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Hybrids the Real Payback

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  • joe131joe131 Posts: 972
    I'll bet almost no one who has bought a hybrid will even keep it more than 5 years, so will likely not break even, much less come out ahead. The person who buys one is most likely to want the next "new and improved" thing to come along. When it does, he'll dump his old hybrid for the new car.
    Boy, that Civic EX sure is overpriced! I wonder if they sell any near MSRP.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,991
    $1,551 - $1,071 = $480 annual gas savings with hybrid.

    You left out one important detail. The $3100 -$3200 you save goes into a CD paying about $176 per year. So that $480 is now only $304 divided by 12 equals $25 per month. Even less when you consider the interest on that additional $3100+ per year will be from $175-$250. That takes your $304 savings to less than $11 per month.

    Most hybrid owners found it easier to justify their purchase to feel green or have the latest in technology. No way is it anymore than that. Or in your case give it to the Japanese rather than the Alaskans, Canadians or Mexicans.
  • 1stpik1stpik Posts: 495
    If you think people don't keep their hybrids, check the market. Toyota sells more than 100,000 Prius every year. Honda sells 60,000 Civic Hybrids. Visit carmax.com, ebaymotors.com and autotrader.com and see how many used ones are available. Nationwide, Carmax doesn't have ANY 2006 or 2007 Civic Hybrid. Only a few on ebay. See for yourself!

    For older models, check for the Honda Insight and the first generation Toyota Prius (1999-2003). You won't find many. Owners keep 'em.

    And you may think that the Civic EX is overpriced, but Honda sells every one that they make, just like the Civic Hybrid.

    I doubt many people pay full msrp for them. But then, I paid $21,400 for my 2007 Civic Hybrid -- that's $1,200 BELOW msrp! Also got 2.9% financing from Honda.

    In fact, if you visit the "prices paid" threads in this forum or on greenhybrid.com, you'll find most people paying far less than msrp for ALL hybrids.

    I only posted msrp on both cars for reference purposes ..... you know, to keep the apples-to-apples comparison real.

    Oh, and speaking of real, here's the latest real-world reading from my Civic Hybrid:

    http://www.elementownersclub.com/forums/showthread.php?t=35198

    HYBRIDS ROCK !!!
  • joe131joe131 Posts: 972
    Very few hybrids are sold in comparison to all gasoline engine only cars sold. Not seeing a lot of ads for hybrids is expected, not an indication that owners don't dump them after a few years.
    I just checked AutoTrader. There are 4,600 used hybrids for sale near my city. 1,200 are Civic Hybrids.
  • 1stpik1stpik Posts: 495
    Neither you nor anyone else went out and bought a new car, then said, "Hey, I think I'm going to put $3,100 into a CD right away so I can justify buying an I.C.E. car over a hybrid."

    Why not buy a standard car for $20,000, then put $200,000 into a CD because you didn't buy a Ferrari F 430? Think of all the extra money you'll make!

    This is one more example of grasping at straws. But if you want to nitpick, why not include my $2,100 income tax credit in the equation. After all, those don't come with i.c.e. cars.

    Round and round we go ..... where we stop, I know:

    HYBRIDS ROCK !!!
  • joe131joe131 Posts: 972
    There's a whole lot of disappointed hybrid buyers out there who discovered they could not even get the often touted tax credit when they got around to filing their tax returns. Check the forum titled, "Tax credits, What tax credits?" dealing with the diffiulties and impossibilities of recovering those hybrid tax credits.
    And here's another one: http://townhall-talk.edmunds.com/WebX/.ef32446/246
  • joe131joe131 Posts: 972
    Investing $3100 is not grasping at straws. And there are ways to earn a whole lot more than CD interest on it too.
  • 1stpik1stpik Posts: 495
    4,600 used hybrids in one city?

    Really?

    How did you find only hybrid vehicles on autotrader.com? They don't offer a search for hybrids. Autotrader also doesn't differentiate between the Civic and the Civic Hybrid in its search features.

    Also, what city? And what mileage radius did you use in the autotrader search?

    Post the web link so we can all see for ourselves.

    If it sounds like I doubt your claim, I do. So prove me wrong. Show all of us one city with 4,600 used hybrid vehicles for sale, 1,200 of which are Civic Hybrids. And remember, you said "near" your city, and ONLY on autotrader.com.
  • joe131joe131 Posts: 972
    go to autotrader.com
  • 1stpik1stpik Posts: 495
    I did. Autotrader.com doesn't offer a search for hybrids. Autotrader.com doesn't list the "Civic Hybrid," only the "Civic."

    That's why I'm asking for the web links that you cite in your previous post. The one that shows 4,600 used hybrids for sale "near" one city, and the one that shows 1,200 Civic Hybrids for sale "near" that same city.

    Just copy and paste the web address in your next post.
  • joe131joe131 Posts: 972
    if you want to nitpick, why not include my $2,100 income tax credit in the equation?

    "Someone posted earlier about how those who pay Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) don't get to take the tax credit. It turns out that even if you don't pay AMT, you may not get to take the full amount of the credit.

    The San Francisco Chronicle published an article recently on this titled "Hybrid Tax Credit Bait and Switch". The only way to check on how much of the credit you'll actually get is to calculate what you'd owe under AMT, even if you're not subject to paying the AMT. Your famiy income, the size of your family, and the number of deductions you already take are all issues here, so it's not one size fits all.

    I doubt that the Ford dealers are going to mention any of this to customers. Notice how they say that ALL customers who buy a hybrid from Ford in 2006 are eligible to claim a full credit on their 2006 return. Not that Toyota or Honda dealers mentioned it, either.

    Caveat emptor..."

    (from that other Edmund's forum)
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,991
    I show 1184 used Civic Hybrids on Auto Trader. Under keyword type hybrid.

    I hope your HCH has a long and useful life. A bit of advice, get the extended warranty. You can find a Honda dealer online that will sell the longest Honda care for about $800. It is worth it for piece of mind. The CVT that is commonly replaced will cost about $4800 if not covered. It is not covered under the EPA mandated hybrid warranty.
  • joe131joe131 Posts: 972
    Good advice. Is that warranty transferable so when the original owner dumps the car the subsequent owner is covered too? And what things are excluded from coverage? None of the extended warranties cover everything, you know? I found $935 for an 8 year, 100,000 mile, $0 deductible Civic Hybrid extended warranty, but it has to be purchased within the first 6000 miles. I posted the link on the extended warranties forum page earlier today.
    My search of AutoTrader showed more than 1200 used Civic Hybrids for sale.
  • 1stpik1stpik Posts: 495
    <<It's not my fault you don't know how to use the Autotrader website.
    Look it up.
    Hahahaha! No wonder you could not find any for sale.>>

    I know how to use the website just fine, which is why I'm calling you out on those numbers -- 4,600 hybrids for sale in ONE CITY, right? And 1,200 of those are Civics, "near" your city, right?

    Funny, isn't it, that you only respond to my questions with insults . . . almost like you're trying to avoid justifying your numbers.

    Truth is, you can't, because you used the number of Civic Hybrids for sale NATIONWIDE. You just said they were "near" your city to make it sound better.

    1,200 HCHs for sale in the entire United States is nothing. You've made my point for me!
  • 1stpik1stpik Posts: 495
    "I show 1184 used Civic Hybrids on Auto Trader. Under keyword type hybrid."

    Of course that's what I did. See post above this one.
  • 1stpik1stpik Posts: 495
    You guys keep throwing out specious arguments because you can't argue with facts and numbers.

    "I'll bet hybrid owners sell their cars after a year or two ..... I'll bet hybrids are more expensive to maintain ..... I'll bet the batteries and the CVT will fail ..... "

    That's called speculation, and it's not a valid rebuttal to facts in evidence.

    Saying that the payback is 10.5 years when it's really 6.5 or less, and saying that a hybrid saves $300/yr. when it really saves $500 or more, and ignoring incentives like the $2,100 tax credit ..... all that destroys your credibility.

    The title of this thread is "the real payback," and I've done the math for everyone. No matter how you twist the numbers, they won't change.

    But keep grasping, and keep spinning ..... and just hope that gas doesn't go any higher! Otherwise, you'll have to admit that

    HYBRIDS ROCK !!!
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 5,871
    Let's ease up a bit before this turns into a real fight. We get it. You disagree. Everyone has made their point, multiple times. Not likely that anyone is going to suddenly change their mind and see things differently if the same stuff gets posted just one more time.

    This subject has come up before and always seems to end up as a spitting contest that gets the discussions shut down. Let's avoid that fate this time around and move on please.

    Thanks for your cooperation and participation.

    MODERATOR
    Need help navigating? pf_flyer@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.
    Share your vehicle reviews

  • There are several ways the hybrid battery gets charged. The most efficient way is when the vehicle is 'coasting' or just simply going down a hill. The electric motor turns backwards and dumps current back into the battery...almost free charging. To be sure, this usually doesn't recover all the energy the battery produced so that some of the recharge has to come from the ICE. But coasting is where the extra power comes from.

    I did a lot or research before buying a Camry Hybrid. A lot of what influenced me came from a friend in the car business who manages a repair shop connected with one of the biggest car dealers in Mpls/St Paul. He has not seen any issue with Toyota's hybrid system and even used the term 'bullet-proof'. Good enough for me.

    More info on Hybrid Synergy Drive:
    http://www.hybridsynergydrive.com/en/top.html
  • tpetpe Posts: 2,342
    You didn't read my scenario. I said if the vehicles were travelling at a constant 65 mph on a level road. The hybrid is definitely not coasting but probably using around 35 hp to maintain this speed. If any charging of the battery is taking place then that must represent an additional drain on the engine. There is nothing to be gained efficiency-wise by adding additional energy conversion steps, i.e. gasoline->mechanical->battery->mechanical as opposed to simply gasoline->mechanical. At 65 mph you have to be going down a fairly steep grade before the car is actually coasting and can charge the battery with no penalty. Don't get me wrong, I think regenerative braking is a great thing. I just think that it provides very limited value for highway driving. However its perfect for city driving.
  • Well, yes I did read it but I took the liberty of ignoring the very unlikely scenerio of completely level road. Of course I understand what you are saying and I agree with you, but I think your scenerio is too narrowly focused. In my experience driving a Camry, the vehicle is very good at keeping momentum down even the slightest downgrade, and charges the battery as it does so. I don't have to be going 65 and down 'a fairly steep' grade.
  • joe131joe131 Posts: 972
    a 5% grade is fairly steep. that's what it takes to coast in gear and maintain 65 mph
  • Sure, pure coasting would be great in any car, but in HSD it's not just pure coasting or braking that charges the batteries. It's also deceleration after cresting a hill...and trust me the hill does NOT have to be steep.
  • tpetpe Posts: 2,342
    It's also deceleration after cresting a hill...

    Why are you decelerating after cresting a hill? I understand that you are easing off the throttle, but that's not the same as decelerating.

    I want to make this clear. I'm not a hybrid basher. I am pro EV and see hybrids as an evolutionary step. The next generation of hybrids will be significantly better than today's hybrids because battery technology will allow for faster charging. Why is that significant? The current hybrids can only utilize a fraction of the amount of energy that is available from re-generative braking. The next generation of batteries will have faster re-charge capabilities, which will allow for the vehicle to more fully recover it's kinetic energy that is being lost due to braking. In a couple of years hybrids will be considerably more efficient than they are today.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    I opened this discussion, which I thought had been killed last year and it's like stepping into a time warp. We're back in 2003 again and suddenly the new Prius bursts on the scene and all the world wants to know "..is it worth to buy it for the gas savings...?"

    NO!!!

    It's never worth buying it for the gas savings - except in my case, maybe. Buy a 3-4 y.o. used Sonata or Corolla or Focus. Do not ever buy a new car and ask if it's worth it. It's a depreciating asset that at some time in the future will be worth spit.

    OK now we're finished with that subject.

    Oh... you want a new vehicle and have the choice to buy ..
    a TCH or Camry 4c ICE
    a FEH or an Escape ICE
    a HCH or a Civic ICE
    the future
    Yukon 2-Mode or a Yukon ICE

    YOu will pay about $3000 more for a hybrid than an ICE vehicle. You will save about $600/yr in fuel @ $3/Gal. It doesn't matter which hybrid you choose ( the proof is available after class for curious students ). So here is your basic question.

    Do you want the money to flow to an oil company and it's questionable partners?
    Do you want the money to go to an auto company.

    You will spend that $3000 over 5 years. You decide who gets it. You can't hide from it except by driving less, staying home or taking mass transportation.

    OK that subject is complete.

    Next...

    Prius vs ?????? ( there is no ICE equivalent - brilliant marketing/product placement )
    Batteries.... puleeze
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    You didn't read my scenario. I said if the vehicles were travelling at a constant 65 mph on a level road. The hybrid is definitely not coasting but probably using around 35 hp to maintain this speed. If any charging of the battery is taking place then that must represent an additional drain on the engine. There is nothing to be gained efficiency-wise by adding additional energy conversion steps, i.e. gasoline->mechanical->battery->mechanical as opposed to simply gasoline->mechanical. At 65 mph you have to be going down a fairly steep grade before the car is actually coasting and can charge the battery with no penalty. Don't get me wrong, I think regenerative braking is a great thing. I just think that it provides very limited value for highway driving. However its perfect for city driving

    Yes...and NO.

    You are correct that at a constant speed of say 65 mph on a level highway that about 35 hp are used to drive the front wheels.
    ..but every ICE is way over spec'd in terms of hp. In fact the 1.5L Atkinson cycle Prius engine has about 75 total hp which when cruising is split between driving the wheels ( 35 hp ) and driving the generator ( MG1 ). Now the computer can decide whether the output from MG1 needs to go to the wheels such as in a sudden upgrade or in passing or whether this out put can be stored in the batteries for future use.

    In every other ICE the extra horsepower ( 270 hp -35 hp = 235 hp ) is just wasted in burned fuel that's not doing anything most of the time.

    Now step two..
    In the HSD system the computer oversees the charge on the battery pack and avoids to get it too charged up or too dimished. When the ICE has been in operation for a while splitting its output and chargine the battery on the fly at some time thereafter the battery is 'full' ( it's not but that's intentional ). The computer then tells the battery to discharge and drive the e-motor. It also tells the ICE to stop spinning at say 1500 rpms and take a rest going to idle at 950 rpms....on the fly at 60-70 mph. It's sort of like cylinder deactivation.
    Upgrade --> kick back in
    Downslope --> take a break
    Passing --> kick back in
    It's seamless.

    This is part II of the 'charging equation'
    Part I of course is the Regen braking which as you correctly note is very likely limited by the technology of the batteries. Right now it's about 30% going back.
    Part III is very subtle, as noted by tch_titanium priorly. When the computer senses a deceleration ( foot off the GO pedal ) it switches the e-motor ( MG2 ) to become a generator and makes the front wheels which are rolling in any event drive the generator to recharge the battery. The pentup kinetic energy in the entire vehicle is then driven through the wheels to the battery....up to it's limit.

    During this time the ICE is..
    ..turned down to idle if the speed is over 41 mph
    ..turned off entirely if the speed is 41 mph or less.
    This is a HUGE part of the fuel savings.

    The total fuel savings come from 3 main areas
    1) complete ICE shutoff at a dead stop
    2) ICE only running at idle speed while at full highway speed
    3) ICE at idle or shutoff during every coasting period.
    The only way to save fuel is to turn the ICE down or off.

    Here is a good link for the mechanically inclined on how the PSD and power sources work under different conditions:
    What's happening as I drive my Prius
  • tpetpe Posts: 2,342
    In every other ICE the extra horsepower ( 270 hp -35 hp = 235 hp ) is just wasted in burned fuel that's not doing anything most of the time.

    That's a myth. A vehicles's unused horsepower does not represent wasted fuel. You can not conclude that a vehicle rated at 135 hp will burn less fuel than one rated at 270 hp when both engines are producing 35 hp. Take a 1.5L engine rated at 75 hp and throw a turbocharger on it. The horsepower/torque have probably gone up by 50% but it won't be burning any more fuel when producing 35 hp. I believe the Saturn Sky redline actually has a higher mpg rating than the regular version. One of my vehicles is a BMW 330 (3.0L). It's mileage rating is just as good as the 325 (2.5L) despite a 20% increase in displacement and 25% increase in power. Obviously there are a lot of cases where the more powerful vehicle gets considerably worse mileage. I'm simply saying that equating higher hp to reduced efficiency is an invalid assumption.

    What kind of mileage does a Prius get at 75 mph, which is the posted limit on many highways? I guarantee there's not a lot of regeneration going on at that speed and I'm not about to drive slower than the flow of traffic.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    Thats not what I said.

    What I said is that ALL ICE's when cruising only need about 35-50 hp. Nothing more.

    Take the Accord 2.4L 4c which is probably the smoothest and best engineered 4c out there now. It's rating are 166 hp @ 5400 rpms and 160 lb-ft @ 4000 rpms. At normal cruising speed of about 1900 rpms this engine may only be turning out 120 hp. Why then does it have 166 hp? And why if it only needs 35 hp to maintain a 65 mph speed does it have to turn out 120 hp? Why can't the Accord just have a 1.3L engine iso a 2.4L. It doesn't need to burn the fuel that a 2.4L engine does in order to maintain a constant speed on the highway.

    Because it wouldn't sell. It would be a dog in every other metric that buyers measure; startup, acceleration, climbing, etc. It needs an Otto cycle gas engine with enough oomph to serve all these other needs but it's way way over spec'd and wasteful for cruising at 65 on the highway.

    What I'm saying is that you don't need any size engine larger than one large enough to get you 35 hp to drive the front wheels. A 3-spd 1.0L engine will do. Anything larger is wasted while cruising.

    So here is the solution: It's the same source as above created by an engineer to explain the inner workings of the Prius and HSD.
    Prius drive components explanation
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    What kind of mileage does a Prius get at 75 mph, which is the posted limit on many highways? I guarantee there's not a lot of regeneration going on at that speed and I'm not about to drive slower than the flow of traffic.

    Different strokes and all ... 75 in most places in our area will lose you your license. However on I95 N & S the normal speed is about 85 mph. A Prius will get about 42-45 mpg on a dead flat. There is no 'regeneration' from braking at this constant crusing speed but there is still a split of the ICE output to the wheels and to the MG1. That happens all the time. The HSD computer still decides how much of the flow from MG1 needs to go to maintain speed and how much should go to keep the battery in its prime SOC. Then even at 75 mph when the battery reaches its 'full' point it will be discharged and the ICE will take a break and cycle down to idle.

    All vehicles suffer at 75 vs 60 due to the effect of drag. All vehicles will be less efficient and burn more fuel to overcome the increased drag.

    It appears from SOP measurements using the internal MFD that the effect of drag at 75 and higher puts the ICE in use about 10% more often, it uses 10% more fuel, so it cycles down less often. A scan tool will be much more accurate of course.
  • tpetpe Posts: 2,342
    If Toyota figures out a way to make the 1.5L engine in the Prius more efficient I can assure you a natural by-product of this increased efficiency will be increased horsepower. I don't understand why people feel that power and efficiency are contradictions, enemies of one another. If most vehicles operate using 35 horsepower the majority of the time then the engineers should design an engine that is the most efficient at producing 35 horsepower. It sure won't be an engine rated at only 35 horsepower because no engine is most efficient at it's max output. So this extra unused horsepower is not wasted.

    While I have no way to prove this I suspect that if you hooked up the Toyota 1.5L and Honda 2.4L engines to a dynamometer and had them both outputting 35 horsepower the difference in fuel flow would be trivial. So whether or not it's over spec'd is irrelevant. If it's not burning more gas it's not wasteful.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    You still miss the point.

    Your original question was 'what about cruising at 65 mpg on the HWY?' We agreed that a vehicle only needs about 35 hp to do this.

    The Prius uses a 1.5L 70 hp Atkinson cycle to achieve this.
    The Accord ( just as an example, it could be any vehicle ) uses a 2.4L 166 hp Otto cycle.

    The Prius output at 65 mph is about 50 hp.
    The Accord output at 65 mph is about 120 hp.

    The constant in your scenario is that the vehicles have to operate and cruise at 65 mph on the Highway. What occurs in your scenario? The Prius burns less fuel due to its smaller displacement and more efficient cruising cycle. Yet, even with the smaller displacement and more efficient cycle the Prius still generates excess power some of which is stored in the batteries.

    It just works as designed. The proof is in the Hwy fuel economy ratings - revised.
    Prius 43 Hwy = 23.25 Gal/1000 mi driven ( GpK )
    Accord 31 Hwy = 32.25 GpK

    OK use the Corolla 1.8L VVT-i
    Prius 43 Hwy = 23.25 GpK
    Corolla 35 Hwy = 28.57 GpK

    It, the Prius, simply burns less fuel to accomplish the same purpose. It works. It can also work better. Everything can. See the third installment of this blockbuster at a theater near you in Oct 2008. ;)
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