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Toyota Prius, Toyota Highlander Hybrid, Ford Escape Hybrid, Honda Civic, Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid, Mercury Mariner Hybrid, Saturn Aura Hybrid, Saturn VUE Hybrid, Nissan Altima Hybrid, Hybrid Cars, Coupe, Hatchback, Truck, Sedan, SUV
#17 of 46 Correction
Jan 15, 2009 (3:03 am)
Uh... I have to correct some misconception with some first-hand experience.
Someone posted earlier that hybrid battery is easily damaged and "dies" after two weeks parked. Well, is our hybrid the exception? We just parked in frozen condition for 10 days and the car started just fine after 10 days of 29-32F temperature. I have parked the car for two week straight in temperature range of 35-50 at an airport parking lot and it still starts. What gives?
I know at least five Prius owners who own models dating back at least five years or more. Two have at least 100,000 miles on theirs, and battery packs are still running fine. What gives?
If battery packs are failing left and right, I bet CNN will hear of it by now. Where are you all getting such information? it sounds like the old GM argument way back when Prius first came out.
As for the cost of battery replacement? It is NOT $14,000 or $10,000, that is just exaggeration or misinformation. Toyota has clearly said that it will cost $4000-$6000 depending on the model. Please do the simple research to get the correct information. If my battery packs last 200,000 miles before I sink in $6000? I will do it so the car can run for another 100,000 miles. Why not?
By the way, at 45000 miles, my brakes are still at 92%. Looks like I will never have to replace my brakes!
The subject says "silver bullet" thus implying a solution to a problem. If we only focus on "raw price", then this thread suddenly becomes meaningless, no? If I need a SUV to carry my family and gear to remote trailheads, a $13,000 Kia two-door will not work. If I am single and drive only to and from work by myself, a simple two-door civic or something smaller with 4-cyl will do just fine, why bother with a Prius? I do not see how we can remove the "value" or "usability" factors and still keep the discussion meaningful.
Hybrid is indeed a practical stepping stone. It blends long range capability with decent gas mileage for larger vehicle. Hybrid is also a way to address the emission problem. I think hybrids and plug-in hybrids will be with us for a long while before the next generation of car appears.
The real "silver bullet" is not about an engine type but how we perceive transportation. Instead of everyone driving individually everyday for the simplest of tasks over the shortest of distance, we have to start thinking about efficient and clean mass transit that serves even the most hectic worker. When necessary, a community short-range EV fleet for communal use over short distance can work miracles. I can take mass transit or drive to a town, park, switch to a community EV for the rest of my run; won't that be great? When I am done, I carry the goodies to my car, jump in and leave town; or hop a bus/train to head home. If we do that, we will solve a lot of our consumption problems.
#18 of 46 Possible Health Risks of Hybrids
Jan 15, 2009 (5:59 am)
The jury is still out on the possible health risks associated with hybrid cars and electromagnetic fields. See NY Times article from 2008: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/27/automobiles/27EMF.html?_r=2&ref=automobiles&or- ef=slogin
Obviously it has to be studied more but the health uncertainty hybrid technology poses should not be ignored by knowledgeable and concerned consumers. You can google for more information about the potential health risks.
#19 of 46 Maybe "Silver Bullitt" But Better.."Mousetrap"
Jan 15, 2009 (8:42 am)
I just finished running thru the newest Consumer's Report covering all cars up to '09. The Prius from 04's 2ND Gen ( my car) to the 2009 models are highly rated with a Report Card grade of A+ anyway you slice it. The term "Silver Bullitt" is kind of vague at best. I like to consider the Hybrid Technology" the develoment of the "Better Mousetrap." I antisipate the coming of the 2010 Prius with great expectations. As to leading the way in Hybrid cars, Honda & Toyota seem leap years ahead of the rest of the industry. I have nearly 100K and have literally nothing but praise for the trouble free car. By the way. The scores for the 2nd Gen. Prius is nothing short of amazing...Check it out.
P.S. By the way. As to info provided by "cdptrap"....my local dealer quotes a price of ....Small Battery...$152.57 & Large Main Battery...$2,588.00. A far cry from his info. It pays to shop around. My dealer (Lake-Shore Toyota N.W. Indiana) is outstanding both in service and parts. Lake-Shore..I salute you!!
#20 of 46 Re: Maybe "Silver Bullitt" But Better.."Mousetrap" [railroadjames]
Jan 15, 2009 (10:18 am)
As to leading the way in Hybrid cars, Honda & Toyota seem leap years ahead of the rest of the industry.
I take it you never heard of Ford? You know, the guys about to release the most fuel efficient midsize hybrid sedan in the world? More fuel efficient than the Camry Hybrid, Altima Hybrid, and Malibu (snicker) Hybrid? Really the most fuel-efficient midsize, but the Prius and it's lawnmower engine made the midsize space requirement by a quarter of a cubic millimeter or something like that purely for PR purposes.
They might not be a silver bullet, but hybrids have turned into a viable option for those who do the kind of stop and go driving that they excel in. I forsee the new Fusion Hybrid Taxicab...they've already got taxi fleets wrapped around their finger. heck, maybe they could fit the system to the Vic too.
#21 of 46 Re: Maybe "Silver Bullitt" But Better.."Mousetrap" [bpizzuti]
Jan 15, 2009 (11:15 am)
I'll overlook your digs and just pass facts along. Ford is well remembered in my "Past." Unfortunitly back in 2003 when I decided to investigate the hybrid market Ford was nowhere to be seen. On the other hand Honda & Toyota were deep in their commitment to break ground with a serious alturnitive to the gas hogs. GM and Ford were still pushing out 9 mpg Hummers & Excursions. Of course no one knew the runaway gas futures and how they would handcuff the world. Yeh, I remember Ford & also GM and even Chrysler. I've owned several of each. Some good and some a pure nightmare of lemons. Trannys that wouldn't last 50K. Power windows that wouldn't last 2 yrs. A.C. that failed long b/4 it should have. Then one day I test drove the Prius. My wife drove first while I sat in the back amazed at the roominess of this high tech hybrid. Much more roomy that a Buick Riviera. I began to enjoy near 50 mpg's and that was a Godsend.
As to my lawnmower engine, I have nearly 100K miles and have not a one problem. I've had the car up over 100mph and don't recall cutting any grass. I love to pass Excursions, Hummers, Escalades and gas-stations. Oh, and come to think of it, I saved over $10,000 during these 5 plus yrs of gas savings. FACT!
Lastly, I hope that the Big 3 get it together and can even match Toyota & Honda on product quality and warrantees. Time will tell.
Last point, check out the owners of Taxi Prius's in Vancouver, Canada. The Prius single-handedly saved their jobs. Many drivers praising the car piling up near 200K miles and thankfull for their existance. I do hope that your liking of the Ford Fusion Hybrid is worthy. I'll check it out sometime soon I hope. By the way ..What is it you drive? I'm curious. That's all.
#22 of 46 Re: Maybe "Silver Bullitt" But Better.."Mousetrap" [railroadjames]
Jan 15, 2009 (12:07 pm)
Mazda3. I do too much highway driving for a hybrid to be worth the price premium. But I'm both a gadget nut and work in the auto industry so I do follow the technology and the market. You really need to check Ford out again, they've really turned it around. My next car purchase may be a new Fusion, though likely the I4 rather than the hybrid.
Anyway, just as a point of reference, Consumer Reports dropped Toyota's auto-reliable status a while ago. I hear they're thinking of giving it to Ford, they've jumped that far in their reliability surveys. Ford is definitely game to go against the Camry Hybrid. If they decide to make a Focus hybrid it'd probably be game against the Prius.
GM on the other hand, i wouldn't count on.
#23 of 46 Re: Maybe "Silver Bullitt" But Better.."Mousetrap" [railroadjames]
Jan 15, 2009 (12:11 pm)
Railroadjames, thanks for the new battery prices, they are really coming down! I asked our dealer about that last year (April '08) and for our '06 HH, labor included, it will be about $6000 "as far as they know" because they have not had to do any and price could go up or down when they do the first one. So the official Toyota dealer best-guess then was $6000 for the '06 HH.
#24 of 46 Re: Maybe "Silver Bullitt" But Better.."Mousetrap" [bpizzuti]
Jan 15, 2009 (12:21 pm)
I have to agree that Ford is the most innovative of the three US auto giants. I really hope FOrd makes it and starts to catch up to the Japanese. Fuel-Electric hybrid is nothing new and Ford should be able to do this.
It will be so nice to see Ford come out with a Plug-In hybrid that can run the first 20 or 30 miles on electric alone at up to 60-MPH. Even in tough terrain, the juiced-up battery can still assist the gas engine resulting in significant savings. This will be something really worth looking into.
The quality issue is a tough one to overcome and only time will heal this wound. I was a Ford person since birth because my family came from MI and we had nothing but Ford cars. We were used to the tinkering, home-repairs and all such activities on weekends. When the engine became more computerized, home-service became difficult and the constant visit to shops (once a year, several days at a time) in addition to our own home-service starting at around 25000 miles began to grow old. We finally broke down and got a Toyota and was completely sold. Our '06 HH has 45K miles and not one day in the shop for repairs; NOT ONE. Our 129,000-mile '99 Sienna was in the shop once, to fix a steering rack problem; ONCE! The best part is I no longer waste weekends doing anything to the cars. We just hop in, start up and off we go.
I hope Ford catches up and starts earning these distinguished records. There is something homey about buying from Detroit again .
ps. Ford is really not just an "American" car company. It is more an international firm with manufacturing overseas. Toyota has factories hiring Americans right here at home. So "buying from Detroit" is about nostalgia, not about the often misleading "buy American" claim.
#25 of 46 Price Premium....Compare Closely
Jan 15, 2009 (1:07 pm)
I've heard this (what I call misconception) long enough. What with paying $21,456.00 out the door back in '04 and what with tax rebates, gas savings and ...hold it great resale value. I fail to see the arguement that a Prius is anything but a smart choice for purchase. There are countless other reasons to buy a Prius (and/or HH) What did your Mazda 3 sell for out the door? What year was it. I think that your choice was a good one because Mazdas are truly a sound investment.
p.s. The reliability that I stress so vehemently is litteraly the one area that Toyota has proven by buckets. Ask anyone that owns one and you'd be hard pressed to find less than confidence and satisfaction. Prius is a solid vehicle in these economically trying times. I'll be putting down a deposit on a 2010 very soon. Well, if my gov. checks don't start bouncing that is. I've enjoyed our fertile banter. Take care. I'm a retired Locomotive Engineer. I used to drive a kind of Hybrid Engine for the record. Diesel/ Electric. I really do miss the rails.
#26 of 46 Re: Price Premium....Compare Closely [railroadjames]
Jan 15, 2009 (1:33 pm)
Sorry but there is a "hybrid premium." A hybrid engine is an engine upgrade over the base engine, same as a V6. Only difference is, it's an engine upgrade designed to save fuel. However, it saves much MORE fuel with city driving than it does with highway driving, and 90% of my driving is highway. That makes it difficult to justify, for example, paying $26,000 (plus tax and fees) for a car that gets 36 MPG highway versus paying $20,000 for a car that gets 33MPG highway. I'm only going 3 extra miles per gallon...when driving a 110 mile a day commute, that's a drop in the bucket. Now, if that was 110 miles of city driving it'd be a different story, and I'd probably be getting 41 MPG or better, an extra 5 or more miles per gallon, which would REALLY add up. Now, tax rebates are another factor, but remember that the Prius doesn't get any anymore. Not sure if the Escape still does but the Fusion will. That might help.
Incidentally, my Mazda3 is a 2004 5-door..I was actually buying it to replaced a grenaded Chevy Corsica and was in a hurry, but I lucked out with finding the 3. Paid about $21,500 OTD myself. Really like it, but I bought it before I got this job with the long commute, and it's a bit punishing sometimes. Very interested in the Fusion as my next ride, though the Insight caught my eye (I like hatches).