Addressing the majority of hybrid car owners not buying a hybrid again, Neil writes:
This is something I have felt and advised people of since the first Prius and Insight started selling. My mechanic friends can't stand these cars. I feel that hybrid technology has a long way to go before it makes any sense from a practical point of view. The economy can be almost equaled by modern gas engines, and equaled or bettered by modern diesels. Look at the numbers that the Hyundai Accent is putting up, and then look at the price. Add to that a much lower level of complexity, and to me it's a no-brainer. Now, in my case, I do more highway and 45-50 2-lane driving than city driving, so it works better for me. Diesels are more popular in Europe than gas engines these days. It might have been similar here, if the US auto industry hadn't killed diesel back in the 80's by producing diesel engines that were so bad that they had to buy them back in many cases. The other advantages are that diesel is lower maintenance, and longer lasting when maintained correctly. I watched my brother, who drives for a living, run a 99 Jetta TDi up to about 300,000 miles and the new owner is still going strong in it. I wonder how much it would cost someone to maintain a Prius through 300,000 miles of maintenance. If it makes it. My question for Toyota is this: You deigned a very aerodynamic body, and a super-efficient gas engine for the Prius. What would the numbers be without the hybrid add-ons? I'll bet higher than most people would expect. Honda tried to push their Civic Hybrid past the limits for decent battery life. When they "fixed" it with a software upgrade, the milage dropped so far that many of the owners sued Honda as they were getting about the same milage as the standard Civic. (http://www.autoblog.com/2012/03/16/honda-civic-hybrid-small-claims-lawsuit-winner-trying-to-stop-cl/ ) Whoops!