Diesels make more sense than hybrids, says ex-Transportation Secretary

Discussion in 'General Diesel Discussion' started by darrelld, Dec 28, 2011.

  1. darrelld

    darrelld Member

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  2. dieselgeek

    dieselgeek Site Sponsor

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    I disagree...

    I own a 2010 Golf TDI and my girlfriend owns a 2005 Prius. I take care of and fuel both cars. The Golf gets an average of 42 mpg on diesel and she gets 47 ish on regular unleaded fuel. The new Prius costs now in the upper 20's and my fully loaded Golf was over $28k though I bought it used at a steep discount. As far as I know, there is no cost disparity for the benchmark Prius over the benchmark Golf/Jetta/Passat TDI. The Prius is more efficient around town by a good margin due to better mpg and much cheaper regular unleaded fuel. The Golf gets slightly better hwy mileage and is definitely superior to drive on trips but I keep it in the garage when I need to run around town since it takes 15-20 miles to warm up enough to break into the 40's. I drive my beater Focus 1.8T to go to work which is 1.5 miles away.

    My opinion is that you buy a TDI if you commute over 20 miles and a Prius or Leaf if you are closer than 20 miles. I love TDI's obviously but I don't let it blind me to better tools for the job if you drive in very small hops. I cannot bring myself to cold start the Golf going to work when my Focus barely shows 100F coolant temp by the time I get to the office. I'm getting a Leaf in a couple of weeks for the 3-4 mile short trips me and my GF do on a daily basis. Whoever drives the most that day will drive the Leaf and the other will drive the Prius. The Golf will be for 20+ mile trips or special occasions.

    And as far as Prius batteries are concerned, I can buy used ones for $300 all day long. Even if I get a "bad" used pack I can pick and choose from individual cells from both packs to make one good pack and put it back in. There are a ton of wrecked Prii since there are so many on the road.

    I see it all the time the hating that is done on the Chevy Volt forum, the Nissan Leaf forum, TDIClub.com, etc when it comes to the other maker's car or propulsion type. Man, we should be together on efficiency and changing things. Who cares what efficient vehicle the other guy is driving? At least we're doing something different from most everyone else.

    <off soap box>

    Any dissenters? I'm all ears!
  3. dieselgeek

    dieselgeek Site Sponsor

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    "The argument seems to be that, for the average American driver, diesel can offer equivalent fuel economy to hybrids at a much lower cost than hybrids. Fully-electric vehicles aren't yet applicable to the driving habits of most people."

    Man, I'll bet there was a pair of tickets to Hawaii FedExed to this writer from big oil when he delivered this jewel. Most people's daily driving habits are better suited to fully electric vehicles. That said, I know the audience here probably has good reason to be driving diesel but let's be honest about the fact that most people drive less than 40 miles per day which is the sweet spot for electrified vehicles.
  4. darrelld

    darrelld Member

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    I agree completely on the short drive analysis. Next week VW will reveal the hybrid Jetta and we should know what type of option packages they intend to offer. I am hoping for GLI level trim and suspension with the hybrid powertrain.
  5. chittychittybangbang

    chittychittybangbang Administrator

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    dieselgeek, can you post your review of the Leaf once you've had some time with it? Here's mine http://www.myturbodiesel.com/forum/f8/my-nissan-leaf-test-drive-review-8710/

    A family member just got a base 2011 Prius for $23 out the door. That's about $21 before sales tax and fees (they're clearing out the 2011s). For someone who wants good mpg out of their driving appliance, it was a good buy at the right price.

    I realize I might be a bit biased but TDI is the only reason I like VW. If not a TDI I would probably buy a Honda-Acura. The VW Jetta hybrid will be interesting but (before knowing any pricing or details), my outlook for the Jetta hybrid is not good. The VW Touareg hybrid is a dud. Much more expensive than the Touareg TDI for better acceleration which you'll really never use. It's a nice car but other than acceleration the features are a wash and way too expensive. I don't understand the point of a hybrid SUV either.

    The biggest obstacle to the VW Jetta hybrid is that Honda, Nissan, and Hyundai all have decent hybrids but they haven't gotten any traction against the Prius.
  6. dieselgeek

    dieselgeek Site Sponsor

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    ChittyChitty,

    Obviously I love diesels but I really enjoyed my three test drives in the Leaf. It's like an electric TDI. 200 ft pounds of torque at zero rpm. I agree that the hybrid Touareg is a waste of machinery over the TDI Treg. It makes no sense. I think the TDI Cayenne will be popular. If it's big and heavy or needs to go more than 20 miles, TDI is the answer.

    VW is too conservative and will be too late to the game to make a dent in the hybrid field in my opinion. If they can get a electric Golf to market soon they might have a chance with it.

    I will be somewhat of an early adopter for the Leaf so that I know what electric cars are about from the early days. I know that it won't be perfect on Version 1 but I don't care. I want a car that I don't have to continuously cold start again and again for 1-4 mile trips.

    My charging setup for the Leaf will cost right at $300 for a 16 Amp modified stock charger. I have a 240VAC socket in the garage. $2000 for a charger (EVSE) is ridiculous!
  7. darrelld

    darrelld Member

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    I drive 30 miles per day and in ideal circumstances an electric might work but then there is the real world.

    Imagine heavy urban traffic in 110+ degree heat, suddenly you get stuck for 30 minutes to an hour in traffic while watching your AC suck the life out of your remaining battery. Will you make it home or do you find yourself stranded in the middle of a traffic jam in the 110+ heat surrounded by angry motorists and no AC?

    Next there is the issue of rolling blackouts in the summer, I know we had them last year in the middle of the night for 1 to 2 hours.

    The final question I had about electrics is how well the car holds up in an electrical storm? Two years ago my house was hit by lighting frying everything that plugged in. Would my homeowners cover this after the 1% deductible or would this be a warranty item potentially costing $1000s out of pocket?
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  8. dieselgeek

    dieselgeek Site Sponsor

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    Darrelld,

    I never get myself into trouble without doing a lot of research first :)

    The Leaf uses very little juice with the AC. This can be verified with the energy consumption screen in the center console. It is very efficient and stop and go traffic uses very little juice, too. The heater on the other hand might very well be the first gen's Leaf's Achille's heal. It sucks a lot of power, up to 4.5KW initially since it has to heat up some coolant which is then pumped through a heat exchanger to release it's heat. I held out for a 2012 model which has std heated seats which use a tiny fraction of the dash's heater (~150W if I remember right). I have heated seats in my Golf, too. It makes more sense than pulling heat of an engine trying to warm up.

    I don't know about the electrical storm question though and I will research it with my insurance agent and with the service writers at the Nissan dealer. Whatever answer I get I will get in writing! I will also look into a special breaker for the charging circuit. Heck, I'm going to Lowe's right now. (for plumbing supplies.)
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  9. dieselgeek

    dieselgeek Site Sponsor

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    We had an unplanned brownout in the area last summer due to a failure at a generating plant but my neighborhood was spared since we are close to the airport. If you happen to have a power outtage the car will actually send you a text or email saying that the charge was interrupted. I will have a backup to drive if anything like that happens. I can also ride my bike to work if I wanna play a little russian roulette with the nutty local drivers.

    An interesting tidbit about the Leaf is that for the first couple or three years (cannot remember the exact number) Nissan will send you a wrecker if you get stranded. Just a little CYA I guess.
  10. darrelld

    darrelld Member

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    I have seen a number Leafs running around Plano.

    Never tested a Leaf but seriously checked into the Volt. How well does the AC work in the Texas heat? The Volt I drove cooled down fast on a 105 degree day.
  11. dieselgeek

    dieselgeek Site Sponsor

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    I got interested in the Leaf after I drove the Volt. I really liked the Volt a lot but the Leaf is a better fit as far as a back seat and two kids are concerned. I also used to work on cars for a living and having at least one car without any ICE is attractive.

    The salesman who sat shotgun on my first Leaf test drive shopped at the Big&Tall store if you get my drift so he needed copious quantities of AC. I view AC as a necessary evil. But the Leaf blew some seriously cold air. I asked him if I could switch the AC off for a second and he said sure so I did a couple of WOT runs with and then without AC and there really wasn't a difference. When I turned the AC back on it got cold fast.

    That said, the climate control system on the Leaf will run the heater even with the AC on to keep the temps exactly where you program it in AUTO mode so I won't be using AUTO mode. (remember the heater sucks down some hellatious juice.) This is well documented on the Leaf forum so it's easy to steer clear of that little snafu.
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  12. darrelld

    darrelld Member

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    You trading anything in on the Leaf?
  13. dieselgeek

    dieselgeek Site Sponsor

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    No...buying it as a business vehicle.
  14. darrelld

    darrelld Member

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    Last months sales of the Hybrid Touareg as a percentage of total US Touareg sales actually run higher than the take rate for other vehicles offering a hybrid option.

    The Jetta Hybrid is rumored to offer a turbo TSI with a 7-speed DSG making it unique among competitors.
  15. rytlewski

    rytlewski New Member

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    There's more to life than fuel economy (at least for me). The Prius is uglier than a baboon's butt and about as much fun to drive as a school bus.
  16. darrelld

    darrelld Member

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    You can see by my driveway what I prefer.

    [​IMG]
  17. Steadyhand

    Steadyhand New Member

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    In Virginia, hybrids get to drive (with just one person in car) on the High-Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes, which is a boon to commuters in Northern Virginia; however, better mileage TDIs are excluded, even if they run "alternative" fuel biodiesel (VA specifies, "Alternative" as being worthy of HOV travel).

    After 201,000 miles, my TDI is running good (may need cam/lifters...) and I avoid the HOV lanes (darned Prius cars must be the bee's knees).

    grumble, grumble, grumble....
  18. dieselgeek

    dieselgeek Site Sponsor

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    That's exactly what my Golf looks like. I took off my chrome tips, too.

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