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April 16, 2012



Also, hybrids tend to cost much more than similar gasoline powered cars, so there might be a long payback time.

When I went to lunch today, I spotted a brand new Chevy Volt in the parking lot at work. When I returned, I spotted a brand new Prius C in the same lot.


Yeah, but remember a gov. car paid for by a gov. gas card most likely...who cares about gas mileage when someone else pays. Now if the driver pays out of pocket with no reimbursement, that's a whole different story.

Tom Welch

Cab drivers love hybrids.


It's hard to believe that, long term, a car with two drive systems is a better solution than a car with one. If you want efficiency, a diesel gives you almost the same mileage (about the same on the highway, a bit less around town) in a simpler package using technology that's been proven for decades. But US drivers "won't buy" diesels. Darned straight we won't, when nobody but VW will sell them to us. VW seems to have no trouble selling them, though. Funny thing, that.

The Chevy Volt makes more sense to me because it is an electric car with an onboard backup generator, rather than the Rube Goldberg solution of having an electric motor and IC engine in parallel, using both at the same time, switching in this and switching out that. The Volt's system is also more in line with what has proven to work in the real world. The one vehicle I can think of which used a combination IC and electric drive system for decades was the combat submarine. There too they started out with the IC and electric systems in parallel, but by the late 1920s they'd figured out that didn't work. Instead, they went over to the motors driving the props all the time, with the internal combustion engines only used to charge the batteries- the system the Volt uses. That worked best then and will probably still work best today. If you want to go hybrid at all, of course.


I agree with Bill on diesels. It's unfortunate that at this point only German automakers sell diesel cars and SUVs in the U.S. Mazda may offer a diesel CX-5 SUV here eventually, but it will appear first in Europe.

A turbo-diesel, with its much greater torque than a gasoline engine, is ideal for SUVs, which are heavier than cars of similar length.


Amazing statistics on books and publishing:

How does one "change the game" in this industry?

Neil Goldstein

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!


Highway cruising range sucks too. These cars are built for city driving. I have a company issued Prius. Nice enough----but on highway drives, I'm stopping to fill up frequently because the gas tank is so small----and on the highway, the electric motor isn't working, the gas engine is. Very frustrating to have to stop for gas so often compared to a standard car.

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