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View Full Version : OT: Is it time to consider hybrids?


Smiley
03-12-2009, 06:09 PM
The new Ford Fusion Hybrid technology is getting rave reviews. Prius is coming out with a plug in next season and Honda's new Hybrid is lower priced then the Prius. Is it time that we take a hard look at Hybrids.
Oh yeah and what about that Chevy Volt :)


ps: do hot women dig guys that drive hybrids or are hybrids for geeks :banana:

Ray
03-12-2009, 06:21 PM
Toyota's coming out with a plug-in NEXT year? Awesome. What kind of range is it supposed to have on the battery before the gas engine kicks in?

I think the gas+electric market is finally getting enough traction that its almost a no-brainer minimum for most new purchase. Plug ins will probably take a while to get competitive (and for the costs and function of the first couple of models to be really figured out), but that's vastly promising. Getting the first one to market is a big step, at least.

Our next car (still a few years away) will definitely be a hybrid of some sort. Possibly plug-in if that's getting competitive by then.

Who said hot women don't dig geeks? Didn't someone once say the geeks will inherit the earth? :cool:

-Ray

Smiley
03-12-2009, 06:39 PM
Toyota's coming out with a plug-in NEXT year? Awesome. What kind of range is it supposed to have on the battery before the gas engine kicks in?

I think the gas+electric market is finally getting enough traction that its almost a no-brainer minimum for most new purchase. Plug ins will probably take a while to get competitive (and for the costs and function of the first couple of models to be really figured out), but that's vastly promising. Getting the first one to market is a big step, at least.

Our next car (still a few years away) will definitely be a hybrid of some sort. Possibly plug-in if that's getting competitive by then.

Who said hot women don't dig geeks? Didn't someone once say the geeks will inherit the earth? :cool:

-Ray

RayMan, the Volt is a true plug in with the Gas engine used to charge the batteries as a gen set ony. So you can run on a charge for 40 miles at 1 Dollar of electric. if you run out of charge the gas engine does not power the wheels rather it charges the batteries.
BTW sail boats do just that with electric motor drives and the props when under sail power back up the batteries and the only gen set on the boat powers up appliances and the house batteries and engine batteries. Nothing new. Also the electric propulsion is seen more often on large Multihlls where 10-15 knot hull speed puts juice back into the batteries really fast with little drag penalties on hull speed.

Climb01742
03-12-2009, 06:39 PM
i've been driving a lexus RX400h for almost 3 years now. summer MPG: 33-35. winter MPG: 22-24. not bad, certainly, but not earth shaking either. if i wasn't looking for something more fun, i'd look at the new cleaner diesels. their MPG is remarkable. the one thing i dig most about my hybrid is how it shuts off in bumper-to-bumper traffic or waiting at a red light. honda's diesel is well worth look when it arrives, or vw's.

Smiley
03-12-2009, 06:41 PM
i've been driving a lexus RX400h for almost 3 years now. summer MPG: 33-35. winter MPG: 22-24. not bad, certainly, but not earth shaking either. if i wasn't looking for something more fun, i'd look at the new cleaner diesels. their MPG is remarkable. the one thing i dig most about my hybrid is how it shuts off in bumper-to-bumper traffic or waiting at a red light. honda's diesel is well worth look when it arrives, or vw's.
Climb cold batteris drop off that much? The Fusion is rated at 41 city and 36 hwy, 700 mile driving range on 17 gallons of fuel. Not bad!

RPS
03-12-2009, 06:41 PM
The Houston Chronicle reported this Wednesday that the small company Fisker Automotive Inc. is expected to be the first to offer a plug-in hybrid, the 2010 Karma on sale by December.

In the article they mentioned the effect of plug-in hybrids on CO2. “That could result in a huge reduction in CO2 emissions if the utility gets its power from hydroelectric or nuclear sources. But utilities that rely on coal-fired generators could contribute a very high level of CO2 emissions.” Have I heard this before? :rolleyes:

And then there is a powertrain that uses over 2000 lithium-ion cells which helps bring the cost to $90,000.

Joe Cyclist
03-12-2009, 07:09 PM
I was looking at hybrids last year, then realized that there are not many which offer 3 rows.

However, I did come across an interesting article about how hybrids may be good for the planet, but not necessarily for drivers. No idea what (if any) follow-up there's been from this article, but they brought up an interesting point about electromagnetic fields.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/27/automobiles/27EMF.html?pagewanted=1

Ray
03-12-2009, 07:44 PM
RayMan, the Volt is a true plug in with the Gas engine used to charge the batteries as a gen set ony. So you can run on a charge for 40 miles at 1 Dollar of electric. if you run out of charge the gas engine does not power the wheels rather it charges the batteries.
Yeah, I was familiar with the Volt, if GM is healthy enough to bring it to market. I was intrigued by your statement that Prius was also going to have a plug-in hybrid next season. I wasn't aware Toyota was that close. I think I remember reading that the Toyota was aiming for a 100 mile range before the gas engine was needed to kick in (I presume also just to charge, not to propel?). In any case, its gonna be an interesting next several years, for all sorts of reasons.

-Ray

rwsaunders
03-12-2009, 08:40 PM
I owned a 1981 Rabbit diesel that consistently got 40mpg city and 50mpg highway. 70 rockin' horses under the hood and it couldn't get out of it's own way on a hill. That was when diesel fuel was competitive with gas

I ran that car for 250K and sold it to a hs kid who put another 50K on it. His Dad bought the car for the kid because he had too many speeding tickets.

Not mine pictured but you get the drift...a true chick magnet.

vqdriver
03-12-2009, 08:57 PM
one thing i don't understand is why they don't make a minivan hybrid. tons of space for batteries underneath the passenger area. and it seems to be the ideal demographic.
i'm shopping for a minivan this year, and if there was a hybrid, i'd seriously consider it.
i mean, they make a hybrid tahoe for chrisakes.

rwsaunders
03-12-2009, 09:09 PM
one thing i don't understand is why they don't make a minivan hybrid. tons of space for batteries underneath the passenger area. and it seems to be the ideal demographic.
i'm shopping for a minivan this year, and if there was a hybrid, i'd seriously consider it.
i mean, they make a hybrid tahoe for chrisakes.
I've been asking the same question since they came out with the Highlander hybrid. Same platform as the Toyota van, right?

RPS
03-12-2009, 10:07 PM
one thing i don't understand is why they don't make a minivan hybrid. tons of space for batteries underneath the passenger area.I’ve also wondered why they don’t make small minivans with fold-into-the-floor seats and with small 4-cylinder engines – like the original Honda Odyssey or second generation Mazda. They'd be nice to haul bikes around.

BTW, if you look at pictures of the new 2010 Honda Insight you’ll see that the battery pack is relatively tiny, and is stored in the area of the spare tire. The total capacity is less than 600 watt-hours, or less than 1 horsepower for one hour (not much energy at all). Fortunately for a 0-60 MPH blast it needs to provide power for only a few seconds.

Even with that very small battery pack and a small 13 HP at 1500 RPM electric motor the Insight gets 40 MPG city, 43 MPG highway, and 41 MPG combined. As I stated in another thread I think it’s amazing what Honda has accomplished on a value basis.

I find it interesting that if the car was a plug-in hybrid it would need a battery pack many times larger (maybe in the range of 10 times bigger?), much bigger electric motor, and more expensive controller. At that time the packaging of the battery packs would require a lot more space, would add a lot of weight, and lots of cost.

paulrad9
03-12-2009, 11:54 PM
Has anyone calculated the true benefits of hybrids? The car is more complicated, the carbon footprint of the manufacturing process if increased compared to conventional car, you have batteries that need to be recycled/replaced every 5 years, it's more dependent upon electronics...it goes on and on.
Sure, they use less gas than cars of similar size, but as an alternative, wouldn't it would be a lot easier to buy a smaller car or just drive fewer miles with whatever you have now?

Ray
03-13-2009, 04:56 AM
Has anyone calculated the true benefits of hybrids? The car is more complicated, the carbon footprint of the manufacturing process if increased compared to conventional car, you have batteries that need to be recycled/replaced every 5 years, it's more dependent upon electronics...it goes on and on.
Sure, they use less gas than cars of similar size, but as an alternative, wouldn't it would be a lot easier to buy a smaller car or just drive fewer miles with whatever you have now?
I think it all depends on the cost of gas. At today's prices, maybe not all that cost-effective. At last spring's prices (and those coming soon to a theater near you!), probably very effective. Plug in's a another question, depending on the source of the electricity. But, since gas comes basically from one non-renewable source (leaving ethanol out of it for now) and electric will eventually come from a number of highly renewable sources, its still probably a strong net-positive in the long run.

-Ray

alancw3
03-13-2009, 07:24 AM
Yeah, I was familiar with the Volt, if GM is healthy enough to bring it to market. I was intrigued by your statement that Prius was also going to have a plug-in hybrid next season. I wasn't aware Toyota was that close. I think I remember reading that the Toyota was aiming for a 100 mile range before the gas engine was needed to kick in (I presume also just to charge, not to propel?). In any case, its gonna be an interesting next several years, for all sorts of reasons.

-Ray

last year when i was looking into hybrids i believe i read somewhere that the prius was available in europe as a true plugin starting with the 2007 model year direct from toyota. there was a switch on the dashboard that could turn off the gas engine. there was also a company in texas that was converting usa model prius to plugins. they replaced or added to the battery with a larger one and fitted a plugin charger in the trunk with an outlet in the rear bumper.

based on articles i have read, particularly now with the decrease in gas prices hybrids are not cost justified from a purely dollars and cents standpoint. that is not to say there are other considerations i.e. environment and possible babe magnet! :-)

93legendti
03-13-2009, 07:40 AM
Before the Gov't decides to raise taxes on hybrids, as a way to "stimulate" sales: YES.

dvancleve
03-13-2009, 09:55 AM
I don't know that much about the Honda hybrids but the Prius battery is good for 180K miles or more. It certainly doesn't need to be replaced every 5 years. Toyota claims that they aren't aware of a hybrid battery having been replaced for any reason other than accident damage.

Doug

Has anyone calculated the true benefits of hybrids? The car is more complicated, the carbon footprint of the manufacturing process if increased compared to conventional car, you have batteries that need to be recycled/replaced every 5 years, it's more dependent upon electronics...it goes on and on.
Sure, they use less gas than cars of similar size, but as an alternative, wouldn't it would be a lot easier to buy a smaller car or just drive fewer miles with whatever you have now?

Volant
03-13-2009, 10:18 AM
What happens when the hybrids/batteries see the end of their life? As I understand it, the batteries are quite toxic and difficult to dispose of. Is that true?
Also, what happens in a hard collision where the battery storage compartment is comprimised? What's clean-up like and what hazards are the occupants exposed to?
I haven't seen much on these two issues, but I'm curious as the total 'greeness' of the vehicle needs to include all aspects of the products life-cycle; including safety and disposal.

It reminds me of my neighbors who purchased rubber mulch for their garden beds. They thought they were being 'green' by purchasing this 'recycled' product from tires. They now want to change back to regular mulch and don't know how to get rid of the rubber stuff. They have pieces in the grass (lawnmower shot it there) and they have to pick it out by hand. Plus, they've had to remove a lot of dirt to get the rubber pieces that have sunk into the topsoil. I think that product just postponed the tires going to the landfill but has created a big problem for collection and disposal. I know, not relevant to hybrids, but thought I'd add because I'm not sure consumers are thinking about the long-term implications of things.

paulrad9
03-13-2009, 11:11 AM
I don't know that much about the Honda hybrids but the Prius battery is good for 180K miles or more. It certainly doesn't need to be replaced every 5 years.

Good point. NiMH batteries have a finite lifespan which is dictated by several factors, including charge cycles and time; EoL is determined when the battery has <80% of its capacity, with a five year lifespan being about average if you assume 2 charge cycles/week.

Toyota may get around these limitation by being less dependent upon the battery or by using battery capacity that far exceeds the needed capacity so that the 80% capacity still exceeds what is needed. For example, I have 15 year old rechargable cells which I still use. The only drawback is that the cells now have about half the capacity.

I suspect the latter is the case here, because a Prius rarely gets fully charge and it also typically won't experience a full discharge as it has a back up engine to take over when capacity is around 45%.

As for 180k miles, I read the same (and upwards of 200k) but was not clear if that was 180K battery miles, 180K gasoline miles or a combination of both.

Don't get me wrong, I like the Prius and it's on my short list of cars I'd like to buy. But if the value of the Prius is that it's a vehicle that has a substantial smaller environmental impact, than I need to see something other than lower fuel consumption to prove this point.

Crazy Chris
03-13-2009, 02:05 PM
Plug in: the problem is that more coal-fired power plants will be required. One solution is to attach a wind-powered turbine to the roof of a garage, close to where you would plug in. This needn't be a large turbine, but one that could regenerate the batteries over night or in a few hours. One site I found, Real Goods (Google to find it and others) might have that solution.

Diesel: The Jetta TDI seems to be good solution, but their reliability is something I am unsure of. Perhaps Honda, etc., will export more diesel engines. If the algae ponds as a solution for fuel become a reality, then these diesels will take off.

dvancleve
03-13-2009, 02:28 PM
As I understand it, the Prius like the battery to live between 60-80% charged (might not be quite right but something like that). The gauge in the car, which one might assume shows full and empty, just reflects where it is within that range. I'm pretty sure the 180K miles is on the car itself.

My family has a Prius, an '06. My wife drives it the most and she loves it. We really just bought it because there was still a significant tax credit, it fit our size needs and it gets great fuel economy without trying too hard (don't think we've ever seen below 40mpg average on a tank).

Doug

P.S. The 2010 Prius is not plug-in. It does best the current model in both performance and economy. When it does go plug-in, I believe the way it will work is you can run electric for a longer period of time when starting out and therefore postpone the need for the gas engine to start charging the batteries. If your commute is shortish and slowish, you may get there and back without the ICE (internal combustion engine ;^) kicking it, but if you accelerate too hard it will still kick in the gas motor.

Good point. NiMH batteries have a finite lifespan which is dictated by several factors, including charge cycles and time; EoL is determined when the battery has <80% of its capacity, with a five year lifespan being about average if you assume 2 charge cycles/week.

Toyota may get around these limitation by being less dependent upon the battery or by using battery capacity that far exceeds the needed capacity so that the 80% capacity still exceeds what is needed. For example, I have 15 year old rechargable cells which I still use. The only drawback is that the cells now have about half the capacity.

I suspect the latter is the case here, because a Prius rarely gets fully charge and it also typically won't experience a full discharge as it has a back up engine to take over when capacity is around 45%.

As for 180k miles, I read the same (and upwards of 200k) but was not clear if that was 180K battery miles, 180K gasoline miles or a combination of both.

Don't get me wrong, I like the Prius and it's on my short list of cars I'd like to buy. But if the value of the Prius is that it's a vehicle that has a substantial smaller environmental impact, than I need to see something other than lower fuel consumption to prove this point.

dvancleve
03-13-2009, 02:36 PM
I am sure there is a reason it hasn't happened yet, but it seems like a small turbocharged direct injection diesel hybrid could easily best any that have been sold so far. Subaru has a diesel available everywhere but the U.S. that gets 40ish mpg on the highway. I am holding on to my '97 Outback for a while yet to see if they decide to sell it here, preferably with a 5 or 6 speed manual transmission.

Doug

Plug in: the problem is that more coal-fired power plants will be required. One solution is to attach a wind-powered turbine to the roof of a garage, close to where you would plug in. This needn't be a large turbine, but one that could regenerate the batteries over night or in a few hours. One site I found, Real Goods (Google to find it and others) might have that solution.

Diesel: The Jetta TDI seems to be good solution, but their reliability is something I am unsure of. Perhaps Honda, etc., will export more diesel engines. If the algae ponds as a solution for fuel become a reality, then these diesels will take off.

MIN
03-13-2009, 02:50 PM
I'd be happier if people considered hybrid bikes over hybrid cars. The idea that a hybrid car is green is seriously misguided... the environmental impact of battery production, and ultimately disposal, cannot be overstated.

pjm
03-13-2009, 03:01 PM
Expect to pay 40 large for a Volt, by the way, if and whenever it gets to market. GM's been touting this thing for a long time, so where is it?

Ozz
03-13-2009, 03:49 PM
...Don't get me wrong, I like the Prius and it's on my short list of cars I'd like to buy. But if the value of the Prius is that it's a vehicle that has a substantial smaller environmental impact, than I need to see something other than lower fuel consumption to prove this point.
I've owned a Prius for just over a year now.....when we were looking at what we wanted in a car in regards to:

Features: Leather seats, nice stereo, navigation, seats 4+cargo comfortably, etc.
Price: Under $30,000
Mileage: 30+ mpg

The Prius ended up being the only car in that category.

There were cheaper cars that didn't have leatherm, nav,or the roominess, and fully loaded cars that were $30K+ and didn't get great mileage.

They are also at or near the top of the list for being the most reliable car on the road (according to Consumer Reports). They have also been around for 10+ years and I have not heard of any (legitimate) battery production, disposal problems or battery life problems. "Overstating" the problem usually means someone is pushing an agenda.... ;)

It's a nice car that doesn't solve the worlds problems.....but does pretty well with some of them.

It is small so it uses fewer resources to build, doesn't take up much space on the road or parking lot. It doesn't go all that fast so (in theory) that could make it safer. It is built well so it lasts a long time and does not need to be replaced as often.

BTW - I've heard one of the options on the redesign coming out this year is a solar cell on the roof for helping to charge the battery.

Cheers.

Len J
03-13-2009, 04:15 PM
I've looked at them and they make very little financial sense.

Even at $4.00/gallon, the payback on the purchase premium if you drive 12,000 miles/year is over 5 years...........and as climb noted, the milage goes way down when it's cold.....which lengthens the payback.

There are much better financial choices that are environmentally friendly...they are just not as sexy.

Len

Climb01742
03-13-2009, 04:34 PM
I've looked at them and they make very little financial sense.

Even at $4.00/gallon, the payback on the purchase premium if you drive 12,000 miles/year is over 5 years...........and as climb noted, the milage goes way down when it's cold.....which lengthens the payback.

There are much better financial choices that are environmentally friendly...they are just not as sexy.

Len

what len says is true. would i get another hybrid? no. but am i glad that 3 years ago i "voted" with my dollars to help validate that there was a market for alternative vehicles? yes. it didn't help me much financially but i hope it was a tiny step in supporting a search for better vehicles.

Ozz
03-13-2009, 05:11 PM
I've looked at them and they make very little financial sense.
...Len
:p

Few cars make financial sense....Who needs leather, GPS, Z rated tires, DVD players, tinted windows, HID headlights, 0 to 60 in 4.5 seconds, ad naseum.... :cool:

dvancleve
03-13-2009, 05:29 PM
I don't agree with this line of thinking. My Prius is pretty basic, a package 3, but still has a smart key, decent stereo, MP3 player compatibility, traction control, climate control etc. For $23K or whatever it was, what else was as roomy, reliable, economical and has the resale? Nothing I can think of that is reasonably well equipped. From this perspective, I started saving money right away compared to almost any other vehicle that would have been appropriate for my family. We would never have gotten a Corolla, for instance (too small and too basic), so saying it takes x amount of time to recoup the $ premium based on fuel savings doesn't really apply.

Doug

P.S. I live someplace warm. I gather this doesn't work out the same in truly cold places. I suppose a modern diesel makes the most sense anyplace with a long, cold winter but then you get into the expensive fuel.

I've looked at them and they make very little financial sense.

Even at $4.00/gallon, the payback on the purchase premium if you drive 12,000 miles/year is over 5 years...........and as climb noted, the mileage goes way down when it's cold.....which lengthens the payback.

There are much better financial choices that are environmentally friendly...they are just not as sexy.

Len

rpm
03-13-2009, 05:31 PM
:p

Few cars make financial sense....Who needs leather, GPS, Z rated tires, DVD players, tinted windows, HID headlights, 0 to 60 in 4.5 seconds, ad naseum.... :cool:

I consider $6,000 for a bicycle perfectly understandable, but $30,000 for a car outrageous. I figure you have your priorities straight when your bike is worth more than your car (I'm about there).

Ozz
03-13-2009, 05:52 PM
I don't agree with this line of thinking. ..., so saying it takes x amount of time to recoup the $ premium based on fuel savings doesn't really apply.
....
thank you....this is what I'm saying.

:beer:

Len J
03-13-2009, 08:13 PM
I don't agree with this line of thinking. My Prius is pretty basic, a package 3, but still has a smart key, decent stereo, MP3 player compatibility, traction control, climate control etc. For $23K or whatever it was, what else was as roomy, reliable, economical and has the resale? Nothing I can think of that is reasonably well equipped. From this perspective, I started saving money right away compared to almost any other vehicle that would have been appropriate for my family. We would never have gotten a Corolla, for instance (too small and too basic), so saying it takes x amount of time to recoup the $ premium based on fuel savings doesn't really apply.

Doug

P.S. I live someplace warm. I gather this doesn't work out the same in truly cold places. I suppose a modern diesel makes the most sense anyplace with a long, cold winter but then you get into the expensive fuel.

To get the same car without the hybrid technology would cost a few thousand dollars less and would have a pretty good gas milage So your saving in Milage/gallan would be smaller. Do the math and compare your annual real gas savings with the premium and it will be several years to recoup assuming $4.00 gas. It does apply...especially today when Hybrids are selling close to list and everything else is selling at a hugh discount.

len

Ozz
03-14-2009, 10:40 AM
To get the same car ...len
For example?

In my search, I could not find a comparable car for the price...see post above about leather, roominess, etc.....

Sure, remove the niceties and the Honda Fit or Corolla would be a good high mileage option....but they don't come with Nav and / or leather.

Len J
03-14-2009, 07:14 PM
For example?

In my search, I could not find a comparable car for the price...see post above about leather, roominess, etc.....

Sure, remove the niceties and the Honda Fit or Corolla would be a good high mileage option....but they don't come with Nav and / or leather.

I was out today with my wife...she was shopping so I walked to an adjacent Ford dealer. Walked into the showroom they had a fully loaded SEL Ford Fusion with smart key, decent stereo, MP3 player compatibility, traction control, climate control Leather, Navigation etc etc...had a sticker about $24,000. The first offer from the salesman was $19,000 out the door....I suspect I could have done better.

No effort, no shopping. $4,000 to $5,000 cheaper by the time I would have gotten done....more interior space.....decent fuel economy.

Len

nm87710
03-14-2009, 08:53 PM
Diesel: The Jetta TDI seems to be good solution, but their reliability is something I am unsure of. Perhaps Honda, etc., will export more diesel engines. If the algae ponds as a solution for fuel become a reality, then these diesels will take off.

FWIW, Driving a '05 Jetta TDI Wagon now with no issues, problems, nada. Looks and drives as well now as the day it came home. Best and easiest to drive car I've ever owned. Holds 2 bikes w/2 spare sets of wheels in the back plus anything else in the back seat. Average MPG over 103Kmiles is 43. Plan to drive it 200K then let my youngest have it. VW plans to bring in a TDI Golf(Rabbit) late this year as an 2010 model. Should be priced ~19K.

Also, If ya can wait a few more years for Gen7 (2012) Golf and they bring the Hybrid/TDI to NA it might be a category killer...

Hybrid
But it’s not just conventional engineering that’s going to make the Golf the greenest in its class – the hatch is set to join the hybrid party. We tried a prototype of VW’s Twin Drive technology last year (Issue 1,024), although it won’t go into full production until the MkVII emerges.

It combines a frugal 1.5-litre diesel unit with three compact electric motors, and the plug-in drivetrain can operate on battery power alone below 31mph for around 30 miles. Above that speed, it works in tandem with the oil-burner, and takes over entirely at motorway speeds. The result is a startling 113mpg – more than twice what a standard 2.0-litre TDI can muster.

Beyond that, VW is already working on an HCCI engine – a petrol unit that thinks it’s a diesel. By ditching the spark plugs, this blends the fuel efficiency of a diesel with the cleaner emissions and free-revving nature of a petrol.

And as HCCI engines run most efficiently at constant rpm, there’s even talk of using it to extend the range on a plug-in hybrid powertrain – giving a similar set-up to the Chevrolet Volt.

But one thing is for certain: for the first time, VW’s focus will be on fuel efficiency, recyclability and environmental credentials above all else.

RPS
03-15-2009, 12:23 PM
I am sure there is a reason it hasn't happened yet, but it seems like a small turbocharged direct injection diesel hybrid could easily best any that have been sold so far.Part of the delay may be due to new developments in direct-injection gasoline engines – with and without turbo charging – that have made some companies slow the development of diesels. By having gasoline engines that are much more efficient than previous designs, the fuel-economy gap between gasoline and diesel will diminish. Add to that the high cost of diesel exhaust treatment and the present higher cost for diesel fuel and it’s easy to see that new small diesels are fighting a head wind.

As an example, GM just postponed indefinitely their modern 4.5 liter diesel V-8 for ½-ton trucks and large SUVs. Part of it is their cash crunch, but part of it is what’s coming in gasoline improvement.

Regarding hybrids, I hope we don’t take an all or nothing approach. I think the short-term answer is maximizing value; which I think will lead to more “mild” hybrids and the use of many of the technologies hybrids use anyway (improved aerodynamics, low-rolling resistance tires, low weight by use of alternate materials, electrical power steering and air conditioning, etc….), but most of all lower performance so that smaller engines can be used that are more energy efficient. Before hybrids were made available, “fuel-efficient” models from many companies were introduced that were more efficient than comparable models of the time. In addition other hybrid-like technologies that are not directly part of a hybrid powertrains will also be used – like stopping the engine rather than idling, shutting fuel off to the engine when coasting, etc…. I hope the lines between pure hybrids and simpler fuel efficient cars will be less clear.

Ozz
03-15-2009, 02:22 PM
... SEL Ford Fusion with smart key, decent stereo, MP3 player compatibility, traction control, climate control Leather, Navigation etc etc...had a sticker about $24,000. The first offer from the salesman was $19,000 out the door....I suspect I could have done better.
..Len
I drove a Fusion as a rental about a year ago....it's not a bad car...roomy, huge trunk, looks nice. Kinda quirky handling though...too much "power" in the power steering and soft suspension. Too isolated from the road for my tastes. I think if Ford can tighten it up a bit it could be a nice car. The interior had the typical "american car" cheap look to it....better than most though. Though the Prius has more front headroom and rear legroom.

What did it list as the mileage...20 city /28 highway for the inline 4?

It is still a fairly new model however....and I don't know how the reliability on it rates. I've owned Ford, GM and Jeep in the past, the reliabilty was always annoying. The Honda, Acura and Toyota's I've owned have been trouble free. For this reason, I tend to default away from American cars.

Len J
03-15-2009, 02:50 PM
I drove a Fusion as a rental about a year ago....it's not a bad car...roomy, huge trunk, looks nice. Kinda quirky handling though...too much "power" in the power steering and soft suspension. Too isolated from the road for my tastes. I think if Ford can tighten it up a bit it could be a nice car. The interior had the typical "american car" cheap look to it....better than most though. Though the Prius has more front headroom and rear legroom.

What did it list as the mileage...20 city /28 highway for the inline 4?

It is still a fairly new model however....and I don't know how the reliability on it rates. I've owned Ford, GM and Jeep in the past, the reliabilty was always annoying. The Honda, Acura and Toyota's I've owned have been trouble free. For this reason, I tend to default away from American cars.

I have the same bias after renting American cars for years.

My point was from a strictly financial perspective, hybrids can't be justified. I suspect, that if I worked at it, I could find 8 or 9 vehicles with the options you wnatd at or below $19 K...............The fusion was an example I came up with just because my wife happened to be shopping next door to a ford dealer.

We looked at the Hybrid lexus when my wife got her Lexus............the payback, for us, would have been about 6 years......optimisticially.

There are many reasons to drive a Hybrid, economics isn't one of them is all

len

dvancleve
03-15-2009, 06:54 PM
In defense of Hybrid Synergy Drive, all Lexus hybrids up to this year have been high performance vehicles that got better than expected fuel economy. There is a Lexus version of the Prius for 2010 (I think) that will be the first one to focus on economy...

Doug



We looked at the Hybrid lexus when my wife got her Lexus............the payback, for us, would have been about 6 years......optimisticially.

len

jimmy z
03-16-2009, 03:05 PM
I just bought a 2003 Jetta TDI and I'm becoming a firm believer in diesel. This car (with 6 year old technology) gets better mileage (42 to 50) than any hybrid. Does it smell a little... yes. Does it have the diesel clatter noise...yes. Both are very small sacrifices based on the fact that I can drive over 600 miles with a 14 gallon tank!!!

Then new VW TDI debuted this year is a more refined "clean" diesel. The guys at Motor Trend say that you'd never know it was a diesel when driving it...no smell or noise. I don't know why diesel has never caught on in the US....it's huge in Europe.

Len J
03-16-2009, 04:36 PM
In defense of Hybrid Synergy Drive, all Lexus hybrids up to this year have been high performance vehicles that got better than expected fuel economy. There is a Lexus version of the Prius for 2010 (I think) that will be the first one to focus on economy...

Doug

Yes..I'm interested to see what the numbers say.

Len

schneiderrd
03-16-2009, 05:46 PM
Longer term I think the turbo diesels are a better way to go especially when the next generation biodiesel, that does not tap into the food supply, is produced in commercial quantities, probably 2-3 years Targeted pump price, $2.00 per gallon. When that happens, hybrids will loose their luster.