View topic - Toyota's plug-in Prius - only 13 miles in electric drive

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PostPosted: July 17th, 2010, 9:10 am 
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Joined: June 26th, 2006, 8:56 am
Posts: 1285
Location: Brantford, Ontario
the key really is a small gas engine, twinned with an electrical motor, regenerated by braking and coasting, and lighter weight design. prius wins on the aerodynamics, yes.
you have to watch the 'hybrid' monicker a bit. one of the ways they save gas (estimated at 4%) is running on battery only while at a stop. this feature alone qualifies cars to be called hybrid, and a few did so. way more costly, very lttle efficiencies gained. I think the first gen Malibu hybrids did this shell game. 'plug in' might not necessarily mean everything we assume at the start either.

Midway 'twixt earth and heaven....
Above, below
Drift with my drifting, dim and slow,
As twilight drifts to even.
- Pauline Johnson -

PostPosted: July 21st, 2010, 12:20 pm 

Joined: April 11th, 2009, 9:43 am
Posts: 444
Location: Central Maine--Sheepscot Watershed
I think Brian has it about right. And

--not to beat my dead horse about Ontario's feed-in tariff, but I think it's the same issue--

If we want to incentivize more efficient cars, the way to do it is have a performance standard and reward only those cars that meet it--however they do so. Or (my favorite way to get there) to properly price carbon emissions, which will have a similar effect.

An incentive for "hybrid purchase" to save carbon won't work so long as vehicles that are hybrids but otherwise remain gas hogs can qualify. A tax incentive or rebate for a Cadillac Escalade at 21 mpg?

Bad policy. It's like rewarding the obese for having a yogurt based dip instead of mayo on their cheeseburger and putting low fat cheese on their poutine.

That Escalade does fit the "overpriced and not worth it" label, though, at > $70,000 US. My house didn't cost too much more than that--and if I put it on wheels, it might get better mileage. :wink:

PostPosted: July 27th, 2010, 7:14 pm 
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Joined: December 29th, 2002, 7:00 pm
Posts: 6190
Location: Bancroft, Ontario Canada
From GM's press release today on it's plug-in hybrid Volt... electric range is greater than a Prius (37 miles in the Volt vs 13 in the Prius)... the Volt also carries a higher price to make that electric mileage possible.

GM is hoping that the cheap price of electricity for charging the vehicle will make the Volt more attractive to buyers.

GM's sticker shocker: $41,000 for Chevy Volt

Company aims to boost its small-car sales and win over eco-conscious consumers with electric-gas hybrid

Tim Kiladze

Published on Tuesday, Jul. 27, 2010 2:32PM EDT

General Motors Co. has gambled more than $1-billion that the Chevy Volt can boost its sales of smaller cars – and deliver a greener image to an auto maker best known for gas guzzlers.

To do it, the company will have to persuade its customers to pay a premium for the privilege of driving the Detroit company’s signature electric vehicle. GM ended months of speculation on Tuesday by revealing a price tag for the Volt of $41,000 (U.S.).

The price is close to what industry experts had predicted. GM stressed that the net cost to the buyer would actually be $33,500, if the full $7,500 benefit of a U.S. federal tax credit were applied.

That is still well above the cost of Toyota Prius hybrid, which sells for about $25,000, and Nissan’s electric Leaf, which costs about $33,000, before tax credits.

But will the Volt sell?

GM started taking orders online on Tuesday, and buyers can visit dealers in one of the seven selected trial areas in the United States, including California, New York and Michigan.

The vehicle will likely become available in Canada in 2011, when GM plans to launch it in international markets.

But GM’s early production estimates are modest – the 2011 run will max out at 10,000 cars, and 30,000 vehicles will be made in 2012 – and some say the sales expectations should be, too.

“As long as it’s going to require government subsidies, it’s going to have a lack of success,” said Canadian auto analyst Dennis DesRosiers, head of DesRosiers Automotive Consultants. “You can’t expect the taxpayer to subsidize consumers who want to drive one.”

His skepticism comes from the problems auto makers have selling hybrid gas-electric vehicles. “We bought 16 million vehicles this past decade, and less than 100,000 hybrids,” Mr. DesRosiers said about the Canadian market.

That doesn’t mean he thinks the Volt is weak. The technology seems to work and GM has put together a good public relations package, Mr. DesRosiers said.

But North American consumers just aren’t that excited about efficient electric vehicles: Toyota’s Prius may sell, but most hybrids languish on car lots, he said.

GM hopes the cheap cost of electricity will separate the Volt from hybrids.

In an online question-and-answer session Tuesday, Volt vehicle line director Tony Posawatz said the cost to charge the battery overnight is about $1.50 (though electricity prices vary across the U.S.). That equates to less than $1 a gallon, he added.

However, the car’s electric range is capped at 60 kilometres, which GM says is enough to cover the commute of about 75 per cent of Americans. After 60 km, a gasoline-powered generator kicks in to provide electricity, and GM recommends using higher-priced premium fuel.

The combined electric and gas power gives the Volt a total driving range of about 550 km. The Nissan Leaf, its biggest electric competition, will get about double the electric miles, but can’t switch to gas power.

The Volt will be made at GM’s Detroit-Hamtramck plant. By confining the rollout to the U.S., GM will be able to fine-tune any problems with suppliers and dealers. The hope is that it will also help GM rebrand itself as an environmentally friendly auto-maker. “The Volt is really about setting up the future, and how we can win and compete,” Mr. Posawatz said in an interview with The Globe and Mail in March.

Despite the Volt’s potential, Mr. DesRoisers remains cautious. “If hybrids’ lack of success are any indication, it’s a big hurdle.” ... le1653448/


PostPosted: September 9th, 2010, 5:00 pm 
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Joined: June 20th, 2001, 7:00 pm
Posts: 7514
Location: Scarbados, Ontario Canada
Ford gave its view on the next ten years, and that seems to support Toyota's decision to NOT rely on customers switching to pure electric vehicles soon:
A paltry one or two per cent of drivers will make the switch to electric vehicles by the end of the next decade, while a vast majority of consumers will opt for traditional gas-powered cars and trucks, says the chief executive of Ford Canada.

In 2020 traditional internal combustion engines will make up about 75 per cent of global demand and hybrids around 20 to 25 per cent, leaving electric cars only slightly less rare than they are today, said David Mondragon.

“For battery-electric vehicle customers, there has to be a behaviour change,” Mondragon told a business luncheon Thursday at a downtown Toronto hotel.

“You have to charge every day and you have to think about how far you're going on each trip.”

Drivers may opt for smaller, more fuel-efficient cars over gas guzzling trucks if gas prices rise, but there are some huge barriers to drive demand to the next level of fuel efficiency and toward electric vehicles, Mondragon said.

For one thing, Mondragon said, oil prices would have to climb back to a sustained US$120 to $140 a barrel from the current $70 range to push consumer demand toward electric vehicles.

Pure electric battery cars are also currently more expensive than those that run on gas and take an average of 10 to 15 years for consumers to see a worthwhile return on their investment, whereas hybrid customers see payback in about seven years.

Finally, he argued, electric vehicles will be a huge burden on electricity grids, citing studies that show electric vehicles can double the daily household use of electricity.

“Because of these challenges, we're still a long way from a gasoline-free transportation system,” he said. ... le1701620/

“What is the good of having a nice house without a decent planet to put it on?” - Thoreau

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