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Thread: New to hybrids

  1. #1
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    New to hybrids

    I had my first exposure today when I went to CarMax and test drove a few hybrids. I'm kinda thinking about ditching my gas guzzler for a hybrid. I live in Las Vegas NV and I seldom travel over 15 miles at a time. It's almost always city driving. Once a year, I might do a 100 mile highway trip. I'm not completely sold on CarMax although I've used them before. It is a heck of an opportunity to test drive a bunch of different cars in one evening.

    I drove the Prius and it lacked the power to get up to speed fast enough to get out of trouble...in my book. I kinda liked the 08 Civic and 07 Camry although the Civic is more my size range.

    My first question is my location. Do you think Las Vegas climate is too tough for a hybrid? First of all, summer temps can easily be 110 in the shade for weeks if not months at a time. Winters are kinda cool but not terrible. I know heat is not a friend of batteries. And I suspect the engine would need to run for ac or heat. Do these challenges push the limits of a hybrid? Or might I be better off with a regular Civic?

    The Toyotas were hybrids as I suspected. They run off of engine, battery, or both. The Honda's engine ran all the time. The indicator would go back and forth from assist to charge depending on demmand. I assumed it is normal for the engine to run the whole time and the electric motor just helps the engine or regenerative power charges the battery. So even when I'm sitting at a red light, the engine always runs. It would ldle at about 900 rpm which seemed a little high. So am I correct in assuming the the Honda never goes to battery power only in normal driving and the engine always runs?

    I do like the Civic, and if the engine I tested operated normal, I guess I can live with it. I noticed there are a lot of 07 and 08 Civic Hybrids for sale near me. Are there any major differences between the 07 and 08 models that might be noteworthy? Any minor differences? I found a couple with Nav. Does the nav display have engine/battery/charging status displays. I know the Prius had a lot of info available.

    Any constructive comments would be appreciated.

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  3. #2
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    The Nevada weather is tough

    The Nevada weather is tough on any car and it will play a good number on a fuel efficient hybrid especially as far as air conditioning is concerned. So expect the fuel economy to be hit the summer months a bit more than in the winter.
    With that said, they will still work better than the traditional gas only cars since the HCH, Prius and Camry hybrid all have electric AC compressors.

    Unlike the Toyota hybrids, the gas engine on Honda hybrids is always spinning and during certain conditions the electric motor can actually power the car on its own while the gas engine is consuming no fuel at all. In the end this difference gives the Toyota Prius a 1-3 MPG advantage in combined driving regimen. Ont he highway the HCH has a definite edge. In the city it will be trounced by the Prius.

    When stopped at a red light the all Honda and Toyota hybrids will stop their gas engines unless the gas engine is cold, or the defroster or AC is actually on a high setting. 700-900 RPM is just about right (even when running on electric only) for the HCH. The Prius and camry will idle at higher RPMS, typically at 1200+ before it warms up.

    No big differences between the 07 and 08 HCH. The Nav display does not have the hybrid displays of the Prius but the displays that HCH has are very effective and some would regard these as more driver oriented. The info the Prius provides is cool but not necessarily all you need to be a more fuel efficient driver. The 2010 Prius will remedy this though.

    Cheers;

    MSantos

  4. #3
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    noob : Thanks for asking my

    noob : Thanks for asking my question.
    MSantos : Thanks for nice answer.

  5. #4
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    noob : Thanks for asking my

    noob : Thanks for asking my question.
    MSantos : Thanks for nice answer.

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