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Hybrid/Electric Vehicles: Should I Buy?

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the green-machine dept.

Toys 2117

nissin writes "I'm ready to buy my first vehicle, and would like to hear your experiences with either hybrid or electric vehicles. Are they a good alternative to conventional vehicles, or just a geek toy? Do they perform well in the city? How about on long road trips? I am also interested in hearing about other alternative, yet practical, forms of transportation that I may have missed."

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We are american... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6945202)

we do not buy ecological vehicles!

Re:We are american... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6945267)

My SUV runs on baby seals!

Re:We are american... (1)

TheBadger (131644) | more than 10 years ago | (#6945297)

Now is that

your disappointed view that your country that doesn't care

or

do you not care?

Re:We are american... (1)

KDan (90353) | more than 10 years ago | (#6945326)

Depends how intelligent you think he is. As people often see themselves in others, the fact that you considered both possibilities says plenty about you... ;-)

Daniel

Getting a lot better (1)

Brahmastra (685988) | more than 10 years ago | (#6945204)

Hybrid vehicles seem to be getting a lot better. Initially, they looked boxy and shitty. But now, there are a lot more options.. For example, the hybrid Honda Civic seems to be pretty good.

Re:Getting a lot better (1)

B3ryllium (571199) | more than 10 years ago | (#6945311)

I wish I could afford the Hybrid Ford Escape. That would rock :)

Re:Getting a lot better (3, Informative)

Not_Wiggins (686627) | more than 10 years ago | (#6945407)

I've heard that starting with next year's models, a lot of manufacturers are going to offer both Hybrid fuel system cars, but also in "traditional" body styles. Of course this is a rumor so... YMMV (pun intended). ;)

I have a bud who owns one and loves it (the Toyota hybrid). While the mileage isn't as good as they advertise it to be, it certainly is up there... almost as good as the old Geo Metro 3-cylinder car. ;)
And you can't beat how cool it is when you're sitting at a stop light and the car is absolutely silent. 8)

One thumb up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6945205)

And keep it movin'!!!!

Re:One thumb up (1)

Anonym0us Cow Herd (231084) | more than 10 years ago | (#6945292)

Surely hybrid vehicles are not so bad that they would leave you trying to hitch a ride?

Segway! (-1, Offtopic)

mahdi13 (660205) | more than 10 years ago | (#6945209)

Get a Segway! I hear these are great and even the President of the US has one!

+10 geek points to who ever OWNS a Segway

Re:Segway! (0, Offtopic)

hethatishere (674234) | more than 10 years ago | (#6945253)

And he's the first recorded person to manage to fall off one too. +10 Geek points for falling off a "idiot-proof" Self-balancing gyroscopic personal transportation device.

Re:Segway! (0, Offtopic)

revmoo (652952) | more than 10 years ago | (#6945313)

and -100 heterosexual points to who ever OWNS a Segway

WILDCAT IS ON ON TEH SPOKE (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6945210)

Not me but a friend.. (5, Informative)

grub (11606) | more than 10 years ago | (#6945212)


A friend in another city has a hybrid. According to him the pickup is slow but the fuel economy is great. Pure electric would be super if you didn't have to make long trips and always had an electrical outlet to charge when parked.

Pet Peeve #843287: SUV drivers that whine about the price of gas. You bought that overpriced penis extension, learn to live with the consequences.

Re:Not me but a friend.. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6945275)

Pet Peeve #843288: Econocar drivers that whine about accident death rates. You bought that undersized penis extension, learn to live with the consequences.

Re:Not me but a friend.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6945305)

Owww.. sounds like someone has an SUV and can't afford to put food in the fridge.

Re:Not me but a friend.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6945396)

Nope, someone has owned a number of econocars over the years, including one that got 45 mpg. Someone also presently drives a small car and has never owned an SUV. This someone just doesn't like condescending intolerant pricks that try to tell other people how to live their lives.

I flip over my Explorer! (5, Insightful)

randomencounter (653994) | more than 10 years ago | (#6945358)

Being more maneuverable and closer to the ground, compact cars are generally safer for people inside _and_ outside the car.
People who believe that SPUTES are safer really need to get a grip on reality.

Some Hybrids make me wonder... (2, Interesting)

Dr. Evil (3501) | more than 10 years ago | (#6945315)

What if you made a full internal combustion car with a lightweight aluminum chasis, a variable speed transmission, low resistance tires and sleek aerodynamics?

The hybrids are pretty much the same except they suffer heavy batteries, gain regenerative braking and have smaller lighter IC engines.

Re:Not me but a friend.. (1)

enjo13 (444114) | more than 10 years ago | (#6945335)

I've driven a Prius and the Civic hybrids..

Pickup on these seem as good if not better than a 4 cylinder car (pretty standard on a small sedan). Electric motors never cease to amaze me with the amount of torque they can generate.

Re:Not me but a friend.. (1)

s20451 (410424) | more than 10 years ago | (#6945357)

According to him the pickup is slow

I find that surprising, especially if the drive is all-electric, such as in the Toyota Prius. Theoretically, an electric motor has maximum torque at zero RPM, so the pickup from a standing start should be pretty good. It seems to me that I have heard comments to this effect about the Prius.

Re:Not me but a friend.. (1, Insightful)

Khomar (529552) | more than 10 years ago | (#6945374)

Pet Peeve #843288: People who assume that the only reason someone bought an SUV is for enlarging their ego.

I purchased my SUV for several reasons: Montana winters (4-wheel drive), cargo capacity for musical gear, room for additional passengers (though admittedly, I frequently drive in it alone), and easier access in and out (I am rather tall). At the time of purchase, there were really no hybrid equivalents that were capable of doing the things I needed my vehicle to do. If they can come out with a hybrid SUV with 4-wheel drive and good cargo capacity and power to carry the weight of my musical gear, then believe me, I will be one of the first in line to check it out!

Not every SUV driver is out to earn status points. Some of us actually purchased the vehicle out of a need for its capabilities. I reserve the right to complain about the price of gas. Afterall, complaining is the great American national pastime!

Re:Not me but a friend.. (5, Funny)

Mr_Silver (213637) | more than 10 years ago | (#6945391)

Pet Peeve #843287: SUV drivers that whine about the price of gas. You bought that overpriced penis extension, learn to live with the consequences.

Pet Peeve #1: All Americans who whine about the price of gas. If you really want to whine, come to the UK where our Government has turned taxing petrol into an art form.

SLASHDOT MYTH #3 VS. REALITY (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6945213)

MYTH #3: "R&D jobs don't go overseas. Hell, they don't even leave the US east and west coast, for the most part."

REALITY:

Re:SLASHDOT MYTH #3 VS. REALITY (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6945302)

Hello, "soundcore"

Waiting it out (3, Insightful)

wawannem (591061) | more than 10 years ago | (#6945216)

Personally, I am going to give the technology a few years to mature. I remember reading recently about GM dropping a line of Hybrid cars because the EPA in California banned a particular type of appliance required for re-charging the vehicle. I think it will soon take hold, but I am giving it a bit of time for many of these details to be sorted out.

Re:Waiting it out (2, Informative)

B3ryllium (571199) | more than 10 years ago | (#6945258)

... "appliance"? Hybrid cars recharge themselves, they don't rely on external electrical power. Check out the Prius or the Civic or the Ford Escape hybrids, for example.

Re:Waiting it out (4, Informative)

bman08 (239376) | more than 10 years ago | (#6945370)

Those were electric cars. The EV1 in particular, I think. It had nothing at all to do with the EPA and everything to do with the charger bursting into flames. On the upside, Electric cars park free at meters in L.A.

the answer (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6945218)

NO

Wait (3, Insightful)

Armbrust84 (688423) | more than 10 years ago | (#6945228)

Wait a few more years, you will be grateful. The advantages of having new technology early are many, but so are the drawbacks. I understand that this is not a "new" technology in the strictest sense, but it is not a mature one. I am waiting, and I would advise you to do so also.

Expensive (3, Insightful)

sys$manager (25156) | more than 10 years ago | (#6945234)

Considering a hybrid is something like $40,000 canadian, and I just bought a 1987 Honda Civic for $900 that gets 40+mpg and runs perfect, I would spend my money elsewhere. But I'm cheap.

Re:Expensive (1, Flamebait)

hyperstation (185147) | more than 10 years ago | (#6945270)

what, that's like $5,000 or so in real money, right? sounds like a steal!

Re:Expensive (1)

Rinikusu (28164) | more than 10 years ago | (#6945362)

Agreed. I had to sell my 1988 Honda Civic that got 36-40 mpg regularly because of computer/engine problems (250k miles without any major service other than the timing belt and clutch, I'd say that's great), but if I could find another with around 100k miles for around 1-2k, I'd sell my current liability and go for it.

Re:Expensive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6945364)

OTOH, a brand new hybrid should be about as reliable in Canadian winter as your 15-year old Civic.

my car.. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6945235)

personally, I like to stick to my Lexus LX470 Luxury SUV.. it makes people driving those pathetic little hybrids pretty pissed off when I zoom by them and cut them off..

But if to impress the girls is what you have in mind.. oh.. never mind..

Prius rocks (5, Informative)

nate1138 (325593) | more than 10 years ago | (#6945236)

As the proud owner of a Toyota Prius, I can definitely recommend one. I'm not too hot on the looks, but the mileage rocks, and it's been very reliable so far. And it isn't as pokey as you may expect a hybrid to be. You may also want to look at the Honda Insight (If it is still being made).

Um... (1)

TexVex (669445) | more than 10 years ago | (#6945237)

I am also interested in hearing about other alternative, yet practical, forms of transportation that I may have missed.
I won't mention the Segway. Oops, I just did.

Re:Um... (1)

h4x0r-3l337 (219532) | more than 10 years ago | (#6945363)

He asked for *practical* forms of transportation. A Segway is about as practical as a Razor scooter: you can't take it on the highway, can't carry any passengers or cargo, and you'll get soaked when it rains.

Re:Um... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6945380)

Yeah because those trips to the ski-house will be a lot of fun on a segway. I guess I could wear the ski boots and strap the skis to my back. And I am sure I could find some place to plug in every 10 miles.

Segway is a replacement for walking or riding a bike - not for a car.

CNG Vehicles (1)

Marx_Mrvelous (532372) | more than 10 years ago | (#6945238)

If you live in Cali, I believe you can get a Compressed Natural Gas vehicle (most also have normal gasoline tanks, too). But this is regional... here in Indiana, there are no CNG filling stations that I've ever seen.

Re:CNG Vehicles (3, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 10 years ago | (#6945280)

and what good would that do in this era? Have you noticed the cost of natural gas lately? Did you know that it is going WAY up?

Buy a smaller car that gets great gas mileage (ie Saturns are a good example) that doesn't cost much money (Saturn SL-series cars (before the ugly Ion's) were under 12k).

That's my worthless .02

You forgot Taco Bell! (1)

moronikos (595352) | more than 10 years ago | (#6945294)

Just eat a burrito or two and wait...compressed natural gas.

Re:CNG Vehicles (1)

sardonic2 (576701) | more than 10 years ago | (#6945398)

I live in Cali, our busses run on CNG... but i've never seent a CNG filling station.. A few places have Methane but no Natural Gas.

2004 Toyota Prius (1)

What is a number (652374) | more than 10 years ago | (#6945247)

the NEW Prius looks good - much better than the old one - performs pretty much like a normal car, yet gets better mileage than the old Prius. Or so they say - I haven't tried one.

---
I type this every time.

Good review by friends (5, Informative)

X (1235) | more than 10 years ago | (#6945257)

2 of my friends have hybrids (one the Insight and the other the Prius), and they both like them. They are great on the city streets, very quiet and lots of pickup from a standing start thanks to the electric motors. For longer trips, you'll love the quiet, the fuel economy, and the insane distances you can go without needing to fill up your tank. The downside tends to be that they have poor pickup at freeway speeds.

The other big issue is the feel of the ride. Some people love it, others don't. They have low-friction tires and stiff suspensions (to minimize the amount of energy loss). This tends to make the car ride more like a sporty car (you feel every bump) than a luxury car (soft suspension smooths out the bumps). Some people love that, others hate it.

Overall, I'd suggest taking it out for a spin, and see whether you like it. They are practical cars though.

alternative form of transportation (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6945260)

I am also interested in hearing about other alternative, yet practical, forms of transportation that I may have missed."

There's something I've heard about -- it's called a "bicycle".

Considering myself (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6945262)

There are quite a few incentive from the government to buy a hybrid vehicle (they qualify for low emissions etc). You can't tell the difference between the honda civics! so looks have definatly improved. I still see a few of the first gen toyota hybrids running around so they at least last a few years. Anyways I'm just rambling!

Electric vehicles (5, Funny)

RelliK (4466) | more than 10 years ago | (#6945265)

Electric vehicles can't go very far or very fast, and when you drive one people will think you're gay.(*)

(*)Sponsored by the gasoline industry of America.

You know, car magazines can answer this (4, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 10 years ago | (#6945268)

So why ask slashdot? The moral of the story seems to be that hybrids are ugly (except, arguably, the toyota prius) and slow (the prius is the best of them in this regard) but get great mileage. They get better mileage in town than on the freeway, because of regenerative braking. Oddly enough they are not all that aerodynamic. In spite of its "futuristic" (read: ugly) lines, the Honda Insight has a .24 CD, and my '89 Nissan 240SX has a .26 CD. But anyway...

Hybrids get great mileage, and they work. What's not to like? Buy a Prius, or a hybrid Civic. Or, wait a couple years, because Toyota is supposedly going to sell everything in a hybrid model by 2005.

From one geek to another (0, Offtopic)

IWantMoreSpamPlease (571972) | more than 10 years ago | (#6945269)

There is only one choice:

Alfa Romeo.

*Trust* me on this one, chicks will come out of the woodwork to be with you. Men will tip their hats and police will let you go if you are speeding (all of this is true, my own personal experience)

A buying tip: Whatever model Alfa, buy the last model year of that car, the Italians will have ironed out all the bugs by then.

I put over 250,000 miles on my 1985 Alfa GTV6
150,000 on my 1977 Alfa GTV
150,000 on my 1992 Alfa Spyder

You can't go wrong!

Re:From one geek to another (1)

benzapp (464105) | more than 10 years ago | (#6945394)

Didn't Alpha Romeo exit the North American market?I checked their webiste [alfaromeo.com] and I didn't see it listed. Hopefully they will come back along with peugeot and renault.

time has not yet come (1)

a_ghostwheel (699776) | more than 10 years ago | (#6945271)

To put it simple - hybrids are still considered to be a "cool" items and as such carry quite a premium. So if you have extra money and not a speed freak (hybrids are generally underpowered in comparison with normal vehicles) - go ahead.

IMO time for them is still about 5 years away.

On the other hand, self-parking Prius is really nice.

Alternative forms of transportation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6945272)

Walking

Electrics... (2, Informative)

BJZQ8 (644168) | more than 10 years ago | (#6945273)

Electrics or hybrids are nice...but just wreck one...or have one break for that matter. Nobody but the dealer will touch them because nobody but the dealer has the training and equipment to do it. Insurance companies are extremely wary of them too...I toured an insurance company and they were busy smashing them into things and seeing the effects if the batteries got shorted or spewed acid all over everyone...certainly not worse than having flaming gasoline sprayed on you, but there was a real danger of electrocution.

Good but are they good enough? (1)

deadmongrel (621467) | more than 10 years ago | (#6945274)

Well Eco- Friendly cars are out but they may not be a practial option unless you are filthy rich. Since the cars are not produced in volume maintaining them would really be a pain in the butt. For now stick with hondas or toyotas or any other eco-friendly conventional car. Probably in 10 years or so more eco-friendly cars with alternate fuels would arrive. For now stick with v6.

neither one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6945276)

Only buy a new car if you have $5k+ expendable money: once you drive a new car off the lot, it's value drops by at least that amount. Buying a new car is a terrible "investment".

You want to do something good for the environement, kill your TV.

Biodiesel (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6945278)

Buy a TDI and make biodiesel. Or just use normal diesel. Fairly high mileage (50mpg)

Honda Civic (1)

Nick Driver (238034) | more than 10 years ago | (#6945284)

If you're looking to buy a first new car, have a slim budget, and need an all-around good transportation appliance that is a small car, lasts a long time without giving hardly any trouble, gets great fuel economy, has enough room for two comfortably, and four when you need it, and is decently stylish and fun to drive then get a Honda Civic.

I've never had one myself, I'm a pickup truck driving man myself, but I have plenty of friends who've bought various different brands and models of small economy cars over the years and those who bought the Civics are the absolute happiest of the bunch.

2003 Honda Civic Hybrid (5, Informative)

rednaxela (609701) | more than 10 years ago | (#6945285)

I have a 2003 Honda Civic Hybrid and I love it. Average about 45 mpg. Use it to commute on the DC beltway - plenty of pickup for merging and passing. Have taken 2 4-6 hour trips with the car, and it's just fine - like driving a regular Civic. Really, the only noticeable difference between the Hybrid an the regular Civic is that you can feel the car nose forward just a bit as you press down on the brake pedal and the generator that is driven by the brakes kicks in. You should also note that you can take $2000 off your adjusted gross income on your 2003 taxes, and many states provide addtional incentives. Excise tax was waved in Maryland ($2000), and you can drive in the HOV lanes in Virginia without a second passenger. Bottom line - it's a great car, and a good deal to boot.

New Prius (0, Redundant)

fhammond (126717) | more than 10 years ago | (#6945286)

No experience but I'm thinking about doing the same thing. I really like the look and specs of the new Toyota Prius. Just gotta trade in that Land Rover first...

I can't afford the bandwidth for research... (1)

El Jynx (548908) | more than 10 years ago | (#6945287)

...you insensitive clod!

Civic Hybrid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6945288)

I'm pretty happy with my Civic Hybrid.

The new 04 Prius (due out very soon) looks *really* cool though.

Check out the TDI Volkswagons!! (5, Informative)

starfighter_org (530923) | more than 10 years ago | (#6945289)

If you look at the fuel efficiency info on the EPA site, you'll notice that the TDI (Turbo Diesel Injection) Volkswagons can get around 50MPG. They start easy in the winter, unlike the older diesels. Check out www.tdiclub.com. I just got a 2000 TDI Beetle and it's awesome. Also, there are a few modifications that give you loads of extra power from the engine. Some will even increase efficiency and give you more power. These are great cars, go check em out.

Re:Check out the TDI Volkswagons!! (1)

starfighter_org (530923) | more than 10 years ago | (#6945405)

I forgot to note that these things drive great too. You get a normal suspension, my beetle has wide 16" tires stock and handles the corners pretty decent for a stock setup. Add a $300 chip, you go up to around 115 horsepower from 90, and most get another 5mpg out of it. Add new injector nozzles, and get another 20-25hp. The torque gains are even more impressive. Performance is most excellent. Oh, last time I bought gas for my 98 Grand cherokee(which was traded in) it cost me $37 to fill up with cheap unleaded. My Beetle cost me $14 at the diesel pump.

Don't be a fag. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6945298)

Buy a MAN's vehicle. Don't mess with queer car crap.

Try the Prius (3, Insightful)

Travoltus (110240) | more than 10 years ago | (#6945299)

If you like getting 55 MPG, that is. :)

Alternative fuels are necessary for national security, in my opinion.

1) The US defeated Japan and Germany chiefly by starving them of oil. The Japanese and Germans had jet fighter planes sitting on the tarmac, ready to pulverize the best we had in the air, but they had no oil to fly them. One day the same thing could happen to America.

2) The environmental impact of fossil fuels, of course, is horrible.

3) With alternative fuels, we wouldn't need to be in the Middle East at all.

Alternative, renewable fuel resources will take us a long way towards national and personal independence.

Facetious mode (on) (1)

Rinikusu (28164) | more than 10 years ago | (#6945301)

Bicycling is a great alternative to driving if you're just commuting. It gets you out in the sun (chicks dig tans), works on the spare tire around your gut, and helps you avoid life-threatening diseases such as diabetes and high-blood pressure. Used by millions of Chinese and in other Asian countries, the basic design is time-tested, and if you're not into racing and other specialized forms of cycling, very inexpensive. No paying through the nose for gas at the pump, either!

A pair of Nike's also goes a long way.

But, to answer your question:
Hybrid/Electrics still have some ways to go, it really depends upon your needs. Is it just you you need to haul around? Honda Insight (2 seater) might be something to look into. If you have friends or family, the Toyota Prius (or is it the Echo? I can't remember) is a 4 door sedan that might call to you. If you need to haul things often (not like furniture, but stuff like guitar amps and what not), I'd recommend looking at the Volkswagon TDI Jetta Wagons. Modern Diesels are very fuel-efficient and if you're into BioDiesel, can be very cheap, too.

My vote goes for the Wagon because I dig diesel and station wagons. (I actually own a Mazda Protege5 because it was the only decent "wagon" on the market when I had to buy a car.. if I had known that the TDI was going to appear about 6 months later I probably would've tried to wait it out.. While I like the Mazda, it only gets 25 mpg.. :( )

No, here's why. (0)

HerculesMO (693085) | more than 10 years ago | (#6945304)

Good on gas, yes, definately. However, in the car you're driving is essentially and will always contain... a battery. It's been proven (google it) that you can only recharge and charge a battery so many times before it loses its usefulness. In the long run, you cause more harm than good. I'd personally tell you to get a manual transmission Corolla or Civic that will give you in the mid 30s and even 40s for gas mileage if you drive them sanely. Not to mention, they will drive forever and be cheaper to buy in the beginning. The true change of engines will come when we have COMBUSTIBLE hydrogen fuel. These fuel cells that GM is developing is fine for crap cars, but in sports cars and things they are utterly useless because of the sheer weight they add. And the more weight you tow around in a car, the less miles per gallon you will achieve. As a side note, my father's 1990 Nissan Sentra manual 4 banger gives him 32-36mpg on a constant basis. And considering he paid only 2 grand when he bought it used a few years back... it's a damn good and sound investment instead of jumping into a hybrid whose long term utility is not as good as a regular engine.

One word, ... (2, Funny)

burgburgburg (574866) | more than 10 years ago | (#6945306)

Two humps:

Camel

Nuff said.

(Note: Don't go dromedary. Lazy as can be. Uncomfortable. Spend a little extra for the second hump. It's worth it.)

Deathtraps (0, Troll)

Syberghost (10557) | more than 10 years ago | (#6945307)

They're teeny tiny little pieces of crap. If you get into an accident you're dead.

When they make a hybrid SUV I'll be willing to listen.

Re:Deathtraps (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6945397)

http://www.fordvehicles.com/escapehybrid/

Re:Deathtraps (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6945410)

I take it that you've ignored the reports on the rollover problems that plague SUVs.

Also, people seem to have forgotten basic physics, i.e. F=ma. So if more people bought smaller, lighter vehicles, they would less dangerous because there would be less chance of a weight difference between two colliding vehicles.

Of course, the best option is just not to drive and take transit, bike or walk instead.

Re:Deathtraps (1)

Marx_Mrvelous (532372) | more than 10 years ago | (#6945412)

And in an SUV, you're more likely to run over your own (or other people's) children, and more likely to cause a fatality in a car crash. So wouldn't it make sense to ban all big, heavy cars, since they are the ones actually killing people?

Hybrid Cars are great! (1)

CitadelGod (609936) | more than 10 years ago | (#6945308)

I have a Honda Civic Hybrid. We have two other Civics and I think the Hybrid has better pickup and I currently get 54 mpg (winter causes it to drop a little). I think they are great technilogically and save alot in gas costs since my commute is 40 miles one way. Your milage may vary...:)

E85 (2, Insightful)

Armbrust84 (688423) | more than 10 years ago | (#6945312)

Hybrid vehicles are great, but a more easily adoptable alternative is E85 cars. These run on 85% ethanol, and I am sure you guys all know the benefits of ethanol. The infrastucture for distribution already exists everywhere, and it would take almost no modification of current manufacturing techniques to produce E85 compatible cars. they already exist, but are not common. Yet.

planet/population rescue initiative, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6945314)

should you join? undoubtedly, the benefits far exceed anything available to humankind, so far.

it starts out as just plain fun, helping to cause the disempowerment of unprecedented evile, aka georgewellian fuddite corepirate nazis, aka the walking dead.

that's right. if the phonIE greed/fear based ?pr? ?firm? stock markup execrable is not addressed, then the penguin clubbing will continue, until there's only won left?

we're building a vessel that floats on almost any suBStance.

as to the newclear power/planet/population rescue initiative:

it's all free (as in survival), & available immediately to you/all of US.

as you can maybe already see, yOUR survival/success is not the least bit dependent on the gadgets/combinations of the greed/fear based corepirate nazis, & their phonIE ?pr? ?firm? buyassed /.puppets.

consult with/trust in yOUR creator. more breathing. vote with yOUR wallet (somtimes that means not buying anything, a notion previously unmentioned buy the greed/fear/war mongers). seek others of non-aggressive/positive behaviours/intentions. stop wasting anything/being frivolous. that's the spirit.

investigate the newclear power plan. J. Public et AL has yet to become involved in open/honest 'net communications/commerce in a meaningful way. that's mostly due to the MiSinformation suppLIEd buy phonIE ?pr? ?firm?/stock markup FraUD execrable, etc...

truth is, there's no better/more affordable/effective way that we know of, for J. to reach other J.'s &/or their respective markets.

the overbullowned greed/fear based phonIE marketeers are self eliminating by their owned greed/fear/ego based evile MiSintentions. they must deny the existence of the power that is dissolving their ability to continue their self-centered evile behaviours.

as the lights continue to come up, you'll see what we mean. meanwhile, there are plenty of challenges, not the least of which is the planet/population rescue (from the corepirate nazi/walking dead contingent) initiative.

EVERYTHING is going to change, despite the lameNT of the evile wons. you can bet your .asp on that. when the lights come up, there'll be no going back, & no where to hide.

we weren't planted here to facilitate/perpetuate the excesses of a handful of Godless felons. you already know that? yOUR ONLY purpose here is to help one another. any other pretense is totally false.

pay attention (to yOUR environment, for example). that's quite affordable, & leads to insights on preserving life as it should/could/will be again. everything's ALL about yOUR motives.

What about diesel? (1)

coalfire (541863) | more than 10 years ago | (#6945319)

I've heard that diesel vehicles are pretty fuel efficient (well maybe not the 18 wheelers).

Depends on where you live (1)

admorgan (168061) | more than 10 years ago | (#6945325)

The options availabe to you depend greatly where you live. For example in Europe there are bio diesel options, I have seen VW's new car that can get 300+ miles to a gallon. In the states there are a few nice alternatives. The nice thing about hybrid cars is the fact you do not have to rely on a newer type of fuel. I have ridden in a few electric cars and they are not very good yet. Also almost all the manufacturers have stopped producing them.
So I would suggest you find out what your options are then decide what you want to do. The new ones are getting a lot more stylish though
(If money is one of the driving factors it requires a lot of miles to balance due to the high price of the car.)

Gas, but a heck of a lot more fun... (1)

Fallen Kell (165468) | more than 10 years ago | (#6945328)

Well, its gas driven, but like I mentioned, its a hell of a lot more fun then the electrics available. I just got a 2004 Subaru Impreza WRX, but if I was to purchace a car now (and not 3 months ago), I would get the 2004 Subaru Impreza STI.

Its not gonna cost you much more then any electric/hybred would (i.e. $30,000 range), and it has one monster of a powerful engine. Its the most powerful 4 cylinder engine available! Talk about acceleration! I know it isn't the most environmental friendly, but its friendlier then the SUV's.

Get a Prius! (5, Informative)

HTMLSpinnr (531389) | more than 10 years ago | (#6945337)

I own a 2002 Prius, and have pre-ordered a 2004 (new and improved). In short, I love my car. It's got plenty of power for your daily commute, and with my 20-25 miles per day driving, I can easily go two weeks or more between fillups. I've also made the trip from Southern California to Phoenix AZ on 6-7 gallons. It's also beneficial to know that I'm not polluting nearly as much as the big SUV's I share the road with, since the current model is SULEV rated, and the new one also carries the AT-PZEV rating for partial zero emissions.

The current model doesn't carry a whole lot, and you can't tow with either generation, but for most of us, that's not a regular issue. The new version is a hatchback with fold-downs eats, so it solves the "carrying stuff" issue.

There's plenty of Yahoo! Groups and other forums on electric or hybrid cars. A couple I personally hang out on and post alot of good geek info:

http://autos.groups.yahoo.com/group/2004-prius/
http://autos.groups.yahoo.com/group/toyota-prius/

See you there!

Re:Get a Prius! (1)

HTMLSpinnr (531389) | more than 10 years ago | (#6945395)

That should be fold down seats. My bad.

buy a motorcycle (2, Informative)

erikdotla (609033) | more than 10 years ago | (#6945338)

Buy a motorcycle. Excellent on gas, better than 90% of cars out there. You get to experience the road in a way cars cannot show you. You're not trapped in a box, observing the world through glass. On a bike, you're part of the road, the scenery, nature.

If you buy a jap cruiser, you can spend as little as $5,000, up to $30,000+ for high-end bikes or Harleys. I own and highly recommend the Suzuki VL800 Volusia. A phat 800cc cruiser for around $6500.

I fill my tank for $7 (~3.8 gallons) and go 175 miles.

Nissan (0, Offtopic)

parkov (634632) | more than 10 years ago | (#6945339)

Careful you spell your name right, nissin, else someone [ncchelp.org] may come knocking on your door.

CVT/Manual Transmission on Small Cars (1)

JavaSavant (579820) | more than 10 years ago | (#6945341)

Is the way to go - CVT is almost exclusively offered by Honda, and is something of a hybrid between a manual transmission and a automatic and is belt driven - supposively reducing a lot of strain on the engine and freeing up gas mileage. I have a manual transmission on my '01 Civic. If you know how to drive stick, and know the ins and outs of how to get the most of it, you can get upwards of 45mpg highway a lot of the time. A friend of mine has an '02, and she consistently gets 40mpg living in Boston. /me walks back into the Honda brothel, ready to whore himself out again.

get motorcycle or scooter (2, Insightful)

Anil (7001) | more than 10 years ago | (#6945342)

You could just get a motorcycle or a scooter. Easier to park, decent fuel economy, cheaper than a car.

I'd personally take my bike over any scooter, but scooters have more storage capacity in a smaller package (I've heard good things about the new Suzuki burgman 650 - good power and lots of storage space).

Hybrids are great cars (1)

mbutts (211627) | more than 10 years ago | (#6945348)

I bought one of the first Toyota Priuses three years ago, and have 38K on mine. It's a wonderful, easy to drive, no sacrifices, all around regular car. I get about 44 mpg, and I'm a leadfoot, not a creeper. The new second-generation Prius coming out next month is superior in every way, I'm sure you'll love it. (Oregon plate LOW CO2)

Battery life? (2, Informative)

geekBass (665923) | more than 10 years ago | (#6945356)

I have heard good things about the hybrid Honda Civic. I sat in one (didn't get to drive though) and seemed like a regular civic.

My concern is with the batteries. I think they give 8 years guarantee but if I have to spend 10000 dollars on a new battery, I'm not happy. Yes, you could argue that you won't keep that car for that long but the same concern can decrease the resale value.

They're great!!! (0, Offtopic)

Roadkills-R-Us (122219) | more than 10 years ago | (#6945366)

Just don't get the cheap ones that have only a forwards and back (back/turn) control on the remote control. And spring for rechargeable batteries and a recharger. You'll be glad in the long run.

Self-satisfaction fueled cars (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6945367)

Get a car powered by your own sense of self-satisfaction. Can't get much more enviromentally friendly than that.

If you are interested in Hybrids - be SURE to take (1)

santakrooz (517854) | more than 10 years ago | (#6945371)

a look a the upcoming Ford Escape Hybrid [ford.com] . It's gonna be the first Hybrid SUV (albeit a mini-SUV)

Good to travel in (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6945372)

I love my prius, only issue I had was a tire blew out once, never got my tires rotated so they were worn a bit.

Taking road trips in it is nice, my gf and I took it for around 3000 miles in august from wisconsin to the east coast. We averaged it the 40's for mpg. We have also taken it to florida, on that trip we averaged about 50mpg. Runs better in warm weather for me than the cold.

I would recommend one to anyone who can afford it(kinda expensive), the new Prius looks good and gets better gas milage.

No really.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6945373)

How about converting your diesel to run on vegetable oil?

Look at http://www.vegburner.co.uk to see how it is done
or http://www.elsbett.com to convert your vehicle.

The premise is that the original diesel engine was engineered to run on peanut oil. How's that for hybrid. If you run out of gas just go to the nearest grocery store.

motorcycle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6945377)

get a bike. they get great gas milage and are fun to ride. way more practical and environemntally friendly than some plastic electric car full of battery acid.

Weird brakes (2, Informative)

Col. Klink (retired) (11632) | more than 10 years ago | (#6945379)

I test drove a Prius during their first year and I didn't like one thing: the brakes try and capture that extra kinetic energy, but the result was very jumpy breaking.

My next car will definitely be a hybrid (1)

Lysol (11150) | more than 10 years ago | (#6945385)

I have a friend that really likes his. He got one of the new Hondas.

I haven't owned a car for years - the bike is the friend. However, for money and environmental reasons, my next car will definitely be a hybrid. My girlfriend's sister and another friend are looking into the Honda and Toyota models.

I suspect, we'll possibly see something similar to the 80's Japanese car explosion - maybe not on the same scale - since they are, once again, ahead and making better cars.

Buy a VW TDI diesel (1)

fmaxwell (249001) | more than 10 years ago | (#6945386)

I own one and strongly recommend the VW TDI diesel vehicles. They include the Golf, Jetta, Jetta wagon, and VW New Beetle. The fuel economy is very good (49mpg highway). They don't have the complexity, weight, and expense of banks of batteries, large electric motors, and complicated drivetrains that typify hybrids. They are quiet, comfortable, and more stylish than most of the hybrids.

The radio is a standard DIN unit, so aftermarket radios are a snap to install. The handling is superb (after installation of the VW/Eibach "Sport Suspension" springs. The seats are very supportive and adjustable. The interior materials are first-rate.

In addition, because diesel fuel is closer to oil than gasoline, it tends to lubricate the cylinder walls rather than scouring them like gasoline does. Thus, the engines tend to have a very long life.

I have no regrets about the purchase and would happily buy the exact same car again -- though maybe with the center armrest.

A couple of thoughts... (2, Insightful)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 10 years ago | (#6945389)

I considered hybrid back in the summer of 2002. I went shopping for a Honda Civic. For $5,000 more I could have gotten the hybrid version. I did a math projection for 5 years, and I simply did not save $5,000 in gas. (It's worth noting that I only drive 10 miles a day.) My memory's fuzzy on the details of my math, but I remember thinking gas prices would have to at least double in order to break even. There are probably other ways to justify that cost, but that's what stood out for me and why I didn't go hybrid.

Also, here in Oregon, there were complaints that with higher fuel efficiency, there is fewer tax dollars coming from gas to repair roads with. So they cranked up the registration fees of hybrids. That's another cost I would have to have endured.

You should take some time to do some math. How much does gas cost now? How much is it likely to go up for the period you plan on having your car?What's the cost difference in buying it today? Is there any real benefit?

Short of some disaster that destroys or cuts off our oil supply, I can't think of a reason not to go with a traditional gas guzzler.

Ars Technica had a great review already (4, Informative)

JustAnotherReader (470464) | more than 10 years ago | (#6945393)

Ars Technica [arstechnica.com] did a really good review of the Honda Insight. You might find it informative.

my experience (1)

pavera (320634) | more than 10 years ago | (#6945406)

I don't think I would ever buy a hybrid. At least from what I've seen they have no power, especially on hills, or on road trips. I regularly drive between Vegas and Salt Lake City, and lately I've seen more and more hybrids out on the road, I always pass these cars, it seems they can only maintain about 60-65mph on the highway, and on the hills they are always going about 40-50mph... I've never driven one so I don't know but every hybrid I see on the road is going under the speed limit.

Honda Civic Hybrid (2, Insightful)

tirk (655692) | more than 10 years ago | (#6945409)

I've had a Civic Hybrid for about 18 months now and it's been a great little car. I've put about 33,000 miles on it driving from Portland, OR to Helena, MT and back and also from Portland, OR to San Diego, CA several times. It's great to go about 450 miles - sometimes more - on a single tank of gas that costs about $22. It has no problems going over mountain passes and has plenty of power - unless your into racing or something. I get more mpg in the city then on the highway, but even in the worst case situations I've still gotten better then 41 or 42mpg. Usually getting around 45 to 47mpg.
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