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#5155 of 5290 Re: Hybrid Buyers in USA 'unrealistic' [tpe]
Sep 15, 2006 (3:11 am)
There are a couple of nuances not shown in the 'pure' data from CR.
BTW, there is a somewhat better source for fuel economy numbers on hybrid vehicles than CR. CR tests are done once with results that are anecdotal at best given the driver, the course and the way the testing is done. At GreenHybrid.com one can see the results of thousands of data points in a neutral database. CR found in it's one test of the Prius and the TCH, 44 mpg and 34 mpg respectively. At GreenHybrid.com the middle 50% of reported gas tanks are 45-50 mpg and 35-39 mpg for the Prius and TCH.
To me a database of thousands of data points is always more valid than a single test.
What looking at the 'pure' data from CR or C&D or Edmunds or any other test is that it shows what the current vehicle capabilities are. It's a reference for performance. What these tests don't convey is how the data applies to the buying public.
This is marketing; i.e. not the selling side but understanding what the market is and what it expects. Toyota in this case and Honda as well do an excellent job of providing vehicles that will appeal to the next wave of buyers. Typically these buyers are coming out of older vehicles such in my case where I had driven 4c Camry's since 1995 until this past Nov. All 3 of these 4c Camry's was perfectly acceptable in terms of room and performance. The options I had were another, newer 4c Camry with significantly more power and room or a Prius with similar power and room to the previous three Camry's I had been driving. Both the new Camry and the Prius were in the same price range when comparably equipped.
This is why so many compare the Prius to the 4c Camry. Current Prius buyers ( not the early adopters ) are moving to this vehicle in lieu of the 4c Camry since it matches or as in my case exceeds the vehicles from which they are coming. Having been in 4c Camry's for the better part of 10 years I knew that the fuel economy I would get would be about 30 mpg on a daily basis ( belies CR's anecdotal test also ) in favor of the realworld 48 mpg as suggested by the GreenHybrid database. My actual fuel economy now is just over 50 mpg in moderate weather.
Another 'nuance' where understanding the market is far more important than comparing isolated tests is in the TCH. In January of this year if you wanted to buy a V6 Camry ( 2006 model ) you got a 3.0L engine with about 190 hp ( SAE ) and performance of 8.3 sec 0-60, which is exactly where the TCH's performance numbers fall.
In March the remarkable new V6 with 268 hp and performance times as you note above came to market in the new '07 Camry. But the current midsized auto buyer for the last 15 years, whether driving a Taurus, Intrepid, Camry or Accord has been driving a 170-210 hp vehicle. Unless one is a performance enthusiast this power is all any typical driver needs. Thus the new TCH is slotted to be from right where the 'emerging' new car shopper is coming. ' 190 horses? Yep that's just what I was driving.'
The buyer of new V6 Toyota now has the option of the quickest V6 ICE on the market in a moderately-priced midsized auto or a very capable 'V6' with extraordinary fuel economy.
Thus the Prius appeals to a typical 4c buyer who wants significantly better fuel economy ( 60% ) and not give up any performance from their current drive. The TCH appeals to a V6 driver for the same reason with the same benefit ( similar performance to the previous generation V6's but with the fuel economy of the current Gen Corolla/Civic ).
Both cases illustrate how much in-depth marketing has gone into the placement of these products from a technological perspective not to mention the demographic and economic aspects as well.
#5156 of 5290 Re: Hybrid Buyers in USA 'unrealistic' [kdhspyder]
Sep 15, 2006 (4:21 am)
I think that you're missing my point. I don't dispute that there are people who cross shop the Prius and Camry 4 cyl. What I dispute is using these two vehicles to conclude that hybrids achieve a 20 mpg advantage over their counterparts.
I also agree that the vast majority of drivers don't need the power offered by the new Camry 6cyl. but if it comes with better mpg than the car it was replacing, why not? In fact its only 1-2 mpg worse than the 4 cyl mileage. Its funny I've heard people comment that instead of making the Camry 30% more powerful Toyota should have chosen to make it 30% more fuel efficient. As if you can trade one for the other.
I don't agree that Consumer Reports mileage figures are "anectdotal". They are achieved in a very consistent and controlled method from one vehicle to the next. On the other had a website dedicated to hybrids is not likely to have a "neutral" database. Granted its much larger but the hybrid owners submitting information probably don't represent an accurate cross section of all hybrid owners. There are many reports of people buying hybrids and being dissapointed with the mileage they were getting. Someone like this might go to GreenHybrid once and post his figures as a protest but probably wouldn't continue to update. On the other hand I suspect that someone like yourself posts mileage data on a regular basis. Not that its inaccurate but you probably drive at the conservative end for most hybrid drivers.
You stated that there is no way Toyota could make a 2800 lb Camry. The Prius is 2890 lbs., and that's with a 100 lb battery pack? So if the Prius really is comparable in size to a Camry then why can't Toyota make a 2800 lb Camry?
Here's a question that you might have the answer to. Why do all the hybrids have CVTs while they are almost non-existent on other vehicles. This further distorts the benefits of hybrid technology because, I believe, just about every vehicle would get another 1-2 mpg with a CVT.
#5157 of 5290 Re: Hybrid Buyers in USA 'unrealistic' [tpe]
Sep 15, 2006 (4:36 am)
I, at first, thought that Toyota was doing a masterful marketing job by making sure that there was no comparison for the Toyota Prius. This would ensure that no one would see what the impact of a hybrid system really had on the mpg. In my mind, probably the best comparison would be to take a vehicle with a similar weight (ie 2900 lbs) and acceleration (10-11 s 0-60 mph) for comparison. The best non-hybrid with those specs would likely get 32-34 mpg versus 44 mpg for the Prius. This is about a 40 % gain. I believe the value should be expressed as a percentage versus an absolute gain. For example, the Chevy Silverado hybrid got about 17 mpg versus about 15 mpg for the non-hybrid. Two mpg may appear insignificant, however, it is more than a 10 % improvement. A hybrid system like the Prius would probably yield 21 mpg (40 % or 6 mpg) in the Siverado.
#5158 of 5290 Re: Hybrid Buyers in USA 'unrealistic' [john500]
Sep 15, 2006 (5:22 am)
For the most part I agree. I don't think a perfect comparison should require that the strictly ICE weigh the same. I think it should be allowed to benefit from the slightly reduced weight of not having a battery pack. I also think that it should have a CVT, just like the hybrid. So in this case you would be talking about a 2800 lb vehicle with a CVT whose performance was comparable to the Prius. This hypothetical vehicle might get slightly better mileage than the 32-34 estimate you gave but definitely in the ballpark. I do agree that in assessing the added efficiency derived from a hybrid it should be expressed as a percentage. My estimate would be more like 25-30% gain and that would be for Toyota's hybrid system. Slightly less for Honda's system. It would also depend a lot on the type of driving you did. If it was mostly city then you would benefit more. Mostly highway then you'd benefit less.
25-30% is a huge increase in fuel efficiency so I'm definitely not knocking hybrids. I'm just opposed to exageration.
#5159 of 5290 Re: Hybrid Buyers in USA 'unrealistic' [tpe]
Sep 15, 2006 (7:14 am)
Since the Prius has no ICE counterpart the only comparo's are to vehicles like the 4c Camry/Accord/Sonata or Matrix or Jetta TDI. The hybrid system offers about a 50% benefit to the gassers and is about equal to the TDI. It has to be compared to something.
Regarding the TCH vs ICE V6 here again it's a matter of product placement. The TCH performs like a V6, it just gets much better fuel economy - again about 50% improvement. The potential owner has two options, economy or performance.
CR data is anecdotal by definition since it concerns only one test vehicle AFAIK. The GH database covers data being entered from all over the continent. While there may be some bias ( both postiviely and negatively ) in the database by using the 'middle 50%' of values eliminated the two extremes and gives what should be a realworld expectation. My own experience falls right there in the very middle as I would have expected. Certainly some may be disappointed but there are often other underlying factors. As a matter of fact I can state that from my own experiences that I can take anyone's Prius or TCH and obtain exactly the expected values for fuel economy.
The current Gen 5 and Gen 6 Camry couldn't be made as a 2800# vehicle, it's just too large. The Prius is about the same size as the past Gen 3 and Gen 4 Camry's.
#5160 of 5290 Re: Hybrid Buyers in USA 'unrealistic' [tpe]
Sep 15, 2006 (7:27 am)
If you are interested in doing a weight to weight, size to size comparison then as pointed out by another astute observer the Toyota Matrix is nearly identical to the Prius in size and weight
1.5L Atkinson cycle + HSD
wheelbase : 106.3"
curb wgt : 2890 lbs
Pass volume : 96.2 cu ft
cargo volume: 16.1 cu ft
GH fuel economy : 45-50 mpg ( EPA combined 55 mpg )
1.8L Otto cycle
wheelbase : 102.4"
curb wgt : 2778 lbs
Pass volume : 96.2 cu ft
cargo volume: 21.8
EPA combined FE : 31 mpg
to complete the comparison:
2.4L Otto cycle
wheelbase : 109.3"
curb wgt : 3307 lbs
Pass volume : 101.4 cu ft
cargo volume: 15.0
EPA combined FE : 29 mpg
#5161 of 5290 more on the BMW Hydrogen 7
Sep 15, 2006 (7:36 am)
BMW Hydrogen7 - best use so far of hydrogen technology?
BMW Hydrogen 7: Industrializing hydrogen technologies.
The BMW Hydrogen 7 has successfully completed the entire Product Development Process (PDP) obligatory for all new BMWs. In this process, all components of the new technology were integrated into the overall vehicle according to the same challenging criteria applied to "regular" production cars. The BMW Hydrogen 7 is not a hand made concept car, but rather, a milestone in industrializing hydrogen technologies for automotive use.
#5162 of 5290 Re: Hybrid Buyers in USA 'unrealistic' [kdhspyder]
Sep 15, 2006 (9:25 am)
The EPA is about to drastically change the way it computes fuel efficiency. Why? because everyone knows their current system does not reflect real world driving conditions/styles and does not produce real world estimates. I'm sure the EPA's results and methodology will still be considered anectdotal by your definition. That's fine. Most people, like yourself, have an established mindset. They will dismiss data that doesn't support their beliefs and latch onto the data that does.
BTW, Edmunds is conducting a long term road test on the 2004 Prius. After 40k miles they are averaging 41.4 mpg. These guys must drive with the parking brake on. They are even below Consumer's Reports anectdotal information and way off GreenHybrids definitive mileage values.
Here's an experiment to try. Do a google search on "real world toyota prius mileage". You will get far more hits for articles with derogatory comments. So while Consumer Reports might only represent 1 source this represents 1000s. Far more than are posting on GreenHybrid.
#5163 of 5290 Re: Hybrid Buyers in USA 'unrealistic' [tpe]
Sep 15, 2006 (11:23 am)
One thing I have learned reading these forums is that they typical poster here, mostly those who are what the media would consider "green sold" and more activist in the environment, recycling, conserving, are certainly no longer indicative of the typical Hybrid buyer.
While that once was the case, (them being "typical") as the base of those buying Hybrids expands, most now might be buying who only wish to save money on gasoline, and never practice any kind of "green" activities whatsoever, and are never "coasting", "pulsing", and whatever else is involved in maximizing mileage.
One study found that nearly 90% of current Hybrid buyers never eat granola!
#5164 of 5290 Re: Hybrid Buyers in USA 'unrealistic' [tpe]
Sep 15, 2006 (1:30 pm)
Actually I consider the EPA tests to be a benchmark because while they are artificial as you correctly note they are done in exactly the same manner for every vehicle under controlled circumstances.
From this benchmark then adjustments can be made for individual factors ( YMMV ) plus and minus around the EPA's testing criteria. I find that my results exactly equal the EPA's results - when adjusted for individual driving characteristics. Specifically, for the Prius
EPA values ( it assumes 55/45 split Highway/City )
60 C / 51 H / 55 mpg Combined
My personal values ( 85/15 split Highway/City )
My EPA value should be 52.3 mpg using the 85/15 split. actually it's now 50.5 to 51.5 mpg Combined.
EPA testing criteria:
EPA testing is done in an enclosed environment at about 75 deg with no weather factors, on a dynometer ( flat terrain ), on a fully warmed up engine, with no AC or heater loads.
The City part is done at an average speed of 28 mph.
The Highway part is done at an average speed of 48 mph.
A. The environment of the EPA testing is similar to a Spring, Fall, mild Summer day, at sealevel; for example San Diego or the Mid Atlantic coastal areas. This is my environment so there is no adjustment needed here from Spring to Fall. Zero effect
B. By necessity I must drive with some warmup period for each commute so there is a slight negative effect from the EPA benchmark - 4%
C. The City driving I do at 25-40 mph is roughly equivalent to the EPA testing so there's no adjustment here. Zero effect
D. The Highway driving I do is slightly faster than the EPA testing at an average of about 55 mph rather than 48 mph. This has a very slight negative effect from the EPA benchmark. -1%
Thus from the 52.3 mpg EPA value that I should be obtaining I actually only obtain about 50-51 mpg - due mainly to the warmup effect ( -4% ).
Other factors may enter into the equation which positively or negatively effect the result. 6 are able to be quantified:
Cold weather : -10%
Rainstorms : -15%
Severe winds : -15% to + 5%
vehicle loading : -5% to -15%
Highspeed driving over 70 mph : -10%
Short trips : -20% ( this is the real killer since the warmup period is the entire trip )
BTW this is true for all vehicles. It's just easier to quantify the results in a Prius or TCH because the trips are graphed and one can see the exact effects of each factor.