Counterman
Search
Article > Tech

Hybrids are raising the green bar


7/2/2009
By Larry Carley

As gasoline prices head back above the $3 a gallon mark, so does the public’s interest in fuel-efficient vehicles such a hybrids. Toyota’s third generation Prius (2010 model year) raises the green bar even higher with its latest refinements.
 
The purpose-built Prius now gets 51 mpg city and 48 mpg highway (compared to 48/45 City/Highway for last year’s model); yet the engine is larger and more powerful (1.8L and 134 horsepower). The 2004-2009 models used a 1.5L engine.

So how does Toyota get better mileage with a larger engine? By reducing the engine’s RPMs 15 percent at cruising speed, and by using an electrically driven A/C compressor (which requires a special ND11 non-conductive oil), water pump and power steering. The new model also has an extremely low coefficient of drag of 0.25.

Something else that’s new on the 2010 Prius is an optional solar-powered ventilation system. The roof-mounted solar panel generates electricity to blow hot air out of the passenger compartment if the interior gets hotter than 68 degrees when the car is parked in direct sunlight. The solar panels are not used to recharge the battery because their output is not great enough (it would take 72 hours of direct Arizona sunlight to do that!). But who’s to say that future models might not use solar panels for supplemental recharging?

Last year, the Prius was the 13th best-selling vehicle in the U.S. So as time goes on, we will certainly see a growing demand for aftermarket maintenance and repair parts for the Prius as well as many other new hybrid models. The number of hybrids (all makes and models) now estimated to be on the road is about 1.5 million vehicles.

HYBRID EXTENDED WARRANTIES
Though the Prius has been around since 2001, most independent repair shops have not seen many hybrids in their service bays yet. One reason is that hybrids are proving to be very reliable and trouble-free. The other is that the vehicle manufacturers have extended warranties on the hybrid powertrain components and battery. The factory hybrid powertrain and battery warranty on a Toyota Prius or Ford Escape (which uses a very similar hybrid drivetrain), is 8 years or 100,000 miles, or 10 years and 150,000 miles in California.

The actual design life of the Prius hybrid battery, according to Toyota, is 15 years and more than 200,000 miles. Prius models used in urban taxi fleets are reportedly racking up more than 300,000 miles on their hybrid battery systems with no failures. That says a lot about the impact of hybrid technology on the aftermarket parts and repair business.

Yet hybrids still have many components that are not “dealer only” parts and that are not covered by the hybrid warranty. The gasoline engines in these vehicles are still conventional engines that need normal maintenance and service. Regenerative braking extends the life of the brakes significantly, but the brakes don’t last forever. Same for the tires, struts, exhaust system, wiper blades, spark plugs, belts, hoses, filters, lights and many other parts on hybrids. At some point, you will be selling replacement parts to hybrid customers.

MYTHS ABOUT HYBRID SERVICE
Contrary to what some people believe, there is virtually no danger of being shocked or electrocuted when performing normal maintenance, brake work or other basic repairs on a hybrid. These vehicles do have high-voltage batteries that range from 144 volts (first generation Honda Insight) up to 300 volts (Ford Escape), and may be stepped up to 500 to 600 volts inside the power inverter. Consequently, basic precautions must be followed when working on any high-voltage hybrid components. But most high-voltage components are well-insulated and color-coded orange (or blue in the case of 36-volt start/stop hybrid systems) to reduce the danger of coming into contact with high voltage.

You don’t have to wear rubber gloves when using a scan tool on a hybrid, or when doing any other non-hybrid maintenance or repairs. This includes oil and filter changes, replacing spark plugs or most other mechanical components. If a hybrid has electro-mechanical brakes, however, the brakes must be deactivated first by making sure the key is out of the vehicle and the “Ready” light is OFF.

In cases where repairs may be needed on any of the high-voltage hybrid components such as the engine power inverter, transmission or hybrid battery (but not the regular 12-volt battery), the hybrid battery must first be disconnected.

HYBRID SAFETY
The procedure for isolating the hybrid battery varies depending on the vehicle, but typically involves flipping a switch on the hybrid battery pack or disconnecting a battery cable or fuse. On a first-generation Toyota Prius, the hybrid battery is disconnected by opening the trunk, removing the liner from the left front corner, and pulling straight back on a small orange handle to remove the battery connection plug.
Always refer to the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended disconnect procedure. This can usually be found in the vehicle owner’s manual. Also, don’t touch any high-voltage components for at least 10 minutes after disconnecting the battery. This gives the high-voltage capacitors in the hybrid control system time to discharge.
Protective rubber gloves capable of withstanding up to 1,000 volts should always be worn when doing a battery disconnect, as well as when handling a high-voltage hybrid battery or when working on any high-voltage components if the battery is still connected. Ordinary latex or neoprene shop gloves are not thick enough to provide adequate shock protection. Gloves must be Class 0 rated. Watch out for cheap imported gloves that may claim to meet these safety standards, but are too thin to provide adequate protection. Gloves should also be inspected before every use to make sure there are no cracks, tears or pin-holes. Replace any gloves that are damaged.

Hybrids incorporate a high-voltage leak detection circuit that will set a fault code and may even shut the vehicle down if any part of its high-voltage circuits short to the chassis of the vehicle. But this won’t protect an individual if he or she makes accidental contact with a live high-voltage component.

On 2001-2003 Prius, if you see the master warning light on and find a DTC P3009 code, watch out! That’s a code for a high-voltage leak from the hybrid battery to the vehicle chassis. Corrosion under a cover on the transmission vent can sometimes cause the high-voltage cables to short out. Another safety concern with hybrid vehicles is what happens after an accident. In most cases, the hybrid battery will be automatically disconnected and isolated if the air bag deploys. This protects the vehicle’s occupants as well as emergency responders from being shocked if people have to be cut out of a badly damaged car. But what if the air bag didn’t blow? In that case, the battery remains connected — and potentially dangerous. What’s more, if the key is still turned “on”, the vehicle could suddenly lurch forward if somebody bumps the gas pedal even if the engine is not running. Remember, hybrids such as a Prius or Ford Escape have a full electric mode that can move the vehicle with electric power alone when the engine is not running.

SERVICE TOOLS
Various aftermarket tool suppliers have come out with insulated hand tools for use on hybrids. Such tools are not really necessary if the high-voltage hybrid battery has been disconnected. But they do offer added protection if someone is working near any high-voltage components or cables on a vehicle that is running or still has the battery connected.

One item that is needed for working on hybrids is a high-voltage digital voltmeter. The unit should be able to read up to 600 volts AC/DC, or up to 1,000 volts AC/DC for added range.

Depending on the make, model and year of the hybrid, the battery pack may be rated from 144 volts (Honda Insight or Civic) up to 330 volts (Ford Escape). The first generation Prius battery packs 273.6 volts, while the second and third generation batteries both produce 201.6 volts.

A special battery charger should not be needed for hybrid batteries because in theory, the battery is always recharged by the engine. The “auxiliary” 12-volt battery that operates the lights and other 12-volt accessories, however, can be charged with a conventional 12-volt battery charger. If the high-voltage battery goes down for some reason, it either means there is something wrong with the hybrid charging and control system, or the battery itself has failed.

However, if a hybrid vehicle is not driven very often, sits for weeks at a time in a garage, or has a problem that drains the battery or prevents the engine from running to recharge the battery, the hybrid battery may run down. If this happens, a special jumpstart procedure or charging procedure may be required to get the vehicle moving.

On a Prius, there is a special jumper connection under the power distribution center cover in the engine compartment. A 12-volt battery charger can be used to boost the regular 12-volt battery enough to start the engine (Toyota recommends using their special 12-volt charger instead of a conventional 12-volt battery charger). Once the engine is running, it should be left running for at least 30 minutes to recharge the hybrid battery. No attempt should be made to recharge or jump-start the high-voltage hybrid battery directly.

HYBRID DIAGNOSTICS
For diagnostic work, nothing beats an OEM factory scan tool. A factory scan tool with current software can access and display every data perimeter and run every self-test that is available on the vehicle. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case with many aftermarket scan tools, even the expensive professional models.

Basic DIY code readers and scan tools can be used to read and clear diagnostic codes, and to check OBD II monitor status before an emissions test. But DIY scan tools do not have bidirectional capability and cannot access the onboard self-tests for advanced diagnostic work.

If someone is working on a 2004 Prius and their scan tool is not communicating properly with the vehicle computer, the PCM may need to be reprogrammed. Toyota issued a recall on approximately 23,800 cars to reflash the computer to correct a programming error.

Another essential “tool” for servicing and diagnosing hybrids today is information. This includes diagnostic information, diagnostic codes and charts, technical service bulletins, service and repair procedures, and wiring diagrams. The best place to find this kind of information is on the vehicle manufacturer’s own technical Web site. Toyota’s Web site is techinfo.toyota.com. Honda’s Web site is www.serviceexpress.honda.com. A complete listing of OEM technical Web sites can be found at www.nastf.org.

Most of the OEM technical Web sites require users to pay an access fee that ranges from $20 to $30 for a “short term”(1- to 3-day) subscription. Longer monthly and even yearly subscriptions are also available for heavy users, but can be rather pricey ($200 to $300 a month, or up to $1,500 a year or more depending on the auto manufacturer).

A less expensive alternative is to subscribe to an aftermarket information service such as ALLDATA, ChiltonPRO or Mitchell. The advantage with these services is that one subscription fee covers all makes and models for the professional user. DIY subscriptions cover only a single make, model and year, but cost as little as $26 a year.
Technical service bulletins are often issued for faults that affect large number of vehicles, or for problems that fail to set codes (making diagnosis difficult).

Here are a couple that are out on the Prius:
* EG021-02 — 2001-2002 Prius, the MIL may come on and set a DTC P3125, which is an inverter malfunction code. The problem may be caused by a fault in the electronic control unit (ECU) or the hybrid inverter/converter assembly. The bulletin includes a detailed diagnostic chart that takes you through the step-by-step checks that are necessary to figure out what’s wrong. The fault often turns out to be a bad PCM.

* EG022-04 — 2001-2003 Prius. The MIL may come on and set a DTC P3130, and maybe also a DTC P3125, which are codes for a power problem or the Ready light not coming on. The fault may occur after the vehicle has been subjected to prolonged driving in heavy stop-and-go traffic, or when it has been driven at sustained high speeds during hot weather. The problem may be an overheated inverter/converter due to loss of coolant or coolant not circulating properly in the inverter/converter cooling system. The bulletin covers how to drain, refill and bleed the cooling system, and the replacement of the inverter/converter assembly.

* PG002-06 — This bulletin covers precautions for removing or installing the inverter/converter assembly on 2001-06 Prius, and 2006 Highlander and 2007 Camry hybrids. Basically, it covers the battery disconnect procedure, and how to service the components in the inverter/converter cooling system.

* Recall 06V266000 — A recall of 2001-2002 Prius models for the free replacement of a possible defective crankshaft position sensor that could cause the engine to stall and not restart.

TRAINING
Something else that cannot be overlooked is the need for hybrid training at all levels of distribution in the aftermarket, from warehouse distributors to parts professionals to technicians and even do-it-yourselfers. Hybrid components are very complex and require a thorough understanding of the entire system and how it all works. Hybrid training is available from a variety of sources, including the NAPA Institute of Automotive Technology, Denso, and independent trainers such as Craig Van Batenburg (www.auto-careers.org or (800) 939-7909) and Jack Rosebro (email hybridtraining@mac.com or (310) 801-7818).
  Previous Comments
avatar   Wiseguy   star   5/9/2010   11:03 AM

Nathan is correct. These articles always talk about the output voltage. It's the amperage that is harmful and potentially deadly. A module on the difference between volts, amps, and watts would be useful. I feel that this is an overlooked area of electrical understanding for the automotive market.



avatar   Ed   star   4/6/2010   3:23 PM

Too expensive and too impractical, the Nissan Leaf has a range of only 150 miles. Which means you will park it and take your gas guzzler on your next road trip, since the Leaf cannot just be plugged into a standard electrical outlet. It will also mean you must give up your social life. For me, I live 27 miles away from my job. I will very nearly use up "half a tank" in the Leaf, just going back and forth to work.



avatar   Steve   star   4/6/2010   11:06 AM

It's just too exspensive! Just like healthy food. Looks like everything that's good for you or the enviroment is always way to pricey for the average american to afford.



avatar   Ed   star   4/5/2010   12:48 PM

The Nissan Leaf is almost ready to hit the showroom floor, Nissan's first, full-electric vehicle is expected to retail for $36,000. With government rebates and state rebates, the Leaf's final cost could be as low as $29,000 and that price only gets you the car.



The Leaf requires a special docking station to charge the vehicle and this special docking station requires a Nissan technician to come out to your home and inspect your house/garage and see if a docking station can be installed. The cost of all this is roughly $2,250.




avatar   kevin   star   4/2/2010   10:48 PM

i just put a bumper sticker on my truck that says "i love my carbon footprint". :D



avatar   Joe Bob   star   3/16/2010   8:26 PM

I generally take everything Al Gore says with a grain of salt. I don't think you can believe anything he says, I'm not sure i believe his real name is Al Gore :)





avatar   Steve   star   3/15/2010   10:42 AM

AMEN Joe bob!!! I totally agree. Most scientist agree that stuff humans have done since we've been here hasn't impacted the world like Al Gore has tricked everyone into believing. This is the same guy that said he invented the internet! The planet has seasons and right now its a warm season, just like it had an ice age a long time ago. The world was here before us and it will be here long after we've gone.



avatar   Joe Bob   star   3/13/2010   7:24 PM

I think we should prosecute Al Gore for manslaughter. Everyone knows that the global climates shift, with, or without humans. Mount St. Helen put more Co2 in the atmosphere than man kind has in it's total existance, and Al Gore thinks it's humans that are causing global warming...it's just mother nature getting cold and grabbing a blanket.



avatar   Ed   star   3/2/2010   2:21 PM

Switching the focus back to "green" and global warming, an Argentinian couple, shot their children before turning the gun on each other. They left a note citing that they were terrified of global warming, did not want to be around when the ocean swelled and swallowed the continent, nor did they want to contribute anymore to global warming. Two children are dead, the third, being a five month old, is in a hospital, slated to survive. And Al Gore and the propaganda machine roll on..



avatar   Joe Bob   star   2/27/2010   6:05 PM

everyone talking about cars driving themselves...and Toyota has found out how to make that happen, on accident...you just add some faulty sensors to the gas pedal and off you go...literally



avatar   Tom P   star   2/5/2010   1:48 PM

They ought to start a new poll on here, How mnay people think we are ever going to get a straight answer from Toyota on what is actually happening to their cars and how many toyota employees new about it prior to the recall.



avatar   Ed   star   1/31/2010   2:28 PM

Chris, "Toyota. Accelerating Forward." The Toyota-built Pontiac Vibe is also among the recalled so would that be, "Pontiac. Building Excitement." or "Pontiac Is (wrecked) Car."?



avatar   Buzz Killington   star   1/26/2010   2:23 PM

WOW, that disgusts even me. Good Job.



avatar   hammer   star   1/24/2010   6:36 PM

what years and models



avatar   Chris   star   1/24/2010   1:52 PM

We've all heard by now of Toyota's recall of the bad floor mats that snag the gas pedal, right? I recently heard on the radio that they're recalling several million cars now where the gas pedal is mysteriously getting stuck, NOT related to the floor mats. Kinda makes you nervous, huh?



avatar   B. FIFE   star   1/22/2010   11:35 AM

IN THE BUDD!!! YOU'VE GOT TO NIP IT IN THE BUDD! NIP IT, NIP IT, NIP IT IN THE BUDD!!!



avatar   Doc Brown   star   1/22/2010   9:04 AM

Marty! Back to the Delorean. This Hammer guy is sucking out all our intelligence. Quick!!! Your children could grow up to be PARTS PROS! GREAT SCOTT!!! Eat my Jiggawatt! OH NO, hurry Marty I can't spell!



avatar   hammer   star   1/21/2010   8:45 PM

no intelligent life here on this planet



avatar   PERRY M.   star   1/19/2010   4:07 PM

SO!THE TRUTH REAR'S IT'S UGLY HEAD!!! IS IT NOT TRUE SIR,THAT INFACT,YOU HAMMER ARE THE REAL BUZZKILLINGTON!!!!!



avatar   hammer   star   1/16/2010   8:54 PM

finally people of the same opinion that buzz is brainless i think his body is still trying to catch up to that fact



avatar   Caleb   star   1/1/2010   2:18 PM

Idiots.



avatar   Achmed   star   1/1/2010   9:20 AM

Did you know if you stick your hand out the window of a Prius while driving on the express, the car will start to turn?



avatar   Ed's Store Manager   star   12/11/2009   8:41 AM

Hello, Buzz.



avatar   Doc Brown   star   12/10/2009   11:00 AM

I've just been flexing my FLUX CAPACITOR waiting for the day Mr FUSSION hit the main stream! 88 mph was a bit crazy in the 80's, but you can get killed going any less than that today. Buzz and Edward, yall make a great couple. You young lovers would look great in a one owner low mile Delorean.



avatar   Buzz Killington   star   12/9/2009   8:34 AM

Edward, may I call you Edward? I notice you said you just "down the whole thing". Are you single? We should go out, you and I.



avatar   Chris   star   12/3/2009   1:59 PM

I just had a neat idea. I'm going to install a supplemental dry hydrogen system on my old '94 Silverado, with a line going right into the air cleaner. We did one on my friend's 88, and it runs a whole lot smoother, with better gas mileage.



avatar   Ed   star   12/2/2009   8:28 PM

Chris, hydrogen fuel cell technology is viable, but self-contained systems within the dimensions of a vehicle, is not, unless you don't travel more than 10 miles every 3 hours. This is why hydrogen refueling stations have popped up in areas where these vehicles are being long term tested. Dan, actually I love Mercedes and Lancia, two companies that always brought a triumph of firsts in automotive development. The S-class Mercedes is a barometer of automotive technology to come.



avatar   dan   star   11/19/2009   2:22 PM

Seems to me Ed doesn't like Mercedes too much! LOL



avatar   Chris   star   11/9/2009   5:12 PM

Seems to me running liquid hydrogen fuel injection might be the best alternative. I mostly have it figured out, except for a quick-and-easy storage and refill system for the driver



avatar   Ed's Store Manager   star   11/5/2009   8:02 AM

Hello, Ed.



avatar   Ed   star   10/1/2009   12:53 PM

Got one more recall for the 2004-2009 Prius to add to this article, a recall on the floor mats. Tuesday, Toyota issued a recall on many of their 2004-current models, also covering Lexus, following the fatal accident of Mark Saylor in his Lexus ES330, that also took the lives of his immediate family. It involved the accelerator pedal getting lodged underneath the factory all-weather floor mats. Manufacturer defect or Darwinism in action, you be the judge.



avatar   Ed   star   9/30/2009   4:41 PM

"Down the wine at the store," and yes, this is the mentality that all the mainstream manufacturer's see when they want to adapt Mercedes' great ideas into their $24,000 car. That their demographic is people who consider themselves refined because they drink Budweiser Select. That they don't need a place to store a vintage merlot in their car, but rather a place for their Mountain Dews. The real problem lies in the fact that all you suggested will result in nothing but losses to car makers. Take the Bugatti Veyron 16:4, sure VW built it, but it was merely a technical exercise to show that it could be done, even with its price tag, they stand to lose roughly $1 million dollars for each car sold.



avatar   Wolfe   star   9/29/2009   4:05 PM

Well, as for the snob, I have a simple solution to his problem. Down the wine at the store, problem solved.



avatar   Ed   star   9/25/2009   3:22 PM

If you really want to see what will be standard on entry-level vehicles in 10 years time, look at the S-Class Mercedes. For decades it has proved time and time again, it is a crystal ball into our future, whether it be luxury features or safety features. ABS brakes, air bags, heated seats, are just a few among dozens of options that first debuted on the S-Class, and yes, they were even the first with climate controlled glove boxes/center consoles. Everything trickles down from the S-Class, even though we laugh at the Dodge Caliber's "Can Cooler" glove box, there was one rich snob who wrote to Mercedes at some point and complained about how he could not keep his wine bottle chilled in the car, without an ice bucket.



avatar   Wolfe   star   9/23/2009   5:38 PM

I am not saying the Prius is flawless, but many of the ideas that are being put into cars today seem like they should have been incorporated years ago. For example, dual temperature control and rear control. I can understand not putting in television screens, the technology did not exist efficiently. But what about folding down the chairs into the floor, or making them lighter? What about child seats that are built right into the seat itself? Don't you think that some of these ideas should have been included years ago? Instead they add stupid ideas, like climate controlled glove boxes or wipers that turn on automatically. Nice ideas, but not worth the extra $2k they will tack on to the sticker price.



avatar   Ed   star   9/19/2009   8:30 AM

Wolfe, long gone are the days of the family vehicle passed down and kept. Today's vehicles are cheaper (factor in inflation) and more reliable than their counterparts of 25 and 35 years ago. Despite this, a vehicle's years of single ownership have dwindled down to 5 and 6 years, because we "get tired" of one vehicle or want one that is more fashionable or more up to date, pretty much every factor except for the important ones. If the Corvette continued to have it's roof fly off or the Civic continued to have it's rear windows fall out or the Volkswagen continued to spontaneous combust, you would never buy one would you? The Prius is far from flawless, but this flaw needs to be addressed.



avatar   Wolfe   star   9/16/2009   6:07 PM

You seem to forget something, Ed. Most of the people here who have these great ideas are the reason why they will never be incorporated into the vehicles. Because it's a great idea (or even logical). If the idea makes too much sense, corporate believes that it must be a bad idea. Plus, why would they want to have flawless vehicles? If they made flawless vehicles, they would be put into the same situation they are already in. (i.e. No one buying cars)



avatar   Ed   star   9/15/2009   6:06 PM

Mike, this is what I don't get, what you described has been a problem since the first generation. Which actually led a lot of dealers to replace the inverter and HV battery in close to 90,000 mile intervals, and was called the "$5,000 timing belt". It surprised me that the Prius continued to sell despite that and further shocks me that they haven't fixed the problem, just how they diagnose the problem. In a span of 9 years, why haven't they put a deep cycle, high AH, high reserve capacity, 12V battery in its place? I guess the answer lies in a statement that the president of Audi of America made, concerning the Chevy Volt, "It is a car for idiots."



avatar   Mike Dimmick   star   9/12/2009   3:56 AM

Just a note that the Prius does not have a conventional 12V starter. The engine is only ever started by MG1, the 'generator' in the transaxle, and that requires the HV battery to be in good condition. If the HV battery is too weak, it needs to be charged by a special charger that the dealers have access to. Most of the time, however, the problem is that the 12V aux battery is too weak to properly power up the computers and engage the relays that isolate the HV battery. In this case charging the 12V is the right approach. Replacing it is an even better approach - the Prius aux battery is very small and degrades severely on just one or two deep discharges. ALWAYS ensure that the jump cables are connected the right way round. Connecting up improperly has reportedly damaged the $4,000 inverter (power electronics box).



avatar   Wolfe   star   8/31/2009   5:07 PM

Ew, yeah, I can see that now. Like you said, better in theory. Maybe as a substitute for electric engines or a new form of hybrid, it might work better that way.



avatar   Ed   star   8/29/2009   1:21 PM

Wolfe, sure it does seem like a good idea overall. Things sound better as ideas and theories, but when it comes to actual practice, we see how truely flawed it is. Such was the case with California's short lived Zero Emissions Vehicle legislature, forcing all manufacturers that sold in the state, to have at least one ZEV option (Which meant full electric), this spawned the terrible Caravan EV, Ranger EV and Rav4 EV. Anyway, back to propane, think of your grill, a 5-gallon tank of propane costs how much? $30 and thats if you trade in your old tank. How much is 5-gallons of gasoline? $15? You see it now?



avatar   Jeff Greer   star   8/27/2009   11:30 AM

Yeah I agree, the earth goes threw cycles and has for millions of years, and will continue to do so when were all dead and gone.



avatar   Wolfe ~ 26   star   8/26/2009   6:28 PM

I would have to say that if it is about the same, but Propane burns cleaner, we should switch to Propane systems. It just seems like it would be a better idea overall.



avatar   Ed   star   8/21/2009   1:45 PM

The cost effectiveness of running propane over straight gasoline, is the same as E85 ethanol, zero. LPG mileage of the Ford Falcon is virtually identical to that of it's non-LPG version. It should merely be viewed as a range extender when applied in a flex-fuel style vehicle, or more appropriately, to fuel a political agenda to reduce foreign oil dependency, even though 85% of the US' foreign oil comes from... Canada. Finally, yes, I know the character reference he was making, I am more than likely younger than you, Wolfe.



avatar   Wolfe   star   8/19/2009   5:35 PM

You know, Ed, the real question behind propane powered vehicles is, how cost effective would it be compared to todays gas prices? What kind of "miles per gallon" are we talking? (And you do realize that Hank Hill is from "King of the Hill," right?)



avatar   Ed   star   8/18/2009   12:34 PM

Hank, its funny you should mention propane and propane accessories, because America already tried propane injection. First one that comes to mind was the 300 4.9L inline 6 Ford F-100/F-150, which came with the option of running propane. Since then propane injection has disappeared in the US as a source of fuel for automotive, but in Australia, its still widely used. Ford of Australia has the modern day Ford Falcon running propane on one of their inline 6 options.



avatar   Hank Hill   star   8/15/2009   2:06 PM

You know, Ed, I tell you what. We need to design a car that runs off of Propane and propane accessories. There is nothing quite as nice as clean burning propane.



avatar   Ed   star   8/11/2009   3:50 PM

Hybrid SUVs.. lol, thats like trying to make the Titan rocket more fuel efficient, by weighing it down even more. When will we look outside our four walls and see that clean diesel is truely the answer, that its working for the rest of the world, but we refuse to acknowledge it. Don't like the sound of a canal boat engine, fine, then look to a patent filed more than 20 years ago. Henry "Smokey" Yunick's adbiatic "hot vapor" engine. It was a simple conversion that could be done on any four stroke. He converted a 3-cylinder Geo Metro, a 4-cylinder Pontiac Fiero and a DeLorean DMC-12. Horsepower increased by ~30% while fuel economy rose about ~50 to 75%. The vehicles are still on the road today, yet while the world watched his creation, no one has dared to revisit it. Its all politics anyway, in the US.



avatar   A.K.A. UNWANTED   star   8/9/2009   2:11 PM

I like the idea of the hybrid tahoe.I may get one in the future if they ever get cheap.I got a big family amd transporting them in a mini van may not work with hopefully another baby on the way.Getting a SUV with better gas milliage sounds great!



avatar   pepe   star   8/6/2009   3:25 PM

Prius are horrible cars I believe and Al Gore RULES!!



avatar   Todd   star   7/31/2009   10:22 AM

Global Warming is a Crock of S#!@. For instance, how is it possible when recently found near the north pole, 3 world war 2 planes were found buried under 60feet of ice. They were abandoned by the pilots after running out of fuel returning home.



avatar   Ed   star   7/29/2009   9:05 AM

Don't forget the big scare of April, 1974, GLOBAL COOLING! They claimed the polar ice caps were expanding at an alarming rate, thereby creating unpredictable weather patterns in the oceans. Sound familiar? Anyway, remember Al Gore's son was pulled over for doing 25+ MPH over the limit.. in a Prius.



avatar   Harold   star   7/28/2009   10:15 AM

Don't get me started on the whole "Global Warming" crock-of-bull! How can they keep talking about it when there are more scientists claiming its all nonsense? Al Gore and his little band of mad scientists need to quit trying to scare people into making them rich by getting them to "GO GREEN". Oops I forgot, this is the same guy that said he invented the internet!!! Crack pot!



avatar   Corey   star   7/27/2009   12:25 PM

The biggest "hoax" concerning electric cars being green,in my opinion, is the fact that they plug into the electric grid. Depending on the region, as much as 80% of our nations electric power comes from burning COAL! Gasoline emissions pale in comparison to a freakin coal plant! Not to mention the damage the mines themselves do to our ecosystem. You might want to consider the fact that the ones pushing all the green stuff all have political agendas. I.E. AL GORE. Those profiting from the "SOLUTION" should be seriously doubted in their theories. I heard a new spin the other day that suggests global warming will cause the next ICE AGE! What a crock of bull!



avatar   Wolfe   star   7/25/2009   10:14 AM

I would like to see how efficient a Flex Fuel Hybrid could be. I know it may be asking too much, but think of how nice it would be to be able to take road trips again and see $100 for gas money as not being unrealistic. Just for laughs though, think how amusing it would be to see this technology in planes...



avatar   Ed   star   7/24/2009   3:26 PM

Its not just the Prius that is the biggest hoax, but the whole ideal that electricity is "green". The basis of previous, and still the majority of current production gas/electric hybrids, is the nickel-based battery pack. Ever smelted nickel ore? Nasty business. However the largest producer of nickel comes from Sudbury, Canada. They are known for several things, one for the world's tallest free standing chimney, the Inco Superstack (331m tall IIRC), which pumps out the byproduct of smelting nickel, which is sulfur. Sulfur creates acid rain, which for the past 20 years has led to the destruction of most of Sudbury's natural vegetation and polluted the lakes and rivers. From here, the smelted ore leaves on a boat bound for Europe, where it is refined and put into batteries, then travels by tractor trailer across Asia, put on another boat which drops it off in Japan, where it is then put into your Prius/Insight/etc. The total lifespan of the Prius' battery pack running on full electrical power is no greater than



avatar   TED   star   7/20/2009   11:04 AM

The prius is the biggest hoax in a long time. 2 weeks ago a friend rented one and drove to fargo and back and got 23 mpg. He drove it like a real car 75 to 80 mph. the thing is loud and the ride is lousy. If you want a real fuel miser get a vw diesel. 50 mpg is not unusual.



avatar   NATHAN   star   7/15/2009   2:03 PM

YOU WERE SPEAKING ABOUT THE DANGERS OF THE HIGH VOLTAGE SYSTEM IN THESE HYBRID CARS. ISN'T IT THE CURRENT THAT IS ACTUALLY DANGEROUS? WHAT TYPE OF AMPERAGE OUTPUT ARE WE SEEING WITH THESE HYBRID SYSTEMS?



avatar   matt   star   7/12/2009   7:56 PM

all toyota hybrids have the same orange latch on the batteries not just the first gen prius.



avatar   Paul   star   7/6/2009   4:41 PM

If the interior of your car got up to 68 degrees C, I wouldn't want to get into that car. They are simply trying to keep the interior of the car as comfortable as possible as efficiently as possible.



avatar   manuel   star   7/4/2009   5:21 PM

68 DEGREES??? I believe you mean 68*C....















Advertise     Contact Us     Subscribe    
Babcox Media • www.babcox.com
3550 Embassy Parkway, Akron, OH 44333
330-670-1234 • (FAX) 330-670-0874
Babcox Website Counterman: Home