Prius Personal Log  #111

March 20, 2004  -  March 24, 2004

Last Updated: Mon. 3/29/2004

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3-24-2004

Still Springing.  It gets better!  The forecast for the next week predicts of an average high of 59 F degrees.  Wow!  Even taking bladder-effect into account, MPG will still end up calculating close to 50 MPG.  Yeah!  Right now, the Multi-Display says 51.7 MPG after 250 miles of driving with only today being really warm.  And yes, I squirted out the extra PSI in the tires.  The 25 F degree jump up caused an increase of 2.5 PSI, exactly as expected.

3-24-2004

The other vehicle.  Here in the northland, many sports cars are put into storage during the winter.  Driving in snow with a low ground-clearance and ultra-wide tires along with exposure to salt is not appealing at all.  So those owners must use alternate transportation for the cold season.  Many simply switch to typical family cars, postponing the appeal of the other until summer, yet still providing lower seating like they prefer.  So when I point out the possibility of alternating with a Prius, interest is perked.  And it makes sense.  Insuring and maintaining something like a Corvette isn't cheap.  So also having a Prius is far more affordable than a typical SUV.  That way, "performance" during the winter is simply different from that in the summer.  And the variety of seasonal changes is what many of us in the north enjoy.

3-24-2004

Spring has sprung!  It got up to 66 F degrees today!!!  Sweet!  That is much, much, much warmer than my Prius is accustomed to.  In fact, it is the warmest I have ever driven it in.  So naturally, the Multi-Display is doing stuff I have never seen.  All those regeneration symbols are great.  And to see that many Consumption Screen segments that high is a pure delight.  I can't believe Winter is finally over.  Yeah!

3-24-2004

Stealth.  The upper limit for Stealth is 42 MPH or 10kW, whichever comes first.

3-24-2004

EV mode.  The upper limit for EV-MODE is 35 MPH or 27.4kW, whichever comes first.

3-23-2004

Fuelish Claims.  Don't be fooled for a minute by looking at non-broken-in, cold-weather, winter-formula-gas data.  It is not representative of an annual average in any manner.  It is nothing but a snapshot of efficiency in the worst possible conditions.  My 2004 has consistently demonstrated a clear efficiency improvement over my 2001 already, based on comparing data from the same months in previous years.  And since my 2001 delivered a 50 MPG average for last summer, doing the same this year with the 2004 will be a trivial effort.

3-23-2004

170,000 miles.  We got another high-mileage report today.  An owner posted a very pleasing report stating that was what he had driven before, and without a single problem.  Sweet!

3-23-2004

Oversights.  People sometimes stop dead in their tracks when I make this comment: "How much are you will to pay for that?"  They often don't ask themselves that question.  Traditional vehicles make all kinds of compromises due to cost restrictions.  Improvements aren't cheap.  Steel rusts and it's heavy, but not many people care since it is so cheap. Aluminum, Titanium, and Fiber Glass all offer improvements over steel... but you have to pay quite a bit more for that upgrade.  Why shouldn't a hybrid be any different?

3-23-2004

Economics 101.  Here's a commonly asked question: "How can there be a shortage of parts?"  And here's my response: Countless times over the past decade, the computer industry has been caught off guard.  A new device was introduced and met with a significantly higher demand than expected... and there was nothing they could do about it.  A recent example is with the LCD market.  The sales boom 3 years ago caused massive shortages.  And there was nothing anyone could do about it... except wait.  Building a new factory to handle the increased capacity needed took a minimum of 2 years, once plans were approved and construction began.  Why is the automotive industry history of slow progress suddenly considered irrelevant and they are now held to an even higher standard than the computer industry?  It doesn't even make sense, since many of the components within a vehicle are actually provided by the the same computer industry suppliers.  Claims that production can suddenly be boosted significantly are weak, at best.  Shortage of parts is a reality that simply can't be quickly overcome... especially without incurring additional costs.

3-22-2004

Not quite yet.  I silently rolled by someone in the parking lot today.  He turned around giving the Prius a very odd look.  Too bad it was so cold out; otherwise, I would have struck up a conversation with him.  To date, no one has ever refused the opportunity to find out more about the hybrid.  Stealth is so overwhelmingly appealing, they simply can't resist.  I love it!

3-22-2004

So far.  Snow and average temperatures in the low 30's (with four very cold commutes: 10, 14, 14, 18 F degrees) have been a bitter reality throughout the month of March here in Minnesota... until this week.  We are suppose to see daytime temperatures in the 50's finally.  Yeah!  I've driven 1,184 miles so far this month.  And despite the far from ideal conditions, only 24.9 gallons were used.  That calculates to 47.5 MPG.  Not bad!  I can't wait to see what this warm weather brings.

3-22-2004

Weak.  I am thoroughly enjoying the end of the online war.  A few holdouts are still trying.  But after a year and a half, only a few weak argument items have been presented.  If that were a lawsuit, the court would dismiss the charges.  They failed to prove a case against hybrids beyond a doubt.  Shoveling the same weak information over and over again accomplished nothing.  And the longer they took to come of with some strong evidence, the weaker the claims became.  Hybrid owners continue to gather substantial data to prove the opposite.  It won't take much more time before there is such a variety of hybrids available that people will simply accept it as the next natural step in vehicle evolution, just like front-wheel was.  They will wonder how there could have been any resistance to the acceptance of the technology.

3-22-2004

Pointless Points.  Those dang anti-hybrid folk.  Over and over and over again, they post market points about hybrids that are based solely on what is observed today.  That is rather pointless if you aren't even about to purchase a new vehicle anyway.  Points about future are completely ignored.  Production costs dropping due to increased volume means nothing.  Reduction of emissions means nothing.  Reduction of dependence on imported oil means nothing.  Everything is focused on today, despite the fact that a vehicle will typically be in service a minimum of 8 years.  That's pretty sad.  I wish they'd get over their denial.  The future isn't that scary.  Let go of the past already.  Geez!  The "performance" points are just a waste of time no matter how you look at it.  Regardless of what they claim, the reality is that HSD is already proving to be a popular choice.  Whether a majority accepts the current configuration means nothing, other configurations will be available later anyway.  The real point is that hybrids are up to the chore since people are buying them.

3-21-2004

Smaller than I thought.  At the Auto Show, I checked out a bunch of the monster-sized vehicles (including Hummer).  It really surprised me to discover how smaller the interiors really were.  The size you see on the outside is mostly body bulk.  Who knew.

3-21-2004

"Prius"  That worked fantastic!  I spotted a Prius owning friend at the Auto Show today.  So I snuck up behind him and said quietly said the word "Prius".  That magic word triggered an immediate reflex action, making him turn around to investigate why it had be spoken.  I stood there with a silly grin on my face.  He smiled knowing I had said exactly the right thing to get his attention.

3-21-2004

Reality.  Some people accuse me of not being realistic.  These quotes prove that others simply have no clue, "Gas prices will never go beyond $2.00" "President Bush will never allow this to happen."  First, they are over that on the west coast right now.  Second, they were last year too.  As for the Bush administration, they've already proven they cannot keep their promises when it comes to energy.  And don't even ask me about their environmental policies, they are making up this president to become the worst in US history.  I'm absolutely appalled by how many restrictions have actually be not only denied, but overturned making the situation even worse.  It's like if you bring attention to something, they corrupt it... Whoa!  Got a little carried away there.  Anywho, I'm not happy.  Ideally, I would have liked hybrid technology to sneak out, having quite a numbers to prove its worth before it is needed.  Instead, the demand for hybrids might occur in the form of desperation due to gas prices shooting up beyond the already all-time record high.  That's not good.  A smoother transition would have been preferred.  Oh well, the technology delivers regardless of how people discover it.  For some, it will be fun.  For others, it will be in the form of reality crashing down on them.

3-21-2004

Majority Rules?  If the majority rules, than the extra up-front cost to purchase a hybrid is meaningless.  SUVs and "Light Trucks" have 55% of the market right now.  At the Auto Show this weekend, I paid close attention to the price variances of SUV prices.  They were just as wide as they are for cars.  That's tens of thousands, not just a few thousand as implied.  People could so easily pay less.  But they aren't doing that.  Instead, we see the very expensive brands & models being the popular choice.  And for that type of purchase, an extra 2 or 3 thousand is nothing.  Something they couldn't care less about.  Hybrid SUVs will become a serious problem for those arguing against hybrid technology.  The extra cost won't mean squat.  And the fact that the initial models are configured to out acceleration the traditional design is icing on the cake... a bit of salt I can freely pour on the wound.  And I'll enjoy every minute of it.  People will be able to purchase a hybrid with the configuration of their choice in the vehicle of their choice.  What could possibly be wrong with that?

3-20-2004

Future Gatherings.  Prius gatherings of any type are enjoyable.  When warm outside, I have lots of spontaneous ones... at stoplights, in parking lots, at the gas station.  Basically, anything that provides the opportunity to share real-world info in person is great.  I'm really looking forward to that type of activity resuming.  The plan is continue setting up gatherings of some sort once a month.  I'd like to take advantage of a park sometime, barbeques are always worthwhile.  The point is to let owners, those waiting for delivery, and those just curious to stop by when they want for as long as they want.  Parks & Coffee Shops provide that kind of flexibility.  I hope to see more at the next gathering, but I know that won't last for too long.  After awhile, Prius becomes so normal of a vehicle that participation online ends for many.  Seeing less and less Classics is proof of that... which makes me wonder what kind of influence that has.  Those owners simply won't settle for anything less.  Their support for hybrids will be almost fanatical, settling for nothing less with future purchases.  And of course, their friends & family will witness firsthand how pleasing of an ownership experience Prius actually is.  Needless to say, at today's gathering I was encouraged share all my observations, in full.  So I tend to do the same online.  (They encouraged me!  Scary, eh?)  Anywho, I'm really looking forward to the next gathering.

3-20-2004

Today's Gathering.  We had a great turnout, a wonderful expression of Minnesota Pride.  There were 8 of the 2004 and 2 of classic models when I captured the moment with my digital camera.  Another 2004 showed up later.  A classic owner drove her traditional vehicle instead (long story).  And there were at least 2 in "expecting" owners in attendance.  And speaking of waiting, when we should have.  Starting a hour later for that particular gathering would have really helped.  The location was way too busy at 3:00.  It was standing room only, but by 4:00 we had the whole place to ourselves.  Oh well.  Since the last of us didn't leave until 6:00, it wasn't all bad.  And I got several compliments about finding that southern location, so we'll plan a better time for the next one there.  We had fun regardless.  And they'll get much better as time goes on!  That nasty cold wind made standing out by the cars all too brief.  The summer gatherings offer far more opportunity.  Anywho, I only had a single regret.  People now want copies of my entire website on CD.  In the past, that wasn't the case.  So once I get all caught up on logs & photos, I'll offer the postal-mail opportunity again.  Patience for now.  Thanks to those that attended.

3-20-2004

Hydrogen use in Prius.  Due to the proven electric abilities of Prius, several have already been converted to use hydrogen fuel-cells as a power-source instead of a gasoline engine.  And because those prototypes were proven so successful, AQMD (California's South Coast Air Quality Management District) and DoD-NAC (Department of Defense National Automotive Center) just contracted Quantum Fuel Systems Technologies Worldwide, Inc. to develop a complete OEM-level hydrogen internal combustion engine fuel system for use in a Prius, then to build 35 of them.  That's 2 different types of hydrogen power, both demonstrated in Prius, showing that the HSD platform is rapidly gaining acceptance as a leader to the future.

3-20-2004

Stirring the Pot.  If you couldn't tell, I like to stir the pot from time to time.  It gives us totally new angles to ponder and keeps the topic threads lively.  It also generates a bunch of private comments to me... which in short, serves as hybrid survey of my own.  Anywho, I appreciate the variety of comments.  There's no way other I'd be able to do research of this nature.  I take notes along the way.  Eventually, a common theme emerges.  At that point, a new document/webpage is created or an existing one gets rewritten to reflect what we want to express at that stage in hybrid rollout.  That approach has served well for both veterans & newbies over the past 3.5 years.  So let's keep doing what we're doing.

3-20-2004

Slanted Survey.  I remember hearing some people say they wouldn't be caught dead in a minivan... but guess what they are driving now.  What I doubt was mentioned in this particular survey (that has got me riled up) is all the other stuff a hybrid has to offer, appeal factors that simply don't exist on traditional vehicles.  Remember, the 12-volt system in many traditional vehicles is maxed out.  So those vehicles couldn't add those electronic luxury items to their system, even if they wanted to.  Then there's Stealth with A/C.  That's a pleasure you must experience in person to appreciate.  No written description could ever do that proper justice.  Be vigilant when judging the results of surveys.  Lack of certain information being able can influence the way a person answers the questions being asked.

 

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