Anyone driving a hybrid?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by JamesMor, Aug 29, 2005.

  1. JamesMor

    JamesMor

    325
    Jun 28, 2005
    New York
    I am debating the purchase of a Ford Escape Hybrid. I am concerned about the fuel economy for those who live in the far North. Specifically, at some point in the future, I hope to move out to the Yellowstone area. I am concerned that the batteries used in the cold suffer from the same problems that our camera batteries do...

    Any reports?

    -JM
     
  2. d70john

    d70john Guest

    the vw jetta diesel gets more mpg than the ford,plus if you look in the back it's all battery under the floor.when i went to look at one i asked the salesman if the battery contained the same gases as a normal battery does and it did, not to good to be inhaling if you ever get hit from behind
     
  3. Chris101

    Chris101

    Feb 2, 2005
    Arizona
    No, but my girlfriend has a natural gas vehicle. Their mileage actually goes up as it gets colder, something to do with PV=nRT. There is also a device that alows you to fill it from your municipal gas service. Oh, and it uses zero gas (well, natural gas - methane.)
     
  4. JamesMor

    JamesMor

    325
    Jun 28, 2005
    New York
    "when i went to look at one i asked the salesman if the battery contained the same gases as a normal battery does and it did, not to good to be inhaling if you ever get hit from behind"

    Surely the battery is not contained? What gasses would you be breathing in? As for the Jetta Diesel - yes, I know it gets more mpg, BUT, diesel is an inherently 'dirty' fuel producing more contaminants than gasoline vehicles. Also, the Jetta is rated VERY poorly by Consumer Reports for reliability.

    -JM
     
  5. JamesMor

    JamesMor

    325
    Jun 28, 2005
    New York
    While I am at it...:)

    My concern about Natural Gas vehicles are that there is no place to re-fill them in terms of 'daily life.' I currently live in Manhattan. I have never seen a natural gas facility - though some of the busses are running on natural gas. The other problem, of course, is that once we finally do get ready to move in the future, that I question my ability to get a re-fill while in the parks.

    -JM
     
  6. Ken-L

    Ken-L Guest

    I have a 2006 Prius on order for my wife. I have researched the hybrids quite a bit. The Prius gets the best mileage, hands-down. It is also a well proven system, and it's also hard to argue the durability of Toyotas.

    One disturbing trend that is occurring is that manufacturers are building hybrids as "required" by government regulation, but apparently some of the "newer" hybrids are using the electic motor in conjunction with the gas engine to primarily to work together to produce more power, not economy!
     
  7. Chris101

    Chris101

    Feb 2, 2005
    Arizona
    That is correct James - NGVs are for urban use. In the Phoenix area, I know of only 4 filling stations. Fortunately, Becky has one near her office and one near her home.

    There is a device, which attaches to regular household gas service, using current technology. Unfortunately there is very little demand so they are prohibitively expensive. The NG cars are very clean burning though - the only polutant they emit is CO2 and a little bit (less than hydrogen) of NOx.
     
  8. I think it is nice so many people are thinking about high mileage/low emissions vehicles these days.

    That said, when I drive, it is in a 22 MPG SUV. :rolleyes:

    But I also ride a bicycle or use public transportation when I can. Or ride my motorcycle, which gets about 50 MPG.
     
  9. Hi James and all,
    I have a 2003 Honda Civic Hybrid. I have been very happy with it and when I bought it in 2003, it was (imho) a better choice than the Prius. I think the Prius introduced a better car in 2004 and 2005 and today, If I had it to do over again, I would probably get the Prius, but in any event, I would definitely get a hybrid. Last week I got my California car pool lane exemption stickers, (king of ugly) but, Yeah Baby... I get to use the car pool lane now for work. Very cool.

    With the tax exemption, lower gas mileage, cleaner burning, car pool exemption and high resale due to demand now, I can't see a down side.

    By the way, the real world mileage is not what they advertise. Look for about 40-45 total combined hwy/street mpg. I think Pruis is within just a couple mpg of that also. Civic and Prius get about the same on the freeway, (about 95% of my driving) Prius is quite a bit higher around town for short trips, but short trips don't use much gas. It's the commuting to and from work that really take it's toll on MGP.

    Highly recommend. I doubt that I would get other than the Prius or Honda Civic at this time though. Don't see much advantage to the others since they only get a small bump in MPG.
     
  10. JMartin

    JMartin Guest

    James,

    We own a Tribute, which is Mazda's version of the Escape. We were leasing it when the reports of the Tribute Hybrid came out. Our lease was about up and we started debating turning in ours to get the Hybrid, but at the time there wasn't a lot of research done on the Tribute Hybrids.

    Relying on something my dad has always told me, "Never buy a vehicle it's first year on the market", we decided to pass on it for now. My dad used to work for a car company and says that first year is their trial time to get the bugs worked out :wink:

    I think I will wait a bit longer for more reports to come out, but I am seriously considering getting a Hybrid SUV, most likely the Tribute or Escape. We have loved our gas Tribute (even bought it out at the end of the lease), but with rising gas prices and the aspects on helping the environment, a hybrid seems the only logical next step.
     
  11. JamesMor

    JamesMor

    325
    Jun 28, 2005
    New York
    Thanks for all of the responses. The pickle that we are in is that ultimately we prefer something that is 4 wheel drive. When we do eventually move, 4 wheel will pretty much be a necessity - mostly because winters are harsh out there. They are great at snow removal, but no one is that good. :)

    We have been debating the Subaru Forester, which gets about 28 mpg on the highway vs the Escape Hybrid (the same car, I believe, as the Tribute). The question is which one would get better mileage. In the city, I think that the Escape would win hands down. I am NOT so sure about out West where there is very little 'city' driving.

    In theory, the Hybrid gets 31 city, 29 highway. I am not really sure if these numbers are accurate. Consumer Reports had recently been saying in an issue that so far it is averaging 25 mpg over-all...MUCH lower than its EPA averages. So, the questions are:

    (1) Does the hybrid REALLY produce better mileage than the Forrester?
    (2) Is it worth the extra differential in cost (26,000 vs 23,000).
    (3) What are the batteries like in the winter for these cars? Particularly a place like NYC, which has hard winters, and Jackson which has harder witners.
    (4) If mileage remains the same, is the technology really cleaner?
    (5) I have hear that batteries need to be replaced peridocially on these vehicles. If I am driving 50k-75k miles year (very reasonable), how often will I have to do this?

    Thanks
    James
     
  12. Ken-L

    Ken-L Guest

    I believe the Prius is front wheel drive, and when I have driven front wheel drive in snow (even relatively "deep") it was fine, especially a light car.....but if you have to have 4-wheel drive for a special purpose, that's a "horse of a different color"!

    The Prius gets 60mpg in town, and about 55mpg on the highway. I don't know what the MPG of the "standard" Forester or Escape get, but it doesn't sound like the hybrid version gets you enough extra to matter - as you say: tough choice.
     
  13. JamesMor

    JamesMor

    325
    Jun 28, 2005
    New York
    I have always driven front wheel drive cars. Currently I own a Golf - with which I have a love/hate relationship. It rides so amazingly well - when it works. The idea of a 4wd vehicle came in last year during a particularly harsh snow storm that I got stuck driving in.

    While I realize that 4wd can provide an element of illusion of safety, I think that it CAN be helpful. I figure that owning a vehicle that can 'take the worst' is important.

    Let me ask you though about the Prius. Do you live in the South or up here in the North? Do you experience differences in mileage based on the temperature?

    -JM
     
  14. My concession was a short bed pickup. With an aftermarket ignition and Flow Master exhaust system I get 21 MPG. Not great but it could be worse.
     
  15. JamesMor

    JamesMor

    325
    Jun 28, 2005
    New York
    I spoke with a woman today - here in NYC - who said that she is getting 37 mpg in the City and 33 on the highway (averages). That is much better than I had expected. Consumer Reports has been saying 25mpg mixed. I currently get about 25 mixed (much of which is City) with my Golf.

    I paid 3.50 a gallon today...now, part of this is due to Katrina. However, I don't see gas dropping below 2.50 any time in the near future.

    -JM
     
  16. Ken-L

    Ken-L Guest

    We are waiting on delivery of the 2006 models for my wife. My wife often drives with a friend that has a Prius, so what I "know" is partly based on research, and part anecdotal.

    Our temperatures go from lows in the 40's daytime/winter (it does get as low as 33 at night), to 105 daytime/summer (with average being about 95, we get maybe 15 days at 100 or above during the summer).

    The info I have would indicate the temperature and weather have insignificant impact. I have not found any references/comments on the Web of concerns about climate affecting performance, mileage, or batteries. These cars now have a long enough track record, that problems would be known and talked about in forums and reviews. (Not that there is never some problem experienced by someone, somewhere....)

    When I lived in snow - I am a "survivor" of the Great Blizzard of '78" in the Boston area - and in other more moderate places, the few times that I would have wished for a 4-wheel drive, would not be anything near enough for me to choose anything other than the Prius for it's incredible mileage. My wife has a 9 mile round-trip to work, then add another 15 miles of miscellaneous driving, and we're talking about using ONE GALLON PER WEEK, so with the Prius, a twelve gallon tank (11.9) she will likely be filling up every 2 months!! Add the fear of not being able to get fuel at any price, that just makes it the right choice for us. I'm getting "the works" which includes the built in GPS system.

    Again, I can only emphasize that this is just my opinion, and I can relate to just how hard it can be to choose a new car!

    Ken

     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 1, 2005
  17. PJohnP

    PJohnP

    Feb 5, 2005
    James :

    At this point in time, the 4WD hybrids are not making records in fuel economy. The current technology's not bad - don't mistake my comment - but it's simply not going to make a bigger 4WD vehicle reach high numbers in MPG. The mass-to-power ratio's just not in your favour, especially with the added battery weight.

    As several folks have noted, the hybrids shine in urban areas, because the battery system can act more effectively at the (often) lower speeds one finds around a city/suburban environment. They're simply not effective with 4WD under significant loads, as the battery won't be adding to the net power required. The smaller size of the sedans assists a lot in getting better mileage as well - this is difficult to achieve with a 4WD. Again, others have and will note that the 4WD hybrids are tending to be more power enhancement than higher mileage, deriving from the power-mass issues.

    The NGV/CNG systems are pretty good, but again, there are limitations such as filling stations or the home compressor systems (which actually work quite well and in some places have hefty rebates available). The limitation here is that the compressed natural gas only gives about a 250 mile range for a smaller sedan, and much less for 4WD systems under load. That's just too short a range in the west where you can be 75 - 100 miles from a refill (if indeed a CNG station would be present).

    LPG fueled vehicles haven't had the market penetration as they have in places like Toronto (a fair fraction of the taxis there are LPG fueled), and the LPG fueled systems have somewhat similar limits as CNG, although the range is better for the LPG vehicles. I don't recall LPG vehicle refuelling locations on highways in Wyoming when I've worked there, but there may be some.

    There are a slew of good reasons to consider hybrids or alternative fuel sedans for relatively light duty, but right now on the 4WD side of the house, the technology's just not as far advanced as we might like. Given the weight and power requirements for trucks and significant 4WD use, it's probably going to be a little while before we'll see 4WD hybrids with really good mileage.

    And in terms of qualifications on this subject, I've been involved in alternate fuel and hybrid fuel vehicle systems since '88, especially looking at the safety aspects of them.

    At this point in time, I'm waiting on significant improvements before I go to a hybrid SUV/4WD. Living here in New Mexico and being in the high country a lot in winter, I still have the need for dependability as a dominant issue.



    John P.
     
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