European Drivers Think Hybrids Are a Good Idea

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Ford and GM both have sold hybrids: The Ford Escape and the Silverdo both have Hyrbid options. The Silverado will save about 2 mpg city on the and 1 mpg highway (2x4 only). That an increase of about 10%, meaning a savings of 1850 gallons of gasoline over 300,000 mi of driving.
The Ford Escape and Honda Civic will save about 3000 gallons of gasoline over the 300,000 mi life of the vehicles.
>Toyota is getting it and a lot of it

What herd mentality? The original Hondas and Toyotas were really cheap vehicles and not that great (like the old Hyundais). They didn't sell well at first. However, Honda and Toyota and Datsun (now Nissan) improved their vehicles while the US makers offered the same old quality.

Actually, I think the answer is that you need to build an entire line of vehicles, from cheap vehicles (the Korean-made Chevy Aveo) to big cars and trucks like the Silverado) or the Focus to Expedition. They all need to be relatively good quality (considering the competition at the same price).
Jeff

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LOL!! As if the typical American car will be on the road anywhere near that long.

From which bodily orifice do you pull these ridiculously over-inflated life expectancy figures?
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I've got 180k on my '86 Vette!
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That is most likely was one of those import buyers who is tying to convince himself, that the underpowered not so great import he paid way too much to buy, is better than the domestics. I have 300K on a '71 Pinto that looks and runs like new ;)
mike
said in rec.autos.driving:

I've got 180k on my '86 Vette!
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said in rec.autos.driving:

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said in rec.autos.driving:

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It is hard to follow your convoluted chains of thought. One can only assume you have not been following the thread if that is what you took from that reply ;)
mike
said in rec.autos.driving:

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said in rec.autos.driving:

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That seems to be more of a personal problem for you. ;)
mike
said in rec.autos.driving:

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Actually Ford is ahead of the curve in what American buyers want, expanding where the largest increase in sales are currently headed, crossovers, not hybrids per se.
Toyota has a tendency to mix 'Toyota Motors' and the 'Toyota' brand in their advertising and sales figures releases. IE they say Toyota is America number one car brand, which is true but GM sells more cars, they just have different brand names on the grill.
If you look at sales tends over the past ten years Toyota brand 'growth' has been in trucks and SUVs, not cars. Growth for Toyota Motors has been in Lexus brand and the addition of Scion. The best selling year for their lead vehicle, the Camry, was three years ago in 2004. Camry sales have been trending down, not up, in growth.
Currently what is helping Toyota, as well as other Japanese manufacturers, is they have small cars available from foreign markets that can be easily added to their mix of imports to meet the current midget car demand. On of the problems is buyers in that economic group do no buy another new car nearly as often as the average new car buyer in the US. History tells us buyers that move to small and midget cars, who can afford larger cars, soon move back up in size.
mike

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Especially if they buy a Jap it would appear.
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The Civic Hybrid decreases the amount of fuel used per 1000 mi from about 30 gallons (30/40 mpg EPA --33 mpg average in regular Civic) to about 20 gallons (49/51 mpg), saving 10 gallons of gas per 1000 mi driving.
If you increased the efficiency of a truck by the same amount so that a truck that gets 16.5 mpg now gets 25 mpg, you would save twice the fuel, or 20 gallons per 1000 mi driven. Of course, you also need a bigger hybrid system.
The point is that hybrids, diesels and other energy-saving technology has more potential to save fuel in big vehicles rather than small vehicles. That might be where hybrids do the most good as far as saving energy.
Jeff
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Is that really true? I thought the EPA numbers showed a much larger difference in MPG between hybrids and non-hybrid cars than the owners were actually experiencing?
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Jeff cleverly chose the Honda Civic Hybrid for his example. My experience is that the Hybrid averages 46mpg under the same mixed conditions where an LX averages 33mpg. On the highway, the difference is 50mpg verses 38mpg.
The Prius is the one that has been getting the bad press, where the EPA estimate of "60" doesn't match typical 45mpg observations. The Prius can't be compared directly to its own non-Hybrid twin, because there is none.
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I see--thanks for the info!
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For my money, a gas-engine hybrid is not just a waste but a frivolity. Diesel engine autos used to get roughly double (and sometimes more than double) the mileage of the same model with a gas engine. I know the gap has shrunk quite a bit, but I think that's mainly because there's more money in gas engines, so more research is done on increasing the mileage of gas-powered cars.
I'm not all that sure though, someone please correct me if I'm wrong on any of this.
Anyhoo, I suspect that a given car powered by a well-made diesel should get at least 20% better mileage. But there's more.
Everyone knows that the output of an engine varies with RPM, but so does the efficiency. What I can't understand is why someone doesn't make a hybrid that runs off batteries, and uses a diesel engine which runs at a constant RPM, the RPM at which it produces the most power per unit of fuel, to charge the batteries only rather than to provide any power to the wheels.
I believe this would work well for a number of reasons.
First, it would eliminate some of the limitations of diesel engines in cars--the relatively sluggish performance, the relatively narrow RPM range and maybe some of the noise and vibration, because the motor mounting system could be tuned to maximize its vibration-damping performance at the specific RPM at which the engine runs. The intake and exhaust systems could also be tuned to that RPM which might result in even greater efficiency.
In addition, the increased efficiency from the diesel by running it at its optimal RPM may offset some of the power conversion losses in changing the mechanical power of the diesel to electricity and storing it.
I could be wrong of course, but I suspect that such a car, if engineered carefully, could actually offset the increased purchase price due to the electric storage and drive system in fuel savings within a few years. I would hope two years, three at the most. IMO if it takes more than three years to make back the price difference, most people wouldn't consider it worthwhile.
If the diesel-electric got 50% more MPG (real-world mileage, not EPA ratings) than its gas-engine counterpart, and the gas-engine car got 36 MPG then the D-E should get 54 MPG and that would result in about $300 per year savings given annual mileage of 12,000 and a gas price of $2.70 per gallon. So that means the added cost of the electrics would have to be no more than $900. Seems pretty unlikely. However, there would be some inherent savings on the engine which would be smaller and simpler, also there'd be no transmission or differential, which would further help to offset the price increase from the electric drive system. In addition, if you were driving a larger vehicle which got poorer mileage, the savings would be greater even given the same percentage of fuel savings, annual mileage and price of fuel.
A vehicle that got 10 MPG with a gas engine, for example, would use 1200 gallons per year, and if switching to the diesel-electric powerplant increased efficiency 50%, they'd use only 800 gallons, saving over $3200 over three years using the gas price of $270 per gal. Of course, the larger vehicle would require more batteries and a bigger electric drive system, so the price increase to the sticker would be more, offsetting some of the savings.
What I'd like to find is a formula which could convert the price of electricity per KwH into dollars per mile for a given vehicle. If it's substantially less than the price of gas, then simply adding a plug-in charging system would further boost the money savings per year and it doesn't seem like it would add much to the cost of the vehicle.
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