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Roadfly Magazine
Issue 13
Table of Contents

Past Issues Index
Roadfly Magazine
Nissan Maxima
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Issue Thirteen
August 3, 2004
Hybrid Vehicles: Sales on the Rise
Summer BBQ Guide
The Dells Auto Museum
Hot Lap: Top of the Line
2004 Mazda6
2004 Nissan Maxima SE
Coming Next Issue
Chrysler 300C
iPod FM Tuners
Helmet Review

Rising Fuel Prices:
Can Hybrids and Diesels Help You?

2004 Toyota Prius Hybrid

Ford Escape Hybrid

Hybrid technology

Lexus RX330 Hybrid

For more info see:
Ford Motor Company
Honda USA
Toyota USA
Hybrids: Short term solution?

Just a few short years ago, hybrid technology (the combination of a gasoline motor and another form of motivation) seemed like a distant idea, destined to be shunned like the GM EV1 electric car. But thanks to successful hybrids like the Toyota Prius, Americans are warming up (quickly) to the idea of a gasoline/electric hybrid. And with EPA projected fuel economy numbers that reach beyond 50 miles per gallon, hybrids do deserve a serious look.

Honda and Toyota seem to be leading the way with hybrid cars, but the "big three" aren't far behind - Ford has already unveiled a hybrid powered Escape SUV that can obtain nearly 600 miles on a single tank of gas, while averaging better than 34 mpg.

Conventional hybrid technology combines a gas powered engine with an electric motor. When necessary, the gas engine automatically starts itself and propels the vehicle forward. While the vehicle is "idling," or cruising under a light load, the electric motor supplies power. The electric motor draws its power from rechargeable batteries that are charged by slowing the vehicle (the brakes generate electricity), or by using the gas engine to operate a charger that refuels the batteries.

The additional benefits of a hybrid vehicle are many. They typically generate very low emissions, offer improved versatility over previous electric cars, require minimal additional maintenance, offer lower levels of road noise, and have plenty of room for passengers and cargo. And, there's also that fuel economy thing...

But let's talk price for a minute. Outfit a Toyota Prius with a nice options package, and you'll spend a little over $25k. That may be a little steep for some thrifty buyers, but it doesn't seem to have an impact on sales - according to a recent Wall Street Journal article, many Toyota dealers have a waiting list for a Prius, and are charging $5,000 - $6,000 over MSRP. Honda, on the other hand, makes its Civic Hybrid available with no options (other than color choice), and sets the price at just over $20k. For you SUV lovers, the Escape Hybrid (with 4WD) should come in at just under $30k.

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