Why on earth is there no hybrid minivan for sale in this country?

I’m new here, so apologies if this has been covered ad nauseum. But it seems to me such a no-brainer. The “demographics” of the hybrid crowd synergizes way way way more readily, I should think, with the minivan crowd than with the SUV crowd. It all makes zero sense to me.

For example, I drive a minivan and am as “Green” as they come. I would not have dreamed of buying a new van for anything but a hybrid, and conversely I would have deliberately sold my fairly-new (which it once was) van explicitly for a hybrid…


And now, that van actually qualifies as a “clunker”. I would love to cash in on that offer of trading it out for cash. However, I don’t know what I’d move into. I don’t want a truck, so the explorer is out. I don’t want an SUV so the Hylander is out. I want a van, a minivan just like the one I own now, only quieter and cheaper to run…


This is actually a question of sorts – anyone have a suggestion for a vehicle to replace an Odyssey that’s environmentally “friendly”? I want the replacement to :

-be safe

-hold sheets of plywood

-be comfortable

-not be a gas hog.

-hold bunches of kids and their equipment

I don’t actually think that’s all that much to ask, yet year after year it’s not out there…am I missing something?


Feel better now that you got that out?

The Odyssey you now own seems to suit your needs fairly well. I’d stick with what’s working.

good rant! A mini van isn’t mini anymore. Yet if you can package a SUV hybrid you can do the same for a mini van. This must be about the corporate marketing guys feeling that demand for SUV’s is greater than mini vans and putting their engineering behind what they perceive the market wants.

Someone will do it eventually, but no hybrid mini vans are on the immediate horizon. Keep ranting and get a bunch of others ranting too and perhaps you’ll get your wish a bit sooner.

Tia, You Are Missing Something Here.

You’re not as “Green” as they come or you wouldn’t be driving a minivan. Instead, You’d be driving a little “clown car” or a little hybrid car, right now.

A van, even a minivan, and even if it’s a hybrid, consumes too many of Earth’s precious resources in its production for its owner to be truly “Green”. Then because of its extra weight and larger size (more space to air-condition), uses more of Earth’s precious resources to get down the road.

Forget about hauling that plywood and those loads of kids. Comfort shouldn’t be a prioity and certainly not safety. I’m afraid those days are over for you. Truly “Green” as they come people drive little cars that leave hardly any carbon footprint and contribute very little to Global Warming, I mean “Climate Change”.

You are trying to go in two different directions here, “Green” and “Not So Green”. Find and buy a small car, preferable used (resources already wasted during production). Put off any projects that involve plywood and groups of kids until we can make a 0.2% difference (by 2025) in the Earth’s temperature and get this climate thing under control. Then you will be on your way to becoming as “Green” as they come.

I hoped this has helped steer you toward becoming truly “Green” and I thank you on behalf of the Earth.


It’s simple - cost. To have a 6-8 person capacity you need power, and power means large amounts of expensive batteries. The amount of gas saved would not pay out the costs for many years.

For mini-vans and the small to mid-size SUV’s…A 4-cylinder Turbo Diesel makes far more sense.

Good point, MikeinNH.

I’m not claiming my use of a minivan is green, I’m simply trying to use shorthand to basically describe my proclivities. To be “green” of course you’d use no fossil fuels whatsoever, jettison the kids altogether – they’re just about the biggest drain on the planet of them all afterall, etc. The term itself is onerous as they come and so forth. Few are ever any label they apply. Even to point out that our “other” car is a prius is an oxymoron – two cars per family in and of itself is a problem. Excusing the matter by pointing out we live in LA just digs the hole deeper – all of LA is an envirnmental catastrophe (as is the existence thereof). And so forth.

So it’s meant as an emotional indicator only. Sorry for the confusion.

Texases – Doesn’t the Ford hybrid, forget its name, have a 6-8 pp capacity? Though come to think of it, I think it’s also not very energy efficient is it (which reminds me that of course the whole hybrid thing itself is hardly green, though all-electric cars require electricity which is a terrifying drain on our environment right there – back again to bicycles built for 4+friends+eqpt…it’s all a problem.

No, the Escape is a compact CUV, with 4, maybe 5 in a pinch. The only big one is the Tahoe hybrid, at $50k plus. The Toyota Highlander hybrid is closer, but with a tiny 3rd seat. It’s about a $6000 premium over the non-hybrid.

I’ve often wondered the same thing myself as to why a hybrid minivan isn’t marketed. At the University where I teach, small hybrid shuttle buses move students from one end of campus to the other. If a Prius can be manufactured and a 30 passenger hybrid powered bus can be built, it would seem possible to produce a hybrid minivan.

I have seen minivans used in large cities for taxicabs. I would think that the hybrid principle would work well for this application.

A synergism is what happens when two people or things accomplish more together than they can apart. I am not sure it applies here. The hybrid crowd wants high fuel economy. The minivan crowd wants space and convenience. Each of these two vehicles have different design priorities. Mix the two by making a hybrid minivan, and you end up with something that doesn’t do either thing as well as they both do separately. Now does it make more sense?

If you were really as “green” as they come, you would give up the space of your minivan and deal with less space as you drive a hybrid car. Or better, yet, if you were as “green” as they come, you would not own a car at all, and you would live a sustainable lifestyle.

Here is my recommendation: Buy a Toyota Prius or a new Honda Insight, and keep your Odyssey for the times you need to haul a bunch of kids or plywood. Or better yet, get rid of the Odyssey and rent a truck to haul plywood when the need arises. How many kids to you have that you can’t fit them all into a Prius?

Just for the record – please note above. I did say all these things already. I am not claiming maximal “greenness” – the term itself is just absurd nearly any way you cut it. It’s meant just as a pointer, an emotional mindset. There’s no end to the concept of ‘greener’ – it’s all pointless. One does what one can as one goes along.

I don’t agree though that these extremes of space and economy are incompatible. As with any other continuum, there is better and worse - why not make a space-hog less of a gas hog? Since many won’t give up their space, they can at least diminish its impact. Obviously, shunning all non-renewable energy use is optimal.

My point is – the manufacturers are making hybrid SUV’s – it would seem that is far more oxymoronic than a hybrid minivan. At the least, the engines in minivans are smaller and lighter than in SUVs (because their constituency isn’t craving testosterone) so they would be a better fit for a hybrid motor anyway.

My point is – the manufacturers are making hybrid SUV’s

Your point is based on the faulty assumption that all hybrids are supposed to be fuel efficient. Some hybrids are not designed for optimal fuel economy. Some hybrids are designed for extra power. For example, the Honda Accord Hybrid only got about one MPG more than the four cylinder Accord. Its hybrid system was designed for extra power, not maximum fuel economy.

[b]You: I … am as “Green” as they come.

Me: No, you’re not.

You: I never said I was.

Okayyyyyyyyyyy. If you say so. LOL![/b]

The Highlander Hybrid base prices IS $6000 more then the non Hybrid…HOWEVER…The Hybrid comes pretty much fully loaded so when you compare apples to apples the price is less then $2000. Now if all you’ll ever buy is a BASE model vehicle…GREAT…But if you’re like…I tend to add some features like Power Windows…AC…

Tia, I Believe Your Thinking Is Being Clouded (No Pun Intended) By Living In L.A.
You state, "Excusing the matter by pointing out we live in LA just digs the hole deeper – all of LA is an environmental catastrophe (as is the existence thereof). And so forth.

I think that you need to get away. I live within the contiguous states. Our family has 7 cars. Nobody anywhere near here drives a hybrid vehicle. They aren’t even available within a two hour drive (one way). There are mostly large domestic cars, SUVs and trucks on the road. We drive large cars and a minivan. At our country club during last Tuesday Night Men’s League there were exactly 2 Japanese cars out of 40-50 large domestic cars, trucks and SUVs. People here laugh about environmentalists, Global Warming, Cap & Tax, and “Green”.

There is no air quality problem and no water quality problem (I live on a 10,000 acre crystal clear lake) and have a 7 gal/minute icy cold, flowing well at my house.

We are in our coolest summer in history, which followed the coldest winter and spring since records were kept.

What you need to do is get away from L.A. and see things from a more realistic perspective. I guess from your view it appears that the world is ending (environmental catastrophe). I have lived here on and off all of my life and the only thing really changing is that it has been getting progresively cooler, weatherwise. I wish our weather would warm up back to normal.

Please know that not everyone shares the same view.


Kinda smacks of irony that California has the some of the strictest enviromental laws in the world, yet it has more envirometal promblems than most other areas.

It’s the geography. L.A. is surrounded by mountains and sits in a valley. The pollution has nowhere to go.

[i]Of course the country club conservatives laugh about environmentalism.[/i] In many areas in this country, the pollution simply blows away with the wind, and becomes someone else’s problem. Country club conservatives can afford to live in places where industrialists haven’t polluted the water. [i]Try living in a neighborhood where the cancer rate is 10 times higher than the national average, and people who live healthy lifestyles are getting types of cancer that are extremely rare in large numbers, and then tell me you still laugh about environmentalism. [u]It’s easy to laugh at people who are dying when you live in an ivory tower.[/i][/u]

It’s also partly because we measure fuel economy in miles per gallon instead of gallons per x distance.

Assuming that a hybrid gets maybe 20% better fuel economy, that sounds really impressive when you have a small car that would usually get 40 mpg, but gets 50 as a hybrid. But a van that would usually get closer to 20 that gets 24 mpg isn’t as impressive sounding. More importantly, it won’t help you meet your CAFE average, which is one of the carmaker’s major goals in selling hybrids.

Of course, if we were to convert the fuel mileage figures into the European style liters per 100 KM, we can see that there’s much more fuel to be actually saved with the hybrid minivan. But that’s not the way the American car buyer thinks or the way the CAFE rules are written.

Yep. When the first European explorers discovered the Los Angeles valley, there was already smog, even when native camp fires were the only source.

It’s really a very bad spot to build a city, and so they’ve had to invent the concept of a clean air law to make it livable.

“It’s simple - cost. To have a 6-8 person capacity you need power, and power means large amounts of expensive batteries. The amount of gas saved would not pay out the costs for many years.”

How is that different from any other hybrid today?