Thursday, May 10, 2012

Dear Hybrid Car - We Really Just Aren't That Into You


Would you buy a hybrid automobile right now? Well, before you answer that you might want to consider the extra up-front costs and the return on investment that you'd supposedly be saving by having lower fuel costs. Even at $5.00 per gallon it takes a long time to pay off the additional $15,000 on average that a hybrid costs over the equal size and performance of a regular car. Okay so, let's talk about this shall we?

There was an interesting article recently in the LA Time on April 10, 2012 titled; "Many hybrid-car owners buy once -- but not again, Polk study says," by Jerry Hirsh which stated; "Only 35% of hybrid vehicle owners chose to purchase a hybrid again when they returned to the market in 2011, according to auto information company R.L. Polk & Co. If you factor out the super-loyal Toyota Prius buyers, the repurchase rate drops to under 25%."

That's unfortunate, so, even if you are dead set on helping the environment (in name only) and willing to fork over the extra dough to buy a hybrid to "look cool" and environmentally friendly, you probably won't ever do that again once you learn your lesson. Many who had bought hybrids in the past have had to replace the batteries, which can easily run $7,000 to $8,000 for replacements, meaning your hybrid's resale value isn't much at that point, nor does anyone want that trade in you see?

On April 18, 2012 the Wall Street Journal had an article by Mike Ramsey titled; "Ford CEO: Battery Is Third of Electric Car Cost," which just by the title you can start to see the problem with their new hybrid Ford Focus and the challenges with building a low-cost hybrid for the masses, in essence it isn't going to happen anytime soon, and no you can't get one in a flying car, as not only are those batteries expensive they weigh too much also, perhaps like many of the American drivers these days?
So, what's needed you wonder? Well, Automotive News had an article in the January 30, 2012 issue titled; "Auto Industry Works to Win Back Engineers - Companies Find Tough Competition for Top Candidates," by Danielle Emerson and Dustin Walsh. Yes, there is another problem with bringing the clean burning future automobile to fruition, they have to start back at the drawing board, and re-engineer from scratch, but who is going to do all that work?

The DOE is sponsoring new battery tech, and new materials are coming forth, but all of these things require a whole new type of future car, not similar to the systems in today's automobiles, then there is the testing, prototyping, lead time, re-tooling, regulations, lawsuits, union issues, and government red-tape - all that before they sell the first unit. And let's not forget the Chevy Volt didn't exactly get off to an electrifying start. The Toyota Prius has been built for over 12 years now, but it's hardly made a dent in the number of regular cars sold.

Perhaps, the biggest challenge of all besides the engineering, cost, maintenance challenges, regulations, re-tooling, and battery technology - well, it's still the consumer, "they just aren't that into you!" Please consider all this and think on it.
Lance Winslow has launched a new provocative series of eBooks on Future Automotive Concepts. Lance Winslow is a retired Founder of a Nationwide Franchise Chain, and now runs the Online Think Tank;
Article Source:


Blog Widget by LinkWithin