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foglem said:   The best advice is to first off only buy what you can afford, if you need a new gas effiecent car so be it, but don't get a car loan and go into debt. Instead buy something cheap you can afford and save money to later buy what you want with cash.

As for the cars, I own a Camry Hybrid personally and debated for about 4 months which to get before buying it. The Prius is a little better on fuel but at the expense of being far more cheap feeling and less usable. Personally, the Camry Hybrid is a excellent car and I'm really glad I bought it. 32 to 37mpg in the city typically, with highway being around 35 in my personal experience. It was worth it to me in order to have a full size family car versus the Prius for a slight gain in MPG. Provided you can afford to buy the car, buy what you want and feel best about. If you can't afford it in cash, DO NOT BUY!


2012 Volkswagen Passat TDI... 43 mpg. Motortrend Car of the Year. Starting price is roughly the same as the Camry Hybrid... and it comes with Carefree Maintenance (if you like that... personally, I call it Careless Maintenance and would rather take care of it myself). Roomy and stylish... great range, better fuel economy... exhaust doubles as Prius repellent (actually, the exhaust is rather clean).

macosx said:   DaGimp said:   psychtobe said:   You do not save money buying a new Prius. But if you are going to buy a new car, a Prius may save you money.

Prius - $25,000
Prius Plug in - $30,000
(MSRP)

Corolla - $15,000 (base model, no options)

Gas Cost - Corolla @ 34MPG - 30k miles a year - average gas price - $3.25 = $2867

Gas Cost - Prius @ 48MPG - 30k miles a year - average gas price - $3.25 = $2031

$836 / year difference.

Still will take the Prius some 10 to 12 years in gas savings to make up that $10,000 difference in price of the new Corolla.

Only buy a Prius if you are ECO friendly.


Break even analysis isn't that simple. Take into account capital cost and depreciation, interest and other costs, and break even might occur in around 5 to 8 years. Assume you say break even occurs in 10 years. Assume 80% depreciation, so you sell the corolla for $3,000 and the Prius for $5,000. Right there, you're $2,000 ahead with the Prius. Look at 10 year old cars to see if the estimates are correct. My guess is the Prius has higher residual percentage, but that's just a guess.


See, this is the thing that kills me... but it mostly applies to a discussion on lease vs. buy. Sure, the higher residual is great, and if it turns out to be real, awesome. However, if you are looking at the residual after 2-3 years, who in their right mind is going to buy a used car when they can spend $3-5k on an untitled vehicle that is 2-3 years newer? That makes no sense. Now, residual on a car that is 5-8 years old, it can start to make sense then. If people are buying these 2-3 yo cars and paying that close to new prices, they are fools and Toyota is cashing in (and good on Toyota for it).

This whole thread is about saving money and affordability. Nothing about "fun". Do you make enough money that you should put fun ahead of "saving"? If yes, drive a few cars to see how well they accelerate, how well they handle etc. I chose a higher power V6 car and loving every moment of it. It lets me accelerate at will, find open lane spaces and overtake other cars and it is a lot of fun driving the car. OK - so maybe I pay $1000 extra per-year in fuel - but that is a drop in the bucket relative to my other expenses/earnings.

GermanExpat said:   The Volt has a 16 kw/h battery (the 2013 has a 16.5) but it only uses around 10 kw/h to never fully deplete to extend battery life.How? I mean how does it use 10 kilowatts per hour?

I still preffer Aptara they had them listed at $25k - $45k
200 mpg / gallon

Aptara.com

Since the Volt has come up a few times, let me ask a question. Did they ever fix this issue that the Volt does not generate enough heat to warm the car in a colder climate? I had a Volt on order until I read about this issue. I live in the Midwest and need a car that can keep me warm in the winter. Chevy said their engineers were working on the issue but I've not heard that they've resolved the issue. If you are going to drive the car in a warmer climate then this would not be a problem.

I purchased a Camry Hybrid instead and can totally recommend this car (as others have in this thread). The car deserves the high rating it received from Consumer Reports.

I owned various Lexus models since 1989 and finally got tired of spending money on the name. All of the Lexuses (Lexi?) were great cars but I finally got over the need to impress others with my vehicle. That will save me a lot of money in the future....

My Camry Hybrid averages about 38 mpg on the highway and over 40 mpg in town. YMMV (literally). The car is comfortable which is important to me. You probably can get a discount - I did. I used PenFed's car buying service to solicit online offers and was happy with the discount I received.

deleted

PrincipalMember said:   This whole thread is about saving money and affordability. Nothing about "fun". Do you make enough money that you should put fun ahead of "saving"? If yes, drive a few cars to see how well they accelerate, how well they handle etc. I chose a higher power V6 car and loving every moment of it. It lets me accelerate at will, find open lane spaces and overtake other cars and it is a lot of fun driving the car. OK - so maybe I pay $1000 extra per-year in fuel - but that is a drop in the bucket relative to my other expenses/earnings.

I know what you mean, my 300ZX gets 9MPG but then again a 500hp smile is worth the extra few dollars in gas

tolamapS said:   I am curious what the profession is and what the circumstances are. Thanks in advance for explaining.

Concierge MD to an organized crime syndicate. Okay, not really... without going in to much detail, I need to "look the part". I found out via word of mouth that some people were passing on my services because I did not look rich enough. After all, if I was any good I could afford <blank>. After I started wasting money for the sole purpose of looking rich my income doubled. While some people like to look rich to make themselves feel better I do it to actually make more money. I realize very few people are in such a position however.

Aptera

Who knows when they will come out.

They went bust last year and are back again.

bb6619 said:   
Aptara.com

larrymoencurly said:   GermanExpat said:   The Volt has a 16 kw/h battery (the 2013 has a 16.5) but it only uses around 10 kw/h to never fully deplete to extend battery life.How? I mean how does it use 10 kilowatts per hour?

He means kW-h.

On the Golf TDI vs. Prius, yeah. The Golf TDI is like 500% nicer then the Prius in every possible way.
Prius is not bad but the Golf is a super-engineered built in Germany car, rock solid which the Prius feels like an appliance.

Squeezer99 said:   those miles add up quick. buy a beater civic or corolla for $3k

This sort of advice is worthless. Good luck finding a Civic or Corolla for $3k that doesn't have an insane number of miles on it or that isn't beaten to hell. You'll spend more on repairs than you do on the car.

VW's are over-engineered... they generally have tons of unnecessary crap on them that can break. And they are a pain in the ass to work on... I.E. take off several plastic underbody panels with a special tool to do an oil change.

ppatin said:   Squeezer99 said:   those miles add up quick. buy a beater civic or corolla for $3k

This sort of advice is worthless. Good luck finding a Civic or Corolla for $3k that doesn't have an insane number of miles on it or that isn't beaten to hell. You'll spend more on repairs than you do on the car.


I bought a 98 Subaru Legacy Wagon on Craigslist for $600. I did an oil change and brake pads on it, drove about 15,000 miles on it thru the winter and sold it in the spring for $600. It had about 230,000 miles on it when I sold it, ran fine when I had it.

I just picked up a 1999 Maxima for $500 on CL with 120k miles that I'll fix up and drive for a while and resell for probably $1500.

The used car market is quite lively nowadays.

brettdoyle said:   VW's are over-engineered... they generally have tons of unnecessary crap on them that can break. And they are a pain in the ass to work on... I.E. take off several plastic underbody panels with a special tool to do an oil change.

+1

Among other issues like you mention, they also knowingly used a defective valve body and transmission design for years and denied any responsibility until a class action lawsuit. Parts of the car that should never ever break or be an issue, are. Parts integral to regular repair and maintenace are back ordered nationwide for four or five months. Whenever they do come in, oh oops they shipped us the wrong one and you have to start all over.

Obviously my experience has been colored, but every VW I've bought has been a lemon from the first day. And yes, I'm stupid enough that it took me several tries before I learned my lesson.

Try changing a headlight bulb and get back to us with your feelings on VW design. And yes, you do have to change them regularly -- a defective headlight design means the bulbs blow all the time.

brettdoyle said:   VW's are over-engineered... they generally have tons of unnecessary crap on them that can break. And they are a pain in the ass to work on... I.E. take off several plastic underbody panels with a special tool to do an oil change.

You will need a few different Torx drivers, yes. But these are far from "special tools" to most DIY'ers.

And BTW, most cars nowadays are including a plastic belly pan as a means to decrease drag and increase MPGs. It's practically standard equipment across all autos.

Let me sum up the general advice for this type of question:

1. Use existing vehicle, make necessary repairs to keep it running, drive until wheels literally fall off. (will outweigh the cost of a new car AND any incremental MPG gain)
2. Buy a $600 beater (better have good luck, a well-stocked toolbox, or be handy with tools.)
3. Buy the cheapest econo-box possible on the "it's cheap" rationale.
4. Buy a pre-owned, slightly higher tier car for the same price as a econo-box. (enjoy the "mid-tier ride" a bit more for the same price)
5. Buy something else based on good MPGs (would be best to do an analysis of city/driving and see what type would be best. i.e. hybrid potentially more useful if doing a lot of city driving vs. TDI Diesel for long highway commutes)

I would not want to do a 100 mile daily commute in a Yaris, yet some people can "justify" based on the excellent MPGs or the fact they have a $99/month car payment. Just my $0.02.

CorradoJr said:   brettdoyle said:   VW's are over-engineered... they generally have tons of unnecessary crap on them that can break. And they are a pain in the ass to work on... I.E. take off several plastic underbody panels with a special tool to do an oil change.

You will need a few different Torx drivers, yes. But these are far from "special tools" to most DIY'ers.

And BTW, most cars nowadays are including a plastic belly pan as a means to decrease drag and increase MPGs. It's practically standard equipment across all autos.


My 2009 golf has 6-8 torx screws to remove the underpanel. Takes 1 minute. Quality is also good taking repeated removal and install, nice and beefy.

barbcole said:   brettdoyle said:   VW's are over-engineered... they generally have tons of unnecessary crap on them that can break. And they are a pain in the ass to work on... I.E. take off several plastic underbody panels with a special tool to do an oil change.

+1

Among other issues like you mention, they also knowingly used a defective valve body and transmission design for years and denied any responsibility until a class action lawsuit. Parts of the car that should never ever break or be an issue, are. Parts integral to regular repair and maintenace are back ordered nationwide for four or five months. Whenever they do come in, oh oops they shipped us the wrong one and you have to start all over.

Obviously my experience has been colored, but every VW I've bought has been a lemon from the first day. And yes, I'm stupid enough that it took me several tries before I learned my lesson.

Try changing a headlight bulb and get back to us with your feelings on VW design. And yes, you do have to change them regularly -- a defective headlight design means the bulbs blow all the time.


Yes I have had to change my bulbs twice since I bought the car new. Takes 30 seconds and no tools (hands only)

I am guessing your experiences are 4th gen and earlier. your experiences are accurate. They made a HUGE jump in quality and engineering with the 5th gen and up.

We bought a used Prius hybrid (2004) in June for $10,000. We have done nothing but routine maintenence in th 6 months since, and have driven it 2000 miles for our vacation in July, in addition to regular commuting. It gets 48-50 mpg on the highway on long trips, and 42-46 mpg in traffic, depending on how much braking is done. This is the nicest car I've ever driven. It runs so smoothly, it feels like I am driving a big car. There is plenty of leg room to carry 4 adult passengers. A very tall person would probably not be comfortable in the back seat, though, because of the sloping roof. I highly recommend a used Prius hybrid if you have the cash to pay for it. It is an excellent value.

Dus10 said:   So, maybe pass on a hybrid? If someone were going to force me to buy a Toyota hybrid, and I didn't give a crap about comfort (I mean at least it is a new car), I would go with the Prius C. It has a much lower entry point, as far as cost. It is a Yaris that has been converted into a hybrid.

Now, that brings up the point that hybrids don't actually improve your fuel economy very much. For instance, look at the Camry vs. the Camry Hybrid... very minimal improvement. The Prius C, being the Yaris platform, already is starting out 40+ mpg before you run the "hybrid magic". What makes hybrids more efficient is all of the other things that they do to these vehicles. For instance, before hybrids, was there much of a market for goofy shaped cars? Not really, but that goofy shape is more aerodynamic... it doesn't need to be a hybrid to have that goofy shape, but the "hipsters/hippies" were willing to get over that for the hybrid "branding". They also work to keep the weight low on these vehicles. In addition, taking your accessories off of your drivetrain improves fuel economy. Plus, you can add the stop/start capability to a non-hybrid to improve fuel economy.

As someone already mentioned, Volkswagen TDIs are a great alternative, and work better for longer commutes. A hybrid has much of its improvements in fuel economy in city driving and shorter commutes. Diesel is much better for highway driving. Now consider the 2013 VW Golf TDI. It is rated at 43 mpg. Volkswagens consistently get better fuel economy than the EPA estimates, for starters. Now, take that vehicle and add the Bluemotion package to it... (essentially the hybrid treatment without the hybrid) stop/start capability, accessories off of the drivetrain, regenerative braking to provide more power to accessories, lightweight, longer geared 5th/6th gear... that 43 mpg is now 62 mpg... and that is the EPA estimate.

I currently drive a 2002 VW Jetta TDI that I picked up for $3900 that is rated at 43 mpg, and I get 45-48 mpg on my 60 mile roundtrip commute... on a 120 mile roundtrip, I would certainly top 50 mpg. First reply was hinting at the smugness that someone who drives a Prius feels... it is nothing in comparison to the smugness I feel when drive my TDI and see these silly hybrids out there.

Do the math, as it is different for everyone, but buying a truly new car just for fuel economy isn't very likely to beat keeping your old vehicle. Picking up a much more fuel efficient used car can be. And in most cases, based on current fuel prices, the premium you pay to increase your fuel economy above 40-45 mpg is rarely worth the upfront cost.

Crownvic? I could pay cash for a new crownvic every year with my fuel savings from my 2002 Chevy Malibu to my 2002 VW Jetta TDI. I'll take the TDI. They are easy to work on too, and they last and last.


Bluemotion isn't available int he Staets, is it?

Also, while the VW TDIs are amazing, the reliability has been less than stellar and the question mark around the fuel pumps (and in particular how VW has handled the concerns) leaves a lot to be desired. Finally, Diesel typically costs 10% more than gas, so you have to account for that in your calculations.

psychtobe said:   ... Finally, Diesel typically costs 10% more than gas, so you have to account for that in your calculations.

Good point. Right now where I live regular is $3.20 but Diesel is $3.84 which is exactly 20% more.

43 MPG in a Diesel at those rates would cost as much as 36 MPG with regular gas.

ubermichaelthomas said:   Does your local electricity come from burning coal or is it nuclear energy? Most electricity in the US is generated from burning coal, which essentially means you're damaging the environment much more than if you simply burned gas in your car because extra coal has to be burned to compensate for the loss of energy going through the power lines and more energy loss when the batteries in the car are charged.

Essentially, you're doing more damage to the environment than if you simply used a gas vehicle. Unless you have nuclear power in your city, in which case nuclear energy is just wonderful for the environment.


If you think gas engines are more enviromentally friendly than electric engines, then you should power up your entire house with a gasoline power generator and let the fume come inside your house. After few months, you will appreciate your electricity and how much cleaner it is compared to gasoline.

I woud recommend Camry for four main reasons.
1) Camry ride is a lot more comfortable than Prius.
2) If there is a crash, I rather be in Camry than Prius.
3) If you think about the premium you are paying for an electric car, it will take about 10 years to start benefiting from fuel savings.
4) Replacing the batteries in Prius will be very expensive.
5) If there is a failure, your local mechanic will not know how to fix electrical conponents of Prius. You are stuck with Toyota as the only place to get it fixed.

If you are thinking about Prius to save money, don't do it. If you don't mind paying more to help the environment and join the early bandwagon of green car, then go for Prius. Just remember that Prius will require a higher initial cost and will cost more to maintain after the warranty is over.

I was considering something like this over the summer also. I was driving a supercharged 20000 Grand Prix GTP with 154,000 miles on it (drove it from 2002/32k to 2012/154k). It had no major mechanical problems in those 10 years except for a couple of electronic sensors...but it started blowing supercharger pulleys/belts in the winter after about 140k miles. It had a lot of minor problems by this summer though - broken power window, radio LCD, flaky ABS sensor, broken washer fluid bin, etc. Engine was still great though - but it started to get really annoying with the minor stuff.

This time I wanted something a little more bulletproof. I ended up with a 2010 Nissan Altima 2.5SL - not as boring to drive as the Camry (sorry Camry fans), not as big as the Accord (my close second choice). We're comfortable with Nissan, my wife had a '95 Maxima she drove to 220,000+ miles. MPG is 23/32, 0-60 8.4s.

I'll likely keep this car for 9-10 years like I did my Grand Prix.

My wife swapped an '02 Buick Rendezvous this summer for a loaded '08 Hyundai Elantra / 50k for 9k - a good buy - I'm waiting to see how the reliability on it is - everyone says Hyundai has gotten a lot better in recent years.

IMO something like an Civic/Fusion/Elantra/etc gets close to the MPG of a Prius without being as wimpy. I thought I could drive a Prius, maybe - my wife's wimpy 138hp Elantra was zippy enough - but man, it's a totally different experience than even than a normal compact sedan.

My experience is like librarylady. I purchased a 2005 Prius in late January for $7600. Have averaged 47.3mpg over the last 22,600 miles. Huge savings of $4400 so far this year versus my previous Dodge Ram Hemi at 12.6mpg.

As for Prius vs VW TDI there is no comparison. I lived VW from 2002 to 2005. I loved them so much that I purchased Vag-Com software so I could work on them myself. The Bosch electronics was crap. I loved the 1.8 Turbo's but they took maintenance and ate oxygen sensors. Timing Belt every 80k miles (TDI's every 100k). Many other issues (go to VWVortex for more details). I would not even consider the Dual Clutch auto DSG -- too much money to repair.

As for the Prius -- gas and an oil change every 10k is common maintenece for 200k miles. Timing Belt -- no need it uses a chain. Transmission issues are unheard of since it has only 27 or so parts and no reverse gear. Heck the tranny has no recommended maintenace and if desired a fluid drop and fill can be done at home for $30 and 20 minutes of time (no torque converter!). Also no need to worry about ANY belt on 2010 or newer Prius since there is no accessory drive belt at all (AC is electric!). Total cost of ownership is extremely low. Where I work there is a new Prius showing up weekly. Positive word of mouth spreads quickly. The new ones are getting over 52mpg on 65 to 70mph hwy driving up interstate 40 in NC. Hard to beat that. I frequent Prius Chat and there are many Prius's over 300k miles and several over 500k miles on all original parts.

The Prius is not a great looking car but for basic transportation it is incredible. Buy a used 2010 with under 50k miles or so for $16k and you will be set for the next decade. The $30 fuel fillups every 450 miles feels good!

As for the battery it's a false scare. They normally last 10+ years. No one really knows since almost all still have original battery. If it does go the replacement is under $1500 for a rebuilt. No biggie since a normal car would need a tranny in that time....

roamerr said:   The $30 fuel fillups every 450 miles feels good!

[S]Wow I never realized the tank was so small and the range so low. I'd hate having to waste time going to the gas station that often. The tank on my car is ~17.5 gallons, so if I ran it completely dry (past reserve), would be around 700 miles. In reality I go to the gas station every 600.[/S] EDIT: was off-topic

roamerr said:   
As for the battery it's a false scare. They normally last 10+ years. No one really knows since almost all still have original battery.

This is completely correct, when someone says "don't buy it because the battery will die in a few years and be expensive to replace!", you know to stop listening to them. Other maintenance costs are also so much lower that even if you would have to replace the hybrid battery, it would be much cheaper than the brakes, transmissions, alternators, even extra required oil changes all add up.

To be 100% accurate in the statement, there have actually been a handful of Toyota (and I think also Ford battery failures, I'm unsure on any other mfrs), but only due to manufacturing defects and also I think only from the "first generation" of their batteries, and not a SINGLE failure from age or "wearing-out".

greling said:   Get a Lexus CT 200h instead. Same internal engine as the Prius and just a few mpg less than the Prius. Price the same or even much cheaper than the Prius in most markets. Looks better than the Prius. Plus, it's a Lexus.

Prius is overpriced and overhyped.


Can you elaborate? Isn't the CT 200h a $30k car, while the prius starting around $20k? Please provide examples of price reversal and what markets, so I can go get one.

ankitgu said:   ubermichaelthomas said:   Does your local electricity come from burning coal or is it nuclear energy? Most electricity in the US is generated from burning coal, which essentially means you're damaging the environment much more than if you simply burned gas in your car because extra coal has to be burned to compensate for the loss of energy going through the power lines and more energy loss when the batteries in the car are charged.

Essentially, you're doing more damage to the environment than if you simply used a gas vehicle. Unless you have nuclear power in your city, in which case nuclear energy is just wonderful for the environment.

I want to give you green for going a step further than 99% of people in this thinking. In a sense, the tail pipe of the car is simply moved from your car to a power plant. You're also correct about the efficiency loss. You could have even mentioned that unless we have good disposal of the battery chemicals, they are damaging to the environment.

Despite those items, I think we should remember that burning coal in a power plant is going to likely (I am no expert and haven't looked up numbers) to be more efficient than a person who uses an engine to convert fuel (which has to be delivered via semi vs coal via rail) into energy and heat. I believe the efficiency is roughly close to 30% for a standard gasoline engine.

Despite all the red ubermichaelthomas got, he's on the right track. Until we switch to mostly nuclear and renewables for electricity, EVs are mostly a pointless endeavor from an energy efficiency standpoint (they are better for emissions since the scrubbers on a modern coal plant do a much better job than a catalytic converter).

- The best coal plants are about 45% efficient (45% of the energy in the coal is converted to electricity). Oil and gas plants are 50%-60% efficient, but (except for Hawaii) they represent a small portion of our electricity generation.

- Transmission on power lines is about 95% efficient.

- EV battery charging is about 75% efficient. <-- This is the big one most EV proponents miss.

- Electric motors are about 90% efficient. It actually varies by load, but so does an internal combustion engine's efficiency, so I'll just go with near-peak values for both.

- Wheel axel friction and tire losses I'll assume are the same for the EV and the ICE vehicle.

So what do you get when you multiply all these efficiencies together?

45% * 95% * 75% * 90% = 28.9%

An EV charged with electricity from coal only delivers about 29% of the energy in the coal to the wheels. Contrast that with an ICE car which typically delivers about 25% of the energy in the gasoline to the wheels. (Around 30% efficiency at the engine, with the transmission and drivetrain being around 80%-90% efficient.) So if your electricity comes from coal, the EV barely beats out the ICE for energy efficiency. And that's assuming the highest efficiency coal plants currently in use. If you use the industry average 28% efficient coal plant, EVs are actually less energy-efficient than ICEs.

This is the same nail in the coffin for hydrogen fuel cell cars. While the fuel cells themselves can be 70%-80% efficient, the process of converting water into hydrogen is about 65% efficient. And the electricity you have to use to do it is (assuming the highest efficiency coal plants again) about 43% efficient. For an overall efficiency of 43% * 65% * 80% = 22%. The same as an ICE except hydrogen is much more difficult to store, transport, and dispense.

I don't want to discourage EV adoption, since I do believe they are the future. But I think it's important that people understand that everything will not be rainbows and unicorns just because we switched to EVs. Until we switch away from coal to nuclear and renewables for our electricity generation, there's really not much gain on the energy front. Until then, EVs are just advancing the state of the art, not really saving us energy. (Though they are saving us cost and reducing pollution.)

acrokpeterk said:   Have you considered a VW Golf TDI? Similar mileage, much more efficient Diesel engine, and WAY more enjoyable to drive - with comfortable seats. Just throwing that in the discussion.
Diesels aren't that much more efficient. Most of their higher mileage is phantom. Diesel is heavier than gasoline. There's about 12% more "stuff" in a gallon of Diesel than there is in a gallon of gasoline. And per gallon there's about 10% more energy in Diesel than gasoline. In other words, a gallon of Diesel could theoretically be refined into 1.1 gallons of gasoline. So you really need to be multiplying the MPG of a Diesel by about 0.9 to compare it to a gasoline car's MPG on an equal-energy basis.

bb6619 said:   I still preffer Aptara they had them listed at $25k - $45k
200 mpg / gallon

Aptara.com


First, your URL is misspelled. I normally wouldn't nitpick, but it is an URL!

Second, these car are still vapor. How can you prefer something that doesn't exist?

brettdoyle said:   VW's are over-engineered...

Over-engineered IS A GOOD THING, so long as it makes sense economically.


they generally have tons of unnecessary crap on them that can break.

Have an example? Like what?

And they are a pain in the ass to work on... I.E. take off several plastic underbody panels with a special tool to do an oil change.

Uh, why do you have to do that? I don't even have to get underneath my car to change the oil. I have a PELA 6000 oil extractor that I bought for $45 including shipping that lets me vacuum the oil out of the pan directly via the dipstick. The oil filter is in a housing that is removed top-side which is a WAY BETTER DESIGN than unscrewing a filter canister from underneath and letting it drip wherever it feels or having to engineer a 2-liter bottle to catch it and direct it properly.

They are EASY to work on. They make sense. I picked mine up from a guy that abused the vehicle and it needed a significant amount of sensors, vacuum hoses, and turbo actuator. I bought everything online from IDParts.com and didn't experience this high priced replacement parts that everyone claims of European vehicles, and they are all OEM, or better. Everything on the vehicle makes sense. I had never driven or maintained a Diesel before, but within two weeks of buying it, I was easily able to work on my car. And I will get 400k miles out of the thing, easily, without any major issues.

Solandri said:   Until we switch away from coal to nuclear and renewables for our electricity generation, there's really not much gain on the energy front. Until then, EVs are just advancing the state of the art, not really saving us energy.
I didn't see the costs from starting oil wars half-way around the globe factored into your analysis. There's something to be said for the fact that all the coal is "over here" and all the oil is "over there."

naas said:   Solandri said:   Until we switch away from coal to nuclear and renewables for our electricity generation, there's really not much gain on the energy front. Until then, EVs are just advancing the state of the art, not really saving us energy.
I didn't see the costs from starting oil wars half-way around the globe factored into your analysis. There's something to be said for the fact that all the coal is "over here" and all the oil is "over there."

That's because it was an energy efficiency analysis, not a cost analysis. I stated towards the beginning that pushing cars with energy from coal electricity is cheaper than pushing them with oil.

The exact ratio varies with the price of gas (which fluctuates more than the cost of electricity), but ignoring cost to purchase the car, per mile driven the EV is usually around 1/3 to 1/2 the cost of an equivalent gasoline powered car.

Solandri said:   naas said:   Solandri said:   Until we switch away from coal to nuclear and renewables for our electricity generation, there's really not much gain on the energy front. Until then, EVs are just advancing the state of the art, not really saving us energy.
I didn't see the costs from starting oil wars half-way around the globe factored into your analysis. There's something to be said for the fact that all the coal is "over here" and all the oil is "over there."

That's because it was an energy efficiency analysis, not a cost analysis. I stated towards the beginning that pushing cars with energy from coal electricity is cheaper than pushing them with oil.

The exact ratio varies with the price of gas (which fluctuates more than the cost of electricity), but ignoring cost to purchase the car, per mile driven the EV is usually around 1/3 to 1/2 the cost of an equivalent gasoline powered car.


That is all dependent on the distance that you plan on driving... if you are doing a relatively short commute, current technologies would be fine for EV. If you are driving more than about 30-40 miles a day, or a little bit more if you have charging available at each destination and adequate duration between trips, then it isn't really ready. I am at a 60 miles roundtrip right now, and a few days a week I have another ten miles for a roundtrip to the pool for lap swimming. My roundtrip is more than most, but not that long compared to some folks (as one poster to this thread does 120 roundtrip). Plus, for out of the norm trips, like vacation or work related travel, not so good either.

It would require a different infrastructure and/or a standardization on batter platforms to change that. There was an article in one of the business magazines several years ago about setting up an infrastructure of easily swapped batteries at fueling stations, which would work because batteries could be charged and then you swap your discharged battery for a charged one in about the same amount of time it takes to fill up a tank with fuel. It would be similar to propane tank exchanging. An alternative, which has something in the works for semi-trucks around LA is a grid where semi-trucks can be powered by overhead electrical lines around town, which would drastically reduce local emissions during heavy traffic when there is a lot of idling. This same method could be used with in-road systems for all vehicles and if you still keep the batteries, you are relatively free to move about. Perhaps just one lane is equipped with the powering capability like how the carpool lanes in some areas are also available to hybrids and EVs. You are free to travel elsewhere, but you can always pop over to the other lane if you need some juice.

I dunno, I don't see the electrical requirements of cars going down any time soon. As some have mentioned, heating is required in northern climates for a decent amount of the year. Also, with more computing power being packed into cars (including self-driving capability), that will also be a concern. Based on all of these factors and the still restrictive cost of efficient batteries, EVs are still not cost effective, which is abundantly clear to consumers and manufacturers once you remove the subsidies (as evidenced by Toyota's plan to scrap their all-electric vehicles for the foreseeable future). If you are interested in fuel economy and hybrid/electric vehicles, now is definitely not the time to buy and drive until the wheels fall off (assume that takes a similar amount of time to traditional vehicles) as the technology is rapidly changing. It would definitely be prudent to wait and see if a new direction that is more economical and feasible emerges.

Personally, the only way I would pursue a hybrid would be if it were a Diesel-electric hybrid that only cost $1-2k more than a Diesel-only vehicle, and it was EPA rated at 80 mpg. I think that is perfectly feasible, and Diesel-electric makes a helluva lot more sense than gasoline-electric because they complement each other better. Electric is great for city driving and Diesel is great for highway driving... now you get the best of both worlds. Gasoline is mediocre with both types of driving, so it doesn't really have an advantage to have the added cost and complexity to the vehicle. I would still want the same power experience that I have today with my Diesel-only car, too. Which torque variations between the different motive forces also play a role. Diesel is best at low-end torque, electric is consistent through the power curve, and gasoline is best at the high-end. So, a "sport" mode driving option of Diesel and electric simultaneously for acceleration would be great. I am not sure how to equate this to the general driving public, but the DSG transmission that VW has (essentially a computer controlled manual transmission with a double-clutch) has a normal mode where it will shift at a lower RPM, and then it has a sport mode where it waits until a higher RPM value to shift, meaning generally quicker acceleration; it also has a manual mode where the driver can choose the shifting pattern similar to paddle shifters, and such.

CNG is another good option that is probably more ready for prime time based on the current infrastructure. It contains slightly less power per volume than gasoline, but the cost is significantly lower. We have plenty of NG available in NA as we just about destroyed the market by flooding it with new discoveries of reserves. Of course, we are also set to surpass Saudi Arabia in petroleum production by 2025 or so, as well. No thanks to government policy... it has all happened on private lands, but that's fine by me.

Now there are also indirect supply and demand impacts to the high cost options that are rarely, if ever (I have yet to see one such discussion), that by supposedly not getting a return on funds by purchasing current hybrids or EVs, including subsidies, maybe the price of fuel is kept lower because there is less demand than there would have been otherwise. Thus, compared to normal vehicle based on the fuel prices seen, the numbers may not make sense, but long term if the price of fuel is pushed down by 5%, or more, maybe that skews the results a bit? I know that it factors in, but whether the numbers make enough of dent is left to question. Today? I sincerely doubt we are anywhere near even the lower price of fuel helping the equation as we also must consider the significant subsidies, which typically aren't discussed by most consumers who are only concerned with their direct costs.

Solandri said:   naas said:   Solandri said:   Until we switch away from coal to nuclear and renewables for our electricity generation, there's really not much gain on the energy front. Until then, EVs are just advancing the state of the art, not really saving us energy.
I didn't see the costs from starting oil wars half-way around the globe factored into your analysis. There's something to be said for the fact that all the coal is "over here" and all the oil is "over there."

That's because it was an energy efficiency analysis, not a cost analysis. I stated towards the beginning that pushing cars with energy from coal electricity is cheaper than pushing them with oil.

Wars waste tons of energy, especially distant ones

naas said:   Solandri said:   That's because it was an energy efficiency analysis, not a cost analysis. I stated towards the beginning that pushing cars with energy from coal electricity is cheaper than pushing them with oil.
Wars waste tons of energy, especially distant ones

None of that energy goes directly into turning your car wheels, which was the point of the analysis.

Look, I understand you feel strongly enough about the war that you're compelled to try to put a political spin on all this. But can you save that for another topic and keep this one strictly on energy efficiency?

I don't see how divorcing "energy" from cost is anything other than political in the first place. Anyone who cares about that is only doing it to make a political statement, to save "energy" or "carbon footprint" even if it increases the actual $ out of pocket. You can't do that while ignoring the "energy" or "carbon footprint" that it costs on an ongoing and escalating basis in order to keep oil coming out of the middle east.

naas said:   I don't see how divorcing "energy" from cost is anything other than political in the first place.
I'm an engineer. I compare things across multiple independent factors - cost, energy efficiency, energy density (by weight, by volume, by cost, etc), longevity, ease and time of refuel/recharge. ease of maintenance, suitability for your needs, pollutants, social stigma, political ramifications, etc. Then I assign weights to each of those factors and add them all up to determine which car to buy. That's the geeky engineer's way of systematically determining which car to get.

What you're doing is contaminating the comparison within one factor (energy efficiency) with another factor (political ramifications) simply because you're unhappy the energy efficiency comparison does not favor the Prius as you thought it would. There was a widespread misconception that the EV was "obviously" more energy efficient (hence the first person to say it wasn't getting red). I chimed in to correct that. Nothing more. I've stated several times now that the EV comes out ahead in other factors, so I don't understand why you'd think I'm trying to be political here.

No, you're wrong. I hate the Prius. My parents have one which I drive sometimes when I visit them, and it's intolerable. But you're ignoring a significant hidden energy cost of an energy source that (now) necessarily comes from halfway around the world, when compared to one that is plentiful locally. Just like when you said this: - EV battery charging is about 75% efficient. <-- This is the big one most EV proponents miss. The costs due to a fuel source naturally occurring in extremely distant and hostile locations must be considered as another transmission loss, just the same as charging an EV battery, or storing solar power at night or wind power when it's not gusty, or transporting hydro power from Washington state to Washington DC. These are all a part of the engineering problem.

So... um, you do realize that we don't actually import most of our oil from the Middle East, right? Most of it is right here in North America.



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