From looking into them a little in person, they don't get very good mileage if you do a lot of highway time, they are more of a town car, as the fuel savings is in the stop and go traffic. When you sit at a stop light, the engine is off, so no fuel is being used. An angle I never hear about, and maybe someone can say, is the restarting of the engine, it would seem to me that the starter would get worn down from so much use... For more info, check with your local dealer about them, I know Toyota has then on regular retail, so they should be able to tell you about them.
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Come on down and join us in the Iowa chapter, or your own local chapter!! Thanks, Roger
hybrids are practical for the daily rush-hour commuter, mainly because when stuck in
20 mph traffic jams (a fact of life here in socal), the engine is hardly used. the
stop/start cycling is less of an engine wear issue with today's modern synthetic oils.
starter wear can be compensated for with longer motor brushes, which is what usually
wear out in those short duration, high amperage motors.
I have heard that upkeep is higher for them as well, and the battery packs are only supposed to last about 10 years. Talk about a lot of toxic waste when all those batteries get traded in...those battery packs are supposed to be very expensive too.
It also takes about that long to recoup the higher initial cost in gas savings - of course, this is back when gas was $1.60 in CA, so it's probably become significantly more economically viable now.
Also, how long do you think the myriad of impressive but complicated electronics used to run the hybrid system will last? How expensive to replace?
Economically and environmentally, the cars really don't make that much sense. Where they do make sense is in energy independence. I would agree that that in and of itself is a compelling argument for the cars, and would be the reason my Mom and even my Dad would consider getting one.
For now though we're just looking for an old beater Tercel or something to get the groceries with. At over 30mpg, in a dirt cheap car, I don't think anybody could argue with that.
James - Tyler, Tx.
1992 Ford Bronco EB - "The Plasticky Wonder" - R.I.P
'04 Focus SVT - Infra-Red 3-door
Real cars aren't made of plastic and computers. Unfortunately, mine is...
From what I remember reading in Consumer Reports, is that it takes thousands and thousands and years to recoup the extra price of the hybrids. That's comparing like a Honda Accord Hybrid to the same gas powered car. It even supposed to take in the tax credit for buying one of those cars. The article also stated that some EMT's are afraid of them due to the high voltage cables running through them. And like what jcp123 states, the battery replcement costs are extremely high.
1969 ForDor Thunderbird
2006 Dodge Charger (wifes car)
2000 Ranger Regular cab
2.5L with A/C backed up by the 5 speed manual, 2WD.
170,000+ on the clock.
In the latest AutoWeek, they did an Earth Day special. The Toyota Prius lost out to the VW Jetta TDI (running biodiesel) in a real world test that they conducted. I know three people that own the Prius and only one of them gets the claimed mileage, and better. He constantly watches the screen on the dash and adjusts his driving in response to it. He IS a technogeek. Those that set the cruise control and go, like an ordinary car, are disappointed. If you put a simple vacuum gauge on the dash of your ordinary gasoline car and constantly drive to it, your mileage would also improve.
While the complexity of the gas/battery hybrids is embraced by technogeeks, there are simpler ways to accomplish the same result. Ford has a turbodiesel Focus in Europe, but wont sell it here. Add some of the other high mileage features that the hybrids have, like low rolling resistance tires, and you would have hybrid performance without the cost and complexity.
CONS; A hybrid has a higher initail cost, about the same mileage at highway speeds, ultra expensive batteries that must be replaced every 5-10 years, non-flattering styling, more new technology electronics to malfunction.
PROS; Better city/low speed fuel mileage, tax credit when purchased new, a good feeling when driving it around.
I have a 97 civic hx and although it's not technically a hybrid it's about as close to one as your going to find. Mine is rated for 37/43mpg and I avg around 37-41mpg mostly but I have gotten right at 43mpg before but thats it. To me it makes a lot of sense to find a car just like mine used with 100k+ for anywhere between 4k-6k and save a ton of money for what a new car would cost, also less taxes to pay every year and cheaper insurance to boot.
One thing about the starter issue: Generally a hybrid car has a large generator attached to the ICE. This generator can easily start the ICE due to its larger size. Also, these generators do not have brushes like in a typical alternator or starter and so do not have wear problems associated with repetitive starting of the engine. The same applies to the electric motors used to power the car. The motors are generally AC induction motors which have no electrical connection between the rotating and stationary parts of the motor. The only mechanical connections are the bearing which keep the shaft centered within the motor.
About the sticker fuel economy and the fact that generally people do not get that in actual driving: this is because the standard fuel economy test is biased towards hybrids because of the frequent stops and starts. Toyota for instance would like to place a lower and more accurate mileage on the sticker, but is forbidden from doing it by American fuel economy rating laws. These laws were written before hybrid cars to standardize the ratings accross different manufacturers and made it illegal to post anything but the EPA economy ratings.
Why is a Hybrid car more efficient? A hybrid car has much of its increase in efficiency due to the fact that during city driving, when you press the brake pedal, the electric motors turn into generators and store the kinetic energy of your car in an electric form. In a standard engined car, this kinetic energy is turned into heat in the brakes and is wasted. The electric energy stored in the batteries in a hybrid is then used to reaccelerate your car back up to speed when the light turns green. On the highway however, this is less of a benifit because the only power you are supplying to keep your car going is to overcome air friction, drivetrain friction, and the energy required to go up hills. That being said, hybrids do get slightly higher efficiency on the highway than traditional engines because the ICE can be made smaller in a hybrid.
About the reliability issues: Modern power electronics and motors are incredibly reliable due to the fact that there are very few moving parts. In industry, electric motors can easily run continuously for decades, even in frequent start-stop-reverse applications. I would say that the electronics and the motors in a hybrid vehicle would probably last longer than the ICE and the body of the car. However, this excludes the batteries. Rechargable batteries of all kinds do have a limit to how many times they can be recharged and discharged before they will no longer hold a charge. However, most kinds of rechargable batteries are recyclable.
If anyone wants more information on hybrid cars, ICEs, batteries, fuel cells, superchargers, turbochargers, the otto-cycle, the miller-cycle, and a ton of other topics, a great easy to follow resource is www.howstuffworks.com.
Ford loves to tell us that "X horsepower is enough" in an effort to please the Sierra Club, so why they have an issue with telling us "you will drive only diesel powered vehicles from now on".....no wonder they are in the spot they are in.
I totally understand what your saying jim and I don't know why that is and my car is almost 10 years old, you would have thought that technology would have really evolved since then. But I would have to say that as of right now with the way gas prices keep shooting up that getting a hybrid is a wise decision if you was already buying a new car, I look at it this way, gas prices are like the merry go round and where she stops nobody knows and I feel like if gas gets too much higher I won't be able to afford to put gas in my truck because I'm not getting the cost of living raises to match the gas prices.
Maintenance is an extra expense. Independent shops make their living by offering a less expensive car care option to going to the dealer. Around here I know and deal with about every independent shop around. Got a Nissan? Go to Joe's. Got a diesel, go see Sam. Likewise alignments, AC, even antique British cars. Most shops work on most anything but about all are particularly good at something. Got a hybrid? As it stands now, you take it back to the dealer and hope their techs went to the school. Nobody else will touch it. Used car dealers don't want hybrids as trade-ins unless they are in A-1 perfect condition.
No doubt this will change as hybrids become more common, but that's how it stands around here, right now.
Hi everyone, New poster here. If it is okay, I would like to enlighten everyone who cares to listen. I work for a world wide company that builds electric vehicles mainly for larger type of vehicle fleets, buses, semi-tractors. locomotives, boats, ect. As a Technician in Hawaii, with our main branch in Torrence, Calif. I can strongly recommend the Toyota Prius Hybrid. It has the most high tech equipment on the market today due to their expensive research and development dept. As for using a starter for the engine, as far as I have researched, no Hybrid uses a starter as used in a convetional automobile. It does shut off the engine at stops to conserve alot of wasted fuel not being used to propel the vehicle. When the operator presses on the accellerator, the electric motor drives the transmission which is distributed to the drive wheels. It also spins the gas engine with the ignition not firing the cylinders. When the computer management wants to have engine assist to drive or charge the batteries it enables the ignition and the gas engine fires up, simular to kick starting the engine. As for the batteries, I believe that the current warranty is for 10 years/ 100,000 miles. My final point will be that there is a way to charge your battery pack at home to conserve even more gasoline, and if you can get your Hybrid to get 100 MPG, you are on your way to paying off your $23,000 Prius in 3 to 4 years through your savings of not paying $3.00 per gallon to fill your gas tank as often. I could go on with more information if you need to know more, by pm me. Thanks for letting me share my knowledge with everyone.
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