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Who can compete with Toyota/Lexus Hybrids?

drfilldrfill Posts: 2,484
edited March 2014 in Toyota
Is this the beginning of the end for the competition? Mercedes can't make a stick (or an SUV) after over 100 years in business, now they have to trump vehicles with 2 engines and 35 MPG? BMW is still trying to stop the design studio from chasing away their customer base, and now they have to combat two-headed monsters? My guess is Toyota/Lexus (and MAYBE Honda/Acura) have found the Magic Pill! If the Germans have it, they sure are quiet about it. The Americans wouldn't know what to do with it if they DID have it. Lexus could have a full lineup of gas/hybrid high-performance vehicles within 4-5 years? Most companies don't know how a hybrid works yet! Now Toyota/Lexus can get another 50-100HP extra into thir vehicles with one option? This is ON TOP of VVT-i technology, which already gives smaller engines the power of larger engines. It's like a Stage 1 upgrade/Stage 2 upgrade system. What do you think? Is Acura onto the same thing with the next RL? Will the RX400H outperform Cayennes and X5's with 30-35MPG? Speak out. Who can stop them from taking over?


  • carlisimocarlisimo Posts: 1,280
    I don't think hybrids will be so successful that they're determine the fate of companies. They're doing better than the companies expected, and I hope they keep it up, but it'll be a long time before it's a major influence on purchases for most people.

    But you're right, it looks like hybrids will belong to Toyota and Honda in the near future.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    for pleasant hybrid surprises from GM. Apart from that, I think the next decade of hybrid cars will be dominated by Toyota and Honda, but especially Toyota, which is already licensing and selling their hybrid tech to other car companies, something that could make them some really juicy profits in the next ten years if even more car companies come a-callin'

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • daysailerdaysailer Posts: 720
    Have marketed the only useful IC/electric hybrids to date, but don't expect them to "take over" unless and until they are price competitive with conventional cars of comparable performance and utility.

    But this has already been discussed at length in the "Is it time to buy a hybrid ..........." thread.
  • bhill2bhill2 Posts: 1,782
    Your point on price differential is well taken, but history is any example I believe it will be overcome within a fairly short period of time. At that point, you have a technology that offers attractive advantages in fuel efficiency and emission control. If other auto makers aren't with the program by that point, they could suffer. People won't pay a lot more to get lower fuel bills but they'll pay something, and if the lower fuel costs come essentially free, they'll be camping out at the doors of whatever brands offer them.

    2009 BMW 335i, 2003 Corvette cnv, 2001 Jaguar XK cnv, 1985 MB 380SE (the best of the lot)

  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    will be mostly cars from:
    Nissan (entered a deal with Toyota for a hybrid Altima)
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    and Ford will be the first one if it ever quits the talk and actually makes the hybrid Escape available to the public - it will use the THS from the old Prius. If you have the $$ for a luxury nameplate, Lexus' own RX may be the first hybrid SUV available if Escape doesn't get with it pretty quick. HL will follow within a year, I think.

    Exciting: Ford estimates the fuel economy of the hybrid Escape to be 36/32 (city/hwy). It is also estimated to have the acceleration of the V-6 gas-only.

    If Toyota and Honda are the only ones to run with hybrid tech, it may peak and gradually whither away, absent an oil crisis, draconian new emissions regs, or something like that. Toyota already has a huge head start if there winds up being a hybrid race.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Manson, WAPosts: 6,914
    I want to know what the big deal is with having a hybrid anyway. The Feds are not really offering anything that special to people buying hybrid(tax-wise) and to actually believe that you'll be making any significant difference in our environment is VERY debatable. Is this a discussion on all types of cars or just Lexus/Toyota and their hybrid lead right now? Right now there are so many good cars available OTHER than Toy-Lex I shudder to even want to start typing them in here. Those smart men and women from South Korea are competing in a large way right now for starters.

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • thor8thor8 Posts: 303
    You all better relax a little bit, Hybrid cars are ancient technology.

    The first cars were Steam, then Electric, then gas, then Hybrid and then back to gas after some things were ironed out like better gearboxes, clutches, final drives. Etc.

    >but especially Toyota, which is already licensing and selling their hybrid tech to other car companies, something that could make them some really juicy profits in the next ten years if even more car companies come a-callin'

    Why would anybody pay to somebody for reinventing the wheel, the Petersen automobile museum in L.A. has a 1917 Woods Hybrid car on display. Probably the earliest Hybrid was the Krieger, a front wheel drive Hybrid built in 1903.

    As far as I know no fundamental breakthrough in automobile development has come from Japan other than the counter balancing shaft for vibration dampening on engines.

    Automotive breakthroughs come mainly from Europe and in Europe the Diesel engine is the immediate future (numbering into the millions) because is the only engine that can double or triple the fuel mileage over a gas engine (displacement Vs displacement) and offer way more power than a hybrid or a gas engine, and after that, hydrocarbon cracking fuel cells.

    The same thing is going to happen here in the US in three years when the mandate for low sulfur diesel fuel takes effect and the new common rail diesels become available. The success of the Diesel engine is due to the fact that it can convert the energy of the fuel into mechanical energy better than any IC power plant, the 230MPG experimental VW efficiency is 42% the best ever attained by any engine or the VW Lupo that went around the world averaging over 100MPG and reaching in some stretches over 140MPG.

    That is the engine of the immediate future.

    The diesel takes on the Hybrid.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    well........the hybrids being marketed today are not quite that 1917 Woods thingy - if they were, Toyota wouldn't have sold a one.

    Problem with diesel will be marketing. People will remember those great 70s and 80s diesels from companies like Mercedes that had perennially blackened rear ends because of all the smoke, required warm-up time before you could actually drive them, and sounded like a Mack truck when you drove off in the morning.

    No, that is nothing like today's diesels. But that is what people remember.

    The "if" I wrote in that statement you quoted above was a big one, no, a HUGE one. I am certainly not convinced that other companies WILL come a-callin'.

    In the end, diesels and hybrids will probably both remain a small percentage of the personal vehicle market because gas is too cheap in the US, and selling "green" vehicles to the American populace is almost an impossibility as well.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • carlisimocarlisimo Posts: 1,280
    The hybrid badge on the back of your car lets you drive in carpool lanes around here. That's a big deal.
  • thor8thor8 Posts: 303
    > well........the hybrids being marketed today are not quite that 1917 Woods thingy.

    Using your same reasoning a Mercedes Diesel today is not the same as a Diesel of the 70’s, Mercedes was the first car company in the world to introduce a Diesel for passenger cars in 1933, in the 70’s a Mercedes Diesel was state of the art just as is today, for comparison GM introduced a Diesel in the 70’s based on the 350 V8 engine, it only produced 125hp out of that big engine and 14mpg by comparison today the VW TDI 150 which at 4cyl is one third the size, it produces 25 hp more and 20% more torque and gives a Bora 58mpg.

    Again, today the big revolution in diesel technology is the common rail developed by Mercedes Benz and Bosch and direct pump pressure developed by VW, the better calibrated fuel burn along with alloys development and mechanical design allows for quiet, smooth and faster and lighter diesel engines, some of the VW small diesels already meet the EU4 emissions requirement to take effect in 2005.

    Clean diesels require a sulfur fuel below 50ppm, in the US diesel today is on average 450ppm, that is the reason that VW is the only manufacturer today selling Diesels in the US, they are a detuned version of the European engines able to cope with the US fuel but their emissions levels are above the European engines for the same reasons, also for the same reasons VW is limited in the number of vehicles they can sell based on the corporate emissions average for any manufacturer. That formula allows a few thousand diesels per year which VW sells in a few months and the rest of the year they are empty.

    So in effect what is keeping the modern diesel out is not the engine itself but the fuel situation.
    The EPA is aware of this situation and refiners are obligated by 2005-6 to bring the sulfur level down and that includes Gasoline too. Once low sulfur diesel is the law of the land the new diesel is coming in.

    You are talking about bad memories of diesel engines, and I say that is mostly verbatim. Today just about any American who keeps up with cars is aware of the new diesels, many have traveled to Europe and bring their good news, people are not that dumb, they know that technology advances, Americans like power under the hood and right now the diesel is the only thing that can give them that and on top of it, improve their fuel mileage.
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    Thor8 - What makes you think that a diesel engine cannot be mated worked into a hybrid drivetrain? Fuel cell-powered cars are hybrids. Bio-diesel engines could be made into hybrids. There is no law stating that a hybrid electric motor must be combined with a gas engine.

    Callmedrfill - Toyota is clearly ahead of the game in the hybrid race. I think the latest Prius is the best example of a production hybrid to date. The only other game in town is Honda. The Honda electrics may not be as good as those from Toyota, but they make the best engines. That's still half the drivetrain.
  • thor8thor8 Posts: 303
    To understand the power behind Hybrids is simple. Small engines whether Gas or Diesel are a lot easier to control emissions, engines around one liter displacement + or -, the bigger the engine the harder to bring emissions down, for instance VW can comply with EU4 tier with their little diesels but not with their big V10, same applies for the MBZ, BMW with their big V8 diesels, other techniques need to be used.

    Having a small engine that complies with emissions mandates leaves the other side of the equation on a deficit, no power. To solve this an electric motor is added to help the gas engine when power is needed (Hybrid, meaning two different), but an electric motor is energy dependant in other words something has to feed the electricity to it, in this case batteries, but batteries deplete their charge and need to be charged and we get back to the small motor which has to either propel the vehicle when there is no charge or both.

    For this reasons energy recovery systems are added, like when braking (greatest recovery percentage) the electric motor function as a generator to charge the batteries (this act is what increases the fuel mileage). For these reasons hybrids are more efficient in stop and go traffic, like the city, but when on long and open roads there is little opportunity to charge the batteries and the vehicle has to rely on the main gas engine and consequent power deficit. Now there is a small fact that people needs to be aware and that is if you have 200hp under the hood when cruising at 50mph or below where wind drag is not a big factor that 200hp engine is using only a small percentage of its power because that is all that is needed, maybe 30hp, the hybrid exploits this fact and only uses a 30hp engine, when extra hp is required it calls on the E motor.

    A hybrid vehicle could give a better fuel mileage but is penalized by having to carry extra weight as in batteries, another power system weight factor (E.motor/Gen). If a breakthrough in accumulators is achieved then the hybrid will improve its mileage greatly.

    Now is easier to see why the Europeans are pushing for the Diesel engine, if you can increase the efficiency and lower emissions in one package the problem is solved very simply or less complicated, the car will be left practically as is until something more revolutionary comes. Right now the devil to contend with is emissions first and better fuel mileage second, for this reasons the Europeans and Germans mostly.

    Half of the vehicles in the world have Bosch electronics, in Japan distributed as Denso, this is what Bernd Bohr from Bosch, GmBh predicts for the next 25 years.
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    "A hybrid vehicle could give a better fuel mileage but is penalized by having to carry extra weight as in batteries, another power system weight factor (E.motor/Gen)."

    Like the ultracapacitor used in the Dual Note (aka DN-X). Fact is, batteries are getting smaller and lighter faster than Americans are accepting alternative fuels.
  • thor8thor8 Posts: 303
    Varmint, There is nothing that prevents a diesel hybrid nor did I imply that couldn’t. In fact a good example for everybody to see is in the modern diesel locomotives that have a Diesel Gen/ E motor but not for mileage or emission reasons but for clutch reasons, if you had to get all that weight moving on a clutch or torque converter it would burn up in a few starting pulls.

    In my post Hybrids in a very simple way I described the principle of a Hybrid, as you can see if the goal is emissions and economy and if you can solve both by using one system, you have accomplished your goal in a simpler way.

    So there are drawbacks to a Hybrid in the way we understand it (A hybrid can be a combo of any two power plants like nuclear and steam, gas and diesel, jet and diesel etc) long term battery life and replacement and if we had millions of Hybrids we would have an environmental burden by having to dispose a huge number of batteries and is simple to un economical to be the vehicle of the masses, one good simple engine is more sensible.

    There are the laws of diminishing returns, for instance mating a super diesel to a Hybrid, a great effort was invested in the engine, power transfer and light vehicle now to come back and load it with batteries and electric motors/generators and increase the expense, when we reach that point then is clear that something new and better is needed instead of the overburden of filing on the edges. That is how science and technology moves forward, there is a time when is not worth it fiddling with the old even if you could extract a few more grams out of it.

    I give you a good example, in WW2 a fighter plane could reach about 475mph and that was about the limit, engineers could have tinkered with the piston engines and props and get a few more miles out of it but the effort would have entered the Grey area of diminishing returns, German engineers developed the axial flow jet engine and things moved forward not just a few miles extra but double and triple and more.

    Think about the same way with a Hybrid, nothing radical is going to happen with it, not for the effort, for that must as well go for the simple route (a diesel) until the next jet engine comes, so to speak.
  • john1701ajohn1701a Posts: 1,897
    > but when on long and open roads there is little opportunity
    > to charge the batteries and the vehicle has to rely on the
    > main gas engine and consequent power deficit

    That is NOT how a Prius works.

    100% of the time the engine is providing thrust to the wheel, it is ALSO creating electricity. Sometimes the electricity is used for recharging. Sometimes it is used for thrust. Sometimes it is used for both recharging & thrust.

    That's 100 PERCENT of the time!

    There clearly is not a "consequent power deficit" as you claim. In fact, just the OPPOSITE happens. You end up leaving the highway with a greater supply of stored electricity than you do when you get on it.

  • I agree with Logic and Thor that low sulfur diesel fuel and top-shelf diesel technology from Europe will provide a more sensible and consumer friendly solution to the fuel economy problem.

    What sort of EPA figures would we be looking at for a Malibu-sized car with a cutting edge 150hp diesel and a CVT?
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    "There is nothing that prevents a diesel hybrid nor did I imply that couldn’t."

    My point was that investment in hybrid systems is a progressive move regardless of the fuel used to power the non-electric half of the HEV. The company who masters electric motors, recovery systems, and storage options can bolster any other advances that come down the pipeline. It's like having a wild card in every poker hand.
  • daysailerdaysailer Posts: 720
    the "power deficit" is continuous because the full output of the IC engine is NEVER available to the driveline due to the losses of the generator and electric drive. This is part of the compromise to reduce emissions and fuel consumption and is not a bad thing, per se, but nor is it an advantage to be touted.
  • john1701ajohn1701a Posts: 1,897
    It was believed that battery-pack charge could not be increased much on the highway. I stated that is actually is, and by quite a bit. That's it.

    There is no "compromise", since there's more than enough thrust available from the engine for cruising anyway, even while recharging.

  • daysailerdaysailer Posts: 720
    There is NO free lunch!
  • john1701ajohn1701a Posts: 1,897
    Not really.

    Since you don't NEED that extra power anyway, there is no loss other than that you WANT it.

  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    the big 2.5 could sure use some products that are competitive in the fuel economy arena, to balance out their CAFE ratings.

    If diesel, then so be it. But maybe then they could spend some money encouraging the oil companies to put in diesel at every station, as unleaded is today. It would be a big step towards encouraging people to buy diesel vehicles.

    And maybe they should also make some diesels available in trucks BESIDES the very biggest.

    But of course this strategy will have to wait until the low-sulfur diesel is available nationwide in four years. Hybrids are here now.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • daysailerdaysailer Posts: 720
    if the various GM rental cars that I've had in recent months are representative, fuel economy is one rare area where they are competitive. All weigh upwards of 3200lbs, none provide enviable performance, NVH or ergonomics and none are cars that I would buy, but they all manage ~30mpg in prediminantly highway driving, similar to my Miata and Acura TL.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,570
    What strikes me very hard about the new Prius is that this is a futuristic vehicle that actually works right here and now. It's something like what photography was back when it first started. If you look at say Civil War photos, they are remarkably good. And this "science" came out decades before electric lighting and telephones or even indoor plumbing (1848 or so).

    What makes me think that the hybrid is (in some form) the car of the future is that the Prius actually approximates the performance of a normal car! In other words, it is ALMOST as good and it's only been out a few years.

    This is a far cry from the first pathetic electrics and diesels, which were, and which remained for decades, substantially inferior to their gasoline counterparts.

    Better technology always wins if it has the ability to displace the competing technology. Cassettes knocked out 8-tracks, and DVDs are just about ready to digest VHS.

    But the rotary did not displace the piston engine and solar heat did not replace natural gas.

    I think hybrids have the "right stuff" to replace the conventionally powered gasoline engine because they will deliver a car just as fast, just as roomy, giving upwards of 100 mpg pretty soon (Prius is at 60 mpg CITY driving!)'s the won't cost any more than a very average conventional car.

    Honda is even talking (so I've heard) about a hybrid NSX will the performance to match the previous reputation. Think about that!

    Not sure how this relates to tow vehicles, mass transit, heavy trucking, etc., but one step at a time.

    MODERATOR --Need help with anything? Click on my name!

  • john1701ajohn1701a Posts: 1,897
    I was at the "Engine of Changes" event today. There were four 2004 Prius being test driven. When asked how the feel was, one person actually called it "Lexus Quality" since the transmission is so amazingly smooth.

    I wonder how the heck the other automakers are going to compete with that.

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,570
    They aren't. Toyota is going to beat them senseless in this market.

    This soooo much reminds me of 1973 when the first gas crisis hit. Of course, the Big Three were blind-sided by the gas crunch (to be fair, so were most Western governments), and the Japanese fell right into a pot of gold, mostly unintentionally, by having Datsun 510s, Corollas, Coronas and Civics fully developed for the marketplace.

    All that's keeping the boom in hybrids from happening are one or two economic and/or environmental circumstances, any of which is certainly within the realm of possibility. It isn't far-fetched to think of gas at $3 a gallon or of environmental regulations tightening up even more as scientific data gets better.

    I like the new hatchback style for the Prius. Reminds me of the old Saab 900 5-door hatches, where you could drop the back seats and stuff a piano in there.

    Somehow the Prius has managed to lower the floor height and also make a fairly attractive car as well.

    And acceleration is right in whispering range of the PT Cruiser and Range Rover, according to my 0-60 stats (two of the slowest cars on the market today).

    The big question is, though, how are we ever going to get a nice engine sound out of these things?

    MODERATOR --Need help with anything? Click on my name!

  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    According to Honda's CEO, they are not taking the hybrid route with the NSX. However, this could easily be just another bit of their infamous subterfuge.

    That said, the engine under the hood of the HSC concept car looks an awful lot like the design used in the DN-X.,12543,220824-1,00.htm- l

    I expect this is what we'll see with the RL, but perhaps not in the first year. We'll see.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    I was just thinking of their overall fleet averages, with the preponderance of large trucks and full-size cars. But you are right, some of their smaller and midsize cars get good mileage - the new Malibu is rated higher than the Toyo/Honda competitors, I believe, on the 4-cyl.

    I can't wait until Toyota has an SUV with a hybrid powertrain, and Honda has a sport model...between the two, a few of the folks here who are traditionally against them might begin to see the light.

    I do see the point above of diminishing returns with diesel-electric hybrids vs straight diesels, but even after the low-sulfur diesel arrives, I will still wait to be convinced on the subject of particulate trapping...

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

This discussion has been closed.