Prius Personal Log  #114

April 2, 2004  -  April 9, 2004

Last Updated: Sun. 9/05/2004

    page #113         page #115         BOOK         INDEX         go to bottom 

 

4-09-2004

Newbies.  We get more and more new online members wanting to more about Prius everyday.  So of course, I have to repeat this on a regular basis: LOWEST EMISSIONS is the primary goal of Prius, not HIGHEST MPG.  Heat is needed to make the chemical reaction in the catalytic-converter work.  So, the engine is run to create that heat, which means some gas is actually sacrificed for the sake of cleansing exhaust.  As a consequence of that design choice, you will notice reduced MPG whenever the engine is still cold.  In other words, avoid short trips.  Take advantage of a warm engine.

4-09-2004

The War Is Over.  Yeah!  It feels great.  For a year and a half I have been consuming some of my time fighting online battles in unfriendly territory.  There, I was able to bring to an end a few misconceptions for some people.  That was time well spent.  It was quite enlightening too.  I learned just how anti-hybrid a few can be.  One has even went as far as buying a hybrid (a very old one that was cheap) for credibility, allowing him to speak ill of hybrids with greater influence than someone who simply test-drove one.  It became pretty obvious after awhile.  The same deceit tactics were used over and over and over again.  And now that I've learned exactly what to look for and how to properly counter each of those, I can move on.  Finally, I can focus all my resources on what I really want to do: help those interested in hybrids.  Those opposing hybrids, for whatever reason, will continue to spread lies.  But you know what, it will get harder and harder for people to believe them over time.  Seeing hybrids on the roads everywhere and hearing so many owners singing songs of praise will be very difficult to ignore after awhile.

4-08-2004

Depleted Testing?  Car & Driver just published results of their Prius testing.  The measured acceleration at various battery-pack charge-levels.  One of which was with it depleted; however, they didn't define what that was or how they accomplished draining it so much.  In the 70,000 miles I've driven with a Prius so far, I have never encountered that situation.  The hybrid system simply won't allow it.  So what they did would have had to have been done using artificial methods.  Since in reality, there it is very highly unlikely that you'd ever experience that.  How can that be appropriate?  It looks as though they are simply making assumptions for track testing, rather than studying the performance in real-world situations.

4-08-2004

Forgetting the past.  This quote posted today points it out nicely, "During the '70s I owned a diesel Corolla that got 42 MPG without all of the hybrid complication.  The worst it ever got was 38 MPG.  Why not try diesel?".  They obviously don't remember how tiny, dangerous, and dirty that vehicle was.  Prius is significantly bigger, much much safer, and dramatically cleaner.  Combine all that with the fact that Prius will deliver Summer efficiency of about 52 MPG, there is quite simply no contest.  Prius is clearly the better choice.

4-08-2004

Mostly Stealth.  There is a favorite stretch of road I like to drive along.  With 2 stops and a very small hill, resulting in 3 brief engine-on moments, in warm weather at the top of the blue charge-level on an otherwise completely flat road, I can go 3 miles in "mostly stealth" at 35 MPH.  There is obviously no way to avoid the stoplights, but... the hill may be quite a bit easier to climb without the engine during the Summer.  I can't wait to try it!

4-08-2004

Realistic Info.  About two weeks ago, the "democratic underground" discovered my website.  Since then, it has been hit on repeatedly by them (several hundred per day).  They are using the real-world data & comments I have provided to propose a realistic solution, not one that relies on innovation that may never happen (like you know who has been soliciting).  The hope is to increase the CAFE requirements (fleet MPG minimums) by 2015.  That gives even those unable to adopt the technology right away an opportunity to catch up.  The old fear of tiny, slow, unsafe cars just for the sake of meeting a MPG regulation is just a memory, that won't be repeated.  People know better now.  Prius is helping to show that a technological answer really is both possible & practical, something which wasn't in the past.  For those that missed the 80's, when this previously happened, vehicles like the "K" car emerged.  That is clear proof of how a weak plan get go wrong.  It was an era loaded with cars that met the MPG requirement by simply reducing size, weight, and power.  This time it will be well thought out.  The same won't happen again.  There is technology available (and well proven) to meet those requirements without sacrifice.

4-07-2004

"The Greening of the Blue Oval"  That is the title of Ford's advertising campaign that just kicked off today.  But since they are already 1.5 years behind their originally announced schedule, I wouldn't put too much faith in this particular one either.  Though by a fortunate twist of fate, a number of groups are planning attack Ford is a slew of positive endorsements for their hybrid.  That promotional support (from rather unexpected sources) should force them to build more & faster.  Ford will end up getting more orders then they have announced plans for (30,000).  I sure hope they are somehow ready for that kind of success.

4-07-2004

Ford Announcements.  I sure hope the past doesn't repeat itself.  Back in 1998, I was all set to purchase a 1999 Ranger-Electric... based on Ford's announcement that it would be available.  They changed their mind afterward.  So obviously, I never bought one... since they never became available.  The same expectations are now formulating for some about hybrids.  Today, Ford announced a second hybrid SUV coming in 2007.  I sure hope that actually happens.  For that matter, I sure hope the first happens.

4-07-2004

Cost Effective?  You couldn't build a cost-effective non-hybrid version of Prius.  One of the huge money savers is the fact that Prius does not have a transmission.  All it has is a power-split device, which is much less complex than an automatic transmission.  That cost reduction results in more money being available for other components instead... making the car so different from a traditional design that there simply isn't a realistic vehicle to compare too.  So if you are a newbie, don't ask that question.  (You'd be amazed how many people do.)

4-06-2004

It is an Indicator, not a Warning.  Hmm?  I wonder what the best way is to convince new owners of that.  Many think the fuel gauge works like a traditional one.  It actually doesn't.  Toyota based the current design on observations from previous owners.  So it fits the need well, but the behavior isn't obvious if you still think the old way.  That should actually be surprising since many other components work different too.  The fact of the matter is that you drive until blinking begins, then you fill up within the next 20 to 30 miles afterward.  There is gas available beyond that limit, but it is best not to plan on using it.  Think of it as emergency capacity.

4-06-2004

"Cleaner" Diesel Cars.  Make it stop.  I keep getting email about diesel being a valid choice now.  My reply is always: "not yet".  Even those newest designs still don't meet the SULEV rating, an important emission minimum.  And since clean gasoline will be available nationwide sooner than clean diesel, there really is no compelling reason to switch... especially since a gas hybrid can exceed the MPG benefit of diesel too.  In time, it may be an option.  But currently, nope.

4-06-2004

Poorer Fuel Economy.  I wonder why someone today claimed the classic Prius model delivered higher MPG than the new Prius.  personal data 11 overwhelming proves that claim to be false and without merit.  The 2004 clearly outperforms it (which mind you, was impressive in the first place.)  Yes, I do understand that using non-broken-in data can give a misleading impression.  But even that is better when compared against my 3-year average for those same months.  Thank goodness I documented my previous experiences in detail.

4-06-2004

Online Waste.  The discussion group I recently left will not be missed. Their "no promotion" policy prevented me from referring to the many materials I have at my disposal.  That was always very frustrating.  And of course, the anti-hybrid folk learned to exploit that, knowing I wouldn't be allowed to footnote some of the facts I presented to wreck my credibility.  They also learned to take advantage of the non-thread interface, giving them the ability to cover up important facts with the greatest of ease.  They shrewdly & deliberately altered the discussion enough to distract readers, knowing full well there was no convenient way to figure out what the topic was originally.  Posts just disappear in the clutter after awhile.  Neither of those two problems exist in the other discussion groups.  Their hosts on them don't tolerate personal insults either.  If you are impolite, you lose your privilege to participate.  Those realities left me with no reason to rejoin the message posting on such a non-accommodating group.  There are plenty of other more appealing places to spend my time on.  So I will.

4-06-2004

MAINT REQD.  I reset that indicator light today.  That was even easier than I expected.  It was entertaining too.  There was a countdown sequence of dashes that displayed on the odometer, in place of where the numbers usually are.  Cool!

4-05-2004

90 Degrees Warmer.  It was 72 F today.  That sure beats the -18 F a few months ago.  Better times have arrived.

4-04-2004

Checking the Boots.  Notice how I qualified that new document with a "Prius Maintenance" title and "Changing Oil" subtitle?  The plan is to add other stuff later.  I had to deal with a ripped one in ages past (with my Omni).  So I'm well aware of the importance of catching a problem like that early.  Changing oil is an excuse to do inspections.  Checking the boots will definitely be a worthwhile thing to mention.  What else should I include?

4-04-2004

Rust Already.  Did you notice it on some of those photos of the Prius oil change?  That's normal in Minnesota.  Between the blasting of winter sand and burning of winter salt, the underneath of a vehicle just plain cannot be protected entirely.  It's a fact of life we have to deal with here.  Bummer, eh?

4-04-2004

Illustrated Document: OIL CHANGE.  The goal is to empower Prius owners, pointing out an option some wouldn't have considered otherwise.  Yesterday, I reached 10,000 miles.  So I changed the oil & filter, capturing each step with the digital camera.  As a result, there is now an illustrated 12-page document available.  24 photos show you the steps I followed.  They likely differ from what others do, since I've likely customized for my needs over the last 15+ years of changing oil countless times for countless vehicles.  And you'll probably get a chuckle out of my old, beat up tools.  But nonetheless, the job gets done safely & easily.  Take a look and let me know what you think... oil change

4-03-2004

CHiPs.  If you ever want to get a large sampling of common vehicles of the past (very early 80's), just watch an episode of that popular television show.  I did today.  Since much of the show takes place on roads among normal everyone traffic, you get to see everything as it was back then... long before the SUV.  The gas-guzzlers of that time were large, powerful cars.  And the vehicle people used for vanity was the sports car.  Remember those days?

4-02-2004

The Truth about EPA.  Finally!  I was wondering how long it would take before a controversy would start.  No it has.  In fact, it has worked its way into the presidential debates.  All along, Prius owners have known that the MPG values the EPA publishes were for comparison use only, that they didn't actually reflect real-world performance anymore.  Those tests are 20 years old now, grossly outdated since they no longer represent the way people drive nowadays.  With commute traffic so much heavier and speeds so much faster, efficiency that people actually observe is much lower than what the EPA does.  It was inevitable that someday a revision to the testing procedures would be demanded.  With the GM Silverado-Hybrid only offering a tiny 15 percent improvement, a value so small it would be hard to detect (just 2 MPG), owners will complain that the MPG they actually achieve is only what the non-hybrid version gets.  In reality though, the non-hybrid actually get even less.  But since there isn't a MPG display, the non-hybrid owners weren't ever aware of it.  Fuel efficiency is much worst than people realize.  It's pathetic, in fact.  The automakers have a grim new reality to deal with now.  Awareness is growing.  The truth is being learned.

4-02-2004

Rapid Warm-Up.  Today, I was absolutely delighted.  With my car sitting in low 60's all day, the engine shut off before I even left the parking ramp.  That was pretty sweet.  During the winter, I was quite a distance from there before stealth finally engaged.

4-02-2004

What do you gain?  By changing the synthetic oil & filter every 25,000 miles (rather than every 5,000 miles), all you are saving is $90.  So even though you technically could, is that really worth risking engine damage (or your warranty) on a vehicle that cost over $20,000?  And of course, don't overlook the MPG loss.  The oil may physically last longer (not breakdown chemically), but it won't remain as thin as it was originally.

 

back to home page       go to top