OT: Hybrid cars make no economical sense

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Went shopping for a car this weekend, was considering a hybrid but settled on a six cylinder that gets only 4 MPG less than the same non- hybrid model with a 4 cylinder.
First the cost of a hybrid adds about $4000 to the base price of the same car as a non-hybrid. That to me represents about 3 years worth of gasoline puchases based on the differential and a now conservatively high $2.50/gal average. Also the hybrid will need a batter pack change in 5 to 7 years, (I keep my cars 10 years or 200k miles), the $3000 cost of the batter pack lets me buy another 2 years worth of gasoline at the back end on my non-hybrid. The hybrid cannot tow anything without voiding warranty, (I need to tow a small luggage trailer under 200lbs). The hybrid has less interior space because of the battery pack (gas tank and spare tire are traditionally the two things that rob interior space, now we add battery pack to that).
Maybe a hybrid would make economic sense if gas were $5/gal but even that would be close considering the $4000 initial hit and the battery replacement $3000 hit at 5-7 years. Considering I put all the saved money to the gas differential which might be 10MPG at best a modern good mileage six or four banger outweighs the hybrid according to my math.
Are people driving hybrids out of the goodness of their hearts? What do you think the price of gas will have to go to to make them economical? I dont see it happening unless and until the following happens:
1) The base prices become equal for hybrid vs non-hybrid in same-model comparisons.
2) The battery pack change becomes a covered warranty item at 5 years, extending the car life to 10 years.
Am I wrong?
thanks Rick
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You are not wrong. Hybrids cost more to own. The only benefit is less pollution. Had I been a congressman at the recent hearings with the Big 3 CEOs, I would have loved to see their faces when I asked them about this when talking about how they switched from flying their private planes to Washington.
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That is not correct.
The benefit is less pollution emitted *by the vehicle*. Considering the total picture, including manufacturing the vehicle *and* the batteries, which is an environmentally very dirty process, the total pollution is actually higher with hybrids.
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Doug Miller wrote:

    Is there any actual literature on this? I assume one would have to figure in not only the manufacture (I assume the batteries may have a totally different spectrum of pollutants related to both the manufacture and disposal of lead-acid batteries) and recycling elements.     The calculus may be situational. I remember when our daughter was born and we had to decide whether to use cloth or disposable diapers. Consumers Union actually had a very good analysis in one of their books, and neither was a clear winner. It depended largely on the availability of fresh potable water and disposal methods.
Steve
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Mark & Steven Bornfeld DDS
http://www.dentaltwins.com
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Yes, there is, but you have to look carefully to find it.

Don't forget the pollution that results from generating the electricity that's used to recharge those batteries, too.
And remember that a conventional gasoline-fueled vehicle will go through perhaps three or four lead-acid batteries in its lifetime -- compared to how many for a Prius??
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Doug Miller wrote:

    You'd have to know that obviously--and I don't. What about all those lithium laptop batteries? I think all battery technology is a mess, ecologically.
Steve
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Mark & Steven Bornfeld DDS
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wrote:

Three or four the battery in a prius is made up of 240 rechargeable 6 ah D cells if NImh or 98 if Li. It is a 288 volt 6 Ah battery. 106 ultracapacitors would also work. If the vehicle used a hydraulic motor then a hydraulic accumulator could be used instead of a battery and electronic motor controls. With battery operation braking energy recovery is just a dream. Ultracapacitors would last much longer than the vehicle and is almost 99% efficient but very costly and bulky.
Bob
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Given that an average 'normal' car battery may be 40 or 45 lbs., and the huge arrays favoured by the Priapus pushers go somewhere around 700, that assertion holds no water.
Our '99 Subaru Forester got it's first new battery last year. Even assuming you reduce that extraordinary lifespan to 7 years, how many vehicles are kept for 4 times 7 years of service? Even then, under 200 lbs.total over a 28 year span is well short of even 1 Prius battery, and the Prius can be expected to eat 3 of those behemoths over the same 28 year period.
The battery life of the Panasonic unit in our Suby did astound me, because the car was built in '98 and has been used in the cold and often inhospitable climate of eastern Ontario for all but one of those years. Not easy on batteries, conventional or otherwise.
Hybrids are a bust, and will likely remain so until there are significant leaps in technology.
KH
wrote:

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I'm not trying to flame you really but you have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. Hybrid technology has been around as long as the diesel locomotive. They're just applying the same technology to cars.
"...and the Prius can be expected to eat 3 of those behemoths over the same 28 year period." I'm sorry but I don't have a clue what you are talking about?
Olddog
(Prius owner)
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I get it now. I read "28 mths" not "28 years". In that case that's about right.
Olddog
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Yea! that's Caribou Kevin, he usually doesn't know what he's talking about.
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Yea! that's Caribou Kevin, he usually doesn't know what he's talking about.
====================================== eh...that's cool...I get accused of that sometimes too. Sometimes they're right. If you're here to learn there is nothing wrong with some healty debate.
Olddog
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what I want is a nuclear powered battery, it has one tiny tiny pellet of uranium inside and it recharges itself for 10 years... :-)
Mark
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Mark1 wrote:

That'd be cool, but I don't think that nuclear reactors scale down well :(
nate
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I wonder what would happen if you got into a wreck with another nuclear powered car?
Olddog
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Sure they do:
http://www.nextenergynews.com/news1/next-energy-news-toshiba-micro-nuclear-12.17b.html
And for your car, how about this:
http://www.livescience.com/technology/050513_new_battery.html
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Slogoin wrote:

http://www.nextenergynews.com/news1/next-energy-news-toshiba-micro-nuclear-12.17b.html
Probably a hoax.

The technology appears mostly suitable for low power, low drain applications.

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wrote:

uh...there is no probably about it. it's a hoax.
olddog
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olddog wrote:

Thanks for the confirmation. Just to clarify, I have nothing against the hybrids. It's my opinion that it is vital that these vehicles exist. It's true that one would have a tough time justifying the added costs based on fuel efficiency and on a philosophical design level, I don't particularly care for it's complex, non-straightforward engineering. But what the heck, it all works well enough.
The reality is that cars in general make little economic sense given our circumstances - and in the long run we'll pay for our excesses on our planet's resources. But for now, you're happy as a clam with your car and I know a couple of folks that are happy as clams with their hybrids and that, I think, counts for a lot and buddy, if you're happy with the car, it don't matter much what other folks say nor do you have to justify your choice to anybody. Take care. :-)

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olddog wrote:

Yeah, it is. But think of how much fun one could have.
Reprint some of the articles and send them, with a letter, to your HOA.
In the letter, tell your HOA that you and five of your neighbors have contracted to share one of these units. Tell the HOA that the unit will be mostly underground and have a visible footprint no larger than an AC compressor.
Further, point out that you've researched your deed restrictions or HOA by-laws and can find nothing pertaining to radioactivity, but, as a courtesy, you're simply informing the HOA that you've applied for the appropriate Nuclear Reglatory Commission permits and already received preliminary approval.
Send all this registered mail and sign the letter using the name of the neighborhood grouch.
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