The March Car Update

  • Comments posted to this topic are about the item The March Car Update

  • That front opening reminds me of the old three wheel Bubble cars that were front opening and didn't have reverse gear because they were so light you could pick them up and turn then around.

    However they failed because too many people drove into their garages and right up to the wall then couldn't open the door!!

  • I realize your a little blinded by the ego producing prius - but doesn't its seem hard to believe you are saving over 21000 by driving a prius over a van (which one gets 18 mpg - most all of them get 25)..

    Months owned Mileage Avg MPG (current month) Conservative savings (Prius 48, van 20, gas US$3) Realistic savings (Prius 50, van 18, gas US$3.10)

    10 20,500 48.3 (warming up!) $1,793 $21,259

    Of course, part of the calculation should be the additional cost of the prius over a comparable sized car - of which most that size get 32mpg +.


  • Steve, I really enjoy reading your editorials about non-computer subjects and hearing about life on the farm and other things like your Prius update.

    I live in a banking town that is vastly conservatives where most vehicles on the road are luxury sedans and SUVs (although $3 gas is starting to change that finally, even here). I often hear comments around here like global warming is a farce and how people will use as much fuel as they want to since they can afford it and it is their money to spend (which is true, but is irresponsible to me).

    In 2004 I had a contracting job where I was driving 120 miles roundtrip each day and that is when gas started going up. When it got to $1.75, I decided it was time to park my 2000 Explorer and get something economical for a daily commuter. I bought a new Toyota Corolla because it was cheap and rated at 32/40 (city/highway). That immediately cut the weekly fuel cost in half (although offset by additional insurance for 2 vehicles, but still a savings overall compared to driving the Explorer exclusively). The purchase price was not a factor since I would have needed to get a new vehicle anyway since the miles on the Explorer were getting up there (not to mention that the initial cost of the Corolla was half what the Explorer was 4 years earlier).

    Today I have a 20 mile roundtrip commute and still have the 2004 Corolla and can get 2 weeks out of a tank of gas (fill up for about $32 at $3 per gal). It still gets about 30-31 mpg in the city and that is with aggressive driving (necessary in this town to keep from getting run over). I still have the 2000 is driven a couple of thousand miles per year to the home improvement store and hauling my labrador retrievers to the park occasionally and other short trips where something needs to be hauled or a trailer towed.

    So I'm saving money on gas that I can spend on things I would rather have or things I would rather do anyway, and at the same time making a positive difference (albeit small) in the environment and our nations dependence on foreign oil. Now if we could get everyone else to think like that...

    If it was easy, everybody would be doing it!;)

  • Cute car... I'd really hate to have to open that front door to get in or out in when it's raining, though. 🙂


  • The first thing that hit me about the Loremo, is how would you get out after even a relatively modest front end collision? This was further emphasised by the pop up ad for a Mercury Mariner that appeared on the web page. The bumper on the Merc would probably be sitting right over the driver's legs.


    -- FORTRAN manual for Xerox Computers --

  • Sorry typo in the gas savings. It should have been $2125. I'm not blinded either. I am comparing it to the last van we had, 2004 Honda that said 25, but in reality, was more like 20 everywhere we drove. I calculated that based on fillups so I'd know and could decide what made more sense. We did better on the highway, up in the 23-24 range, but we rarely go on the highway. The majority of my Prius miles are going 25-45mph.

    I hadn't thought about the front end collisions on the Loremo, but that's something to think about. I assume it has the same downward thrust for a crashed vehicle, but without the engine mass, I wonder if a crash would be substantially more dangerous.

    Maybe my son won't get one :ermm:

  • Andrew (3/31/2008)

    Cute car... I'd really hate to have to open that front door to get in or out in when it's raining, though. 🙂

    Hah, I thought the same thing! Rain or snow, that's gonna be a mess to get in and out of in Michigan 6 months out of the year!

    Interesting points about the collision issues, too. Always good to see forward-thinking ideas, though.

  • Wow how do you drive so many miles in a yr! I usually do a combo bike/bus to work - 12 miles total. My wife and I have one car serves for vacation and non-bikeable days (snow/ice - like today). Our 2003 has just over 28K miles on it. It had 9k on it when we bought - so 20k in 4 yrs.

    I'm glad to see car companies thinking about higher MPG. But I work in a hospital and according to my query last week - hypertension, usually caused by lack of exercise and diet is our #1 diagnosis (along with all its complications). I see our addiction to oil and our growing waist lines as linked. We may solve 1 issue by higher MPG, but at current rates of growth, I'm less worried about global warming and more worried about obesity killing the humans.

  • To be devil's advocate on the battery life issue.

    According to the article, the reason the batteries are supposedly much longer lived in hybrids than in computers etc is that the charge is held at an almost constant 60%. It would seem that plug and drive would work precisely against that, giving the battery a high charge then cycling it down and recharging. Then we are useing it much more like a power drill, possibly with all the problems.

    another question about durability is that the batteries, it seems from what I read, are affected by age even more than mileage. Toyota is talking about 8 years, which seems far away when a car is first purchased, but is a really short life for a major component of a modern automobile. If 8 years is really typical, that would have a big effect on the resale value of a 6 year old car, and for someone like me who never buys a car less than 10 or 12 years old (usually older) it is a really significant question. I suspect I'll be sticking with conventional cars for some time.


    -- FORTRAN manual for Xerox Computers --

  • bnordberg (3/31/2008)

    Wow how do you drive so many miles in a yr! I usually do a combo bike/bus to work - 12 miles total. My wife and I have one car serves for vacation and non-bikeable days (snow/ice - like today). Our 2003 has just over 28K miles on it. It had 9k on it when we bought - so 20k in 4 yrs. ....

    Well that's nice and convenient for you. I work 27 miles from my home, my wife works 23 miles from home in the opposite direction. Exercise is nice (and important) but a bicycle hardly makes much sense (especially in winter).


    -- FORTRAN manual for Xerox Computers --

  • I'm still not sold on the idea of hydrogen powered vehicles. I've read several articles regarding how "safe" they're going to be because of the delivery system will be a strong tank, but all it will take is one spark in the right place with the right puncture and BOOM!

    If you've ever seen a gas can go kablooey - just think how much bigger a compressed hydrogen tank would be. FAE anyone?

    There are already enough potholes on the interstate - do we really need to be creating craters now? 🙂

    All I keep thinking about is the movie "Top Secret" I think it was called with Val Kilmer - there was a scene with a bunch of guys in an army truck driving across a barren field. All of a sudden they see a Pinto in the distance and all of them start screaming. They slam on the brakes and after a huge slide, they just tap the bumper of the Pinto with a slight "ping" and the whole thing goes kaboom. 🙂

    Ad maiorem Dei gloriam

  • I found a awesome website that shows a truely non polution car that runs of compressed air. And as far as efficiency goes it is far superior to the gas/hybrid engines. Of course this is not yet in production but the videos show the prototype. Here is the website.

  • There is actually an air car in the NY Auto Show slide show if you check it out as well. It's a neat idea, though anything highly compressed contains energy and you have some concerns over accidents there as well. Ever seen a tank of compressed air lose it's valve? It's an instant rocket.

    It does take energy to compress air, though it can be done slowly, especially if you can "switch" tanks. Solar, wind, etc. are good sources and I've even seen some UPS type setups using compressed air. It's something I'd consider trying here. Perhaps burying a few tanks and then filling them with wind or solar and releasing the air to generate electricity.

  • I was glad to see you qualify your preference for electric-only by recognizing that it only moves the pollution problem to the power grid. If we continue to burn fossil fuels to generate electricity, plugin vehicles are actually less efficient than just sticking with internal combustion engines. Biofuels don't help. Combustion is combustion, and whether its oil, coal, french fry grease, or gasohol, you still get carbon dioxide as a byproduct. People need to understand that.

    With that short rant out of the way, yeah its time to see the focus coming back around to smaller more efficient rides.


    Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain. -- Friedrich Schiller
    Stop, children, what's that sound? Everybody look what's going down. -- Stephen Stills

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