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Electric Vehicle Pros & Cons



  • tpetpe Posts: 2,342
    Obviously that prediction was wrong. As a result I wouldn't believe anything coming out of that rag.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,850
    Who can you believe? Toyota said they would have a PHEV by MY 2009. Now they are back tracking. Any prediction based on yet to be developed technology is suspect. Many times it is just wishful thinking. I have been hopeful of some practical breakthrough in EV technology for a long time. Still seems a long way off. Maybe further away than it was when the predictions were made in 1972.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    When did Toyota say that? I don't think Toyota ever said "we will have a working PHEV for sale by model year 2009."

    Got a link?
  • tpetpe Posts: 2,342
    When CalCars converted a couple Prius's to give them PHEV capability Toyota's response was to void the warranty. CalCars has aggressively lobbied Toyota to commit to producing a PHEV and Toyota's response has consistently been of total disinterest. I've read a couple non-committal responses from Toyota saying that they might pursue this option but I get the sense it is meant to placate all these people that want them to do this.

    I really don't understand Toyota's philosophy here. They have already produced an EV that was probably the closest to being ready for prime time yet they seem to be one of the bigger nay sayers when it comes to their viability.

    Anyway, this technology has been developed and PHEVs do exist. What's left to be done is make the technology affordable and bring it to the market.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,408
    Wikipedia is a very questionable source of information. I think more like 35 mph.

    Of course, I was think ALL aluminum....use of aluminum body panels was fairly common back then since it was so easy to fashion into shape. Steel-stamping processes were not well developed until the Budd Company perfected large-panel stampings for railroad cars in the 1930s.

    But those aluminum panels are probably nailed to heavy wood framework all-round the a framed house with siding.

    ANYWAY---the recently marketed ZENN electric is restricted to 25 mph top speed.


  • reddroverrreddroverr Posts: 509
    BERLIN (Thomson Financial) - General Motors Corp unit Opel plans to bring out an all-electric car at the end of 2010, GM's European chief Carl-Peter Forster was cited as saying in an excerpt from tomorrow's Auto Motor Sport magazine.

    He told the magazines that hybrid technology is too costly to use in small cars. A prototype of GM's E-Flex electric engine will be presented at the IAA car show in Frankfurt in September, he said, and series production is expected to start at the end of 2010. jsa
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,408
    "He told the magazines that hybrid technology is too costly to use in small cars."

    Yeah, GM should tell that to Toyota so that Toyota doesn't keep making all the mistakes that made it the global failure it is today.


  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,850
    all I can find is where Toyota was going to have the Li-Ion in the 2009 Prius.

    In an interview with BusinessWeek on Feb. 16, Chief Executive Katsuaki Watanabe confirmed that Toyota's third-generation hybrid cars, due out in late 2008 or early 2009, will use lithium-ion batteries. Lighter and more powerful than the current nickel metal hydride packs, the new batteries will help make for more fuel-efficient hybrids. "We will change the battery from nickel hydride to the lithium battery," the CEO said during a rare one-on-one interview at the company's headquarters in Toyota City. Toyota officials say it's the first time Watanabe had confirmed the change of cells (see, 2/22/07
  • reddroverrreddroverr Posts: 509
    I haven't heard of anything date specific, but they have increased research in the PHEV arena by quite a bit.
  • tpetpe Posts: 2,342
    Actually what GM is saying makes sense. My guess is that most people buying traditional small cars are doing so based upon budget constraints. If incorporating Toyota's hybrid system adds $4k onto the price of this vehicle these people are going to realize that this isn't a good budget decision. That $4k represents a far bigger percentage of the price of a small car than a large car. Toyota was clever in this regard by creating a completely different vehicle in the Prius, which could go after a unique market of buyer's who's number one priority was fuel efficiency. Had Toyota introduced the Prius as a hybrid Echo it wouldn't have sold as well and of the buyers it got there wouldn't be many that had otherwise been shopping for a traditional Echo.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,850
    Actually the Prius introduced in 2001 was built on the Echo chassis. And it did not sell well. I came close to buying one for my soon to be ex-wife. She hated it. So she got to keep her 1990 Camry.

    I test drove it twice. The biggest selling point after the advertised mileage was the 8 year 100k mile bumper to bumper warranty. Toyota soon dropped that.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,408
    The first Prius wasn't that big a seller because it was hideously ugly I think.

    Woe be to the company that tells the Japanese that they can't do something.

    What GM says makes no sense to me, except that it is typical of what GM always says---and GM is usually wrong.

    If someone at GM doesn't think that small expensive economical cars don't sell, they should go to a MINI dealer and watch them fly out of the showroom doors.

    Just because GM can't do something doesn't mean someone else can't pull it off.

    Same old story:

    "no profit in small cars" ( and then the Honda CVCC appears in 1973)

    "americans won't buy convertibles" (and then the Miata appears in 1990)

    "Mercedes owns the luxury market right now) (and then the Lexus appears in 1990)

    "Nobody can build as good a pickup as we can" (and then the Titan appears)

    "hybrid technology is too expensive" (and then the Prius appears)


  • tpetpe Posts: 2,342
    Hybrid technology is currently too expensive. The only people that are willing to pay for it are those that put a very high priority on fuel efficiency or being "green". This is not the domestic's customer base. GM could build a clone of the Prius and it wouldn't sell, at least not for the same price as Toyota's. I'd be curious to find out how many people purchased the Geo Prizm as compared to the Toyota Corolla or are buying the Pontiac Vibe compared to the Toyota Matrix? This would be tough to determine because the domestic versions of these vehicles went into the rental fleet in large numbers.

    GM has finally realized that they need to change their image, which will hopefully expand their customer base. This will take some time and/or a revolutionary product like the Volt.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,408
    But every new technology is too expensive, right? How much will an iPhone cost in a year or two? Less than half I'd guess. Is it better than a regular cell phone? Yep.

    I think the Big Three should have a new slogan:

    "CAN'T DO!"

    This seems to have been their war-cry the last 20 years. It's hard to believe sometimes that this is the country that built the Golden Gate Bridge in two years and a Liberty ship in 4 days.

    Personally, I see the affordable plug-in hybrid as a vast new market with great profit potential. And I'm a "nobody" in the Big Three scheme of things. How come I know this and they don't?

    Toyota is putting a HUGE investment into future hybrids. GM seems to be hedging a bet on the side for an EV and that seems to be it.

    I just don't like the way this is shaping up. I got a bad feeling about it.


  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    I paid $26,758 for my TCH. I know of people who paid around $22K for their Prius.

    I know cost is relative based on one's station in life. When I was 20 years old, paying $27K for a car was unattainable.

    But for most two-income families, how is $22K to $27K "too expensive?" The average US new car costs about $28K. Getting a Prius for 20% less than the average new car price seems pretty reasonable to me.

    If hybrids are too expensive, why were June 2007 sales up 49% over June 2006 sales?

    If GM can sell the Volt for anywhere near $28K, it will sell like hotcakes.
  • jeffyscottjeffyscott Posts: 3,855
    Exactly! If people were just looking at it analytically in terms of fuel costs saved vs. higher purchase price and the government were not giving handouts to Toyota (disguised as tax credits to hybrid buyers...which merely increase the purchase price and toyota's profits) they would not sell. There was no guarantee of success when Toyota started this project and they can perhaps afford to take more risks than a finacially precarious company like GM. Does anyone even know if this hybrid project has actually even been profitable for Toyota as of right now or is success still a future projection?

    In addition, as you point out, if there is a GM label instead of Toyota the price is going to be lower.

    Just because something works for Toyota does not mean it would work for GM.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,408
    I think in terms of prestige and publicity the Prius has been a jewel for Toyota. Even Americans are beginning to view GM like it was a crippled entity.

    I don't see why economy of scale can't bring the price of a hybrid within striking distance of say the compact market...between say $17K to $20K. You have to remember that the Prius right now is a fairly spacious, well-equipped car. There's a lot that can be trimmed.

    The problem for Toyota is that a plug-in type hybrid (which gives you both an EV and a gas car) adds cost to a regular hybrid. On the upside, one could achieve the equivalent of 100 mpg at a cost of about $1 a gallon. That type of performance, if accurate, makes the selling price somewhat irrelevant, since you will save $1500 a year in fuel if you are currently driving a 25 mpg car.

    So over the course of a 5 year car loan, that's $7,500...more than enough to justify paying say a $3,000 premium for a plug-in hybrid.


  • tpetpe Posts: 2,342
    I'm not saying that $22-$26k is too expensive for an automobile. I'm simply addressing the hybrid option and how much that costs. Take the tax credits away because that only muddies the water. Toyota's hybrid system is the most advanced and I'm guessing probably adds at least $3k to the cost. Since you don't sell options at cost let's say this is a $4k option that is offered on a vehicle. People on strict budgets will consider this too expensive. People that don't care much about fuel efficiency (the domestic market) are really going to consider this too expensive. People that are very concerned with some of the social issues involved with fuel consumption will figure out a way to justify the cost. I'm not saying that's wrong but it involves bringing intangibles into the equation that are difficult to measure in dollars and cents.
  • tpetpe Posts: 2,342
    The problem with Toyota's hybrid system is that it isn't designed to take full advantage of plug-in capability. With a PHEV the driver will want to be able to operate as a pure EV for short trips. The electric drive system in Toyotas was never intended to be the sole source of motivation, even if you had bigger batteries the electric motors just aren't powerful enough. Toyota spent a lot of money designing an elegant system where the ICE and electric drives compliment each other. This is a possible reason why they seem to lack enthusiasm for PHEVS. The PHEV is far more suitable for a series hybrid, with one drive system.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    Yes, Toyota knows the hybrid option costs too much.

    That's why the engineers have been tasked by Toyota management to cut 50% of the cost.

    We'll see if they can do it.

    But the fact remains that the cost which it costs is just what it costs right now with the technology that is available. If someone invents a better battery system which does a better job at lower cost, then that's great.

    We are at the mercy of the battery technology right now.
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