Skip to comments.Have You Hugged a Hummer Today? (Piercing the Hybrid Hype)
Posted on 07/19/2006 1:33:07 PM PDT by Uncledave
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Hybrids have been in use in the US since 1918. The first application was the diesel electric locomotive.
Early diesel-electrics were switching engines used to move rail cars around in rail yards. The first went into service in 1918 with the Jay Street Connecting Railroad.
No new ideas, just revamped old ideas...
Another interesting aspect of this is that the common platform strategy is one big reason why GM is struggling. They are not making cars people want to buy because there's too little varation between them.
I don't think there's much extra cost to dispose of a Prius or Hummer if we just let them sit in junkyards until they rust away, which seems to be the overall fate of most cars.
However, the point of interest seems to be that if a typical car lasts for 300k miles and the Prius is not economically repairable after 100k miles (presumably the lifespan of the battery pack), that is truly not good.
What this means is that there are probably more than a few Priuses that are being sold on terms that will see the payments continue past the economic life of the vehicle. If you finance a Prius over 5 years - and I've seen six year auto financing available! - you could go only 20k miles a year and the car would be statistically dead before the last payment is made.
So much for cheap lease deals, eh?
(I just bought a 2000 Mercedes S500 to replace my ancient 1991 420SEL. Drives like a dream, is super-fast but I daresay it would be horrible on the writer's scale since it's very complex and uses many exotic materials to keep weight down. So if you really want to anger the envirowackos this might be your best automotive choice - and it averages a touch under 20mpg to boot, not bad compared to a similar-sized SUV. I'm pretty impressed considering my 420 was about 14mpg on a good day.)
By contrast, Prius' life according to Toyota's own numbers is 100,000 miles.
That is false. The Prius battery is warranted for 100,000 miles. Warranties are not "life expectancies", and even an idiot would know that. There are no reports of Prius cars being abandoned yet. The fact that they are being bought by cab companies shows the lie of the above statement -- a cab company wouldn't buy a car that was going to break in 100,000 miles. By contrast with this stupid statement, a Prius cab had gone over 250,000 miles with nothing more than routine maintenance, and then Toyota TOOK THE BATTERY back just to check it out, and found it was not materially degraded.
Furthermore, Hummer is a far less sophisticated vehicle. Its engine obviously does not have an electric and gas component as a hybrid's does so it takes much less time and energy to manufacture.
Last time I looked, a Hummer has a very LARGE engine with twice the pistons and moving parts as a Prius gas engine, a drive train with gears that the Toyota does NOT have, and an "electric component" remarkably like a motor-generator, with a motor that is powerful enough to turn over the engine, and then operate as a generator to charge the battery.
What's more, its main raw ingredient is low-cost steel, not the exotic light-weights that are exceedingly difficult to make and dispose.
The materials used for the Prius are hardly "exotic", theres some high-strength plastics that are recyclable, a lot of aluminum which is recyclable. The Hummer as a LOT MORE raw materials than the Prius.
But the biggest reason why a Hummer's energy use is so low is that it shares many components with other vehicles and therefore its design and development energy costs are spread across many cars.
This is the first I've seen suggested that the "design and development" energy costs are a significant factor in lifetime energy use. How much energy to those computers use? The Prius power train is being reused in several other cars, and believe it or not MANY of the parts in a hybrid car are STANDARD PARTS, like brake pads, tires, door handles, electric windows, steering wheel, etc.
There were many other problems with the article, but that is all I could bear to deal with. Like comparing the "real-world" gas use numbers of a Prius to the artificial EPA numbers for other cars. I'm getting real-world gas mileage in my two Prius cars that are far above what I got in any previous car -- and I really doubt the cars they mention are regularly getting 45+ miles per gallon.
If you don't want a hybrid, don't buy a hybrid
Just adding that a Prius is fun to drive. It's got a lot of zip, and it's quiet.
I don't think anyone should buy a hybrid to save money. If you like the car, you buy it.
We have a Prius. My husband loved it after he test drove it. It handled a lot better than the other cars he drove, and it was quieter. Being a computer geek, he also like the screen and other technologies in the car. Of course, right now he loves that he isn't going to the gas station often.
"The first application was the diesel electric locomotive."
Don't forget the submarines used in both world wars.
funny how everyone re-invents the wheel with existing old ideas.. progress... lol
Unfortunately you are probably right.
New emission standards for diesels this year have forced all but Mercedes-Benz out of the auto-diesel market in the US this year.
As far as GM making the Aveo here, I agree. But Chevy doesn't even build the Colorado pickup....Isuzu does....