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I spoke with the GM at my local Lexus dealership here and informed him of my Silver BC order which will arrive Jan 15th. He explained that Lexus will follow Toyota by approximately one year and the RX 330 Hybrid will be the first of several Lexus Hybrids. He explained that the performance enhancements for the SUV's will be superior to the Prius in that a V6 platform will be used as opposed to the weak 4 cylinder. He strongly recommended that I wait and pre-order the first RX 330 next year. He didn't know exactly when the pre-orders will be accepted but gave me a small brochure on the car and a website address. He's a good friend and I'm thinking of cancelling my prius order. Any other SUV lovers out there given this some consideration. I know for a fact that the SUV model will probably outsell the Prius and will be even more practical to use in areas where tough wheather and off road uses are important. Plus the GM said the RX 330 will have even better safety ratings than the Prius and heavy tech gadgets, XM radio, reverse camera, and a rear entertainment system.


http://en.lexus-hybrid.com/home.html
 

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greenmachine said:
He explained that the performance enhancements for the SUV's will be superior to the Prius in that a V6 platform will be used as opposed to the weak 4 cylinder.
I didn't know car dealers had friends!

Of course the 4 cylinder is weak! That's why there is an electric motor to help when needed. If the six cylinder motor in the Lexus is so superior, why do they need an electric motor too?

My understanding of the RX330 is that it will be "superior" in some areas and inferior in others.
The hybrid system in the RX330 will have a different function then it does in the Prius!
Since the RX330 will still have a 6 cylinder engine, don't expect anything near the gas mileage that the Prius gets.
The main purpose of the electric motor in the RX330 is to boost performance to eight cylinder levels without increasing gas mileage.
I'm not sure about this but I think the RX330 will still have a conventional auto transmission Too.
I wonder what the rollover potential of the Lexus is compared to a Prius?
I'm sure the RX330 is a fine car, but in my mind it is not superior to a Prius, it is different and has a different purpose and remember it will be much more expensive to buy and to operate!
 

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I'll be disappointed if it has a regular auto tranny..I just can't see much point in a hybrid assist type system at this point since the superior technology already exists.

Also concur that 'superior' is a very relative thing. Recall that this RX400H will have a Superior price tag too...You may well shell out $45K for this baby loaded. That's not to say it isn't worth it if done right, and I, for one, hope it is. My wife will need a new car in 2-3 years and I'd love to be torn b/w the Hybrid Highlander and the Hybrid Lexus, and maybe even a Hybrid Minivan or the Hybrid Escape. What fun to compare and contrast them all and make a green decision on such a large vehicle.
--evan
 

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Now that Toyota has officially announced a Highlander hybrid for late 2004, there will be an affordable (I hope!) option for those of us who can't justify the expense of a Lexus SUV.
 

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Thanks for the Lexus links. I plan on getting my name into my nearest Lexus dealer, especially after checking out 'my' Prius that came into my dealer. Not impressed with the seat ergonomics at all, (even my MINI has a height adjustment on both front seats) not to mention the hodge-podge color scheme on this particular car- white exterior, gray dashboard, and tan seats and carpet. Something tells me Lexus won't ask their customers to settle for anything less than they ordered. Oops, sorry, that's 'preferenced' in Toyota-speak.
 

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Good point on the cost of the Lexus but as for style and luxury I for one would pay extra for those items. Not to mention the ability to pull a boat or trailer and the all wheel drive in bad wheather. I'm still going to buy the Prius and I'm sure we'll love it but when the SUV hybrids are available I will more than likely invest in one with all the bells and whistles.
 

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Hopefully the Highlander hybrid will have AWD (I believe the standard version does), as I also plan to tow a small 14-ft.boat + trailer, but where I'm towing it I wouldn't want to drive a Lexus! One mile down an unpaved bumpy road through the woods to a lake shore with a nice soft sandy beach to launch from. Right now my '91 Exploder handles this task easily, but looking to its ultimate demise I need a plan B!
 

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Plan B is also the name of a "morning after" oral contraceptive medication recently in the news which added extra confusion possibly not shared by those not familiar with it.

:D Pat :D
 

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No contraceptives! I'm providing optimum conditions for my Prius to mate with my Explorer---adjacent positions front-to-rear in the driveway---and expect to announce a happy event in the very near future.
 

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jflowerus said:
Of course the 4 cylinder is weak! That's why there is an electric motor to help when needed. If the six cylinder motor in the Lexus is so superior, why do they need an electric motor too?
FYI,
This is a little outdated information, but anyone visited following site?
http://www.toyota.co.jp/en/news/03/1015b.html
At Tokyo Motor Show in October, Toyota displayed SU-HV1.
Engine: 3.3-liter V6
Front Motor: 120KW
Rear Motor: 50KW
Total 170KW motor power means over 225HP only by motors!!!

We'll know the detail of Lexus RX400H next month at Detroit.

Ken
 

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Ken (and Jerry F too), Regarding the Lexus, 6 cyl vs 4 cyl, why electric with 6 cyl issue...

There is a good reason for adding hybrid technology to a car irrespective of its HP/Weight ratio. If you are interested in overall fuel efficiencey consider that the hybrid brings regenerative braking to the table. You can't recycle energy stored in a moving Lexus with conventional setup. With the Synergy system, braking doesn't just heat the brakes and subsequently ultimately the air. Instead, some of the energy is captured in the battery and reused. This increases mileage, especially in-town where larger sedans and gas hog SUVs really suck (as in suck many gallons of gas from the tank.)

SUV's and the larger more luxurious sedans are the butt of gas guzzling jokes and the bane of folks concerned with many issues revolving around their consumption. Synergy hybrid is a meaningful step forward in making it better.

Better to light a single candle than to curse the darkness.

:D Pat :D
 

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Synergy...

Pat,
Thank you for your comments,

patrickg said:
With the Synergy system, braking doesn't just heat the brakes and subsequently ultimately the air.
My understanding of Hybrid Synergy Drive is somewhat different.
http://www.toyota.co.jp/en/tech/environ ... tem_03.gif
It is the light-blue plus blue part of the chart. Especially, Generator -> Motor area. It works as some kind of a torque converter.
I believe the series-parallel hybrid is the key of HSD which can't be achieved by Honda IMA system.

Anyway, Toyota is doing a good job and going over Ford.

Ken
 

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Ken, I really respect your views and would appreciate it if you could point out in some detail where you think I am in error. The gist of my argument is that a conventional car has no means of recovering energy from braking and ultimately repetitively throws energy of motion away to heat the brakes and air while a car with regenerative braking, recycles a portion of the energy of motion. I realize there is a lot more to the Synergy hybrid system than that but that alone would increase fuel economy.

Also, I hate to admit it but I couldn't decipher the graph unambiguously.

I assume the axes are linear. I guess the vehicle speed is around 100 to 110 where the running resistance line and most of the other lines converge/cross near the right hand side of the chart.

I see that engine power is constant with varying vehicle speed and that generator to motor and battery to motor possibilities start at a maximum capability at zero speed and fall off non-linearly approaching an asymptote out beyond the cars top speed. I will need additional study or better yet a little tutoring to grasp the significance of the envelopes depicted on the graphic.

OK, that is a lot I don't understand. I do appreciate the link to the graphic but I don't understand how it applied to my "with" vs "without" regenerative braking comments.

I made some other guesses (shrewd or otherwise) but I really need my hand held a bit on this chart.

:D Pat :D
 

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Hi Pat,
Of course, regenerating is one of the key technologies of hybrid cars, and
you are not wrong here.

I'm saying how Toyota is using the term "Synergy" in their Hybrid Synergy
Drive trade mark or HSD.

Let's compare between different hybrid systems.

THS-II(HSD) ... Prius/Lexus/Highlander
THS-C ........... Estima/Alphard (only in Japan)
Honda IMA ..... Insight/Civic

item .............. THS-II .. THS-C ... IMA
regenerating ... YES ..... YES ..... YES
idling stop ....... YES ..... YES ..... YES
stealth mode ... YES ..... YES ..... NO
PSD ................ YES ..... NO ...... NO

Toyota only calls HSD which has Power Split Device or PSD.
The PSD enables that ICE runs ideal torque and number of revolutions then
the power is delivered to drive wheels directly (light-blue part of the chart)
and to generate electricity which drives motor (blue part of the chart).
This is so called Synergy Effect with engine and motor power, I believe.
It is far effective than Honda IMA system.
The whole story can be found following site.
http://www.toyota.co.jp/en/tech/environ ... index.html

Ken
 

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Also, I hate to admit it but I couldn't decipher the graph unambiguously.
Pat, the legend of the graph is a little bit misleading... the vertical axis is actually torque, not power. It is very similar to the graph you can find here :
http://www.toyota.co.jp/en/tech/environ ... /high.html
and which displays the electric motor torque, or to the one you can find on page 13 of the Dave Hermance presentation on John's site :
http://john1701a.com/prius/presentation ... ion_01.htm
There the vertical axis is called "driving force", which is closer to torque...

At low speed most of the torque at the wheels comes from the motor (MG2), since its torque is far above that of the engine. However at full throttle and low speed most of the electricity that feeds MG2 comes from the engine via MG1 (generator) : that's the blue area Generator -> Motor. So Ken is right saying it acts as some kind of a torque converter, although not a purely mechanical one.
 

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Ken and Frenchie, Thanks for the info guys. I appreciate your assistance. Ken, I was not intending to compare Honda to Toyota. Honda builds a very nice car but their hybrid is primitive at best compared to the Prius. I'll try to "mind the gap" between "Synergy" and "synergy"

It seems to me that the Prius is closer in technology to a diesel-electric locomotive than it is to the Honda. I think that is a good thing. Economy and service life can be extended by operating the internal combustion component within its optimum envelope and delivering power to the drive wheels as demand requires via the flexibility of the electric motor.

Frenchie, I don't have a problem with calling "that" chunk of the system a torque converter but then I would be as happy calling it a "TRANSDUCER."

Thanks again, guys,

:D Pat :D
 
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