Toyota Prius Being Investigated by the Fed

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http://biz.yahoo.com/ap/050601/toyota_investigation.html?.v=2
I wonder how this will bode for Ford. I guess it depends if its a technology issue, Toyota and Ford being the same, or an implementation
issue, Toyota and Ford being different.
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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

The requested document, `/ap/050601/toyota_investigation.html', is no longer available.
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Clarence A Dold - Hidden Valley (Lake County) CA USA 38.8,-122.5
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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

Ah, here's a copy: http://www.usatoday.com/money/autos/2005-06-01-prius_x.htm?csp4 "Government investigating engine stalling in Toyota Prius" I would think that the engine and controls are sufficiently different that whatever the cause, it is probably not shared with Ford.
Ford licensed technology from Toyota, but may not have used any of it. Companies avoid patent infringement if they are designing similar products by cross-licensing technology.
From fordvehicles.com: "Where did Ford's hybrid technology originate? Ford Motor Company designed, developed and validated its own hybrid powertrain system In fact, Ford expects more than 100 patents to be issued covering this unique Ford hybrid system. "
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Clarence A Dold - Hidden Valley (Lake County) CA USA 38.8,-122.5
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wrote:

This doesn't mean that a lot of the technology used is not from Toyota. Only that they had to do a lot of work to adopt Toyota's technology to their vehicle.
BTW, if you were Ford, would you emphasize the engineering that you did that make the Escape unqiue or would you emphasize that you used technology from someone else?
Jeff

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GM had a hybrid in 1973. As I recall, it used regenerative brakes to charge batteries that helped propel the test car. Of course, computers have come a long way and so have batteries. How many ways are there to use a battery in combination with a gasoline engine to power a vehicle? Just like with conventional Otto-cycle cars, the few mechanical differences are down in the details, really.

I don't think Ford did either.
Ford did do a masterful job in integrating the engine and hybrid drive system. The result is much more compact and a bit lighter per watt than Toyota's designs.
(I have a hybrid Escape. My neighbor has a new Prius. :-) ) -- Jim Chinnis Warrenton, Virginia, USA
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Technically you are both somewhat correct. Ford had a hybrid system for the Escape ready to go into procuction in 2003. However when Ford bought Volvo they gained Volvos interest in newer lower cost hybrid system being developed by a Japanese electric company, in partnership with Volvo, Mazda and Toyota. When that system was finished Toyota, Ford and Mazda cross patented each others designs to avoid licensing fees to each other. Toyota bought out the Japanese company, subsequently. Ford and Mazda had the larger interest and would have liked to buy the company but foreign companies can not own a Japanese company. The systems in the Ford and Toyota hybrids use similar technology but are not the same in design.
Edmund's and others do not advise one buy a hybrid if their only goal is to save money on fuel. The premium price will not return its investment in the time the average buyer keeps a vehicle. In addition the replacement cost of the batteries at some point, will cost thousands of dollars wiping out and future saving on fuel costs. One source says the premium price alone will buy ALL of the fuel for a similar size and powered conventional vehicle for four years or more at $3 a gallon.
mike hunt
Jim Chinnis wrote:

mike hunt
Jim Chinnis wrote:

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snipped-for-privacy@mailcity.com wrote in part:

Technically, you are somewhat correct. Edmunds and others may not be whizzes at economics, however. You are correct that hybrids are designed to reduce emissions as well as save fuel. But the time an average buyer keeps a vehicle is irrelevant in the economic calculation needed to determine whether one swill save by buying a hybrid. ...as is battery replacement, which should not occur until well after the battery warranties expire at 100,000 miles. -- Jim Chinnis Warrenton, Virginia, USA
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wrote in part:

One thing that is not considered is the environmental costs of building a hybrid, e.g., the extra materials for the motor and especially the batteries.
Also, the metals in the battery have to be disposed of at some point.
A much better way to save fuel is to get a more fuel-efficent truck or SUV. If you increase the fuel milage from 10 mpg to 15 mph, you save twice as much gas as you do when you increase the fuel mileage from 20 to 30 mpg.
Jeff
Jeff

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People have done such analyses, coming up with figures for various types of environmental harm from the total "cradle-to-grave" system.
What I've seen is very favorable for hybrids. The batteries are completely non-toxic. You could grind 'em up and make playground equipment out of 'em.

Not sure I follow. If you mean that people are wasteful and buy big trucks for the hell of it--yeah, some do. Tax and regulatory pressures can maybe address some of that.
If you mean that it would be better to build hybrid versions of large SUVs and trucks, I agree. I think some of the emphasis on relatively small vehicles for hybrid platforms has been due to the greater willingness of individuals to pay for lower emissions. Part of producing lower emissions is using as small a vehicle as possible. Businesses don't have the same latitude, unfortunately. Unless there is an economic advantage to hybrids in the pattern of use they require, they aren't likely to buy.
If you look at savings in business applications where the vehicle racks up lots of miles fast, the current hybrid technology pays for itself very quickly. Even at current low US fuel prices, a diesel-electric hybrid in a big rig could probably pay for itself quickly if the vehicle is in heavy use. I imagine there will be some introduced, especially if fuel prices rise. -- Jim Chinnis Warrenton, Virginia, USA
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wrote in part: (...)

That's good. Of course, you have to look at the cost of getting the nickel out of the ground, too.

Unless you make illegal for someone with money to buy a big SUV, they will.

Although I agree that it is better to have hybrid versions of an SUV, I meant that one would save more gas by going from a big SUV to a small one than from a small gas car to a more efficient one (which is what a hybrid is).

Plus it is easier to build a small hybrid than a big one, because you need smaller motors and batteries although NYC does have some hybrid buses. NYC is able to usedeisel hybrid instead of compterss natural gas, because the exhaust is so clean.

This is true only for vehicles that stop and start a lot, like buses in cities. For long haul trucks, I don't think you save nearly as much. (I could be wrong.) For the Ford Escape, you go from 25 mpg to 29 mpg, only a 16% gain, compared with going from 22 to about 33 mpg, a 50% gain.
For big trucks, I would suspect that the gain would be even lower, as a percentage, on the highway. Of course, trucks do stop at truck stops and go into cities to make deliveries, so that they would save money.
However, if a truck got a 5% gain, and the gain cost $10,000 (meaning about 5000 gal of deisel), then, assuming 6 mpg, you will burn about 170 gals / 1000 miles. That would save about $17 / 1000 miles. That would take about 600,000 miles to get the money back.
However, I would imagine that if it costs $3000 for a escape hybrid system, it would cost more that 3.3 times more for a truck hybrid system.
Considering that truck motors last more 1,000,000 mi, it seems reasonable that one could save money by using a hybrid in a tractor trailer.
Jeff
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That's part of the $3000 premium.

Sure. They also have huge homes with fireplaces going while the air conditioning runs.

That's the earlier point. People choose bigger vehicles for the image sometimes. For safety. For hauling big loads. Some choices are optional and some aren't.

I don't think Ford would have any problem builder bigger stuff...

The biggest payoff is in varied-load driving. A long, flat highway trip doesn't benefit much from the hybrid.

Even with your 5% assumption, that could be just two years on a long-haul truck. (But I don't think long-haul trucks are a likely target for hybrid technology!)

Certainly.
Dunno. -- Jim Chinnis Warrenton, Virginia, USA
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That would be me. I went from 13mpg overall in a Dodge Durango to 27mpg overall in an Escape Hybrid. I still tow my horse trailer.
I get 18mpg towing the trailer with one horse in it. I don't know what the Durango got... probably unchanged from the 13 ;-)
Some people need large vehicles. "need"? Maybe not. I suppose I could give up the horse, or not tow the flatbed with the ranch equipment on it. But I don't want to, and the Escape Hybrid makes life cleaner and less oil-dependent.
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Seems to me you would have been ahead with less expensive V6 Escape. You wouldn't need to worry about $4,000 for batteries down the road, as well. From what I've read the premium price one pays for a hybrid will buy of all of ones fuel for three or four years.
mike hunt
snipped-for-privacy@XReXXToyot.usenet.us.com wrote:

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wrote:

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snipped-for-privacy@mailcity.com wrote:

You've said that several times before, and I still don't agree with you.
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snipped-for-privacy@mailcity.com wrote in part:

That doesn't make sense. Even if you ignore the environmental difference, the math is wrong. I buy my fuel by the gallon, not by the year. Some years don't require so many gallons. The hybrid saves a lot of money if one has to drive a lot. If one is mostly going to park it and wash it, it won't save you anything over the V6. -- Jim Chinnis Warrenton, Virginia, USA
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Folks, let me add that one big reason why Jim is a proponent of hybrid technology may be more simple than it seems. In Northern Virginia, a single occupant of a Low Emissions Vehicle can use the HOV lanes that are normally reserved for carpools. That could potentially save Jim a lot of time on his way into DC on I-66. So many Northern Virginians are buying hybrids just for this reason that the pilot program allowing them to use the HOV lanes is about to be cancelled because they're clogging them up.
Of course, if you're going to do a cost/benefit analysis, the time savings, as well as the fuel savings of not sitting still in traffic, would have to be included in the formula. If I had a commute of a couple hours each way, like a lot of folks in our area do, I'd consider a hybrid. It could potentially save a person 1-2 hours every day.
CJB
wrote in part:

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wrote in part:

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Nice thought, but wrong. The Escape Hybrid doesn't qualify for the special plates, or so I was told. And I *never* take I-66 into DC. I work in Warrenton. -- Jim Chinnis Warrenton, Virginia, USA
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snipped-for-privacy@mailcity.com wrote:

My 2005 Ford Hybrid has 10/150 warranty coverage on the batteries and 8/100 on other Hybrid components, including the CVT transmission. (California, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, or Vermont.)
250 D-Cell NiMH 9000mAH batteries would currently cost $1532. By the time I need to replace them out of warranty, I hope they will be cheaper.
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