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Hybrids the Real Payback



  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,850
    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: 3,733
    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)


    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)
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,850
    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: 28,850
    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.

    The Echo is long gone.
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,733
    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.
    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: 3,733
    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: 3,733
    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: 3,733
    Oh, it won't be for sale in the U.S. Only Europe will get that model. Joy!.
  • transpowertranspower Posts: 182
    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.


    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.
This discussion has been closed.