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Hybrids in the News



  • SylviaSylvia Posts: 1,636
    OK - blowing the whistle here...

    Let's back of the personal insults, agree to disagree, etc.
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,432
    I think there is validity to questioning the level of training on any new vehicle. The shade tree mechanic is a thing of the past. Unless you have the computer program to diagnose a vehicle your in the dark. If the Prius is more advanced and trouble free than earlier Toyotas, it is safe to say the level of training will diminish. Kind of the Maytag repairman syndrome. So when and if you do have a problem it is more likely they will not have someone familiar with that problem and the skills needed to repair the vehicle. I see it in the communications field. I have a friend that sells Buicks. He said they have a hard time keeping qualified mechanics because there is not enough work for them to make a living. 100K miles between tune-ups etc. I think it is going to become a major issue in the future. We are headed toward throw away vehicles, recycle and buy a new one..
  • rfruthrfruth Posts: 630
    Wow for Car & Driver to test a pre-prod and say " It's a solid whack into the outfield, the real thing" is something ! - snip - Cheers swept through the cheap seats four years ago when rookie Billy Ford, brought out of the backfield to lead America's stumbling No. 2 automaker, reaffirmed the company's pledge to lift the fuel economy of its SUV fleet by 25 percent, and do it by 2005. Then nothing happened. Years went by. - _id=8274
  • john1701ajohn1701a Posts: 1,897
    > company's pledge to lift the fuel economy of its SUV fleet by 25 percent, and do it by 2005. Then nothing happened.

    Actually, there was a change. IT GOT WORSE!!!

    So now they need to lift their fleet average by 28 percent to reach that original goal.

  • john1701ajohn1701a Posts: 1,897
    ..."Okay, but give us the numbers," you say. Sorry, nothing but estimates so far. Certification was to be completed late this summer...

    The quote from the article is truly remarkable.

    Over and over again we see comments about how misleading the "certification" numbers from the EPA are.

    Yet now, they are being relied on as the only true reliable information source for MPG expectations.

    Well, I have news for everyone. The EPA is the official authority that provides values for the sake of comparison, which are in no way representative of a real-world promise. The reason is that there are simply too many variables that affect actual performance. In fact, that's why there are 2 sets of numbers on the window-sticker, one specific for city & highway, and the other are ranges... because even the testing itself has constraints the prevent it from covering all the factors of influence for MPG.

    In other words, don't believe anything without lots of real-world data... like an entire year of real-world driving from several different owners.

  • "AC permanent-magnet electric motor, 94 hp, 155 lb-ft"

    Prius' 50kW motor can make 295 lbs-ft torque. 155 lb-ft torque from 70kW electric motor is very low.

    "The engine is a version of the Escape's standard Duratec four adapted to the more efficient Atkinson cycle by closing the intake valve late, well after the compression stroke has begun. This increases the expansion ratio, which adds four-percent efficiency at a cost of lower torque."

    Prius' 1.5L Atkinson cycle ICE is at least 15% more efficient than comparable 1.5L Otto cycle ICE. All I can say is that not all Atkinson cycle ICEs are created equal.

  • mirthmirth Posts: 1,212
    ...I love all these assumptions that the Prius will never have anything go wrong with it. There was a Douglas Adams book wherein all the manufacturers were required to place a plaque on every product that read "Anything that cannot possibly go wrong is almost impossible to fix when it does."
  • john1701ajohn1701a Posts: 1,897
    > I love all these assumptions that the Prius will never have anything go wrong with it.


    I certainly haven't made any?

    Increased reliability is what we've been discussing, not an infallible design.

    It should last longer, not forever.

    But like all things, it still has the potential to eventually break.

  • pennipuppennipup Posts: 2
    Like your name, "nippononly"...used to be the way I felt about Japanese-made cars until this nonsense about (non)availability of the Prius that you mention. I was informed by one dealer that the reason there is a ridiculous shortage is due to the fact that the Prius is NOT made in the US at this time. Makes you wonder how anybody knows how to work on them, in that case...

    Anyway, for the first time in over 20 years, I'm considering the FORD "Escape" because they said they would have them in stock and I wouldn't have to "order" one, and if I DID order one, then I could have any color I want. Ever try to order a color of Prius?

    I'm glad you noticed this artificial shortage that is a colossolly stupid marketing strategy!
  • rfruthrfruth Posts: 630
    The shortage is pretty much non existent where I'm at here is south Texas (but you get to deal with the gulf states toyota group ...) and Toyota's stupid marketing strategy is working real well from what I can tell, are you thinking about a plain gas powered Escape or a Escape hybrid ?
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 8,323
    Be sure to check out our Town Hall chat lineup for Tuesdays... First up, talk the latest in new automotive technology during the Hybrid Vehicles Chat from 12-1pmPT/3-4pm ET
    NOTE: This is a NEW time slot for this week!

    Hybrid Vehicles Chat Room

    Immediately following at 6-7pm PT/9-10pm ET, we keep the chat party going with the Mazda Mania chat.

    Mazda Mania Chat Room

    The Town Hall chats are a great place to take these message board topics LIVE. Hope to see you there this week!

    PF Flyer
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  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,870

    short excerpt-
    Australian television personality Shaun Murphy is about to finish his bizarre challenge. He's driven, ridden, flown and canoed his way 16,000 miles across America without stopping at a gas station.

    Fueled by cow pies, garbage, sunshine, crawfish, wind, water, whisky and cooking oil, Murphy and his dog Sparky are set to finish the final leg of their cross-country road trip this week. Driving a stretch Hummer Limo powered by food....-end
  • rfruthrfruth Posts: 630
    I can't picture pouring good whiskey into a Hummer...
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,432
    Great story, what a kick in the pants. Leave it to an Aussie to try something like that. A real Crocodile Dundee type. I'm not sure I would get into an airplane running on whiskey, unless it was Crown Royal..
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,432
    Another extensive article that debunks a lot of the hype on the hybrids, EV's and Fuel Cell cost effectiveness.
  • sdufordsduford Posts: 577
    You shouldn't buy a hybrid to save money; you should buy a hybrid because you care about the environment and our dwindling fossil fuel reserves.
  • john1701ajohn1701a Posts: 1,897
    Talking about trying to derail this discussion.

    That article is 3.5 YEARS OLD!

    The datestamp on the file copy I downloaded to my hard-drive says 3/11/2001.

    Neither vehicle is accurately portrayed either anymore. The Corolla is a much larger car now. And not only is the Prius bigger, it is clearly more efficient.

    Nice try, but that article requires lots of updates to be relevant to the market now.

  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,870
    The vehicles are different, fuel prices are higher, the article is several years old, and it's major point that hybrids do not make economic sense is still relevant and correct. Hybrids do not present a cost savings compared to similar non-hybrid vehicles.
  • john1701ajohn1701a Posts: 1,897
    What does "economic sense" mean?

    For many people, it means preparing for the future. And in that case, paying a little more to protect yourself against ever-climbing fuel prices is a wise choice.

    Why is "cost savings" a factor?

    That doesn't even make any sense for an objective stance. "Break Even" is far more appropriate.

  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,432
    Actually I was looking for information on Fuel Cells. That article included Hybrid technology, I'm sorry if it was old news already posted. I was more interested in the fact that fuel cells for a vehicle at that time were $160k. However, I don't think the hybrid is anywhere near out of the woods on cost effectiveness. If it turns out to go a 200k miles with little or no trouble. It will be excellent for Los Angeles commuters. That could amount to more cars than Toyota plans to build. Toyota web site says they are back-ordered 22,000 right now, today. According to Toyota that will hold up the production of the other planned Hybrids in their stable. So even if you want one you got a half year minimum wait to get one.
  • rfruthrfruth Posts: 630
    The wait time depends on your local, i bet the west coast wait time is more than 6 months but where I'm at (south Texas) there is very little wait, I e-mailed a dealer (Fred Hass Toyota in Spring Tx) a couple weeks ago and was told two of them with the option package I asked about were due real soon now (within 10 days) and two more (for a total of four) were coming in next month (August) - I asked about a Prius with option package 8 in any color. Now if I showed up at the dealer with check book in hand the story might change but they sounded sincere to me and no sales critter has ever steered me wrong before. (ugh)
  • john1701ajohn1701a Posts: 1,897
    Fuel-Cells only have a life expectency of 30,000 to 40,000 miles. The ultra-thin membranes in the stacks cannot handle anymore use or vibration than that.

    Fuel-Cells require a lengthy warm-up time... and that's when the water is in a liquid state. When it freezes, you're basically screwed until a practical solution is invented or spring arrives. (So the lowest realistic temperature you could drive in is only 20F right now... not even close to what us northern folk require.)

    Fuel-Cells have a very limited driving range and you lose your trunk completely. The 2005 Ford Focus adapted for Fuel-Cells has a range of 150 to 200 miles using three 5,000 PSI tanks filled with gaseous hydrogen (which take a very long time to fill).

    Fuel-Cells wastes energy, since they lack the ability to regenerate electricity without the aid of an ultra-capacitor or battery-pack. The also take several minutes to start-up without the aid of an ultra-capacitor or battery-pack. Adding them adds costs to the already very, very expensive vehicle.

    Fuel-Cells are inherently noisy (sounds like a big kitchen blender), caused by the air passing through the system to invoke the chemical reaction.

    Fuel-Cells are thankfully very thin now, but unfortunately extraordinarily heavy... we're talking an additional 1,000 (or more) pounds to the vehicle (including the fuel tanks)... which leads to handling, tire, and suspension complications.

    In other words, "full" hybrids will be far more realistic for at least a decade still. And even then, without a hydrogen infrastructure in place, they won't be too practical. (The hydrogren must be affordable as well.)

  • moparbadmoparbad Posts: 3,870
    quote John- blah, blah, blah, blah, blah-end

    For many people hybrids are considered to obtain higher mpg to save money on fuel. This is as wise as buying a lottery ticket to pay the rent. Relying on a false vision of the future is foolish. A hybrid does not prepare you for the future.
  • john1701ajohn1701a Posts: 1,897
    > For many people hybrids are considered to obtain higher mpg to save money on fuel.

    That is a gross over-generalization.

    Attempts to lump all types of "hybrids" together and draw a conclusion already (even though many are still not available yet) is not objective in the slightest.

    Also, how are the actions of the 2004 buying market at all an indication of what future years will hold? Haven't you noticed how the SUV market is collapsing? The new fat-wagon designs are rapidly becoming the popular choice, a clear indication that appeal factors are changing.

  • john1701ajohn1701a Posts: 1,897
    > Relying on a false vision of the future is foolish.

    I find that rather amusing too!

    And the lottery ticket analogy doesn't make any sense, since you will likely end up with nothing. Buying a hybrid means you will save, which is far from nothing. It's a matter or how much, not whether you will win or not.

    Issues are not "all or none" as you continue to claim. Hybrids will continue to penetrate the market. By how much is the question.

  • kalmikeykalmikey Posts: 17
    Relying on a false vision of the future is foolish. A hybrid does not prepare you for the future.

    I, for one, am buying a hybrid because I want a better car *now*. Not 20 years from now when someone finally figures out how to make fuel-cell work as practically, or more likely 40 years from now, when the major automakers finally actually get convinced to produce fuel-cell vehicles and hydrogen filling stations are as common as petrol stations.

    There's nothing false about this. My current car gets 18-25mpg. The lowest average of the least optimistic, most clearly-bought-off press coverage of the Prius averages high-30s, most mid-40s, and many of the users on these and other forums are seeing 50s.

    Ergo, I will obtain higher mpg, I will save money on fuel, more to the point, I will *use less fuel*, which matters to me. I will also be putting less crap into the atmosphere per unit time.

    These are all things that are accomplishable right now. A hydrogen fuel-cell car...isn't.
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,432
    We are in agreement on the Fuel Cell cars not being practical in the next 20 years. At this point in time you may as well convert the ICE to CNG and burn the Natural Gas direct. Fuel cells are not any more efficient users of Natural Gas than a CNG Civic.

    Haven't you noticed how the SUV market is collapsing?

    As a matter of fact that is far from true. 149K+ more SUVs have been sold this year than last. The big winners are GM, DCC, Ford & Toyota in that order. GM alone has sold 67k more this year with the new bigger TrailBlazer leading the pack. Explorer lost ground to the TrailBlazer. Just as the 2004 Prius is larger so are all the other vehicles. I feel real vulnerable driving my old Mazda 626 beater except on the side streets.
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,432
    for the first time in over 20 years, I'm considering the FORD "Escape" because they said they would have them in stock and I wouldn't have to "order" one,

    I hate to be the bearer of bad news. My Ford manager friend at the largest Ford dealer in San Diego told me a couple weeks ago that she has a deposit from 100 people wanting to buy the new Escape. Ford informed her that the dealers would only be getting one Hybrid Escape per month, when they do get around to delivering them the end of August or first of September. I think all the hybrids are suffering from over exposure and the inability to catch up with demand.
  • "For many people hybrids are considered to obtain higher mpg to save money on fuel."

    Not really. Even if current hybrid cost more up front, the money that one can save from buying less fuel is appealing because the money is going into the manufacturer or the hybrid instead of oil companies. To me, it is a clear choice. I'd rather give my money to hybrid manufacturer to make even better hybrids. In a sense, the statement is putting one's money in the technology rather than in drilling for natural resource.

  • mirthmirth Posts: 1,212
    ...but I'd rather put my money in my retirement account or my kid's college account, thanks.
This discussion has been closed.