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Would you consider buying a hybrid car?

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / May 16, 2005 6:58 AM PDT

Would you consider buying a hybrid car?

-- Yes (which one?)
-- No (tell us why)
-- Maybe someday (what's holding you back now?)
-- I already have/drive a hybrid car (what do you think of it?)

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Hybrid Car
by ldjmis / May 17, 2005 7:17 AM PDT

I wouldn't buy a hybrid as i feel they are nothing more than another margin act to make it appear as though the owner is "Green".

The answer to our country's energy needs is diesel engines. The provide superior power with greatly increased range between fill-ups/recharges and comparable economy to the hybrids. You also get a vehicle of similar size to the one you are driving now and a much safer car in terms of crash resistence than the hybrids being sold.

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Buying hybrid is expensive
by jland0001 / May 17, 2005 7:45 AM PDT
In reply to: Hybrid Car

Look at the deal. The car starts out 2k more in the first place. The dealers don't discount them because there are enough techies who will pay the price. The batteries have to be replaced at an expense of $3,000 after a 100,000 miles (that is 3 cents per mile right there.) and they don't do any better than some real economy cars like a turbo diesel bug (40 45 MPG on diesel fuel which is cheaper in the first place.)
Yeah, places like California give you a credit - but that just goes into the pockets of the dealers.

Environmentally conscious? What are we to do with all those used lead acid batteries? All we are doing is shifting the pollution problem from the cities to the outback where we put fossil fired power plants and onto the future for disposal of the lead acid batteries.

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off course
by pjuztarizo / May 17, 2005 10:38 AM PDT

for one thing, the batteries are expensive (not to mention heavy and bulky), and with luck (lots of it) they'll last 100,000 miles. I bet they won't last 50,000 miles, and you'll have to pay for replacement more than an engine overhaul is worth. To that you have to add the cost of regular maintenance. And if we are talking about a new technology, maintenance is going to be expensive. All in all, I think it is going to be an expensive ride. I rather buying a new generation diesel car, if am too interested in being fuel savy...

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Sucker Bet?
by albizzia / May 17, 2005 5:51 PM PDT
In reply to: off course

I'd bet they'd last longer than 100,000 miles on my Prius, especially considering they are warranted by Toyota for 8 years/100,000 miles!

Also, a Prius went into service as a taxicab in Vancouver, BC in 2000, it went over 180,000 miles, still has it's original hybrid battery, required less maintenance than other taxis, (less wear on the brake pads due to regenerative braking). It was "retired", replaced in the taxi fleet by a 2004 Prius, but was purchased by the taxi driver and is still in use as his private car!

Both Honda and Toyota have outstanding reliability, and it applies to their hybrids as well.

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Question ? Why premium price ?
by vipergts / May 17, 2005 11:41 PM PDT
In reply to: Sucker Bet?

If the manufacturers believe it is such a good deal,
why the premium price ? Why not reduce the price and
go for more volume ? More on the road.. More
image promotion, more public 'testing' evaluation..

Actions speak louder than words.

albizzia: Your employer is ? You are very well
informed, make good points. If you have an
inside viewpoint, whose ? Address the above
question if you have a 'voice' in the
industry - or the 'ear' of your company

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Increased Prius production
by claytonn / May 18, 2005 6:22 AM PDT

In the last week or two, the Wall Street Journal reported nearly 3 times as many Prius sold in March 2005 vs. March 2004. So...volume is up (to over 10,000 per month). I guess the price will come down when the demand and production get more in sync.

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Price = Profits
by albizzia / May 18, 2005 7:39 AM PDT

The hybrid manufacturers are in it to make money, and contrary to rumours, they are making money on their hybrids. Considering the high demand and the long backlog of orders, it makes sense for the companies to keep the pricing high, but not so high that it suppresses sales. The Highlander Hybrid launch was delayed because of high demand for the Lexus RX400h hybrid, limiting the availability of parts, especially batteries. And the Lexus hybrid was delayed because of high demand for the Prius!

Toyota has announced plans to extend hybrids to all of their other car lines by 2010, but that is assuming they can get enough batteries.

The Prius comes loaded with luxuries such as power windows, power door locks, power rearview mirrors, and climate control. More profit for Toyota. Someday there may be an economy hybrid without those expensive luxuries, priced $12K to $15K.

I don't work for any car company, or any car dealer, or any repair shop. My interest in hybrids comes from a longstanding interest in energy efficiency, and from driving a Prius.

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by Karridog / May 17, 2005 9:26 AM PDT
In reply to: Hybrid Car

Most people do not need cars. This is one of the ways that corporations tell us we need something. We are are own worst enemy. We must stop being a consuming nation. Our marines, soldiers, etc. die because we think we need oil. We really don't need that oil, but to end our marriage with the automobile, will be very difficult. Americans cannot see beyond their nose. The future of our children is not encouraging. We let the corporations do our thinking for us. Too much television.

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by tbcass / May 18, 2005 8:20 PM PDT
In reply to: need

What a line of Left Wing propaganda. Are you brainwashed or what?

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Rambling message about Retirement-Ready Prius
by Dominique.Francon / July 18, 2007 12:56 PM PDT
In reply to: need

(As a student) I have many European friends here for exchange. None of them are overweight and most walk all over our small city or take taxis or public transit without question. They wonder why we drive the short distances that we do. We, as Americans, tend to view public transit and somewhat "lower class" and of course it cramps our fast-paced style. I, myself, have a car to get across the state for pre and post surgery appointments, but I want to try and use it as little as possible in the city, perhaps inspired by my less lazy friends.

The Prius, as mentioned here, may be a "good" car, but heh, so is my car. It gets me from Point A to Point B without much drama. I am with the party that thinks it's a showy display rather than a true solution. When not in school, I live in a retirement city and the people who drive them are usually early-retired people who seem like they can afford them.

Lastly, I have a question regarding the Prius. At what highway speed does it get prime mileage (let's suppose on a flat grade)? It seems like most, if not all Priuses I see are going at around the speed limit of 65. And I of course am passing them. My 1992 Nissan Stanza serves two purposes: speed and transportation. It leaks oil, too, so I am a hypocrite by driving it, but I am in college so unless someone wants to pay for my college so I can get a Prius or at least get the $700 valve job, then let it rest. I suppose that could be a positive aspect, that people are driving the limit, but it sure gets annoying when a Prius (or any car) hovers in the left lane doing 65 next to a semi and because they're driving a hybrid, suddenly that gives them an excuse to be an annoying driver.

But I digress...

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Diesel - Hybrid
by hamako / May 17, 2005 10:22 AM PDT
In reply to: Hybrid Car

Yes, Diesel is a good way to go, also because it can be substituted with renewable ressources like Bio-Diesel (vegi oil, like rapseed or soy oil). Helping the farm industry AND getting independent from the Sheiks.

Hybrids are also good, if developed a bit more. I think the way to go is "plug-in hybrids". Most drivers use their cars for about 30 to 50 miles per day. So if the battery capacity is increased, Hybrids could cover this distance with ease. If you then have the opportunity to plug it in at night and use electrical energy that is cheaper at night, this would not only cover the expenses for a battery replacement after 100,000 miles and still be cheaper than gas, but also help to balance the load on the power plants, which are underused at night.

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Diesel & Hybrid
by albizzia / May 17, 2005 5:57 PM PDT
In reply to: Diesel - Hybrid

It is possible to apply hybrid technology to diesel engines as well, and improve their already high milage.

Indeed, there are already several diesel hybrid busses running in Seattle, and more to go into use soon in other cities and national parks.

Result: Saving millions of gallons of diesel fuel each year!

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Re: Diesel - Hybrid
by Jim Baber / May 19, 2005 3:22 AM PDT
In reply to: Diesel - Hybrid

Hamako made a good point with his statement ''I think the way to go is with 'plug-in hybrids'''. I am currently producing more power than I am currently using with my solar PV system. I personally would prefer to see the 'plug-in hybrid' actually applied to a good clean diesel engine running on 'Bio-Diesel' rather than the gasoline engine, because I do prefer the smell of french fries to the smell of diesel or gasoline. I would just as soon fill the car up at McDonalds at the same time I fill me up.

When I built my solar system, I was originally planning to buy a Toyota RAV EV which was an all electric light SUV, but Toyota withdrew it from the market just before I was going to buy one. It's biggest disadvantage was the limited range because of low battery capacity. The 'plug-in hybrid' concept would avoid this problem and a 20 - 40 mile range without using the gasoline supplement / generation heavily, would really suit my needs 95% of the time, if I just could plug it in at home.

I am on the grid so the use of cheaper electrical energy at night to charge my car really would be a great idea, particularly considering that I would be getting credit for the expensive peak period power during the daytime when I have the surplus power.

Remember ''SOLAR PV'' only produces during the daylight hours and it produces much more power during those PEAK load periods that the power company charges for.

Right now, my peak power rate is $0.29372 / kWh (weekdays from noon to 6 PM) and my off peak rate is $0.08664 / kWh for everything else. Yesturday, in that critical PEAK 6 hour period I exported (sold?) 36 kWh to the utilities grid at .29 / kWh which was about a $9.00 credit that could have bought back 104 kWh of power to charge a car at the lower OFF PEAK rates.

Note: I did actually generate more yesturday, but I do use some lights, my A/C did run, and I did fix lunch using my electric stove.

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Same old Same old
by Richie / June 19, 2005 5:14 AM PDT
In reply to: Hybrid Car

Nothing has changed with people like you, you want bigger and bigger cars, bigger and bigger engines, bigger and bigger gas or diesel sucking SUV's. More power cause you don't have the guts to change your outlook. Your scared to be different than your buddy's. You let them run your thinking. I also know your young cause your stupid. Gezz I'm trying to be nice but I can't let someone talk dumb and say nothing.

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Vote on Hybrid
by marikavs / May 17, 2005 7:22 AM PDT

I had to confirm my registration, change my password, open two new e-mails, just so I could vote. But I still can't vote... Oh well, yes I would like a hybrid car/SUV but I can't afford it. I bought my present 1999 Ford Explorer used, in good shape, but nevertheless. Obviously that choice is not available for the Ford Escape Hybrid. Any of the other ones are really too small to brave the high winds enroute to Mojave on a continuous basis. I used to do it in a Festiva so I know whereof I speak...

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Love the cars - hate the price!
by Donald / May 17, 2005 7:25 AM PDT

I would definitely buy a hybrid car - my former room-mate has a Toyota Prius, and it's comfortable and fun to drive - wil rising gas prices, they are definitely worth the money, but I just can't afford a new vehicle at this time -- I think all new cars should be manufactured as hybrids!

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Hybrid vehicles
by ptnitz1369 / May 17, 2005 8:04 AM PDT

It's a forgone conclusion. We have to accept that oil is not a renewable resource.

So, I favor a hybrid that allows me to choose how much power is needed to continue on my trip. And that involves learning to drive a standard transmission ( the Honda Hybrids are the only vehicles offering that option .)

I average about 46 mpg on mountain driving while my daughter gets about 42 on the same routes. She is new to a standard shift!

On flat roads ( no mountains ) I can get as much as 52 mpg! And at freeway speeds averaging 75 mph!

I am surprised that automobile manufacturers have not realised the market yet! But dollars are dollars.....

If a hybrid can power a railroad locomotive, what's the hangup?

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No I would not buy one
by Azson / May 17, 2005 7:28 AM PDT

I would not buy one because I could pay a lot less for a ford Festiva and get better gas milage to boot.

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ROI Not There...Yet.
by ikoiko / May 17, 2005 7:38 AM PDT

I can't make the numbers work with the current mileage output from hybrids. Gas prices need to go up significantly and the hybrids need to increase their mileage in order to make a breakeven ROI.

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Hybrid to expensive!!
by copppa / May 17, 2005 7:55 AM PDT

The Hybrid's to expensive and from what I've read, you'd have to change the batteries at a cost of half the price of the car before you even own it.

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No thanks
by dougjp / May 17, 2005 7:58 AM PDT

First and foremost, whatever variation to gas power that comes along has to be as quick or quicker than its comparable car. Second, the whole financial situation, added initial cost vs. savings, has to be favorable to me, and that means real world fuel economy instead of manufacturer quoted. The Accord is the only one to attract any interest however doesn't qualify.

Nothing fits so far, so the whole question is before its time. And by quite some time it appears. Revisit in a year or two perhaps.

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by Mike Wheeler / May 17, 2005 8:02 AM PDT

I love my 300C (can you say HEMI?). I'm retired and only
drive about 6K per year, most of that on one long trip
to visit friends. On my last 3k+ trip I got 26+ mpg in absolute comfort. The HEMI is also very nice when entering
a freeway. If I did a lot of city driving I would consider
a hybrid but for my usage, no way.

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Hybrids are inefficient by design
by antevans / May 17, 2005 8:05 AM PDT

The way to get cars more economical is to get them to use less fuel for the same mileage. This means making them lighter, more fuel efficient, or able to recover lost heat, for instance from braking.

Hybrids are heavier than internal combustion-only cars because they have batteries and two engines. So they have to do more work to go the same distance.

This is part of the reason that they just aren't as efficient as the average European small car, which gets 40-50mpg without all the extra stuff.

Another part of the reason is that energy conversion (from mechanical to electric and back again) is itself inefficient. That second engine-***-generator gets hot too. This extra loss is powered by gasoline paid for by you.

The only energy-saving feature of hybrids is regenerative braking, which recovers some energy normally used to heat the planet. Adding this feature to hybrids has a lower marginal cost than adding it to non-hybrids. Once the technology gets cheaper, there is no reason why we shouldn't see regerative braking on normal cars.

So overall, hybrids have a convenience advantage in town driving because they are quiet, because electric engines are more efficient from a standing start, and because braking happens more in town. But there is no free lunch. Overall, hybrids have one big and one small efficiency disadvantage built in, and one small part-time efficiency gain.

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Hybrid efficiency: More than just regenerative braking
by albizzia / May 17, 2005 5:27 PM PDT

Yes, the hybrid power plant is a little heavier, the battery on the '03 Prius weighs 110 lbs. Add in the weight of 2 electric motors, subtract some for the smaller gas engine and no 12 volt starter motor or alternator, and it comes to nearly 200 lbs. extra. Big Deal.

There are some non-hybrid cars that approach hybrid fuel efficiency, but only because they are much smaller, lighter, and have lousy accelleration. Using hybrid technology on a very small light car (like the Honda Insight) gives unbeatable fuel economy.

Areas of added efficiency for hybrids:
1) Regenerative braking, recovering energy that would otherwise be wasted as heat (also saves wear on brake pads.) Regenerative braking will never be used in "regular cars" - after adding the energy storage and motor required to use regenerative braking, well, then you HAVE a hybrid!

2) Gas engine shuts off when not needed - at stops, when slowing, downhill, etc.

3) non-hybrid cars have oversized engines to supply needed acceleration, which are inefficient at steady speed cruising. Hybrids have smaller gas engines optimized for cruising, with the electric motor providing extra power for acceleration.

The Toyota and Ford hybrids have a few extra tricks:

4) With a planetary CVT, they can run their gas engine at its most efficient speed, regardless of vehicle speed.

5) The Atkinson/Miller cycle gas engines used are more efficient but have lower torque than standard Otto cycle engines. No problem, the electric motor provides more than enough torque

6) They can run on electric power for low speed manuvers when it would be less efficient to run a gas engine designed for higher speeds.

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Conversion losses not that great.
by albizzia / May 17, 2005 5:42 PM PDT

Yes, there is some loss converting mechanical energy to electrical and back again, but the losses are small. Electric motor/generators are reasonably efficient, efficient enough for use on all diesel-electric train locomotives.

Also, the Toyota, Ford and Honda hybrids all transmit a substantial portion of the power from the engine to the wheels via a direct mechanical linkage.

They don't use a torque converter, which causes substantial energy losses in non-hybrid automatic transmissions.

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by glassdesigns / May 17, 2005 8:11 AM PDT

When the price drops and milage inproves.

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Hybrid Cars
by jayRwv / May 17, 2005 8:22 AM PDT

The new Ford SUV Hybrid (made by Honda, I think) gets 30 mpg. That is not worth buying. My Impala does that already. And that slow take off at stop lights is a hazzard in a Hybrid.

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Comparing Sedan to SUV?
by albizzia / May 17, 2005 6:23 PM PDT
In reply to: Hybrid Cars

The Ford Escape Hybrid is a SUV, bigger and heavier than a sedan like the Impala, hardly a fair comparison. Compared to other SUVs, the Escape hybrid has outstanding fuel economy, rivaled only by other hybrid SUVs coming soon.

Compare the Impala to midsize Hybrid sedans like the '04 Prius, Accord Hybrid, or Civic Hybrid, and it looks pathetic, both in fuel economy AND acceleration from a stoplight. Remember, an electric motor can produce full torque at zero speed!

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Ford Hybrid made by Ford
by albizzia / May 17, 2005 6:27 PM PDT
In reply to: Hybrid Cars

While Ford licensed some hybrid technology from Toyota (power split planetary CVT), Ford designed their own Atkinson/Miller gas engine and electric motors. Ford got their NiMH battery pack from Sanyo.

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general hybrid car advice?
by Ronny1340 / July 31, 2007 10:11 AM PDT

Hey there,

I am looking to buy my first hybrid car, but have really no idea about where to go for the best infromation. Frankly, the more general the information, the better - as I really have no clue what I'm doing! The only resource on hybrids and other fuel-efficient cars that I've found that is as general as I would like is but I would like some other hybrid car resources as well. Any suggestions? Thanks -


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