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JohnMickish

Hybrid vehicles, who has one?

37 posts in this topic

The wife and I are looking at getting either a Prius or an Escape hybrid. Does anyone here have any first hand knowledge of either? We are kind of leaning toward the Escape right now. How long are the batteries supposed to last on these things?

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The wife and I just used one in Caliornia that belonged to her uncle. He told me they were disappointed in the realistic mileage that was achieved as opposed to what is advertised. There are some neat features, but I was unimpressed with its performance and moreso the ride quality. From what I have read recently, the Chevy Aveo will get nearly comparable mileage at a substantially lower cost based on a long term ownership.

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THe knowledge I have of them comes from doing research on buying one, however I do not own one.

IMO, the Escape is the better vehicle and the choice I would make if I did buy one. We still may, but that decision has been pushed back.

The battery packs are designed to last 5-8yrs roughly. Temp extremes and use will dictate actual life. Although in MN we think cold is bad for batteries, the heat is actually much worse so we usually get a little more out of the batteries up here.

The Escape gets mid-30's MPG I believe, has 4wd and can tow, albeit, not that much, but more than a prius. Storage is actually pretty even with the large trunk on the prius.

The Prius will get better mileage, but so far it has a higher cost of ownership, maintenance and such.

Consumer reports did a great study on hybrids in '05 or early '06. They judged cost of ownership, maintenance everything for a span of 5yrs. They used all the hybrids available and the Escape was the least expensive to own even with the lower MPG.

The one kicker that is still holding me back is that NONE of the hybrid vehicles tested were cheaper to own than their gas guzzling counterparts. Factoring in maintenance and replacing the battery pack the hybrids were more expensive and many will argue that the batteries are just as bas for the environment as burning gas.

If you're looking to save money on gas get a regular subcompact or look into the other Hondas.

Of the two you asked about, I would get the Escape.

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For the Escape-

The milage you will get will be in the lower 30's. Towing is not reccomended on the Hybrid Escape. 10 yr warranty on all hybrid components, including batteries! Tax right off, although this has dropped, but I do believe it is still 2k. You will benefit more from the Hybrids in stop and go traffic. If you drive alot of highway, it gets alot less milage, and if you use a/c it gets alot less. Oil changes dont need to be done very often, like every 25k!

In my opinion, they are cool, if I lived in the metro, stop and go traffic, I would own one.

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Most all of the privately owned municipalities own the Ford Hybrid Escapes. They are a good thing to look into.

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I'm not worried about the towing, my supercrew does a fine job of that. In all the research I have done even with the price increase for the hybrid option, from what I have seen the data shows that with the milage I put on I should recoup the $6000 cost in less than two years! After that it's money in my pocket (less any extra maintenace charges of course). They must be a pretty good vehicle because there are only a few new ones in the city, with most dealerships only being able to order them.

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Quote:


In all the research I have done even with the price increase for the hybrid option, from what I have seen the data shows that with the milage I put on I should recoup the $6000 cost in less than two years! After that it's money in my pocket (less any extra maintenace charges of course).


Not to many cars/truck on the market now that can make that claim.

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I was sent to hybrid school before the Escapes came out and was the only one in the dealer certified on them. I worked on them from private owners as well as state owned. I have to say I was not impressed with the economy difference. Private owners, one of which had been a customer of mine for over ten years, did not have the expectations of mileage met. This was an older conservative driver, he got 20-24 mpg, which was consistant with other hybrids I worked on. If you are travelling over 25 mph the engine starts and runs, if you want a/c, the engine runs, in the summer if battery temp is high enough that it calls for cooling, engine runs. They are very good mechanically, lacking many of the common model problems of others. I just don't feel they are practical for this region. The 45 mpg mileage claims came from a test in Manhattan in near gridlock conditions. That kind of mileage would be nice, but in those conditions a bicycle or public transportation would be a far better choice. The reason you don't see many on the lots are two reasons, the production and sale numbers are comparitively low and knowing this dealers prefer not to stock them. It is a unique customer that has an interest in them and that customer generally wouldn't mind the wait of an ordered vehicle. All in all, they are a well made car, I was never sold on the practicality from a geographical point of view, (our driving habits just don't match the design target) and what the resale market will bear for such a specialized vehicle. I would really think it over.

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Quote:

...from what I have seen the data shows that with the mileage I put on I should recoup the $6000 cost in less than two years!


Is that $6,000 the upcharge for a hybrid, or what you consider to be savings from use over time? Is that compared to your existing vehicle, or to a non-hybrid alternative? I hope you are putting a Honda Fit, Chevy Aveo, Nissan Versa, Toyota Yaris, and other small econoboxes in your scope of buying options.

Oh yeah; if you happen to get one, please don't be like most of the other "Pious" drivers driving 85 mph and tailgating me while I go the speed limit. If you are indeed getting one for mileage, keep driving habits in mind to achieve better numbers, too. Good Luck in your purchase, and please post how you are doing for mileage gains!

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we are strongly considering a prius. Have any of you actually gone out and driven one?

We recently test drove one and we just got in and drove down the road for a few miles and our mileage was about 25 MPG. The salesman who is a good friend of mine then told us how to drive the car. Once we figured out the trick we were getting 48. There is a certain procedure and you have to watch the lcd display that monitors how hard each motor is working to get a good idea.

I am not sold on them yet, and wont be buying one until March. One thing that concerns me is how well will these cars with all the electronics hold up in extreme cold temperatures. If its -10 outside and I need to go to work, do I need to take any extra precautions besides letting it warm up a bit like I do now with normal cars.

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One question that has come to mind. They have been marketing the hybrids based on the "gas" mileage but not telling us what the potential or typical "electric" mileage is. In other words, even though one is using less gasoline, it still requires energy to drive the vehicle and energy, especially electricity, is not cheap. What can one expect the electric bill to be per mile. When you add that to the cost of gasoline, is it still less or does it actually cost more?

For example, at $.07 per watt-hour using a 100% efficient eletric heating system in my home, the equivalent cost using #2 fuel oil with an 83% efficient furnace is about $2.06 per gal. At that rate the cost of using fuel oil has only this year exceeded the cost of using the electric system at full price.

Bob

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Not meant to be sarcastic, but for the last 4 months I have passed a "prius" driving 35 mph in a 55 mph zone sporting an " " bumper sticker on the back bumper! I laugh every single time I see it!

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I don't own a hybrid, but I do have some limited experience. A relative owns a '06 Prius and drove from Montana to Boston and back, and the car averaged 48mpg highway during the trip (summer), even running the A/C. I was shocked. I drove this car around for awhile and I was pleasantly surprised. It was quiet, comfortable and it had some good power. I've definitely thought about buying one, however living in the country and not in the city definitely sways my thoughts of buying one. These hybrids really shine better in city traffic settings, IMO.

I have been told that these cars perform just fine in the winter, however the mileage does go down compared to summer driving.

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As of right now, these hybrids dont plug into your house. The hybrids only use the gas engine to charge the batteries to operate the car. Well, and to run the a/c and heat the engine for heat. The engine isnt hooked to the drivetrain directly. The tranny is just an electric motor.

Now electric cars are a different story, they plug into the house electric to charge the batteries. But most of these car owners are using alternate sources to charge the batteries, wind, solar, ect.. Thus being a cheeper ride.

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I own a 2005 Escape Hybrid. Mileage is about 37 in the city. When you drive on the highway it's nothing more than a 4 cylinder Escape. When I bought it I did more city driving, but my situation has changed and I would not buy one for the driving I currently do, since there is much more done on the highway.

Basically, at speeds below approximately 25 mph, it operates on battery power. The gas engine kicks in at higher speeds and also when the A/C or defroster is on. It will also start when the battery needs a charge. The battery also charges when the brakes are applied.

Overall, it's been good. The batteries are warranted for 100,000 miles. Highway noise is louder than I like, but you get used to it.

One thing I have noticed, is that many people seem to resent being behind a hybrid. I have passed cars at normal speeds that have immediately pulled around me and passed at excessive speeds throwing in a dirty look to boot. I had one guy following me at a normal distance, 65ph, until we stopped at a light. When the light changed he rode my bumper shaking his head and gesturing until he finally passed me when I was driving 80 mph. His big truck probably was compensation for other shortcomings.

Anyway, in short--for city driving it's good, but you lose the hybrid advantage on the highway.

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Don't want to highjack the thread, but just wondered if you had looked at the new clean diesels that are coming out? I believe Volkswagen is putting one in the Jetta wagon that is coming out next year, and it gets in the 50mpg range in the city and highway, plus its sporty and meets all of the new clean emissions standards. My Dad drove a similar one in Germany a few months ago and absolutely loved it, couldn't believe how much nuts it had, while being really smooth on the highway. I believe they are going to be priced in the $20-24k range.

Just an alternative to think about. I wouldn't get a hybrid unless you consistently drive in stop and go, otherwise its not worth it.

Good Luck!

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Many don't realize the enviromental impact that there is just to produce one of these vehicles.

I have heard that the prius leaves a larger enviromental impact just in its production than the average full size truck will in the life of the truck.

If everyone overnight switched to a hybrid vehicle we would be in the same oil/gas situation we are in now in 5-7 years. Less fuel consumption leads to lower gas prices, lower gas prices lead to increase in urban/rural sprawl. People live further away from work and use more gas. If you have a vehicle that gets twice the economy but you have to drive twice as far to get to work you haven't gained anything.

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Airjer,

I don't think it's possible to assume to be able to predict how we the people would change. Of course, based on past history your analogy does have some merit with one exception. Living twice as far away also means that it takes twice as long to get where we want to go and that won't change just because our vehicles get double the mileage unless your assumption also includes doubling the highway speed limit.

Would people really want to spend more time on the road just because they can? I know I wouldn't.

4wanderingeyes,

What you say seems to indicate that using an electric motor at the final drive is far more efficient than driving direct with the internal combustion engine. I wonder why?

Bob

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Good point airjer! I was just argueing with a family member about this over Christmas. There is zero environmental benefit to driving and buying one over a gas or diesel vehicle. In high density city areas it may reduce smog, but contaminants are still produced in production. I would not buy a Hybrid, the extra $6000 is alot. That would buy me 2000 gallons of gas. My wife has an AWD 4 cyl Escape that gets 25-26 mpg. That 2000 gallons gets us 52,000 miles. Unless you live in a strictly urban area and drive alot in that area, it is not worth it as others have responded.

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Quote:

What you say seems to indicate that using an electric motor at the final drive is far more efficient than driving direct with the internal combustion engine. I wonder why?


How this makes sense is, these are designed to get better economy in the city, stop and go, during this the engine does not run at all, just runs off batteries, unless it needs to charge, then the engine just idles. One more thing is the brakes on this vehicle has little generaters to charge the battery, when you step on the brake, it doesnt use brake pads ( atleast most the time), it uses the generators to stop the car, and the generators charge the battery. This is why these get such good milage in stop and go, and get average milage driving down the road.

Now other things come in play here, the engine needs to run for a/c, or to charge batteries, ect..

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Toyota hybrids have electric a/c. In fact they don't have a serp belt anymore. I haven't figured out what they do for heat in the winter yet? at some point the engine will have to run unless it idles all the time than I guess it would be a problem. I haven't had a whole lot of experience with these yet! blush.gif

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My sis has a Highlander Hybrid. Kind of neat, but I've never been in a hybrid.

If anything about driving habits...bad drivers are all around us. Heck, sometimes I'm a bad driver too. Like that one time a Prius cut me off at the 35W merge to 35E and then started to slow down to 45mph...Well I had to slowed down as I ended right up next to that vehicle's bumper. So after while after the merge and all was clear. I passed the Prius and the driver was then flashing high beam at me. We were the only two vehicles on the road at about 11 pm...Oops that a bad story about the other bad driver...Now about me, going the opposite way, I pulled into the passing lane and a car followed me right up to my bumper...so I change lanes into the inside...pulling up beside me was a Prius and speeding pass me...I swear it was the same car and maybe a different driver in it. grin.gif

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Quote:

contaminants are still produced in production


Please explain. confused.gif

Bob

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I should have eleberated some more. It takes more energy and pollution(air, water and land) to produce a hybrid vehicle. I found what I meant to say and pasted it below. I took a environmental class in college and we looked at the impact of "green" things on the environment. It turns out alot are not much better for the environment, just good marketing.

Here is an example, remember the foam McDonalds containers? They got rid of them because people were complaining they filled land fills. That may be true, but the new cardboard containers take 10-12 times as much energy to produce. Which one is better, that is the question? I tend to look at things after that class as a whole, not just as the end product. I am by no means even close to an expert or an environmentalist. This is just how I look at hybrid vehicles, they are not the solution. This is a good thread, I like reading everyones opinion!

Vehicle Production Pollution:

The production process for the hybrid vehicle is very different than the production process of a gasoline vehicle. There are similarities especially in regards to the production of the gasoline powered engine. Thus the production of the gasoline powered engine in the hybrid is similar to that of a gasoline powered vehicle however the addition of the electric engine increases the environmental impact of the production of the hybrid vehicle. The greatest environmental impact comes from the pollution caused by the elaborate battery system that powers the electric engine. The battery pollution is substantial because the creation of the batteries requires destructive mining to produce the batteries and the caustic substances that power the batteries must later be disposed of. The caustic substances that power the batteries are very poisonous and when released into the environment leech into the waterways and poison groundwater.

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We own a Prius.

With a light foot the wife can average 47mpg according to the computer in the summer. Thats not best case scenario, thats average over a tank of gas. Pretty good.

Not that good once it got cold out. I think its averaging about 35 since it got cold out. The heater has a hard time keeping the windshield clear if its snowing. Heater and A/C are a little whimpy.

Theres a traction feature that cuts power if a wheel is spinning. Kind of a pain if you're in a situatuation where you want to spin the wheels to get going, or get up an icy hill, or whatever.

Still, when gas is over 3 bucks a gallon we're glad to have it.

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