Last post on May 23, 2001 at 1:42 PM
You are in the Hybrid Vehicles - Archived Discussions
This discussion is ARCHIVED. To reactivate the discussion, post a request in the Lost? Ask the Hybrids Host for directions! discussion.
What is this discussion about?
Toyota Prius, Honda Insight, Hybrid Cars, Fuel Efficiency (MPG)
#228 of 257 abbanat..Still a long way to go.
Apr 01, 2001 (9:35 am)
I can appreciate the fervor some may have for the Prius, however there is a reason we don't tend to allow engineers to run our companies. They get fixated on an idea and fail to see when they do not meet our goals. Maybe if we stated it as a problem presented by an instructor in college. The assignment as stated in the beginning of this forum will be. Create a car that is affordable, fuel efficient, and preforms as close to a conventional car as possible. So Tommy Toyota, Henry Honda, Mark Metro, and Verner Von Volkswagen leave class and come back with their presentation to the instructor. Now Verner has designed a car that preforms pretty much like a conventional car, it can be massed produced passes present smog laws and gets very good on road milage. Mark Metro produces a car that is inexpensive, can be mass produced and gets very good milage, doesn't preform all that well but handles pretty much like a conventional car. Tommy Toyota produces a car that is expensive, gets pretty good gas milage, but the handling is suspect, doesn't get quite the gas milage as Verner's on the road. Henry Honda makes a car that is as pricy as Tommy's but gets much better fuel milage, as much as 20 mpg better, is 3 full seconds faster to 60 MPH, the handling is still a bit suspect. Now which car comes closest to meeting the instructors requirements? Is Tommy's car best in any of the required fields? No, yet the engineer will protest his c+ effort because he tried his best. If you substitute consumer for instructor you might see why some people might be skeptical of the idea that the Prius is the "most" technically advanced car in production. Some of us skeptics might even read about the cars we are skeptical about. Are any of the cars produced a true "solution" or are they simply a way to get the government off their back. Maybe that is a question for another forum. (The questionable handling on the Prius and Insight can be found in Motor Trend, January, 2001.
Apr 01, 2001 (12:53 pm)
You neglect to mention that your analogy leaves out some important data, to wit:
Herr Verner's effort is a diesel, and as such is a major polluter (thereby substituting a worse form of pollution for another); Mr. Metro's effort is a tiny urban crawler that will barely seater that can NEVER haul more than two people, is only available with a manual transmission and is rough and noisy; and Tommy-san's Prius is a true 5-passenger car with as good accomodations as any other car in its price category -- not to mention decent handling and braking (sorry, your opinion about the last two items is in the minority -- read the latest Autoweek and other reviews of the car).
So: Considering the overall mission, I'd rank the cars thus:
Apr 01, 2001 (3:06 pm)
I think DennisWade's got it right but in one respect you're also right, hybrids do have a long way to go, but remember, this is the first generation of them. Give them time, and they will be more likely to impress you. Their energy and environmental bnefits will improve and their costs will come down with economies of scale.
#231 of 257 denniswade and abbanat, it's just a point of view,
Apr 01, 2001 (3:52 pm)
Doesn't you choice have to be first in some respect? Wouldn't the "most" Advanced car get the "Best" gas milage? I know the tires have to be narrow and hard for better milage but to get 20 MPG less that the Honda with the same basic technology seems a little backward to me. Maybe it's just me but shouldn't it be better performing than the other three? I have seen you in other forums and thought you felt performance held some importance. I would question the idea that most commuters have more than two people in the car. At least if we go by the reports from California. They tried to make car pool lanes for three or more and found that two was by far the most common number. abbanat indicated in another post that these cars were not to replace but to augment our stable of vehicles. So you are saying you prefer the slower car? If that is the case I am happy for you. But from a strictly numbers point of view the Prius still gets just a bit better fuel milage on the highway than a 4 door Metro 1.3, and the Toyota costs $10,000.00 more. You can buy a lot of gas for $10,000.00. It Gets 20 MPG less than the Honda and costs the same. Give or take 200 dollars. No where is the Toyota in first place, cost, or milage. In the Edmunds reviews it shows that the Prius doesn't out perform any of the three on the highway. So I wish you were my collage instructor when I was in business school. It would be nice not to have to have the best package and yet get the best grade. Because if fuel milage isn't the point, then there are a whole lot of cars I can think of that have more bells and whistles than the Toyota. And if you are willing to give up 20 mpg and crown the Toyota the better car. How about giving up another 20 MPG and maybe selecting the Honda 2000, or the Celica or even the A4 as the most technologically advanced? That might seem like a cheep shot to others but I know denniswade is into performance cars. ( I think you loyalty is showing) *S*
abbanat, I agree they have a long way to go, but this first effort seems a bit like a rush job. All the manufacturers know they have to work towards a zero emissions car and yet they come out with a gas powered electric? Do you honestly believe this is there best effort? That they can not make a green car that gets better milage on the highway than "all" the conventional cars? If it is I think we are worse off than we thought.
#232 of 257 denniswade, by the way.
Apr 01, 2001 (4:21 pm)
The NHRA is having 1/8 th mile drags at Rialto Airport. They were having one today but Sundays aren't good for me. However they are having one May 12 -13. My son and I are planning on going, just to watch. Would be neet to see you and your car there. Check it out at http://www.rialtoairportdrags.com
www.rialtoairportdrags.com. in case the button doesn't work or call (909) 820-2622
Apr 01, 2001 (5:04 pm)
Oh, boaz. You keep bringing up the same arguments. I don't know how much more I can keep this up! :>) It's simply not fair to compare a Metro with a Prius. They're not in the same vehicle class. No, the best technology doesn't always result in the best performance. A Mercedes S-class may have incredible technology, but it doesn't necessarily outperform a Lexus LS 430, yet there is still a similar proportional price discrepancy. A Prius offers better fuel economy (use the combined mpg cycle: 1/((.45/hwy)+ (.55/city)))than a Metro, much better tailpipe emissions, much more interior space, and better performance. So from that comparison (which you insist on making) it does perform better. Is it worth a $10,000 premium? The market seems to think so as there is a 3 month waiting list of people for the Prius. But the real premium is closer to 3-4 thousand dollars when you compare it to other vehicles in its class, which is what most reasonable people have been doing.
Despite the Honda getting 15-20 mpg better than the Prius, a Prius owner doesn't consume that much more fuel than an Insight over, say 15,000 miles a year. Why? because fuel consumption is not linear with mpg, it's a curve with diminishing returns. Run a fuel consumption excel chart from 10mpg to 75 mpg over 15,000 miles, you will see that it is a curve and that there is very little difference in fuel consumption from 45 mpg to 60 mpg. The biggest improvements can be made by improving vehicles with 10-20 mpgs
You also need to understand that comparing the Prius with the Insight is unfair. The only thing similar about them is the fact that they're both hybrids. The Insight was designed from the start only to get the maximum fuel economy. The Prius was designed to meet the everyday needs of consumers looking for a compact (not subcompact) car. It's like comparing a Civic to a delSol.
Technologically advanced vehicles are not defined by their bells and whistles. The drivetrain technology of the Prius is unbelievable for this price class, or any, and it's apparent you're unfamiliar with it. You can't simply discard the significance of this statement until you've seen the schematics of the vehicle. You may not value this in a car, but others do. That's why they make chocolate and vanilla ice cream.
I don't understand your point about whether there are two or three commuters in a vehicle and what relevance that has on the discussion of hybrids. Please clarify.
Also understand that people rarely buy vehicles based on the numbers. But if you insist,the numbers for the Metro clearly indicate that nobody
wants to buy it, yet the Prius has a 3 month waiting list. What's the point of advocating a vehicle nobody wants to buy?
Do I believe this is their best effort? Yes! This has been an incredible effort considering the costs of advanced technologies. Do you think auto makers would even be CONSIDERING hybrids if it weren't for the ZEV mandate? There would be ZERO research at all. The Prius and Insight DO get better fuel economy than all the conventional vehicles when you consider the previously cited combined mpg cycle. Remember...diminishing returns to scale the higher your mpg. The Japanese version of the Prius gets even BETTER mileage but they wouldn't bring it to the American market because they felt like it needed more power. The benefits of hybrids will be truly evident when they are applied to gas guzzlers like light-trucks and SUVs. But you don't have to like them or even buy them because understandably you don't think they're a good value. That's perfectly fine and justifiable. I concede, it's the "innovators" and "early majority" who will be the first to buy them, but they will continue to advance and more improvements will be made. My argument for them will continue to be supported over time as hybrid technology improves.
I understand your argument, I just don't think they're particularly fair and don't acknowledge an understanding of the design goals for the vehicles and I don't think you're making fair vehicle comparisons. However, it's also not fair for me to expect people to understand these vehicles in depth, so I'll cut you some slack! :>)
#234 of 257 one more thing..
Apr 01, 2001 (5:53 pm)
regarding the Prius & Insight vs. Metro comparison:
City MPG: 30
Hwy MPG: 34
Combined MPG: 32.2
City MPG: 52
Hwy MPG: 45
Combined MPG: 48.7
City MPG: 61
Hwy MPG: 68
Combined MPG: 64.1
No matter how you slice it, the hybrids outperform that Metro...by a lot (but not so much in overall fuel consumption).
Now a Volkswagen TDI may get similar mpg as a Prius (though a little bit lower) you have to recognize that they can't be bought in states that have adopted California emissions laws, and you also have to realize that diesels themselves have an incremental cost compared to an average vehicle in it's class. So really, the difference between a Jetta TDI and Prius is around $2000, and maybe less, depending on how the Jetta is optioned out.
#235 of 257 abbanat ..it's ok
Apr 01, 2001 (6:57 pm)
As you know I don't care for micro cars either. The Metro reminded me of a go cart. Just would rather they worked towards making something more family friendly. Or at least long trip friendly. And you have made a valid point. Even the Japanese realize the consumers in this country will have a hard time sacrificing if it means low performance. If forced to they might but from history what do you see? Smaller cars getting bigger. Civic and Corolla were tiny at one time. Manufacturers that are known for economical cars making SUVs. And even Toyota opting for lower milage rather than risk falling too far behind the cars people are buying. People waiting to buy the Pruis might even increase if Gas goes up as they say. Does not that attitude validate my point from the Japanese managements point of view? We can export a much better fuel milage car or one that is a little bit better but preforms more like a conventional car? They must be concerned with if people would buy them. All you or I can do at this point is wait and see. Will the hybrids out sell Ford F-150s or PT Cruisers? If the answer is yes, then you might be right. If the answer is no? Then the discussion will be: Who bought the Hybrids? Time will tell. As for me, I was one of those that waited till the Battle between Beta and VHS was decided and bought a VCR when it was much cheaper, and am just now looking at a DVD player. Have one on the computer but who wants to sit in front of a 17 inch screen when there is a 27 in the living room? The better question might be, will the early birds get their monies worth? Or would it be better to wait and see what they have on the burner? I did buy a cell phone when they first came out, paid through the nose. Now they give them away with a years service. If the EV-1 would have been workable, and priced anywhere near $20,000.00 I would have had one. But if I had bought into that would I be happy today?
Apr 01, 2001 (7:39 pm)
You're raise a good question as to whether the hybrids will outsell F-150s or PT Cruisers. Remember, we both agree that hybrids right now should be considered as a supplement to a household with an F-150, not as a replacement. But that doesn't address overall sales as your last statement alludes. You're also right that if gas prices drop, or maybe even stay the same, that the appeal of hybrids is unknown. But what we do know is that this technology will be introduced into full-size vehicles (Dodge Durango, full-size trucks, Ford Escape) and that people who use SUVs and light-duty trucks strictly as passenger vehicles may find it appealing to have the performance of, for example, a V8 with the fuel economy of a V6. I'm realistic enough to understand that it is very difficult to get people to jump to a smaller vehicle class. The most progress from a fuel demand point of view can be made at the lower mpgs if people buy the more fuel efficient (and cleaner!) hybrid full-size vehicle within a given model. For example, a jump from a 12 mpg Suburban to a hybrid Suburban (philosophical example) that gets 17 mpg is the same fuel savings (over x miles) as that from a 24 mpg Honda Accord and a 41 mpg Metro.
We have to take little baby steps. So while my general opinions may seem very liberal, I also understand that these technologies and benefits need to win people over based on their own merits (which they can and IMO will), not simply because I want to impose my beliefs on other people. I also think the hybrid market will be sustainable because light-duty trucks will need to meet passenger car emissions in California and hybrids are the only way they will be able to do that. But you're right, time will tell.
You couldn't buy the EV-1 even if you wanted to. GM was only leasing it. What would it have cost you to buy? Probably around $70k. GM did learn a lot from that vehicle, so despite what many people think, it was not a failure. Only a failure from a sales point of view. A recent issue of Automotive News has an interview with a GM EV-1 program manager. Can't remember his name, though.
BTW, the Beta was better but the VCR prevailed because it was already firmly rooted.
Finally, go for the DVD player. The market is maturing and the video rental places have really improved their selection and availability of DVDs. I just bought my second DVD player(third if you count my computer) from Wal-Mart for $115. It was a no-name brand (Oritron) but I couldn't pass it up. Even has S-Video output.