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Way back when this site was conceived the idea of a hybrid automobile was about as interesting to most as the wire bread tie. Oh that's cute what what is it actually good for? Gasoline was about a buck a gallon and the big three were pushing "more power" as the US market was interested in tugging around big ole boats or campers. Room for six was required even though the majority of those SS Soccer Mom sized vehicles were driving around with occupancy of one up and down the interstate every Monday through Friday. 

Most did not know that Mr Porsche had built and sold hundreds of hybrids when McKinley was president of the US. Had it not been for Mr Ford and his mass produced gasoline powered cars they may have caught on back when some still used a horse and buggy to commute. The idea largely went away until the 1960's when the US noticed this thing called smog. The EPA was created and some ideas were bantied about but again it seemed impractical. Nothing got past the concept stage. 

The oil embargo in the 70's fueled some ideas but again nothing really came to fruition. GM had a hybrid concept but it was pretty lackluster. In the 1990's Japanese makers had flooded the US with cars and trucks. The US government decided to fund R&D for hybrid technology in order to give the big three a new world to play in. They yawned. But Toyota said "can we play?" Uncle Sam said "no you're foriegn, go away"… so they did. Meanwhile in Japan they were building what became the Prius. And in 97 they began selling them over there. But Honda decided to play in America. The Insight arrived. It raised some eyebrows at the big three but they were still largely interested in selling tug boat sized automobiles. Then came "$4 gasoline". While Dodge Ram was touting bigger payloads and more horsepower the American consumer was taking a second look at the Insight and now availble in the US, the Prius. 

When Hollywood types were buying the Prius things really took off. Suddenly it was cool to drop off little Janey at school in a Pruis. But America wanted horsepower. Acura answered with a hybrid that could compete with the fastest of the fast with an NSX hybrid. By then instead of a "flex fuel" badge being the in thing the hybrid badge on the rear of the car was it. 

I started this thread after reading some history here where the hybrid vehicles were all in a hybrid section but since so many models now had a hybrid version it was time to sort them back into the particular model section. Perhaps some day the all electric versions or hydrogen versions will go mainstream as well. Yet hydrogen technology seems to be the BetaMax version of planet friendly commuting. There's a huge push in the US right now for all electric. Tesla seems to be the dominant force at this point, but Toyota says they'll have 15 all electric vehicles by 2025 and Lexus had a "Direct 4" concept with An ES model on the way. I read a rumor that a GS "type" model will be reintroduced as an all electric. 

It seems as though that hybrid thing isn't just a fad afterall. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Great write up Mike, provokes thought as to whether this is truly the way forward, particularly with what is going on globally.

The Prius is a classic example of how to do things right, and as a side note - it is also the preferred choice for Cab Drivers and they truly rack up some huge miles over the years without many issues at all...a great legacy to Toyota design and reliability.

The Toyota Mirai Hydrogen car is also a very strong contender in todays world as the only emissions is water. I recently drove one for review and it was incredibly impressive as a car and also the technology that was packed into the car but was not visible so you have no idea of what lies beneath.
Apart from the cost and the limited availability it would be the next major player in the EcoCar world, along with the Hyundai Nexo and Honda Clarity.


 

 

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I'd be all over a hydrogen car. But I'm afraid it will be like a Tucker some day. Great ideas that never really made it because……

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I am having a difficult time wrapping my head around any All Electric cars. I get the feeling we are being duped into the belief that electricity is a cleaner and cheaper source of energy. I do of course get the concept but I also must look at the entire picture of where and how electricity is produced, transported and stored which brings us to the actual cost. IMO solar is a wonderful source but not yet up to the full time task where geographical and weather conditions come into play. Wind is also wonderful however when we consider all the costs to build from scratch, erect and maintain windmills it becomes just as costly or more costly than the fossil fuels required to build them. I am no expert here but I have read numerous accounts stating that windmills so far cannot produce enough energy to cover the return of investment over their lifetime. Both sources have their advantages and disadvantages, cleaner in some ways but often more costly when we look at the total picture of initial cost Vs return.

An All Electric vehicle will not work here where I live with the high cost of electricity from the power company to my home. Replacing batteries in such vehicles is another daunting thought when they have reached their life expectancy. I think we seem to forget that all manufactured goods, no matter what, cars, computers, gadgets and just about everything else all begin in the ground and must be mined, transported, milled and smelted and this all takes fossil fuels and electricity at every step. Folks here are highly against windmills, solar farms, pipelines, electric transmission lines, cellular towers, and nuclear power generation plants. The complain about the rivers being dammed for Hydro power generation and in the very same breath they complain about high costs of energy, lack of cell service and internet connectivity for all their gadgets. I get the feeling those who are narrow minded expect all this stuff to simply fall from the sky. I have a continual and ongoing debate with a buddy who is an absolute climate activist, the type who thinks cows should be eliminated and all energy should be from renewable sources while he does drive a Prius he also wants milk in his coffee, Leather seats in his cars and SUVs and steak on his table. All electric vehicles are for sure coming along but they are a long way from refined enough to have one parked and plugged up in my driveway. I believe about 75% of all electricity is produced by fossil fuels at present and we have a long way to go for us to rely on other sources before we leave the oil, coal and gas in the ground. 

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I agree gamalot. 

I have family who get their bamboo toilet paper delivered cross country via fossil fuel powered truck. As I type this it is highly likely that every room in their house has a light turned on. They come to my house and comment how hot it is in summer or cold it is in winter. They arrive in three compact hybrids instead of one sedan. They live by the ocean and complain the sea is rising. They fertilize their landscaped lawns then complain about plastic straws polluting streams. They moved away from areas run by high tax and spend politicians then vote for high tax and spend politicians in their community. 

I grew up when air conditioned cars were for the neighbor who had loot. Back then they had little wings you could dial in to circulate air throught the car so the vinyl seats weren't so uncomfy. 

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I live on 120 acres and am the property manager overseeing 5 homes and the woods for a fellow who lives out in California. He is as green minded as they come and I am happy he does his voting on the left coast.

I have to do some reading on the difference between Hybrid and other electric battery powered vehicles before I can accurately assess the values they might have here. I am in the NY Catskills mountain area and more like the frozen NE. Most of my driving is on secondary country roads with relatively short hops to and from town as I am retired and don't actually need to go anywhere but for groceries and supplies. I fish and hunt and for the last 15 years I might only put 8K miles on either of my vehicles.

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On 5/31/2021 at 3:06 PM, Bykfixer said:

I grew up when air conditioned cars were for the neighbor who had loot. Back then they had little wings you could dial in to circulate air throught the car so the vinyl seats weren't so uncomfy. 

I can go back even earlier than that Mike where the heater in the car was an optional extra and all the interior was metal so it was absolutely freezing in winter 😞

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Trevor, that's a long way back - maybe when I was just a young kid! 🙂

When you compare a Camry hybrid versus a 4 cylinder ICE version, you can see that the 15 MPG difference represents an improvement of 47%. With gas prices sky high as they are, I'd bet it wouldn't take long to pay back the $1500 - $2000 extra cost.
But yes, you have to look at differences closely after retiring. It does become harder to justify an electric car or even a brand new (any type of) car. 
Between my two cars I drive about 5000 miles. My wife's RX400h now sees only about 4000 miles per year but we've had that one for a long time and it had paid us back in spades compared to a non-hybrid..

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