"There was an article a few months ago in the Canadian motor club
trumpeting the virtues of the Toyota Prius hybrid. There are several
used in Victoria, British Columbia, and the savings in fuel over a year
added up to CDN$500 compared with a 'standard' taxi (Ford Crown Vic??
didn't say). Think about it. In conditions absolutely ideal for the
technology, 24hrs a day of stop and go city traffic, the saving over a
was $500 (`0 litres of fuel give or take). How many litres worth of
petroleum did it take to refine the several pounds of Cobalt in the
battery?. How many non-hybrid cars did Toyota have to sell to make up
couple thousand dollars of loss per Prius? Between 1/2 and 3/4 of the
life-cycle energy cost of an automobile are used up in it's
How long does a Prius last? As long as a Crown Vic or Lincoln Town Car?
I don't know, I'm just askin'.
John M., Sceptic
'94 E320 "
This article is full of half-truths and distortions. For example, they
acknowledge that the test drivers changed their driving habits in terms
of acceleration and braking because they were driving a hybrid. Well,
if you take any car and accelerate/brake intelligently, that alone will
improve fuel economy. Then they say that fuel savings were $500 per
year for a taxi compared to the taxi fleet average. That isn't very
impressive and could be very misleading. For one thing, taxis rack up
a hell of a lot of miles compared to the typical car. Second, what
were the taxi fleet's other cars? If you're comparing a small hybrid
to more roomy, heavier taxis, then a good deal of the $500 savings has
nothing to do with the hybrid technology.
Later in the article they say the hybrid is rated at $500 less in
annual fuel consumption tests compared to average. But, again, what is
average based on? It likely also includes a lot of bigger, heavier
passenger cars, so again the savings are only partly due to hybrid
technology. And they point out that this is based on lab tests, not
actual usage. They also say the drivers doing actual road tests for
the report got 43MPG highway, 40 city which is pretty close to that of
a diesel like the VW Jetta.
Most interesting of all is how they completely ignore discussing any
maintenance issues. And they proceed to claim that hybrids are not
just for early adopters. They cite the taxi company doing tests and
considering using them in their fleet. The operative word here is
"considering." That actually sounds exactly like the early adopter
phase to me. What would be a good and fair comparison would be to
look at fuel savings and maintenance cost of hybrids against cars with
similar weight, passenger room and performance.