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Hybrids - News, Reviews and Views in the Press

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  • The CNW report makes one assumption (that i haven't seen any mention of yet) that severely tips the scales out of the Prius' favor. This assumption is that hybrids will not catch on, and that all money spent in developement, advertising, and dealership training must be amortized over a small production run of a single model of vehicle. whereas the hummer technology can carry over to different vehicle platforms.
    I guess that they would have been right, had hybrids not caught on and had the technology not been carried to different models and even been licensed to other manufacturers.
    I read every word of the dust to dust report (to make sure i didn't overlook any good info), and it is filled with wild assumptions like this. The report is even worse then useless, because a completely ignorant person would have a better grip on reality than a person who believed every word of the CNW report.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    Gary, you have typed a lot of "Say What?" statements in my time on these forums, but let me just say this as nicely as possible:

    It s-t-r-a-i-n-s credibility to think there might even be ONE Prius in the entire world in the history of the Prius name which would EVER require 50 thousand dollars of repair work in it's life.

    Let's not waste any more time on that ridiculosity.

    On the Hummer issue, I assumed you knew the press articles were talking about the American gasoline-powered H2 and H3 Hummer as the vehicles comparing to the Prius, not the old-school diesel H1.

    I'm not saying the diesel can't make 300,000 miles, but I am saying "Ba-Ha" to the thought of the gasoline model making that many miles.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,850
    I think maybe you should read the CNW report. The H2 is shown as having a life expectancy of 197,000, not 300k as many bloggers have said. The Prius is based on 109k mile life expectancy. I do not find either number that hard to accept. I must again say, I do not pretend to understand all this report is saying. To deny its credibility based on emotion or isolated numbers, I refuse to do.

    You are probably correct that no one in their right mind would spend $50k to keep a Prius going. To say that you could not spend that much replacing parts is not being realistic. If added up I imagine there are at least $50k worth of parts not counting the labor to install them.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    gary says, "f added up I imagine there are at least $50k worth of parts not counting the labor to install them."

    OF COURSE there are $50K worth of repair and labor POSSIBLE on ANY CAR.

    But no car is going to break that often without falling under Lemon status !!!
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    If you were in a Hummer1 when hit 3 times over the last few months, do you think the damage would have been as expensive to repair?

    It might be even higher.

    Repair items:
    #1) 2 Wheels and lower control arm
    #2) Windshield, front qtr panel, OS rearview mirror ( still looking for the deer that stole the original )
    #3) Rear door, lower rocker panel and rear qtr panel

    Of the approx $5000 cost for these three incidents probably $3000+ is just for shop labor 40 hrs x $75/hr.
  • kermit4kermit4 Posts: 9
    What does make sense is this. It would be a lot easier and cheaper to keep a H1 on the road for 300k plus miles than a Prius. For one thing is the cost to repair a lightly wrecked Prius must be phenomenal.

    The report mentions that they are showing energy dollars needed for repair, not the cost of the repairs. In other words, they are trying to show the "societal" cost, not the cost to the consumer out of pocket.

    And this is supposed to be, in the words of CNW, "a general-consumer report, not a technical document per se"? If so, it fails pretty miserably. Heck, I find technical documents easier to understand. If nothing else, putting those charts listing every model in every chart was a piss-poor design idea--they should have all been put in an appendix, to make the document more readable. A marketing company should know better.

    Of course, CNW don't indicate how they figure out the energy cost. There is some talk about all of the factors they need to consider, but then there's nothing about they actually use all of these different factors. The end of the report includes a lengthy quote full of citations from Google Answers about the energy cost of manufacturing a single car; the CNW people put in a note that says "There are no calculations in any of the aforementioned articles related to the energy requirements for supplier industries". Which is like the pot calling the marshmallow black, because the CNW report contains absolutely no calculations.

    Here's an example of something that CNW gets consistently wrong: they figure out averages the wrong way, for the purposes of their study. Let's say you're shopping for a new car, and you're curious what the average new car buyer is paying. Your dealer tells you "well, here's our tiny econobox model for $15k, here's our mid-range sedan for $30k, and you can get our wonderful luxury SUV for $$55k. 15 + 30 + 55 = 100, divided by 3 different models, so our average new car buyer is paying $33,333." Well, yes, if you want a "straight" average. It assumes that the same number of people buy each car.

    But what if only one person out of 100 is buying the SUV, 29 out of 100 are buying the sedan, and the remaining 70 get the economy car? Clearly, the average new car buyer is paying far less than $33k for a car (in fact, they're paying $19,750 on average in my example). This is the "weighted" average. It's especially important when you're considering situations where you have lots of people buying one type of car (say, a Toyota Camry), and very few people buying another type (like a Ferrari).

    That CNW study, with very few exceptions, uses "straight" averages. One trivial example pulled from their paper: they can't even figure out how to calculate lifetime fuel efficiency (MPG). They have all these nice tables showing the fuel efficiency for each car model when the car is aged 1-5 years, then for cars aged 6-10 years, and then for cars over 10 years. So, CNW should be able to use their data for how long a car lasts and figure out the lifetime MPG.

    Sadly, they can't. They use a straight average rather than the weighted.

    They may write at the start of the report that "The information contained is as accurate as we could make it", but they seem to have absolutely no idea how to do any analysis.

    Note that these objections apply to every single car mentioned in the CNW study. In other words, the study's conclusions mean nothing, because they are based on totally faulty analysis. Even if the study's conclusions said that we should all immediately go out and buy hybrids, I'd still say that it didn't have a leg to stand on.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    Very good analysis, kermit4. Bravo !!

    What it boils down to in my eyes is this:

    For some reason, who knows why, Art Spinella is in political bed with SOME sort of anti-hybrid, anti-environmental, anti-Japanese, or at the very least pro-GM group.

    And he was paid to try to put a gobbledygook study together that shone on hybrids in a negative light.

    Only he knows the truth.

    But those people who can do math and can read have valid issues with the conclusions in his report.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,850
    For some reason, who knows why, Art Spinella is in political bed with SOME sort of anti-hybrid, anti-environmental, anti-Japanese, or at the very least pro-GM group.

    You are really grasping for straws on that statement. 4 out of 10 of the least costly vehicles in the study are from Toyota. That would lead one to believe that he was in bed with Toyota. Maybe they would like to undermine the hybrid and get out from under the burden of a continued loss and potential bombshell.
    I think we are all missing something in this report. No one spends that much time and effort on a study that has no basis. I do not know who he was working for or why. If it was done to be controversial it was successful. If the premise was to bring to light the long term negatives surrounding the hybrid vehicles offered for sale, I agree. I wish I understood his methodology.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,850
    And this is supposed to be, in the words of CNW, "a general-consumer report, not a technical document per se"? If so, it fails pretty miserably. Heck, I find technical documents easier to understand.

    I also find technical documents much easier to read. I don't see that as a basis to discount something if we do not understand it. I worked for 45 years with electronics. I cannot say I understand how an electron moves through a wire. I just accepted the results of current flow. I have a hard time reading most legal documents. That does not mean they are at fault. There is a discussion between the author of the CNW report and David Friedman. If the director of Union of Concerned Scientists was willing to go on TV with this person, he must have considered him a credible scientist or statistician.

    I guess I could understand if it was done to get a government grant. There are thousands of those studies that mean absolutely nothing. This was done for the sake of learning and I am willing to learn more about this subject of energy costs. I would say that Art Spinella's credentials are as good as any of the poster's on Edmund's. He has a history in the automotive field.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    gary says, "I would say that Art Spinella's credentials are as good as any of the poster's on Edmund's. He has a history in the automotive field."

    Gary, credentials don't mean DIDDLY SQUAT if you say or do something STUPID.

    See Jimmy The Greek.
    See Don Imus.
    See OJ Simpson.
    See Pete Rose.

    If you have "credentials" and you do or say something that is incredibly ridiculous, no amount of those credentials are going to allow you get away with it.

    Such is this garbage study with Art Spinella. He lost a lot of ground with a lot of people with this, you can bet. And he probably made a few friends, like you for example Gary.

    But when common sense and basic math are thrown into his results, the study results start looking moronic, as myself and other posters have shown. $300,000+ for a Prius for 109K miles - Puh-Leeze.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 5,854
    We get it again... you disagree on this subject.

    Let's stop the barbs and keep this thing from escalating now.

    MODERATOR
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  • kermit4kermit4 Posts: 9
    I think we are all missing something in this report. No one spends that much time and effort on a study that has no basis. I do not know who he was working for or why

    In the appendix of the report, the authors of the report mention several times that they were self-funded. They are a for-profit private company, not a scientific or engineering research laboratory.

    I also find technical documents much easier to read. I don't see that as a basis to discount something if we do not understand it.

    The authors of the report start out by saying that there are other technical reports on end-to-end energy costs of vehicles, but that they are written for a technical audience. They then follow this by saying that the CNW report is different, that it is meant specifically to be a genera-consumer report, yada yada, that it does not include "unfriendly to consumers terms". (They then mispell gigajoules as gigajuelles, which means they're either totally unfamiliar with a very basic engineering word, or they didn't run spell check on their final product). Keep in mind this is a marketing firm. Their expertise is supposed to be in making things understandable. They have failed in their stated purpose for this document.

    There is a discussion between the author of the CNW report and David Friedman. If the director of Union of Concerned Scientists was willing to go on TV with this person, he must have considered him a credible scientist or statistician.

    The description of the video clip (which is no longer available) is that the two men discuss the idea that hybrid vehicles are bad for the environment. People often appear in TV interviews with people that they think are wrong about a specific issue, in order to explain to other people why their opponent's ideas are wrong.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    This article predicts "faltering" hybrid sales to come.

    We shall see......

    Hybrids on the way Out !!!
  • avalon02whavalon02wh Posts: 726
    I see the the Prius vs. Hummer discussion is in full swing. Let me see if I can add a few points. In another blog a person made the comment about shipping nickel via massive container ship to the largest nickel refinery in Europe. Having recently looked at some interesting information on wikipedia regarding super tankers and container ships I decided to crunch the numbers. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Containerization & http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supertanker
    Container capacity is measured in twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU).
    A 40-ft standard shipping container (2 TEU) can hold 26,500 kg.
    A Prius battery pack weighs 68kg (06).
    389 battery packs could fit in each container by weight. (26,500/68)
    Prius sales in 2006 were 107,000.
    Divide 107,000 by 389 battery packs per container and we get 275 containers. (550 TEU)
    We would only need 275 forty foot containers to ship all the battery packs needed for 2006.
    The world's largest container ship the Ebba Maersk can hold 14,500 TEU. (151,687 GT)
    The 275 containers add up to less than 4% of the ships capacity.
    The H3 on the other hand uses 13.9 more barrels of oil per year than a Prius. (EPA)
    107,000 H3s would use an additional 1.5 million barrels of oil per year. (13.9*107,000)
    A Suezmax tanker (160,000 GT) can carry up to about 1.2 million barrels.
    We would need at least one extra Suezmax tanker shipment every year if those 107,000 Prius owners had bought H3s.
    You might need to ship another set of batteries mid way through the 15 year life cycle. The H3 on the other hand would need at least 15 Suezmax tanker shipments.
    Prius 1, H3 0 CNW -1 :shades:
  • avalon02whavalon02wh Posts: 726
    On the CNW web site they had an additional document regarding why the Prius cost more than an H3:
    “Other components on the Prius, such as tires, are less distance-mileage friendly than non-hybrids of the same size and weight.....But the typical replacement tire for a Prius will not likely be the OEM specialty variety, cutting both fuel economy and distance-per-battery charge of the Prius.”

    At tirerack.com you will see that the 2007 Prius OEM tire costs about $65 and has a 460 treadwear rating. The H3 tire, also made by Goodyear, costs $102 on special and has a treadwear rating of only 340. Goodyear is saying the Prius tire will last longer. The Prius OEM tire (185/65-15) from Goodyear weighs 17 pounds. The H3 OEM tire (265/75-16) weighs 42 pounds. It takes more raw material and bigger equipment to make the H3 tire. Transportation costs for the H3 tire will be higher (both as a product and when it is sent to recycling). I wonder if CNW even added in the energy cost of the H3 tires. Prius 2 H3 0 CNW -10
  • tomqtomq Posts: 10
    On the hybrid falling article, as you read it mentions gas prices low now and will drop hybrid sales. Seems to me that article was printed over year ago. Very close to 3 bucks a gallon here now.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    The article is obviously from this year because it has current event information in it, like the recent Prius incentives and the recent April snowstorms, which did not happen last year, and the fact that the Prius turns 10 years old this year, first being sold in 1997:

    By Roland Jones
    Associate editor
    MSNBC
    Updated: 4:44 p.m. MT April 18, 2007

    Roland Jones
    Associate editor
    Spring is getting a late start in the United States this year,with mid-April snow blanketing parts of the nation. But the month of March still saw a burst of green for Japanese automaker Toyota.

    Even as the Big Three automakers saw their sales drop, Toyota’s U.S. sales soared to a record in March, thanks partly to soaring demand for its eco-friendly, hybrid gasoline-electric powered vehicles. Sales of Toyota’s Prius, the best-selling hybrid model, jumped to 19,156, more than double the 7,922 sold a year ago.

    Are lots of American car buyers turning “green”? Not necessarily. Part of the reason for Toyota’s sales jump was a series of discounts it has offered on the Prius — a strong favorite among environmentalists that this year celebrates its 10th anniversary of production — in a bid to broaden its appeal to more mainstream car shoppers.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,850
    Better supply and incentives being cut April 1st would account for high sales volume in March. If April is as big as March I would attribute the price of gas and a real interest in hybrids. With people actually buying the Prius in the $21k range has got to be a big part of the sales. I doubt it gives those that paid over $26k for an entry level Prius a real warm feeling.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    (tongue in cheek)

    Yes, by all means, let's not give any Prius sales credit to the fact that the Prius is a

    GREAT CAR..........

    We sure do have about 500,000 doofuses in the USA who have bought hybrid cars.........man those Toyota liars are SLICK !!

    (OK tongue out of cheek now)

    Regardless of WHY Priuses are selling well, we should all be happy that these clean and efficient cars are on the road in place of cars that MORE THAN LIKELY would be worse polluters.

    If Toyota wants to make less money on the Priuses with the goal of getting more of them on the road, that also is a praiseworthy event.
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