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Old 02-21-2012, 10:57 PM   #121
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I have been planning to drive less and less as I age. Right now I am in a fairly urban area, and everything I need is within a couple of miles. I don't have to drive much, and don't. Last year's total gas cost was $543.29 I can absorb increases in gas prices.

Despite the short distances to travel, it is hard to walk anywhere here due to freeways, canals, and bridges over railroad tracks and so on, with few sidewalks. So, if/when I move, walkability is important. I'd like to stop driving completely in about 10-15 years or so. I need the exercise, so walking a lot would be nifty.
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Old 02-21-2012, 11:00 PM   #122
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Old 02-22-2012, 08:48 AM   #123
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The problem is that a plug-in hybrid with a range of 30 all-electric miles will take the market from the Prius if it is priced competitively. Toyota is in danger of getting made obsolete.

The Leaf is all electric, which isn't all that practical. I want the ability to use gasoline if I want to go on a longer trip.

A 30 mile all-electric range is enough to remove any gasoline from my work commute, but I would still make longer trips using gas on occasion.


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I don't think Toyota has any incentive to develop a niche EV when they have millions of hybrid customers. They've been dragging their feet on the plug-in Prius for years.

If you're only looking for 30 miles then consider a Leaf. From Craigslist. In 3-4 years, when most of the bugs and depreciation will be worked out.
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Old 02-22-2012, 08:59 AM   #124
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The problem is that a plug-in hybrid with a range of 30 all-electric miles will take the market from the Prius if it is priced competitively. Toyota is in danger of getting made obsolete.

The Leaf is all electric, which isn't all that practical. I want the ability to use gasoline if I want to go on a longer trip.

A 30 mile all-electric range is enough to remove any gasoline from my work commute, but I would still make longer trips using gas on occasion.
Big "if." So, at what competitive price would you buy the Volt?
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Old 02-22-2012, 09:07 AM   #125
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Well you don't have to live near a metropolis to have short/no drives. I live in a town of 10k, on a 1 acre lot, about 1/2 mile to over a dozen restaurants, a small grocery store, a handful of convenience stores, a couple of pharmacies, the library, and the post office. And it's only about 4-6 miles to several large grocery stores and other big box stores.

Small towns can be very pedestrian/bike friendly. They just need to actually encourage scattered commercial development rather than shun it for fear of bringing down property values.

The town I live in isn't governed by forward-looking geniuses or anything, it just got lucky. It had a much higher population about 100-150 years ago, before the advent of cars, so main street was developed fairly densely so all the mill workers could get all their stuff done on foot. Even the people on the edge of town only have about a 3 1/2 mile trip to main street with everything you really need.
True today, but will it be true 20-40 years from now? If gasoline becomes much more expensive (say 2X inflation) and/or scarcer - won't it force us to consolidate into larger urban regions, and kill off small cities and remote areas? [No, this is not original thinking on my part - Richard Florida, Joel Kotkin, Christopher Steiner.] Just as cheap gas made suburban sprawl possible, it allowed small, remote towns possible as well.

I don't know when/if it'll happen, but it seems like a real possibility in my lifetime so I plan to factor that in our relocation decision. If it doesn't come to pass, that's fine too, no real downside for us...YMMV
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Old 02-22-2012, 09:21 AM   #126
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The problem is that a plug-in hybrid with a range of 30 all-electric miles will take the market from the Prius if it is priced competitively. Toyota is in danger of getting made obsolete.

The Leaf is all electric, which isn't all that practical. I want the ability to use gasoline if I want to go on a longer trip.

A 30 mile all-electric range is enough to remove any gasoline from my work commute, but I would still make longer trips using gas on occasion.
I think the key to all electric is not even the range (though at least 200 miles would be nice), but the amount of charging stations around. I hear that Walgreens plans on installing charging stations across the country, but still the charge time isn't too quick.

http://www.walgreens.com/topic/sr/sr...g_stations.jsp
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Old 02-22-2012, 09:27 AM   #127
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I think the key to all electric is not even the range (though at least 200 miles would be nice), but the amount of charging stations around. I hear that Walgreens plans on installing charging stations across the country, but still the charge time isn't too quick.

EV Charging Stations | Environmental Sustainability | Social Responsibility | Walgreens
That's always the issue that befuddles me. No matter what kind of outing (local, or trip distance), if I exceed the range of the EV and need a charge, I don't want to be out of commission for 2/4/8/12 hours - and that's if there's not a line for the charging station. With current technology, the EV seems useful only as a second vehicle, for short range commuting, charging at home evenings. You still need an IC car to visit Grandma, owned or rented.

There are companies/countries exploring wholesale battery swap stations. That solves the charge time issue, but imagine the battery standardization and infrastructure investment involved. Maybe we'll see EV Zipcars take over in large metro areas at least.

Who knows, I am sure we'll see elegant solutions one day, it will be fascinating to watch...'all great inventions were things that were once thought to be impossible.'
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Old 02-22-2012, 09:32 AM   #128
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I would think it would start selling if it's net cost got down to the $25k range rather than $32.5k.

I'm typically a used car purchaser, so any purchase by me will be at least several years out.

I'm just amazed that Toyota has still not made a plug-in hybrid with a useful all-electric range.

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Big "if." So, at what competitive price would you buy the Volt?
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Old 02-22-2012, 09:38 AM   #129
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I would think it would start selling if it's net cost got down to the $25k range rather than $32.5k. So plug-in hybrid technology for no upcharge at all - not sure how realistic that is. The $7500 tax credit isn't going to go on indefinitely, it will be phased out just as the hybrid credit has been. Some would argue it never...[self edited].

I'm typically a used car purchaser, so any purchase by me will be at least several years out.

I'm just amazed that Toyota has still not made a plug-in hybrid with a useful all-electric range. Given the miniscule sales of Tesla, Volt, Leaf and any others, I'd say Toyota is pretty savvy. They have a Prius Plug-In coming soon (though very short range), and I am confident they could match the range specs of the Volt whenever they decide it's worthwhile.
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Old 02-22-2012, 10:47 AM   #130
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Maybe. I think that they are running the risk of losing their leadership in the hybrid market down the road.

Remember, the Prius had miniscule sales at first as well. By allowing others to come to market in this area first, I think Toyota may be sacrificing their first mover advantage.

A plug-in hybrid that doesn't allow for a normal commute doesn't serve much purpose in my mind.

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Given the miniscule sales of Tesla, Volt, Leaf and any others, I'd say Toyota is pretty savvy. They have a Prius Plug-In coming soon (though very short range), and I am confident they could match the range specs of the Volt whenever they decide it's worthwhile.
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Old 02-22-2012, 10:47 AM   #131
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Wow! A lotta activity on this thread real fast! As always, I have several foolish things to say.

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For both national security reasons, and economic reasons, we should be utilizing the energy resources we have available, thus coal, crude, and nat gas will be with us for a while.
This is a game of musical chairs.

I would much rather use up the other guy's hydrocarbon deposits before we use ours.

On fracking for NG: haha has sniffed the truth. Fracked wells do not last long. Wells have to be fracked all the time. The good news (depending on your point of view) is that there is a LOT of NG in such deposits.

With respect to fracking contaminating drinking water aquifers: I think it does, no matter what the research says. Having said that, I saw the sophomoric show on how evil fracking was. Yawn. Yes, I believe it contaminates well water. When that is a problem for farming, I will be concerned. For people who drilled a well for drinking water, who ever guaranteed them good water? Treatment equipment is available. IMHO, NG producers may have to get used to the idea that they should provide such equipment to aggrieved well users, so I am not on the side of the devil completely.

Disclosure: I have worked in the engineering business for companies that make money on fracked gas. Learned a lot. Got paid a lot, too, but not enough to be a shill. I have bought some pipeline company shares. I would not buy shares in NG producers right now. Am ambivalent about XOM for that reason.
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Old 02-22-2012, 11:47 AM   #132
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Maybe. I think that they are running the risk of losing their leadership in the hybrid market down the road.

Remember, the Prius had miniscule sales at first as well. By allowing others to come to market in this area first, I think Toyota may be sacrificing their first mover advantage.

A plug-in hybrid that doesn't allow for a normal commute doesn't serve much purpose in my mind.
Toyota is counting on the upcoming Prius C as their gateway hybrid. The audience for younger and those who ordinarily would not buy a hybrid because of price.
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Old 02-22-2012, 12:04 PM   #133
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Gas prices won't affect us much. We've had a Prius since Summer 2007 while you cpuld still get them on sale, and with a government rebate of $3k. We weren't looking for a hybrid, but were looking for a small lift-back that you could fit 2 adult bikes into. The Prius was the best price at that time for us.

We've RE'ed since then, to a place where we cycle a lot, and the main journeys we do in our car are distances of less than 6 miles. (major shopping, and when the weather is too inclement to cycle to the gym)

We have the oil changed once a year, whether it needs it or not. End of April we have a 3,500 mile road trip planned, so the 7,500 miles between oil changes may mean we get the oil change done before 12 months is up.
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Old 02-22-2012, 12:33 PM   #134
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The conventional wisdom is that gas prices rise in the summer. From my memory of the news, this has not been the case in the last few years. Is that correct?
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Old 02-22-2012, 12:53 PM   #135
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The conventional wisdom is that gas prices rise in the summer. From my memory of the news, this has not been the case in the last few years. Is that correct?
Yes, gas prices fell last summer. US gasoline prices generally rise in summer due to increased demand (northern hemisphere), more expensive US summer formulations and refinery turnarounds (planned maintenance) are more likely in summer. But other factors influence gas/oil prices including supply/geopolitical issues, natural disasters/weather, currency exchange rates, inventories and commodity speculators. So it's not a lock that summer prices are higher, but the stars may be aligned for higher this summer. And where US demand had a large influence in the past, global demand is increasingly influential (ie, US consumption is down while China & India are up).
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Old 02-22-2012, 12:55 PM   #136
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I would really like to have a plug-in hybrid with about 30 miles of battery capacity, at a relatively reasonable price. ...
Don't hold your breath. I expect 'relatively reasonable prices' to be a ways off yet. Maybe never, depending on what progress they make in ICE and other alternatives. Those are not standing still.


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I'm suprised at how little progress Toyota has made in this area, considering how far ahead they were a few years ago.
As I mention in just about every EV thread I see - the progress is NOT about any car company. They are totally dependent upon battery price/performance improvements. Battery technology is being pushed along by many, many fronts (cell phones, laptops, UPSs, military, and a zillion other portable devices). EVs won't push battery technology, battery technology will push EVs (if they hit a decent price point).


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My big concern is the price of diesel fuel. I am retiring to the life of a hobby farmer and I use alot of diesel fuel.
CJ
On a small scale, making your own bio-diesel might be practical and economical. It won't solve any energy crisis, as there isn't enough veggie oil to go around. But for personal use, it's a consideration. Google bio-diesel home.

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Old 02-22-2012, 12:59 PM   #137
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On a small scale, making your own bio-diesel might be practical and economical. It won't solve any energy crisis, as there isn't enough veggie oil to go around. But for personal use, it's a consideration. Google bio-diesel home.

-ERD50
Depending on what sort of hobby farm, methane might also be an alternative.
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Old 02-22-2012, 01:27 PM   #138
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I think the C is likely to do better than their plug in model. That's a very reasonably priced vehicle.

I don't think that an extra $10k for 13 miles of EV range is going to sell well.

The tax credits make the Volt a better deal than the Prius 2012 plug in, IMO, although I think both are still too expensive to get excited about.


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Toyota is counting on the upcoming Prius C as their gateway hybrid. The audience for younger and those who ordinarily would not buy a hybrid because of price.
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Old 02-22-2012, 01:34 PM   #139
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After many years of in-depth analysis, I am firmly convinced that the cost of anything automotive, at least in Canada, is directly linked to my bank account.

The proof of this was when I purchased a Hyundai Pony (motto: if this were a real horse, I'd shoot it). If I put $250 in the bank on payday, the car would immediately require emergency repairs of ~$250. This happened too often for it to be a coincidence.

I bought a new car.... same issues.

So it comes as no surprise that the year I purchase a motorhome and plan to drive through the US, the price of US gas - which has traditionally been about half the cost of Canadian gas - leaps in price to match ours.

I would sacrifice the trip if I thought it would bring gas prices down but, as we all know, prices never go down (walmart excepted)

Seriously, though - I camp in a provincial park in Ontario every summer. For the past 10 years, it has been next to impossible to reserve a lot - the park has been full to capacity. You have to reserve 5 months in advance to guarantee a spot. I heard a lot of people complaining about the cost of gas last year. I guess it came to roost: this year - the park is empty. In one of the more popular areas, only 6 out of 65 campsites have been reserved! It's very strange.
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Old 02-22-2012, 03:22 PM   #140
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Well, just because the US is big doesn't mean you have to drive across the whole thing for your grocery run. There's no reason an American's drive to work, friends, and the store couldn't be the same or less than a New Zealander's. It's just a matter of where you decide to make your home... 10 miles from everything, or right in, or on the edge, of town.
You may be forgetting that many people cannot live close to work, at least not without giving up homeownership and moving to a rental. Other people have shifting jobs or job sites. Here in Puget Sound Boeing has major plants in Renton and in Everett. Though people are not frequently shifted to one or the other plant, sometime it comes down to do you want your job or not? And if you do, there are many reasons, some perhaps more compelling than others, to continue in the old homestead and commute to work. Same with software, there is a real shift of software employment to the downtown Seattle area going on, with Amazon's big move to a new campus right downtown at South Lake Union, the area that Paul Allen has been promoting and developing.

I have two sons who work east of Lake Washington, but live in Seattle. One chose that because he prefers Seattle, but the other had already worked in several westside software shops, already owned a house, so he moved job but stayed in his home. Plenty similar examples. Same situation when one spouse has a career on one side of the Lake, and the other spouse on the opposite side. Where are they supposed to live?

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