Tag Archives: hybrid

2010 Toyota Prius V Car Review

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I’ve had my new Toyota Prius for a couple of weeks now, and I have to say – I love it! I wanted to drive it for awhile before I attempted to review it for all of you. This was to allow me to make a serious decision as to how I liked the car, and gave me the opportunity to try everything out! There are a lot of gadgets, gizmos and gauges in this little baby. It’s definitely an awesome piece of machinery, and one I’d definitely recommend you take a look at if you’re looking for a new ride.

Even though I’m not a car enthusiast by any stretch of the imagination, I’m happy to be trying to review it for you. When I first push the button and start the car, you can’t even hear anything! The energy monitor comes on, letting me know that the gas engine is charging up my battery. Even when running off the gas engine, it’s really super quiet.

I’m noticing that I’m now watching how I drive, and whether I’m being conscious of my fuel economy. The Hybrid System Indicator shows me what I’m doing in regards to charging the battery, and how well I’m conserving fuel. I try hard now to pay attention, and make sure that I’m at optimum efficiency.

My tech package on the car includes the back-up camera, which is really nice! The audio options in my car are amazing. It comes with XM Satellite radio, a 4-CD changer, and an auxiliary connection so that I can easily connect my iPhone (and virtually any other MP3 player that I have) via Bluetooth Audio. The Tech Package also includes Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Pre-Collision System and the Lane Keep Assist.

Amazingly, I averaged approximately 100MPG for well over two minutes straight. No, that’s not a typo. Thanks to the hybrid engine and running off of the battery as much as possible, I actually am getting about 100MPG. In the weeks I’ve had the car, I’ve only had to fill up the gas tank twice. It’s a nine-gallon tank… and I am driving a LOT. What does that tell you about how well I’m conserving fuel?

One small complaint that I have about the car is that it could be designed a bit better to help me see my blind spots. I’ve been in far worse vehicles, though, so I can live with this. As far as layout of the interior and dash – I’m a very happy camper.

The cruise control is something amazing to behold. When I have it set, it will automatically detect the speeds of cars ahead of me, and adjust my speed accordingly!! Can you even believe that? Who would have dreamed a few years ago that a car would be able to even DO that?!

I can guarantee you that I will continue to own a hybrid car of one brand or another for many years to come. There’s nothing you could say at this point to convince me to go back to an entirely gas-powered engine.

I could Geek out all day talking about my car. For now, I’ll let you watch the entire video and make your decision as to whether this could possibly be the coolest car on the market right now.

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Bob Lutz on the Future of Green Cars and Fuel Economy

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Consumers are demanding cars get more miles per gallon. The government is demanding lower CO2 emissions. Each additional mile-per-gallon starts costing more and more. GM realized there had to be a better way to do this. They realized it’s time to get away from the “oily bits” of an engine. They are placing their future in mild hybrids, strong hybrids, plug-in hybrids, extended-range electric vehicles like the Volt, and fuel cells. Being the realist that he is, Bob believes that there is a segment of the Environmental Movement that is against personal mobility.

Bob’s theory is that you can have a car that eats CO2, gets 200 miles per gallon and sprouts fresh daisies out of the tailpipe… and it will still be criticized for insects that are killed on the windshield. Basically, someone somewhere will find something to complain about. The question was asked why there is no concentration on creating a hybrid type of vehicle that would be considered “luxury”. The feeling is that many more people would buy an energy-efficient vehicle if only it were more “stylish”, and met their quality standards. Sadly, many people could care less about the emissions, nor the fuel economy of a car. They simply drive what they feels looks the best, or makes THEM look the best. There is a huge untapped market of people who have money to spend, and are going Green. However, they don’t want to trade in their Benz for say… a Prius.

Bob stated that even Mercedes is looking at Lithium Ion technology. Even though they may not be on the market, nor talked much about… these types of cars ARE in development. Mercedes is saying that they may be charging around $80,000 for these cars, but Lutz feels it will be more along the lines of $100,000 and up. These will then become the sort of ethically pure rich person’s car. One example of these cars is the Tesla Roadster. It is a sleek looking little car, and is being touted as getting the equivalent of 256 miles per gallon. If you decide to reserve one now, you’ll lock in the $109,000 price tag with a $5000.00 reservation fee. For another $55,000.00, you can lock in a production slot and delivery time. You must then make your color and interior selections… AND pay the final balance due… three months prior to delivery.

No matter the price tag on something like these, they will sell out. There are two types of people who buy hybrid cars: those who truly care about the environment and/or save money, and those who are “going Green” in order to impress their friends or fans. Face it, it’s hip to be Green. So the question is: should Cadillac (a subsidiary of GM) be making an equivalent of the new Chevy Volt? The answer is, of course, absolutely.

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GM Didn't Kill It: The Future of the Electric Car

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Back around 1997, General Motors introduced the EV1. The EV1 was a marvel of engineering, absolutely the best electric vehicle anyone had ever seen. It held out the promise that soon electric cars, charged from the grid with wind and solar energy could replace the traditional internal-combustion vehicle. Battery technology at the time was nowhere near ready to replace the piston-powered engine. The early car’s lead-acid batteries couldn’t supply the range or durability required by the mass market. The car itself was a tiny, super-light two-seater, not exactly what American consumers were looking for. And the EV1 was hugely expensive to build, which was why GM’s execs terminated the program. This is how they became known as the company that “killed the electric car.”

Fast-forward to summer of 2008. GM has unveiled the very real Chevy Volt, a Lithium Ion powered car. Mike Davidson of Newsvine asked Bob Lutz if GM is looking at various ways to recharge the new Volt batteries. With ever-increasing electricity costs, even homes are being built with more solar-powered capabilities to save people money. How then, will the Volt be able to save money and power?

Bob was quick to assuage fears in this capacity. The Volt may be programmed with a local schedule of when power is cheapest. The car’s computer would know that, thereby only charging the car during off-peak times and costs. It wouldn’t matter if you leave your car plugged in all day long. The car would only charge itself during those cheaper times.

Lutz also stated that during the first full year of production in 2011, they are realistically planning to manufacture about 10,000 Volts. In the next year, they’ll be up to 60,000. Demand will obviously drive how much manufacturing is done. Of course, you always have to worry about any production problems. You could have supply problems.

Bob has also stated that the pricing for the Volt is going to be around $40,000.00. Even with such a high price tag, the demand is extremely high. People are chomping at the bit wanting this car.

Another question raised dealt with service for the Volts at local dealerships once they hit the market. Will staff be trained properly to work on these completely different cars? Will the quality of the Volt’s be maintained in a way that leads to a happy customer experience? Unfortunately, GM only has a modest amount of control at the retail level. They cannot force a dealership to train their employees for anything specific. They have tried, and failed, in the past to create a standardized method of training and customer service. The dealers have ultimate control over what goes on in their company. Bob pointed out that this is an industry-wide problem, though, not specific to GM.

GM didn’t kill the future of the electric car. They just put it off a little bit.

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