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Transportation Earth Technology

Hybrid Car Owners Not Likely To Buy Another Hybrid 998

Posted by Soulskill
from the hybrid-un-vigor dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A new study has found that people who purchased a hybrid car in the past are not likely to buy a hybrid for their next car purchase. 'Only 35% of hybrid vehicle owners chose to purchase a hybrid again when they returned to the market in 2011, according to auto information company R.L. Polk & Co. If you factor out the super-loyal Toyota Prius buyers, the repurchase rate drops to under 25%.' The study also found Florida drivers to be a bit more loyal to the hybrid segment than elsewhere in the country. 'It's hard to know what's causing the low repurchase rate. One reason is that about 17,000 people purchased electric cars last year, and other data shows that many of those were trading in a hybrid vehicle. Honda has been hounded by high-profile class-action and small claims court lawsuits over fuel economy issues with older models of its Civic hybrid. ... Hybrid vehicles represent just 2.4% of the overall new vehicle market in the U.S., according to Polk, down from a high of 2.9% in 2008.'"
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Hybrid Car Owners Not Likely To Buy Another Hybrid

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  • The cost difference between a regular gas sedan and a hybrid of the same size is generally not offset by the savings in fuel costs for driving it. Why do it again if it didn't work the first time?
    • by eln (21727) on Monday April 09, 2012 @06:10PM (#39624063) Homepage
      We have a couple of problems here: As you point out, hybrids are more expensive than they should be for purely cost-concious consumers. Secondly, though, with all-electric cars (or even gasoline-assisted electrics like the Volt) coming out, it's becoming more and more obvious that hybrids are destined to be a short-lived stepping stone and not the long-term solution to our oil and pollution problems. This means the environment-concious people are more likely to buy a Leaf or a Volt than buy another hybrid.

      So, basically, hybrids aren't cost effective enough for people buying primarily on cost, and they're not green enough for people buying primarily on environmental friendliness. As all-electrics continue to improve, the age of the hybrid will come to an end.
      • by arth1 (260657) on Monday April 09, 2012 @06:25PM (#39624295) Homepage Journal

        Hybrids are an alternative for drivers who want to be green, think of diesel as the soot spewing lorries and buses of yesteryear, can't live with the short range and abysmal interior space of of pure electrics, and can afford the price premium.

        Living in the US, gas prices is my least concern. $4.50 per gallon? That's ridiculously cheap - far less than I paid in the 90s back in Europe. So sell me a car I can like, with decent acceleration, cargo space and range. Sorry, it won't be a Prius or Volt; much as I'd love to go the green route, they are not particularly green when factoring in the factory footprint, and I can't use them for much more than commuting.

        • by Kenja (541830) on Monday April 09, 2012 @06:37PM (#39624439)
          No new car, of any sort, is "green".
        • by amiga3D (567632) on Monday April 09, 2012 @06:56PM (#39624705)

          I remember Hot Rod magazine back in the 70's talking about rebuilding an old car being better for the environment than collecting tons of aluminum cans. They took a 4000 pound family car and built it for efficiency and power winding up with a car that could carry a family of 6, get over 25 miles to the gallon and turn 13's in the quarter mile. Not bad for 70's tech. I've thought about doing something similar with my 98 Grand Marquis. It gets 24mpg on the highway now I'd like to see if I can get it up over 30mpg. For around town though an electric vehicle might be okay if the price was reasonable. It's only a 15 mile commute so it wouldn't be a problem with the short range of those vehicles.

          • by AK Marc (707885) on Monday April 09, 2012 @07:28PM (#39625013)
            Nope. You'd have to pull out a number of safety features (likely illegal to sell, and possibly illegal to drive). Airbags that don't help belted passengers, bumpers designed to resist damage in 5 mph and slower crashes (yes, bumpers have damage resistance as a feature equal to or greater than safety), and loads of heavy and mostly ineffective sound deadening are burdening the modern car. The old ones had poor suspension, overly heavy bodies and such, but you could strip out almost everything (and even replace the frame with a light-weight tubular design), and have something lighter than today's cars.

            The only thing you get from today's cars is a smaller package with better aerodynamics. But the available improvements are smaller, so it's hard to get the same level of improvements. Intake/exhaust and computer change will get most non-turbo cars 10% to power and efficiency, but beyond that, it's harder to get more. I left out turbos because it's easier to trade efficiency for power or vice versa, and the percentages depend on the vehicles (you won't get much more efficiency out of Audis and Saabs with efficiency tuned turbos, but Chevy's turbo-Diesel trucks have loads of capabilities from things like a DuraMaximizer).
          • by Dahamma (304068)

            carry a family of 6, get over 25 miles to the gallon and turn 13's in the quarter mile.

            Pick one in that list at any particular time, of course ;)

        • by AngryDeuce (2205124) on Monday April 09, 2012 @07:03PM (#39624775)
          If you want a real green alternative, buy a bike.
          • If you want a real green alternative, buy a bike.

            I own one. But in practice, green ideals must be evaluated against one's needs. A car puts a barrier between the driver and the weather; a bike does not. A car has enough metal surface to trigger induction loops connected to traffic signals; a bike does not. A car can carry passengers larger than 50 lbs (22 kg); a typical bike trailer cannot. A car can travel on controlled access highways; a bike cannot.

          • by rachit (163465) on Monday April 09, 2012 @09:48PM (#39626207)

            Bikes are definitely not green.

            If you take into account the increased lifespan the rider gets because of more exercise and the amount of CO2 he would generate for that time period due to his need of food, shelter and fuel during the increased lifespan, you come out with more CO2 than if you let the rider die an early death.

            Studies have shown this. The only way to make bikes come out ahead is to mandate that the rider not wear a helmet.

        • by the_humeister (922869) on Monday April 09, 2012 @07:31PM (#39625049)

          Sorry, it won't be a Prius or Volt; much as I'd love to go the green route, they are not particularly green when factoring in the factory footprint, and I can't use them for much more than commuting.

          Actually, about 80-90% of a vehicle's environmental impact is due to the fuel usage over its lifetime.

      • by Chuckstar (799005) on Monday April 09, 2012 @06:26PM (#39624309)

        The Volt is not really an electric car. It's better described as a plug-in hybrid -- i.e. a hybrid with a much bigger battery that can be charged from the wall. Chevy does a good job of obscuring that fact, though. My point is that the Volt would be counted as a hybrid in the referenced survey.

        BTW, don't get me wrong... I don't fault Chevy in any way for their marketing. They are very clear about what the Volt is and is not. They just have purposefully avoided using the actual terms "hybrid" or "plug-in hybrid".

        • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 09, 2012 @06:40PM (#39624493)

          I don't fault Chevy in any way for their marketing. They are very clear about what the Volt is and is not. They just have purposefully avoided using the actual terms "hybrid" or "plug-in hybrid".

          I'm confused. They're refusing to use the name for it, "plug-in hybrid", and that's being very clear. It seems they refuse to give it any name.

          Q. Is the Volt an electric car or a hybrid?
          A. Volt is an innovative, never-been-done-before car that exists alone, in a brand-new category of cars. Volt is a fullâ"performance electric vehicle with extended range.

          Really? It's a plug-in hybrid and they've been made before. Just never marketed this widely. I don't see this kind of dishonestly as good. Nor do I believe the excuse the all marketing is lies as valid.

        • by rsborg (111459) on Monday April 09, 2012 @07:06PM (#39624811) Homepage

          The Volt is not really an electric car. It's better described as a plug-in hybrid -- i.e. a hybrid with a much bigger battery that can be charged from the wall. Chevy does a good job of obscuring that fact, though. My point is that the Volt would be counted as a hybrid in the referenced survey.

          BTW, don't get me wrong... I don't fault Chevy in any way for their marketing. They are very clear about what the Volt is and is not. They just have purposefully avoided using the actual terms "hybrid" or "plug-in hybrid".

          I say good for them. As a hybrid owner, I think the "hybrid" brand is wearing thin, after being abused by nearly everyone in the industry (and in general). The original and 2nd gen hybrids (Prius, Insight) were pretty sweet vehicles compared to the competition. Then you had the "mild hybrid" trucks and cars that just stopped the engine at the light and silly half-measures. Then you had "flex-fuel" which also got marketed as a "hybrid", "hybrid" sports cars that only added power and no

          The time has come for plug-in hybrids, and the Volt wherever I've heard it around here is not only incredibly silent (unlike my Prius when I accellerate from a stop), but damn quick. So the gas engine kicks in when driving past a certain range - that's a *feature*. Now whether it's worth the MSRP is another story entirely.

          Personally (back on topic), I won't buy another hybrid because my current hybrid is doing great and faring quite well in it's 7th year. Perhaps that's the reason - no need to upgrade. If I did want to buy another vehicle it would be a Volt (ie, plugin), or full electric with full commute range like a Tesla Model S (drool).

          • by Nimey (114278) on Monday April 09, 2012 @08:12PM (#39625413) Homepage Journal

            That's just it - I'm not likely to buy another hybrid for quite some time because my '05 Civic is absolutely trouble-free; it's at 128,000 miles, all by me, has never had any work done on it besides maintenance, has gotten 46.5 MPG over its lifespan, and has absolutely paid for itself by now in terms of fuel savings.

            When I bought this car in April '05 gasoline was ~$2.10/gal and at that price it would have taken ~8 years to pay for itself. Now that fuel is locally $3.60 and the car's paid for, it's all gravy. The question is how long my battery pack will last - it's warranted for 100,000 miles but seems to be holding a charge OK, however replacing it at the dealership seems to be around $4k, which is a lot of gasoline.

            Assuming that we haven't advanced much in alternative fuels by the time my car is ready for the scrapper's, I certainly would buy another hybrid then, but I think I'd go for a parallel hybrid system that can run the electric motor independently, rather than the Civic's serial system which uses the motor only as a booster for the gasoline engine.

      • by buchner.johannes (1139593) on Monday April 09, 2012 @06:28PM (#39624347) Homepage Journal

        So, basically, hybrids aren't cost effective enough for people buying primarily on cost

        You could also say, oil isn't expensive enough -- the gas prices don't reflect the real cost of oil.

        • by amiga3D (567632) on Monday April 09, 2012 @07:02PM (#39624759)

          Oil is worth what they can get for it. If the price goes too high then alternatives become economically viable. The reason gas is king is because relatively speaking it's cheap. If they get greedy and drive it too high they'll cause other options to begin taking off and if the Oil people aren't careful one of those other options could take hold causing them a serious problem. I don't know that Oil could handle real competition.

          • by Grishnakh (216268)

            No, gas is cheap because it's subsidized by the government and the military: 1) roads for cars using it are provided only partially by gas taxes, and largely by other (income) taxes; 2) the military is used to guarantee access to oil overseas; any time a government threatens to start trading oil in Euros instead of Dollars, the military invades.

      • by cpu6502 (1960974) on Monday April 09, 2012 @06:40PM (#39624481)

        >>> it's becoming more and more obvious that hybrids are destined to be a short-lived stepping stone and not the long-term solution to our oil and pollution problems

        Yes because an electric car can really carry me 150 miles per day on my work commute. (Not.) By the way according to the GREET study performed by the government, the most efficient car would be a Hybrid diesel. The diesel provides the compact energy format (150,000BTU/gallon), the high-efficiency engine (22:1 compression), and the hybridization provides the constant power curve. Like a modern locomotive.

        • by pluther (647209) <pluther@@@usa...net> on Monday April 09, 2012 @06:47PM (#39624583) Homepage

          >>> it's becoming more and more obvious that hybrids are destined to be a short-lived stepping stone and not the long-term solution to our oil and pollution problems

          Yes because an electric car can really carry me 150 miles per day on my work commute. (Not.) .

          Even if you're not, most car manufacturers are aware that people other than you purchase automobiles.

        • Yes because an electric car can really carry me 150 miles per day on my work commute. (Not.)

          Firstly, people that work 75 miles away from home represent a tiny minority, and will not determine the overall adoption rate of fully electric vehicles. IOW; just because you, in particular, aren't going to be served by an electric car, doesn't mean squat.
          Further to t his, though, there already are gas-backed electric cars - they have a small gas-fueled engine to get you through the last few miles, if you run out of electric charge.
          Finally, 75 miles is within the range of some electric vehicles already tod

        • by Junior J. Junior III (192702) on Monday April 09, 2012 @07:03PM (#39624769) Homepage
          150 mile commute? There's your problem.
        • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Monday April 09, 2012 @07:04PM (#39624793)

          Seriously, some people act like everyone drives hundreds of miles a day. Guess what? they don't. It is by far the exception, not the rule. If you drive 75 miles each way to work you are by far in the minority. Most people in that situation would move closer to their workplace.

          For the average commute, an electric with even a 73 mile range (the low estimate on the LEAF) would work fine. The average commute is 16 miles, one way. That means you could go to work, get off work, go somewhere else, and go home and still be fine (remember it refuels every night).

          I get tired of this bitching like everyone needs a car that can drive tons of miles so that is a reason electrics can't work. No, not at all actually. Some people do. For them, electrics are out. However most other don't, for them it is an option.

          • by quangdog (1002624) <quangdogNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday April 09, 2012 @07:29PM (#39625031)
            Sure, to get to work (1.5 miles for me) an electric would be fine. But what about when I want to go visit my sister (83 miles one direction) for an evening? How about when we go see the in-laws (298 miles one way) every few months? Or what about a busy Saturday running errands all over town - I've easily done 150+ miles just in around-town-driving on a busy Saturday. The point is, owning a limited range car only for your commute is great, but I still have to have something that I can refuel or replenish the range on quickly and easily when I need to travel outside the limited range of an all-electric solution.
          • by mark-t (151149)

            Where I live, quite a few people work in the nearby big city, but live in the outskirts, where housing is more affordable. This drives up commuting distance considerably, and 75 miles per day probably wouldn't cover a round trip for many people.. 150 miles most likely would though, except for people who live *really* far out.

          • by Savage-Rabbit (308260) on Monday April 09, 2012 @08:06PM (#39625361)

            I get tired of this bitching like everyone needs a car that can drive tons of miles so that is a reason electrics can't work. No, not at all actually. Some people do. For them, electrics are out. However most other don't, for them it is an option.

            I wouldn't buy an electric car for all sorts of reasons and range is the least of my worries. The reasons at the top of the list mostly boil down to infrastructure... For one thing live in an apartment building with first-come-firs-served parking and I can't very well lay 150m+ of electrical cable out of the window of my apartment on the 3rd floor. But assuming I could to secure my own private parking space and install a charging station next to it. How long before the local hooligans wreck it? Or if they nick the thing, charging stations are not exactly cheap to install (checked). What do I do if the idiot in 2C parks his tank^H^H^H^H SUV in my spot (and the two on either side of it), refuses to move it and thus ensures I can't charge my car? I have had the problem before of some asshole parking in a space I was renting and such a problem is neither easy nor cheap to solve. Lawyers cost money. Another point is that the government here has not lowered the taxes and tolls on electrics like they promised 3 years ago during the last election. Finally range is an issue, true you don't need it most of the time but there are times when you really miss it.

            At the moment electric cars are nice if you live in your own house in the suburbs with a garage to charge your electric commuter car and a second gas powered vehicle you can fall back on for long range travel. What I want is a pluggable hybrid that enables me to do most of my commuting, say 75-100km on electric power but leaves open the option to go diesel or gas once in a while. Unfortunately few such cars are available and the ones that are are either expensive or they just suck ass. When the selection of cars improves and the Infrastructure is there I'll be the first to sign up for the electrics, until then I'll keep my tiny diesel hatchback.

            • This. A million times this.

              I could have reasonably afforded an electric car when I bought mine recently. However, even though I have a reserved underground parking spot in a secure facility I can't get power there and I certainly can't get solar charging going down there.

              In the next few years there are a handful of *good* plug in hybrids coming on the market, and my next car will be one (unless by some miracle they sort out ultra caps and I can charge in 2 minutes at a "gas" station).

              But as you've done an e

            • by Grishnakh (216268)

              I had the problem with assholes being in my space before; you don't need lawyers, you just go to your apartment management. Part of the lease is that you get an assigned space; if someone else takes that space, it becomes the management's problem. If they don't deal with the problem, your contract with them is null and void, and you don't have to pay rent. Refuse to pay your rent, and use it for a lawyer instead if they cause you any problems; you can easily get 3 months of free living by not paying your

        • Hybrid diesel is the holy grail of fuel efficiency for cars, however the diesel engine, electric motor, and battery charging systems are each more expensive than a small gas engine that gets ~40mpg.

          But what's missing from TFA is how hybrids are selling in Europe and elsewhere where gas is 3-4x as expensive as in the US. I can tell you they're on a steady rise in Canada, where there are substantial gov't incentives and gas is ~50% higher than the US.

      • by lkcl (517947)

        So, basically, hybrids aren't cost effective enough for people buying primarily on cost, and they're not green enough for people buying primarily on environmental friendliness. As all-electrics continue to improve, the age of the hybrid will come to an end.

        the CURRENT design of hybrids aren't cost-effective enough nor are they green enough.

        the reason is very very simple: if the car has the same size as an ICE equivalent, has the same aerodynamics as an ICE equivalent, has the same weight as an ICE equivalent, has the same tyres as an ICE equivalent, and has an on-board charging system that's still basically no more or no less than an ICE (with a generator attached to it in the case of Series Hybrid), where the bloody hell do you imagine that *any* significant

    • by flaming error (1041742) on Monday April 09, 2012 @06:16PM (#39624133) Journal

      We bought a Prius for my wife because she had to commute through downtown Los Angeles, and at the time, solo Prius drivers were allowed to use the carpool lane. It worked great, she saved many hours of driving. But now California has ended that program, so if we had to replace the car today we probably wouldn't pay the extra cost to get a hybrid drive train and battery pack.

      But the Prius has been great. No regrets about that purchase.

    • They can (Score:5, Insightful)

      by gr8_phk (621180) on Monday April 09, 2012 @06:54PM (#39624683)
      Hybrids CAN pay for themselves on a couple conditions. #1 you must use the vehicle for 100K miles or more. #2 you must be able to do math #3 you probably need to be doing a lot of city driving.

      Let's do some math for the 2012 Ford Fusion Over 100K miles at 26mpg you will burn 3846 gallons of gas.
      At $3.50 per gallon that's $13461 in gas.
      For the hybrid, it's 39mpg (combined as is the 26 figure above). so this works out to $8974 in gas.
      For a savings of $4487.
      If I recall correctly, the price adder for that car was higher than that, so not a win. However, the savings goes up by 50 percent if you drive it for 150K miles. The savings will also go up with gas prices. It also gets better if you do predominantly city driving (I used the generic "combined" EPA figures). At some point it will be a net savings. This trivial example also neglects some other nice things like not wearing out your brake rotors (a non-trivial cost) or reduced number of oil changes (a trivial cost). It also neglects the cost of battery replacement - something which people worry about but I have not heard being a real world issue.

      A Prius OTOH can be had for much closer to $20K and is generally a winner compared to any non-hybrid car so long as you drive 100K miles. I'm not a fan of it and would not buy one.
      As volumes go up we can also expect the cost differential to come down.

      So there we have the reason - it's not obvious weather you save dollars. Many people actually DO save money with a hybrid - particularly Prius owners.
    • by bcrowell (177657)

      The cost difference between a regular gas sedan and a hybrid of the same size is generally not offset by the savings in fuel costs for driving it. Why do it again if it didn't work the first time?

      It depends on the car, it depends on how long you own it, and it depends on the cost of gas in the future, which we can't predict. It also depends on how many miles you drive per year, and on how your local cost of gas differs from the price of gas elsewhere. The NY Times has a nice chart [nytimes.com] showing how long it takes for various hybrids to pay for themselves, compared to the similar gas-only model, assuming gas at $3.85/gal. For example, they compare a Toyota Prius (which I own) against a Toyota Camry, and fi

    • by vistic (556838)

      As a 2010 Honda Insight driver, I'd buy another hybrid again... I don't see why not?

      I wonder if a lot of these people bought crappy "hybrid" models of 20 mpg sedans and SUVs that only bump them up to 30 mpg. For those of us who got a "real" hybrid like a Prius or and Insight... I imagine we're happier.

      As for cost difference, if you compare a $25,000 hybrid to a $25,000 non-hybrid, the features are pretty much the same.

    • by hal2814 (725639)
      Especially when you're returning to the market so soon. This is only counting those who are already moving on to new cars, ignoring those who are trying to be more environmentally friendly and not buy a car every 5 years. Maybe the folks who are happy with their hybrid are actually holding onto the one they have instead of wasting resources on a new one?
  • Diesel (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Stargoat (658863) * <stargoat@gmail.com> on Monday April 09, 2012 @06:05PM (#39623997) Journal

    I'd buy a diesel again in a heart beat. I get 40 miles to the gallon city in my Volkswagen Sportswagen. And diesel is 30 cents cheaper a gallon than petrol. Plus, the technology is robust. Diesel is definite the way to go if you want high gas mileage and low costs.

    • Re:Diesel (Score:4, Insightful)

      by eln (21727) on Monday April 09, 2012 @06:13PM (#39624109) Homepage
      From what I've seen, diesel prices tend to be more volatile than gasoline prices. Around here, diesel will range from around 50 cents cheaper to 50 cents more expensive than gasoline depending on a number of factors (including, as far as I can tell, a coin flip). So, the price of the fuel shouldn't be an overarching factor in deciding to go for one or the other.

      Having said that, though, diesels do get good mileage, and as long as you live in a decent-sized city or near a major highway there usually isn't too much difficulty in finding gas stations that sell diesel fuel.
    • Re:Diesel (Score:5, Informative)

      by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Monday April 09, 2012 @06:30PM (#39624371)

      I'd buy a diesel again in a heart beat. I get 40 miles to the gallon city in my Volkswagen Sportswagen. And diesel is 30 cents cheaper a gallon than petrol.

      People who use the word "petrol" often have a larger size gallon [wikipedia.org] than people who say "gas."
      If you are one of those people then you are getting closer to 35 miles to the gallon of most slashdot readers.

      • Re:Diesel (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Solandri (704621) on Tuesday April 10, 2012 @06:21AM (#39628611)
        Couple other factors:

        Diesel has about 14% higher energy density per unit volume. It weighs more and there are physically more molecules in it per gallon. So 35 mpg diesel is actually closer to 31 mpg in a direct comparison with gasoline mpg. The Union of Concerned Scientists [ucsusa.org] recommends adjusting diesel mpg down by 20% when comparing to gasoline to mpg. And for emissions they recommend adjusting it down 25% when comparing to gasoline.

        Fuel consumption is actually the inverse of mpg. mpg is miles per gallon; fuel consumption is gallons per mile. This is why the rest of the world uses liters per 100 km to measure fuel efficiency. Since mpg is the inverse of what we're really interested in, the high end of mpg actually represents the smallest fuel savings. For a given commute, switching from a 15 mpg vehicle to a 25 mpg vehicle saves more fuel than switching from a 25 mpg vehicle to a 50 mpg vehicle. This is despite the first switch being an improvement of "only" 10 mpg, while the second switch is an improvement of 25 mpg. If you measure it in gallons per 100 miles, it becomes obvious:

        15 mpg = 6.67 gal per 100 mi
        25 mpg = 4 gal per 100 mi (improvement of 2.67 gal per 100 mi)

        25 mpg = 4 gal per 100 mi
        50 mpg = 2 gal per 100 mi (improvement of 2 gal per 100 mi)

        So sky-high mpg figures like 50 mpg or 100 mpg actually aren't that impressive in terms of fuel savings, the use of mpg exaggerates their benefit. Our research into more fuel-efficient vehicles really should be concentrating on improving the mileage of gas guzzlers like trucks and SUVs, not on developing super-efficient vehicles like the Prius.
  • expectations (Score:5, Insightful)

    by amoeba1911 (978485) on Monday April 09, 2012 @06:10PM (#39624053) Homepage

    It could be that people had unreasonable expectations from the hybrid to begin with, if you look at the advertising they promised a green car that doesn't use fuel and has flowers grow in its wake. In reality you ended up getting something that was marginally better fuel mileage than a compact car, but costs a lot more.

    I drive a prius, I am disappointed with the fact that they STILL use outdated nimh batteries instead of lithium. Afaik they also don't use any of these new awesome ultracapacitors, so what the hell are they doing? The industry's stagnation annoys me, and I doubt I am alone.

    • Re:expectations (Score:4, Insightful)

      by SJHillman (1966756) on Monday April 09, 2012 @06:17PM (#39624167)

      Unreasonable expectations are most likely based on the fact you can't drive a hybrid like a traditional car and still expect to get more than minor gas savings. Even then, I mostly see hybrids advertised as 35-45mpg... not a significant improvement over traditional cars of similar size.

    • Re:expectations (Score:4, Interesting)

      by guru42101 (851700) on Monday April 09, 2012 @06:23PM (#39624253)
      I get about what I expected from my wife's 2005 Hybrid Civic. Only negative really is the lifetime of the batteries. We lucked out that they failed just before the warranty ended. However, when I was looking for a new car I didn't get the hybrid as the long term cost of a Hybrid is higher and in the current market I've got to make some cuts somewhere. What I would like to see is 100% battery powered vehicles where refilling worked like propane tanks. I just stop by and they yank out the batteries and give me a fully charged set. If a battery goes bad they take care of it and the cost of replacing / recycling batteries is spread among the cost of everyone.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by cpu6502 (1960974)

      >>>STILL use outdated nimh batteries instead of lithium

      Lithium-ion is explosive (see the various laptop and iPod videos). Putting that next to a gasoline-filled tank == unwise. Also NiMH is not environmentally-toxic so it is the greener choice versus lithium.

      And supercaps hold very little energy. Enough for a few seconds "takeoff" and that's it. Battery makes more sense since they can hold upto 5 minutes of full acceleration (not all at once of course).

    • Re:expectations (Score:4, Informative)

      by orzetto (545509) on Monday April 09, 2012 @06:41PM (#39624509)

      They STILL use outdated nimh batteries instead of lithium.

      I am not sure whether it's only a cost issue, but NiMH has the big advantage of being easy to recharge. Li-ion is very sensitive about high currents, and while it has a higher capacity per kg it has a current limit during charging. If the battery is supposed only to be a buffer on a car the size of the Prius, the weight/size savings is likely not worth it. On a full-electric car, though, you do need to squeeze all the energy you can get in the smaller battery, so they use Li-ion for electric cars even if it makes them slow to charge.

      they also don't use any of these new awesome ultracapacitors, so what the hell are they doing?

      I guess they are doing their math. Ultracapacitors have lower energy density than batteries (NiMH too), have high self-discharge, variable voltage as they discharge (so you need variable converters: trust me, they are mean beasts). The only advantage is faster charge/discharge, but the energy would be depleted in a matter of seconds. Not a significant buffer I guess.

  • by Tyler Eaves (344284) on Monday April 09, 2012 @06:10PM (#39624057)

    Get ride of all the complexity caused by the hybrids (battery packs, motors, etc).

    Clean diesel is here today.

    I drive a VW Golf TDI - It's not slow by any means (140hp, a bit below average for a hatchback, but 240ib/ft of torque, over a wide rev range, so it's very driveable, great passing power, etc), has great handling (no skinny fuel miser tires that ruin the driving experience), and gets great mileage. (30/42 EPA, but those are quite conservative. I get typically 33-35 around town, at 60mph constant speed I'm at 51-53mpg depending on how smooth the road is, dropping down to about 45 at 70, and 41 at 78-80).

    It also only costs about $25k, with plenty of standard equipment.

    • by AK Marc (707885)

      Clean diesel is here today.

      Is that by the same people who claim clean coal?

      You could route the exhaust of a PZEV/ULEV vehicle into the passenger compartment and the passengers wouldn't really notice, other than the heat and condensation on the windows. But "clean" Diesel would leave soot all over the inside, and would likely generate smell complaints as well. I haven't looked at them recently. Do they still curve the tailpipe down at the end? Do you know why they started it? It's because of the soot inherent in them.

  • by cpu6502 (1960974) on Monday April 09, 2012 @06:11PM (#39624073)

    My Honda Insight has served me beautifully, with almost 90 MPG lifetime average (I drive a slow 50mph). And it wasn't any more expensive than a regular car. My only disappointment is the lack of diesel hybrids. Many of them come with small 75hp engines, so they could use the extra 15hp that a Honda-style motor provides.

  • Erm... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Quiet_Desperation (858215) on Monday April 09, 2012 @06:13PM (#39624099)

    'It's hard to know what's causing the low repurchase rate.

    You could try, oh, maybe, *asking* them why not?

    • by j-beda (85386)

      'It's hard to know what's causing the low repurchase rate.

      You could try, oh, maybe, *asking* them why not?

      That would make sense.

      It might not actually get at the real reason as it is clear that people often say one thing when they believe another thing, or even think they made a decision for one reason when in actual fact the decision was based on something else less consciously felt. The social sciences are hard to do well.

  • by raydobbs (99133) on Monday April 09, 2012 @06:19PM (#39624185) Homepage Journal

    "If you factor out the super-loyal Toyota Prius buyers, the repurchase rate drops to under 25%..." the summary mentions. Would that be kind of like saying, "If you factor out the number of humans alive on Earth right now, the human population of Earth is zero." or another favorite that might ring more bells for people, "Of course it's unlimited data. We only shut it off once you exceed 2GB per month."

    • by careysub (976506) on Monday April 09, 2012 @06:54PM (#39624681)

      Indeed. Another problem with drawing broad conclusions with the study is look at the years they are comparing - 2008, when gas first broke the $4 a gallon barrier (remember?), but before the economic collapse look hold, and 2011 when gas prices where still down sharply, and after a punishing two years of recession/depression. Paying more up front when the economy is bad, for the promise of future savings when gas prices are down, is not a consuming behavior many people will exhibit.

  • by MDMurphy (208495) on Monday April 09, 2012 @06:22PM (#39624229)

    People here in CA were nudged to get a hybrid in no small part due to the ability to get a sticker that allowed solo driver access to the HOV lanes. Once that went away, a big part of the incentive went with it. I know some people who sold their hybrids in advance of the change, anticipating that the car would sell for more while they still could use the lanes.

    So while hybrid owners might be unlikely to buy another, it could be due in part that without the HOV lane access they wouldn't have bought one in the first place. The story then would be "Car buyers follow temporary gov't incentive, move on when incentive goes away"

    Most hybrids didn't offer better economy in the long run, once the added cost was factored in. They relied heavily on other incentives to make them more desirable in the first place. I'm surprised that those incentives didn't show up in the survey, or at least weren't mentioned in the report.

    • by k6mfw (1182893)

      Excellent point you brought up. I know someone that bought a hybrid specifically so he can use the carpool lane, 90 minutes vs. 15 min each way on a commute. Think of how the time he avoided sitting in a car that made it worthwhile to spend the extra money on a car (no, option to work someplace else is not an option. No high paying jobs in a residential area). But when the HOV lane access expired for hybrids, he bought an all-electric car as soon as he could to take advantage of solo driver in HOV lane.

      On

  • Not buying again (Score:3, Interesting)

    by stupor (165265) on Monday April 09, 2012 @06:28PM (#39624357)

    Civic Hybrid owner:
    - Great on gas mileage
    - Gutless.. I have an easier time passing people in my turbo diesel truck
    - Weird issues with batteries.. Leave the car for a week, batteries are dead.
    - Did I mention Gutless?

    Overall, I've been happy with the gas mileage but I won't buy another hybrid. The experience outside of the good gas mileage has been disappointing. I'll probably try the diesel car route like a VW Jetta the next time around.

  • by MojoRilla (591502) on Monday April 09, 2012 @06:32PM (#39624387)
    This isn't totally surprising.

    I was an early adopter of the Honda Civic Hybrid in July of 2002. I've had bad problems with the continuously variable transmission (which required multiple visits to the deader, but thankfully was fixed under warranty), hybrid battery problems (again thankfully replaced under warranty), and a bad ERG valve (which I had to pay for). And I felt I had to take it to the dealer for oil changes (since it uses synthetic oil). Compared to the Honda Accord I had for 10 years before this car, the Honda Civic Hybrid has had a lot of problems.

    Also, there is a class action lawsuit from owners dissatisfied with their Honda Civic Hybrid's mileage that is close to settling [hchsettlement.com].

    And, I do plan to drive this car for at least a few more years. I do think I've saved money, as well as creating less polution. And for my next car I will be considering a hybrid, a plug-in hybrid, or an electric car.
  • by XiaoMing (1574363) on Monday April 09, 2012 @06:40PM (#39624491)

    If you factor out the super-loyal Toyota Prius buyers, the repurchase rate drops to under 25%.

    The numbers are interesting indeed... but factoring out "the super-loyal Toyota Prius buyers" just to drop it from 35% to 25% doesn't really help the argument as much as make the reader question the research methods involved.. considering any laymen already has in the notion hiding in the back of their mind that that Pri'i make up for quite a bit of the cumulative hybrid market share (it's got ~3 generations head start on all other "mainstream" hybrids).

    And when said laymen goes to google such a statistic and finds that even last year ( http://www.hybridcars.com/market-dashboard.html [hybridcars.com] ):

    Regular Prius and Prius V combined [represent] 58 percent of total hybrid sales.

    ... Well it's like saying death rates are dropping, if we factor out the "super deadly" causes of death such as heart disease and cancer.
    The super-loyal-ty-ness-ess of Pri'i owners here obviously shouldn't be considered a factor that would affect the results, as much as they are a key metric in determining such a result (loyalty begets repurchase as it is an indicator of some set of factors said survey is attempting to measure in the first place... duh?)

  • I switched back (Score:5, Informative)

    by GWBasic (900357) <slashdot@NOsPAm.andrewrondeau.com> on Monday April 09, 2012 @06:55PM (#39624703) Homepage
    I switched back from hybrid to conventional. In 2003 I bought a Civic Hybrid, last year I considered an Insight but bought a Subaru Impreza Sport. Here's why:
    • I could only take the car to the dealer for anything more complicated then an oil change. Regular mechanics refused to look at the car. My check-engine light was on, and the dealer told me that I needed a new catalytic converter for $2-3000 dollars. (The guy who bought the car from me told me it was an inexpensive sensor that needed to be replaced.)
    • I wanted four-wheel-drive so I could go through CA chain checks when I go skiing.
    • My 7-year-old hybrid Civic was only worth about $2,000. Normally Civics hold their value.

    My 2011 Impreza cost me $20,000, and is a compact car. The only 4wd hybrids are large SUVs, which cost $30,000. Even at $4.00 a gallon, $10,000 buys a lot of gas. At 21 miles a gallon, $10,000 buys over 57,000 miles worth of gas!

    Furthermore, Subaru service charges a lot less money then Honda service, and their accessories cost less. Honda charged me $400 for rubber floor mats, and Subaru charged me $100 for rubber floor mats.

    Now, had I not wanted 4wd, I probably would have bought the Insight. I really prefer its quietness and smoothness over the Impreza. On the other hand, given that Honda service is expensive, regular mechanics won't work on Honda hybrids, and that the Insight would probably be worthless after 7 years, I'm probably going to spend less money owning the Impreza.

  • by Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) on Monday April 09, 2012 @07:06PM (#39624815) Journal

    I knew a number of people who bought hybrid suv's. There are convential gas hybrids which are only slightly smaller vehiciles that now get better gas milage than their hybrids do and at a lower purchase price. None of them want another hybrid at this point.

    • "Hybrid SUV"...well, there's the problem. I'm guessing that's the same group of people who would buy low-calorie candy bars, and then be disappointed to find out they're still fat.
  • by hessian (467078) on Monday April 09, 2012 @07:29PM (#39625033) Homepage Journal

    A hybrid is a significantly more complex vehicle that uses more toxic parts than a regular car.

    In addition, a few million retired Baby Boomers (this is the only type of person I see driving a Prius) driving hybrids will not impact the environment at all.

    Our environmental problem consists of two real problems and many false ones. The real problems: (a) overpopulation and (b) reckless industrial growth. The fake problems: inefficient lightbulbs, unrecycled condoms, non-hybrid cars, non-"green" cleaners, etc.

    If we want to stop our slow but ongoing ecocide, we need to change the way we live. You can start by buying a car with a reasonably sized engine, making as few trips as possible, and keeping that car for 20-30 years as once was done.

  • by goodmanj (234846) on Monday April 09, 2012 @07:44PM (#39625163)

    "Excluding Prius owners"... well there's your problem. Of the hybrids people would likely be trading in (2000-2008ish), only the Toyota Prius is worth a damn. All the others in that year range had tiny electric motors which barely gave any hybrid boost at all. If the "hybrid" you're trading in is basically an ordinary car with a cordless drill motor strapped to the fan belt, of course you're not going to be loyal to it.

  • by Hentes (2461350) on Monday April 09, 2012 @08:01PM (#39625307)

    Hybrids haven't been here for long, the people who buy a new car every 5 years are not a representative population.

  • Base rate fallacy (Score:5, Informative)

    by Lulu of the Lotus-Ea (3441) <mertz@gnosis.cx> on Monday April 09, 2012 @08:01PM (#39625313) Homepage

    It seems good to read http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Base_rate_fallacy [wikipedia.org] (or other articles on the topic). If the article is correct that 2.4% of new cars sold are hybrids (which sounds reasonable) then the base rate expectation for a "random person" buying a hybrid is low. If the probability of a previous owner of a hybrid buying one next time is 35%, that's still around 14 times the base rate expectation.

    Now clearly, car buying habits are hardly monte carlo style distributions. There is a considerably greater "loyalty" to specific cars than just the random assignment of an available vehicle to a driver. Most of that is probably pretty closely tied with income and socio-economic status. Also, obviously occupational effects matter; and also regional ones do. But consistency in brand or style in repeated car purchases is most certainly far lower than 100%.

    It is not at all clear from the evidence given whether hybrid-loyalty is greater or less than other types. For example, I *just* bought a Honda Insight (which seems a lot less common than Toyota Prius, despite what seem to be even more favorable reviews; name recognition does seem big here). Like literally days ago, so I'm probably not good evidence in any direction about next vehicle purchase. But prior to that (and still), my partner and I own an Audi A4--a brand that probably sells no more than 2.4% of cars in the US (i.e. the brand as a whole, not the specific model which must be lower still). Even if a hybrid were out of consideration and I could only consider a conventional gasoline engine, I think there's much less than 35% chance I'd choose an Audi for my next car. Not because I have any particular criticism of Audi, but just because there are lots of other choices, even given similar driving patterns and socio-economic status. I could buy a Saab, or Volvo, or Acura, or maybe on a bit pricier side a BMW, Mercedes, Lexis, or slightly downscale a Buick or Lincoln, or a VW which comes from the same factory even. All of these are pretty comparable, and brand loyalty might lean my decision slightly, but there's a long way to go between the base rate--even of only "semi-luxury sedans"--to get to 35% brand retention.

  • Nostalgia (Score:3, Funny)

    by Higgins_Boson (2569429) on Monday April 09, 2012 @08:24PM (#39625553)
    I miss the old days of pushing my '78 AMC Pacer [youtube.com] around town on errands. Man, that thing got GREAT mileage because it would barely ever start or stay running long enough to burn gas.

    Good times... good times...

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