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Old 01-31-2009, 06:05 AM
 
Location: Central Maine
4,697 posts, read 5,956,151 times
Reputation: 5038

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The Prius is not for everyone. Of course, I don't know of ANY car that's for everyone.

I have a Prius, and my wife and I both love it. We traded in a 2004 Honda CR-V that killed my back anytime I was in it for more than half-an-hour. The CR-V is an excellent vehicle, but it definitely wasn't for me.

When we first looked at a replacement for the CR-V, we test drove a Ford Escape Hybrid, but we didn't care for it. We liked the utility of a small SUV, but even after two test drives, it just didn't feel right. That's subjective, I know, but so is thinking that anyone who really likes cars and driving won't like the Prius.

When we bought the Prius, I paid less than I paid for the CR-V ... and at that time (2006), I got a federal tax credit of $3150 on the Prius, making it even more affordable.

And after we got the Prius, there was a definite learning curve to getting the most enjoyment and performance out of the car. There's a great online forum devoted to the Prius, and I have learned a lot there.

To improve the handling (I was getting blown all over the road), I needed to get a good alignment - the factory alignment on the Prius was pretty bad. I also bought and installed an after-market stiffening brace that helps a lot with overall handling and cornering.

I learned that tire pressure is critical to getting the best gas mileage possible, and once a month I check the air pressure and adjust as needed.

I learned to use the gadets that came with the Prius. I didn't get the top of the line - no navigation or leather seats. But I learned how to sync up a cell phone with the car for hands-free phone calls - the Prius is Bluetooth-enabled. I learned how to turn off the seat belt buzzer (I never go anywhere without having my selt belt on) and the very annoying back-up beeping. I learned when to use and when not to use the back-up camera.

After a brief period of time, we got used to the CVT transmission - no shifting. We got used to the engine turning off and on - that's one of the reasons the mileage is so good. We definitely got used to Smart Key and not using a key either to get into the Prius or to start the engine (so used to this so quickly that more than once I've come up to our front door and tried to open it without a key, expecting that it would simply open for me!)

We learned to pulse-and-glide to improve gas mileage. We installed an engine block heater, and even here in Virginia it helps. We learned about blocking the grill (full or partial) in winter months to help keep the engine warm.

I think it's a very good car right out of the showroom. I think it's a great car when a person takes the time to do some research and talk to other Prius owners about getting the most out of the car. Yes, it's very good on gas mileage, and really good on emissions. But it's also a very practical car, great for a couple, or a family with small children (I wouldn't want to put teenagers in the back).

Is it the best car ever? No, hardly. But it's a very good car. And fun? Oh, yeah, especially when gas was at $4 a gallon!
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Old 01-31-2009, 08:40 AM
 
Location: SoCal
559 posts, read 1,241,059 times
Reputation: 614
Obviously I'm going to be in the minority but I think the current Prius is one of the best looking cars on the road today. I like that the car's profile is an unbroken arc from prow to tail. I also like the matching angles of the windshield, rear quarter window, and tail lamp cut lines. All very show car-like. I do like small hatches more than the average American, however. Judging solely from photos, I think I like the looks of the current Prius more than its replacement.

I'm not surprised that the Prius doesn't handle like a sports car but optimizing for fuel economy is going to mean skinnier, less grippy tires to reduce rolling resistance. To me, this would be like complaining that the Viper is terrible at hauling sheet rock.

The most recent issue of Car & Driver has a comparo of the hybrid versions of the Altima, Camry, Fusion and Malibu which makes interesting observations of driver involvement amongst the four manufacturers. There is also a sidebar with a well reasoned comparison with a diesel Jetta. In short, although the Jetta may get slightly better mileage, the cost per mile is higher when the higher cost of diesel is factored. Not only that, the diesel is slower and has a higher carbon footprint than the gas hybrids. Perhaps a diesel hybrid would shift the game.
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Old 02-02-2009, 01:05 PM
 
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan
29,480 posts, read 71,203,587 times
Reputation: 36580
When determining the "carbon footprint" of Hybrids, do they include the desctruction of the Canadian wilderness from stip mining for materials to make the Hybrids?
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Old 02-02-2009, 09:16 PM
f_m
 
2,289 posts, read 7,914,218 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coldjensens View Post
When determining the "carbon footprint" of Hybrids, do they include the desctruction of the Canadian wilderness from stip mining for materials to make the Hybrids?
You may be referring to this article, although it's interesting how the article does not provide any citations for the statements that are made. So I take it with a grain of salt, especially the part about cost per mile, which would not be known accurately unless you are involved in the manufacturing process.
http://cnwmr.com/nss-folder/automotiveenergy/Hidden%20Cost%20of%20Driving%20a%20Prius%20Comment ary.pdf (broken link)

And possibly this article, again no citations.
http://www.forbes.com/forbes/2006/1002/014.html

In actuality, Toyota gets the batteries from Panasonic, and Honda/Ford get them from Sanyo. So Panasonic/Sanyo gets the materials from wherever and sells the battery to the car maker. As far as their reference to nickel. Well, 2/3 of nickel is used for stainless steel, which is actually up from 1/3 over 30 years ago (see link). So stainless steel is the main user of nickel.
:: International Nickel Study Group ::

Aside from stainless steel products, many other products use nickel, including bath and kitchen water fixtures, door handles/locks, hardware (screws, nuts, etc...), electrical connectors/contacts. In addition, all the batteries for NiCd and NiMH products which have been available for over 30 years. So you're talking about billions upon billions of nickel based batteries for cordless phones, PDA's, digital cameras, cell phones, camcorders, cordless drills, electric razors, calculators, laptops, etc... Most of these get thrown away in the trash since there is not any standardized recycling process. For hybrid cars, at least the dealer will take out the battery for exchange just like the normal car battery.

However, batteries are all moving to lithium ion, which the Tesla EV does use now, so presently most laptops and cell phones use them, and the next generation Prius will be using them. The Volt is supposed to use them too, shipped in from Korea.

Stuff is shipping all around the world all the time. China regularly buys scrap materials and ships it in to make the products there. I know people that ship copper and other materials to China for a living.
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Old 02-03-2009, 11:49 AM
 
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan
29,480 posts, read 71,203,587 times
Reputation: 36580
Quote:
Originally Posted by f_m View Post
You may be referring to this article, although it's interesting how the article does not provide any citations for the statements that are made. So I take it with a grain of salt, especially the part about cost per mile, which would not be known accurately unless you are involved in the manufacturing process.
http://cnwmr.com/nss-folder/automotiveenergy/Hidden%20Cost%20of%20Driving%20a%20Prius%20Comment ary.pdf (broken link)

And possibly this article, again no citations.
Feel Green, Feel Good - Forbes.com

In actuality, Toyota gets the batteries from Panasonic, and Honda/Ford get them from Sanyo. So Panasonic/Sanyo gets the materials from wherever and sells the battery to the car maker. As far as their reference to nickel. Well, 2/3 of nickel is used for stainless steel, which is actually up from 1/3 over 30 years ago (see link). So stainless steel is the main user of nickel.
:: International Nickel Study Group ::

Aside from stainless steel products, many other products use nickel, including bath and kitchen water fixtures, door handles/locks, hardware (screws, nuts, etc...), electrical connectors/contacts. In addition, all the batteries for NiCd and NiMH products which have been available for over 30 years. So you're talking about billions upon billions of nickel based batteries for cordless phones, PDA's, digital cameras, cell phones, camcorders, cordless drills, electric razors, calculators, laptops, etc... Most of these get thrown away in the trash since there is not any standardized recycling process. For hybrid cars, at least the dealer will take out the battery for exchange just like the normal car battery.

However, batteries are all moving to lithium ion, which the Tesla EV does use now, so presently most laptops and cell phones use them, and the next generation Prius will be using them. The Volt is supposed to use them too, shipped in from Korea.

Stuff is shipping all around the world all the time. China regularly buys scrap materials and ships it in to make the products there. I know people that ship copper and other materials to China for a living.
No I did not see the article. I just spoke with a guy who was visitng from Canada who said that the area where he lives is all destroyed due to strip mining of copper for the prius. He claimed that there is a huge area of Canadian wilderness that is bacisally destroyed. He said that Canadians in his area hate the prius becuase of it. I cannot remember where he was from some place that I have not hear of. He thought it was for the batteries, but I do nto think that hte batteries use copper, It woudl have to be for the motors.
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Old 02-03-2009, 09:06 PM
 
1,525 posts, read 3,564,872 times
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Heck I had a 1985 Chevy Sprint (3 cylinder Geo Metro with Chevy tag on it) that I could coax 51 mpg out of. So really all this technology to get 50 mpg is not necessary.

The now defunct Honda Insight at 70-80 mpg (granted a smaller car) might be worth it though.

They can make reasonable 100 mpg cars anytime they want, IMHO. Just a matter of engine and gearing selection, near as I can tell.
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