Last post on Nov 28, 2003 at 11:50 PM
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Lexus, Toyota Prius, Honda Insight, Ford, Hybrid Cars
Oct 27, 2003 (11:44 am)
___I concur with the larger sales to lower costs ... I also believe Toyota wasted a billion or two dollars by creating the entire Prius nameplate instead of placing 36,000 hybrid motors in the 03/04 Corolla sedan or hatchback ... Subsidize a Hybrid Corolla to the tune of 1 billion and they could charge less for a Corolla Hybrid then a std. ICE based one quite easily! Now watch sales.
___As for super high mileage vehicles, I donít think enough is enough myself. The Tokyo Auto show previewed the Daihatsu UFE-II. As it stands, it appears to be almost an Honda Insight look-alike from the rear and the new 04 Prius from the front. With a measured Cd of just .19, this thing is approaching that of a bullet It is estimated to achieve 130 to 140 mpg in the Japanese Hwy loop ... With only a .6L ICE/Hybrid for propulsion, I have to wonder what its 0 to 60 times are. 0 to 60 in 13 or less would be fine for an actual 100 to 110 mpg here in the US for sure ... Where do I sign up as long as itís inexpensive! I saw on another site that the UFE-II uses an Atkinson cycle based ICE to achieve its fuel efficiency ala 04 Prius. Although usually gutless, combined with its extremely lightweight body and electricís, it may just make a hell of a mini! To bad they donít make a version for the US or Japanese market in the near future? It will have to lose the Gull Wings for practical use however
Here is the picís link: http://www.thecarconnection.com/images/gallery/tmb/7440_image.jpg
___Would this vehicle replace the std. 4 or 5 door sedans and /or SUVís that we are used to? Not a chance but what about as a third vehicle for commuting purposes alone? If the costs are inline, letís say $10 - $11K initial cost, you may just begin to see a swap over to this type of vehicle on the road for work and even some pleasurable commuting. Less congestion, lower emissions, lower fuel dependency, and even more Hybridís on the road due to the much lower initial cost. I donít know what the UFE-II costs so I may be just whistling in the wind but given it weighs half of what most cars on the road do, has seating for just 2 vs. 4 + for most everything else, has only 1/3 to Ĺ the engine capacity, it simply has got to be cheaper to produce then the Prius or any other Hybrid/Diesel for that matter. Imagine the much smaller NiMH battery pack to propel this lightweight as well?
___Wayne R. Gerdes
#89 of 126 ever since the first roll-out
Oct 27, 2003 (11:57 am)
I asked myself the same thing: "why not just put a hybrid powertrain in the corolla?" Indeed, this is exactly what Honda did.
I think there are two reasons. (1) parallel hybrids are not as revolutionary as series ones, like the Toyota system. Parallels can't run on electrics alone. So Toyota wanted to build a showcase for new technology. (2) Toyota foresaw that if the technology took off, they would install it in most of their regular models. In this case, the Prius name can continue as a midsize hatchback, a configuration that Toyota does not have in any of its existing models.
wayne: I absolutely LOVE your idea of a commute-only vehicle a la UFE-II being a third vehicle in many homes. Alas, with the U.S. consumers that exist today, I don't think they would even pony up the $10-11K you have suggested to have one as a third car. I also wonder if it could really be sold for this price, as Insight is twice the price, and this from a large-scale manufacturer like Honda.
I do think that in the longer term, say 30-50 years, cars like UFE-II will become commonplace as fuel scarcens, greenhouse gas emissions reach crisis levels, and roads become unmanageably congested.
#90 of 126 that pod toyota has in the tokyo show
Oct 27, 2003 (2:26 pm)
I think that pod thing is the future of our mode of transportation.
Think about it, it can travel individually, or it can towed together as a group (say a family of four) with the front pod leading the pack (pods are linked together by devices just a little more sophiscated than the laser cruise control) ,and each pod has its own power to propell the wheels. Each occupant has their own entainterment system/intercom to the other pod. You can "airbag" the whole pod and I bet it would be much safer in a crash than sitting in the back seat of a car.
Of course, there can be two seater version of the pod, if you like touching your occupants.
Is that some good stuff I am smoking or it sounded real?
#91 of 126 Pods .....................................
Oct 28, 2003 (4:26 am)
or other concepts of automated vehicles traveling in well ordered "platoons" on intrumented/interactive highways represent the ultimate demise of personal automotive transportation, in my opinion. Improvements in safety, efficiency of flow and fuel consumption notwithstanding, I can imagine few more boring ways to travel. I doubt that I'm alone, else buses and trains would be far more popular.
Oct 28, 2003 (5:06 am)
While this type of transportation might be boring it is certainly less stressfull than the drive 50ft stop, drive 50ft stop,... type of commuting that more and more of us are facing.
I personally don't see many Americans buying these lightweight, high mileage vehicles as an occasional commuter option to their SUVs, regardless of cost. Most SUV owners, despite what they might claim, did not make the purchase based upon the utility value of an SUV over a traditional passenger car. Many of them like the feeling of riding above the rest of traffic, many also like the increased safety afforded from having a larger mass than the vehicles they might potentially collide with and some actually view driving a SUV as a symbol of elevated status. So while a good argument can be made for the single driver commuting with a more eco-friendly vehicle, IMO, its not going to happen in a culture desiring "super size" .
#93 of 126 Less Stressful? ..............................
Oct 28, 2003 (5:39 am)
Perhaps for some. For me, few situations are more stressfull than to have zero control or influence over my progress or fate in a dynamic environment and to be totally dependent on a vast, automated system.
That said, I am in FAVOR of mass transit as the only rational solution to the myriad problems of urban transportation. But I don't want my personal transportation to be a mass transit module. What's the point if you must endure the disadvantages of mass transit and still have to deal with the parking problem? What's more, a vehicle adapted to "pod" use would likely be of little value for other transportation purposes.
Sounds like the worst of both worlds to me.
#94 of 126 well, in NA and the rest of the world
Oct 28, 2003 (7:15 am)
the traffic congestion is getting worse and worse everyday, how many of us can say "I really enjoy fighting the traffic to and from work everyday"?
Keep in mind that the majority of the population do not ENJOY driving.
The idea of the pod (IMO)is mass transit door-to-door style and with privacy.
I really don't mind watching TV, catching a snooze, cruise the net, play video games, listening to music or yakking on the cell phone on my way to and from work.
I also think this pod idea will be more receptive in Europe and Japan, as well as China, where they do not "supersize" everything.
daysailor, I understand your concern about not having control over your ride. But with the progress we are making in cars (stability (yaw)control, drive by xxx), we are already heading towards that direction.
As far as parking goes, if you've been to a garage in NYC, what they can do with cars over there, they can do it 10 times easier and faster with pods.
I like spirited driving too, but unfortunately that is the direction we are heading with transportation.
Now, getting a date in a pod is a whole seperate issue...
#95 of 126 What kind of control
Oct 28, 2003 (7:54 am)
does one have when stuck in bumper to bumper, with alternative routes equally bad, parking lots so crowded you lose 10 minutes driving around for a spot, and parking and fuel prices going back and forth like a yoyo?
For my commute, I walk to the train station at about the same time every day. The train comes about the same time every day. It takes about the same time to get to my destination every day. I have paid $75.00 a month for a rider pass for the last four years. I never have to worry about my car when I am away from it. In short, the level of control excedes driving myself, imo.
#96 of 126 I agree ......................
Oct 28, 2003 (8:22 am)
as I said, mass transit is the only rational urban solution. A personal car, as a "pod" or otherwise, still must be parked. And 'urban control' is an oxymoron, which may explain my aversion to cities.
But we've drifted WAY off-topic. So far, only Honda offers competition to Toyota hybrids, but neither hybrid manufacturer satisfies my needs.