NY TIMES: Comparison of Toyota & Honda Hybrids

This doesn't belong here, because it's not relevant and so neverminddddd, though I gotta a feeling that a certain adaptive Korean car manufacturer is duly interested.
My information & perception currently is that Toyota has control of hybrid patents, and Hyundai therefore couldn't bring-out a relatively inexpensive hybrid, because Toyota wouldn't cut its own throat.
But if Hyundai could bring-one out for $10,000 less or whatever, there would seemingly be a significant lessening of oil demand for awhile (several years).
And when China does ditto, then...nirvana.
And so, if I were the presiding politico, I'd use my influence/talent/finesse to encourage Toyota to consider the public interest, perhaps by lubricating Toyota with contracts/concessions/advantages so its stockholders would eagerly cooperate.
A la Toyota makes U.S. mailsters & other government trucks & heaps so long as Toyota licenses its patents reasonably/cheaply/cost-effectively to its world competitors.
Any constructive ideas are welcome, because massive distribution of hybrid technology is not unimportant in war 'n peace.
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http://www.nytimes.com/2006/04/02/automobiles/02AUTO.html?_r=1&oref=slogin
Behind the Wheel Honda Accord and Toyota Camry: Hybrids for Ozzie and Harriet
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By JIM MOTAVALLI Published: April 2, 2006 RELIABLE, practical and popular, the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry are as mainstream as white bread and as exciting as mom's meatloaf. But hybrid technology has transformed versions of these family cars from conservative appliances into cutting-edge green machines.
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2006 Honda Accord hybrid
The Quest for a Plugged-In Prius
2007 Toyota Camry hybrid Having redesigned the Camry for 2007, Toyota joins Honda in offering a midsize sedan with a hybrid gas-electric powertrain. Honda, meanwhile, has freshened and mildly restyled its Accords, including the hybrid.
While both cars wear hybrid labels, Toyota's approach is markedly different.
The Accord was the first hybrid built around a V-6 gasoline engine, and it has emphasized performance over economy - as have the Toyota Highlander Hybrid and Lexus RX 400h that came later, also with V-6's. But in the Camry Hybrid, Toyota uses a four-cylinder engine, which it paired with an electric motor more powerful than Honda's. The Camry can be expected to attain significantly higher mileage, especially in city traffic.
The Accord Hybrid arrived in late 2004. While it carried a fuel economy rating of 29 m.p.g. in town and 37 on the highway - respectable but hardly breathtaking - it was also quicker than the conventional Accord with a V-6. The hybrid's 3-liter engine produced 240 horsepower, plus 16 from the electric motor. (The horsepower figure has since been revised to a total of 253 because of a shift in how the number is calculated.) Half of the cylinders shut down when power demand is low (below 3,500 rpm), turning the 6 into a 3.
At a price of $29,990, the original Accord Hybrid cost some $3,500 more than the similarly equipped EX V-6 model. It lacked both a spare tire - there was an air compressor and a can of sealant instead - and a sunroof, both sacrificed to save weight. While Honda expected to sell 20,000 a year, cumulative 15-month sales through February totaled just 19,021.
For 2006, the improved Accord Hybrid added the moonroof and a temporary spare - and gained 85 pounds. That pushed the car into a higher weight class for E.P.A. testing and reduced the mileage rating to 25/34. In the real world, an owner is unlikely to notice the drop, since new underbody panels make the car more aerodynamic.
Other additions include a standard electronic stability control, L.E.D. taillights, a rear spoiler, new alloy wheels and heated outside mirrors with built-in turn signals. The price is now $31,540 including shipping - or $33,540 with a navigation system.
The Accord Hybrid uses its small electric motor mostly for added boost, but the Camry actually runs on batteries alone at low speeds. Toyota's approach is different in other ways, too. Instead of a sizable V-6, it has a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine rated at 147 horsepower. But the Camry's electric motor contributes more than the Accord's.
The Camry reaches 60 m.p.h. in 8.9 seconds, a decent showing that nonetheless pales before the zippy Accord's 6.9 seconds.
Last week, Toyota announced that Camry Hybrid prices would start at $26,480, giving the car a $5,000 edge over the Accord.
The Accord comes loaded - a navigation system is one of the few options - and the Camry Hybrid is nearly as well equipped as the similarly priced top-of-the-line XLE, from its Bluetooth-compatible audio system (which includes a six-CD changer and can also play your MP3 files and dock your iPod) to its dual-zone climate control. The Accord throws in the sunroof and leather upholstery. The Camry counters with a split folding rear seat - a neat trick, considering how much of the trunk was sacrificed to accommodate the battery pack (30 percent, versus 18 percent in the Accord).
The Camry's economy edge is significant, with an E.P.A. rating of 40 m.p.g. in the city and 38 on the highway. According to the trip computer, my performance varied: I drove the Camry 269 mostly highway miles, achieving a "personal best" of 39.3 m.p.g. and an average of 31.7. By happenstance, I was the first journalist in the Northeast to drive both the Camry Hybrid and the freshened Accord Hybrid. The Accord test car came with only 125 miles on the odometer, and that may account for my poor indicated mileage: in 192 miles of mixed driving, I averaged 20.8 m.p.g. On a second tank of gas, it did much better, achieving 28 m.p.g.
While Honda's Integrated Motor Assist system emphasizes performance, Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive stresses economy. Yet on the road, the cars are not as different as those labels might indicate.
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Honda Accord and Toyota Camry: Hybrids for Ozzie and Harriet
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Published: April 2, 2006 (Page 2 of 2)
The Accord is moderately luxurious inside. A green "Eco" light indicates economy of 25 m.p.g. or more, usually a sign that three cylinders have shut down. The Honda's acceleration edge is obvious, and the extra power will bring out your inner Mario Andretti. The switch from six to three cylinders and back is nearly imperceptible; the slightly rougher engine note is, in fact, masked by the Accord's ingenious noise-canceling technology and "active" engine mounts, which anticipate and counter vibration.
Skip to next paragraph The Quest for a Plugged-In Prius The Honda's ride is stiffer, which should help it handle the extra power. Big bumps can jar its composure.
The Camry handles better than the Accord, with pin-sharp, well-weighted steering and a suspension that absorbs rough terrain without allowing much body lean. It also has slightly more rear leg and shoulder room.
While the Camry feels spacious, it is smaller in some measures of headroom, legroom and cargo volume than the less expensive Prius.
Both the Camry and Accord are emissions champs, scoring as AT-PZEV's ("advanced technology partial zero emission vehicles") under California's arcane rating system. The only cars that are cleaner are those that run on batteries alone.
Toyota also has an edge in styling with the fresher, sleeker look it shares with all '07 Camrys.
Toyota really wants you to know you're in a hybrid. A huge real-time fuel consumption gauge sits where you'd expect a tachometer to be. Set into the speedometer is a graphic display, carried over from the Prius, in which arrows show whether the car is running on its gas engine, its electric motor or both.
An "Eco" button uses several subterfuges, like limiting energy used by the air-conditioner, to enable greater use of the "auto stop" feature that shuts off the gas engine at stoplights.
The Camry that I drove was a preproduction car that came with a note stating that it might not meet factory standards. So my 9-year-old took it in stride when an inside door handle came off in her hands.
But even with parts falling off, the Camry won handily over the Accord, in my view. Still, both are good cars. Are they also good values when compared with conventional vehicles?
Consumer Reports dropped a bomb in its April auto issue by predicting that none of the six hybrids it tested would recover their price premiums within five years of ownership. The magazine did not test the Camry Hybrid, but said the Accord Hybrid would cost a whopping $10,250 more to own over five years than a comparable EX model, and the Prius would cost $5,250 more to own than a Corolla LE.
A few days after the magazine reached subscribers, however, the editors announced that they had overstated the hybrids' depreciation costs, and they revised the figures. Now, provided the Prius could qualify for federal tax credits, the magazine said it would actually save its owner $406 over five years. The Accord owner would still be in the hole, but for $4,263 instead of $10,250.
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Not by as much as you think though.
Increasing the MPG reduces the cost of driving per mile driven.
Therefore, if more people drove hybrids, they would drive more miles as well.
The net effect on quantity of gas demanded is not clear.
Sinan
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wrote:

Not to mention that it probably takes many extra barrels of oil to produce the extra batteries, electronics, and motors on a hybrid.
I heard somewhere that hybrids will never pay the average driver back. If you keep it long enough to pay off the hybrid features, the battery goes bad. Needless to say, that is no cheap battery to replace!
I guess hybrids are "feel good" cars right now, but when gas goes up to $10 a gallon, they will help a lot. :)
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Bob Adkins wrote:

Consumer Reports just recently made such an analysis of several different vehicles that have both a conventional and hybrid version. You are right in that from an purely economic perspective, hybrids are a fools play.
Matt
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wrote:

See http://hybridcars.about.com/od/toyotaprius/fr/2005toyotaprius.htm
I am amazed with the popularity of the Prius. It is a bit of a gimmick. My '03 Accent was $10K and averages about 34mpg. According to the review above, a Prius runs over$20K and averages 48mpg.
A not terribly scientific crunching of some numbers:
Accent: $10K for car
Gas to go 100,000 miles @34mpg: 2,940 gallons of gas @ $2.50/gallon (what I paid today in the Boston suburbs): $7,350
Total: $17,350
Prius $24K (according to edmunds.com
Gas to go 100,000 miles @ 48mpg: 2,080 gallons of gas @ $2.50: $5,200
Total: $29,200
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[original post is likely clipped to save bandwidth]

get charged (the energy benefit part) by electronic breaking. Hit the highway and the batteries add no benefit.
How about 69 mpg in a non hybrid?
http://www.greencarcongress.com/2005/10/vw_introduces_t.html
gerry
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Nice car! Sort of like a Miata on steroids.
Ya, if you are willing to forego size, comfort, and options, it's very easy to get 64mpg. :)
Engine technology/efficiency has pretty much hit a wall. VW takes up the next challenge with that concept car, which is to reduce weight. If my V6 Sonata weighed only 1800 pound, LOOK OUT!!! :)
A good breakthrough would be high MPG rotary or turbine engines. A turbine engine the size of a basketball and weighing under 100 pounds can easily put out 250 HP. Problem is, it would get about 5 MPG. :)
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gerry wrote:

A hybrid does give some benefit on the highway as they can get by with a smaller gasoline engine since the electric motor is there to back it up when greater acceleration is needed, but the benefit certainly is much less relative to the benefit in the city. Probably the greatest benefit of hybrids is the learning they will provide with respect to energy storage and engine control systems that will be needed some day for all electric cars.
Matt
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Bingo! The knowledge and experience is priceless!
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Robert Cohen wrote:

Considering that both manufacturers claim to be losing money on every hybrid them build, it would actually be more profitable for them to license the technology to someone else.

Not really, for several reasons:
- Hybrids aren't that much more effient, especially on the highway.
- They will probably always be more expensive than comparable gas or diesel cars, which limits their sales and makes the savings largely illusory.
- Battery life is still a major question.
- Disposal costs will be high, which means you may actually have to pay someone to take your car when it's worn out.

Why. Hybrids are really nothing but a stop-gap, not a long-term solution. What we need is cars that don't run on fossil fuels or other pollution producing fuels. Ideally, that fuel source would be cheaper than gasoline, so it will appeal to the huge emerging markets in India and China and help prevent the looming environmental disaster in those countries (and worldwide) as they burn more and more fossil fuels.
If you're going to make a long-term investment, it makes more sense to put your money into alternative technologies.

That's a nice idea, but the reality is that hybrids are a technological dead-end.
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On Sat, 01 Apr 2006 19:59:29 GMT, Brian Nystrom

Partly - it's getting real info on using electric cars and getting the public trainied to think about them. Replace the IC engine with a fuel cell and we may have something worth looking at.
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[original post is likely clipped to save bandwidth]
wrote:

Fuel cells have an issue even if they solve problems with the cells themselves.
The cost of "fuel" is also an issue. Either limited supply of, say with hydrogen, where is the electricity coming from to produce the hydrogen?
I really get a kick out of the claims that hydrogen cars are pollution free. The pollution is just relocated, say to a coal burning electric plant. Same is true with electric cars!
gerry
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gerry wrote:

Very true. Unless we can find an economical way to use solar, wind or wave energy to produce the electricity required to produce the hydrogen, fuel cell powered cars simply relocate the problem.
Matt
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I can see more nukes and coal in our future.
Actually, coal fired plants can be clean as a whistle. All the scrubbing and such may cost 1 or 2% efficiency, but it's still much cheaper than oil.
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re: air car
Apparently, the thing functions mainly by compressed air.
Nothing much has been publicized about it since it was brought-out during the past two years or so en France.
I presume ..it's a bust (as in balloon); though one may infinitely fantasize nevertheless.
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