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Hybrid Car questions that only a newby would ask
Old 06-22-2019, 12:20 PM   #1
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Hybrid Car questions that only a newby would ask

We currently have two standard Toyota Camrys. Spouse has the newer one which is in a heated indoor garage and I inherit the older car which I keep outside during Chicago winters.

Mine is still looking nice and running well but >180k miles now and starting to feel a little loose after pothole purgatory.

I've never had a hybrid and running electric in our building might entail busting walls open from our unit (4th floor) to the ground units if the electrician I talked to was knowledgeable. No idea why they couldn't just go off the electric meter on ground floor. Tesla guys in our building had it done but they said it was a major PITA.

If I don't have an outlet for a while, does a hybrid still make sense? Do the motors just run a little more to keep them charged and you still get great mileage with the brake energy recapture? Or is there a way to have a electric meter remote that can just report back to my smart meter remotely?

The hybrid would do a number of 20 minute trips normally and then some 5 hour trips maybe 6 x a year.

I know some here like a Prius but aside from possible performance issues, the SUV's and hummers here try to intimidate midsized cars, can't imaging getting any respect with anything smaller.

I'm still at the wouldn't it be nice stage regarding a purchase, but would still appreciate feedback. TY!

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Old 06-22-2019, 12:47 PM   #2
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Most hybrids do not plug in. Our hybrid Avalon has no option for plug-in charging. (We really like the car, not least for only visiting gas stations half as often.)

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Old 06-22-2019, 12:57 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Kwirk View Post
Most hybrids do not plug in. Our hybrid Avalon has no option for plug-in charging. (We really like the car, not least for only visiting gas stations half as often.)
+1. I don't know why the OP is associating "hybrid" with needing a meter?

It seems OP means "plug-in hybrid", which can run in Electric only mode, but will have a shorter range than a full Electric-Battery-Only car (like Tesla), and has a gas powered engine to extend the range.

Originally Posted by Ready-4-ER-at-14 View Post
... Do the motors just run a little more to keep them charged and you still get great mileage with the brake energy recapture? Or is there a way to have a electric meter remote that can just report back to my smart meter remotely?
Your terminology is all off, it's really confusing things. When you talk hybrids, it's important to refer to the electric drive as a "motor", and the gasoline powered drive as an "engine". Any flavor of hybrid gets better mileage, from a combination of regen braking, and assisting the engine during acceleration. For a plug-in hybrid, yes, if you don't plug it in, the engine will run more to keep the batteries charged, but will probably still get better mileage. But maybe not, you would be carrying a lot of extra weight in those batteries, and you'd spend a lot of money on batteries for no real reason. If you don't plug it in, a 'regular' hybrid will make more sense, it is designed for that.

I have no idea what you are talking about when you say an "electric meter remote". What is this about?

Get back to basics - why do you want a "hybrid"? If we know the background situation, we might be able to help more. If you don't drive a lot of miles, a hybrid of any flavor may not make sense, dollar-wise or environment-wise.

Type "hybrid versus plug-in hybrid" into a search engine - the first hit I got was this:

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Old 06-22-2019, 01:54 PM   #4
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Yes, the OP may be confusing mainstream hybrids with plug-in hybrids. You only need an electrical outlet or meter for a plug-in hybrid or an EV. There’s no reason to buy a plug-in hybrid if you don’t plan to plug it in to charge, plug-in hybrids cost more (e.g. last time I looked the Prius Plug-In Hybrid costs about $10K more than the Prius). And the short EV only range on some/many plug-in hybrids make them a poor choice IMO even if you do plug-in.

We’ve owned a 2007 Toyota Camry Hybrid, a 2012 Prius and a 2019 Honda Accord Hybrid - and been thrilled with them. We definitely saved money overall, but it took years to reach breakeven. We wanted emissions reduction too.

If you want much higher mpg, lower emissions, longer brake life, etc. a hybrid might be a good choice. And traction battery life has proven to be much longer than many people assumed early on - there are Toyota hybrids that have gone over 300K miles without traction battery replacement. And battery replacement costs have come down dramatically anyway.

If you’re thinking about buying hybrid to save money on gas alone, know that the breakeven point on a hybrid can take many years/miles - 5 to 15 years to offset initial purchase premium with gas savings for a comparable ICE only car. Good luck.
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Old 06-22-2019, 02:28 PM   #5
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Motor vs engine is a term that has been debated for a bit for decades. I owned a motorcycle that ran on gasoline. There are some that run on electricity. There are rocket engines that run efficiently using electricity and plasma . I've read definitions of a motor that was something such as an engine that converts any form of energy.

I do cede that "gasoline engine" instead of motor would have been more clear to you and may be the common usage in the field of hybrid vehicles. I also thank you for helping me understand how the terms are used with the cars.

I falsely thought all hybrids had a charge port to plug in at night to minimize any gasoline usage and they were electric cars with an accessory internal combustion engines. I've seen things on tv about home owners organizations being angry about cars plugging into regular unmetered outlets. No one I know IRL owns a hybrid.

Some companies have figured out how to send data over electrical distribution wires. I was inquiring if this had made it into mass production which would allow sort of a remote electrical meter that could communicate electric use to the existing smart meter without rewiring.

I started school in engineering and find this tech stuff fascinating even though I went a different direction in life. I think visually and often don't use words with the precision others who are more verbal would appreciate.

Off to a wedding but appreciate the link and the terminology and will check the link later.

At first glance it appears we may not drive enough to make a purchase an economic choice.
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Old 06-22-2019, 02:49 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Ready-4-ER-at-14 View Post
At first glance it appears we may not drive enough to make a purchase an economic choice.

You might find that there isn't all that much difference in price between a hybrid and non-hybrid version of a vehicle. I also have a hybrid Avalon and as I recall the MSRP was only $1K more for the hybrid version.
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Old 06-22-2019, 02:59 PM   #7
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We have a 2018 Camry Hybrid that is a 100% new generation car sharing no parts with 2017 and previous Toyotas. We bought the LE model that has lithium batteries and gives better performance than the "nicer" models. We just love the quietness of this car, and it's quite quick--faster than all gas Camry's.

Toyota now is putting out hybrids in so many models including Camry, Prius, Highlander and the RAV4 (with AWD). They also have a bunch of hybrids in their Lexus models.

Our Camry Hybrid has never seen the shop as I do all maintenance. NYC taxis and cabs all over the world are using Toyota hybrid systems with great results. I consider the hybrids the cars of the future as they give great performance without the ultra high cost. Mine cost $4K more than the gasoline version--$26K out the door.

Automobiles are all compromises between space, cost and performance. With our Camry, we're not giving up anything to be a hybrid owner. And now that so many different models have hybrids available, there's something for everyone.
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Old 06-22-2019, 03:11 PM   #8
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I bought a PHEV (plug-in hybrid electric vehicle) last year and I love it, but you have to figure out whether it makes sense for you.

I mainly drive in one metro area, but I also take several long distance (thousands of miles) trips every year. So I'm probably not the typical buyer.

My car only gives me about 20 miles of pure battery power per charge, but for local errands where I live that's usually enough (or nearly enough). But there is still good mpg from the gas engine. I've put over 20K miles on it since buying it, and my overall average is about 34 mpg. During periods when I'm not doing the cross-country trips I get in the 50-60 mpg range.

It may be useful to point out that I can plug it in for a charge in any ordinary outlet, either 240v or 120v. So if you have an outlet nearby (of any type), that would work. There are other conveniences to using the dedicated car charging stations you can install at home, but they aren't essential. The 120 takes much longer to give a full charge, obviously, but less than overnight. I know several owners who just use an outlet that was already available on the outside of their homes.
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Old 06-23-2019, 10:33 AM   #9
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Bamaman is absolutely correct. What you get with a hybrid (gas engine-electric motor) is mainstream technology and a contribution to cleaner air. I did not find the price between gas engine (internal combustion engine) and hybrid to be that far apart - as long as you don't require a car that has just come from the factory.

I drive a 2017 Hyundai Sonata hybrid, bought from the dealer in June 2018 with 100 miles on it. The difference in price for 2017 at the end of the model year was about $1000. You get that back in one year just because the hybrid is twice as efficient as as the internal combustion engine (ICE) only version (44 mpg v 25 mpg) What that means for me as a light usage driver is going to the gas station every 3-4 weeks rather than every other week.

In every respect, sedan hybrid models operate the same as their ICE versions. Except they sip rather than drink gas. Some manufacturers provide models that are just less effective, or just less comfortable to drive. So do your research. And time your purchase.
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Old 06-23-2019, 12:52 PM   #10
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My wife drives a 2011 Toyota Prius hybrid [non-plug-in] it is coming up on 200k. All of the body work and undercarriage is thin plastic. Maine in winter the roads are bad with frost-heaves and that knocks the plastic loose. All four of the wheel wells have lost their linings.

I drive a 2017 Toyota Prius plug-in. It takes a regular 120vac outlet to plug into. Most of my trips into town, I can do the whole round-trip on EV.

Both cars handle well. And they do interstate speeds well [I normally set cruise-control at 82mph].

If any of the big dirty SUVs get you grief just accelerate away from them on the hills. 'Leave them in the dust'.

btw, I recharge my Prius from our house solar-power system.
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Old 06-23-2019, 02:41 PM   #11
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2004 Prius (first year it became a hatchback, was a sedan before that) manufactured in Aug 2003 and bought new in Nov 2003. Great car. More reliable and fun to drive than anything I could have imagined before let alone had. mileage did drop down into the high thirties after 13 yrs of ownership. Got a new hybrid battery pack when car was 14. Mileage back up into mid 40s (if I only drive locally) and high 40s with some highway trips. love that torque on hills where yes, you can leave an SUV in your dust.

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