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Thread: Hybrid cars, part deux!

  1. #26
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    Default Re: Hybrid cars, part deux!

    Quote Originally Posted by tutusue View Post
    Another idiosyncrasy is, during a certain time of day (around noon), the top of the dashboard is lightly reflected in the windshield causing slight visual diffusion. This obviously has to do with the position of the sun and more than likely is not specific to Insights. My guess is any car, Prius' included, with that degree of windshield slant will encounter the same issue. Do any Prius owners wish to chime in?
    Never noticed it. I'll have to look for it.

    Ours dashboard is a matte gray and it's full of curves, so I wonder if that makes a difference.

    It took me a long time to notice that the Prius' LED dashboard display (speedometer, odometer) is actually mounted in/below the dash and reflected back to the driver with an angled mirror. It's such a long way away from the driver that I don't have to focus on it. Very convenient for us presbyopians who can barely read the LCD multifunction display without our reading glasses.
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  2. #27
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    Default Re: Hybrid cars, part deux!

    Quote Originally Posted by craigwatanabe View Post
    If you purchased your Insight EX for less than $100 below final dealer invoice. The sales consultant made absolutely nothing on that deal including the dealership..
    Craig, you certainly know more about this than I, but that is not my understanding. Yes, a salesman makes only about $100 on a new car sale, but much more on used cars. However, selling a car "at invoice" does not mean that nobody makes anything. The dealer gets rebates, hold backs, incentives, etc. from the manufacturer on every sale. So the dealer does make a profit on an "at invoice" sale and the salesman should get his commission, whatever it is, out of that. But yes, the dealership makes most of its profit on used car sales and service work.
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  3. #28
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    Default Re: Hybrid cars, part deux!

    Quote Originally Posted by tutusue View Post
    Another idiosyncrasy is, during a certain time of day (around noon), the top of the dashboard is lightly reflected in the windshield causing slight visual diffusion.?
    I think that it happens to everyone at one time or other. Just put on a pair of polarized sunglasses and the reflection goes away.

    BTW, speaking of glasses/sunglasses while driving.......I wear prescription glasses with "Transition" lenses. That means the glass gets darker when in direct sunlight - built in sunglasses! However, because of the slightly tinted glass in the front windshield of an auto, Transitions do not work inside a car. Therefore, I put on a pair of polarized sunglasses when driving in the bright sun. I make Big Smiley put them on too!

    Quote Originally Posted by Nords View Post
    Very convenient for us presbyopians who can barely read ..........
    Good to see some Presbyterians on this forum!
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  4. #29

    Default Re: Hybrid cars, part deux!

    Speaking of sunglasses and cars, I've always been annoyed by the fact that designers of modern in-car display systems don't seem to take into account that many people wear polarized sunglasses when they drive. I've been in cars where a display was practically unreadable while wearing shades unless I tilted my head to one side.

    In fact, this issue with many displays being unreadable when wearing polarized shades seems to have been largely ignored by nearly every manufacturer of gadgets in this digital age. It's annoying enough with cellphones and iPods, but I could see it being an actual hazard in a car.

  5. #30
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    Default Re: Hybrid cars, part deux!

    Tutu, can you give us an update on your hybrid - driving impressions, gas mileage, comfort, etc? I know you don't drive too much, but still after 3 months you should have some impressions. What color did you get?
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  6. #31
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    Default Re: Hybrid cars, part deux!

    I LOVE my Insight! It's very comfortable in the driver's seat. My daughter found the passenger seat equally comfy. I'll be interested to get input from my 2 guys who will be spending the first 2 weeks of December with me. I'll finally have someone riding in the back seat!

    I haven't taken the time to do an accurate mpg but the display shows an average of approx. 35mpg...low compared to what other Insight owners are reporting. That said, the reviews I've read are from people who drive lengthy distances on the freeway. I have only 1100 miles on the car, the majority from around town. I'm certainly not disappointed because my previous car was getting 15mpg combined driving.

    The car is just so much fun to drive! Unfortunately that's also distracting. It handles just fine for my needs...but I'm not picky. The car feels light but it has to be to boost mpg. My only complaint's are the placement of the cupholder (under the dashboard!) and I can't conveniently see the speedometer because, due to the seat adjustments that work best for me, the top of the steering wheel blocks the speedometer. And, there are a couple of blind spots but that's been true of all the cars I've owned. Zff's comment about polarized sunglasses fortunately doesn't hold true for the Insight. AAMOF, they're necessary. I mentioned in a previous post about the reflection of the dashboard on the windshield. Polarized sunglasses are the answer to that problem and they don't interfere at all with the dashboard displays.

    I forget the name of the color I got but it's a gunmetal gray...very pretty. Did I mention I LOVE my Insight?!

  7. #32
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    Default Re: Hybrid cars, part deux!

    Quote Originally Posted by tutusue View Post
    the display shows an average of approx. 35mpg...low compared to what other Insight owners are reporting.
    These displays are notoriously inaccurate. Mine is close but never right on. It varies and the variation is never the same. I get an average of over 32MPG with my Ford Escape Hybrid, checked with a calculator at fillup each time. We are very pleased.

    I have only 1100 miles on the car, the majority from around town.
    The paper tags aren't even worn off the tire tread yet!

    The car is just so much fun to drive!
    Ditto! Uaifi loves driving a hybrid and playing with the display. She vows you will never own anything other than a hybrid in the future unless all electric is ever perfected. Another plus for us (I don't know about the law in Hawaii) is that any hybrid car registered in California is exempt from smog laws. That saves us the hassle of a required drive of 2400 miles round trip from Mexico every two years for a smog test. We had no idea!

    it's a gunmetal gray...very pretty.
    Okay, gray with gramma who can't see over the steering wheel, polarized glasses, permanent grin on face! We'll know what to look for when we put out an APB!
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  8. #33
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    Default Re: Hybrid cars, part deux!

    While I think hybrid cars are a good idea, I didn't buy one yet because I am afraid about how much the lithium batteries will cost if they ever need to be replaced. My guess, would be on a Toyota Prius, it will cost about $8,000.00. If so, that is a lot of gasoline....

  9. #34
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    Default Re: Hybrid cars, part deux!

    Quote Originally Posted by Nobunaga View Post
    While I think hybrid cars are a good idea, I didn't buy one yet because I am afraid about how much the lithium batteries will cost if they ever need to be replaced. My guess, would be on a Toyota Prius, it will cost about $8,000.00. If so, that is a lot of gasoline....
    Hybrid car batteries are guaranteed for 150K miles in California, by law.

    You don't seem to get it. It is about reducing our dependence on foreign oil. Yes, driving a hybrid car, is probably more expensive at this time. But the owner of a hybrid is using less gasoline and putting fewer hydrocarbons in the air. That's what it is about, not how much money you are going to save. Driving a hybrid is the patriotic thing to do!
    Peace, Love, and Local Grindz

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  10. #35
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    Default Re: Hybrid cars, part deux!

    IIRC, my 2010 (2nd generation) Insight's hybrid battery is covered for 100,000 miles. The 1st generation's are covered for 150,000 miles. I have a friend with a 1st gen (2000) who's approaching the 150k mark. He's had a couple of battery problems in the past and the warranty has always covered them. He bought the car used and absolutely loves it...and his average 68 mpg.

    Nobu, the battery replacement cost was my main concern, too, when I first started looking at hybrids. If I understand it correctly, cells are replaced, usually not the entire battery. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong.

    When I decided to lease a car I realized I would always be under warranty. I have a 3 year lease and the max # of miles I drive per year is 5000. Must admit, there's a feeling of satisfaction in spewing less junk into the air not to mention money saved from using less gas. At the one year mark of my ownership I'll crunch some numbers to see how much more or less expensive it is to drive a hybrid. It won't be a fair comparison, tho', as my previous car was a German gas guzzler that wasn't under warranty.

    At this point in time I can't imagine not owning a hybrid. In 3 years I'll take a serious look at the new Honda CRZ hybrid. If the numbers don't work for that car I won't hesitate staying with the Insight. I'll consider an EV only when the recharging issue for condo buildings is resolved and conversions have been made.

    BTW...today, for the 1st time, I saw a Prius sedan. Cute! I had no idea there was such a model. Maybe I'm just unobservant!!!

  11. #36

    Default Re: Hybrid cars, part deux!

    Quote Originally Posted by matapule View Post
    Hybrid car batteries are guaranteed for 150K miles in California, by law.

    You don't seem to get it. It is about reducing our dependence on foreign oil. Yes, driving a hybrid car, is probably more expensive at this time. But the owner of a hybrid is using less gasoline and putting fewer hydrocarbons in the air. That's what it is about, not how much money you are going to save. Driving a hybrid is the patriotic thing to do!
    There's some fallacy to this claim though. How much hydrocarbon was emitted in the extraction and refining process to produce the rare earth elements needed for production of the hybrid's battery pack? It's as if one's already pre-emitted hydrocarbons with the need for that battery pack. In addition, China supplies 97% of the world's rare earth element supply. We're just switching our foreign reliance from one country to another.

    The real patriotic thing would be to use more public transit or to demand automobiles with conventional engines with 0-60 speed times of 10+ seconds. If one ever drove his/her conventional car with really slow acceleration times and did all the hypermiling techniques, one will instantaneously see a jump in mpg. A hybrid partially forces one to hypermile by producing some pretty slow 0-60 speed times.


    Quote Originally Posted by tutusue View Post
    ......BTW...today, for the 1st time, I saw a Prius sedan. Cute! I had no idea there was such a model. Maybe I'm just unobservant!!!
    That's actually the first generation Prius you saw. They switched over to hatchback form with the 2nd gen to increase interior space.

  12. #37
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    Default Re: Hybrid cars, part deux!

    Quote Originally Posted by joshuatree View Post
    There's some fallacy to this claim though. How much hydrocarbon was emitted in the extraction and refining process to produce the rare earth elements needed for production of the hybrid's battery pack? It's as if one's already pre-emitted hydrocarbons with the need for that battery pack. In addition, China supplies 97% of the world's rare earth element supply. We're just switching our foreign reliance from one country to another.
    I often hear this argument proposed by the anti-electric car crowd, but have never seen any research to support that claim. Can you give me a link please?
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  13. #38

    Default Re: Hybrid cars, part deux!

    Quote Originally Posted by matapule View Post
    I often hear this argument proposed by the anti-electric car crowd, but have never seen any research to support that claim. Can you give me a link please?
    I don't pretend to be an expert on the matter but it's not hard to turn up results with a google search. I don't have specific numbers on hydrocarbons emitted but common sense tells me from watching those oil powered mining equipment and refining plants operate, there is a heavy usage of oil to produce those rare earth elements in usable format. In addition, there's a lot more other environmental pollutants that come out of the process.

    http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/28333

    http://www.marketoracle.co.uk/Article23086.html

    "The U.S. may talk about building its own rare earth supply chain, the reality is that mining and processing the finished materials is a dirty, polluting process and the environmental crowd in the U.S. will fight any efforts to build on American soil."

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yO94WHkqHg4


    I ponder, why is it so hard to be patriotic by using conventional methods with a bit of self-sacrifice? Public transit conserves a lot of energy when everyone uses it. That's just a basic scales of economy principle. Or if we need that private time, why do our vehicles need to be boasting 0-60mph times of under 6 seconds? Normal conventional gas engines see their mileage improve dramatically when one does a gentle acceleration. What is wrong with some mandate for 10 second cars? Notice all hybrids with those uber MPGs have some really "slow" 0-60 times? It's not just the electric motor or battery that improves the MPG. The car's basically designed to force the driver to use hypermiling techniques.

    I'm not anti-electric, I just think hybrids are overhyped. An all electric train for public transit is something I support.

  14. #39
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    Default Re: Hybrid cars, part deux!

    JT, thank you for the links. I did perform a google search prior to asking the question, trying to find the cost tradeoff of battery production and resultant battery output and came up with nothing. Your links, although interesting, did not provide that information. So the argument that hybrid batteries produce more polution than they eliminate in hybrid cars will be a specious one until some hard evidence can be produced to bolster that claim. I agree there are hydrocarbons produced by battery production, but I still maintain that hybrid cars as an evolutionary technology is a step in the right direction for reducing the amount of greenhouse gasses.

    It is interesting to note that your references agree that all battery production uses rare earth materials. That means batteries for your Ipod, your cell phone, and...........(gasp).....the computers you and I are using right now. Also one link claims that the US military is the largest user of rare earth materials. That means that a smaller military would be patriotic as far as depending on the resources of a foreign country.

    I agree with you that mass transit would be a patriotic means to reduce greenhouse gasses. So why all the trouble getting approval for a light rail system in Honolulu when there should be a light rail system that covers the whole island?

    I do not agree that hybrid cars are overhyped. I get 50% to 75% better gas mileage than the most efficient internal combustion engine SUVs. That reduces my carbon footprint significantly. I could do even better with a car like Tutu's, but they wont work on Mexico's often rutted roads. Hybrid car evolution is an important step in getting the American populace to think in different terms about transportation, since they are so resistent to public transportation. Are hybrid cars the ultimate or final answer? Heavens no! But they are an important and necessary step to the next technology in personal transportation that will be even more environmentally friendly than hybrids. Hybrid technology is a continuum in getting people to think differently about transportation.

    Yes, hypermiling techniques will work with an ICE. Unfortunately, the general public will not accept the concept. We Americans are historically committed to "big and fast" when it comes to cars. We have met the enemy and they are us! Many people will not purchase a hybrid because they don't pencil out in the long run. This is probably true for most people who have the big and fast mindset. But the concept of alternative energy automobiles, like hybrids, is not about saving money, it is about taking a psychological step in saving the planet. One has to buy into the psychological concept of ecology first, before we can make the earth a more healthful place to live, regardless of the financial cost to us personally.

    I am an enthusiastic supporter of hybrid technology. My next car is going to be a hybrid (probably a Prius) unless there is something even better at the time. I am watching the all electric car technology with interest. I am watching the alternative energy storage technology with interest. The Tesla has a range of about 250 miles at 60mph. The problem is that with household current it takes about 8 hours to recharge after those 250 miles. However, a "fast charge" system is aparently just around the corner than can recharge these batteries in about 15 minutes. Fuel cells, although not pollution free in production is still in its infantcy. I'm watching.

    If you must drive a personal auto, although public transportation or scooters may be more environmentally friendly, please give serious consideration to a hybrid.

    (see my smilie all green)
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  15. #40

    Default Re: Hybrid cars, part deux!

    Matapule,

    Appreciate the discussion.

    I disagree that the argument that hybrid batteries produce more polution than they eliminate is specious but let's agree to disagree on this one. A few years back, corn based ethanol was touted as a great energy alternative but once detailed studies started in earnest on the whole production process, corn based ethanol has turned out be a dud. In many cases, more energy was consumed to produce it than it provides.

    This is leading to a tangent that I will choose to avoid. But military needs is on a different plane than commercial needs and/or trends.

    I like to ask what vehicles are you comparing when you say you get 50% to 75% better gas mileage than the most efficient ICE SUV? Are we comparing vehicles in the same class? If memory serves me right, you own a Ford Escape Hybrid? That's rated at 32MPG combined. Did you know the European Honda CRV with a diesel engine gets 36 MPG combined? You may be getting higher MPGs from what's rated but that doesn't mean the same doesn't apply to an ICE SUV if driven gently like not exceeding 65mph.

    http://www.mpgomatic.com/honda_cr-v_diesel.html

    I'm supportive of being green but I strongly believe conventional means are at our disposal to dramatically improve MPG without the need for hybrid up selling. I will list some features that are already available. If we really want to be patriotic, we should demand these features immediately be mandated on all automobiles sold in the US instead.

    Diesel engines that use common rail tech with direct injection.

    6 speed or higher automatics or CVT transmissions, nothing less.

    Gas engines with direct injection coupled with turbo. The 2011 Sonata 2.0T will use this and it only requires 87 octane. Advances in design no longer restrict the use of turbo to requiring premium fuel. It provides a 50% improvement on MPG compared to the outgoing V6 but with power output competitive to a V6, 274 HP with 269 lb-ft torque.

    Bosch's Stop-Start stytem that basically uses a different starter motor on a conventional ICE vehicle so it can turn off at stops like a hybrid minus the battery. BMW has been using this since 2007 on their 1 Series in Europe and the fuel economy improved by 8%.

  16. #41
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    Default Re: Hybrid cars, part deux!

    Quote Originally Posted by joshuatree View Post
    I like to ask what vehicles are you comparing when you say you get 50% to 75% better gas mileage than the most efficient ICE SUV?
    I was comparing to the Honda CRV and the Toyota RAV4 (50% better), which are probably the most efficient all ICE SUVs (at least 75% better). Toyota does make the Highlander hybrid SUV, but it gets much poorer mpg than my Escape.

    Diesel technology is interesting but is not the ultimate answer. Diesels are lower in some pollutants while higher in those that are not caught in a smog check. However, I would have considered a diesel SUV had one been available to me. But a European Honda is not available to me, I don't believe they are government approved for use in the US.

    As far as mpg's are considered, I'm trying to compare apples to apples in a semi-controlled environment like the EPA does. Personal driving habits can have a big impact on mpg's. So,yes, hypermiling with an ICE will increase mileage over EPA estimates, but the same is true with hybrids. I know some Escape owners who claim to get 50 mpg, but they do this by drafting and I feel that technique is too dangerous.

    I'm supportive of being green but I strongly believe conventional means are at our disposal to dramatically improve MPG without the need for hybrid up selling.
    But with a hybrid you can even do better with mpg's whatever driving style you employ.

    I will list some features that are already available.
    I agree that all the technology you listed is worthy of consideration, along with hybrid/electric technology

    As an aside on turbos, when I built my boat, I wanted to use a marinized version of a John Deere tractor engine - dependable, well proven, parts available worldwide, efficient etc. The 4 cyl engine was available in an 80hp naturally aspirated version and a 120 hp turbo. Although the turbo has more power than I will ever need in my boat and it was about 25% more expensive than the N.A. version, I selected the turbo. As you know, the turbo engine is cleaner burning than the n.a. and that was my primary consideration. But there is a "free lunch" too. I burn 1.25 gallons per hour at a given cruising speed, while my friend with the same boat, and same engine only the n.a. version, burns 1.75 gallons per hour at the same speed. That doesn't seem like much, but when you are on a 2 week non-stop transoceanic voyage, the difference is significant! He kicks himself everytime we pull into the fuel dock together!

    BMW has been using this since 2007 on their 1 Series in Europe and the fuel economy improved by 8%.
    Why is it that the US always seems light years behind other developed countries in many areas? When uaifi was in Germany last summer, she loved the public transportation system there - clean, efficient, fast, and economical.
    Peace, Love, and Local Grindz

    People who form FIRM opinions with so little knowledge only pretend to be open-minded. They select their facts like food from a buffet. David R. Dow

  17. #42

    Default Re: Hybrid cars, part deux!

    The Chevy Volt gets an official EPA rating of 93MPG equivalent when in pure electric mode and 37MPG when using its engine to power the generator. In a combined cycle, it's rated at 60MPG. At $40k before tax subsidies, I find it harder and harder to believe the Volt will be anything but a niche vehicle at best.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/40359956/ns/business-autos/


    Meanwhile the Fiat 500 multijet diesel with no fancy battery tech gets around 60MPG.

    http://green.autoblog.com/2010/02/10...ne-and-60-mpg/

  18. #43
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    Default Re: Hybrid cars, part deux!

    Quote Originally Posted by joshuatree View Post
    Meanwhile the Fiat 500 multijet diesel with no fancy battery tech gets around 60MPG.
    I HAD a Fiat once. It was the happiest day of my life when I got rid of it.....just nosing out hemorrhoid surgery. Getting 60MPG is one thing, keeping it running after the second week of ownership is something else. The Fiat gets infinity miles per gallon when it is just sitting in the repair shop.
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  19. #44

    Default Re: Hybrid cars, part deux!

    Quote Originally Posted by matapule View Post
    I HAD a Fiat once. It was the happiest day of my life when I got rid of it.....just nosing out hemorrhoid surgery. Getting 60MPG is one thing, keeping it running after the second week of ownership is something else. The Fiat gets infinity miles per gallon when it is just sitting in the repair shop.
    Wouldn't doubt the reliability part of past Fiats, afterall, that's the main reason their sales dropped off the deep end and they withdrew from the US market. However, Fiat went through an extensive reorg itself with Marchionne and whether you like it or not, they are Chrysler's saving grace.

    Any ICE car in the garage will get infinity miles per gallon or is it zero miles per gallon since you're going no where?

    Let's compare Chevy to Chevy then. The Volt will only get 37 MPG in gas only mode. It's cousin, the Chevy Cruze Eco model gets 28 city / 42 hwy. But the Cruze Eco at ~$18k is less than half the Volt's $40k price tag. That's some serious consideration for any car purchaser.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  20. #45
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    Default Re: Hybrid cars, part deux!

    I truly believe in order for electric vehicles to succeed, there needs to be a greater Distance Per Charge than what's currently available. It seem even the current crop of EV vehicles (Including 2012's Honda EV Fit) seem to only get about a hundred miles per charge.

    Once it gets to the range of most petroleum powered vehicles around 250 to 400 Miles per tankful of gasoline then we can probably see a greater benefit to completely dump the combustion engine completely for personal use.

    Battery technology needs to improve significantly before we can realize a realistic EV vehicle. It'll happen one day.
    Life is what you make of it...so please read the instructions carefully.

  21. #46

    Default Re: Hybrid cars, part deux!

    Looks like Ford is the first to really start implementing newer gas saving solutions on conventional gas autos in the US that has been around in other parts of the world.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/40819858/ns/business-autos/

  22. #47
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    Default Re: Hybrid cars, part deux!

    Yesterday, matapule drove over 500 miles in his 2005 Ford Escape Hybrid. He averaged 41.3 mpg for the round trip, front door to front door. He drove a steady pace of 60 mph on the freeways when able. For two hours out of 10 hours driving, it was stop and go traffic. No air conditioning and tires properly inflated. That's not too bad.
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    People who form FIRM opinions with so little knowledge only pretend to be open-minded. They select their facts like food from a buffet. David R. Dow

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