To keep pace with M-Benz they'll offer a V-8. They could shut off
cylinders 4-6-8 style (as they do with the Accord V-6) for economy operation
or hybridize a V-8 with electric motors/batts for urban use or build a V-8
multi-fuel diesel. Given the "weight" of all modern cars (they'd rather
talk about airbags, safety, luxury) a V-8 isn't rediculous. I preferred the
late Mr. Honda's philosophy: 4-cylinders and a low belt-line but that's not
exactly what the public seems to want. However, a V-8 is quite smooth.
having had the 1st gen Legend coupe, and now with the 2nd gen Legend coupe,
I can imagine its a marketing thing, people would say,"...I can get a Lexus
with a V8 instead of a V6 Acura". But if Honda can pull off a torquey and
efficient 8, good on them. It would have to be an option cause the timing is
not good with gas prices nowadays, or forever. And they even have more
reason to, Toyo/Lex just came out with their hybrid GS.
Hybrid is total bullshit. It is not that much more efficient, and the
toll that the batteries put on the environment is stagering. Plus, who
wants to pay an extra $10,000 every 5 years for new batteries?
"I refuse to answer that question on the grounds
that I don't know the answer."
You know for a fact that owners of the original Prius are replacing
their batteries? For $10K?
In fact, they are not. Not replacing batteries and Toyota is not
While I agree that hybrids don't appear to make economic sense, there's
no need to exaggerate their maintenance costs. However, the 2007 Camry
Hybrid, if it is priced at $25K, might make me change my mind.
Re. V8 in a TL: well few expected Honda to go with a turbo 4 (see Acura
RDX) so a very small displacement V8 shouldn't come as a complete
shock. Formula 1 rules have changed to a 2.4 L V8 turbo configuration,
I think this topic has been beaten to death a few times.
Toyota warrants their batteries for 8 years/100K miles (10 yrs/150K in about
a dozen states). One of the regulars in the Yahoo Prius forum recently had
his battery replaced under warranty (the third replacement we know of among
the 11,000 members) and the amount backcharged to Toyota was a shade over
$1100 US. The group founder has over 190K miles on his 2001 Prius and no
sign of battery trouble. Most of the dire predictions I heard when we bought
the car three years ago were for replacing every three years, and the time
span has stretched as the predictions have not come true. Since there were
15,556 Prius cars sold in the US in calendar year 2001 and battery
replacements have been extremely rare so far it appears the 5 year
prediction can be retired. Toyota says the design life is 12 - 15 years, and
the reliability so far bears that out.
Toyota includes a $200 US deposit in the price of the batteries, and the
recycling costs are prepaid the same way.
For efficiency, our 2002 gets real-world mid to upper 40s mpg in town
depending on temperature... about twice what our daughter gets with her 1993
Accord. The current generation is about 15% more efficient than our 2002.
There is no magic to hybrids. The pick-up some efficiency by converting
what would otherwise be wasted energy, that is the heat from the brakes,
into energy that can be stored, i.e. electricty that is stored in the
batteries. But the gain in only marginal and only applies to driving that
involves a lot of braking, i.e. city driving. On the highway, there is
very little, if any, efficiency gain from a hybrid. The new SUV hybrids
prove this. The reason the Prius gets such good mileage is primarily due
to the fact that it is an extremely small, very light and very
aerodynamic car. Put a pure gas engine in that car and it would still be
an mpg winner.
Regenerative braking is a very minor advantage of hybrids; Toyota says "up
to 30%" of the braking energy can be used for offsetting fuel consumption.
That just isn't significant except for recovering the effect of hills. It
sure does save the brakes for no additional cost, though.
The greatest part of the hybrid advantage is the ability to avoid running
the engine in extremely low efficiency modes, such as in-town driving. Using
a 200 hp engine to move a five passenger car through town is ridiculous, but
there wasn't much we could do about it until recently. The technology just
A lesser (for now) part is related to the same thing. Since hybrid systems
provide additional power for acceleration, the engine size can be reduced.
Ideally, the engine in a passenger car should be just the power needed to
maintain maximum posted speed on the maximum upgrade with full rated vehicle
weight. Sizing an engine that way would make for terrible throttle response
without the assist hybrid systems provide. For example, our 2002 Prius has
only something like 70 hp from the 1.6 L engine, but is much more responsive
around town than our turbo Volvo. Here at 7000 ft the Volvo, always a dog
until the turbo gets its mojo going, struggles to get rolling. The Prius
uses the electrics, which are unaffected by altitude, to launch it off the
line. Once the Volvo's turbo gets spooled up the tables are turned, but in
everyday driving the hybrid is the easy winner for responsiveness. My
daughter's '93 Accord is almost as responsive as the Prius at sea level, but
Hybridization is in its infancy. Many of the "hybrids" on the road are
scarcely worthy of the designation. Yes, the Accord Hybrid is one of those
pretenders. Only the Toyota system today makes the engine a resource of the
hybrid system computer (you can put a brick on the accelerator with the car
in park). There are no serial hybrids - the engine only used to maintain
charge on the batteries - for sale yet, but the technology is a holy grail
for car makers who hope to dominate the industry in the 21st century.
For now, cars with conventional power trains can compete on the basis of
acceleration performance... but that won't last much longer.
http://world.honda.com/Tokyo2001/auto/DUALNOTE/ (42 mpg in tests)
http://www.toyota.com/vehicles/future/volta.html (31 mpg in tests)
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