Hybrids - Toyota vs Honda

Page 1 of 6  
Excerpts from http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/05_46/b3959057.htm
While the Toyota Prius sells in eight days, the Honda Accord hybrid
takes some two months to exit the lot. The Honda Civic hybrid is no Prius either - it takes 36 days to move.
Clearly, the Prius's conspicuous display of uber-greenness is key to its success. But it also features a radically new driving experience. It's quite a thrill to hit the accelerator and slip along in near silence.
Not so for Honda hybrids. Because the gasoline engine is working most of the time - getting an electrical boost during acceleration - it drives much like a regular car. Honda says its technology is fuel efficient and cheaper, but that may not be enough to wow drivers.
***************************************************
Drawing on my fine command of the English language, I said nothing.
...Robert Benchley
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
: Honda says its technology is fuel : efficient and cheaper, but that may not be enough to wow drivers.
Honda missed the point.
Their hybrid just too ugly - and the blame falls partly on that funky looking, fender-covered thing they tried to peddle (the Insight??).
Mack
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

That may be true for the Insight, but the Civic and Accord Hybrids look just like regular Accords and Civics.
Persoanlly, I think the Toyota system is superior, although I remain unconvinced that I really care that much about hybrids in general. However, I think the size of the Prius, and the very positive press are major factors contributing to it sales sucess. Also the distinctive, if unual styling lets the world know that the driver really cares about the environment. The enviromentalist driving a Civic Hybrid might not get noticed....
Insight (CVT) - 57 City / 56 Hwy / 56 combined Insight (manual) - 60 City / 66 Hwy / 63 combined Civic Hybrid - 49 City / 51 Hwy / 50 combined Prius - 60 City / 51 Highway / 55 combined Accord Hybrid (2005) - 29 City / 37 Hwy / 32 combined Ford Escape (FWD) - 36 City / 31 Hwy / 33 combined Toyota Highlander Hybrid (FWD) - 33 City / 28 Hwy / 30 combined Toyota Camry (4 cylinder, 5 sp manual) - 24 City / 34 Hwy / 28 combined
Ed
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Perhaps they don't want to stand out as not being a very astute buyer who fell for the hybrid hype? ;)
mike hunt

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I suppose the reason is the Civic buyer can get a better perspective on the premium price one must pay to buy a hybrid when looking at the came car with the different power plants. That premium will buy nearly ALL of the fuel for a conventional powered Civic. In the case of the Prius most buyers do not think to compare it to the Corolla for size, price, and fuel mileage. To say nothing of the fact dealers never mention the huge battery replacement cost somewhere down the line.
mike hunt

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Fri, 4 Nov 2005 15:41:31 -0500, "Mike Hunter"

You know, I've heard this comment about battery life and huge battery replacement cost before. So I'm curious, just how long is the life expectancy of a hybrid battery? Would that mean that the resale value of a used hybrid would drop faster with time than a similar model non-hybrid?
CD
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Cranky Dude wrote:

It is a good question and one which I suspect the car makers know the answer to, but are keeping quiet about. The battery technology being used is a larger implemenation of the same rechargeable battery types already deployed in laptops, cordless power tools, digital cameras, cell phone and the like. I have had more laptop batteries totally fail to take a charge than I would care to think about. They typically work great at first, but months or years down the line need to be replaced at a high cost.
With cordless power tools (drills, etc.) it is often cheaper to buy a whole new one than it is to replace the power packs. Typically a couple of years of moderate use is all it takes for those battery packs to be worthless.
Lithium batteries, for example, are generally rated for 300-500 charge-discharge cycles before being useless. Typically as the number of cycles adds up, the capacity deteriorates.
See: http://www.batteryuniversity.com/parttwo-34.htm
Nicad batteries are generally considered usefull for around 700 carefully managed cycles.
See: http://www.directron.com/batteryterms.html
I believe that the Prius and other presently available hybrids use Nicad for this longer cycle life, even though Lithium batteries offer a higher power density.
There are no 5-10 year old Nicad laden cars on the road right now, so only time will tell. My guess is that somewhere around 2009-2010 there are going to be a bunch of surprised and angry customers, many of them the second owners of these vehicles.
John
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

A google search using hybrid battery replacement reveals much. The consensus of many critics seems to be that hybrids, for the price, are not yet cost effective and are now just a "feel good" car for well off tree huggers.
nb
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

The hybrids have never been cost effective, pretty much everyone agrees on that.
==================== Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions.
...G.K. Chesterton
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

The Prius does not use NiCads. It uses nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) batteries. And the Prius system only discharges htem to about 80% of capacity. These batteries have very good life, and the limited dicharge enhances this further. I believe that in normal usage, you can expect the battery to last 150,000-200,000 miles.
http://www.peve.panasonic.co.jp/catalog/e_kaku.html http://www.eng-tips.com/viewthread.cfm?qid 5399&page=1 http://www.lubbockautos.com/autonews/toyota/062204.shtml
Ed
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
No matter how one choose to spin it, the Prius will need a new battery pack at some point in its life and the cost at that time will be so high, in comparison to the value of the vehicle, that its value with spent batteries will by virtually nothing. Who is going to foolish enough to replace a $4,000 battery pack in a $4,000 vehicle?
mike hunt

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I don't think that is a safe conclusion at all. With a number of Prius approaching the 200K mile and 5 year mark, there have been few enough outright battery failures that validating them is difficult (obvious hoaxes are common). It is more likely as Toyota indicates; most will never need a replacement battery. If somebody does need one, used batteries are often offered for $400-$1000 US on ebay, courtesy of road accidents. To test the battery, the multi-function display includes a diagnostic screen that reports individual cell health (one of those secret sequence things) and the cells are individually replaceable.
Every vehicle dies of something. I've scrapped a Mercury Capri because it needed a new driveshaft (integral u-joints!) and the price was over $200. To assume HV batteries will be the death of most hybrids is quite a stretch, especially given their track record.
Mike
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
     snipped-for-privacy@cybertrails.com "Michael Pardee" writes:

Can you pass on the sequence, please? I'd love to have it handy for my UK-spec T4 Prius (new Aug 2005), for occasional checking.
More generally: there are so many ignorant people, ready to make sweeping and ignorant statements about hybrids that I've learned to disregard them, or (for fun) pick out the weasel-phrases used to insure against contradiction. The bleeding things work, now. I am assuming Toyota (with Honda, and whoever else undertakes to manufacture advanced vehicles) do accelerated life testing &c &c with a view to ensuring customers don't get mightily cheesed off before they've had value for money. Time, not ignorant opinion, will tell.
FWIW my Toyota dealer tells me today that the UK price for a new main Prius battery (w/o labour charges or taxes) is GBP 1321.35, which I hope helps to focus the discussion. (Side note: earlier this year I posted a substantially lower price, also supplied by my dealer; but I think he must have misunderstood the question.) I would expect this price to fall as design refinements are made and production ramps up -- what to, who knows.
--
Andrew Stephenson


Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@deltrak.demon.co.uk (Andrew Stephenson) wrote:

But what problems do they solve, and what other solutions are there for the same problems?
They solve exactly one problem: recapturing braking energy to re-use on acceleration. There's only one place where that works: city driving.
The requirement for braking came from the burning of petrol to create acceleration in the first place. Must we burn petrol to create the acceleration? Can anything else solve that problem?
They're also more expensive to make and to buy. That's a problem in and of itself. If we're trying to save on petrol, can we use any other motive source for acceleration?
If so, can that other motive source be purchased cheaper than the hybrid?
For example: can a diesel engine solve the problem better/cheaper/more reliably than a hybrid?
Can I run a diesel and spend less money, or no more than the same money, as a hybrid? Let's say I spend the exact same amount of money per mile to motivate the diesel as the hybrid. Now it comes down to maintenance and reliability. Is the diesel cheaper or more expensive to maintain? What about the reliability--can I get the diesel fixed cheaper? What happens when I go out in the country somewhere--can I rely on the magic black box of software that the hybrid depends upon, or will a diesel be more reliable because it doesn't depend on a computer just to run?
There are so many questions to ask yourself once you dig down.
I prize reliability and simplicity. The Toyota hybrid fails the simplicity test horribly, the Honda hybrid much less so, the diesel virtually not at all.
And frankly, it's all about MY pocketbook. Which one, over 200K miles, cost me the least out of pocket to buy, maintain, repair, and insure?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
You forgot one very impotent part of that equation....REPLACEMENT cost. The hybrids, all of them, cost more to buy than conventionally power vehicles of the same size and equipment. They will cost more to replace as well. Especially if the batteries are depleted. The fact is the premium one pays to acquire a hybrid will generally buy ALL of the fuel, used by a comparable conventionally power vehicle, for three to four years. For the average new car buyer in the US that replaces their new vehicle with another new vehicle in three to four years that can mean all of the fuel for as long as they generally own their vehicles. Personally I hope more buyers choose hybrids to save the planet, that will stretch the supply of fuel for those of use that prefer high powered, safer, large vehicles. The only problem I see is if the consumption of fuel, in total, is going down the price of fuel will rise for those that have trouble buying fuel at todays prices evn for hybrid owners. ;)
mike
"Elmo P. Shagnasty" > And frankly, it's all about MY pocketbook. Which one, over 200K miles,

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Probably closer to 8 years, the life expectency of a hybrid battery pack.

Or longer.

I'm not. It's a diversion from hydrogen technology. Besides, battery production is an incredibly toxic industry. Your trading one plague for another.
nb
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
hybrids don't just work by capturing braking energy.
They run a more fuel efficient cycle with a longer expansion stroke. The Miller/Atkinson cycle. They can do this because acceleration is supplemented by the battery. They also have a smaller engine b/c it can use batteries to accelerate.
By using the Miller cycle they get a higher % of energy out of the gas and into the drivetrain.
It's very ingenious.
Hydrogen is probably never going to "be here". You need a fuel source to get hydrogen. Hydrogen is very hard to transport (harder than natural gas which is difficult enough) and there are no cheap "fuel cells". The advantages of a liquid fuel are great.
I think the next step is using a smaller gas engine and a larger/cheaper battery that you can plug in. You could plug it in for an hour a night and that would take you maybe 30-40 miles. On longer trips and under acceleration the gas engine would turn on. That way you'd be replacing gas with electricity, which can come from nuclear/coal/wind whatever.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Regenerative braking is very far down on the list of values in hybridization. The essential purpose is to use the primary power source more efficiently. Putting a 240 hp engine in a passenger car to cruise around town at 35 mph is extremely inefficient. Using a 50 hp engine to do that is far more efficient, but responsiveness suffers badly. We are in the infancy of hybridization now, but as the power technology advances a 50 hp hybrid can be more efficient than a 50 hp conventional car and provide better responsiveness than a 240 hp conventional car. The difference is made up by stored electric power.
In actuality, a car would have to be pretty small to warrant only a 50 hp engine. The design becomes straightforward, though. The power necessary to climb a 6% grade at the prevailing maximum speed (75 mph in the US) at maximum gross weight is exactly the engine power needed. For a mid-size car that is in the 100 hp range, maybe slightly less.
The side effects of running the engine at higher power levels are valuable, too. Hybridization increasingly separates the engine from the driver control, so there are no issues with suddenly mashing the accelerator. Emissions are much easier to control as the engine comes under computer control.
I can understand why there isn't a lot of enthusiasm for the current generation of hybrids. Not only do they have a limited track record, the level of hybridization is not enough to knock anybody's socks off. (Well, mostly not. See Honda's DualNote http://world.honda.com/Tokyo2001/auto/DUALNOTE/ for a glimpse of what is possible.)
Mike
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Michael Pardee wrote:

One problem with that is the fact that the stored electric power eventually runs down. It would not be fun to be in the passing lane on a long uphill section of road going around a vehicle only to discover that your battery storage has just been exhausted and that the available torque is suddenly reduced 50%. Yikes!
One thing hybrids bring into the equation is a significant depenence on near term prior history to a degree which conventional engines do not.
John
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

It's all a matter of design. In your example, a properly designed hybrid will not run out of passing power because the engine power was enough to maintain full legal speed, while passing power is available because it was not needed to reach the cruising speed. A major reason multi-hundred horsepower engines are used in passenger cars today is to provide that margin, in spite of the economy penalty the vast majority of the time.
Even in the previous generation Prius - the one we have - our battery has never dropped to "empty" (actually something like 50% charge) although we live at 7000 feet and have made trips with ful load to Washington state and the LA area. I've never heard anybody complain about that happening, either. It just isn't a problem.
Mike
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

    Motorsforum.com is a website by car enthusiasts for car enthusiasts. It is not affiliated with any of the car or spare part manufacturers or car dealers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.