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Honda Insight, Toyota Prius, Engine, Alternative Fuels, Diesel, Hybrid Cars, Coupe, Hatchback, Sedan
Mar 28, 2004 (12:44 pm)
___You really do not want to see $3 and $4.00/gallon fuel. The Domestic car industry is one of the last industries supporting high paying blue collar jobs. They not only support the families of millions of employees in the automotive and sub assembly industries but in turn help keep just about every other industry you can imagine rolling and afloat. Imagine the demand for RVís and that industries demise, Arctic Cat ATVís, Polaris Jet Skiís, Mercury outboards, imagine the landscape industry, the home improvement industry, tourism industry, transportation, and that includes trucking Ö It goes on and on. The US can absorb small increases over a period of time but it cannot absorb a large increase in a short period of time. Too many jobs in related and non-related peripheral industries are harmed with that type of price spike and the willowing consumer demand for good and services that follow.
___After reading Usbseawolf2000ís link into the Chicago Tribune Super Car article, spikes are sometimes needed to clear the way for advancement but in this case, the Japanese OEMís (Toyota/Honda) already have a huge foothold and they didnít do it all on their own earnings in reality either. There is a self serving industrial machine called MITI in Japan that acts similar to the way Government helped fund the Super Car project or DARPA from the days of the cold war act to advance future weapon(s) development and technology. Whether incentives come from direct tax credits or simply here is your money, develop a car, the Japanese followed through because they were forced too. They have basically no natural resources to speak of and simply had too use their mighty engineering prowess or die with the threat of USí Super Car project looming.
___It is almost sad in fact. The average American cannot afford an ~ $32,000 72 mpg Ford Prodigy Supercar (estimated Ford MY 2000 $ís) yet Toyota is selling the smaller 04 Prius which achieves even less fuel economy for darn near $26,000 and can not or will not supply enough of the small vehicles to supply demand. We have the technology and it appears as if only Ford (of the domestic manufacturers) is making headway into the vast unknown with PZEV based Focusí and Hybrid SUVís in terms of the Escape HEV. I sure hope Ford makes a good one given the PZEV Focus is now starting to shine in reliability circles and the Escape HEV will use the same 2.3 L PZEV motor with just a few intake modifications Ö
___Someone a few pages back was speaking of losing 600 lbís in an Insight w/ the loss of the Hybrid HW. It would be more along the lines of maybe 150 #ís I believe but here is the kicker. Drop the Hybrid tech and all aluminum structure so it weighs ~ the same yet costs just $13 - $14,000. It wonít do 0 - 60 in 10.5 seconds as it does currently but it would do 0 - 60 in 12.5. It might even still receive 65 mpg on the hwy given the addition of the Civic VXís alternator and balance shafts. Was the additional $5 - $7,000 worth it to the end user for the hybrid tech? I say no since consumers have already voted no with their pocket books on the lightweight 2 seater to meet their needs. I am guesstimating since in all actuality, it has been estimated it costs Honda ~ $30 - $50,000 a piece to produce the Insight given the low volumes and specialty materials used throughout. Knock back the going $20K to $13 - $14K however and you have yourself a reliable 2 seat commuter that would do wonders for our balance of trade and dependence on foreign oil directly.
___We have quite a future ahead of us in regards to technological advances in our own personal transportation but what we donít need is a price spike to $3 and $4.00/gallon over the period of a year or two to kill off the very industry that places the food on the table of quite a large percentage of our countries men and woman before the advances have a chance to bear fruit. Letís just hope Detroitís top execís are actually seeing every $0.10 rise in price at the pump on a month over month basis. That alone should scare the bejesus out of them if not for their own well being since $4.00/gallon will not affect their lifestyle (CEOís and other highly paid executives) one iota, but for the sake of their employees, there company, and our country!
___Wayne R. Gerdes
Mar 28, 2004 (1:04 pm)
"It is almost sad in fact. The average American cannot afford an ~ $32,000 72 mpg Ford Prodigy Supercar..."
It is sad indeed but obviously not a fact. The "research" that the big 3 did about Hybrids were not true. The prove is here today, when Americans are waiting on the 6-8 months list to get hands on the Prius. Remember, Ford Prodigy(2,387lbs) was much lighter than the Prius due to the use of exotic materials. The acceleration was about the same as the classic Prius(2,800lbs), 0-60 in 12 seconds.
Ford Prodigy, GM Precept, and ESX3 used diesel to achieve 72 MPG to 80 MPG. Since Diesel contains more energy than gasoline, Prius efficiency is up there with those Super Cars. Prius also shines in the extremely low emission department. The fact that Toyota can mass produce Prius at 20K and still make money is what differentiated from the big 3 and the Japanese from my point of view.
Mar 28, 2004 (1:11 pm)
"Drop the Hybrid tech and all aluminum structure so it weighs ~ the same yet costs just $13 - $14,000. It wonít do 0 - 60 in 10.5 seconds as it does currently but it would do 0 - 60 in 12.5."
They used aluminum to reduce the weight further. Everything else was cut as much as possible and meet the safety requirements. If they use steel, it'll weight close to the Civic. 0-60 acceleration will be closer to 15 seconds. Passing power on highway will be lower also due to the lack of electric supercharger. Not to mention MPG hit in the City driving conditions.
Mar 28, 2004 (1:27 pm)
___You might have missed the underlying tone to the article as it relates to many of our previous discussions Ö You have a Civic EX that does 0 - 60 in ~ 8.8/9.8 seconds with a stick/automatic and a Civic Hybrid that does 0 - 60 in ~ 11/12.8 seconds w/ a stick/CVT. We are talking ~ 30% more acceleration at any time under any condition. The Hybrid not only costs more, it doesnít handle as well then the already overpriced but better equipped EX (powered moonroof for one), and only pays off at 144,000 miles when paying retail MSRP for both vehicles. This does not include any finance or opportunity costs of the additional $1,440 initial outlay if you were to be foolish enough to pay MSRP for an EX. Even the slightly less powerful Civic LX outperforms the HCH under every condition and can be had for < $15K easily. As for performance, once the EXís or LXís VTEC comes into play, it doesnít need any type of electrical assist. It would continually walk away from any Hybrid including the Prius, HCH, or Insight without so much as an afterthought.
___When you are speaking of generating electricity on the fly while climbing or when the pack needs to be recharged, you are not supplying a single ounce of propulsion from the pack itself. That means you are relying on the totally anemic 76 HP Atkinson-ized 1.5 L engine in the 04 Prius to provide propulsion and create electricity on the fly. Once the battery is drained in a Hybrid including the 04 Prius, the ICE of the hybrid has to generate electricity and supply forward propulsion. The 76 HP motor of the 04 Prius given all sheís got including generating electricity on the fly is about as anemic as Ö well even worse then a 67 HP Insight motor in a 2,900 # Prius without assist and that is pathetic given the Insight engine while on the cam can only accelerate the 1,850 # Insight to 60 in 12.5 seconds with no electrical assist whatsoever.
___It appears to me that if Honda wanted to push the EXís or LXís hwy fuel economy, they could detune the EX or LXís ICE (why not install a 1.5 L VTEC or simply add a taller top gear?) to match the acceleration and overall performance of the HCH and receive ~ the same fuel economy in the process. This comes without the overly expensive Hybrid drivetrain once again.
___Wayne R. Gerdes
Mar 28, 2004 (1:47 pm)
They used aluminum to reduce the weight further. Everything else was cut as much as possible and meet the safety requirements. If they use steel, it'll weight close to the Civic.
___If they dropped the Hybrid HW, they lose ~ 150 #ís. If they went to an all-steel structure, they gain ~ the same back. The Insight is not nearly the size of a Civic and wouldnít weigh nearly as much. The Honda Civic VX with an all steel construction weighed within a few #ís of the Insight. Even the lowly 4 seat Toyota Echo 2-Door weighs just a touch over 2,000 #ís.
___The problem with removing the Hybrid drivetrain in an Insight is that the Insightís IMA acts as a quasi balance shaft so as to remove that fuel economy robbing structure from the ICE. I donít know how many mpg it is worth but it shouldnít be much? The Alternator can be dealt with since I believe the VXís would only engage when the 12 V batter reached a predetermined minimum voltage and disengage when it reached a predetermined maximum. Something like that anyway???
___Wayne R. Gerdes
Mar 28, 2004 (1:55 pm)
Since Prius can generate and supply forward propulsion at the same time, it will almost never run out of the battery, exception of being in the race track. In the Honda's case, you will run out of battery if you don't hit the brake.
Let's say, even IF the Prius run out of battery, the efficient Atkinson 76HP engine has to power both electric motor and drive the car. Prius MG1(Motor/Generator) can generate about 20KW-25KW of electricity by splitting 25HP-38HP from the ICE. MG2 can push out about 150 lbs-ft torque from 25KW of electricity! So, the car is transformed into 150 lbs-ft torque with the remaining 38 HP from the ICE(Ideal for climbing hills when torque is more important). Performance will probably be better than 1975 lbs Insight with 89 ft-lbs of torque.
Prius HSD has the ability to use the energy in the most efficient form on-the-fly where Honda hybrid design can not.
As for Civic EX, LX or any other ICE only car..
"Power and efficiency are inseparable at any time and under any circumstances. Sacrifice either; and you do not have a practical power source." - Jack Yamaguchi
The only way to escape from that law of physics is to use two power sources that shines in opposite situations of each other and open a path for energy to flow between the two. This is how HSD get out of the smaller box, into a bigger box.
Mar 28, 2004 (2:03 pm)
"The Honda Civic VX with an all steel construction weighed within a few #ís of the Insight"
1993 Honda Civic VX did not have to meet strict safety standards of today.
Mar 28, 2004 (2:39 pm)
Let's say, even if the Prius run out of battery, the efficient Atkinson 76HP engine has to power both electric motor and drive the car. Prius MG1(Motor/Generator) can generate about 20KW-25KW of electricity by splitting 25HP-38HP from the ICE. MG2 can push out about 150 lbs-ft torque from 25KW of electricity! So, the car is transformed into 150 lbs-ft torque with the remaining 38 HP from the ICE(Ideal for climbing hills when torque is more important).
___You might be missing the point here? It matters when the Prius runs out of electrical power supplied from the pack. The ďclimbing the hill while chargingĒ scenario is one of them. That means the pack is not supplying the power for propulsion in any way shape or form. When that happens, you have the ICE supplying the propulsion irregardless if itís from the ICE directly or from the second MG Setís electricity on the fly. It is still only worth 76 HP MAXMUM not including what the pack is being recharged with. With that entire 76 HP at the 04 Priusí disposal (probably less if it is re-supplying the pack with electrical power) comes the atrocious ability to accelerate any automobile let alone one that weighs 2,900 #ís. We have already been through the terrible 0 - 30 times of the 04 Prius using all of its wonderful 295 Ft.-lbís of torque available from 0 - 1,200 RPM with a fully charged pack. You do remember the ~ 3.4 seconds to 30 mph with a fully charged pack, right? Take away the packs propulsion ability and watch this kind of number soar! The non-hybrid Civic EX in the article always has 127 HP available no matter if itís climbing a mountain or dashing around on the highway or city. It is simply available at all times no matter what condition it is in.
___As for the VXís weight, the Toyota Echo is larger then the Honda Insight and it meets todayís safety requirements? The Insight with the loss of all of the Hybrid drivetrain components using an all steel constructed frame and body panels that are not plastic already would weigh less then 2,000 #ís. This is no where near the ~ 2,450 - 2,650 #ís of a Civic of various trims. Over the last 10 years, the automobile industry has improved its ability to pack more HW and yet keep an automobiles weight close to the same or even less in some cases Ö If there was a way to install a balance shaft without robbing the smaller ICE of its barely adequate acceleration rates without assist, there is really no need for the Hybrid drivetrain nor the all aluminum and exotic material structure for the $5 - $7K or more extra cost. Again, this would be strictly for a commuter automobile as I use it for myself.
___Wayne R. Gerdes
Mar 28, 2004 (2:57 pm)
"The non-hybrid Civic EX in the article always has 127 HP available no matter if itís climbing a mountain or dashing around on the highway or city.
Prius is faster than 2.4 liter Camry in 30MPH-50MPH acceleration. So, Prius will leave Civic EX behind for sure. Prius' 76HP engine can get you top speed of 100MPH. How much more power and speed do you need? Sure we all like to have more.
The point is not the power but how you use it!
Mar 28, 2004 (3:09 pm)
Prius is faster than 2.4 liter Camry in 30MPH-50MPH acceleration. So, Prius will leave Civic EX behind for sure. 76HP Prius has top speed of 100MPH. How much more power and speed do you need? Sure we all like to have more.
___That is about the only item I have ever read where the 04 Prius can beat a comparable std. ICE and that isnít saying much. This factoid was also supplied by TMC and they didnít give the specifics as to which year Camry this was, did they? The latest Camry 4 banger has 157 HP/162 Ft.-lbís of torque driving 3,100 # automobile. The 127 HP EXís ICE would knock the hell out of the 4 banger Camry because the weight of the Civic is so much less (~ 2,600 #ís w/ a stick). It would also leave the 04 Prius in the dust in any and all conditions as well.
___I am a big fan of the 4 banger Camry given its rather surprising highway fuel economy in such a large and comfortable automobile. We were actually within a few days of purchasing a loaded XLE w/ the 4 early last year until the wife decided on the MDX ...
___Wayne R. Gerdes