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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 19 May 2005, 05:57 pm
Bob
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Default Hybrids

Does anyone have any info on the long-term reliability of hybrids. Any
brand. Batteries?


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  #2 (permalink)  
Old 19 May 2005, 08:38 pm
Michael Pardee
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Default Re: Hybrids (long response)

"Bob" <lester11221@comcast.net> wrote in message
news:htednY58zuDnkRDfRVn-vQ@comcast.com...
> Does anyone have any info on the long-term reliability of hybrids. Any
> brand. Batteries?
>
>

I have a 2002 Prius. So far (2 1/2 years, 45 K miles) it has been the most
reliable car I've ever owned. Disclaimer: my daughter's '93 Accord has been
a clear second, considering it had 8 years and 163K miles at the time. I've
put a couple axles, a timing belt, brakes, a window regulator and an ignitor
in it in 4 years.

The question of hybrid battery life comes up all the time. The bottom line
is that everybody wonders and practically nobody has had problems. One
battery was destroyed by an insane hybrid control computer (both replaced
under the 8 yr/100K mile hybrid system warranty), another was punctured by a
stereo installer. Otherwise the Toyota_Prius' Yahoo group's 11000 members
have had no main battery failures, even though several are over the 100K
mile mark. I like to illustrate the point by pointing out a Google search
for "Acura transmission fail" brings up 17000 hits relating to why the Acura
transmissions fail and what to do about it, while a search for "Prius
battery fail" brings up about 9000 hits speculating when a battery would
fail but seemingly none on any that actually did. One hit refers to a
battery failing at 245K miles, but the reference doesn't take you to the
original source. I'm not aware of that happening, although a Prius taxi in
Canada was bought back by Toyota at about that mileage... the battery was
still good.

The Prius does have a 12 volt aux battery that is more troublesome and twice
the price of a normal 12 volt battery, though. Ours is still okay, but when
it croaks I'm going to make the adaptation to a more normal battery. The 12
volt battery just boots the computers and runs the brake pressurization pump
before the converter kicks in. I guess Toyota figured that meant they could
use a lawn tractor sized battery. The pre-2004 model also came with tires
that had a treadwear rating of only 160 (!) which lead to complaints of tire
life. I understand the current model has more normal tires.

There is no alternator, starter or even a transmission in the conventional
sense. The power steering and brake booster are electric, as is the A/C in
the current model. 12 volts for accessories and recharging the aux battery
comes rom a 100A converter when the hybrid system is "ready." Cruise control
is nothing more than an extra brake pedal switch and a control switch
assembly - everything else is just lines of code already in the hybrid
computer. Reverse is still the same gearing as forward, but the hybrid
computer tells the power train to back the car up, so it does. There is even
forward (or backward, in reverse) torque when in gear, very much like a
conventional auto tranny.

Honda's IMA system can be suped up, since it is essentially a conventional
power train with a boost from an electric motor. Toyota's can't, since the
entire system is under control of the hybrid computer. Adding a turbo, as
one turbo mfr has suggested doing, would certainly destroy the hybrid
transaxle. The engine is coupled to the transaxle by a torque limiter that
looks very much like a conventional clutch without a throwout, and the
"transmission" is simulated by generating AC from one motor/generator,
rectifying it and inverting it to drive the other motor generator. There is
some direct torque coupling but significantly increasing the engine output
would destroy one of the electronic parts immediately if the torque limiter
survived. Even putting headers on the engine can't improve the output,
because the hybrid computer would simply get in a snit about the power not
being as prescribed. For related reasons, the engine max rpm is held to 5000
rpm (maybe a little more on the current model?) by the hybrid computer. Not
the choice of teenage boys everywhere, but a huge plus for engine life I'm
sure.

The Honda system is adaptable to either manual or automatic transmissions.
The Toyota system is not available with a manual gearbox or automatic
transmission, only their "electronic CVT". Since there is no actual
transmission (it is a fixed planetary differential with two electric
motor/generators) there is no place to put a gearbox. Even if you found a
trick to do that, it would be hard to shift a car that won't even let you
decide when the engine runs. With the car in "park" I can press the
accelerator to the floor. The engine always starts, if off, and gradually
builds speed to some specific speed around 2000 rpm in a minute or two.

Mike


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  #3 (permalink)  
Old 19 May 2005, 08:49 pm
L Alpert
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Default Re: Hybrids (long response)

Michael Pardee wrote:
> "Bob" <lester11221@comcast.net> wrote in message
> news:htednY58zuDnkRDfRVn-vQ@comcast.com...
>> Does anyone have any info on the long-term reliability of hybrids. Any
>> brand. Batteries?
>>
>>

> I have a 2002 Prius. So far (2 1/2 years, 45 K miles) it has been the
> most reliable car I've ever owned. Disclaimer: my daughter's '93
> Accord has been a clear second, considering it had 8 years and 163K
> miles at the time. I've put a couple axles, a timing belt, brakes, a
> window regulator and an ignitor in it in 4 years.
>
> The question of hybrid battery life comes up all the time. The bottom
> line is that everybody wonders and practically nobody has had
> problems.


Well, good news so far, but I have always wondered what will happen 6-10
years from now when batteries need to be replaced in mass. Are they
recyclable? If not, will they have to be handled as toxic waste? If so, how
environmental friendly is that?


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  #4 (permalink)  
Old 19 May 2005, 08:56 pm
Elmo P. Shagnasty
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Default Re: Hybrids (long response)

In article <R6GdnR15abIOohDfRVn-hw@sedona.net>,
"Michael Pardee" <michaeltnull@cybertrails.com> wrote:

> I have a 2002 Prius. So far (2 1/2 years, 45 K miles) it has been the most
> reliable car I've ever owned.


I would hope that for 2.5 years and 45K miles, ANY Toyota would be
dead-reliable.
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  #5 (permalink)  
Old 19 May 2005, 09:04 pm
Michael Pardee
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Default Re: Hybrids (long response)

"L Alpert" <alpertl@xxgmail.com> wrote in message
news:FrSdnS3GV8-I3xDfRVn-rw@comcast.com...
> Michael Pardee wrote:
>> "Bob" <lester11221@comcast.net> wrote in message
>> news:htednY58zuDnkRDfRVn-vQ@comcast.com...
>>> Does anyone have any info on the long-term reliability of hybrids. Any
>>> brand. Batteries?
>>>
>>>

>> I have a 2002 Prius. So far (2 1/2 years, 45 K miles) it has been the
>> most reliable car I've ever owned. Disclaimer: my daughter's '93
>> Accord has been a clear second, considering it had 8 years and 163K
>> miles at the time. I've put a couple axles, a timing belt, brakes, a
>> window regulator and an ignitor in it in 4 years.
>>
>> The question of hybrid battery life comes up all the time. The bottom
>> line is that everybody wonders and practically nobody has had
>> problems.

>
> Well, good news so far, but I have always wondered what will happen 6-10
> years from now when batteries need to be replaced in mass. Are they
> recyclable? If not, will they have to be handled as toxic waste? If so,
> how environmental friendly is that?
>

Toyota already has a program to buy them back for $200 and to recycle all
the metals. Few batteries probably will ever reach the point where they will
be replaced though - the battery is expected to last the design life of the
car. Individual cells can be replaced and the hybrid computer even has
diagnostics for determining if individual cells are performing properly. I
expect the overwhelming majority of Toyota's hybrid batteries will be sold
for the bounty when the cars are scrapped if current trends continue. There
are 1999 model year Prius cars in Japan and their batteries are doing fine.

Mike


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  #6 (permalink)  
Old 19 May 2005, 09:13 pm
Michael Pardee
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Default Re: Hybrids (long response)

"Elmo P. Shagnasty" <elmop@nastydesigns.com> wrote in message
news:elmop-CC60B6.21565419052005@text.usenetserver.com...
> In article <R6GdnR15abIOohDfRVn-hw@sedona.net>,
> "Michael Pardee" <michaeltnull@cybertrails.com> wrote:
>
>> I have a 2002 Prius. So far (2 1/2 years, 45 K miles) it has been the
>> most
>> reliable car I've ever owned.

>
> I would hope that for 2.5 years and 45K miles, ANY Toyota would be
> dead-reliable.


Me too. My previous new car was a 1984 Dodge (I plead insanity!) and it was
awful from the start. A carburetor rebuild in the first week, a wiring short
I spent all day chasing through the interior of the car the first year out
of warranty.... At 5 years age and 90K miles it needed a new timing chain.
Step 1: remove engine from car. The timing chain cover was blocked by the
wheel well when the engine was mounted. You get the picture. Honda and
Toyota forever! No Nissans - we shall not speak of that again.

Mike


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  #7 (permalink)  
Old 20 May 2005, 02:04 pm
muzz
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Posts: n/a
Default Re: Hybrids

It might help you to be aware that even tho the Honda people advertise
48 mpg on the civic hybrid, mine gets 33 in the summer and 34 in the
winter after 18 months of conservative driving.


>Does anyone have any info on the long-term reliability of hybrids. Any
>brand. Batteries?
>


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  #8 (permalink)  
Old 21 May 2005, 09:05 am
L Alpert
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Posts: n/a
Default Re: Hybrids

muzz wrote:
> It might help you to be aware that even tho the Honda people advertise
> 48 mpg on the civic hybrid, mine gets 33 in the summer and 34 in the
> winter after 18 months of conservative driving.
>
>
>> Does anyone have any info on the long-term reliability of hybrids.
>> Any brand. Batteries?


Are you sure? One can get that with a regular Civic. Not impressive at
all. Maybe there is something qrong?


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  #9 (permalink)  
Old 21 May 2005, 09:18 am
L Alpert
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Posts: n/a
Default Re: Hybrids (long response)

Michael Pardee wrote:
> "L Alpert" <alpertl@xxgmail.com> wrote in message
> news:FrSdnS3GV8-I3xDfRVn-rw@comcast.com...
>> Michael Pardee wrote:
>>> "Bob" <lester11221@comcast.net> wrote in message
>>> news:htednY58zuDnkRDfRVn-vQ@comcast.com...
>>>> Does anyone have any info on the long-term reliability of hybrids.
>>>> Any brand. Batteries?
>>>>
>>>>
>>> I have a 2002 Prius. So far (2 1/2 years, 45 K miles) it has been
>>> the most reliable car I've ever owned. Disclaimer: my daughter's '93
>>> Accord has been a clear second, considering it had 8 years and 163K
>>> miles at the time. I've put a couple axles, a timing belt, brakes, a
>>> window regulator and an ignitor in it in 4 years.
>>>
>>> The question of hybrid battery life comes up all the time. The
>>> bottom line is that everybody wonders and practically nobody has had
>>> problems.

>>
>> Well, good news so far, but I have always wondered what will happen
>> 6-10 years from now when batteries need to be replaced in mass. Are
>> they recyclable? If not, will they have to be handled as toxic
>> waste? If so, how environmental friendly is that?
>>

> Toyota already has a program to buy them back for $200 and to recycle
> all the metals. Few batteries probably will ever reach the point
> where they will be replaced though - the battery is expected to last
> the design life of the car. Individual cells can be replaced and the
> hybrid computer even has diagnostics for determining if individual
> cells are performing properly. I expect the overwhelming majority of
> Toyota's hybrid batteries will be sold for the bounty when the cars
> are scrapped if current trends continue. There are 1999 model year
> Prius cars in Japan and their batteries are doing fine.
> Mike


It makes good sense as long as the components can be reused. It would be
interesting to find a site that would break down just what parts are and are
not recyclable. Google...here I come....


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  #10 (permalink)  
Old 21 May 2005, 10:16 am
Michael Pardee
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Posts: n/a
Default Re: Hybrids

"L Alpert" <alpertl@xxgmail.com> wrote in message
news:Y8mdnSOgBP293RLfRVn-3A@comcast.com...
> muzz wrote:
>> It might help you to be aware that even tho the Honda people advertise
>> 48 mpg on the civic hybrid, mine gets 33 in the summer and 34 in the
>> winter after 18 months of conservative driving.
>>
>>
>>> Does anyone have any info on the long-term reliability of hybrids.
>>> Any brand. Batteries?

>
> Are you sure? One can get that with a regular Civic. Not impressive at
> all. Maybe there is something qrong?
>

The benefit of hybrids, especially at the current stage of development,
varies a lot with how the car is used. A Civic hybrid gets only slightly
better fuel economy at freeway speeds than a conventional Civic, and that is
only because the engine was downsized when hybridizing the car. The electric
assist is intended to make up the difference in acceleration, but there are
varying opinions how well that works for the Civic.

Much of the disappointment comes from design considerations. Honda wanted to
compete in fuel economy, and to get the very best economy they started with
a base model that did well to start with. They could have taken the other
path, economical power, as they did with their DualNote concept car... but
I'm sure cost would have popped up on that adventure!

Mike


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