Last post on May 30, 2012 at 11:53 AM
You are in the Lexus GS 450h
What is this discussion about?
Lexus GS 450h, Hybrid Cars, Sedan
#296 of 326 GS450h in Europe
Oct 19, 2007 (12:24 pm)
This is quoted from a blurb on the 2008 GS in Europe. In contrast to the USA the GS450h is quite sucessful.
"With global sales exceeding 100.000 units to date, the success of the GS has been further bolstered by the launch of the GS 450h, which introduced the company's Lexus Hybrid Drive technology to the model range in 2006. Reinforcing the significance Lexus customers place on hybrid drive technology, the GS 450h occupies an increasingly prominent position, currently representing over 40% of European GS sales.
#297 of 326 How much does octane matter?
May 20, 2008 (9:13 am)
In light of $4+ gas and the $0.35/gallon extra for premium fuel, I've given the other fuel grades a try and haven't noticed a bit of difference in my 450h. I forget what the car calls for -- 91 octane maybe? I've always filled up with premium, which in my area is 93 octane. Plus/middle grade is 89 and regular is 87, presumably everywhere. I tried a couple of tanks of plus -- no difference. My last fill up (I always run the car down near empty) was regular, and again, no difference.
Am I hurting the engine in any way, short-term or long-term? I believe I've read in the past that lower octane may give poorer performance and may impact fuel economy, but I haven't seen it. I'm certainly not going to risk damaging my engine to say $4-$5 per tank, but I haven't seen anything to say that this will occur.
#298 of 326 Re: How much does octane matter? [bmwconvert]
Aug 02, 2008 (6:17 am)
I have been using regular in my '07 for about a year with no preceivable differences. At the first few tanks, there was a bit of hesitation when the engine started up, but after a week or so that dissapears and performance is quite acceptable.
#300 of 326 Electromagnetic Field (EMF) Exposure Issues
Dec 17, 2007 (4:24 pm)
Since purchasing my GS450h I have been experiencing tingling in the hands and feet, numbness in the face, stinging sensation in the eyes while driving. These symptoms occur only when driving the Lexus GS450h, and at no other time in no other car.
The dealer and I worked months to rule out a number of possible causes without success. Finality, without another working theory about what the problem might be, I began to investigate electromagnetic field radiation (EMF) coming from some part of the hybrid system as a possible cause. The hybrid motor and generator in your GS450h are located right next to the driver and front passenger, a unique (and, in my opinion, dangerous) design among hybrids.
After making my own measurements, I asked an engineer who specializes in EMF mitigation in medical labs to take measurements. Using professional instruments he reported that the driver and front passenger were being exposed to up to 100 milligauss (mG) of electromagnetic field radiation (EMF) being generated by the hybrid system’s motor and generator.
Sustained exposure of 100 mG makes driving the GS450h, aligned to some of highest levels of occupational exposure. Although there isn’t scientific consensus about the effects of EMF on human health, high levels of EMF exposure have been associated a numerous negative health effects. And, although there are still areas of scientific uncertainty, is it responsible for Lexus to produce a product that exposes its driver and passengers to these levels of sustained exposure?
While it is true that some household products can generate high levels of EMF there are key differences that make the GS450h more problematic. For instance, at 6 inches away a high intensity florescent light can create an exposure of up to100 milligauss of EMF, at 1 foot away the exposure drops to 30 mG, then at 2 feet 8 mG, then at 3 feet, 4 mG. This rapid dispersal of the field and subsequent exposure is typical, which might explain why these high exposure levels seem to be unique to this vehicle. (Front and four-wheel-drive hybrids limit exposure by placing the motor and generator in the engine compartment at a distance from the driver and front passenger.)
The EPA advises “prudent avoidance” related to exposure to EMF. How is this possible for the driver or passengers in the GS450? The EMF source is right next to you----you can’t move away as you can form a hairdryer, microwave, or other household source.
To my knowledge, Lexus made no serious effort to test this car for EMF. Their position is they cannot “replicate the problem,” whatever that means in this context.
I believe that at the very least, the need for further study of this vehicle for potential health and safety issues.
Although I cannot drive this car, I will not sell my GS450h before I have done all that I can to ensure that this vehicle is not a danger to others.
If you are experiencing similar symptoms, or want this vehicle to be investigated further you can contact NHTSA at: http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/ivoq/
#301 of 326 Re: Electromagnetic Field (EMF) Exposure Issues [jhow]
Dec 17, 2007 (8:32 pm)
I believe what you are saying is true. We have a good friend that cannot be in a room with fluorescent lights for more than 15 minutes before he gets the same symptoms you are reporting. Constant bombardment by EMF is a problem. There was a poster a couple years ago having problems with EMF in his Insight. Honda gave the same cold shoulder treatment you are getting from Toyota. I think these symptoms are not experienced by a lot of people. So it would be a tough sell. As our friend Curtis has found with employers etc. Good luck getting this resolved.
#302 of 326 Re: Electromagnetic Field (EMF) Exposure Issues [jhow]
Dec 19, 2007 (10:41 am)
Your message regarding EMF and the Lexus 450 was posted sometime ago. Can you give me an update as to what has transpired since? Have you found a solution? Have you kept the vehicle?
I manage a vehicle fleet and have been doing exhaustive research in this area as well as engaging in discussions with Toyota.
#303 of 326 Re: Electromagnetic Field (EMF) Exposure Issues [rks6]
Dec 20, 2007 (12:52 pm)
The only solution to date is not to drive the car. No response from Lexus, even after repeated letters and phone calls, etc. One possible solution offered by an engineering firm specializing in EMF mitigation--which is not practical or feasible in my opinion--is to devise some sort of shielding that would reduce the level of exposure. Clearly, this is something Lexus should have done better in the design phase. After what I have been through I am not all that interested in keeping the car; however, as I stated in my post, I have no intention of selling until this comes to some sort of resolution, or until I am convinced that the car is not a hazard to others. In fact, I have a renewed interest and engagement in researching EMFs related to product design and regulation.
As you probably know, there was a period of intense investigation and interest in EMF as a health threat in the 1990s, culminating with the 1999 NIEHS Report on "Health Effects from Exposure to Power-Line Frequency Electric and Magnetic Fields." The conclusions of that report significantly slowed the research being done around EMFs.
Even though the conclusion of report is that "scientific evidence suggesting that ELF-EMF exposures pose any health risk is weak," they go on to say that, although "none of the Working Group considered the evidence strong enough to label ELF-EMF exposure as a ‘known human carcinogen’ or ‘probable human carcinogen’ . . . .a majority of the members of this Working Group (19/28 voting members) concluded that exposure to power-line frequency ELF-EMF is a ‘possible human carcinogen.’ "
"Possible human carcinogen” is not something I believe we can completely ignore. The NIEHS report agrees, stating: "because virtually everyone in the United States uses electricity and, therefore, is routinely exposed to ELF-EMF, passive regulatory action is warranted such as a continued emphasis on educating both the public and the regulated community on means aimed at reducing exposures."
That should be the aim of product development: protect the public by reducing exposures. If the measurement of up to 100+mG of sustained exposure for the driver and front passengers in the GS450h proves accurate (still waiting for Lexus or NHTSA to test this car and tell me I am wrong), it brings interesting questions to light about the safety of this vehicle, regulatory requirements for manufacturers, and the responsibility of manufacturers in light of the “scientific uncertainties” about the high/sustained levels of exposure to EMF.
If you haven’t read it already, I recommend you read the executive summary of the "California Risk Evaluation for Policymakers and the Public” (2002) http://www.dhs.ca.gov/ehib/emf/RiskEvaluation/ExecSumm.pdf
This is a summary of findings from a meta-analysis of epidemiological studies by experts. Their conclusions differ somewhat from the NHIEH report and focus on a wider range of health effects (at first glance, I have not yet read either report entirely). Their conclusion: “To one degree or another, all three of the DHS scientists are inclined to believe that EMFs can cause some degree of increased risk of childhood leukemia, adult brain cancer, Lou Gehrig’s Disease, and miscarriage.” Not very reassuring.
As for my physical problems while driving this vehicle, many symptoms like this have been reported as a reaction to EMFs. The number of individuals driving the GS450h may be small (I read only 2000 were imported), but I can’t be the only one who has issues like this when driving this car. In fact, I know I am not. I realize that I may, however, be part of the minority of drivers/passengers who are sensitive to EMF (electro-sensitivity is also a scientifically debated phenomenon.)
However, I have never experienced any symptoms before driving this car.
You mentioned that you were evaluating cars for fleet purchase. I want to stress that I have no knowledge about levels of exposure in other Lexus or Toyota hybrid vehicles, only the GS450h (and that data has yet to be replicated by other studies). I can only speculate that vehicles that do not place the motor and generator right next to the driver will have lower passenger compartment EMF levels than the GS450h, as the fields dissipate quickly with distance.
I sincerely hope that hybrid cars can be (and are being) produced that have little or no increased EMF exposure. We don’t want to trade one environmental hazard for another.
Anything you might offer in terms what you have uncovered in your research would be appreciated. I would be happy to be wrong about most or all of this; unfortunately, I don’t think I am.
#304 of 326 Re: Electromagnetic Field (EMF) Exposure Issues [jhow]
Dec 23, 2007 (11:39 am)
There are now many, many cases of hybrid vehicle owners attempting to return their vehicle after discovering the associated risks with high EMF levels and negative health effects. Fleet managers need to be particularly concerned about EMF issues as drivers of fleet vehicles can spend their entire working day in the high EMF environment. In addition, commuters who spend significant time in their vehicles also need to be concerned especially if children are also occupants.
In our testing the primary source of EMF was the wiring harness that connects the AC/DC Inverter to the battery pack in the trunk. In the Prius, at any one time, the harness can carry 100 amps of current. At floor level, our readings showed levels as high as 300 milli gauss depending on the vehicle state. As an organization, we attempt to limit constant EMF exposure to less than 5 milli gauss in the work environment meaning a fleet driver would certainly be within their rights to refuse to drive a hybrid for extended periods of time. I'd love to see some health studies of some of the cab drivers whose vehicles are full hybrids. The problem is that most individuals don't know about EMF and it's associated risks as it relates to hybrid vehicles. The auto industry tries to downplay this issue and the automotive journalists out there won't tackle the issue for a variety of reasons.
I've asked Toyota Canada on separate occassions to confirm or deny our information that Prius' destined for Sweden and other countries has EMF sheilding installed to meet that country's higher automotive EMF exposure standards. Still no reply. I'm going to ask again in January.
There are shielding solutions which could be implemented at the production stage which would reduce EMF levels. Naturally these solutions would add several hundred dollars to the vehicle cost and add some additional weight.
I think if given the option in North America, many consumers would opt for the shielding if it was available.
In your case, given your symptoms, I would sell the vehicle and move on to something else. Perhaps a Bluetec Diesel where your EMF sensitivity wouldn't be an issue and you could still reduce your environmental footprint.
We need more environmentally friendlier automobiles but EMF is an issue that can't be ignored.
#305 of 326 re. EMF exposure
Jan 25, 2008 (12:52 am)
I'm just learning about hybrid cars and EMFs. Unfortunately I have I hybrid that I'm now uncomfortable with. jhow (or anyone else who has useful info) can you give me contact info for the engineering co, that was willing to retrofit your car with emf shielding?
rks6 - any word from Toyota? And is the rumor true that they fit the European Prius (especially those bound for Switzerland) with sheilding that they don't use in the US?