or Toyota is not selling at a loss in the UK. The VW TDI in the Prius size sells for as much or more. I will stick with my assessment that Europeans are more interested in good handling than we are over here.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    If you want to continue to go down the size and quality chart you are free to do so eventually you'll try comparing the Prius to a bicycle and I'll agree that the bicycle is a 'better buy'.

    The Fit is two sizes and 'qualities' below the Prius but you are free to make any comparison you please. Remember though that the bicycle wins every comparo.

    Obviously you have never been 'shown' what a Prius is all about so you are still in the dark, one of the last in the US it seems, about why it's so successful. I'll leave it that your prejudices don't allow you to form a balanced view. Here is the simple fact.

    The Matrix/Vibe is the non-hybrid Prius. They are the same size with similar equipment and similar market objectives. You are free to ignore this an make any comparo you wish.

    Your whole fixation on the battery pack having to be replaced is so 2003-ish. In case you missed it there was a huge thread here about this subject. It died out when it became apparent that battery packs probably will NEVER have to be replaced for any normal vehicle lifetime. You continue to assess a cost where no cost exists. Remember in all the CARB states the warranty is 10 yrs / 150,000 miles!!! Til then the cost to the consumer is ZERO. On Toyota's website they explicitly state that the batteries should last the life of the vehicle. In the case of most Toyota's that's about 250,000+

    At 200,000 miles and 10 yrs old no normal vehicle in this country is worth more than $1000, neither hybrid nor gasser nor diesel. At this age anyone would be a fool to think about replacing a tranny in a Taurus or several ECU's in a Malibu or a battery pack in a Prius or Civic. Who in their right mind is going to sink $2000-$4000 into a vehicle that's worth $300? Be real.

    I'm sorry that you just don't get it. Although I think now that you may just be trolling and stirring the pot. Since you've stepped all the way down to a Fit as a vehicle that's cost equivalent to a Prius I guess you'll have to go to a Chery or Tata to find one that costs less. But remember ... a bicycle always ends up winning every comparo.
  • gwmortgwmort Posts: 22
    Its been a while since I shopped for a prius, but I wonder why no one is comparing to the Echo (or do they not make those anymore?). When I bought my 2003 Prius it was claerly the echo with a hybrid upgrade and better electronics. They were literally the same car, frame and body (slight differnce in the hood design). I still think most latecomer Prius owners don't recognize I'm in one on the road.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,969
    The first Prius was Echo based from what I can tell. The 2004 Prius was ground up different. I don't think it shares with any of the other Toyotas. I don't think there is any real changes coming in the 2009. The PHEV Prius is still a future vehicle unless you want to convert an older one.

    PS
    The Echo is long gone.
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    The Fit is slightly more narrow than the Prius, but it's essentially the same car in terms of interior space and how it feels.

    If Honda can make a smaller car feel larger inside than the Prius, good for them. I'd honestly much rather have a Honda Fit than a Prius. I've driven both and the Fit is much better. More spacious feeling, better cargo capacity, and better visibility, especially out the rear.

    -
    Internal dimensions: front headroom (inches): 39.1, rear headroom (inches): 37.1, front hip room (inches): 51, rear hip room (inches): 51.6, front leg room (inches): 41.9, rear leg room (inches): 38.6, front shoulder room (inches): 55.3, rear shoulder room (inches): 53 and interior volume (cu ft): 96.2

    -
    Internal dimensions: front headroom (inches): 40.6, rear headroom (inches): 38.6, front hip room (inches): 51.2, rear hip room (inches): 51.0, front leg room (inches): 41.9, rear leg room (inches): 33.7, front shoulder room (inches): 52.8, rear shoulder room (inches): 50.6 and interior volume (cu ft): 90.1

    But because of the way the Fit's seats recline, the rear seat is far more spacious feeling(plus your feet can slide *under* the cushion a bit as well. In most other ways, the Fit is beating the Prius, especially in useable cargo area:

    Fit: 23.1(seats up)/41.9(seats down)
    Prius: 14.4(seats up)/(can't find this data anywhere, looks like 50 or so, though)
    Bit the Fit is flat and much more square, especially at the rear. Maybe the Prius wins a little bit here, but then again it can't fit tall items like the Fit can, so I'd call this close to a wash.

    http://www.newcars.com/toyota/prius/reviews/honda-fit.html
    Evidently a lot of people cross-shop the two.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    There has never been a discussion about the fact that a smaller vehicle, with lesser amenities, lower ride quality and lower-priced market target is ALWAYS a valid option for the budget-conscious.

    The Fit is a a very capable small econobox. Nothing more. It suits some more than others that's all that can be said.

    The Prius is a revolutionary vehicle that appeals to a much larger segment of the population and has changed the direction of the auto industry entirely by itself. I encourage buyers to cross-shop both the HCH and the Fit. In fact I often take them to our Honda store to do just that. That answers all their questions. Driving the 3 back-to-back-to-back is the deciding factor.

    However, if a buyer is a $16000-$18000 buyer it's unfair to try to bump them up to $24000 for a Package #2 Prius. The Fit is a better fit for the budget conscious. The 'Total Cost of Transportation' is lower certainly. This has never been a question.

    It just depends on what the buyer wants...
    ...features, ride quality, safety, room, fuel economy ---> the Prius wins all of these
    ...price and affordability ---> the Fits wins here.

    Both are good choices.
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    ***quote***
    The Prius is an evolutionary vehicle that appeals to a much wealthier segment of the population and has changed the direction of the auto industry entirely by luck and marketing
    ****
    There. I fixed it for you.

    It's really a terribly inefficient hybrid design and a half-hearted attempt on Toyota's part compared to what the technologies are capable of. But somehow people have bought into it.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    The inexorble and extraordinary growth of the Prius belies another of your mistaken beliefs.

    Your corrections show that you know very very little about the auto market and what is occuring today. Wishing to remain in the dark does have its advantages for you though. You have no need to face reality.

    The numbers speak for themselves.

    BTW marketing is a HUGE factor in the success of the Prius. On this you are very very correct. Hellooooo this is a business. Marketing is a key component but from the tone of your post I don't think that you understand the full ramifications of what marketing really is. From your prior posts your confusion in your last sentence is understandable.
  • tpetpe Posts: 2,342
    It's really a terribly inefficient hybrid design and a half-hearted attempt on Toyota's part compared to what the technologies are capable of.

    Toyota and the Japanese government spent a lot of resources in developing the Prius. No one was forcing them to do this. What would be their motivation for only a half-hearted effort or not taking advantage of the best technologies available?

    The Prius is currently the highest mileage vehicle you can buy. So apparently none of the auto manufacturers want to exploit what the current technologies are capable of. Again, what would be the motivation?

    You obviously possess a level of expertise in this field that is beyond most. What would you say is the Prius's most glaring deficiency that qualifies it as a "terribly inefficent hybrid design"?
  • gwmortgwmort Posts: 22
    I dislike when people complain of the Prius not pushing the tech envelope to the limit. A key factor for Toyota is and hopefully always will be reliability. They did the best they could have with what was proven to be dependable and reliable.

    Also, just because everyone is now familiar with hybrids and where the trends seem to be going, 6 years ago the Prius WAS pretty cutting edge, and better than anyone else (other than perhaps Honda) was even trying.

    I think that Toyota is not pushing to next gen to Lithium or plug-in because it hasn't reaped enough of its intitial development costs yet, but when the company is ready I am sure they will impress us again.
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    The Insight got 60mpg. A proper hybrid should be capable of 100mpg. That is, a TDI or similar engine running as an onboard generator powering a purely electric drivetrain. The problem with the Prius from an engineering standpoint is that it's made to be able to work as both electric and gasoline, which is wasteful. It isn't a true hybrid, but instead is a dual-engine design that switches back and forth.

    45mpg isn't close to what hybrids can accomplish. The auto makers are implementing this in baby steps so as to not tank their smaller vehicle sales. 100mpg Civic for 20K? Yeah, good luck selling any of the Fits or gasoline powered models at that point. At least in the U.S.(mostly because these designs call for TDI engines which are essentially verboten in the U.S.)

    Btw - Smart is coming out with a TDI hybrid next year or two in Europe. 80-90mpg. Expect it to sell like crazy now that fuel over there has hit $10 a gallon.
  • tpetpe Posts: 2,342
    The Insight did not get 60 mpg under the EPA's new rating system.

    The problem with the Prius from an engineering standpoint is that it's made to be able to work as both electric and gasoline, which is wasteful.

    Actually that's not true. Using an ICE to power a generator, which then charges a battery pack, which is then used to power an electric motor adds additional energy conversion steps. From an engineering perspective each conversion step incurs a loss.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    Whew, I was trying to stay out of this one, but too much is going on to not respond......:)

    To this comment:

    "The Insight got 60mpg. A proper hybrid should be capable of 100mpg."

    You are wrong in a couple of areas there - just the two you addressed, however. First, the Insight can do FAR FAR better than 60 MPG. There are several folks who have lifetime averages in the 90s. And the Prius has been shown to be "capable" of 110 miles per gallon.

    To this comment:

    "It isn't a true hybrid, but instead is a dual-engine design that switches back and forth. "

    Hybrid in the world of cars means "uses more than one SINGLE method of propulsion." The Toyota hybrids use gas propulsion (alone) electric propulsion (alone) and also "electric assist for the gas engine." For those not counting at home, that is three methods of propulsion. So yes, the Toyotas are indeed hybrids.

    The reason the Prius was not put on the street with the capability of achieving a steady 80 MPG and to go 10 miles on electric only is to preserve and lengthen the life of the battery system. Because of the current battery technology (and that which we had in 1995-1997) the Prius is limited. It's not something that was put in the car "on purpose to make it less capable" as you seem to believe it is. The balance and limited use of the hybrid drivetrain is designed to allow the battery to perform for many years and hopefully a few hundred thousand miles.

    Toyota (or Honda or GM or Ford) could make a 100 MPG hybrid right now, today. The only problem is that it would wear the battery out in about 3-4 years. The truly "disposable car" concept.

    Once battery technology catches up (see A123 Systems) then the cars will truly have outstanding MPG, as opposed to just the "excellent" they have now.

    Of the Smart TDI hybrid - I'll believe it when I see it. I have been wanting a clean diesel hybrid sedan in the USA for about 4 years now.
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    Oh, it won't be for sale in the U.S. Only Europe will get that model. Joy!.
  • transpowertranspower Posts: 185
    If the MMH costs $1750 more than the MM, and gasoline costs $3.96/gal, and in an average year $15000 miles are driven, then it only takes 2.3 years to pay for the additional cost of the hybrid!

    From U.S. News and World Report:

    Hybrid Average MPG Price Difference Annual Gas Savings Years to Pay Off

    Mercury Mariner 32.2 $1,750 $772 2.3
    Ford Escape 32.2 $2,740 $560 4.9
    Saturn VUE 28.15 $2,920 $572 5.1
    Lexus RX 400h 25.65 $3,880 $618 6.3
    Nissan Altima 34.1 $6,840 $892 7.7
    Toyota Highlander 26.1 $6,033 $594 10.2
    Toyota Camry 33.45 $6,630 $554 12
    Honda Civic 42.25 $7,590 $601 12.6
    Saturn Aura 27.6 $2,395 $168 14.2
    GMC Yukon 21.45 $14,700 $886 16.6
    Chevrolet Malibu 27.6 $2,795 $168 16.6
    Chevrolet Tahoe 21.45 $14,960 $886 16.9
  • 1stpik1stpik Posts: 495
    Whoa there! Who says the Honda Civic Hybrid costs $7,600 more than the Civic? Obviously, they're comparing the fully-loaded hybrid with the base model Civic DX, which doesn't even have air conditioning.

    WRONG!

    The Civic Hybrid costs $3,000 more than the similarly-equipped Civic EX. When I bought mine last year, it came with a $2,100 tax rebate, so that made the effective price difference only $900. The gas savings have already covered most of that.

    This year, the tax credit is only $1,050, but that still takes a bite out of the hybrid premium. And at $4/gal., the gas savings are substantial.

    So forget that 12 year payback claim. Try two or three years max.
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