Yates is an intolerant whiner. Whats the big issue with hybrids ? Of course
they are not cost effective, outside of HOV and tax breaks. If you don't
like them then don't buy one. I would noy buy a hybrid, but they do not
bother me. People like yates bother me.
What does Yates expect, that we all drive V-8 SUVs with 4 wheel drive and
big trailer hitches. Live would be boring if we all conformed to one
standard, especially his.
My hybrid stories:
I was taking the NoVA I-66 HOV lane to drop off my kids at school on my way
to work. A pious Prius driver was tailgating me, all hot and bothered,
because he thought that I was an HOV violator. When he passed and looked
over with a smug expression I had my 3 and 8 y.o. boys wave at him. Boy did
he look indignant.
The dumb guy at work buys a house 80 miles from work. When he realizes his
commute in his brand new new 4x4 F150 would be too expensive, he trades it
in on a Civic hybrid. He said it was for HOV. Well hybrids do not get great
steady state highway mileage and the HOV restrictions are to expire soon
here. More dollars than scense.
Of course, this article doesn't come from an automotive authority like
Consumer Reports but it's still a very good article.
Hybrid issues, and a rising star at Indy.
BY BROCK YATES
Car & Driver September 2005
I'm not exactly a betting man, but I'll give you 100 to 1 odds that if
you're reading this nonsense you are not a hybrid-car owner. That's
probably a good wager, considering that the new miracle vehicles are
stuck at about a one-half-percent market share of the roughly 17 million
annual new car and light-truck domestic sales and that you are vastly
more likely to tear up the asphalt in a gas-swilling, earth-choking,
mega-speed road rocket like the rest of us motorized Neanderthals.
Of course, if we pay attention to the Cassandra-like fulminations of the
liberal media, we might be led to believe that hybrid vehicles are our
only hope to save us all from ozone asphyxiation and indentured slavery
to the Arab oil barons. To ignore their PC incantations and to continue
our binge buying of conventional internal-combustion engines will,
according to these all-knowing scribes and electronic chatterers, doom
civilization to a dark age embroiled in a heat-soaked Sahara.
Yeah, maybe. Then again, maybe not. Yes, we understand the feds are
giving a one-time $2000 tax credit to hybrid owners, and 16 states are
offering come-on tax breaks ($1500 in Oregon, $4173 in Colorado),
inspection exemptions, and single-driver use of HOV lanes as incentives.
Moreover, the hybrids being sold by Toyota, Lexus, Honda, Ford, and,
soon, Chevrolet are all reasonably priced. Example: The hot-selling
Toyota Prius-with a three-month waiting list in most markets-can be
purchased for under $22,000 loaded (although most experts estimate that
Toyota is taking a $2000 hit on each sale). The Pious-oops-Prius costs
about $5000 more to manufacture than a conventional Corolla and retails
for about three-grand extra.
Now let's jump ugly about the whole situation and talk a little reality.
The guys at Edmunds.com, who run hard numbers about the car business as
well as anyone, estimate that a Prius owner would have to drive at least
66,500 miles annually for five straight years, or gasoline would have to
soar to 10 bucks a gallon, to equal the cost of operating a cheaper,
Then we have the battery pack, that heavy lump of nickel-metal hydride
juice boxes that presumably improve fuel efficiency (but not that much,
according to our road tests). Although the warranties are for eight
years or 100,000 miles, battery replacement will cost $5300 for the
Toyota and Lexus hybrids, and the Ford Escape replacements run a
Moreover, the industry types aren't talking about total battery life.
Will they actually last 100,000 miles? How will this affect resale
value? Will the systems stay at full efficiency, or will they slowly
drain power as they age or operate under heavy use? These are questions
that remain to be answered, understanding that storage batteries, be
they dry cells in your flashlight or exotic Ni-MHs, all have finite
lives and store less power with age.
And now comes word that the computer brain inside the gas-electric grids
in some Priuses is tending to go nuts. This causes instant blackout
stalling at either 35 mph or 65 mph-the latter possibly in the fast lane
of an interstate where 50-ton semis running 90 mph can crush compacts
like beer cans.
This brings up an undiscussed issue: At some point, all these hybrid
batteries will die and have to be disposed of somewhere, somehow. These
are hardly biodegradable items like spoiled vegetables. They are in fact
self-contained toxic waste dumps. How and where millions of these
poisonous boxes will be deposited in the new hybrid nirvana has yet to
be considered, much less resolved.
And speaking of the environmental component (the glamour issue centered
on the brave new world of hybrids), a number of EMT and fire crews have
announced that they will refuse to rescue victims trapped in such
vehicles, openly fearing electrocution or fatal acid burns.
As with the now-defunct electric-car miracle, where it was quickly
realized that the national power grid could not energize millions of
vehicles without massive expansion of horrors-nuclear generation-the
dark side of the hybrid miracle is now beginning to surface.
Says a dealer friend whose immense franchise network includes several
brands offering hybrids: "There is no advantage to owning a hybrid in
terms of fuel mileage when the extra cost of the vehicle is added in.
Period. Do the math. This is a feel-good purchase. Hybrids are a
statement about the environment, and they simply do not square with
"The truth is, although the Prius is selling like mad, hybrid Honda
Accords and Civics are backed up on dealer lots. Why? Because they look
like conventional Hondas, whereas the Prius has unique styling. It has
an iconic status among the Greenies. Like it or not, that's real life."
Until hybrids become economically feasible in terms of cost,
reliability, and valid fuel savings and make real sense regarding
performance and disposability, we're going to be driving conventional
internal-combustion-powered vehicles-either gas or diesel -until rogue
asteroids clean us all out.
"Sometimes, when you're up to your butt in alligators, it's hard to
remember that the intial objective was to drain the swamp."
~ Unknown ~