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Do you have a question about hybrid cars? Ask a Toyota expert and you could win a £200 Love2Shop voucher - ANSWERS BACK

(66 Posts)
RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 03-Jun-13 12:29:31

This week we're running a Q&A about hybrid cars. Toyota have been making hybrid cars for over 12 years but there are still many myths surrounding this technology, like do hybrids need special fuel? Richard Seymour, a fully skilled technician at Toyota will be answering your questions. Richard has 20 years experience working in the technical team preparing and testing vehicles and has worked with Hybrid technology since its introduction.

So if you have a question about hybrid cars please post on this thread to Richard before 10th June. Everyone who posts a question will be entered into a draw to win a £200 voucher for Love2shop. We'll post up Richard's answers on June 17th.

This Q&A is sponsored by Toyota
The all new Auris Hybrid is the perfect family hatchback with a difference, packed with attitude, fun for the kids and even more fun for you. Find out more here.

WMittens Mon 03-Jun-13 20:24:10

What is the lifespan of the batteries used in hybrids/EVs?

What developments can we expect in the near future in terms of battery size/weight/energy density?

Melissakitkat Tue 04-Jun-13 10:58:06

When could we expect hybrid cars to come down in price to say a £6k price bracket or will this never happen?

DisAstrophe Tue 04-Jun-13 11:04:00

Is the hybrid car also fuel efficient with petrol or do you need to keep it charged if you want to save money/the environment?

Blatherskite Tue 04-Jun-13 11:36:07

Is it true that the materials and air miles for shipping batteries for hybrid cars outweighs the environmental impact of not using fuel in the car over it's lifetime?

If not, how long do you need to run a hybrid car before the environmental damage of making and shipping the battery is repaid?

Spirael Japan Tue 04-Jun-13 11:56:28

I am fascinated by the concept of Hybrid cars, but also very oblivious! My apologies if the below are incredibly stupid questions.

From the driver's perspective, how does it actually work? Is there a special button you press to switch between electric/petrol, or does it do it automatically? Does the engine noise and the car handling change when you switch between types?

How do you actually charge the battery? Does the fuel powered engine do it as you drive, or is there a cable you need to plug in, or both? If there is a cable, does there have to be a special power connection port it hooks up to, or does it go into a regular household socket?

dahville Tue 04-Jun-13 11:57:48

Is there any efficiency lost if you choose an automatic hybrid instead of a manual transmission?

We have the 7 seater Prius and, despite massive reservations as I love cars with a strong external design like the mini, I'm a complete convert to hybrid.

I'd be really interested to know about the future smaller hybrid cars coming up. I like quirky and classically designed cars - any plans for making a hybrid that looks cool on the outside as well as being cool in the engine bit?

Thanks smile

CMOTDibbler Tue 04-Jun-13 12:58:55

With a hybrid, are there things that will need to be replaced at 5 or 10 years that will push up the cost of ownership?

When will they reach a price that is affordable? Even with subsidies they're still out of our price reach.

Are there any new developments which will make them have a larger range? We often do 400 miles in a day, so can't stop to charge up.

PinkMangoSays Tue 04-Jun-13 15:01:20

Will the battery be replaceable in Hybrids or will the car lose its value/the battery very expensive to replace, a bit like an iPhone battery is very hard to replace?

ScienceRocks Tue 04-Jun-13 16:00:59

Another question about when smaller, cheaper hybrid cars are going to become available please!

Also, can they be a little more stylish? Why shouldn't they have a quirky design?

ShatnersBassoon Tue 04-Jun-13 16:06:34

How much would a typical car owner save every year on fuel costs by using a hybrid car instead of a standard engine car of the same size? Say 12,000 miles of mixed motoring. I'm sure Toyota must have the figures to be able to work that out for me smile

WowOoo Colombia Tue 04-Jun-13 16:20:19

Mine is about the price also -when will they become more affordable?

I'd also be interested in the savings over an average year.

I'd like to know if Toyota see hybrid cars becoming 'the norm', with all manufacturers producing several hybrid models and how long that will take?

CheeryCherry Tue 04-Jun-13 19:59:53

Would there be any benefit in learning to drive in a hybrid car? Is the actual 'drive' any different? I'm thinking of my teen DCs and whether we should encourage the more eco friendly route.

Not a question, but I have a Yaris hybrid and it is lovely! If anyone would like to hear anything from a consumer point of view to confirm/argue with the manufacturer's view then I'd be happy to oblige grin

missorinoco Tue 04-Jun-13 20:25:12

How feasible is it to charge the car up on a journey? I heard a feature on electric cars, and they sounds appealing, but my concern with a hybrid would be I would use the petrol for convenience. Could I drive 3-4 hours and charge it at the destination? Or can I charge it at a garage, and if so, what are the standard charges?

aspinall Tue 04-Jun-13 20:39:31

My biggest concern is it's reliability. What happens if I run out of charge when I was out and about? Is there a way of charging the battery up again, or is the likely hood of this happening very slim?

Aarrgh - I am so itching to answer the questions on here.

Can I just explain what I know about how a Yaris Hybrid works? Then I'll go away and let people put questions for the expert to answer properly.

You put petrol in. When you are driving fast / high revs the petrol engine works totally normally, though it's an automatic so you don't change gears. But at the same time as turning the wheels, the engine is also charging up the hybrid battery, which lives under the back seats.

When you are driving slow / low revs, the petrol engine stops running, and the hybrid battery is used to run electric motors to turn the wheels.

You never plug it into the electric at home, all the electricity comes from the petrol engine charging up the battery. It never runs out of charge, because if the battery was getting low then it would just go back to running off petrol for a while. But that would only be needed if you were creeping around town for hours without getting any speed up.

The petrol tank on mine lasts roughly as long as the tank on my old Corolla did, thought it is about 2/3 the size (fills up for £40 instead of £60+)

The engine is pretty much silent when it is running on electric, but apart from that the drive is just the same. The biggest "odd" thing about it is it being automatic, that's a bigger change than it being a hybrid. I had an automatic before, and switched to the hybrid without noticing any change apart from its "stealth mode" quietness in town!

Firewall Tue 04-Jun-13 21:29:13

How reliable are these hybrid cars? If there were problems with the car would only a select bunch of mechanics be able to fix?

GetKnitted Tue 04-Jun-13 21:59:14

I really want to know why it is "better" to have an electric car when we make most of our electricity from burning fossil fuels anyway. Is it some kind of hope that we will one day get all the electricity from renewable energy?

ShatnersBassoon Tue 04-Jun-13 22:15:34

GetKnitted, the car generates its own electricity I believe. You don't plug it in.

As they're not commonly used at the moment would maintainence and repairs on hybrid cars not be more expensive than a non hybrid?
Coupled with the higher outlay cost as well it's not a car for the everyday person currently.

When do you think the tides will turn and hybrids become the norm?

ThePskettiIncident Tue 04-Jun-13 22:37:51

I'd love one, but they are too expensive. When do you think they will be value for money? This especially in a market where people are encouraged to replace their cars too frequently.

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