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Posted: 9/27/2005 6:14:53 AM EDT
Co-worker reading this on CNN last night at work...

www.cnn.com/2005/AUTOS/09/23/hybrid_alternatives/index.html

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Toyota is now measuring "time on the lot" for the Toyota Prius in hours, not days. The average Prius goes unsold for only about 20 hours after it hits a Toyota dealer's lot, according to a recent report.

With gasoline prices now around $3 a gallon, you might think it makes a lot of sense that hybrid cars are hot sellers.

Actually, it doesn't -- at least not a lot of financial sense.

They may make a social statement you're interested in, but if you want to save money because of rising gas prices, you're heading down the wrong road, at least for now.

Some simple calculations by our partners at Edmunds.com revealed the following:

A hybrid Honda Accord costs about $3,800 more than the comparable non-hybrid version, including purchase, maintenance and insurance costs. Over five years, assuming 15,000 miles of driving per year, you'll make up that cost in gasoline money if the price of gas goes up immediately to $9.20 a gallon and averages that for the whole period.

For the Ford Escape hybrid, the difference is less stark. To make up the difference over five years between the Escape hybrid and a Ford Escape XLT, gas prices would have to average $5.60 after you purchase the vehicle.

The Prius itself, however, could be an exception. There is no such thing as a non-hybrid Prius, making a direct comparison impossible. Compared to a Toyota Camry, a car with similar interior space which costs about $100 more over five years, the Prius driver could actually save a small amount of money.

There is a tax deduction of $2,000 available for purchasing a hybrid vehicle, but that translates to a one-time tax savings of less than $500 for most buyers. That's nice, but it's not enough to make much of a difference in the long run.

The recently passed energy bill includes a tax credit that would range from $500 up to $3,400, depending on the fuel efficiency of the car, for vehicles purchased after Jan 1., 2006. The credit could be enough to create some real savings. For example, Ford estimates the tax credit on a Ford Escape hybrid to be $2,600.

The new rules are extremely confusing, though, said David Mellem of Ashwaubenon Tax Professionals in Wisconsin, and the IRS hasn't yet published an official list of what vehicles will qualify for what sort of tax credit.

Certainly, though, most car buyers who are considering a hybrid will be far better off waiting until 2006 to make that purchase, said Mellem.

In the meantime, there are other ways to save gas that won't cost you any extra money.

Drive more gently
First, change the way you drive. There's no trophy for being first to arrive at the red light, or beating everyone away from the green. In driving tests by Edmunds.com, simply going easy on the gas and brake pedals garnered gas mileage improvements of about thirty percent. Hybrid buyers pay thousands for that kind of savings. (For more, see Gas-saving tips put to the test.)

Check out diesels
Second, consider buying diesel. Diesel cars cost only a little more than gasoline-powered cars, but they get far better fuel mileage. Also, because their engines are more durable, diesels have better resale value than gasoline-powered cars. That alone should be enough to make up any additional cost of the vehicle, leaving the gas-money savings in your pocket. Also, diesels will qualify for tax credits under the new tax rules. Again, diesel buyers might want to wait until next year to buy. (For more, see It may be time for diesel.)

Shop smarter
Third, look more closely at the actual fuel economy numbers when you buy and consider what you're willing to give up. The promise of hybrids is better fuel economy with the same, or more, engine power. But, for that, you pay more for the complex technology and, to date, long-term resale value is unknown.

You could simply decide that you could do with less engine power or a smaller, lighter vehicle. That way you could get better fuel economy while paying even less money for the vehicle itself. And you don't have to buy a subcompact.

For example, an two-wheel-drive Ford Escape hybrid has a sticker price of about $26,900 and gets an EPA-estimated 33 miles per gallon in combined city and highway driving.

A Ford Focus wagon gets an EPA-estimated 28 mpg in combined driving but it costs about $10,000 less. With the Focus you get about same amount of interior space for passengers and even more cargo room.

Also, you'll have a much easier time negotiating a good price on the Focus wagon than you will on the Escape hybrid, which typically sells at full sticker price.

There are, of course, an endless number of similar comparisons out there. The point is, don't just get sucked into the hybrid hype. If what's really important to you is saving on fuel, do a little thinking before you buy. There are lots of options available.

Link Posted: 9/27/2005 6:16:17 AM EDT
tag
Link Posted: 9/27/2005 6:28:51 AM EDT
Reason #583 to buy a TDI Jetta instead of a Penis Prius.
Link Posted: 9/27/2005 6:34:26 AM EDT

Originally Posted By PeteCO:
Reason #583 to buy a TDI Jetta instead of a Penis Prius.



what's one of those cost?

can you run it on vegetable oil?

Link Posted: 9/27/2005 6:34:48 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/27/2005 6:35:49 AM EDT by Sukebe]
Build me a hydrid 1/2 ton extended cab 4X4 pickup with 300 HP that gets 70 MPG HWY and costs less than $31,000.00 and I'll buy it. Otherwise Hybrids can get stuffed because the difference in fuel efficiency isn't enough to get me in one of those little shit boxes.
Link Posted: 9/27/2005 6:36:16 AM EDT
Here's the Toyota Hybrid I want:

www.toyota.com/vehicles/future/volta.html

Link Posted: 9/27/2005 6:40:43 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Red_Beard:

Originally Posted By PeteCO:
Reason #583 to buy a TDI Jetta instead of a Penis Prius.



what's one of those cost?



Not sure about new ones.


can you run it on vegetable oil?




You could retrofit it it run on SVO with heaters and stuff, but you can do that to any diesel. Not sure I'd risk straight veggie with a common-rail engine like the TDI. You can run it on biodiesel however, and they get about 45MPG.
Link Posted: 9/27/2005 6:42:58 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Red_Beard:

Originally Posted By PeteCO:
Reason #583 to buy a TDI Jetta instead of a Penis Prius.



what's one of those cost?

can you run it on vegetable oil?




I think the Golf starts around $19k, the Jetta $21k(?) and the Passat around $25k. It's probably not a good idea to run it on straight vegetable oil, but you can use biodiesel or make your own biodiesel from waste vegetable oil. More info on the TDI is available at www.tdiclub.com and biodiesel at www.biodieselnow.com.
Link Posted: 9/27/2005 6:46:23 AM EDT
Dont believe the hype.

Most people are better served in a real car, ie a diesel jetta, instead of hypebrid. Perhaps the next gen hybrids wont be all hype.

Check out www.greasecar.com for kits, forums, and ppl that have converted thier diesels to biodiesel. Everything from late model VWs, to 25 year old Mercedes, to new Ford powerstrokes.
Link Posted: 9/27/2005 6:50:26 AM EDT
Don't forget about the batteries in hybrids that need to be replaced.

I thought I would consider getting a used hybrid several years old, until I found out about the batteries. After depreciation, it doesn't make a lot of sense to buy a used, several-thousand dollar car that you know you will shortly have to put half of the cost again into batteries.
Link Posted: 9/27/2005 7:06:40 AM EDT

Originally Posted By PeteCO:
Reason #583 to buy a TDI Jetta instead of a Penis Prius.



I agree, but try to find one. We have been looking for a used Jetta or Bug to get a a fair price for almost 6 months in our area. I hear the US Gov has put limits on the amount of TDI that VW can import. Dealers are selling them at 10% to 20% above MSRP in most places do to demand. Check out Ebay and see how high some of the used TDI are going for. I have seen some that have went for well over 40% above retail!! If you had a car lot full of used VW TDI's right now you could sell most all of them in a few days and for almost any amount you want.

The US Gov need to let VW import the Polo and other TDI models from Germany. These cars with the TDI and a 5 speed get around 70MPG and are a little bigger then the old VW Rabbit. They are pretty fast to for a compact eco car.

The technology is out there the US Gov just need to let it in and the big 3 car makers need to start making Turbo Diesel cars here in the States. It could be a real boost for jobs and the economy. Not to mention the possible expansion of Bio-Diesel use.That would mean a big boost for the Ag economy in the USA. It's a win win deal all the way around. The only thing standing in our way as always is our own Gov.


Link Posted: 9/27/2005 7:12:33 AM EDT
I read an article that claimed that you would have to drive 67,000 miles a year to make up the difference financially.

There is also the cost of the battery at over $4000.00.
Link Posted: 9/27/2005 7:12:45 AM EDT
I remember the hype where everyone should go out and buy a diesel car.
Link Posted: 9/27/2005 7:15:25 AM EDT
Edmunds.com is performing a little bit of an accounting trick here I think.
The way to compare savings is for any given driver to compare the cost of operating a Hybrid over the PRESENT cost of operating his/her CURRENT vehicle.
There are other things to consider as well. One of the assumptions made by companies like Edmunds is that the current high price of gas will come down from current prices. This may or may not happen. Personally, considering trends of developement in other countries like China and India plus projected demand worldwide for energy from all sources over the next fifty years, I think this is a stupid assumption.
Additionally, it's worthwhile to factor in the hassle of being subjected to periodic price spikes and having no control over being jerked around on this string by the oil companies. Frankly, I'm really sick of that. I want to get out from under this thumb of the oil companies and I don't care if that in of itself carries a cost premium.
Lastly, and granted, this has nothing to do with my personal costs of driving a car, but I would rather send my money to Japan, a country with whom we have had friendly relations for the past sixty years, than countries like Saudi Arabia, Iraq, etc. who are only going to turn around and give it to the Wahabes and other mortal enemies of my country.

I've already done the math. There are very large cost savings available to me if I switch to a hybrid vehicle. I don't care what the apologists for Detroit and the oil companies say, my next vehicle is going to be a Toyota Prius.
The oil companies can go pound sand for all I care.

Just my 2 cents.
Link Posted: 9/27/2005 7:15:30 AM EDT
I'm happier getting 14.3 mpg in my Ram than I would EVER be getting 50 mpg in one of those cars.
Link Posted: 9/27/2005 7:15:35 AM EDT

Originally Posted By elkmontarms:

Originally Posted By PeteCO:
Reason #583 to buy a TDI Jetta instead of a Penis Prius.




The technology is out there the US Gov just need to let it in and the big 3 car makers need to start making Turbo Diesel cars here in the States. It could be a real boost for jobs and the economy. Not to mention the possible expansion of Bio-Diesel use.That would mean a big boost for the Ag economy in the USA. It's a win win deal all the way around. The only thing standing in our way as always is our own Gov.





My father's been preaching that for years, but I see the problem with it. It's just too practical.
Link Posted: 9/27/2005 7:16:11 AM EDT
Mom and Dad just both got Jetta TDIs for a little under 10 grand each


each had around 100k on them, but the engines can and will go for 500k

Dad's is an autotragic avgs about 49 mpg

mom is a 5 speed realtransmission and she is avging around 52


they arent the fastest thing, but unlike the hybrids, they can get out of their own way


now if I could just tinker with the waste gates
Link Posted: 9/27/2005 7:22:04 AM EDT

Originally Posted By DDiggler:
Don't forget about the batteries in hybrids that need to be replaced.

I thought I would consider getting a used hybrid several years old, until I found out about the batteries. After depreciation, it doesn't make a lot of sense to buy a used, several-thousand dollar car that you know you will shortly have to put half of the cost again into batteries.



No offense, but where did you "find out" about the batteries? Toyota has repeatedly stated that the Prius' hybrid battery is expected to last the lifetime of the vehicle in almost all cases. Just because its warranty expires doesn't mean it's going to fall apart. Prius' battery system is designed to keep the battery charge in roughly the 40-80% range and to avoid deep-cycling of the battery. This extends the life considerably. As the car reaches as advanced age, the batteries will most likely become less efficient, which will result in somewhat reduced gas mileage. That's pretty much it. Also remember that the battery system is modular, so if a single battery fails for some reason, it can be replaced individually without having to replace the entire battery cluster.
Link Posted: 9/27/2005 7:23:55 AM EDT

Originally Posted By DDiggler:
Don't forget about the batteries in hybrids that need to be replaced.

I thought I would consider getting a used hybrid several years old, until I found out about the batteries. After depreciation, it doesn't make a lot of sense to buy a used, several-thousand dollar car that you know you will shortly have to put half of the cost again into batteries.



Not to mention disposing of those bigass batteries is not the best thing for the environment either.

Oh well, gotta look PC
Link Posted: 9/27/2005 7:24:01 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Belfry_Express:
Mom and Dad just both got Jetta TDIs for a little under 10 grand each


each had around 100k on them, but the engines can and will go for 500k

Dad's is an autotragic avgs about 49 mpg

mom is a 5 speed realtransmission and she is avging around 52


they arent the fastest thing, but unlike the hybrids, they can get out of their own way


now if I could just tinker with the waste gates



I just wish that VW would bring some of the 2.0 TDI Passats over. 140bhp -- 236ft/lbs -- 47.9mpg.

PLEASE IMPORT THIS CAR!!!!

Maybe I can get one of our british members to make me a deal...

SBG
Link Posted: 9/27/2005 7:36:23 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Admiral_Crunch:

Originally Posted By DDiggler:
Don't forget about the batteries in hybrids that need to be replaced.

I thought I would consider getting a used hybrid several years old, until I found out about the batteries. After depreciation, it doesn't make a lot of sense to buy a used, several-thousand dollar car that you know you will shortly have to put half of the cost again into batteries.



No offense, but where did you "find out" about the batteries? Toyota has repeatedly stated that the Prius' hybrid battery is expected to last the lifetime of the vehicle in almost all cases. Just because its warranty expires doesn't mean it's going to fall apart. Prius' battery system is designed to keep the battery charge in roughly the 40-80% range and to avoid deep-cycling of the battery. This extends the life considerably. As the car reaches as advanced age, the batteries will most likely become less efficient, which will result in somewhat reduced gas mileage. That's pretty much it. Also remember that the battery system is modular, so if a single battery fails for some reason, it can be replaced individually without having to replace the entire battery cluster.



Which batteries can last the lifetime of the vehicle?
Li-Ion: Max of 5 years due to breakdown of Ion chemistry.
$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
Link Posted: 9/27/2005 7:36:40 AM EDT
There was a rumor that was flying around here were I live in North AL. There was a private survey group looking at land in Limestone County and another place in GA for a major car company. The rumor was that company was VW/Audi and they were going to build a plant making most of the new VW's in the USA. The rumor was that the Gov would not let them do it for some reason so they let the project go. This could all be a bunch of BS but, if any of you have heard of this I would like to know.
Link Posted: 9/27/2005 7:48:44 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Admiral_Crunch:

Originally Posted By DDiggler:
Don't forget about the batteries in hybrids that need to be replaced.

I thought I would consider getting a used hybrid several years old, until I found out about the batteries. After depreciation, it doesn't make a lot of sense to buy a used, several-thousand dollar car that you know you will shortly have to put half of the cost again into batteries.



No offense, but where did you "find out" about the batteries? Toyota has repeatedly stated that the Prius' hybrid battery is expected to last the lifetime of the vehicle in almost all cases. Just because its warranty expires doesn't mean it's going to fall apart. Prius' battery system is designed to keep the battery charge in roughly the 40-80% range and to avoid deep-cycling of the battery. This extends the life considerably. As the car reaches as advanced age, the batteries will most likely become less efficient, which will result in somewhat reduced gas mileage. That's pretty much it. Also remember that the battery system is modular, so if a single battery fails for some reason, it can be replaced individually without having to replace the entire battery cluster.



Regardless (and I highly doubt the batteries will last the life of the vehicle), the resale is going to get hammered when the car closes in on that battery warranty. When that warranty is up, the cars will be considered disposable, and I doubt a lot of junkyards will want them, considering all the batteries in them...
Link Posted: 9/27/2005 7:56:20 AM EDT
For the hippies its not about cost savings, its about saving the world one mile at a time.
Link Posted: 9/27/2005 8:01:30 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/27/2005 8:03:33 AM EDT by phatmax]
Lets Lather rinse Repeat this...

BIO-DIESEL SUCKS AND WILL NOT WORK BECAUSE IT TAKES MORE ENERGY TO CREATE THEN IT PRODUCES.

Ethanol on the other hand.... Look at Brazil. from an 85% dependance on foreign oil to about 12%.

Of course they have 15 million acres devoted to growing sugar cane, which has a lot more sugar then corn, but does not grow well here in the northern latitudes.

ETA, oh and even now, trucks like the Tahoe and Titan have E85 systems that you can put ethanol in WITHOUT ANY changes to the vehicle.
Link Posted: 9/27/2005 8:02:56 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/27/2005 8:03:19 AM EDT by WildBoar]

Originally Posted By phatmax:
Lets Lather rinse Repeat this...

BIO-DIESEL SUCKS AND WILL NOT WORK BECAUSE IT TAKES MORE ENERGY TO CREATE THEN IT PRODUCES.

Ethanol on the other hand.... Look at Brazil. from an 85% dependance on foreign oil to about 12%.

Of course they have 15 million acres devoted to growing sugar cane, which has a lot more sugar then corn, but does not grow well here in the northern latitudes.



Grows great here in FLorida. Even still, we could just but some from Brazil.
Link Posted: 9/27/2005 8:09:08 AM EDT
Batteries/Life of the Vehicle.

How long do you think the auto companies want a car to last? Do you think they want to make a vehicle that will last 20 years? No. Life of the vehicle can be construed to be the time that you own a vehicle where it is cost effective to do the repairs to it that are necessary to run it. When the batteries die, if the car has depreciated to a certain amount, it will not be cost-effective to replace the battery and it will be at the end of the life of the vehicle. Self-fulfilling prophecy.
Link Posted: 9/27/2005 8:12:04 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/27/2005 8:12:40 AM EDT by WildBoar]

Originally Posted By DDiggler:
Batteries/Life of the Vehicle.

How long do you think the auto companies want a car to last? Do you think they want to make a vehicle that will last 20 years?



Toyota and Honda seem to have no problems making cars that last that long. You must be thinking about "domestics".
Link Posted: 9/27/2005 8:16:59 AM EDT

Originally Posted By rdblan2:
With gasoline prices now around $3 a gallon, you might think it makes a lot of sense that hybrid cars are hot sellers.

Actually, it doesn't -- at least not a lot of financial sense.

They may make a social statement you're interested in, but if you want to save money because of rising gas prices, you're heading down the wrong road, at least for now.

Some simple calculations by our partners at Edmunds.com revealed the following:

A hybrid Honda Accord costs about $3,800 more than the comparable non-hybrid version, including purchase, maintenance and insurance costs. Over five years, assuming 15,000 miles of driving per year, you'll make up that cost in gasoline money if the price of gas goes up immediately to $9.20 a gallon and averages that for the whole period.




When is the break even point at $3.00 a gallon? 15 years? A full size hybred sedan seems silly anyway. Get the Prius or Honda civic instead.


The Prius itself, however, could be an exception. There is no such thing as a non-hybrid Prius, making a direct comparison impossible. Compared to a Toyota Camry, a car with similar interior space which costs about $100 more over five years, the Prius driver could actually save a small amount of money.

There is a tax deduction of $2,000 available for purchasing a hybrid vehicle, but that translates to a one-time tax savings of less than $500 for most buyers.



Plus the driver gets to use the carpool lanes in Cali by himself. No more rush hour traffic jams for hybred owners.


Link Posted: 9/27/2005 8:19:50 AM EDT

Originally Posted By DDiggler:
Don't forget about the batteries in hybrids that need to be replaced.



At this point I look at all vehicles as disposible. Buy new, pay cash, discard after 10 years. As oppossed to lease new, finance and discard after 4 years like most car buyers.
Link Posted: 9/27/2005 8:21:43 AM EDT
Yeah, yeah, you guys keep buying those diesels...
Link Posted: 9/27/2005 8:26:22 AM EDT

Originally Posted By DDiggler:

How long do you think the auto companies want a car to last?


3years/36K
Link Posted: 9/27/2005 8:26:53 AM EDT

Originally Posted By phatmax:
Lets Lather rinse Repeat this...

BIO-DIESEL SUCKS AND WILL NOT WORK BECAUSE IT TAKES MORE ENERGY TO CREATE THEN IT PRODUCES.

Ethanol on the other hand.... Look at Brazil. from an 85% dependance on foreign oil to about 12%.

Of course they have 15 million acres devoted to growing sugar cane, which has a lot more sugar then corn, but does not grow well here in the northern latitudes.

ETA, oh and even now, trucks like the Tahoe and Titan have E85 systems that you can put ethanol in WITHOUT ANY changes to the vehicle.



What you are saying is true for the USA BIO-Diesel production in it's current state. There is a lot of research going on in Europe about Corn being used for Bio-diesel/fuel . The Germans are doing a study right now about using (human/animal)sewage waste for possible Biofuel use, I just saw a show about it over here yesterday. There will be a break through soon in this technology.

It's not the Goverments doing this research for the most part. It is ultra wealthy investors that are looking to make fortunes off this new technology if it works. Energy/Fuel today is power and if you don't have it you are powerless. The middle east has us by the balls today and it is criminal that our Government has let this happen to us.

Ethanol is a great option for a Bio-fuel also. If we wanted we could be pretty much self reliant with in 5 to 10 years and create hundreds of thousands of jobs to support this new industry. Just think of how that would help out the economy. Our only problems is multi-national companies that have our Politicans in there pocket.
Link Posted: 9/27/2005 8:27:41 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/27/2005 8:29:44 AM EDT by simple_in_seattle]
My 2006 hybrid is on order. I'm not doing it for the environment. I'm doing it for a few reasons:

a. I dont' like the thought of giving money to OPEC, Saudis, Venezualans, etc. Especially when we know that Saudi money is the driving force behind islamic fundamentalism. Its disgusting. Same reason I don't buy Diamonds from DeBeers.

b. Most of my driving (2+ hours per day) is in traffic, bumper to bumper where hybrids get the best milage.

c. They are quiet under 40 when they switch to gas.

d. Gadgets and technology.


Oh..I forgot one....WA state gas taxes are horrible. I only wish we had the national average for gasoline here.

I wish american automakers would get off their ass and make a quality product that gets sufficient gas milage.
Link Posted: 9/27/2005 8:29:04 AM EDT
www.greasecar.com + a $1000 early 80s Volvo = me
Link Posted: 9/27/2005 8:46:40 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Belfry_Express:
Mom and Dad just both got Jetta TDIs for a little under 10 grand each


each had around 100k on them, but the engines can and will go for 500k

Dad's is an autotragic avgs about 49 mpg

mom is a 5 speed realtransmission and she is avging around 52


they arent the fastest thing, but unlike the hybrids, they can get out of their own way


now if I could just tinker with the waste gates



It is difficult...depending on the engine version. The ALH engine (post 1999-2004) can be "upgraded" by installing larger injector nozzles. This is good for 10-15 Hp. Or the ECU can be swapped. Or both, good for 40-60 Hp.

Since you have a pair of cars, go with the nozzle swap because the manual nozzles will offer similar improvement in the automatic engine. Just put the manual engine's injectors in the automatic car abd put .205 mm new injectors in the manual engine. Save the old injectors, they can be overhauled.

On the ALH engine, there is no wastegate. This use variable nozzle turbines and can be tricky. You could tinker with the boost sensor electronically but there is a limit. You can dial in about 4 PSI more over the stock map. Not worth it.
Link Posted: 9/27/2005 8:46:52 AM EDT
The prius has several interesting technologies.

The engine is an Atkinson Cycle rather than the Otto Cycle. ( I don't know if the prius engine uses the rocker mechanism of an atkinson engine in place of the normal crankshaft. If you know, please post it.)

In this case it means that the cam shaft timing is variable in this way: The throttle gives less restriction than usual, sort of like having some foot on the gas, always. To prevent the engine from developing too much power because it sucks in too much fuel/air mix during the suction stroke...the intake valve stays open for longer than usual and allows some of the fuel/air charge to be pushed back out of the intake valve and into the intake manifold...during the first part of the compression stroke. The result is that the prius engine has far lower pumping-losses than an otto cycle gasoline engine. (The diesel's big advantage over a gasoline engine is that the diesel does not restrict air flow into the suction stroke, no throttle, and therefore the diesel has extremely low pumping-losses.) So, the prius' gas engine has low pumping losses, not as low as the diesel, but very low.

The prius engine also has very high compression ratio, 13.5 to 1. Gasoline engine efficiency is controlled by compression ratio, the higher the compression ratio, the lower the energy loss to heat rejection and the higher the thermal efficiency. This high compression ratio is possible because some of the intake charge is dumped back out the intake valve by the variable cam timing...atkinson...arrangement.

The prius engine is smaller sized than expected and the maximum rpm is limited to about 4500 rpm. When the prius needs more power than the gas engine can produce the electric motor-generator hooked to the 'drive shaft' draws power from the batteries and puts that power into the drive line.

The prius' continuously variable transmission ratio allows the gas engine to operate in an ...rpm/power/torque...band that yields best thermal efficiency, that is best mileage.

The prius' high mpg, (or high thermal efficiency, if you prefer) is due to the atkinson cycle of the engine, the engines high compression ratio, the engines relatively low power output and smaller than expected size and by the computer controlled continuously variable transmission ratios.

The battery system is used to add power to the system propelling the car, so that the gasoline power unit can be undersized. An undersized gasoline engine, one that has only a little reserve power, will give the highest possible thermal efficiency.

To describe the prius' transmission system we need to think of the rear axle on a camaro or mustang, one without limited slip differential. We are not talking about the prius differential but instead the prius transmission. Note: the prius transmission uses a planetary gear system, but we can visualize what happens by thinking of a conventional rear axle drive system.

If the input shaft, drive shaft, from the transmission is not allowed to rotate and if one of the rear wheels is rotated forward...the other rear wheel will rotate backward...at the same rpm as the rear wheel that is rotated forward. At idle the prius gasoline engine is rotating forward and the motor generator 1 ( MG1) is rotating backward at the same rpm. The output shaft to the prius differential is not rotating. The output shaft rpm is the sum of the engine rpm added to the MG1 rpm. At idle the engine is +800 rpm, the MG1 is –800 rpm, so the output shaft rpm = (+800 added to –800) = zero.

Step on the gas hard, initially the prius is still at rest, the engine jumps to say +4000rpm, the MG1 jumps to –4000rpm. MG1 is generating voltage but no current yet. The computer then sends some current from MG1 to MG2 which is attached to the ‘drive shaft’ going to the differential that drives the wheels. This load slows MG1 to –3500 rpm and then to –3000 rpm...but the ICE internal combustion engine remains at +4000 rpm. Now both the ICE and MG1 are sending power to the drive wheels. All the power comes from the ICE (unless the batteries are sending in some of their power). The ICE’s power output is split between the ICEs connection to the transmission output shaft and some down the wire between MG1 and MG2.

At this point, the car at about 5mph and accelerating, the gas engine is producing it’s power at higher rpm and lower torque than might otherwise be. This is exactly what happens in first gear in a manual or conventional automatic transmission equipped vehicle.

The prius transmission “shifts” by sending an increasing amount of current from MG1 to MG2...this increasing load on MG1 slows MG1 rpm and increases the output shaft rpm.

Before the car started moving, but after the gas pedal was pushed hard: ICE + MG1 = Output Shaft, that is +4000 + -4000 = 0, zero output shaft rpm...the car has not yet moved.

As the car accelerates: ICE + MG1 = Output, +4000 + -3500 = +500, 500 rpm at the output shaft and road speed about 5mph.

Continuing: ICE + MG1 = OS, +4000 + -3000 = +1000, and road speed 10 mph.

And: ICE + MG1 = OS, +4000 + -2000 = +2000, so road speed is 20 mph.

As this happens the power transfer from MG1 to MG2 peaks and then declines as road speed increases.

Eventually, ICE + MG1 = OS, +4000 + -500 = +3500, road speed = 35 mph.

More, ICE + MG1 = OS, +4000 + -0 = +4000, road speed is 40 mph.

Above this speed the ICE gas engine produces it’s power with less rpm and more torque than in direct drive, it is in “overdrive”, like 5th gear in a manual box or 4th gear in a four speed auto trans.

Continuing: ICE + MG1 = OS, +4000 + +500 = +4500, road speed is 45 mph.

At this point power is being transferred from MG2 on the output drive shaft to MG1 and spinning MG1 in the forward direction.

More still: ICE + MG1 = OS, +4000 + +2000 = +6000, road speed is 60 mph.

Eventually: ICE + MG1 = OS, +4000 + +3000 = +7000, road speed is 70 mph.

And then as even more power is being transferred from MG2 on the output drive shaft to MG1 and spinning MG1 in the forward direction, we go into the “cruise gear”.

We get cruise: ICE + MG1 = OS, +2500 + +4500 = +7000, road speed is 70 mph.

Of course this omits the gear ratios within the prius’ planetary gear set that connects the gas engine and MG1 and the actual numbers will be different, but it does give the general idea.

Prius reliability:

The gasoline engine should be quite reliable, probably not as reliable as an engine from a Camry of Corolla or Echo.

The planetary gear system is a lot simpler than the two-in-one planetary gearset in a regular automatic transmission.

MG1 and MG2 are permanent magnet, Alternating Current, Synchronous electric motor/generators and should be quite reliable.

The battery pack will be a continuing problem. I know that Honda has trouble with theirs and they replace the whole battery pack, not individual cells.

The electronic controller must control hundreds of volts and hundreds of amps. The long term reliability of a solid-state controller that does this is questionable.

Battery packs and electronic controllers will be expensive and will cause many owners to have very large unexpected expenses compared to the expense of keeping a Corolla or Camry running. After the novelty wears off these items will not be loss-warranty items but instead will be profit-center items. Think about that.

The real use of hybrid technology will be for 'high fuel cost' vehicles, Tundras, Siennas and the
like.

Finally, diesel hybrids should do even better, but not by much over an Atkinson Cycle gas engine.


Link Posted: 9/27/2005 9:15:44 AM EDT

For example, an two-wheel-drive Ford Escape hybrid has a sticker price of about $26,900 and gets an EPA-estimated 33 miles per gallon in combined city and highway driving.


My Ford Taurus V-6 got 28/32 city/highway. So how are you saving with a hybrid????

Fuckem! I have a Hemi now!
Link Posted: 9/27/2005 10:27:09 AM EDT
Pretty much everything I've seen about biodiesel shows that the energy balance is over 3:1 for soy biodiesel(usually about 3.4:1). Algal biodiesel could be considerably better, as is biodiesel made from WVO. I've only seen one seemingly informed person claiming that biodiesel has a negative energy balance, and he gets shot down time and time again.

Last I read, ethanol is just a hair better than 1:1.



On a slightly different note, I wonder how much energy goes into making a hybrid drivetrain vs a diesel or a normal otto cycle engine. The construction of a bunch of batteries and motors, vs the high pressure direct injection system and turbos used on a diesel.
Link Posted: 9/27/2005 10:31:16 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Red_Beard:

Originally Posted By PeteCO:
Reason #583 to buy a TDI Jetta instead of a Penis Prius.



what's one of those cost?

can you run it on vegetable oil?




They can but VW has not done any such conversions in house- yet.

But what will they do when the hybrid makers get smart and equip their vehicle with a diesel as the ICE portion, like in the USMCs new fast attack vehicle?
Link Posted: 9/27/2005 10:41:11 AM EDT
I heard a hybrid vehicle's battery cost around $2,000. I haven't tried to confirm this but if it's true, that would keep me away from one!
Link Posted: 9/27/2005 10:57:28 AM EDT

Originally Posted By urraniuma22:
I heard a hybrid vehicle's battery cost around $2,000. I haven't tried to confirm this but if it's true, that would keep me away from one!



Battery pack should last 10 years, at which point you take a token trade in of about $500 on a new car and let the dealer have the hassel of scrapping to 10yo junker.

Now if you are one of thise people that opnly buys a car every 20 years or more, this doesnt apply to you. But the average car buyer gets a new car every 2-4 years!
Link Posted: 9/27/2005 10:58:52 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/27/2005 11:01:11 AM EDT by AR15fan]

Originally Posted By wildearp:

For example, an two-wheel-drive Ford Escape hybrid has a sticker price of about $26,900 and gets an EPA-estimated 33 miles per gallon in combined city and highway driving.


My Ford Taurus V-6 got 28/32 city/highway. So how are you saving with a hybrid????




Hybreds are pointless in anything larger than a Honda Civic or Toyota Prius. Hybreds are cheap commuter cars, not fun recreational vehciles. They will not replace 4x4 off road toys or HD work trucks. They can replace the average comuter vehicle though.

Hell I work with a guy who commutes in a 4x4 deisel excusion.
Link Posted: 9/27/2005 11:01:15 AM EDT

Originally Posted By AR15fan:

Originally Posted By urraniuma22:
I heard a hybrid vehicle's battery cost around $2,000. I haven't tried to confirm this but if it's true, that would keep me away from one!



Battery pack should last 10 years, at which point you take a token trade in of about $500 on a new car and let the dealer have the hassel of scrapping to 10yo junker.

Now if you are one of thise people that opnly buys a car every 20 years or more, this doesnt apply to you. But the average car buyer gets a new car every 2-4 years!



Battery packs on true hybrid are WAYY smaller than for a real all electric car, which helps, but as they are a power buffer for the system they do have to handle WAY more load than your little battery in a regular ICE car. So they have to be pretty sizeable.
Link Posted: 9/27/2005 11:06:36 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/27/2005 11:08:11 AM EDT by Admiral_Crunch]

Originally Posted By metroplex:
Which batteries can last the lifetime of the vehicle?
Li-Ion: Max of 5 years due to breakdown of Ion chemistry.
$$$$$$$$$$$$$$



Prius uses Nickel-Metal-Hydride batteries, not Li-Ion.

But Li-Ion batteries are gearing up to be the hybrid battery of the future, once certain technological improvements are made. Toyota is expected to swap to Li-Ion for their 2008 model, when they are planning a major revamp to the Prius.
Link Posted: 9/27/2005 11:21:27 AM EDT
All I am asking for is a turbo diesel Tacoma, crew cab, 4X4 and 25mpg city.

Link Posted: 9/27/2005 11:26:17 AM EDT

Originally Posted By A_Free_Man:
I remember the hype where everyone should go out and buy a diesel car.



Yeah. Maybe we wouldn't have to have troops in Saudi Arabia if we'd believed it.
Link Posted: 9/27/2005 11:26:55 AM EDT

Originally Posted By WildBoar:
For the hippies its not about cost savings, its about saving the world one mile at a time.



Yeah! Fuck the world!
Link Posted: 9/27/2005 11:28:07 AM EDT

Originally Posted By phatmax:
Lets Lather rinse Repeat this...

BIO-DIESEL SUCKS AND WILL NOT WORK BECAUSE IT TAKES MORE ENERGY TO CREATE THEN IT PRODUCES.

Ethanol on the other hand.... Look at Brazil. from an 85% dependance on foreign oil to about 12%.

Of course they have 15 million acres devoted to growing sugar cane, which has a lot more sugar then corn, but does not grow well here in the northern latitudes.

ETA, oh and even now, trucks like the Tahoe and Titan have E85 systems that you can put ethanol in WITHOUT ANY changes to the vehicle.



Ethanol is even WORSE than bio-diesel for the US. Take your ethanol and shove it.
Link Posted: 9/27/2005 11:57:07 AM EDT
So if you eventually scrap all vehicles 10 years old and older, that screws a lot of people out of buying a cheap, old, high mileage vehicle to commute in. I have a nice SUV that gets short trip/in town use, and I commute with a cheap car that I intend to run the wheels off of.

If there is a switch to hybrids, those days will be over and the value of a vehicle will always be several thousand dollars.
Link Posted: 9/27/2005 12:08:54 PM EDT

Originally Posted By jquillen1985:

Originally Posted By WildBoar:
For the hippies its not about cost savings, its about saving the world one mile at a time.



Yeah! Fuck the world!




Looks like it hit a sore spot.

Unless you live like a wild animal completely off the land with no farming , you are part of the problem. I dont understand why the hippies dont become the atheist versions of Amish.
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