Fuel economy myths

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In many cars of Japanese origin I need the drivers seat all the way back, but then the steering wheel is too far away. Unfortunately they are often set up for shorter drivers. For example I can't comfortably drive the Toyota Corolla, the steering wheel is too far away. The Chrysler '95 Cirrus had this same problem. The previous Corolla model my knees hit the steering wheel, so I couldn't brake with my foot flat on the pedal.
The Toyota Camry fits me, but I need the telescoping steering wheel all the way back. At least I don't hit my head on the ceiling as I did in a Honda Civic of 10 years back. The Impalla fits me perfectly, as does my Concorde. My height is only 5'-11"
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on Friday 05 October 2007 04:41 am, someone posing as clare at snyder.on.ca took a rock and etched into the cave:

Yes, it was. I drove one for several years.
Even with the seat all the way back, my knees would often hit the steering wheel and the dashboard.
I can't remember how many times I hit my head while trying to squeeze down into that car.

Sad. Huh?
--
www.perfectreign.com

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On Fri, 05 Oct 2007 09:05:31 -0700, PerfectReign

That may be true - but it still was NOT a compact. It was sold as a midsize - and Nissan's largest at that.

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PerfectReign wrote:

Look them up, they're both officially classified as mid-sized cars. From my personal experience with those models, they seem like mid-sized cars to me as well.

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on Saturday 06 October 2007 10:57 am, someone posing as jcr took a rock and etched into the cave:

Man, you people are really stuck up on these "official" terms!
I'm 6'4" and 220lbs. If you want to call it a "midsize" go ahead. IMO, it is a very compact car.
Oh, and I squeezed into a Prius once at work. They had bought a few for us. I will never do that again.
--
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PerfectReign wrote:

Apparently you haven't been inside a true sub-compact car then. Big difference in space.
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I agree. I have driven both a 1991 Hyundai Excel and a 2007 Prius and I am 6' 2" tall and 300lbs. The Excel felt like a sardine can to me but I was just fine in the Prius. My main vehicle until a rod bearing spun was a 1992 Dodge Dynasty 3.3L that I also fit fine in.
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Both I and a friend of mine in highschool drove BMC Minis. I was 6'1" and Frankie was 6'5". Mine had thinshell fiberglass buckets set 3 or 4 inches back - leaving the same rear seat space as the stock seat in the stock location. Frank's was stock.
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Daniel Who Wants to Know wrote:

They call an impala a full size car... they are a midsize car...
a taurus is also a midsize car...
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What was a full sized car in 1949? in 1855? in 1965, 1975, 1985, 1995, 2005? The size and definition keeps changing.
Go back to the '30s. There were full sise cars and luxury cars. The full sise were comparable to what we have today, but taller (and narrower).
What you are looking for is not a "full sise" but a "luxury sise".
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For me, full size means real wheel drive, body on chassis, a trunk big enough to hold enough luggage for a 2 week trip, and an interior that will seat 5 adults comfortably. That's why I'll keep my 02 Town Car as long as possible. BTW, mileage is 18 in town, 26 on the highway. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Retired Shop Rat: 14,647 days in a GM plant. Now I can do what I enjoy: Large Format Photography
Web Site: www.destarr.com - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
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The classification he cited for any particular model is not the point. People that buy SUV are doing so because they perceive function and utility that does not exist in other kinds of car. They have to weigh for themselves, the cost to have the utility vs the savings to give it up. They take the utility. If they could measure the utility of a Surburban that delivers 15 mpg vs an Excursion that gives 20, then more Excursions would be sold. As it stands today, the Excursion gives such poor numbers, Ford can barely sell them. This only shows that people that buy large still compare relative economy when they make their choice.
Not only do they consider fuel mileage, but they also consider stuff like ergonomics -- placement of knobs and switches -- preceived quality -- fit and finish -- comfort and style. Give all of this stuff in a package that also delivers relative economy, and they will not be able to buiild them fast enough. Deliver economy that is absent this stuff, and nobody will want it. The real market is somewhere in the middle.
PS I don't know nor care what the sales figures are for the Excursion and the Suburban, I was only illustrating that people buy large and compare apples to apples, where the apple basket is filled with the kinds of things that they think is important to them.
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in
my
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with
utility
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Excellent observation but you are forgetting something - price.
I think the major factors people look at are:
size/utility/'functionality price/how fast is the depreciation/how much will the lease be mileage ergonomics/styling perceived life/warranty/how much will maintainence cost quality/fit and finish
And not in that order. All of these factors are interrelated. And you can have a car score very poorly on some factors but very well on others, and still sell well.
The problem with Detroit is Detroit mis-stepped in the 70s by ignoring the relations of these facts. People always talk about how Detroit kept building big giant cars when everyone wanted high mileage cars. They forget that at the same time that gas prices were rising and people were getting more interested in better mileage, that a whole load of emissions stuff was being shoved on to Detroit which was detuning engines and loading them down with a lot of easy-to-break-down systems.
If the US Government at the time had shown some leadership and issued 5-7 year emissions deferrals in 1974 and Detroit had simply kept building muscle cars, then people would have only briefly flirted with the economy cars from Japan, and would have given it up and kept buying Detroit Big Iron - as after the oil price rising hysteria had died down, people would have given up the fuel economy in favor of all of the other amenities of Detroit Big Iron.
But instead what was happening is at the same time that the Japanese were selling fuel efficient cars that were small and uncomfortable with no amenities, Detroit Big Iron was getting slower, harder to fix, and breaking down much faster. Japanese fuel efficient stuff didn't have to do the things to their 4 bangers that Detroit had to do to it's V-8's to meet emissions - and the buying public rightly realized that they could either drive around in a rattle trap tin can that was uncomfortable, slow, but got great gas mileage and didn't break down as much, or they could drive around in a luxury land yacht that was very comfortable, but was ALSO slow, got terrible gas mileage, and broke down all of the time.
In other words, the emissions regulations put Detroit Big Iron at a disadvantage for at least a decade while Detroit redesigned engines, transmissions, and everything else to meet them.
But, even that would have been survivable - but the problem was that during this time the bean counters got control of all Detroit automakers and started cutting corners. Product quality fell and so when Detroit finally could compete with the rattle cans from Japan on the mileage basis, the quality sucked so bad that once more, Detroit was -still- at a disadvantage.
Today, I think all the automakers have finally gotten back to the basics of marketing cars, but there's been 2-3 decades of Detroit missteps, and due to retirement liabilites of the Big Three, they can no longer afford to undercut Japan to buy back all the lost market share. So it is going to be a long, hard battle for Detroit since there's now an entrenched generation of Japanese car buyers, and those people will never buy Domestic again. It won't be until their kids come of age and start buying cars, that the situation will improve.
Ted
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And, 5 mpg is a small price to pay for the comfort and utility.
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How much fuel do NASCAR cars burn... How much fuel is burned by all other vehicules involved in racing, monster trucks, dragters, etc.... Would we be ready to give up entertainement to save fuel? About airplanes.... The NASA shuttles... etc...

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You've got it, with carbon credits bought from his own company. >:) Al has found a money tree, who needs the hassle of being president anyway. When Al is found to be wrong, no one will remember him.
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That article's right on target.
However, for things to _really_ change, somebody's got to come up with batteries that can be fully recharged in a matter of minutes and can go 200 miles on a single charge. The motors for hi-power all-electric cars are here now - all that's needed is better battery technology.
Here's a taste: http://www.teslamotors.com / http://www.universalelectricvehicle.com / http://www.zapworld.com/electric-vehicles/electric-cars/zap-x
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Why do we need a battery that recharges in minutes? The question I usually ask people who say this is imagine your gasoline car was on a completely topped off full tank every time you get in it. How often would you have to stop at a gas station? The answer would of course be only for the trips longer than the range of the battery. The problem with a ~10 minute recharge is that it would require a dedicated 400 amp 3 phase 480 volt service drop for each charger. I can only imagine the kind of power lines run to each charging station. They would probably look similar to these:
http://danallen46.homeunix.org/West01MtHood.jpg
My solution would simply be a standardized battery pack that could be easily swapped by a robot arm. The larger the vehicle the more such packs the vehicle would use so the Suburban-EV driver would still pay more than someone in a smaller vehicle.
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The reason you need a battery pack that recharges in minutes is simply because the buying public is used to filling up in minutes.
Trying to get people to buy a new type of vehicle and asking them to change their mindsets all in one fell swoop is a pretty tall order. Tall enough, IMO, that they just won't go for it.
The reason why hybrids are selling now is becuase people don't have to change anything in their habits. They just buy, drive, and fill up like they would in an "ordinary" vehicle.
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That wouldn't work because battery packs degrade over time and the big Surburban EV driver with 10 brand-new discharged battery packs does not want to exchange his packs for 10, 4 year old charged battery packs. Batteries also self-discharge and the self-discharge rate over time gets worse.

Your not understanding it I can see. For starters there is such a thing. It's called a Leyden Jar, AKA high-power capacitor. The small electric RC racers use these.
The problem is that if you have an electric car that can drive, for example 5 hours continuiously, using 400 watts of power an hour out of a battery pack, to recharge that in 1 hour means you have to put in 2,000 watts of power in that hour. If you want to shorten that to 10 minutes, we are talking 12,000 watts of power in 10 minutes. If you want to shorten that to 1 minute then that is 120,000 watts of power in 1 minute to get the battery pack fully recharged.
Your electric stove probably dissapates about 200-300 watts of power on a surface burner when the burner is turned on high.

If they can save money then yes, they will go for it if the savings is high enough.

There are a lot of people also clamoring for plug-in hybrids. You need to read up on the history of the General Motors EV1. Espically read testimonials - available many places online - from people who actually leased one.
What is needed in battery technology is higher storage capacities and cheaper prices.
Ted
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