With only two real contenders in the hybrid car market, Toyota Prius, Honda Civic, WHY are the other car manufacturers not coming up with alternate models in their lineups? Ford, Chev and Chrysler should all be poised to take on the hybrid lines of Honda & Toyota.

Secondly, is it just by chance that the Prius and Honda are about the ugliest cars on the market? Is there any correlation between the fact that they are the “green” cars and lacking eye appeal to many people? I personally like the looks of the regular Civic but think the bloated water-bug look of the hybrid model loses something somewhere. Likewise, I’ve heard many people complain about the looks of the Prius, but many have bought it anyway in order to get the gas mileage. I have to say that with gas prices at all time records, I would have to take a look at these 2 models even if they weren’t the best looking cars on the lot.

What say you?

Marketing studies have shown that hybrid owners want their cars to look different from conventional vehicles. They want to be wearing their “green badge” as they drive.

chevy has the Tahoe, Ford has the Escape, i think caddy is gonna have their escalade soon

Agree; within 2 years there will be a whole fleet of hybrids, so the choice will be wide and most of them will not be ugly! Some mild hybrids are not really worth the money; their engines ran all the time, and the battery acts as a “green supercharger”. As we discussed on several posts, unless you drive 25,000 miles per year or more, preferably in stop & go mode, a hybrid will not pay for itself anyime soon.

Hell, the civic fuel cell will be here shortly, if not now. There is also a hybrid civic and a natural gas version too.

Hybrids are as much a marketing gimmick as SUVs 10 years ago

Actually, lots of other models are now available in hybrid form including the Camry and even Lexus models. Why GM and Ford don’t “take on” new market segments until well after they’ve been exploited is a mystery to me. Both have been highly risk-averse for a very long time.

Chryco led in new market segments (retro designs, return to muscle cars, and even new bold designs like the Ram pickups) under the leadership of Lee Iacocoa, but I’m afraid that under Daimler they lost their edge and under the new private ownership they’re facing complete restructuring.

Chevy Malibu is available as a hybrid for 2008.

Let me add a few additional ideas.

Hybrids have not proven to be saviors of the world. They are not bad, but they are early technology and they may well improve. Overall however it does not look like they are THE answer, even though they may be part of AN answer.

Starting with 2008 models we will start to see more diesel cars. These are not really new technology, as the technology has been available in many other countries, but not here since we did not have the clean diesel fuel, which is now available. These new diesel cars have power, no cold weather starting problem, often better mileage than the hybrids (especially real life numbers) and are far cleaner than they once were. (note it is difficult to compare pollution as diesels pollute differently than gas cars.

I believe most of the tax incentives for hybrids are gone or going.

While I personally like diesels, I would be first to say they also are not the solution to fuel shortages and pollution any more than the hybrids. I doubt if they will become as big in the US (Do in part to the very poor US versions introduced some years ago).

Also remember that mileage figures for 2008 have been re-worked and all vehicles should have more realistic EPA numbers for 2008.

Final note: Expect some delay for many of the diesel models in 2008, getting they all ready and fully certified for the US will take some time.

On a side note, the flex fuel vehicles are also in much the same situation IMO. They are also not THE answer, but may end up being some part of the answer. Time will tell.

I’m a bad commentator on the Prius looks but if I thought I wanted that type of car I would get one and watch hitch-hikers switch from thumb to finger.

The Honda Hybrid is a plebeian Civic in looks with a few ugly mods(80’s Subaru like wheel covers for example) and that has mass appeal since Civic(non Hybrid) sells in great #'s.

The “ugly” form of the Prius has a large benefit, fitting a large & comfortable interior into a smaller space. The Prius is very easy to pick out of a crowd and many owners enjoy this benefit for a variety of reasons.

I think Hybrid owners should be proud of their purchase just like any other car owner. No need to be unhappy in life with a vehicle as there are many more complex things in ones lives beyond transportation.

I personally am waiting for the (clean) diesels to be introduced. In Europe I rented many high MPG cars that were shear joy to drive like the Honda Accord Estate(Acura TSX wagon) & Mercedes C220 while getting nearly hybrid mileage.

Hybrids are GREAT for people like my wife who drives back roads and stop and go traffic to work. They are LOUSY for me who has a 30 mile highway commute. Perfect for me would be the 4-cylinder Turbo Diesel 4-runner which is currently being sold in Europe and South America. Same HP…MORE torque…and 50% BETTER highway gas mileage.

Hybrids are ok but why not go all electric http://www.teslamotors.com/ :slight_smile:

The costs are NOT based on what a kilo-watt costs some places here in NH. At 18 cents a kilowatt hour that cost goes way up.

And they’ve YET to make a electric car like a Camry or a Small SUV that has a range over 50 miles. They can make a light 2 seater which is pretty cool, but nothing a family of 4 would ever buy.

There is a term called Energy Density use by engineers to describe the amount of energy in a certain volume or weight of fuel. Diesel is best, followed by gasoline, and down the line to pure hydrogen for combustion fuels. A charged battery, on the other hand is so much lower than any fuel, that a decent range cannot be achieved. So, golf carts, fork lift trucks, milk delivery vehicles in England years ago, and Disneyland and airpor terminal vehicles can be pure electric because they don’t go too far, and charged up overnight. To travel any distance and keep the vehicle weight down, we need something on board to charge up the battery. The plug-in hybrid is the best solution for this. The engine’s fuel has a high energy density, which no battery has. I did a calculation, and where I live, electric power costs about 1/2 what gasoline would cost, so a plug-in hybrid makes good economic sense. The alternative is a 2 car family with one electric (short range) and one plug-in hybrid. to get the best of all worlds.

I just heard about this mechanic named Jonathan Goodall who does conversions. He can supposedly get 100 MPG on cars that drive on alt fuels. Here is the story, it is pretty amazing.

Motorhead Messiah
Johnathan Goodwin can get 100 mpg out of a Lincoln Continental, cut emissions by 80%, and double the horsepower. Does the car business have the guts to follow him? By Clive Thompson

Wow! And it’s a real steal at $98,000!

I don’t think it’s just a question of different. Ferraris, Porsches and Jaguars are beautiful as well as distinctive. I believe these people prefer ugly styling as a way to express their distain for the automobile. An appropriate bumper sticker for them would read, “I’d rather be riding the bus.”

By the way, the ugly Honda hybrid was the Insight which is no longer made. Until you get close enough to read the “Hybrid” badge on the back, it’s impossible to distinguish between a conventional Civic or Accord and the hybrid version.

I’ve got a minority opinion about Hybrids. May I share it? Hybrids could possibly be even more environmentally distructive than SUV’s! And totally electric cars are EVEN WORSE!

Got your attention? Here’s why. Both Hybrids and electric vehicles use batteries. Big ones in the hybrids, and REALLY big ones in EV’s.

Anything that makes a good battery is toxic as hell. It’s unavoidable. To make a battery you need lots of loose electrons or ‘holes’ (a place where an electron could be, if one was available). You put a couple of complementary compounds together and supply electrons, and charge is stored. Things that have extra electrons or holes have a tendency to steal (or donate) electrons from/to other things if they get the chance. That process of stealing and donation is pretty hard on the other things. Like your hand, if you spill battery electrolyte on it. That blister is from the acid in the electrolyte stealing the electrons in your skin.

The process of making and recycling batteries generates a LOT of toxic waste, and a lot of it gets out into the environment. I toured the Johnson Controls battery factory in Milwaukee a couple of decades ago. They handed me a pair of disposable booties to put on my feet, so I wouldn’t track lead dust into the office and home with me. They weren’t just being overcareful. There was a gritty smog throughout the facility from the big machines that melted lead and filled the electrode molds. It was all over my car when I left too, and the parking lot was over a block from the plant.

Now, lets just assume Hybrids catch on in a big way. We’ve traded a fuel crisis for a battery crisis. Can you say ‘lead poisoning’?

Sorry for the bad news guys. Like Robert Heinlein said in “The moon is a harsh Mistress”, TANSTAAFEL (There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch).

“He drove it over to a local restaurant and mooched some discarded oil from its deep fryer, strained the oil through a pair of jeans, and poured it into the engine. It ran perfectly.”

But not for long. You can not burn straight fry-oil in a diesel engine. It must be treated with lye to remove the glycerin first. Strained it through a pair of jeans?? I think not. Fry-oil will not flow through denim. It would take several days to drip through…This is pure BS.

Making wild claims is one thing, but demonstrating a workable, drivable, vehicle is something else…Show us one, Mr. Goodwin.

I don’t think that lead will be much of an issue. Lead acid batteries don’t have the power density to be serious contenders in the hybrid or electric vehicle market. Lithium-ion batteries can do it, and are proposed for the GM Volt. Toyota uses an older technology successfully on the Prius - Nickel metal hydride. Certainly any battery must use reactive components to provide usable power and can be dangerous. But it won’t be lead.