Prius Personal Log  #115

April 10, 2004  -  April 15, 2004

Last Updated: Mon. 4/26/2004

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4-15-2004

70 F Degrees.  It was great!  I was driving around the northern outback, hunting down new photo shoot locations.  So much stealth!  It made all the positioning for the digital camera work so much easier.  And of course, it that silence always compliments the stereo system, allowing me to play CDs the entire time I was "at play".  Thank goodness winter is finally over!

4-14-2004

Temperature Effects.  I drove north today.  The temperature was 66 F degrees to begin with.  And despite cruising along at highway speeds, the MPG value didn't drop.  In fact, the average went up a little.  It was my first true exposure to such warmth.  The experience was great.  I had heard others report pleasing warm weather results.  Now was my turn.  It was fascinating too.  The further north I went, the more the temperature dropped.  And sure enough, there was a very direct correlation to efficiency.  By the time I had reached my destination, it was only 55 F degrees.  I had lost 3 MPG as a result.  Just imagine what 11 F degrees in the other direction will do.  Near 80 F was always incredible with my classic Prius.  I can't wait to try it with this one.

4-13-2004

Charge-Level Misconception.  Those frustrating anti-hybrid people are at it, again.  This time, they are trying to exploit the "depleted" mindset, attempting to convince the uninformed that the charge-level indicator for the battery-pack on the Multi-Display actually represents the entire range available.  In reality, it only depicts the scale of which normal operation occurs.  So even when the it reads extremely low (which is almost never anyway), you actually have quite a bit of electricity remaining still.  But it doesn't visually appear that way.  So those wishing to make hybrids look bad will try to convince you otherwise.  Don't believe them.  It's not true.  When you see the charge-level drop to "pink" (that's 2 bars), you still have plenty of electricity remaining.  And if you don't believe me, just drop the accelerator-pedal and watch what happens.  You'll see that there is still plenty available to help provide a rapid speed increase.

4-13-2004

58 MPG at 617 miles.  That is what a Multi-Display photo that someone emailed to me today revealed.  I'm only sitting at 52 MPG right now (which is hardly something to complain about).  But once the genuine warm weather arrives (and stays), I'll be on "Cloud 9".  I can't wait!  Mid 50's sound great!!

4-13-2004

200,000 Prius Sold.  That's the official worldwide count of Prius now, much higher than any other non-traditional vehicle in automotive history.  Sweet!

4-13-2004

Change.  It doesn't occur rapidly.  Significant reduction (of emissions & consumption) is the step we are taking now.  Elimination is the next step.  Don't worry.  We'll reach that ultimate goal.  It just won't happen overnight.  Hybrid owners have accomplished a lot in just 4 years, which included the most difficult phase (initial rollout).  It gets easier from here.  And with that prior success will come increased speed & magnitude of acceptance.  Patience.

4-13-2004

Size is the problem.  It isn't actually vehicle type, like some people believe.  Ford's new pickup advertisement mentions you can pull the equivalent of 33 refrigerators.  No driver with a "car" class license should be allowed to do that.  Pretending those monster vehicles handle just like a car is wrong, since they don't.  So those vehicles shouldn't be promoted that way or allowed on the road that way.  If it is a truck of that size & power, you should get licensed appropriately.  Just imagine the type of accident that could be caused by someone, not properly trained, slamming on the brakes while pulling a trailer of that weight.  They will pulverize everything in front of them!  Different types of vehicles serve different purposes.  And as long as they are actually used for the purpose they were designed and used properly, there isn't much of a problem.  In short, don't drive your Hummer on a paved road on a clear day to the office.  That is gross overkill and a massive waste.  A practical-size hybrid SUV is far more appropriate, if you actually use the SUV features from time to time.  If not, buy a hybrid car.

4-13-2004

Battery-Pack Weight.  99 pounds for the new (2004).  110 pounds for the classic (2001-2003).  165 pounds for the first generation (1998-2000).

4-13-2004

Goals.  Personally, I don't give a rip what fuel is used.  As long as the minimums are achieved, I'm happy.  I've defined that criteria as SULEV & 45 MPG (real-world).  And as fate would have it, that just happens to be very close to what CA is now considering for the Single-Occupancy HOV minimum.  I obviously selected that criteria since the classic Prius delivered it.  The technology had already proven itself a realistic choice.  And with the new Prius delivering PZEV & 50 MPG (real-world, perhaps higher), even bigger and more powerful vehicles will be able to realistically achieve that minimum... especially as the technology continues to advance.  So whether it's diesel or biodiesel or gas or E10 or E85, it really doesn't matter.  We will be reducing emissions & consumption, which is the point of our efforts.

4-13-2004

More 2004 Tideland Photos.  An increasingly popular color... owner:  richard

4-12-2004

New Classic Photo.  A new one of the beautiful Classic named "Yoda" is now available... owner:  mary

4-12-2004

That Mysterious Color.  Dark gray with a glimmer of green... color:  tideland

4-12-2004

On the News.  Tonight's story on soaring gas prices mentioned hybrids.  But unfortunately, they didn't have a clue that SUV versions will be available in a just a few months.  In fact, several people complained that "bigger" vehicles weren't considered for making into hybrids.  Ahh!  Instead, talk about the "alternative" was focused on: diesel.  However, they never pointed out how dirty diesel still is... like that fact that the EPA limitations sales of diesel passenger vehicles in most states and prohibits them completely in 5 states.  They didn't mention that the resulting sales only totaled 31,500 in 2003 as a result.  (Yes, that is much less than hybrids.)  They also neglected to cite the reality that they cost $1,200 (on average) more than their gasoline automatic-transmission counterpart and don't even get as good MPG as a hybrid like Prius.  In short, they should have just focused solely on hybrids for now.  Perhaps in a few years, diesel will offer more compelling advantages.

4-12-2004

Sightings.  I spotted 2 other Silver 2004 Prius today.  Cool!

4-12-2004

It's Over.  Realistically, the "SUV" as we know it is dead.  The danger caused by the unnecessarily high ground-clearance has become quite evident.  So that is being removed.  The fierce looked has begun to lose its appeal, in big part due everyone manufacturer now offering models like that.  So the aerodynamic look is now the style in vogue.  If you step back and look at those new SUVs (which are selling rather well), they resemble a fat wagon.  And of all the silly things, Ford has figured this out and plans to take full advantage of that new market trend.  In the fall, they will introduce the "FreeStyle".  It's a wagon with the look of a traditional SUV.  That twist of fate is one I certainly didn't expect.  But it is a rather big step in the right direction.  Besides the other benefits, if you take a close look at the FreeStyle transmission, you'll notice that it is a cone & belt type CVT... which is more fuel efficient than an automatic transmission.  Interesting, eh?  Years back, when I first voiced my opinion about how monstrous the size of SUVs were becoming, I was assured by the elders that the trend would eventually cease.  And wouldn't you know it, they were right.  They knew it was only a phase.  But what they didn't know was how the new phase would take shape.  Apparently, it's a wagon!  (So... does that make the Prius hatchback a "sport" version, since its style offers improved air flow?)

4-11-2004

A new use for the NAV.  Wow!  I never imagined I'd be able to take advantage of it the way I did today.  But the reality of the traumatic situation set it so rapidly, it gave me a sense of relief knowing I had that available as a resource.  I experienced a medical emergency today (serious allergic reaction), one so bad I ended up going to a hospital.  The Navigation System provided a desperately needed on-the-fly shortcut to help.  Advanced Technology to the rescue.  Yeah!

4-11-2004

It is not "IF", it is "HOW".  When will people learn this is yet another deceptive technique.  Dwelling on a trivial aspect like if you should do something, after the action has already been taken, accomplishes nothing.  It is a total waste of time.  The only true benefit of looking back is to analyze how instead.  The reason is that sometimes you "burn bridges" along the way, meaning you prevented yourself from being able to ever repeat the action again.  So when you want to take a truly objective look at something, remember to ask the right question.

4-11-2004

Old & New.  1931 Model A Ford and a 2004 Prius... owner:  john

4-10-2004

Squished Opossum.  Not today.  Hitting the brakes hard brought the Prius to an emergency stop without losing control or squishing that strange animal.  He was an odd sight, just a few feet away extremely well illuminated by the headlights.  Maybe next time he won't double back like that.  Of course, maybe he was just curious about seeing a hybrid... you think?

4-10-2004

53.3 MPG   Despite getting snow and it only 34 degrees, efficiency is still climbing.  Yeah!

4-10-2004

Gas Taxes.  The "taxing gas more so people drive less" message is being pushed now, by the competition.  It's a negative campaign ad against Kerry.  They are attempting to mislead, just like the anti-hybrid people.  Hmm?  Anywho, the same techniques are being used.  They are horribly vague, focusing on a side aspect, then repeating it over and over again until you believe it is the sole purpose.  In reality, a tax on gas is the most fair taxing method.  You pay for exactly what you use, no estimating like with many others aspects.  It is actually much more realistic than a deduction too.  The savings is in exact proportion to the benefit.  And in an ironic twist, Bush's pledge during his 2000 campaign was to prevent gas prices from getting out of hand.  Well, guess what.  They did.  Promise broken.  So please, step back and look at the big picture before placing judgment.  30 second commercials just plain don't provide enough information.

4-10-2004

March Gathering.  Here's a few photos from that exciting event... photo album 70

4-10-2004

Winter Photos.  This is the first of the collection I took with the 2004 Prius... photo album 71

4-10-2004

MPG Climbing.  It continues to climb up, now that it is finally Spring.  Check out the results of my latest tank of gas... photo album 70

4-10-2004

Closing the Hatch.  I guess I haven't ever mentioned that there's a cavity on the inside of the hatch door.  It's on the right as you look at it from the back.  You grab onto that with your hand and pull down hard.  Slam it!  Damn it!  It's designed for that.

4-10-2004

The Reoccurring Speed Questions.  Why does highway driving result in lower MPG?  Shouldn't my city MPG be better?  Step back and look at the big picture.  It's simple, really.  Going faster requires more energy, just ask anyone on a bicycle.  So... hybrid efficiency should be common sense.  Traditional vehicles are actually the counter-intuitive logic.  But since that's all you've ever known, you just accept it without question.  You shouldn't.  The confusion comes from when you drive in a city, because speeds slow down all the way to zero.  It's the routine accelerations from a dead stop that actually kill MPG.  If you could cruise at a constant speed for a very long time, like you do on a highway, efficiency would be fairly good in a traditional vehicle.  But you don't.  So it's not.  Does that make sense?  If not, drive a Prius for a week.  The Multi-Display will explain what actually happens much better than I can.

4-10-2004

Another Interview.  It didn't happen today though, as planned.  The story got delayed (Iraq stuff).  Too bad, the Prius was totally psyched for the experience.  He was visited by the MPG fairy last night.  Efficiency has suddenly spiked despite the temperature only being in the 40's F.  So when I pulled to the building today (greeted by his supervisor with an apology), the Multi-Display was glowing with cheer.  On it was an average of 57.5 MPG.  Wow!  Unfortunately, the reporter wasn't there to see it and the trip home had an uphill disadvantage.  But even so, the average only dropped down to a very pleasant 54.7 MPG.

 

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