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What type of hybrid should I buy?

john1701ajohn1701a Posts: 1,897
edited March 2014 in Toyota
Hybrid vehicles are about to become available in a wide variety shapes & sizes.

Each will be configured differently, to satisfy a very diverse market of consumers.

Some will emphasize emission reduction. Some efficiency. Others power & speed.

Everyone has a different need. Hopefully, this discussion will help those wanting a hybrid make a well informed purchase decision.



  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,040
    for me to take a hybrid seriously, it would have to be around the size of a Malibu, Taurus, Intrepid, etc....around that general size class. And have fairly mainstream styling...nothing too off-the-wall, or that looks like it was inspired by "Mothra versus Rhodan"!

    Of the hybrids that are out there, I think the latest Prius is actually a good attempt. A friend of mine recently bought one, and a few weeks ago I had a ride in it...I was actually pretty impressed! I don't think I could live down the exterior styling of it, but as small as it is on the outside, it's pretty comfy inside, and roomy enough for me, although I'd like a bit more shoulder room, for the occasional 5th passenger in back.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,906
    This fall, the Accord hybrid will be available. Might be just what you are looking for.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,040
    I could go for!
  • Since it isn't time yet to replace my 00 Celica, I can wait until they come out with a green light compact yet powerful, well weight distributed and gives more than 40 mpg hybrid.

    If I have a kid by then, my need will change though.

  • daysailerdaysailer Posts: 720
    I'll not be seeking a hybrid specifically. Rather, as always, I'll buy the car that best fullfils my automotive requirements considering performance, utility, economy, ergonomics, reliability and whatever other priorities I may have at the time. If that car is a hybrid, so be it.

    Based on current automotive examples and technology, my ideal might be something similar in concept to a Lotus Elise but made by Honda with IMA and, of course, costing less than $20k in 2004 dollars.
  • john1701ajohn1701a Posts: 1,897
    HSD (Hybrid Synergy Drive) is the system currently available only in Prius. Later this year, it will also be available in a SUV... due to the flexibility the design offers.

    Different size engines & motors & battery-packs can be attached to HSD, allowing for a variety of configurations.

    The 2001-2003 model Prius used a 1.5 liter engine with 33kW motor and a 274volt battery-pack.

    The 2004+ model Prius uses a 1.5 liter engine with a 50kW motor and a 204volt battery-pack, along with an inverter to increase the electricity to 500volts.

    There is a 2004 model Prius used for racing. The low-emission, fuel-efficient Atkinson-Miller type engine was replaced with a standard Otto type engine, the one used in Echo. That change increased both the available horsepower and the maximum electricity available (via the on-the-fly generator). This was accomplished without the need to alter the HSD system at all. The original motor & battery-pack continued to be used, as is. The catch was that the fuel-efficiency dropped and the emissions increased. But it worked well for racing.

    When HSD is introduced in a SUV, the configuration will put more emphasis on power and less on efficiency & emissions. This will result in a hybrid that can actually out-accelerate its traditional engine-only counterpart, yet still save some gas and reduce some emissions.

    The SUV setup uses a 120kW motor in front and a secondary 50kW motor in back. This not only supplies greater power, it also demonstrates the potential of HSD design by providing 4-wheel drive.

  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,906
    A car like a Lotus Elise for under $20k sounds like a winner. Personally I'd like my next daily driver to have the looks, performance, and features of a BMW 330i, get over 100 mpg, PZEV emissions, and cost under $15k. I'll need a new car by the fall of '06 so I hope there's something like that available by then.
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    I'm like Daysailer. I'll buy the vehicle that meets my criteria whether it's a hybrid or not. However, I'm guessing that most ICE designs in the next few years won't match the hybrids for both economy and emissions at the same time. And the "type" of hybrid doesn't mean squat. If an assist type can do the job of a full hybrid, then I'm all for it.

    As for the vehicle class, I expect my next purchases will be a compact and a mid-size utility vehicle.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    smaller cars - usual sporty models and mainly coupes and hatchbacks. I would, however, prioritize a hybrid, even at a 5-10% price premium over the gas counterpart. But as of yet I have not seen any plans by any carmaker to bring a sporty car to the hybrid table. There have been several interesting concepts, though, including the Eclipse currently making the rounds, the Volta from Toyota, and that B-something-or-other from Subaru. Any of those that can come in around $25K in current dollars would be on my short list. The Subaru would need a hardtop version, I have any other wishes? No, that is it for now! :-P

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

  • Don't count out Nissan in Hybrid. I find their Super Motor very interesting. I wonder if Toyota license Nissan HSD to get access to Super Motor technology. Here is piece from

    "One is a compact lithium-ion battery employing a laminated cell in place of conventional cylindrical or rectangular cassette types. Typically, laminated cells would require larger terminals because of the battery type’s high output, and sealing would also become an issue due to the gas produced by repeated charging and discharging. Nissan reports that it has successfully solved these two major issues. Laminated cells may be stacked or laid flat. The short and tall Effis may seat up to 3.5 occupants (three adults and a child) or two adults and luggage. The thin, compact, lithium-ion battery pack is located under a flat floor.

    The other Nissan technology is the Super Motor, which employs two coaxial rotors within the single casing. A new technique of applying compound currents to the electromagnets and inner and outer rotors has been perfected, according to Nissan. One Super Motor each at the front and rear with the rotors controlled
    independently can drive all wheels. One Super Motor can also function as a propulsion motor and a generator, as in a hybrid or fuel-cell vehicle."

  • john1701ajohn1701a Posts: 1,897
    Did you know their were 2 types?

    CONE & BELT is the type of CVT in the Honda hybrids. It provides an infinite gearing ratio, allowing flexibility that fixed gears cannot. That enables the gas engine to run more efficiently, in concert with an electric propulsion-motor, which saves gas.

    That type of works well for a single motor system, and is what most people are familiar with. The other type is what is used to support two different types of motors at the same time. It is a relatively new design which features a power-split design, rather than one that supports tension adjustments.

    PLANETARY is the type of CVT in the Toyota/Lexus hybrids. It too provides an infinite gearing ratio to support gas engine and electric propulsion-motor use; however, the ability to also support a generator-motor at the same time is available. This alleviates the burden on the battery-pack, allowing electricity to be supplied on-the-fly from the engine instead. It also enables the ability to propel the vehicle without the engine at all, using nothing but electricity from the battery-pack.

  • HSD transmission is an amazing work of art. The car is always in the top gear and lowest gear at the same time! You might be wondering how can it be? HSD can achieve this because there is only one gear ratio(permanently engaged).

    C&D Test Results:

    Prius Top-gear acceleration
    30–50 mph 5.5
    50–70 mph 7.9

    BMW 530I Top-gear acceleration
    30-50 mph: 13.3
    50-70 mph: 12.3

    Since Prius ECVT has no gear to shift, the difference is great.

  • john1701ajohn1701a Posts: 1,897
    Another amazing aspect is the size itself.

    Take a moment now to look at your hand.

    The Planetary CVT is the size (height, width, and length) of the average adults palm. That's it!

    It really surprised me to discover the heart of the hybrid system was so small.

  • daysailerdaysailer Posts: 720
    the planetary gear in the Prius is not a CVT in and of itself. The planetary gear and electric drive TOGETHER provide drive ratio adjustment between the ICE and output shaft. the size and weight of the planetary gear alone is meaningless as a comparison to other transmission types.

    And a point of clarification: the Van Doorne cone & belt CVT to which John alludes above operates with belts in COMPRESSION, not tension.
  • "The planetary gear and electric drive TOGETHER provide drive ratio adjustment between the ICE and output shaft"

    You have a point there but the power of the electric drive(MG1) gets outputed to the drive shaft anyway. Therefore, MG1 isn't there just to achieve ECVT functionality.

  • My post from up to the chore board:

    "One green leaf symbol is 50 Watts Hour. This means, it is 18KW for 10 seconds. I am guessing Prius can accelerate up to 30 MPH with 18KW in 10 seconds. It is what a green leaf can get you. I do not know how much braking it takes to generate one green leaf. Maybe a Prius owner can do a test. If a Prius can generate a green leaf from 60MPH to stop then, regenerative braking energy recyclablity efficiency would be 50%, since it can re accelerate the car back to 30MPH"

    My question to the Prius owners with experience is that, can a gentle stop from 60 MPH get you a green leaf?

    50WH can provide 18 seconds of constant 10KW power. If you stealth drive, can you get up to 30 MPH in 18 seconds? Is my estimate of what a captured 50 WH can do realistic?

  • midnightcowboymidnightcowboy Posts: 1,978
    If you are comparing a manual shift BMW530 and leaving it it 5th or 6th , yes the times will be slower.

    A person driving a manual shift would obviously downshift.

    Top gear acceleration has always been misleading for manual shift cars.

    Why not be fair and post the same acceleration times for a automatic BMW 530.

    My vote for a hybrid is the new upcoming Honda Accord Hybrid. Power, performance, handling and very good miles per gallon.
  • john1701ajohn1701a Posts: 1,897
    > the planetary gear in the Prius is not a CVT in and of itself.

    Actually, it isn't a transmission at all.

    There really aren't any gears and nothing ever shifts, everything is permanently engaged.

    It is nothing but a power-split device, using carriers to distribution thrust. But since virtually no one knows what a PSD is or understands the benefit of such a design, Toyota just chose to use the more familiar CVT label instead.

  • john1701ajohn1701a Posts: 1,897
    > can a gentle stop from 60 MPH get you a green leaf?

    Since gentle slowly doesn't involve using the brakes at all, that is a bit of an odd question.

    When you lift your foot off the accelerator-pedal, regenerating begin using the 10kW motor.

    When you step on the brake-pedal, regenerating switches over to using the 50kW motor.

    The most regen-symbols I've ever got with my 2004 is 3.5 in one 5-minute segment and 12.5 over a 30-minute span. More is likely possible since Summer allows greater regenerating, but the warmest I've ever driven my 2004 in is 66 F degrees... so I'm still patiently waiting to find out how much more.

  • seminole_kevseminole_kev Posts: 1,722
    how many of these duplicate Hybrid topics do we need??? Just seems like the same people cover the exact same ground as the previous day in one of the other 4 hybrid threads.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,040
    acceleration numbers a little unfair? After all, if you put a stick shift into top gear and stomp on it, you're just not going to get much power out of it, because it stays in top gear. Any automatic transmission will downshift, so "top gear acceleration" is a misnomer when it comes to automatics, and I'm sure a CVT will do whatever it is that they do!
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    you definitely have to compare automatics to automatics. Whenever car mags have comparos where one or more of the cars is an auto, they also write a disclaimer into the text of the article to point out why the manual is so much slower in the top gear tests.

    Nissan has been limited in its application of CVT by the amount of power the engine develops. I take it that HSD does not have the same limitation? That is to say, they could eventually apply it to high-power vehicles like 4Runner, Sequoia (next gen), etc?

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

  • mirthmirth Posts: 1,212
    Hmmm, Insight, Prius, or Civic? Decisions, decisions...

    Wake me when some other choice ACTUALLY come out...
  • john1701ajohn1701a Posts: 1,897
    Since a vehicle purchase is a signficant decision, studying beforehand what will be available when it's time for you to buy makes a whole lot of sense.

    Waiting until the last minute does not, especially when delivery (due to backorders) takes so long.

  • mirthmirth Posts: 1,212
    ...I haven't heard any definitive dates, or, just as importantly for those of us on budgets, prices on any of these new hybrids that are going to come by the dozens. Color me skeptical, but I'll reserve my opinions until then. My doubts are not that more hybrids will be available, my doubts are what they will actually deliver and at what price.
  • midnightcowboymidnightcowboy Posts: 1,978
    with just a few minor modifications :)

    From the Car and Driver article "Toyota Prius Race Car" by Peter Lyon, April 2004 _id=7902&page_number=1

    "The difference is under the body. First, the spring rate was upped 15 percent, and stabilizers from the Euro-spec model were employed. The shock absorbers were stiffened, and the rear-control-arm-and-bushing geometry was modified for flatter cornering with less body roll. At the front end, the steering-knuckle joint was reinforced, and special high-performance Bridgestone Potenza RE050 rubber (195/55R-16), boasting a stickier compound than on the standard model, was fitted all around.

    Inoue also knew he had to get the weight down. So his team stripped everything from inside the car—seats, carpet, power windows, air conditioning—and replaced that void with two racing seats and matching harnesses as well as a shiny six-point roll cage."

    That is all with putting the Echo engine in the Prius on the track to get 145 hp.

    Yes as I said before it was joke, that is why there were no quantitative results. No speed, slalom, braking , acceleration ,stopping or any other measures of performance or handling.

    It was purely a exercise it engineering to see if the Prius could be made to handle better. Sure it handled better, but at what expense!!!

    The Prius was the beta test of Toyota's HSD hybrid system. The test was successful abeit a little slow.

    However, this fall when the real man's hybrids start coming out : Toyota Highlander, Lexus 400H and Honda Accord Hybrid the latent demand for the prius will drop off and Toyota will be able to meet all the Prius orders that aren't subsequently being cancelled.

    Oh Yeah! I forgot someone said Car and Driver got a stopping distance from 60 mph in a normal Prius of 125 ft.(I couldn't find it) They must have been stopping on an uphill slope, becuase every other measurement I have seen is significantly higher: Edmunds 131.65 ft., another C&D figure from 70 was 184 ft. This are pretty slow times.
  • carguy1234carguy1234 Posts: 233
    When I ordered my Highlander Hybrid, the dealership told me they are expecting a bunch of cancellations on the Prius orders. People that order now will actually be able to get a Highlander Hybrid sooner than a Prius, so they claim.
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 4,098
    Since it is his opinion. The question of "supporting data" is of no importance for a future event that has never happened before.

    However, I think that the word "popular" is quite appropriate, as opposed to "real man's". I would also suspect that many people who are on the Prius waiting list will be interested in more popular vehicles with Hybrid technology when they become available, simply because there will be larger and better selling vehicles available. The Highlander and Accord are already great sellers.

    Thus I find the original post to be quite possibly correct in it's assumptions.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    yum yum! :-)

    (Toyota, please build it, please!)

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

  • "Top gear acceleration has always been misleading for manual shift cars"

    Comparing the worst cases are unfair because HSD does not have the worst case? Doesn't sound right to me. Misleading are the 0-60 clutch drop timing. How come most people does not question those misleading manual shift 0-60 time?

This discussion has been closed.