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mrohssler
07-20-2008, 03:52 PM
Hi, Just wanted to update you. I finally made the trip up the auto road in my Highlander Hybrid. Went great. Was nimble and sure footed on the way up. Was a little worried about the descent with the cvt. I put it in the B mode and I only had to touch the brakes maybe 5 times on the way down, just crawled along without touching the gas. Was pleasently supprised. When we got to the bottom the battery level indicator was pegged on full. Only time I have seen that. Also on the ascent I still got 25 mpg. Anyone one with a toyota hybrid should go for the ride. It was great.

Brad
07-20-2008, 06:24 PM
Every time I think about a new car I keep on getting steered (by my son) towards the Highlander Hybrid. It does seem like a nice car and this report is excellent. Thanks.

h2oeco
07-20-2008, 06:28 PM
I've had a Highlander Hybrid for about two years now, and like it a lot. No problems, even pulling a boat from NJ to FL. Haven't had it in mountains much, but has done fine on/in snow, ice, dirt roads, etc. in VT and NH.

Ed

Bill O
07-20-2008, 06:52 PM
Every time I think about a new car I keep on getting steered (by my son) towards the Highlander Hybrid. It does seem like a nice car and this report is excellent. Thanks.

Seems like a nice car, just don't buy it to save money on gas...especially if you do a lot of highway miles.

If you drove exclusively on the highway (12,000 miles per year @ $4/gallon) it would take 31.4 years to make up that $5,250 premium you'll pay over the non-hybrid model. I'm guessing the batteries won't last that long.

What if you drive 15,000 miles a year and gas costs $6 per gallon? You're down to 16.8 years to break-even.

Drive in the city? You're in much better shape. With my original numbers you break even in 5 years. My stressed case breaks even in 2.7 years.


Hybrid (city/highway): 27/25
Regular: 17/23

Steve M
07-20-2008, 08:26 PM
Your car must be a chicken if it beaks even.:)

KathyC
07-21-2008, 06:14 AM
I've been thinking about buying a Ford Escape Hybrid at the end of the year.

donnellyvj
07-21-2008, 09:31 AM
How about a A MINI COOPER? Base is 18,700 and you can get up to 44 MPG highway. I sold Ford's for three years. The Escape Hybrid is nice but, like Bill said only buy it for the Green reasons and not to save $$$ on gas. I sell MINI's now and they are a ton of fun.... One question about hybrids. What are they going to do with all of these huge batteries when these car are dead? Anyone.....:confused:

Mike D
07-21-2008, 10:40 AM
What are they going to do with all of these huge batteries when these car are dead? Anyone.....:confused:

Toyota will take the batteries back, probably to be dismantled and reused. I don't know about the other companies.

Bill O
07-21-2008, 10:57 AM
The Escape Hybrid is nice but, like Bill said only buy it for the Green reasons and not to save $$$ on gas.

Finally, somebody else can also see the light.

Mike D
07-21-2008, 11:04 AM
Finally, somebody else can also see the light.

If no one had purchased a VHS recorder in 1980, we would not have had the technological progression that brought us DVDs and Blu-Ray today. Buying a hybrid tells car makers that you want them to invest in new technologies, which, in time, will become far more economical and green than today's hybrids. Use your consumer vote!

BlueDog
07-21-2008, 11:15 AM
If no one had purchased a VHS recorder in 1980, we would not have had the technological progression that brought us DVDs and Blu-Ray today. Buying a hybrid tells car makers that you want them to invest in new technologies, which, in time, will become far more economical and green than today's hybrids. Use your consumer vote!

Despite report that the "ashes-to-ashes" effect of a Prius has an overall bigger imprint on the environment than a Hummer H2?

Not taking sides on that debate and I think in a way these high gas prices are a god thing. Its promoting conservancy, and is forcing industry to come up with new technology. Being a big car nut and read news from the automotive industry everyday, this current situation is really gonna hurt the Big 3. They've been too shortsighted and banking on our love of SUVs. E85 is a huge bust.

The Prius type Hybrids were a great idea and they are being credited for starting the revolution. The Europeans are working on some great stuff. BMW has fully working Hydrogen vehicles. Audi is working on some highly efficient Diesel Hybrids.

Personally, I've got a mid-size Audi station wagon (Subaru Outback type package) that I wish got better mileage. I got it since I don't like SUVs. But my next step to reduce can conserve is to go to two wheels. I'll pick up a motorcycle that's getting between 50-60 mpg to commute on, then reserve the family truxster for bad weather days and when I need to haul the kayak/mountain bike/camping/hiking equipment.

Bill O
07-21-2008, 12:30 PM
I have no problem with buying a hybrid to make a statement. Just don't do it to save money. If I was in the market for a new car, it would probably be a Prius. I just think they are cool.

I drove a diesel Citroen in Scotland and got 50-60mpg, and it was a much bigger car than the Prius.

Good, another person who knows how dumb E85 is. Think about this. You can feed 4 people for a year or fill up a car with one tank of ethanol.

BlueDog
07-21-2008, 12:45 PM
Car buyers are making a bigger statement by not buying the big SUVs anymore. Chevy next year is killing the Suburban, Tahoe, Denali, Escolade and all those rebadges. Not just cutting back, but they will no longer be made. Ford's finally lost, after something like 15 years, the all time #1 selling vehicle position with the F-150. They recently announced that they are canning any redesign efforts on the F-Series and all new design efforts on SUVs/Trucks.

But the only one that is really working on anything NEW that the market is demanding is Chevy with the Volt concept. They were saying that they planned on it being out for 2012, but are now rushing it into production to see if they can get it out as a 2010. The battery technology is not up to par and they are pushing forward *hoping* that the batteries will catch up by the time they are ready to produce. Who's willing to buy something that GM rushed into production from concept? Not me.

I think one of the best things to come to market lately is the Smart car. 42 mph on a 3-cyl motor. Next year they will introduce their "hybrid" system that will simply shut the motor down when its not needed (at stop lights, etc), kinda creating a hypermiling effect. Despite their size, they are very crash-worthy and all the body panels are made from recycled material. Its paint is done with powder coating instead of airborn spray, which is much more environmentally friendly.

donnellyvj
07-21-2008, 01:38 PM
I can't see "youtube" at work. Check this out and tell me how you feel about the Smart Car. Yikes.....

www.youtube.com/watch?v=02eghIfyHP0

BlueDog
07-21-2008, 02:14 PM
They don't say what the outcome of that test was. If you look closely, the passenger cabin actually stayed pretty well intact. The windshield even stayed intact.

The flip side to this is kinda what lead us to having all these monster vehicles in the first place. So many people thought that being safe meant having the bigger vehicle in the fight. This ended up bringing us the Ford Excursion.

At least in my area, where its still a good percent rural, we are actually seeing fewer and fewer of these on the road and more smaller cars.

Mike D
07-21-2008, 04:04 PM
I have no problem with buying a hybrid to make a statement. Just don't do it to save money. If I was in the market for a new car, it would probably be a Prius. I just think they are cool.

Consumer Reports did a cost comparison a while back between the hybrids and their regular brethren. As one reader wrote in the next month's issue, the Prius is ~$3500 more than a conventional econobox, but compares better with full-sized family cars like the Camry, which it is closer to in size.



I drove a diesel Citroen in Scotland and got 50-60mpg, and it was a much bigger car than the Prius.

I've heard that deisels put out awful emissions despite their good fuel economy. But I've also heard that diesel is better refined in Europe. Any experts out there?


You can feed 4 people for a year or fill up a car with one tank of ethanol.

Yikes, does this assume an average corn diet or corn for every meal? One company is working on turning factory-discarded animal carcasses into oil. It's not viable yet, but at least it's not taking food out of people's mouths: (2003 link) http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2003/11/1125_031125_turkeyoil.html

BlueDog
07-21-2008, 04:49 PM
I've heard that deisels put out awful emissions despite their good fuel economy. But I've also heard that diesel is better refined in Europe. Any experts out there?

Yes, the diesel fuel they use is Euro is very different than what is available here. Its a much cleaner fuel and provides better performance. (This is one of the reasons why Audi has been able to dominate LeMans endurance racing with a diesel powered race car!)

I know Audi's best, being an owner of two and a big fan. They produce diesel engines that far exceed in cleanliness regular gas engines in terms of tail pipe emissions. They are working on particulate filter for the exhaust that will make them even cleaner. Also in development are diesel hybrids that you'll see available soon in Audi/VW/Porsche.

"The TDI units burn up to 35 percent less fuel than the average of petrol engines typically used in the USA. This means that the TDI can assume an important role in the rapid reduction of CO2 emissions..." >> more (http://media.audiusa.com/article_display.cfm?article_id=9965)

"More dynamism with less and less fuel consumption – Audi is pursuing a consistent strategy to achieve further reductions in emissions. With three concepts that are virtually ready for series production, Audi is using the IAA to present the technology of the near future. The new A4 2.0 TDI e Concept consumes just 4.9 liters of fuel for 100 kilometers, and thus represents a milestone in the sporty middle class. The world's cleanest diesel engine will enter series production in 2008 in the new A4 3.0 TDI with ultra low emission system. The latest generation of hybrid module makes use of the superior parallel hybrid construction and of state-of-the-art technologies such as lithium ion batteries." >> more (http://media.audiusa.com/article_display.cfm?article_id=9946)

Brad
07-21-2008, 06:35 PM
If no one had purchased a VHS recorder in 1980, we would not have had the technological progression that brought us DVDs and Blu-Ray today. Buying a hybrid tells car makers that you want them to invest in new technologies, which, in time, will become far more economical and green than today's hybrids. Use your consumer vote!
That is right. Show you are interested in our environment - join the Mt Washington Observatory. Take your vote where it counts - right to the top.

Bill O
07-21-2008, 08:06 PM
I've heard that deisels put out awful emissions despite their good fuel economy. But I've also heard that diesel is better refined in Europe. Any experts out there?

Yikes, does this assume an average corn diet or corn for every meal? One company is working on turning factory-discarded animal carcasses into oil. It's not viable yet, but at least it's not taking food out of people's mouths: (2003 link) http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2003/11/1125_031125_turkeyoil.html

I don't know the specifics about Euro diesel, but even American diesel has come a long way. All I know is that my car wasn't spewing sooty black smoke like and American tractor trailer. In fact, I didn't see black smoke coming out of any cars over there.

When I heard the corn stat it was meant to imply enough to feed four people for every meal for one year. Not that anybody only eats corn, but the end result is still the same.

Mike D
07-22-2008, 10:41 AM
When I heard the corn stat it was meant to imply enough to feed four people for every meal for one year. Not that anybody only eats corn, but the end result is still the same.

A year's worth of meals, breakfast, lunch and dinner, for four people, in corn is equivalent to ONE tank of E85? Really? I'm incredulous. If that's true, 1) I can't understand why anyone would want to use Ethanol this way (unless Congress is rigged in favor of the agricultural great plains states) and 2) how it could be economical to use so much food to get so little energy in return. Can you cite a study?

Bill O
07-22-2008, 12:29 PM
A year's worth of meals, breakfast, lunch and dinner, for four people, in corn is equivalent to ONE tank of E85? Really? I'm incredulous. If that's true, 1) I can't understand why anyone would want to use Ethanol this way (unless Congress is rigged in favor of the agricultural great plains states) and 2) how it could be economical to use so much food to get so little energy in return. Can you cite a study?

It seems crazy. It was just a passing comment by an "expert" on CNBC one morning. I'm guessing there are some caveats, errors and gross exaggerations.

The take away should be that it takes a lot of corn to make one tank of gas. Its worth doing some searching. Just look up the quantity of corn it takes to make a gallon of ethanol.

On purely a weight basis (assuming 1 pound of corn makes one pound of ethanol) you'd need 240 pounds of corn to fill a 30 gallon tank. Of course, converting corn into ethanol is not anywhere close to that efficient. And that doesn't include the energy needed to grow and transport the crop/fuel.

Mike D
07-22-2008, 03:23 PM
I read in Discover magazine a year or two ago that corn-based ethanol takes 3 units of energy for every 4 units that are created. This is because it takes a great deal of petroleum-based fuel to plant, fertilize, harvest, process, and transport the corn.

Ethanol, like the hybrids I defended above, is a fledgling technology. If, in the end, it will help more than it hurts, I am all for it. I'm not scientifically qualified to draw conclusions. If it takes food out of people's mouths and does not ease us off our global dependence on non-renewable energy, then it is not worth pursuing.

Does the future lie with corn-based ethanol, cellulosic ethanol, hydrogen fuel cells, plugin electrics (with a clean, renewable grid), or chicken guts? If you know the answer to that, please tell us all.

Patrad Fischroy
07-23-2008, 08:16 AM
"Does the future lie with corn-based ethanol, cellulosic ethanol, hydrogen fuel cells, plugin electrics (with a clean, renewable grid), or chicken guts? If you know the answer to that, please tell us all."

Probably none of the above, or all of the above in addition to some other form of energy production/extraction that we are not aware of now. Each of the above has its own positives and drawbacks. In the interim conservation/ increased efficiency, as well as a decrease in the growth rate of the population is, IMO, the only way to go.

Brad
07-23-2008, 08:32 AM
Interesting - I was talking with a friend last night who has a Prius. On a drive from NC to NYC he averaged 52 mpg with the car. The worst he has gotten is 42 mpg. I was very surprised.

Mike D
07-23-2008, 11:59 AM
Toyota plans to manufacture the Prius in America:
http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5gYXm6L25yay9RRQymP7uDxeSsX1g


They may also put solar panels on the roof to assist with air conditioning:
http://www.informationweek.com/blog/main/archives/2008/07/solarpowered_to_1.html

spyboy
07-23-2008, 12:11 PM
You don't have to wait..

Solartec already makes a kit for the Prius (but it looks small with 2 strips for the roof)

http://snipurl.com/33pp7

Solar Electric Vehicles makes a full roof solar panel for the Prius

http://snipurl.com/33ppd

I think they should cover the hood of the car too.

Maybe even run a solar strip across that air spoiler in the back.

Kirk