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Captain Hybrid

Prius Pushes Hybrid Efficiency

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Ann R. Thryft
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Re: The right price
Ann R. Thryft   1/11/2012 3:21:37 PM
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Rob, thanks for that moment of clarity. I totally agree, and it seems so obvious in hindsight once you've said it, but not so obvious to begin an analysis with. I think this is related to the total cradle-to-grave lifecycle costs you've often mentioned and written about, right?

I wonder if anyone has already done such an analysis on gasoline-powered vehicles?


Rob Spiegel
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Re: The right price
Rob Spiegel   1/11/2012 3:26:19 PM
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I haven't actually seen those comparisons, Ann. All I've seen is that you'll never make up the cost difference between a hybrid and a conventional gas car. But that assumption was made when hybrids were $35K. At $19K, we have a different story. Even so, there are certainly cost and environmental consequences to electricity consumption -- that is, as long as most electricity is produced by coal or gas.

Charles Murray
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Re: Right price for everyone
Charles Murray   1/11/2012 3:26:53 PM
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Great price, yes. But remember, this car is considerably smaller than the Prius, which is not a huge car to begin with. It's 19 inches shorter and weighs 2,500 pounds, which is in itself amazing, considering that it has an electrical and a gas-burning powertrain. When you stand close to it, you realize how small it is.

Dave Palmer
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Re: The right price
Dave Palmer   1/11/2012 3:47:05 PM
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Rob, you make a good point -- but based on the article, this is not a plug-in hybrid, so the electricity to charge the battery is ultimately generated by burning gasoline, not coal or gas.

To Chuck's point, the Prius C is shorter than the standard Prius, but is 6 inches longer than the Yaris.  And it's a lot longer than the 1990 Ford Festiva which I learned to drive in.  What constitutes a "small car" is a matter of perspective.

cvandewater
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Re: The right price
cvandewater   1/11/2012 6:27:47 PM
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Second vehicle? The Prius is a very capable first / only car. When I was shopping for wheels, I wanted to buy an efficient and possibly electric car, so I considered EVs and the (original) Insight, but with a family and occasional trips around the SF Bay and even across California, neither EV nor the two-seater Insight were the best choice as only vehicle, but a second hand Prius was a very good choice, giving me less than $1000 per year write-off and saving approx $1600 per year in buying less fuel... Two years later I found an affordable EV and have driven that as second car for my daily commute...

The Prius is a car that is much larger than it looks. It can truly seat 5 normal adults and I have regularly received surprised comments from people joining me for their first ride in a Prius that they were expecting much less space inside. Also the silent ride was a surprising feature. Power was sufficient to climb the steepest grades in the area, so I never felt the desire to buy anything bigger and less efficient.

To prove the internal space in the Prius: even though you can't fold the rear seats down (no access to the trunk space from inside the car due to battery positioning) I could transport a queen size wood-frame futon inside the Prius and still take a passenger for the ride...

Charles Murray
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Re: The right price
Charles Murray   1/11/2012 7:46:25 PM
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You are correct, Dave. This is not a plug-in hybrid. Toyota will release its plug-in hybrid, the Prius PHV, later this year.

Charles Murray
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Re: The right price
Charles Murray   1/11/2012 7:57:36 PM
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Rob: Last year, Consumer Reports published a study comparing hybrids to non-hybrids to determine if there's a payback period, and if so, how long it would take. Here's a synopsis from the NY Times: "A car buyer who lays out an extra $6,200 extra to buy the hybrid version of the Lexus RX will get the money back in gas savings within five years, according to Consumer Reports magazine, but only if gasoline averages $8.77 a gallon."

http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/02/23/hybrids-vs-nonhybrids-the-5-year-equation/

naperlou
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Re: The right price
naperlou   1/11/2012 11:11:27 PM
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Rob, I don't have the figures in front of me, but the cost to charge was extermely low dompared to gasoline. 

When figuring out the environmental impact from electricity production, you need to average the polution output over all the sources.  For example, in Illinois, where I am now, we get much of our electricity from nuclear.  We are also using renewable resources. Also, when looking at gasoline most people do not include the polution generated in transporting the oil, refining and transporting the gasoline.  They just look at the burn products.  So, if you are going to include the products of electriciity production for electric cars, you need to include all of those when looking at gasoline. 

Another thing about using electricity for vehicles is that the equation can change over time without the owner of the car doing anything. 

jhankwitz
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Re: The right price
jhankwitz   1/12/2012 9:42:42 AM
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I still love my 3 year old Prius.  It has the same pickup/acceleration as my V6 Camery and costs less than 7 cents a mile for fuel.  It's very quiet, especially compared to my Venza which costs about 20 cents per mile.  The only non-normal service I've needed in 3 years is the drivers floor matt replacement.

I work for Industries for the blind and did a sound test with a bunch of our employess to see if my car was a safety hazard.  I had them point at me as I drove around the parking lot.  Despite the engine not running, they all could hear the tires on the pavement and knew exactly where I was.  Our blind people can often 'see' far better than our sighted people.  Sighted paople tend to not be aware of their surroundings.

It will be interesting to compare the specs on the new Prius to the old.  Being designed for city driving, how well will it accelerate and perform at 75 mph on our freeways?

rkinner
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Iron
I'd buy another Prius (in fact i did)
rkinner   1/12/2012 9:53:19 AM
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I am on my second 2nd generation Prius (the first was totaled in a serious accident) and have never felt I gave up size/convenience/safety for efficiency. In fact, the protection my wife and I had in that accident from the car's design convinced me to buy it again. Of course, my commute is all city driving (roughly 50 mi./day) so I get in the low 50s MPG consistently. The only time it drops below 50 is on the expressway at 75 MPH.

I paid about $25K 4 years ago for it. After 80K miles I've only had to replace the electronics cooling pump (an apparent weak spot in the Prius) with no noticeable degradation in the efficiency of the drive train.

Assuming that Toyota has kept the quality and design at their traditionally high levels (with a notable exceptions dealing with uncontrolled acceleration) this Prius c could be a game changer for the market. As gas prices are possibly going to exceed $4/gal. this year, my first car seems to be looking to be a better and better choice (and its paid off so no monthly car payments!).

 

 


 

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