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2785 posts

Uber Geek

  # 590571 5-Mar-2012 12:14
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Get a bio-diesel. Much more environmentally friendly than a hybrid, which over the total lifetime of the vehicle is probably no better than a "regular" petrol car due to the battery manufacturer & replacements.

Of course, there's supposedly huge environmental impact caused by the crops they're growing to make bio-diesel out of as well. So you can't really win.

I wouldn't touch a hybrid, they don't go "Vroom" when you rev them.

If only the US Government would declassify the water-powered engine... ;)

3539 posts

Uber Geek


  # 590594 5-Mar-2012 12:41
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jaymz: If it was me i would go for a diesel engine, and the reason for that is this:

Oil companies and car companies know that there will one day be no more oil to mine from the ground.
Huge advances are being made in producing bio fuels that can be used in the current vehicle infrastructure.

It is simple economy, what would cost more? changing the entire infrastruction from fuel based to an electrical system, or simply put that money into producing a fuel that can be used in the current infrastructure.

I agree with your point regarding Bio-Diesel.  Most Diesel engines can be easily modified to use it.  Also, Diesel is essential for trucks, so will be with us in some form for a very long time.  Petrol ... I'm not so sure.

Secondly, regarding "changing the infrastructure to an electrical system", we already have it in the form of the National Grid.  Having 230V AC power in this country is a huge plus as it allows plug-in electric vehicles to be recharged in half the time it takes in 110V countries.  Once the capacity vs. weight equation improves for batteries, much longer ranges will be possible, so people will be able to recharge their vehicles overnight.  For those on long trips, it's simply a matter of installing drive-up recharging stations similar to what they are experimenting with in other countries such as the UK.  Restaurants or service centres beside the motorway could offer them so you can recharge your vehicle whilst recharging yourself!


242 posts

Master Geek

  # 590636 5-Mar-2012 13:24
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I debated admitting our family has a hybrid, but here goes anyway! Smile

My wife has had an import 05 prius for about 4-5 years. It has been a mint little car to own.
It's not exciting, grunty, super fast or anything but she just loves it and I don't mind driving it either (there, I said it!).
She drives it hard, with absolutely no thought on economy, hard braking, no "hyper-miler" techniques, we live up a hill, and yet she still gets 4.5 - 5 l/100km.
When travelling we overtake plenty of other cars no problem (how embarassing must that be! overtaken by a Prius!!). Can fit us, 2 kids and luggage comfortably.

We have put about 100,000 k's on it and have only changed the tyres (hard driving by wife is hard on front tyres! (but not brake pads - regen braking means long pad life)). Battery life on this model seems to be about 300,000 k's and I doubt we'll still have it by then. No gearbox to worry about.
Interestingly the battery capacity has a lot less effect on overall economy than you'd think - Prius batteries don't have much capacity even new, and tests on cars with half nackered batteries reveal a very small change in mileage.

Is it environmentally good? Seriously, all cars are an evironmental disaster so if you're worried about that, buy a bike!
Has it saved us money? Absolutely. Being a Jap import it wasn't any more expensive than similar age/sized cars. My wife travels for work and gets paid a mileage allowance based on "average" car yet uses half the fuel = win.
Would we buy another? Yep - would dig a plug-in hybrid.
I'd like a small turbo-diesel too, but the current road user charges setup makes eco diesels less desireable (not the cars fault - there needs to be another lower RUC level for say sub 1500kg vehicles).

Let the flaming begin Cool

6434 posts

Uber Geek

  # 590639 5-Mar-2012 13:31
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If I could afford a brand new car, then I probably wouldn?t be all that worried about whether the price of fuel was going to go up.

Being able to afford a brand new car = being able to afford to refuel it even if petrol goes up significantly

106 posts

Master Geek

  # 590673 5-Mar-2012 14:07
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I just got a new VW Passat Wagon with a 125kw turbo diesel.  It is my first diesel car and I can't believe a) the economy and b) the power.

Over the holidays I did quite a bit of highway driving and got 1200kms to a 75 litre tank.  The torque in a diesel makes them a pleasure to drive and I don't think I'd go back to a petrol car, let alone a Hybrid.

2385 posts

Uber Geek
Inactive user

  # 590687 5-Mar-2012 14:20
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BMW M3. It uses less fuel than a Prius.

3208 posts

Uber Geek

  # 590699 5-Mar-2012 14:32
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+1 for turbo diesel. Have a Mondeo for work, screwed up my face when they first told me it was going to be a diesel, but now would seriously consider one when upgrading own car. Can't see myself in a Hybrid just yet.

Many turbo diesels and even petrol engines are getting close or even better than some hybrids now anyway, so the choice comes down to one of simply economy, not hybrid over petrol.

Got to watch this so-called "green" technology - the electricity generation required to charge your hybrid allegedly pumps just as much carbon etc into the air as if you brought a petrol and ran it anyway (and that's only a concern if you believe in anthropogenic climate change anyway)...but that's a whole nother argument.

Always be yourself, unless you can be Batman, then always be the Batman


1081 posts

Uber Geek

  # 590762 5-Mar-2012 15:40
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Mattnzl: - Prius batteries don't have much capacity even new, and tests on cars with half nackered batteries reveal a very small change in mileage.

I was surprised by this, on a ride into Wellington in the father-in-laws new Prius, the battery went from 1/3 to full going down that hill from Johnsonville (that one restricted to 80km/h).

Assuming he saves 5L/100km and keeps the car until it has 150Mm on the clock, he will save $17k (at $2.2/L). I don't know how much a 2011 Prius costs compared to what he may have otherwise bought, likely an automatic with a 2.2L petrol engine. I think it was the geek factor that mostly contributed to his purchase decision.

1168 posts

Uber Geek

  # 590783 5-Mar-2012 16:26
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One 'conceptual' way to look at the hybrid/eco diesel is to compare it early cars vs horse and cart. 

Early cars were rubbish. Unreliable, expensive, complicated, limited in many different ways. Many of the criticisms that get leveled at hybrids are similar.  

By the emergence of early cars horse and cart technology was about as good as it was ever going to get. You could make the cart a bit lighter, you could feed the horse better food. But really it was the end of the line technologically speaking. Having said that; the things worked.

So, buying a hybrid is probably better for the common good. If nobody buys them the tech will not get better as the companies will no have any money to invest in new tech.

Buying an eco diesel is better for you, now. But not doing much for the rest of us as there are really no new innovations to make the thing work much better. Bio-diesel doesn't count, the engine was originally designed to run on Sunflower oil. 

Having said that, are hybrids the best horse to bet on?  

Didn't anybody tell you I was a hacker?


956 posts

Ultimate Geek

  # 590805 5-Mar-2012 17:00
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BraaiGuy: BMW M3. It uses less fuel than a Prius.

As long as you're driving them round and round a track in Surrey :-)

Huawei Mate 7, on 2degrees

4383 posts

Uber Geek


  # 590865 5-Mar-2012 20:22
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The problem that I have with hybrids is that the reliance on regenerative braking assumes that you're going to be driving the thing mostly in stop/start situations.

Personally rather than sinking masses of money into bleeding edge technology I'd rather just stick to using my existing four cylinder petrol car for touring, and walk or use the bus to get around town. It amazes me how a couple of my neighbours moan about the cost of fuel, but I often see them driving a couple of blocks to the dairy to get the paper in the morning. 


10908 posts

Uber Geek

  # 590867 5-Mar-2012 20:27
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Hybrids are leading edge tech, and I'm glad there is a market for them. Toyota put a lot of thought into component recycling as well. Economic advantages to similar cars are not huge unless you are really putting the k's on.

I'm not sure how practical plug-in electrics will be in NZ. They will need to be far more efficient than hybrid technology. With the price of steel and metals increasing, synthetic body components, and ceramic engine components, may introduce the next big breakthrough in efficiency.

A lot of our existing vehicles perform very simple functions (work and back in traffic) which could be fulfilled by lighter vehicles with smaller but more efficient motive power anticipated by computer control.

1081 posts

Uber Geek

  # 590925 5-Mar-2012 22:14
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alasta: The problem that I have with hybrids is that the reliance on regenerative braking assumes that you're going to be driving the thing mostly in stop/start situations.

Yes thats what I used to think too - they would be useless for motorway / long distance cruising. I've since realised that it means the petrol engine can be smaller, but the electric engine can assist to give the power of a larger (more fuel hungry) petrol engine on the occasion when it is needed. It can also slowly recharge the battery if it is completely empty, ready for the next overtaking maneuver.

1923 posts

Uber Geek

  # 590930 5-Mar-2012 22:15
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Add stop-go to diesel and it gets even better, they're applying it to petrol vehicles now and get similar city milages as deisels without it

I wouldn't be buying a hybrid right now, for all the above reasons. One day they maybe the answer but right now, and for the likely use time of a next vehicle, I wouldn't go past diesel. (owned one in Europe for a few years)

Govt. here needs to address the road user issues and encourage diesel use in my view. Diesel takes less refining than petrol so I'm picking that will be the next push. Until technology is able to offer electric based refill options that rival the 5minute petrol fill it's going to take a quantum mindshift across countries and cultures. From what I've read our best long term option, that mimics a simple petrol fill, is absorbent bead catalysts supersaturated in Hydrogen.

894 posts

Ultimate Geek


  # 591024 6-Mar-2012 08:23
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skyplonk: If I was going brand new I would get a turbo diesel.  Not sure if I could face the embarrassment of driving a hyrbrid.  The eco-worriers might get the wrong idea! Haha

The tax rate for road mileage is so high for diesel, it makes higher consumption petrol cars look better.  Id personally be looking at a very fuel efficient petrol over a diesel.

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