American” hybrids.There are questions on blog sites about Toyota Manufacturing getting a grant incentive to produce hybrids in the United States. Toyota got a tax incentive of 25 percent of the investment, plus recouping the cost of training. JOBS for environmental stewardship project with a minimum investment of at least $5 million. The credit’s will cover 100 percent of eligible equipment costs. Ford – the first hybrid made in the USA – didnt get a tax incentive. Ford was told that since there were no sheet metal changes and very few tooling changes – other than opening a box that contains a battery received from Japan – that the wouldnt get a tax incentive.
With the passage of the Federal Transportation bill on August 10, 2005 and Assembly Bill 2628 (AB 2628) on September 23, 2004, qualified single-occupancy hybrid vehicles are now permitted to use High-Occupancy Vehicle (HOV)/carpool lanes in the Bay Area during designated carpool hours, if these vehicles are displaying a distinctive decal or other identifier issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Howe’ver, unlike HOVs or super-clean alternative fuel and electric-powered vehicles, which are allowed to drive toll-free across the toll bridges during designated carpool hours, single-occupancy hybrid vehicles must still pay tolls (using FasTrak) when driving across the Bay Area toll bridges in an HOV/carpool lane.
” The Federal Highway Administration encourages creativity and innovation by states, including HOV lanes, to keep traffic moving. Gas-electric hybrid vehicles offer numerous environmental and energy benefit’s, and some states encourage their use by allowing them with solo drivers on HOV lanes. FHWAs goal is to ensure that HOV lanes continue offering congestion relief to commuters.”
Californias bill will limit the amount of solo hybrid drivers in the carpool lane to 75,000 vehicles and only those that can get 45 miles per gallon. Those vehicles that currently meet that requirement by EPA standards are the Toyota Prius, Honda Civic and the 2000-2004 Honda insight(not 2005). If California used Consumer Reports real world test of hybrids with highway and city mpg combined even the Prius wouldnt meet that requirement. The way the EPA calculates miles per gallon on a hybrid is flawed and the EPA knows it. They are soliciting comments from the public in an effort to get the governemnt to give them funds to change the way they test hybrids. California acknowledges the flaw by not making hybrids get smog checked. Hybrids dont emit emissions when they are sitting idle because they are using their battery, not gasoline. MPG is calculated by the EPA based on road test and the amount of emissions emitted. No emissions equals better MPG to the EPA. California wont do anything till it gets the blessings of the U.S. EPA. The highway bill that passed last week says that California can keep it’s federal highway money if they only allow ” low-emission and energy-efficient vehicles” into carpool lanes, no mention of hybrids. To register for the carpool lane go to http://www.dmv.ca.gov/forms/reg/reg1000.htm.
According to DMVs website, the reason these hybrids do not meet the requirements are;
Ford 2005-2006 ESCAPE HYBRID – not qualified due to fuel economy less than 45MPG.
Honda 2005 ACCORD HYBRID – not qualified due to lack of compliance with ATPZEV emission standard and fuel economy less than 45MPG
Honda 2005 INSIGHT HYBRID – not qualified due to lack of compliance with ATPZEV emission standard.
Lexus 2006Rx400h HYBRID – not qualified due to fuel economy less than 45MPG and lack of compliance with ATPZEV emission standard.
MERCURY 2006 MARINER HYBRID – not qualified due to fuel economy less than 45MPG.
TOYOTA 2006 HIGHLANDER HYBRID – not qualified due to fuel economy less than 45MPG and lack of compliance with ATPZEV emission standard.
Kelly Blue Book did a study on 428 of their internet visitors. Their study showed that consumers were willing to pay $2,278 more to own a hybrid. Half of the shoppers (49%) are interested in hybrids, though very few are ” definitely” interested in them and willing to pay whatever it takes to get one. Half of shoppers need more information or are not interested and the younger shoppers are more interested in hybrids; pickup truck intenders are less interested.
6 percent of the respondents said they would buy the hybrid regardless, and three out of four (74%) say that fuel economy is the most beneficial aspect of hybrid vehicles between that, the environment and enhanced performance. The most prevalent concern about hybrid vehicles is that they have complicated technology that is difficult or expensive to fix; battery pack life and savings justifying their premium cost are also mentioned by more than half of shoppers. Pickup truck intenders are more concerned about hybrid vehicle performance compared to those considering other vehicle types.
61 percent of respondents were concerned that hybrids have complicated technology that is difficult/expensive to fix, while 55 percent were concerned that the hybrid has a limited batterypack life. 51 percent were afraid that hybrids do not pay for themselves to justify premium cost. 49 percent must have heard of Toyotas stalling problems because they are concerned that hybrids have techical problems like stalling or sputtering. The issues that are usually the highest concerns in an internal combustion engine show up last in the hybrids; 40 percent worry that they do not offer driving performance needed, 35 percent say hybrids do not get level of gasmileage promised and only 31 percent are concerned about the resale value.
With all the concerns in place Seven out of ten shoppers (70%) believe that hybrid vehicles will offer higher fuel economy with driving performance similar to or better than traditional gas-powered engines in five to ten years. By that time we should know the future of hydrogen.