Hybrid Vehicles

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Sven Sven's picture
Hybrid Vehicles

 

Sven Sven's picture

I’m seriously looking at buying a hybrid vehicle (I hate buying a vehicle but my current vehicle is over ten years old and is getting in pretty bad shape—plus it’s a fuel pig).

It makes little economic sense to purchase a hybrid, given that they are several thousand dollars more expensive than the non-hybrid version of the same model. But, there are two benefits that a person receives by paying more for a hybrid: less GHG emissions and less frequent stops at the fuel station. That’s pretty much what a person gets for spending the extra thousands of dollars for a hybrid.

Has anyone else purchased a hybrid? Do you look at it from the same perspective? Have you been happy with your vehicle?

Michelle

I take it you don't make up the difference in cost with fuel consumption?

Sven Sven's picture

quote:


Originally posted by Michelle:
[b]I take it you don't make up the difference in cost with fuel consumption?[/b]

Well, you [i]do[/i] but, depending on the number of miles a person drives, it takes many, many years to recoup the additional cost of a hybrid in reduced fuel consumption (I'm figuring it will take about 8 to 9 years to "break even"). Now if fuel jumps to $4 or $5 per gallon (as opposed to the current $3 per gallon), then the payback would be sooner. But, I don't know that fuel prices are going to jump that high in the next several years.

That all being said, I'm willing to pay the extra money given the (non-monetary) benefits that a hybrid does provide.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Don't forget [url=http://www.rabble.ca/babble/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic&f=45&t=000284]t... recent thread about the alleged false promise of the hybrid car. Particularly:

quote:

The new tests which affect all 2008 models give a much more realistic rating with highway speeds of 80mph and acceleration of 8mph per second. This has dropped the Prius's EPA down by 25 percent [b]to an average of 45mpg. This now puts the Toyota within spitting distance of cars like the Chevy Aveo,[/b] which costs less then half what the Prius costs.

(My Emphasis)
There's no easy way out of this dilemma, I think. I do believe that the hybrid is much better for GHG emissions, but I'm no expert.

Sven Sven's picture

There is still a [url=http://www.fueleconomy.gov]substantial difference[/url] between the Prius and the Chevy Aveo. The Prius averages 45mpg and the Aveo averages 27 mpg. If a person drives 15,000 miles per year and 55% of those miles are city and 45% are highway miles, the vehicles have the following differences:

[b][i]Barrels of Oil Used[/b][/i]: Prius (7.4) and Aveo (12.7)

[b][i]GHG Emissions[/b][/i]: Prius (4 tons) and Aveo (6.8 tons)

So, while purchasing a Chevy Aveo may cost you half what a Prius costs (I didn't look at the prices), there is a substantial difference between the two vehicles based on GHG emissions.

The Wizard of S...

Cars are about image. They always have been, ever since Ned Jordan came up with "Somewhere West of Laramie..." to market The Playboy (a fairly unremarkable vehicle for it's time) in 1923.

When you drive a Corvette, you forget for a moment that you're a middle-aged, balding man with kids in college, a hefty mortgage, and liver damage from years of three martini lunches.

When you drive a Prius, you get that smug feeling of superiority that you're ever so much better and more enlightened than the poor schmo in the Chevy next to you.

And when you drive a six year old Saturn, like myself, you get that bland feeling that every day is like the day before, and will be, now and forever more...

[ 07 June 2007: Message edited by: The Wizard of Socialism ]

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Thanks Sven, that's a curious interpretation of "spitting distance" on behalf of that article's author.

Sven Sven's picture

Well, I think the hybrids illustrate the cost that people will have to incur in order to be "green". There are two things that can be done (they are not mutually exclusive alternatives): (1) [url=http://www.rabble.ca/babble/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic&f=45&t=000298]c... by not purchasing things we've become accustomed to purchasing[/url] and (2) paying much more for things that use less energy. Of course, it's not that simplistic but racheting down GHG emissions will be very costly (but arguably less costly that the impact on the environment if we do little to change things). Personally, I think the higher cost of a hybrid is worth it.

Sven Sven's picture

quote:


Originally posted by Catchfire:
[b]Thanks Sven, that's a curious interpretation of "spitting distance" on behalf of that article's author.[/b]

Hey, maybe the author was a world champ watermelon seed spitter!! [img]wink.gif" border="0[/img]

Panama Jack

For new cars, hybrids are a promising transition vehicle until real-zero emission technology gets mainstreamed (don't believe the hydrogen myth; it's still some years away !)

Still, the purchase of any new car involves huge amounts of GHG emissions in the processing of the resources and manufacturing of that new car. Used cars, particularly old compacts, are arguably a better decision, particularly if you don't drive very much.

Personally, I'm waiting for plug-in hybrid cars, scheduled for release in Canada in around 2012. In theory, the diesel-plug-in-hybrid-engine setup could exist as a bit of a transition-vehci holy grail that would allow for bio-diesel and electricity to be used in the same car (adjustable depending on how you drive). I figure those will show up first in the EU, where diesel cars are far more common.

Sven Sven's picture

Took a test drive tonight. Bought it on the spot. It is eerily quiet when it's moving only on the electric power...silent. I'm looking forward to being able to drive 440 miles on a tank a fuel, as opposed to 260 with my current, 11-year old gas pig.

Trevormkidd

I own a Prius. Bought it in December 2004. I never have expected to “break even” on gasoline savings (I just don’t drive enough kilometers). I bought the car because it is kind of hard for me to bitch about how the car companies are not investing enough in new technologies if I am not willing to make any financial sacrifices and buy the best fuel efficiency technology they have available when I purchase a car. I am hoping to get 10 years out of it and I don’t think that will be a problem as I haven’t had a single problem with it. It has functioned extremely well in the snow and cold.

As for the mileage I get far closer to the original EPA then the new EPA. I don’t speed and I don’t accelerate quickly, so it is not unusual for me to get 58 – 60 mpg in the summer and 50 – 52 mpg in the winter (but every vehicle loses 10 – 20% in the cold winters). I don’t live in a big city or sit in stop-and-go traffic, so if that is the case for you then talking to people with a similar driving reality would be more helpful.

Sven Sven's picture

quote:


Originally posted by Trevormkidd:
[b]I own a Prius. Bought it in December 2004. I never have expected to “break even” on gasoline savings (I just don’t drive enough kilometers). I bought the car because it is kind of hard for me to bitch about how the car companies are not investing enough in new technologies if I am not willing to make any financial sacrifices and buy the best fuel efficiency technology they have available when I purchase a car. [/b]

I think that’s right. It doesn’t necessarily make financial sense to purchase a hybrid. If gasoline prices skyrocket or if you drive 25,000 miles of city driving a year, then, yeah, purchasing one will pay for itself in saved fuel costs after five or six years. Otherwise, you do it to reduce GHG emissions. And, right now, it’s the best alternative there is for a private vehicle. Someday, other (and no doubt expensive) technology will supersede hybrids, but for right now, I think they are a good choice.

Sven Sven's picture

I drove over to a store today. The speed limit is 30mph. Within that speed limit, I did the round trip while burning no fossil fuels. Pretty freakin' cool.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

I also bought a Prius last summer. Compared to my Mazda Tribute it uses a little under 6 litres pre 100 kms while the Tribute used about 14 per 100.

I will have driven about 30,000 kms in the year so I saved 14-6=8 litres 300 times this year or about 2,400 litres of gas. Not enough to pay for the car in one year but if the prices continue to rise by year 5 I will likely be getting close particularily if you take the residual value of the vehicle into account. I happen to think that it will hold a good resale value particularily if gas continues to climb in price.

Oh and by the way I am not a slow driver. I speed and on the highway I do 120 to 130 k/h and I accelerate quickly in city traffic. I suspect that others might get somewhat better gas consumption than I but a 60% redution was enough for me.

Edited to add: I don't have a clue about the miles per gallon for my Prius because I buy litres and drive kilometres. Besides like most metric formula's once you get used to it the litres per 100 kms it is far easier to work with especially when you have to convert litres to gallons (is that US or UK) and kms to miles.

[ 12 June 2007: Message edited by: kropotkin1951 ]

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

quote:


Originally posted by kropotkin1951:
I also bought a Prius last summer. Compared to my Mazda Tribute it uses a little under 6 litres pre 100 kms while the Tribute used about 14 per 100.

My Mazda B3000 truck is about the same as your Tribute mileage-wise, I haven't looked recently. However, I've only driven it 5,000 kilometers in three years. Can't go far on the local roads, and I only take it out on the cargo ship once a year, to go as far as Sept-Iles (400 km each way). I wanted something comfortable, reliable, and can take the beating of being driven on the crappy roads here. I also intend it to be my last vehicle.

[ 12 June 2007: Message edited by: Boom Boom ]

Bubbles

quote:


I drove over to a store today. The speed limit is 30mph. Within that speed limit, I did the round trip while burning no fossil fuels. Pretty freakin' cool.

(Sven)

That is just an illusion. All its power is still coming from fossil fuel, unless you use ethanol. My understanding is that hybrids are good around town, where the stop and go traffic allows you to recover energy in the battery rather then dissipating it in the brake assembly. You could find that you need less brake work done on the car over its life. Does it have a transmission?

[ 12 June 2007: Message edited by: Bubbles ]

Farmpunk

What have been the maintnance costs with the hybrids vs regular?

Having some knowlege of the modern vehicle repair game, I do wonder when the catch will occur. All vehicles break down eventually, and increased electronic gadetry, and greater reliance on computers controlling the vehicle, will mean bugs and high costs somewhere along the line.

Trevormkidd

quote:


Originally posted by Farmpunk:
What have been the maintnance costs with the hybrids vs regular?

It is too early to tell, but some people believe that maintenance and repair costs to the gas engine will be lower as it is being used less than a standard car. I believe that at least one taxi company has reported a decrease in costs for brake replacements due to the regenerative breaking, but again it is to early to tell. Consumer reports have given most hybrids very good grades for reliability. I know of no reports by taxi companies or government fleets that have reported increased maintenance costs, indeed based on the companies that have hybrids replacing more and more of their fleets with hybrids might indicate that their experience so far might be lower costs. Hybrids are a newer technology but many fleets have put far more kilometers on their hybrids than I could ever expect to.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Part of the reason I decided to buy one was after listening to a talk by David Suzuki. He told about his wife having got one of the first ones over 7 years ago and there had been absolutely no problems and I think he said it had over 250,000 kms on it. I usually buy "new" technology that way, ie in the second wave not the first.

in the Lower Mainland I notice that almost every new taxi is a hybrid presumably becasuse if you drive as much as they do it actually is cheaper in the short term.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

I caught the last 35 minutes or so of the film "Who killed the electric car?" tonight on TMN. I was shocked to see GM gather up as many EV1's as they could, and take them away to be crushed. I missed the part of the story that explained why that happened, but I must say GM looked really bad in the segment that I did see. Hydrogen hybrid vehicles - the film suggested still 20 years away. I'll try to catch the film again, from the beginning.

Sven Sven's picture

quote:


Originally posted by Bubbles:
[b]That is just an illusion. All its power is still coming from fossil fuel, unless you use ethanol.[/b]

Well, of course you're correct. I think it would have been more accurate for me to say that I made much more efficient use of the fossil fuels that I did burn. My new hybrid vehicle weighs somewhat less than my old vehicle but I get about 50% better gas mileage with the hybrid.

quote:

Originally posted by Bubbles:
[b]Does it have a transmission?[/b]

I honestly don't know. How would that affect gas mileage?

Sven Sven's picture

[ 13 June 2007: Message edited by: Sven ]

arborman

quote:


Originally posted by kropotkin1951:
[b]
in the Lower Mainland I notice that almost every new taxi is a hybrid presumably becasuse if you drive as much as they do it actually is cheaper in the short term.[/b]

I've had several cab drivers tell me it saves them as much as $1400/month in fuel costs, and the maintenance is reasonable or comparable to a standard vehicle.

Aside from the cheerleaders, there seem to be more and more hybrid cabs on the roads as well, which tells me they are putting their money where their mouth is.

That said, why would anyone in an urban environment want a car of their own, given the absurd costs of insurance, fuel, maintenance, purchase costs etc?

Sven Sven's picture

quote:


Originally posted by arborman:
[b]...given the absurd costs of insurance...[/b]

I was talking with a friend of mine from Toronto today. He said that the insurance for his wife's car (he has a company vehicle and the insurance is paid by his company), his motorcycle and his wife's motorcycle is $3,800 per year. I pay $1,400 for one vehicle and three motorcycles. It seems like Canadians get shafted on vehicle insurance.

Agent 204 Agent 204's picture

Well, Ontarians do. Manitoba, on the other hand, has an excellent public auto insurance system (I think the average driver pays slightly over half what he or she would pay in Ontario, though I could be mistaken about that). Part of this, mind you, is because there's a big levy on everyone's driver's license that pays into the public insurance system, so you pay more to renew your license than you would in most places. Overall, though, you come out ahead.

[ 14 June 2007: Message edited by: Agent 204 ]

Transplant

We just bought a prius. Like Sven, it was time to replace a 10 year old subaru wagon with 200k on it, and with the fed and prov tax rebate ($4100) it actually cost [b]less[/b] than replacing the subaru in kind. Plus, I thought it was time to put my money where my mouth is. Sure, we could have bought a much less expensive and much smaller car that was still way more fuel efficient than the subaru, but it wouldn't have had any where near the cargo space that it had, while the prius has just a bit less and gets even better mileage. IMO, if you have a family or otherwise need to haul stuff a small car that can't carry much is not really very useful even if it is fuel efficient.

Bubbles wrote: "All its power is still coming from fossil fuel, unless you use ethanol."

Quite true, but thanks to the regenerative braking it uses far less of it, about half as much as our subaru. And that's a good thing. I agree that gas-electric hybrids are still just an interim step, but it's the only road-proven off-the-shelf interim step that I can go out and buy right now. And if you want illusions, take a good close look at ethanol and biodiesel. It takes a lot of fossil fuel—and government subsidy dollars—to grow and distill corn into ethanol, and palm oil plantations are what's driving deforestation in Malaysia and Indonesia.

Bubbles asked if the prius has a transmission. Yes, a continuously variable automatic. As for maintenance, basically you are wedded to a toyota dealer for at least 8 years, which is the warranty period on the hybrid drive, as no one else is currently authorized to work on it. If you live in an area far from a toyota dealer, like boom-boom, then obviously it doesn't make much sense to go with one.

[ 14 June 2007: Message edited by: Transplant ]

Sven Sven's picture

quote:


Originally posted by Transplant:
[b]We just bought a prius. Like Sven, it was time to replace a 10 year old subaru wagon with 200k on it, and with the fed and prov tax rebate ($4100) it actually cost [b]less[/b] than replacing the subaru in kind.[/b]

That is an excellent tax rebate!! Good for you!! The USA federal government gave tax credits but they are a bit less generous and limited to the first 60,000 hybrid vehicles that a manufacturer produces for use in the USA. Toyota has already hit that limit (which doesn’t surprise me—they are the best automobile manufacturer in the world, IMO) while none of the other hybrid manufacturers are even close to hitting that number.

It’s interesting to see that it’s the Japanese and American auto manufacturers who are really pushing hybrids. Toyota and Honda and, to a lesser degree, Ford and Saturn, are leading the way. The European manufacturers are inexplicably AWOL. One would think that Saab, Volvo, BMW, Mercedes, Range Rover, etc. would be in the mix, too.

quote:

Originally posted by Transplant:
[b]Plus, I thought it was time to put my money where my mouth is. [/b]

Interesting comment. Buying green(er) technology is not cheap. And, I think it dovetails with the concerns many have about the impact on the economy. I didn’t buy my hybrid for economic savings, although I love not having to go to the gas station nearly as often as I used to by burning less fossil fuel per mile driven.

quote:

Originally posted by Transplant:
[b]Bubbles wrote: "All its power is still coming from fossil fuel, unless you use ethanol."

Quite true, but thanks to the regenerative braking it uses far less of it, about half as much as our subaru. And that's a good thing. I agree that gas-electric hybrids are still just an interim step, but it's the only road-proven off-the-shelf interim step that I can go out and buy right now. And if you want illusions, take a good close look at ethanol and biodiesel. It takes a lot of fossil fuel—and government subsidy dollars—to grow and distill corn into ethanol, and palm oil plantations are what's driving deforestation in Malaysia and Indonesia. [/b]


Based on some of the postings that I’ve read here, I’m very skeptical about ethanol. It really sounds like it’s largely just a government subsidy of farmers.

Farmpunk

Do a search for why the Honda Accord hybrid is being discontinued.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

I don't have the link handy, but I read a few days ago that the hybrid Accord just can't complete with Toyota's hybrids - they simply aren't selling, while Toyota hybrids are doing well in the marketplace. If you have other information, please post it.

Transplant

quote:


Originally posted by Farmpunk:
[b]Do a search for why the Honda Accord hybrid is being discontinued.[/b]

It's being discontinued because it didn't sell at all well. Not surprised seeing as was a dumb application of the hybrid technology: it used the same V6 ICE as the regular Accord, with the extra cost hybrid system only kicking in to boost power at the top end, so the ICE never shuts down the way it does in the prius and the honda civic hybrid, thus yielding very little efficiency or savings. What were they thinking?

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

[url=http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/hot_lists/car_shopping/latest_news_r... to Build the Prius in the U.S. in 2010[/url]

excerpt:

In the continuing saga of automakers revising their product line as fuel-efficient cars and hybrids loom in popularity over gas-guzzling trucks, Toyota admits its own chinks with a plan to revamp what it builds where.

The big news: it will start building the Prius in the U.S. in late 2010 at its new plant under construction in Blue Springs, Mississippi. Currently all Prius production is in Japan.

excerpt:

The other casualties of current sales trends are the Tundra full-size pickup and Sequoia fullsize SUV, which saw sales plummet 47 and 41 percent, respectively, in June and they are tracking down 8 and 29 percent, respectively, so far this year.

Toyota will stop building both in Alabama on August 8, resuming in early November. But while the Sequoia will continue assembly in the same plant, all Tundra production will be consolidated at the San Antonio, Texas, plant.

Sven Sven's picture

I ended up buying a hybrid...and doubled my gas mileage. I'm very pleased with it.

And, I look forward to having an all-electric vehicle someday in the near future.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

I'd love a hybrid just on principle, but I'm going to stick with my Mazda truck - I don't drive very much, I've only put on 5,000 km in four years. Some people drive that much in a month.

Sven Sven's picture

quote:


Originally posted by Boom Boom:
[b]I'd love a hybrid just on principle, but I'm going to stick with my Mazda truck - I don't drive very much, I've only put on 5,000 km in four years. Some people drive that much in a month.[/b]

Yeah, I've run the numbers and the payback, even with gasoline (here) being $4 per gallon (or about US$1.05 per liter), is several years when you consider that the hybrids are significantly more expensive than a comparable gasoline-only vehicle.

But, that's going to be true with a lot of energy-conserving technology. It may not be economical. But, I like it because (1) it's more eco-friendly and (2) I have to stop at the gas station much less frequently.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

When Toyota starts building the Prius in the US (and maybe later, Canada), they ought to be cheaper than importing them from Japan. Hybrid technology is also likely to decrease in price as it becomes more mainstream.

I haven't seen any articles on the all-electric Chevy Volt, but GM is showing the Volt in their advertisements showcasing GM technology. I did read somewhere that the Volt is supposed to be on the market by 2010. That might be overly optimistic.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

ps: isn't Volt a great name for an electric car? [img]biggrin.gif" border="0[/img]

lagatta

Yes, but I'm interested in to what extent hybrids can be feasable in rural and outlying regions (such as farmpunk's, our yours), where people actually need private motor vehicles.

I can't really support them in cities, (except for taxis, public transport, delivery etc) because I think private cars should be abolished here - which would require much better - and more accessible - public transport. And better town planning, retrofitting sprawl as urbanity.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Good question. I have no idea how reliable hybrids are for rural folk.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

[url=http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/hot_lists/high_performance/features_... Sippers: The 10 Most Fuel-Efficient Vehicles in the U.S.[/url]

(this link takes you to an article that is ten pages long...)

excerpt:

[b]In the past 17 years, no vehicle in America outsold the Ford F-150 on a monthly or yearly basis—not once.[/b] [img]eek.gif" border="0[/img] In May of this year, however, Honda moved more Civics and Accords and Toyota more Corollas and Camrys than Ford moved of its bestseller. This shift has less to do with a change in Americans’ vehicular preferences than the fact that trucks guzzle fuel, the cost of which has doubled in the past three years.

excerpt:

America has been sideswiped by the $4 gallon of gasoline, and auto industry heads believe the higher gas prices are permanent, not just a temporary shift or spike. Companies have been reconfiguring their lineups accordingly. [b]GM has green-lighted the electrically motivated Volt plug-in hybrid for a 2010 release[/b], and in addition to ceasing production of trucks and SUVs at four U.S. plants and idling thousands of workers, it is considering selling off the iconic Hummer brand.

excerpt:

That five of the vehicles on our list are hybrids is a harbinger of things to come. Although there’s only one diesel in this group, expect that to change.

ETA: the comments at the bottom are intersting, especially this one:

"...Of course the most fuel effecient car ever made was Roger Smith's EV1. With Stanford Ovshinky's NiMH batteries (still in use in the Prius) the plug-in EV1 had a range of 160 miles. But the EV1 was not to be. All EV1's were destroyed or disabled and the patents sold to Chevron/Texaco. Conspiracy anyone? A runner up would be Toyota's Rav4 EV. Chevron sued them to cease production of this plug-in in 2002."

[ 11 July 2008: Message edited by: Boom Boom ]

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

[url=http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/hot_lists/car_shopping/latest_news_r... Volt a Go[/url]

excerpt:

The good news: the automaker has officially greenlighted production of the Chevrolet Volt plug-in electric car and will proceed with retooling of the Detroit-Hamtramck plant in anticipation of the vehicle’s launch in November 2010. GM promises a first look at the production model soon.

(page two of this link is also interesting)

KenS

When the Volt comes in, whether it is 2010 [unlikely] or 2011, oe even later, it will be at least close to $40,000.

They don't plan on producing or selling many until at least 2015.

For all the hype, the Volt is just another plug-in hybrid. We don't have any on the market yet, but they are coming.

The Volt has as muchto do with GM changing it's image.

Hybrid techology costs will be coming down. And the battery packs will make incremental gains in range on electric.

Maintenace of the electrics is definitely simpler than the ICE equipment. But I predict that as there become a lot of hybrids- like soon- maintenace and service is going to become an issue. Both wait times and price of servicing.

Nissan [Renault] is gung ho on the all electric to the degree that they are essentially taking a pass on the hybrids and situating to leapfrog the pack. Shows how much this is not an enginnering/resources issue, since they do not have the most talent to draw on, and were late into the game at all. Based on what they say, with appropriate salt doses, I'd say non-negligible numbers of their EVs in North America in 2012.

If you don't need a new car now there is a lot to be said to waiting for better offerings- even if you can only wait a year.

Personally, unless you can't live with really small cars, for the time being I'd go with them over a hybrid: both cost and GHG wise. But stay away from that Aveo [GM is dropping it anyway].

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Oh, I'm keeping my small truck, need it to bring cords of wood out from the bush, and to bring in supplies from the cargo ship. I don't drive much, just around the village, and shopping for groceries. Once a year or so I take it out on the ship as far as Sept-Iles. My travelling days are over, I'm much more inclined to stick close to home now.

If I lived on the mainland I'd be inclined to buy a used Honda Fit. I don't know if a used hybrid is a reliable choice yet.

Farmpunk

I've gone a bit of a different route with a vechicle. I couldn't justify or afford a hybrid, and my mechanic would kill me if I bought one. Plus, I need a full size truck and don't want to pay for a car and have two vehicles. Problem is that the truck is a pain in the ass to drive around for errands and such, is hard on gas, but is paid for and is extremely cheap to insure. So, being the logical dude I am I decided to - buy a motorcycle.

And I have to say that it's been a good idea. I bought a small motorbike, cheap to insure, gets amazing gas mileage, eliminates that weird feeling I get when driving a vehicle all by myself, and - somewhat pathetic to admit - it's fun to drive.

I used to try and bicycle everywhere in the spring-summer-fall. But with my work being outside and dirty-sweaty, I found I didn't have the energy to ride to town for groceries, to visit friends, etc. Plus, people treat these country roads like a highway; no one goes less than 90kms, and they all really dislike having a bicylce interfere with their road. Got to be a little dangerous.

That being said, I really do think there are going to be some fairly rapid advances in straight fuel economy with vehicles, never mind the hybrid technology. Even the motorcycle I'm riding could be improved upon, and I estimate it gets a real world 3L\100kms. With different gearing and some weight shaved off, I can't see why it couldn't go as low as 1L\100kms.

ElizaQ ElizaQ's picture

FP,

We've been going through a lot of thoughts about trucks as well. I don't particularly want a truck because of the fuel costs but because of what we do it's getting to be more and more a pain in the butt not having a vehicle that can haul large loads of things at times. I was out the other day and could have got a couple of loads of woodchips and gravel for free if I had only had something to transport it in. We need gravel and it was a real pain to miss that opportunity because in the long run we'll have to pay for it. As part of my eco ethos I'm also a scrounger of things like building supplies. Lots a free stuff out there but they're difficult to access without a proper vehicle. It's a conundrum.
We were using a trailer but the car that could actually pull it died.
So we've been looking at options. Lots of trucks and vans up for sale around where we are. Wonder why. The expense of running them now and in the future is a big negative.

So I've been looking a options. There are hybrid trucks coming on the market but at a big price tag and from what I can tell they don't get that much better gas miledge in ratio to cost and for how much we'd actually use it.

And then there are electric trucks. Which I like the idea of because of the potential of generating onsite power to charge them. Yet the ones being approved are low speed versions and only being sold to fleet owners.
Something like this [url=http://www.auto123.com/en/news/car-news/technical-specifications-of-the-... Urban Truck[/url] which even though the max is 40km/hr it could actually work for what we need. Ye t again it's price and availability.
Here's a full size one which is coming to the consumer market [url=http://www.hybridcars.com/electric-cars/phoenix-electric-sut.html]Electric Sport Utility Vehicle[/url] but yeah at 45,000 dollars.
Then there is this option, [url=http://www.timnolan.com/etruck/etruck.htm]DIY Electric[/url] which is cool but where's the cargo room. It kinda defeats the purpose.

So for now we're just sitting and waiting with the hopes that these types of things will become more accessible and more affordable and the hubby is seriously considering a motorbike as well. I'm going for an electric bike option for errands because I'd know I'd kill myself on a motorbike.
It still leaves the issue of dealing with winter though.

I guess the point of the post is just some of the challenges and frustrations of wanting to make some sort of switch, the practical situations that different people face and the accessibility of technology to actually make that switch.

The irony right now is that taking the current situation I laid out, our needs (small hobby acreage) and factoring in all costs of buying and running say a truck or van that could haul things it's actually cheaper on a pure $$$ cost level to get a couple of horses and a wagon to haul stuff if we need it.

Farmpunk

Whoa, Nelly. I would do a lot of talking to people who use horses before you go that route. You are making your life exponentially more difficult when you use livestock to power stuff. Horses are work unto themselves. And while I like the smell of hay, working with it, without a fossil fueled power source, is not something I can recommend.

EQ, I wouldn't hesitate to buy a gas truck. They are simply indespensible around a farm. Using a car with a trailer is a poor idea, because you'll end up towing a trailer that's loaded heavy. That's hard on transmissions and brakes. I know it's really against the green agenda to use fossil fuel suckers like a truck, but there really isn't much of an option right now, in my opinion. The best new truck that I've seen is probably the Mahindra turbo-diesels, that get a claimed 34mpgs. Not sure they're availible in NA yet, but soon, no doubt.

Just because you have a truck doesn't mean you have to drive it. A early 2000s Ford F150 (I recommend four wheel drive, unless you enjoy getting stuck regularly) is a solid vehicle. Sure, gas mileage ain't the best, but it does burn that fuel efficiently, in relative terms.

The motorbike was a good addition, but it's definietly not for everyone, and it's not an end-game green option. An electric motorbike, with solar panel fairings.... Ah, some day.

The idiocy here is that with intelligent gearing, fossil fuel motors could get killer mileage. My bike will easily run into the 160km\hour range. But I really don't need to go that fast. No one does, if the vehicle is intended for transportation, not entertainment. So, why not gear the sucker down, tweak the motor, and try for absolute min gas useage? Baffling.

With electronics now controlling conventional motors, expect rapid advances in fuel economy. Likely there's a chip being developed right now that will plug into most existing motors, giving a %25 increase in mileage.

In the city I can get away with riding a bicycle, which is ultimately my favourite form of transportation. This country cycling is suicidal, though.

ElizaQ ElizaQ's picture

quote:


Originally posted by Farmpunk:
[b]Whoa, Nelly. I would do a lot of talking to people who use horses before you go that route. You are making your life exponentially more difficult when you use livestock to power stuff. Horses are work unto themselves. And while I like the smell of hay, working with it, without a fossil fueled power source, is not something I can recommend.

EQ, I wouldn't hesitate to buy a gas truck. They are simply indespensible around a farm. Using a car with a trailer is a poor idea, because you'll end up towing a trailer that's loaded heavy. That's hard on transmissions and brakes. I know it's really against the green agenda to use fossil fuel suckers like a truck, but there really isn't much of an option right now, in my opinion. The best new truck that I've seen is probably the Mahindra turbo-diesels, that get a claimed 34mpgs. Not sure they're availible in NA yet, but soon, no doubt.

Just because you have a truck doesn't mean you have to drive it. A early 2000s Ford F150 (I recommend four wheel drive, unless you enjoy getting stuck regularly) is a solid vehicle. Sure, gas mileage ain't the best, but it does burn that fuel efficiently, in relative terms.

The motorbike was a good addition, but it's definietly not for everyone, and it's not an end-game green option. An electric motorbike, with solar panel fairings.... Ah, some day.

The idiocy here is that with intelligent gearing, fossil fuel motors could get killer mileage. My bike will easily run into the 160km\hour range. But I really don't need to go that fast. No one does, if the vehicle is intended for transportation, not entertainment. So, why not gear the sucker down, tweak the motor, and try for absolute min gas useage? Baffling.

With electronics now controlling conventional motors, expect rapid advances in fuel economy. Likely there's a chip being developed right now that will plug into most existing motors, giving a %25 increase in mileage.

In the city I can get away with riding a bicycle, which is ultimately my favourite form of transportation. This country cycling is suicidal, though.[/b]


Yes yes I know about the extra labor and work part. [img]smile.gif" border="0[/img] That's why I said just on a purely dollar cost. The labor and day to day practicality part is another cost benefit analysis entirely.

I expect that we will eventually have to get a truck as you said the other options just aren't here yet, available or affordable. Pain in the butt. Thank for the recommendations. I wouldn't get a truck unless it was four wheel drive. What's the point? Trucks in my mind are tools. At least thats how I look at them.

KenS

That electric conversion of the truck you linked to is not the norm.

There is room between the frame rails, under the bed, for the batteries. Its also not stable having the weight as high as the box, and not safe for crashes having that weight behind you at your height.

People do all sorts of oddball things in conversions.

If you are even moderately handy [you don't need to be a mechanic] there is a choice of books for converting an S-10 to electric. Besides having a truck, it will also get you farther on charges than a car conversion [but uses more electricity and battery depletion per km than the much lighter converted car].

ElizaQ ElizaQ's picture

quote:


Originally posted by KenS:
[b]That electric conversion of the truck you linked to is not the norm.

There is room between the frame rails, under the bed, for the batteries. Its also not stable having the weight as high as the box, and not safe for crashes having that weight behind you at your height.

People do all sorts of oddball things in conversions.

If you are even moderately handy [you don't need to be a mechanic] there is a choice of books for converting an S-10 to electric. Besides having a truck, it will also get you farther on charges than a car conversion [but uses more electricity and battery depletion per km than the much lighter converted car].[/b]


Thanks that's good to know. I didn't really look into that idea a whole lot, that's pretty much the first link I came across. It could be an interesting project. Maybe if I do that I'll call it 'The Electric Babbler' [img]smile.gif" border="0[/img]

[ 16 July 2008: Message edited by: ElizaQ ]

jester

quote:


The irony right now is that taking the current situation I laid out, our needs (small hobby acreage) and factoring in all costs of buying and running say a truck or van that could haul things it's actually cheaper on a pure $$$ cost level to get a couple of horses and a wagon to haul stuff if we need it.

If you are in a purely rural area, a team and wagon can resolve haulage problems.Hand cutting forage with a misery mower is possible, if you enjoy the lifestyle of taking pioneering to extremes.

The simplelife ain't so simple.Our ancestors worked themselves to death with the simple tasks we now take for granted.

Horsepower is a hobby now and unrealistic in automotive traffic.

Your best option is a cheap truck that you dedicate to haulage and use sparingly. It will last for many years that way.

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