Prius Personal Log  #120

May 12, 2004  -  May 18, 2004

Last Updated: Weds. 6/09/2004

    page #119         page #121         BOOK         INDEX         go to bottom 

 

5-18-2004

Not Equal.  Most people are under the impression that all hybrids are created equal.  Owners know quite clearly that Prius and Civic have virtually nothing in common.  Their primary purposes are very different. (Prius=Emissions, Civic=Efficiency).  The designs are totally different too.  The differences in the upcoming hybrid SUVs probably won't be noticed at first.  So that same false impression could continue for that particular market, even if it is clarified for the cars.  But those more interested in cars will probably wonder why the heck the hybrid version of Accord doesn't attempt to compete with the efficiency of Prius.  So just pointing out design alone won't be as helpful as some would hope.  We have to also explain why.  That could be quite a challenge.

5-18-2004

58.2 MPG at 137 Miles.  Wow!  Not much more needs to be said.  The Multi-Display is glowing quite proud today.

5-17-2004

The Conspiracy Rebuttal.  When you sign a contract with a third-party supplier, you can't just change it without incurring a penalty.  Asking for additional units within an already agreed upon time-period is unscheduled work, which usually translates to overtime.  That raises the cost!  Why in the world would Toyota willingly do that... especially when it is well-proven that anticipation of a product has a long-term economic benefit?  Keep in mind how far in advance manufacturers routinely plan stuff.  Back in my Kmart days (the 80's, when it was thriving), we used to begin working with Christmas inventory in July!  Also keep in mind that the third-party suppliers have more than one customer.  Toyota is not the only one placing orders; they have to get in line just like all the other businesses wanting components from that same supplier.  In other words, claims of Toyota artificially messing with the market have little merit.  They are actually the victim of their own success.

5-16-2004

Online Observations.  If you pay close attention, looking for patterns, you'll notice an unusually high turnover rate for Prius.  It's the nature of our group.  Most of us are very open-minded, well informed, and have the ability to support our beliefs financially.  That means we are a poor example of "average", not representative of the market in general.  We trade-up our still new Prius, to get an even newer one.  That means we get to help promote the best of the best while also helping to establish the used market.  In short, everyone wins.  But it can contribute to a false impression of how Prius is actually accepted.  So keep that in mind, along with the knowledge that we are only a very small sampling of owners.  There are roughly 100 silent owners for every 1 owner that actively posts here, and there are over 60,000 others in the US alone that never even join the group.  In short, we're an interesting bunch.

5-15-2004

55.3 MPG.  As the season warms, each tank continues to get better and better.  So I took a photo of this latest one... photo album 73

5-15-2004

Gas Boycott.  It's hard to believe that some people still think doing that is effective.  Several attempts have been made by consumers over the last 30 years to send a message that way.  What the message was, who knows?  It has no effect anyway.  Not buying gas on a particular day doesn't accomplish anything, other than providing the oil people with a good laugh.  They know quite well that we'll just end up having to buy gas again later.  But if we all stopped buying gas-guzzlers and chose hybrids instead, that would certainly send a clear message.

5-15-2004

Not Everyone Is Happy.  Buying a car without even test-driving it is a high-risk decision, something you openly accept when signing the papers.  So complaining about it afterward has little merit.  Some are learning that the hard way.  They knew you were taking quite a risk, considering how much money was involved.  I've witnessed countless people over the years take many test-drives trying to find exactly the right vehicle, without even having to take hybrid technology in account.  The fact that some now skip that important step entirely buying a Prius is a rather interesting change in market attitude.  So does that mean people will be rewarded for being so open-minded or will they in general be disappointed for having taken the risk?

5-15-2004

Shortsightedness.  5 years ago, the verdict of the very first review of Prius by Car & Driver magazine was: "A fascinating, and costly, way to save cheap gas."  It was only $0.99 per gallon back then.  Yesterday, in the Midwest where gas is usually less expensive than everywhere else, I saw two different stations selling it at $2.08 per gallon.  Obviously, the situation has changed.  Hopefully, attitudes will change too.  That review also glossed over the environmental aspect, not giving any real credit to the significantly reduced smog-related emissions.  Instead, they just stated it wasn't a zero emission vehicle.  In retrospect, I find the review wasn't all that bad.  The nonsense that followed about "stop-gap" references have ended.  (At one point, media interest in hybrids was completely dropped, believing the other automaker's claims that fuel-cell vehicles would dominate in just a few years making hybrids a total waste of time & resources.)  MotorTrend's spot in history will be noted as a big one.  They declared the 2004 Prius as their car of the year, back before the gas price nightmare began, when hybrids were still just considered a novelty.  Now people actually are starting to consider the long-term affect of their decisions.  Our future is starting to brighten.  Yeah!

5-14-2004

Things are getting interesting.  Last summer, the anti-hybrid arguments focused on power & speed along with how long it would take to recognize a large savings in gas.  Then when the 2004 Prius deliveries began, the power & speed debates abruptly ended.  Those negative comments feel on deaf ears. It had become rather obvious that the hybrid technology really did deliver.  Now with gas prices soaring and no expectation for them to go down anytime soon, the negative comments about gas savings are disappearing.  We have achieved price & performance acceptance levels.  It is only a matter of time before consumers learn about the other benefits some hybrids offer, then the real fun begins.  It's about dang time!

5-14-2004

Interesting Parallels.  On NPR today, I heard comments about how skin color was regarded in some areas back in the 40's.  That perspective really caught my attention.  Each lived in their own area, one type only.  No one even questioned it.  Then the 60's rolled in and the Supreme Court was forced to consider a change.  Some of us born after that monumental decision can't even image how that "life with blinders on" view of the world could have existed.  Well guess what, until this new Prius emerged, most people never gave hybrids a second thought.  Now all of a sudden gas prices have surpassed record highs and there is no expectation of a drop throughout the entire summer.  It will be as if overnight everyone recognizes that our future will be filled with diversity.  The roads will be covered by a wide variety of hybrid technologies & system configurations.  The "one type only" mindset is dead now.  There will soon have a whole bunch of different vehicle types on the road.  The priustoric days are finally over!  Hooray!!!

5-13-2004

Jealousy.  Until today, I hadn't considered the fact that some of the anti-hybrid efforts could actually be due to jealously.  But that makes sense.  Some people are fiercely loyal to only a specific automaker.  Not having a hybrid available from them must be very upsetting.  Well... it's about dang time.  Hopefully, those automakers will get a clue that there really is demand for something other than size & power.

5-13-2004

Nicknames.  There actually is some merit to the reference to the Ford "Exploder" nickname.  It is directly responsible for the "explosive" acceptance of SUVs as a commute vehicle, rather than a utility vehicle like it was actually designed to be.  Thankfully, hybrid technology is coming to the rescue.  Prius is helping "free us" from our dependence on gas-guzzling technology.

5-13-2004

Sightings.  On yesterday's morning commute, my brother called me, just as I pulled away from an intersection where I had just spotted a Salsa Red 2004 Prius.  He said had just spotted a Salsa too.  Then he mentioned there was a Silver that just driven by as well.  I thought that was an amazing coincidence... until he mentioned the license on the Silver was "1701-A".  That wasn't funny!  Anywho, during today's morning commute, I spotted a 2004 Silver in the very same place.  Creepy.

5-13-2004

That Other Automaker.  DaimlerChrysler has been very, very quiet about hybrids lately.  But today's comments clears up the mystery, "The company is less enthusiastic about fuel-efficient, gasoline-electric hybrids like the hot-selling Toyota Prius. Weber and other board members such as Dieter Zetsche, who heads up the Chrysler group in North America, think hybrids are too expensive (by about $5,000 or more), too complicated, not very pleasant to drive, and they burden owners with unproven durability and reliability.  They are also less fuel-efficient than diesels in all-around driving."  Well that makes sense, in Germany where that was said, since diesel is dominant there.  Diesel is considerably cleaner there too.  Anywho, Prius owners know they are just scared, having nothing to compete with.  The "too expensive" comment is deceptive.  The price difference is actually only about $1,800 more.  Remember, diesel systems include a premium too, an average of about $1,200.  But it wasn't stated that way, making you think the $3,000 difference is in comparison to diesel rather than non-hybrid gasoline.  Too complicated has been proven false many times now.  But the anti-hybrid folk like confusing the non-technically-inclined folk with that comment.  Not pleasant to drive isn't qualified at all.  For all we know, they had an issue with the location of the cupholder.  What the heck does "pleasant" mean?  Heck, maybe they would complaining about how quiet the system is.  Not hearing the roar of an engine or feeling the vibration it causes could be disappointing to some.  But not having that is a quality luxury vehicle owners insist on.  HSD in Prius obviously delivers that.  Lexus will be offering a HSD hybrid this fall and another about a year later.  And what burden do they mean?  All the data gathered so far indicates that durability & reliability is great.  Is the problem that it will mechanics won't have much work anymore?  And of course, that "less fuel-efficient" comment is a total fabrication.  Prius is delivering real-world averages higher than Jetta TDI, a comparable sized diesel.  Prius is drastically cleaner too.

5-12-2004

Don't believe it until you see it.  The HSD system in Prius delivers low emissions and high efficiency.  The hydrogen push for fool-cells is nothing but talk, with no obvious goals.  Creating hydrogen is actually more dirty than simply just using ordinary gas in a Prius.  Cost is drastically more than Prius.  Reliability of Prius will be proven to an extreme long before an affordable fuel-cell vehicle will be available.  And of course, the efficiency of can't even compete with traditional vehicles.  Until those saying hybrids are a waste of effort actually deliver a product that is better, don't believe any of their claims or promises.  Currently, there isn't even a fuel-cell prototype that stands a chance of being competitive with Prius.  Too much research & development is still required.  Drive a Prius while you wait.

5-12-2004

True & False Claims.  Some on Slashdot are firmly standing behind the claim that hybrids don't deliver the EPA estimated values.  Obviously, they don't have detailed real-world data available, hybrid or traditional.  The 59,827 miles with my 2001 Prius resulted in a 45.4 MPG lifetime average... in Minnesota!  The extreme cold only forced the MPG down to around 40 during the winter.  Last summer, I averaged 50 MPG the entire season.  Now in my 2004 Prius, the winter only pushed the MPG down to around 45.  And with the warmer temperatures (finally) and the car broken-in, it's averaging 52 MPG.  All that was achieved using E10 too.  (That's a 10% ethanol blend with gas... which causes the efficiency to be about 3.4% lower than it would have been using 100% gas.)  Anywho, my Prius is clearly living up to the mileage claim.

5-12-2004

Slashdot.  That flash-in-the-pan message board (because topics typically expire within a day or two) got hot on hybrids today.  A false accusation about the engine requiring 100% of its power for highway driving, merging, and passing was made, claiming Prius struggles in those conditions.  That is just plain wrong.  In reality, the system has so much engine power available that most of the time while cruising at highway speeds it is also topping off the battery-pack.  100% engine is not needed for cruising, only for aggressive acceleration.  But even then, you have a 50kW motor (capable of propelling the entire vehicle all by itself at about 60 MPH) available, along with a fully-charged battery-pack.  That's more than enough power.  A quick test-drive is all that's needed to prove it.

 

back to home page       go to top