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Hybrids the Real Payback



  • terry92270terry92270 Posts: 1,247
    They compare vehicles that are close in size/weight.
  • Here are some points I think many are missing on the benifits of hybrids

    1. The media machine, somehow made people think hybrids will have greater depreciation than non-hybrids, when the opposite has shown to be true, and a lower depreciation rate is very important to the value/price equation of the car.

    2. Batteries have a life of at least 150,000 miles, if not more, before you reach that point however, your going to want to covert your hybrid to a plug in, and you are going to swap out the battery pack anyway, this is only going to cost you $3000 for this new plug in li-ion battery pack(once it is mainstream), it'll be an upgrade, that will pay it self off quickly

    3. The gas these cars are saving may not on paper show a payback for the purchaser, however it is very close with tax breaks, and reduced depreciation. But the fact that these cars are saving millions of gallons of gas is causing a reduction in demand for oil, which in turn depresses gas prices for EVERYBODY, not to mention less money going towards oil controling countries, and least of all the thing everybody dreds, clean air.

    4. It is a fact that hybrid batteries are 100% recyclable

    I think these 4+ points are enough to take into consideration for this post. I, myself do not own a hybrid, I will not buy a new car until it is an american hybrid that gets 50 MPG combined, and has the looks and utility that I desire at that time, or a full electric. In the meantime I'll drive old reliable used cars that barely contribute to the auto industry (only the autoparts industry benifits, and oil companies of course) But I won't support companies that won't deliver what I want at the price I want. Vote with your dollars, they speak the loudest.
  • daysailerdaysailer Posts: 711
    votes with their dollars, whether they intend to or not.
    Unfortunately, we have a poorly informed, unthinking, and emotional electorate.
  • tpetpe Posts: 2,342
    Good points. I hope you're right about the $3k Li-ion battery pack.

    The problem with plug-in hybrid conversions is that they were not originally designed with this in mind. While you can upgrade the battery pack and change the software the electric motors are still going to be rather anemic as a primary source of power.

    I'm waiting for an all EV and I agree, vote with your wallet. The problem is that my candidate isn't on the ballot.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,679
    Welcome to the Forum,
    I think you have made it clear that the payback for you is not enough to get into your wallet.

    I think that the Li-Ion battery situation is far from being realized. The major player in plug in hybrids is CalCars. They are still not selling the $12k packages promised in 2004. They are evidently in financial difficulty as they are asking for donations to keep afloat. There is nothing that would lead me to believe that you will ever see a plug-in hybrid with only a $3k premium. Even the $12k add on only gained you 30 miles at under 34 MPH.

    A simple EV is more likely to become mainstream than a PHEV. I don't think it will be built in America. Keep voting with your Dollars. That makes the most sense. Keeping an older car running good is the most environmentally friendly thing you can do. Other than riding a bike.
  • Us early folks in the Highlander Hybrid discussion went through this a year ago. If it was simple $$ in the pocket, our purchasing a HH made little sense, there were a myriad of choices to replace an aging minivan and a newer Corolla. But in the complex equation of need, want, desire and resources, the HH was a good choice (basic model, no extras, 2wd). We immediately saw a net decrease in the amount of gas we were buying by about 1/3. We eliminated a vehicle that was run into the ground and going to cost at least $3-4000 to get it safe (and more costs to come - unknown). We cut out one car and the associated insurance and maintenance costs. We now have an extremely driveable and safe vehicle (Toyota added all the safety frills in the HH, and what is the value of an full complement of air bags, stability system, etc? $0 if you never use them, could be hundreds of thousands of dollars if they're called on to protect or save a life, and that's just the economic return, as the commercials say "Saving a life and protecting a loved one: priceless." Being married to a cancer survivor, I truly appreciate the meaning of priceless).

    For our overall society there were and are to us benefits. What sense is there in a cost of $2.25/gallon for gasoline (with all the complexity it takes to bring it to our tank) when compared to $3.50 or more for a gallon of milk that comes from a farm an hour drive away? I'd suggest that there are hidden costs and ways to redistribute our overall dollars (not wanting to get political here but let's be honest in a global marketplace) that influence that cost of a gallon of gas, and might be different if our country took a different view on gasoline-powered vehicles from, say Europe, where gas is much more expensive and things like public transportation are much more accessible and affordable. And yes, the early adopters tend to be those with more wealth (a relative term, we're by no means wealthy) which helps in a market economy to move a product segment that eventually results in lower costs. It's so with any technology - 20 years ago (and trust me, in those days lower-middle class would have been a good way to describe my family) we paid over $4,500 for a computer and laser printer that today would cost $800. DVD players that will no doubt be $30 again this year in holiday buying season cost $400+ when they first came out. People who wanted them or could afford them bought and the price came down. Payback? Only part of the equation. If we see return on investment as strictly the $$ in our pocket at the end of the day payback is one thing. Some also consider this in a different way - what is our investment doing for others or to improve the lot of all? Like our relatively green vehicle, we also have paid extra to purchase 100% wind-generated electricity, we donate to all range of charities with no expectation of a return on investment in our bank account, etc. Again, a complex equation.

    Now, specific to the topic, we have calculated that if we keep the HH as long as it runs (our intention in the first place, we've tended to do this with all our vehicles) with gas prices fluctuating all over the place, we will probably about break even if we consider TCO of the HH compared to a _similar_ ICE vehicle. (We could have also just kept the Corolla but it was too small for our overall family needs.) Over that lifespan when compared to the vehicle it replaced we'd save about 2,800 gallons of gas, pollute less and drive those miles in a safer vehicle. And the HH was what was available at the time when we were ready to purchase. In another 135,000 miles (or maybe more, maybe less) we'll be given the choice again. Who knows? - John
  • terry92270terry92270 Posts: 1,247
    From here, John, your view seems exceptional, and totally clear. ;)
  • daysailerdaysailer Posts: 711
    Among those who intend to buy a hybrid vehicle:
    61 % are men
    71 % are age 35 or older
    56 % are college graduates
    35 % have an annual household income under $50,000
    75 % are Caucasian
    83 % are considering a Toyota
    61 % are considering a Honda
    --Above data is a compilation of results from AutoVIBES October 2003 through December 2003

    I find it particularly curious that more than a third have annual incomes less than $50k even though the cheapest hybrid is more than $20K!!
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,679
    A lot of techno-geeks are making under $50k a year. That is who the hybrids were sold to in 2003. That was the Prius II coming out period. You could still get a HCH under $20k I believe. The other 2/3rds are probably engineers that would be in the $100k+ bracket. That would bring the average up to what Toyota claims is an $85k per year demographic.
    I don't think any of those $50k per year households will be buying the latest from Toyota. The LS600h at over $100k.
  • daysailerdaysailer Posts: 711
    are predominantly among the 56% who are college granduates and to therefore have a rudimentary understanding of economics. If they are also among the <$50K/annum income group, they will need economic wizzardry to be buyers of the current hybrids.
  • terry92270terry92270 Posts: 1,247
    90% of car buyers don't choose logically. Look at the car sales might think logically, and buy what you can afford, but MOST do not.

    Employees of mine making far less than $50K per year are driving brand new, Maxima's, Impala's, Avalon's and the like, top of the line models, leather seats, and surely costing as much as, if not more than $25,000. Go figure.
  • daysailerdaysailer Posts: 711
    hybrid payback, or any payback, is irrelevant!
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,679
    I think you have many people that are living at home with parents and spend all their money on a car. Then you have the group here in CA that figure they will never be able to afford a home so they spend all their cash on fancy cars. It does not make for a healthy economic climate. I don't think people are keeping cars as long as they used to either.
  • daysailerdaysailer Posts: 711
    We're drifting off topic, but I must say that IMO there is something tragically wrong if it is considered acceptable for an adult to be given a "free ride" by parrents while spending with wild abandon on cars (or anything else).
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    You have recently arrived to the discussions so here is the very quick summary of what were common misconceptions about the Prius.

    1) It is not comparable to the Corolla/Civic/Accent because it's bigger inside and has far more features than any of these others. Actually it is exactly the same size as the Jetta, both of which are in between the compact and midsized vehicles.

    2) There is no non-hybrid counterpart to the Prius. To compare it you have to look at a lesser vehicle or a greater vehicle.

    3) For basic transportation the Prius is not the right choice unless you want to drive the least polluting vehicle in mass production. A pre-owned vehicle is better for basic transportation.

    4) Batteries: There was a huge thread on this subject all of last year. There is no need to replace them at any specified interval. They are expected to last the life of the vehicle ( new technology ). Therefore there is no cost to the owner.

    5) The NiMH batteries are not in any way similar to the well-known lead-acid batteries in environmental concerns. In fact they have the footprint of a washing machine. The materials in them are non-toxic. But for good PR and to ensure proper disposal/recycling Toyota will pay a $200 bounty for every returned battery pack.

    Those are the reasons why you are wrong
  • daysailerdaysailer Posts: 711
    that items 1) & 2) are misconceptions.
  • terry92270terry92270 Posts: 1,247
    Sorry. :(

    I am talking about twenty/30-somethings, some married with kids, most singles.

    One, who is making $42,000, married, one kid, just bought a new Z. Was complaining about the damn payments, lol. :P

    Many of them lease, and just turn it back in 36 months for another!
  • terry92270terry92270 Posts: 1,247
    For matters of comparison, cars of nearly equal size and weight have always been compared. No matter the "features".
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,679
    There is no non-hybrid counterpart to the Prius.

    That may or may not have been the smartest move by Toyota. The way the TCH is selling I would say it was not a great move. The Camry has an audience of previous owners that seem pretty loyal. Selling them a hybrid version does not seem all that difficult. If Toyota builds up to the demand of the TCH, I would say it could surpass the Prius in one year. The Prius appeals to a very narrow audience. From reports there are many Prii sitting on lots since the incentive was cut in half. Sales at or near invoice are not uncommon. I think it is safe to say it has nearly run its course. Without the big tax credit and HOV stickers not many buyers are interested. The dealer I talked to about the new Tundra said his TCHs are all presold. He did have a Prius if I was interested.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    You are very correct about the Prius being directed to a narrow market segment. It is not a mainstream vehicle by any means and as it enters its 4th year it's just like most vehicles being somewhat discounted. One of the reasons is that Toyota has doubled production for the next year according to reports. But to Toyota the more they ship ( without incentives ) the better it is. If the dealers want/need to discount them, well that's a local issue but to Toyota it's still a 'full sticker deal'.
    The goal last year was 100,000 ... 107,000 sold
    The goal this year is 100,000 ... on track I believe
    The goal next year is 115,000?... TBD

    But one thing is certain there are a lot of current owners chomping at the bit to see what the next iteration will be in Oct 2008.

    The TCH should match the Prius numbers next year at about 8-10,000 units a month ( KY + Japan ). If the demand pushed it to 200,000 units, why not? They are looking to add 200,000 units of capacity at the Subaru plant in Indiana. This could be all standard CE/LE models with all the hybrids staying in KY.
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