Hybrid Car – More Fun with Less Gas

very short trips: hybrid pointless

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Posted by fortunata on May 12, 2008, 5:46 pm
OK, I drive very little, and my car gets heroic mileage (5+ mpg over the
EPA) "on the road" but shitty in town...and it's because of how I use it. It
never warms up. And yes, I often walk the trip, but for reasons I'll omit,
many times I cannot walk or bike. So....the main trip I make is 3.2 miles
from start to destination. It involves four left turns and three right. It
also includes three steep hills, on which I simply coast. What I despise is
idling. I don't want to idle at all, and most of the short trip is idling.
There are six traffic lights involved. So I thought a Prius would be a good
solution, but my friend who knows cars says the battery wouldn't stay
charged because the gas engine would never attain enough usage/power. (I
realize an all-electric car would be best, all things considered, but part
of the trip is 40 mpg believe it or not, so, and the electrics have other
problems, and no, I can't use a scooter either). yes, I could get a Fit or
Yaris and improve economy, but I would still be spewing fumes at idle. So
does anyone have the technical knowledge to tell me if the hybrid would in
fact do its job, or if I'd end up depending on the gas engine and a
dead/useless battery?

here's the other piece. Some days I make only PART of that trip (my
workplace is on the way) and I drive exactly .8 miles one way. Two steep
hills downward, one up....three left turns and two right. sigh. I have my
life planned out so that I live about 90% of it within a 2.5-mile radius
(yes, I would take the Prius on the road, for volunteer work, probably
two-three times a month, a 20-mile drive one way).

Can anyone help? If I borrow one for a test drive, would that give me my
answer? I'm not that techno savvy. thanks for any help here.

Posted by Elmo P. Shagnasty on May 12, 2008, 8:11 pm

You would do no harm to the Prius power system by driving it the way you
drive (or any way, for that matter).

The big point is that the Prius is also designed to be a very low
emissions vehicle.  To that end, the car wants to warm up very quickly.  
To do that, the engine runs.

You would be on engine much of the time during your commute, especially
if the temp dropped under 65 degrees or so.

Like the man said, you don't need a car, you need a scooter.

You need to evaluate your fanatic desire not to emit pollution against
what it costs the environment for you to take up one of the Priuses that
could be going somewhere else more useful (as opposed to simply keeping
your existing car).

No car will suit your needs.  Said another way, a multitude of cars will
sin equally in your world.

Posted by fortunata on May 12, 2008, 9:39 pm
 yep, you're preachin to the choir bro. I know it, which is why I've kept
this car since 1994. I can't do scooter because of my passenger, who can't
ride on a scooter. Sidecar, just possibly, but it would be pretty unsafe
(not just because of traffic flow--four lanes--but because of frequent
rain)... the one point you made, about "taking" a Prius from someone who
could be using it better, doesn't quite make sense (believe me, I would not
buy a new one!!!! I don't buy new anything; you could also argue that the
current vehicle would (shudder) end up in the hands of someone who would
drive it 20,000 miles a year. eeek. I'd better just park it. or wait, I
could kill myself, and eliminate all the damage I am doing by breathing and
consuming and...eeee.....

interesting definition you have for the word "fanatic." I'm just doing due
diligence here. and oh, has it been fun! the piece below is the one I
needed, thanks.

now to hang with my biodiesel friends, and the ethanol groupies, and the HPV
and solar dweebs......

Posted by Bob & Holly Wilson on May 13, 2008, 12:34 am

You might be a good candidate for an EV switch ... especially if
combined with a tickle charger for the main battery.

Bob Wilson

Posted by Mike Rosenberg on May 13, 2008, 12:14 pm

Better make that a trickle charger. Tickle charger sounds like... well,
never mind what it sounds like.  ;-)

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