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Old 11-29-2012, 06:31 PM
 
Location: Earth Wanderer, longing for the stars.
12,411 posts, read 15,936,438 times
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Even after all these years, with the Prius C (electric hybrid), Toyota seems to have everyone beat. Although some cars have a longer cruising range on an electric charge, once the Pruis gas engine(in use for over a decade) kicks in, nothing can top it. You'd think there would be more competition out there.

One huge surprise to me was (I recently read this, and suppose it is true) that the Chevy Volt had a ground clearance of 3.5 inches. What, the ????

I have a problem going into my driveway with a regular car. I'd have to park this thing in the street while in the 'burbs.

I can't imagine driving in any area in which I'd be comfortable with a 3.5 inch clearance. It would have to be a second car, only for a level terrain and no snow.
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Old 11-29-2012, 08:18 PM
 
Location: East of Seattle since 1992, originally from SF Bay Area
28,387 posts, read 50,582,032 times
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Not only your driveway, but most parking garages in hilly cities like Seattle and San Francisco. For areas with snow I guess that front faceplate would become a cheap plastic snowplow.
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Old 11-30-2012, 09:10 AM
 
14,777 posts, read 34,498,385 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goldengrain View Post
Even after all these years, with the Prius C (electric hybrid), Toyota seems to have everyone beat. Although some cars have a longer cruising range on an electric charge, once the Pruis gas engine(in use for over a decade) kicks in, nothing can top it. You'd think there would be more competition out there.

One huge surprise to me was (I recently read this, and suppose it is true) that the Chevy Volt had a ground clearance of 3.5 inches. What, the ????

I have a problem going into my driveway with a regular car. I'd have to park this thing in the street while in the 'burbs.

I can't imagine driving in any area in which I'd be comfortable with a 3.5 inch clearance. It would have to be a second car, only for a level terrain and no snow.
The only part of the Volt that is that low is the front air dam and yes, it is 3.5 inches (according to owners with GM citing 3.7" as the official measurent in a "dry" car), same as most Corvettes. The part is flexible and designed to bend out of the way, but it will wear and get damaged overtime. Chevy is offering a free replacement air dam that affords greater clearance to those who want them which gives the car around 4.9". By contrast a Prius has around 5" of ground clearance on most models. So, the updated, optional Volt airdam provides clearance similar to a Prius.

The entire reason the Volt has such a low air dam is to boost electric only range at highway speeds. Basically, they designed to eek out every ounce of juice possible to move the car on electric only at highway speed. Since the Prius (even the plug-in) is not designed in anyway to operate on electric only at highway speeds for anything more then a brief moment, they didn't go "all out" on the aero pacakge.

As for why no one else builds a "Prius" the reason is that Toyota owns the majority of the patents necessary to produce the most efficient common hybrid design (Hybrid Synergy Drive). They license these technologies out to other companies (like Nissan and Ford), but they restrict its use to becoming a drivetrain option in an otherwise production car like an Altima or Fusion. No one can build a hybrid solution like Toyota's Synergy Drive without infringing their patents and Toyota will not license the technology to anyone to make a "dedicated hybrid" which would be a Prius competitor. Ford is skirting this currently with the C-Max because the C-Max is a conventional powered vehicle sold in large volume in other markets.

What this really means is that for any company to gain an edge or inroad in hybrid design, they need to innovate. Honda did this with their solution which uses an electric motor inline with the transmission, but it is not as effecient as the Toyota solution. GM's solution was to create the Volt which is the "next step" in hybrid platforms by basically providing a true EV with a range extender. Toyota cannot build a Volt style vehicle, nor can they make the plug-in Prius remotely close to the Volt's capabilities because GM owns the patents for how to do it.
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Old 12-01-2012, 05:03 AM
 
Location: Earth Wanderer, longing for the stars.
12,411 posts, read 15,936,438 times
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Thanks for the explanation, Goat.
By the way, the Prius ground clearance is 5.5 inches and with the larger tires, six inches. My old Subaru Forester is 7.5, just for comparison, but the new is 8.9.

I think people are fed up with these low ground clearance cars, with pot holes, driveways, and snow.
Companies cannot lose sight of the fact that people actually buy cars to drive, on actual roads. They are so engrossed with the efficiency so they can create good advertising, and must believe consumers will not research other specs.
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Old 12-01-2012, 07:57 AM
 
Location: East of Seattle since 1992, originally from SF Bay Area
28,387 posts, read 50,582,032 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goldengrain View Post
I think people are fed up with these low ground clearance cars, with pot holes, driveways, and snow.
Companies cannot lose sight of the fact that people actually buy cars to drive, on actual roads. They are so engrossed with the efficiency so they can create good advertising, and must believe consumers will not research other specs.
Remember too that the efficiency is required by federal law, the hybrids and smaller cars have to balance off the big trucks and SUVs that are still popular to meet the EPA standards.

My Ranger 4x4 has clearance of about 8', our Liberty 9.6", both more than double the hybrids, but then they are meant to handle rough road/offroad conditions. Cars are not built for potholes, because the manufacturers have nothing to do with road building and if anything, they stand to profit from damage
when you take it in for repairs.
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Old 12-01-2012, 08:24 AM
 
3,252 posts, read 6,060,793 times
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I live on a dirt road, with potholes. The 928s4 only has 4.5" ground clearance; everyone else on the street has a pickup truck . It has the weissach suspension, so the faster you go, the lower it gets to the ground, for stability. The bad news is that at highway speeds, it won't clear a masonry brick if it falls off a truck... ouch.
Personally, I was in a Prius once, and will never get in one again.
Hybrids have not reached maturity, and are a false sense of economy compared to diesels. JMHO.
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Old 12-01-2012, 08:46 AM
 
Location: New Market, MD
2,003 posts, read 2,450,129 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SuperSparkle928 View Post
Personally, I was in a Prius once, and will never get in one again.
Hybrids have not reached maturity, and are a false sense of economy compared to diesels. JMHO.
what do you mean by that?
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Old 12-01-2012, 12:54 PM
 
Location: plano
5,953 posts, read 7,492,992 times
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I want a diesel hybrid! I think hybrid's are a good solution to recovering the most significant loss of energy from the oil well to the wheel. Braking loss of energy is the largest source of inefficiency in the full cycle. As long as its economic to buy two motors for one car there will be a place for hybrid's.
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Old 12-01-2012, 12:56 PM
 
Location: Vancouver, B.C., Canada
10,715 posts, read 22,325,919 times
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I guess the OP could get an 2013 Ecoboost Gas/Electric AWD Ford Escape Hybrid if ground clerance on Un-Plowed, Snow covered city streets were a major driving issue?
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Old 12-01-2012, 02:17 PM
 
Location: East of Seattle since 1992, originally from SF Bay Area
28,387 posts, read 50,582,032 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GTOlover View Post
I guess the OP could get an 2013 Ecoboost Gas/Electric AWD Ford Escape Hybrid if ground clerance on Un-Plowed, Snow covered city streets were a major driving issue?
True, at 7.9" it's great for ground clearance, unfortunately they have had what, 5 recalls? The latest announced this morning for danger of catching fire again, for a different reason.
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