Prius Personal Log  #117

April 24, 2004  -  April 28, 2004

Last Updated: Sat. 6/12/2004

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4-28-2004

Sightings.  I had a "silver sighting" today.  It was the first time I had that the other 2004 owner initiated contact.  He was already waving by the time I noticed him driving toward me!  By the way, I've spotted 7 other 2004 Prius and 3 classic Prius over the past 3 days.  They had come out to play now that it's warm out.  Excellent.

4-28-2004

41, 60, 93.  Those certainly are a weird bunch of temperatures.  But they are what I've experienced over the three most recent commute drives.  Talking about variety.  And to make matters even more extreme, the temperature is expected to drop to freezing (low 30's ) right after this storm causing the heat-wave passes through.  Needless to say, the MPG is jumping up & down.

4-28-2004

Bluetooth Cell Phone.  Got a new one... well, kind of.  I switched from my current carrier, since the reception at my home was too weak and had become a source of great frustration, to a new one.  That required a different phone, because the digital technologies naturally aren't compatible.  (Too bad we aren't like Europe & Japan, where they have just a single standard.)  Anywho, that meant changing from a T610 to a T616.  In other words, the phones are virtually identical.  It sure was worth doing.  The quality of the single I get at my home is dramatically better.  (Too bad I didn't know that last year.)  And thankfully, I was able to transfer the old contract to my sister (no penalty that way).  Now I'm very happy.  This change didn't cause the loss of Bluetooth either.  Losing that would have been really disappointing.

4-27-2004

Owner Expectations.  If you haven't figured it out yet, I fish for feedback with some of my online posts.  I've noticed that the market for hybrids is expanding again... even less informed people are now purchasing Prius, and it is guaranteed to continue growing.  That's great!  But I feel bad about not being able to provide enough info up front.  So I've been searching for a basis for that content.  And I think I found it.  The Info-Sheet (an illustrated introduction to Prius) works great as an introduction.  And the User Guide (what you can do with your Prius) works great for when you are seeking details for questions after you've had your Prius for awhile.  But there isn't really anything for the new owner... so an "Owner Expectation" document (what Prius will do for you) seems like a sensible approach.  What do ya think?

4-26-2004

Hatchback Tie-Downs.  They (the silver hoops in each corner of the hatch area) are really handy.  Last time I needed to exchange my grill's propane tank, I just placed it on the floor of the back seat then pushed the front seat back to hold it tight.  It worked for the empty, but not for the full one.  It was way too heavy.  When I turned a corner, the tank smacked the back cupholder breaking it loose.  (Fortunately, Toyota designed that part well.  All I had to do was remove it completely by pulling hard, line it up, then snap it back in place with my hand.)  This time, I took advantage of the tie-downs.  Using two bungee-cords, it only took a moment to properly secure the tank in the hatch area.  That worked great!  Too bad I didn't think of that sooner.

4-26-2004

The Wave.  Finally!  I got my first "in motion" wave from another 2004.  While crossing the street his Prius (also a Silver) was on, I waved my arm out the window.  He noticed and gladly returned the wave.  That was great!  There are now enough of us that owners are now on the road watching for the opportunity to encounter another.  Today, that happened.  Sweet!

4-26-2004

10,000 Mile Service.  Since I knew I had to bring in the Prius anyway, I delayed this routine service until after my trip up north.  At 11,653 miles today, they performed the routine brake-inspection and tire-rotation for me.  That ended up costing a very fair $33.95, less than I've paid in the past.  They specifically noted that 95% of the pads still remained.  Cool!  With such a powerful motor providing electricity regeneration from braking, the actual brakes themselves obviously don't get used all that much.  As for the oil change that should also be part of this service, I already did it.  Remember?  That was when I created that "Oil Change" document, back on April 4, 2004.

4-26-2004

SSC-40A.  Toyota upgraded the ECU (Electronic Control Unit) programming shortly after they started delivering 2004 Prius to customers.  It was a update for error detection of a particular situation and the handling of it afterward.  As a computer programmer myself, I'm quite pleased that continued to debug even after the release and then gladly offered an update afterward.  My Prius was included in this SSC (Special Service Campaign).  So today, I bought it in to have the upgrade applied.  That went perfectly, and didn't cost me anything.

4-25-2004

More Colors.  Did you know other countries have other choices?  An owner in Germany happily provided a photo of his "blue" 2004 Prius today.  I didn't know what the heck to do with it.  It didn't match what I was setup for.  So I had to create this new webpage... europe colors

4-25-2004

Talking Down Hybrids... Why?  It was a GM Vice Chairman this week.  His quote in Business Week magazine was, "I frankly do not view hybrids as the future transportation solution."  Rather than promoting a solution of their own, all they can do is set the expectation of disappointment for those currently considering a hybrid purchase.  The reason should be obvious.  Only their competitors have genuine hybrids (meaning they provide a notable emission & consumption improvement) available for sale.  Since GM doesn't, they want to make sure no one else is successful with their efforts to sell hybrids... yet.  Later of course, when they can't stop the demand for hybrids, they'll come around (as if their was never really a problem).  Isn't this fun?

4-25-2004

Sabotage.  That's what some automakers did in the past.  Remember GM's great electric-car called EV1?  Owners cried when their leases expired and GM refused to allow extensions.  Instead, all of those cars were hauled away to a burial place in the desert to be crushed.  And that's exactly what happened.  All of them, destroyed.  The evidence was gone, as if none of it had ever happened.  And remember that nasty legal battle to fight both the Zero-Emission Mandate in California?  The big three in Detroit all fought furiously to prevent it from ever becoming a reality, despite originally agreeing to it 10 years earlier.  Basically, any time they were faced with significant change, they did everything they could to secretly sabotage the effort.  The most obvious clue to this is when they conclude that there wasn't ever a market for that.  Sampling sales in a small market without any promotion is hardly a sincere effort.  How can they possibly draw a conclusion like that when a large base of consumers never had an opportunity to demonstrate their interest?  Do you even recall either of the recent Ford electric vehicles, the Smart or the Ranger?  With hybrids, it's different.  They are available everywhere and with a ton of attention being focused them.  The result is consumers are speaking very loudly with their wallets.  And that's where I come in.  My purpose to help those owners spread the word with the use of my website.  The anti-improvement efforts won't work this time.  They won't be able to sabotage the market for hybrids.

4-25-2004

Remember.  This is my final philosophy principle.  It is very important that we learn from our past.  Both successes & mistakes can teach us a lot, showing us a way to a better future.  If you don't remember what happened in the past, you will be doomed to repeat it.  And when it comes automotive change, there is a wealth of history for us to consider with respect to the newly emerging hybrid market.

4-25-2004

Believe.  That is another philosophy principle that I live by.  It goes without saying that this is what many refer to as faith.  It does for me as well.  But it also includes belief in ourselves, the fact that we have the ability to solve the problems we currently face.  It is not a hopeless situation, no matter how bad things may appear at time.  We can overcome boundaries.  If you believe, the time & persistence invested in a cause will payoff.

4-25-2004

Balance.  When speaking of Prius, the topic of gas prices comes up rather quickly.  That almost inevitably leads to a mention about our current President.  I prefer not to get on that topic during a brief encounter, to avoid upsetting the person.  But in these logs, it's much more appropriate.  So I will.  My philosophy in life has always included balance.  You should never do something to the extreme without seriously considering all aspects first.  Our president has totally completely ignoring my values, to reduce emissions & consumption.  He is focusing everything on a bandaid approach, by just drilling for more oil.  That increases both emissions & consumption.  And did you know the hydrogen initiative won't even deliver a vehicle available nationwide to consumers for at least 15 years... which provides absolutely no guarantee that it will be able to achieve emission & consumption level lower than HSD system currently used in Prius.  Gas prices are at an all-time high now.  It turns out that more oil isn't the problem.  It is actually the capacity our refineries have.  They simply cannot convert the oil to gas fast enough.  Did you realize that would be a problem?  Anywho, the point is that balance should have been applied.  Some attention should have been given to hybrid too, rather than just ignoring them completely.

4-24-2004

Flipping Channels.  While giving the television remote a workout today, I bumped into a special on SUVs.  Curiosity convinced me to watch it.  So I did.  It was intriguing to see how people have become obsessed with size, power, and speed.  They don't question how much is enough.  More is simply better, period.  That obviously got me a bit frustrated.   But I did also find it fascinating in how that also applied to the price.  Spending an obscene amount of money on a vehicle is common.  In the past, people didn't use to spend that great of a percentage of their income on a vehicle.  But they certainly do now.  Anywho, the final few minutes of the program really caught me off guard.  (I had no idea I should have setup a DVD+RW to record, so I missed it.)  They suddenly starting taking about hybrid SUVs.  And right there, in all its glory, was the Toyota Highlander with HSD.  They really said some good stuff about it too.  Yeah!  Following that, they pointed out the hybrid version of the Ford Escape, mentioning some appealing aspects of it as well.  Cool!

4-24-2004

2010 Hydrogen Project.  The goal of this recently approved project is to create 200 fueling stations along roadway and urban centers in California by 2010.  Ignoring the infrastructure setup and the dirty production process, it makes you wonder how much a gallon will cost and how far you will be able to drive on that gallon.

4-24-2004

No Contest.  Beside the anti-hybrid quarreling having diminished, it has grown quiet on the hybrid side too.  A select few that owned ULEV hybrids of the IMA design were not exactly polite in the past.  They weren't thrilled that SULEV wasn't available nationwide for them like it was for Prius.  So they pushed the MPG aspect instead, knowing they had an advantage with their manual transmission model.  But recently, the MPG results of the new PZEV model Prius have been emerging.  The average reported efficiency is even better than their best example.  Prius is a clear winner, no contest.  I'd like owners to get along without conflict.  But that dang misrepresentation was really irritating.  Thankfully, it seems to be over now.

4-24-2004

It's Over.  The 4-year crusade has drawn to a conclusion.  People are now well aware of the existence of hybrids.  They also know that they can deliver reduced emission & consumption; however, they still don't understand how or to what magnitude.  In the past, we had it easy.  There was just one enormous online group to ask & answer questions.  That's not true anymore.  Over the last few weeks, participation on the other groups has increased significantly... except on that one heavily populated by that anti-hybrid crowd.  There, posts have decreased.  I bet between the increasing price for gas and the increasing promotion for the upcoming hybrid SUVs, they've come to the realization that the popularity of hybrids is about to explode.  Sweet!  But as good as that may be, I'm finding it a bit difficult to move on.  It really is over.  I have no reason to promote anymore.  We have won the war.  Yeah!  So what I do with the website and with the online groups now is just a hobby... something that I do for fun, which just happens to be of interest to others.  I'll finally have time to do other stuff.  Cool!

 

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