NY TIMES: Comparison of Toyota & Honda Hybrids

Discussion in 'General Motoring' started by Robert Cohen, Apr 1, 2006.

  1. Robert Cohen

    Robert Cohen Guest

    This doesn't belong here, because it's not relevant and so
    neverminddddd, though I gotta a feeling that a certain adaptive Korean
    car manufacturer is duly interested.

    My information & perception currently
    is that Toyota has control of hybrid patents, and Hyundai therefore
    couldn't bring-out a relatively inexpensive hybrid, because Toyota
    wouldn't cut its own throat.

    But if Hyundai could bring-one out for $10,000 less or whatever, there
    would seemingly be a significant lessening of oil demand for awhile
    (several years).

    And when China does ditto, then...nirvana.

    And so, if I were the presiding politico, I'd use my
    influence/talent/finesse to encourage Toyota to consider the public
    interest, perhaps by lubricating Toyota with
    contracts/concessions/advantages so its stockholders would eagerly

    A la Toyota makes U.S. mailsters & other government trucks & heaps so
    long as Toyota licenses its patents reasonably/cheaply/cost-effectively
    to its world competitors.

    Any constructive ideas are welcome, because massive distribution of
    hybrid technology is not unimportant in war 'n peace.
    Robert Cohen, Apr 1, 2006
  2. Robert Cohen

    Robert Cohen Guest


    Behind the Wheel
    Honda Accord and Toyota Camry: Hybrids for Ozzie and Harriet

    Save Article

    Published: April 2, 2006
    RELIABLE, practical and popular, the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry are
    as mainstream as white bread and as exciting as mom's meatloaf. But
    hybrid technology has transformed versions of these family cars from
    conservative appliances into cutting-edge green machines.

    Skip to next paragraph

    2006 Honda Accord hybrid

    The Quest for a Plugged-In Prius

    2007 Toyota Camry hybrid
    Having redesigned the Camry for 2007, Toyota joins Honda in offering a
    midsize sedan with a hybrid gas-electric powertrain. Honda, meanwhile,
    has freshened and mildly restyled its Accords, including the hybrid.

    While both cars wear hybrid labels, Toyota's approach is markedly

    The Accord was the first hybrid built around a V-6 gasoline engine, and
    it has emphasized performance over economy - as have the Toyota
    Highlander Hybrid and Lexus RX 400h that came later, also with V-6's.
    But in the Camry Hybrid, Toyota uses a four-cylinder engine, which it
    paired with an electric motor more powerful than Honda's. The Camry can
    be expected to attain significantly higher mileage, especially in city

    The Accord Hybrid arrived in late 2004. While it carried a fuel economy
    rating of 29 m.p.g. in town and 37 on the highway - respectable but
    hardly breathtaking - it was also quicker than the conventional
    Accord with a V-6. The hybrid's 3-liter engine produced 240 horsepower,
    plus 16 from the electric motor. (The horsepower figure has since been
    revised to a total of 253 because of a shift in how the number is
    calculated.) Half of the cylinders shut down when power demand is low
    (below 3,500 rpm), turning the 6 into a 3.

    At a price of $29,990, the original Accord Hybrid cost some $3,500 more
    than the similarly equipped EX V-6 model. It lacked both a spare tire
    - there was an air compressor and a can of sealant instead - and a
    sunroof, both sacrificed to save weight. While Honda expected to sell
    20,000 a year, cumulative 15-month sales through February totaled just

    For 2006, the improved Accord Hybrid added the moonroof and a temporary
    spare - and gained 85 pounds. That pushed the car into a higher
    weight class for E.P.A. testing and reduced the mileage rating to
    25/34. In the real world, an owner is unlikely to notice the drop,
    since new underbody panels make the car more aerodynamic.

    Other additions include a standard electronic stability control, L.E.D.
    taillights, a rear spoiler, new alloy wheels and heated outside mirrors
    with built-in turn signals. The price is now $31,540 including shipping
    - or $33,540 with a navigation system.

    The Accord Hybrid uses its small electric motor mostly for added boost,
    but the Camry actually runs on batteries alone at low speeds. Toyota's
    approach is different in other ways, too. Instead of a sizable V-6, it
    has a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine rated at 147 horsepower. But the
    Camry's electric motor contributes more than the Accord's.

    The Camry reaches 60 m.p.h. in 8.9 seconds, a decent showing that
    nonetheless pales before the zippy Accord's 6.9 seconds.

    Last week, Toyota announced that Camry Hybrid prices would start at
    $26,480, giving the car a $5,000 edge over the Accord.

    The Accord comes loaded - a navigation system is one of the few
    options - and the Camry Hybrid is nearly as well equipped as the
    similarly priced top-of-the-line XLE, from its Bluetooth-compatible
    audio system (which includes a six-CD changer and can also play your
    MP3 files and dock your iPod) to its dual-zone climate control. The
    Accord throws in the sunroof and leather upholstery. The Camry counters
    with a split folding rear seat - a neat trick, considering how much
    of the trunk was sacrificed to accommodate the battery pack (30
    percent, versus 18 percent in the Accord).

    The Camry's economy edge is significant, with an E.P.A. rating of 40
    m.p.g. in the city and 38 on the highway. According to the trip
    computer, my performance varied: I drove the Camry 269 mostly highway
    miles, achieving a "personal best" of 39.3 m.p.g. and an average of
    31.7. By happenstance, I was the first journalist in the Northeast to
    drive both the Camry Hybrid and the freshened Accord Hybrid. The Accord
    test car came with only 125 miles on the odometer, and that may account
    for my poor indicated mileage: in 192 miles of mixed driving, I
    averaged 20.8 m.p.g. On a second tank of gas, it did much better,
    achieving 28 m.p.g.

    While Honda's Integrated Motor Assist system emphasizes performance,
    Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive stresses economy. Yet on the road, the
    cars are not as different as those labels might indicate.

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    Honda Accord and Toyota Camry: Hybrids for Ozzie and Harriet

    Save Article

    Published: April 2, 2006
    (Page 2 of 2)

    The Accord is moderately luxurious inside. A green "Eco" light
    indicates economy of 25 m.p.g. or more, usually a sign that three
    cylinders have shut down. The Honda's acceleration edge is obvious, and
    the extra power will bring out your inner Mario Andretti. The switch
    from six to three cylinders and back is nearly imperceptible; the
    slightly rougher engine note is, in fact, masked by the Accord's
    ingenious noise-canceling technology and "active" engine mounts, which
    anticipate and counter vibration.

    Skip to next paragraph
    The Quest for a Plugged-In Prius The Honda's ride is stiffer, which
    should help it handle the extra power. Big bumps can jar its composure.

    The Camry handles better than the Accord, with pin-sharp, well-weighted
    steering and a suspension that absorbs rough terrain without allowing
    much body lean. It also has slightly more rear leg and shoulder room.

    While the Camry feels spacious, it is smaller in some measures of
    headroom, legroom and cargo volume than the less expensive Prius.

    Both the Camry and Accord are emissions champs, scoring as AT-PZEV's
    ("advanced technology partial zero emission vehicles") under
    California's arcane rating system. The only cars that are cleaner are
    those that run on batteries alone.

    Toyota also has an edge in styling with the fresher, sleeker look it
    shares with all '07 Camrys.

    Toyota really wants you to know you're in a hybrid. A huge real-time
    fuel consumption gauge sits where you'd expect a tachometer to be. Set
    into the speedometer is a graphic display, carried over from the Prius,
    in which arrows show whether the car is running on its gas engine, its
    electric motor or both.

    An "Eco" button uses several subterfuges, like limiting energy used by
    the air-conditioner, to enable greater use of the "auto stop" feature
    that shuts off the gas engine at stoplights.

    The Camry that I drove was a preproduction car that came with a note
    stating that it might not meet factory standards. So my 9-year-old took
    it in stride when an inside door handle came off in her hands.

    But even with parts falling off, the Camry won handily over the Accord,
    in my view. Still, both are good cars. Are they also good values when
    compared with conventional vehicles?

    Consumer Reports dropped a bomb in its April auto issue by predicting
    that none of the six hybrids it tested would recover their price
    premiums within five years of ownership. The magazine did not test the
    Camry Hybrid, but said the Accord Hybrid would cost a whopping $10,250
    more to own over five years than a comparable EX model, and the Prius
    would cost $5,250 more to own than a Corolla LE.

    A few days after the magazine reached subscribers, however, the editors
    announced that they had overstated the hybrids' depreciation costs, and
    they revised the figures. Now, provided the Prius could qualify for
    federal tax credits, the magazine said it would actually save its owner
    $406 over five years. The Accord owner would still be in the hole, but
    for $4,263 instead of $10,250.

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    Robert Cohen, Apr 1, 2006
  3. Not by as much as you think though.

    Increasing the MPG reduces the cost of driving per mile driven.

    Therefore, if more people drove hybrids, they would drive more miles as

    The net effect on quantity of gas demanded is not clear.

    A. Sinan Unur, Apr 1, 2006
  4. Robert Cohen

    Bob Adkins Guest

    Not to mention that it probably takes many extra barrels of oil to produce
    the extra batteries, electronics, and motors on a hybrid.

    I heard somewhere that hybrids will never pay the average driver back. If
    you keep it long enough to pay off the hybrid features, the battery goes
    bad. Needless to say, that is no cheap battery to replace!

    I guess hybrids are "feel good" cars right now, but when gas goes up to $10
    a gallon, they will help a lot. :)
    Bob Adkins, Apr 1, 2006
  5. Considering that both manufacturers claim to be losing money on every
    hybrid them build, it would actually be more profitable for them to
    license the technology to someone else.
    Not really, for several reasons:

    - Hybrids aren't that much more effient, especially on the highway.

    - They will probably always be more expensive than comparable gas or
    diesel cars, which limits their sales and makes the savings largely

    - Battery life is still a major question.

    - Disposal costs will be high, which means you may actually have to pay
    someone to take your car when it's worn out.
    Why. Hybrids are really nothing but a stop-gap, not a long-term
    solution. What we need is cars that don't run on fossil fuels or other
    pollution producing fuels. Ideally, that fuel source would be cheaper
    than gasoline, so it will appeal to the huge emerging markets in India
    and China and help prevent the looming environmental disaster in those
    countries (and worldwide) as they burn more and more fossil fuels.

    If you're going to make a long-term investment, it makes more sense to
    put your money into alternative technologies.
    That's a nice idea, but the reality is that hybrids are a technological
    Brian Nystrom, Apr 1, 2006
  6. Robert Cohen

    Matt Whiting Guest

    Consumer Reports just recently made such an analysis of several
    different vehicles that have both a conventional and hybrid version.
    You are right in that from an purely economic perspective, hybrids are a
    fools play.

    Matt Whiting, Apr 1, 2006
  7. Robert Cohen

    nothermark Guest

    Partly - it's getting real info on using electric cars and getting the
    public trainied to think about them. Replace the IC engine with a
    fuel cell and we may have something worth looking at.
    nothermark, Apr 2, 2006
  8. Robert Cohen

    Raoul Guest

    See http://hybridcars.about.com/od/toyotaprius/fr/2005toyotaprius.htm

    I am amazed with the popularity of the Prius. It is a bit of a
    gimmick. My '03 Accent was $10K and averages about 34mpg. According to
    the review above, a Prius runs over$20K and averages 48mpg.

    A not terribly scientific crunching of some numbers:

    $10K for car

    Gas to go 100,000 miles @34mpg:
    2,940 gallons of gas @ $2.50/gallon (what I paid today in the Boston
    suburbs): $7,350

    Total: $17,350

    $24K (according to edmunds.com

    Gas to go 100,000 miles @ 48mpg:
    2,080 gallons of gas @ $2.50: $5,200

    Total: $29,200
    Raoul, Apr 2, 2006
  9. Robert Cohen

    gerry Guest

    [original post is likely clipped to save bandwidth]
    Also, they never mention that hybrids don't help on the highway! Batteries
    get charged (the energy benefit part) by electronic breaking. Hit the
    highway and the batteries add no benefit.

    How about 69 mpg in a non hybrid?


    gerry, Apr 3, 2006
  10. Robert Cohen

    Bob Adkins Guest

    Nice car! Sort of like a Miata on steroids.

    Ya, if you are willing to forego size, comfort, and options, it's very easy
    to get 64mpg. :)

    Engine technology/efficiency has pretty much hit a wall. VW takes up the
    next challenge with that concept car, which is to reduce weight. If my V6
    Sonata weighed only 1800 pound, LOOK OUT!!! :)

    A good breakthrough would be high MPG rotary or turbine engines. A turbine
    engine the size of a basketball and weighing under 100 pounds can easily put
    out 250 HP. Problem is, it would get about 5 MPG. :)
    Bob Adkins, Apr 3, 2006
  11. Robert Cohen

    Matt Whiting Guest

    A hybrid does give some benefit on the highway as they can get by with a
    smaller gasoline engine since the electric motor is there to back it up
    when greater acceleration is needed, but the benefit certainly is much
    less relative to the benefit in the city. Probably the greatest benefit
    of hybrids is the learning they will provide with respect to energy
    storage and engine control systems that will be needed some day for all
    electric cars.

    Matt Whiting, Apr 3, 2006
  12. Robert Cohen

    gerry Guest

    [original post is likely clipped to save bandwidth]

    Fuel cells have an issue even if they solve problems with the cells

    The cost of "fuel" is also an issue. Either limited supply of, say with
    hydrogen, where is the electricity coming from to produce the hydrogen?

    I really get a kick out of the claims that hydrogen cars are pollution
    free. The pollution is just relocated, say to a coal burning electric
    plant. Same is true with electric cars!

    gerry, Apr 4, 2006
  13. Robert Cohen

    Matt Whiting Guest

    Very true. Unless we can find an economical way to use solar, wind or
    wave energy to produce the electricity required to produce the hydrogen,
    fuel cell powered cars simply relocate the problem.

    Matt Whiting, Apr 4, 2006
  14. Robert Cohen

    Bob Adkins Guest

    Bingo! The knowledge and experience is priceless!
    Bob Adkins, Apr 5, 2006
  15. Robert Cohen

    Bob Adkins Guest

    I can see more nukes and coal in our future.

    Actually, coal fired plants can be clean as a whistle. All the scrubbing and
    such may cost 1 or 2% efficiency, but it's still much cheaper than oil.
    Bob Adkins, Apr 5, 2006
  16. Robert Cohen

    Robert Cohen Guest

    re: air car

    Apparently, the thing functions mainly by compressed air.

    Nothing much has been publicized about it since it was brought-out
    during the past two years or so en France.

    I presume ..it's a bust (as in balloon); though one may infinitely
    fantasize nevertheless.
    Robert Cohen, Apr 6, 2006
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