View Full Version : Hybrid cars, a good choice?

08-27-2003, 02:08 PM
Linky! (http://moneycentral.msn.com/content/Savinganddebt/Saveonacar/P37272.asp)


08-27-2003, 11:50 PM
here in argentina we use Compressed Natural Gas, its really cheap and it pollutes quite less than gasoline.

most cars are normal gasoline cars that are converted, but now most car companies are offering models with the gas kits already installed from the factories.

we have more than a million cars with CNG here.

PS: here the liter of gasoline costs 0,66 dollars, so its quite expensive, the cubic meter of CNG its only 0,13 dollars.

08-28-2003, 07:03 AM
Yeah, I had an '85 S-10 that I converted to Propane. The biggest pain in the ass (in the US anyway) is finding somewhere to fill up! In all of Denver, Co there is ONE station that has a propane pump with the right kind of 'nozzle'. I was working on converting it to hydrogen power, but the torque converter went out twice in three months, and it was a 'secondary' car anyway, so I just donated it to charity. Still want to do a hydrogen car tho...

Anyway, the company I work for was the first in Colo. to have hybrid cars on the road (Toyota Prius') and I have to say, they're actually kind of cool as simple around town kind of cars. Suprisingly, for the small size, they have a TON of legroom (I'm 6'9" and tend to buy cars for the legroom)
The only thing that really creeped me out was when you pull up to a stoplight, the engine dies. It's weird as hell, but as soon as you touch the gas to go, it fires right back up. The "Automatic" transmission is a bit of a misnomer, as it's just a viscous coupled direct drive (Which tops you out at around 55Mph)
All in all, I think they're great, but I see them as a stepping stone to fuel cell cars or electric "fill-the-tank-by-plugging-it-in" kind of cars.

08-28-2003, 01:49 PM
I like the idea but until they become as usable as a standard lets say honda civic I dont think they will catch on.

08-29-2003, 11:45 AM
I think hybrid car purchases are more based on emotions than a decision based on economics. Looking at the numbers in the link show the payback or break-even point is almost nonexistant. So you make the buy to help the environment, be a good global citizen or whatever your heart tells you.

On a semi-practical note - the Houston area is a good place to use a hybrid as a commuter. Nice and flat with lots of sitting in traffic.

BTW - Honda just announced they will be making the Civic GX more available next year. It is fueled by natural gas and costs about 1/3 less to run and very low emissions compared to the gas model. It costs about $3k more ($20k) than the standard Civic and there will be a $2k unit to refuel using your home's natural gas. It gets approx. 200 miles per tank, half the gas model range, and there just aren't that many NG refueling stations (1300) in the U.S.

08-29-2003, 10:08 PM
$3k more for the gas kit??? wow.

here it only costs $ 300 for a car like a civic.

200miles per tank its too much, i think that cant be correct.

here using the biggest cilinder with a 400psi pressure, you dont get more than 150 - 200 km in a 1.6 liter car.

to get 200 miles, you would need lots of tanks, or have the pressure way much higher, and that would require really thick and heavy tanks.

08-30-2003, 01:25 AM
Regarding that civic GX... I just recently read an article that said Honda is working with a company (forget the name for the moment) on a home-refueling solution that hooks up to your home's natural gas line.

I'll see if I can dig up that link in the mean time

[EDIT] Here we go:

07-23-2004, 10:53 AM
My hometown paper, The Palm Beach Post wrote a very cool article today explaining Hybrids and the different types out there. I thought I'd share it.


07-23-2004, 11:07 AM
The TDI is the best deal, plus it is a VW and will hold its value, it is probably pretty fun to drive, and it has the low end grunt that little cars need in city streets. I think diesel is cheaper than gas anyways.

07-23-2004, 11:55 AM
Methane cars (CNG, LNG) are pretty cool ideas I think, if you want to take the hit on the range of the vehicle. Hybrids are only more efficient when you are driving in stop and go traffic. The physics of the propulsion system makes them another econobox when you have to go down the highway constantly applying power.

Hydrogen is ideal, but cracking hydrogen out of water takes as much energy as you get out of it when you burn it. I always thought that would be a cool little business idea for a watercooling company. If you bought hydrogen, and in a controlled environment (argon atmosphere room for example) and burned that hydrogen with oxygen, you end up with the purest water physically possible. Thats how I got my water for my waterblock, I had a friend "burn" some up at UCSD. What I am not using now sits as a ice block in my freezer. Been running it for about a month now since I last upgraded, no mineral build up, no algae, nothing.

Another idea that would be cool I think is deuterium oxide, or "heavy water." It is about ten percent heavier than regular water for a given volume. A piece of heavy water ice will sink in a glass of tap water. The cool thing there is if you ran heavy water, you would get a higher total mass flow for a given inlet size.

I know this thread started about hybrid cars, I kinda went on a tangent there...sorry!

07-23-2004, 12:18 PM
The TDI is the best deal, plus it is a VW and will hold its value, it is probably pretty fun to drive, and it has the low end grunt that little cars need in city streets. I think diesel is cheaper than gas anyways.

A 2000 VW Jetta TDI will be worth $10,000 trade in now. That car was $19,000 new. I'd hardly say it will hold its value. Thats almost 50% loss in 4 years. Ouch.

07-25-2004, 04:26 AM
I've driven a Toyota Prius, and it's a hoot. You get this animated dash diagram of the motor/turbine and engine, tank level and battery charge, where they stand at any given moment. Drive up a hill, the battery level goes down. Brake down the hill, the battery recharges. There's something about getting free fuel from gravity I like very much.

On the other hand these cars slaughter pedestrians. They can't hear you coming. Need noise generators.

I understand a major problem with hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, presently, is the high pitched whining noise they make.

07-25-2004, 11:06 AM
I believe all Toyota Prius come with noise generators. The controls for this device are located very convienently in the center of the steering wheel. Operating the noise generator requires a simple thrust of either hand to the wheel.

07-25-2004, 11:49 AM
...there will be a $2k unit to refuel using your home's natural gas.

What if your home doesn't have natural gas?