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Prius lite

The prius for the third world
  (+5, -3)
(+5, -3)
  [vote for,

The toyota prius finally arrived in our country. Its not gonna sell well because it costs around the same as a bmw 5 series or around twice the price of a ford focus diesel

And its got a large (large for my poor third world country) displacement gasoline engine. 1.8 liters if i'm correct. Why so large? I'm guessing that its because it was designed for the american driver who is used to v8 levels of performance. I believe the prius is designed to emulate a 2.6 liter v6 in performance. In my country, a 1.6 liter car like the older model of the toyota corolla or the honda civic is considered upper middle class and a 2 liter car is bordering on rich man's territory

If we could make a prius with say a 1 liter gasoline engine and a smaller electric motor (might as well add the modifications to make it a plug in hybrid and fine tune the software for better fuel economy at the expense of acceleration) then we could make it cheaper. either use the same chassis or a smaller one. The drivers in our country are more than happy with a vehicle with much lower performance.

vmaldia, Jun 26 2009


       The Chevy Volt has a 1.4 litre engine, which in the context of this idea is still over sized. There are perfectly usable non-hybrid cars with smaller displacements than that.
spidermother, Jun 26 2009

       I agree, 1.8 Litres is too much - my first car had a sub-1 litre engine and plenty of power for driving around London.
hippo, Jun 26 2009

       I used to own a 2cv.... 650cc "unburstable" engine and it could go at 70 all day long! (it was one of the most enjoyable cars I ever owned) I never did understand the unburstable bit.
xenzag, Jun 26 2009

       Bun for this because the idea is a good one, if not original. What is needed is a vehicle with a small (500cc) diesel and a small battery. The battery is only needed to provide additional power fo acceleration and store energy from braking. The engine can drive directly when cruising and charge the battery at other times. The engine needs to run flat out (maximum effeciency) during cruising or until the battery is charged, then stop completely until the battery reaches a preset low charge level. Also we need to do away with all the junk (aircon, electric windows, sound insulation etc.) to get weight back down to more reasonable figures.
Twizz, Jun 26 2009

       So the idea is for a Prius with a different chassis, engine, software and purpose - doesn't that make it a new car? What's new about a new car?
phoenix, Jun 26 2009

       [Twizz] seems to have got this. The Prius was designed to offer a QoS (Quality of Service) similar to the mainstream market *at the time*. I.e an overpowered 2.0 lt V6 vehicle. (For fucking driving to work, by yourself, in the traffic, for god's sakes)   

       To build a Prius-type vehicle where the operating performance is less, but still within a QoS (purely because this market expects less), is a good idea. The gradual global adoption of this standard may convince the 8 lt V10 wannabees (i.e. 2lt 4 cylinder hemi-actuals) that it's *green* Corbin, *Supergreen*, to have one of these.   

       The point being that you popularise green by its broadbased adoption, not by its selective exclusion (as happens with high end vehicles and overpriced hiybrids).
4whom, Jun 26 2009

       Forget the Volt, look at the Aptera or one of the Aptera wanabees like the XR3. Optimize the aerodynamics and then run a diesel electric drive train with a supercap surge storage for quick acceleration and regen braking. Anything that has batteries is going to be too expensive and too hard to service in the third world.
MisterQED, Jun 26 2009

       We've been pushing to get people onto available public transit for awhile: greener and cheaper than a personal vehicle...   

       But the problem is everybody wants to own their own personal earth-killing machine - an indication of a prevalent barbarian streak in a culture that has been easily overcoming Mother Nature's challenges for centuries... a throwback to caveman days.   

       Grow up people: laying waste to your surrounding area is *not* indicative of true civilization.   

       First thing the (North American) Indians did when the Europeans arrived was kill off all the buffalo with the shiny new firesticks... second thing was die off from smallpox.
FlyingToaster, Jun 26 2009

       / I never did understand the unburstable bit./   

       I now am worried about the burstablility of my engine.
bungston, Jun 26 2009

       All new technology follows an expense curve from expensive to affordable to cheap for the masses; e.g. the automobile, cell phones, computers, TV. Prius Lite will come, even to the third world.(which soon may be the US if the economy doesn't get any better)
Bdsman64, Jun 27 2009

       Tata Motors of India plan to release all-electric and hybrid versions of their Nano (the "world's cheapest car") in the next year or so.   

       All-electric vehicles are a ~lot~ easier to maintain.   

       21_Q seems to have a lot of strange ideas about both hybrids and the third world.
BunsenHoneydew, Jun 27 2009

       [21_Q...] No-one is implying the Prius is overpowered. We are saying it is attempting to appeal to a segment that views a 2.0lt V6 or straight 4 DOHC (or turbo or some such) as *normal*. With central locking, aircon, radio, etc. In the rest of the world 800cc and four wheels is enough.   

       [Bds...] has got the fundamentals. New tech, because of the costs involved and lack of economies of scale always enters the market expensive and then filters down as it gets taken up by a larger base of consumers. This may never change, but it should.   

       Electricity per se is not expensive in third world countries. Until about 48 hrs ago we had arguably the cheapest electricity in the world (South Africa). Maintanence would not be expensive either, our labour rates border on rediculous. Our informal labour rates border on slavery. Knowledge (IP) and parts may be expensive but they would be mitigated by the other input costs. Indeed they could be "aftermarket" here in a period measured in weeks.   

       I fully expect low power hybrids to eclipse electric only cars, and soon. Ergo this is a good idea. Probably a bit baked by RSA's Joule (although they are only considering a low power engine addition recently) and certainly Tata's new hybrid Nano (of which there are only whisperings at this point.)
4whom, Jun 27 2009

       Good god, my mic is still off....
4whom, Jun 27 2009

       Has anyone actually stopped to consider L3?
MaxwellBuchanan, Jun 27 2009

       //Has anyone actually stopped to consider L3?//
Yes, constantly, but I find sitting under a tree in the backyard with a season-appropriate beverage to be calming enough and you don't have to fill in all the paperwork necessary for extra-planetary travel.
FlyingToaster, Jun 28 2009

       Are other types of hybrid cars repairable using parts from a junkyard?   

       That is, could one build an efficient hybrid car with regenerative brakes, (which stores that power using compressed air, hydraulic reservoirs, a flywheel, etc) which furthermore can be repaired using readily available, non-specialty parts?
goldbb, Jun 29 2009

       // Of course, this is an entirely moot point, just as your statement was entirely pointless, because the Prius is not an all-electric vehicle. It's a... say it with me now... H-Y-B-R-I-D. //   

       Gosh, someone seems to have got out of the wrong side of bed this lifetime.   

       If you look closely, you'll notice that I mentioned an all-electric vehicle in the preceding sentence. How you read that as a vote of support for a Prius, Prius-lite, or Prius-like, is beyond me.   

       Your junkyard is populated with cheap parts for ICE cars because of the century long legacy of ICE cars. All those "common" parts were once someone's proprietary solution. It's early days yet for electric and hybrid vehicles - give it time.
BunsenHoneydew, Jul 02 2009

       //everybody wants to own their own personal earth-killing machine//   

       [FT], The only thing capable of killing a planet is the Death Star. And maybe Chuck Norris.
MikeD, Jul 03 2009

       Ahh, but [MikeD]. The world ends, not with a bang, but with a whimper...
4whom, Jul 03 2009

       Perhaps it would be possible to cobble together a new hybrid that uses parts from existing ICE vehicles, golf carts, and other old vehicles. it might then be possible to market that in the third world.   

       I'm pretty sure someone linked to a guy that was using half of a towed VW to power his electric car on long journeys.   

       While I'm no auto mechanic, I'd imagine that with a factory, corporate headquarters, and a few dozen engineers, designing a similar ICE/Electric setup on a single chassis would be in the realm of science, and not science fiction.   

       Calling it the Prius light might be a little presumptive. Calling it the Green Tuck-tuck might be a little closer to the truth.
ye_river_xiv, Jul 04 2009


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