Prius Personal Log  #132

July 9, 2004  -  July 13, 2004

Last Updated: Sun. 9/05/2004

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7-13-2004

Seeking Closure, 5 of 5.  Parts of that situation (thankfully), could be taken with a light-hearted attitude.  There was no need to let it get the best of you.  In fact, it was sometimes rather amusing.  For example, he went on and on and on (for 6 months) about how superior Corolla was to Prius.  Then immediately after I finally revealed that my sister owns one and her data clearly proves his (100% highway data) wasn't representative of typical driving, the debate ended so abruptly I couldn't help but to smile.  The very next day, Ford Focus PZEV became the vehicle to use to argue against Prius... which I also found very amusing... since the MPG it delivers is dramatically lower than Prius.  Clean alone simply isn't enough.  It's just like high MPG alone isn't either.  Prius delivers both, not just one or the other.  And of course, there is a rather large quality difference between the two vehicles.  Prius is clearly a league above in quality & reliability.  In summary, don't let hearing about the unfriendlies get you down.  Quietly seek amusement in what they say and watch for their fears.  Not everyone is readily accepting of change.  Some take much longer than others.  They'll eventually figure it out... since it sure looks like that situation has come to a close.

7-13-2004

Seeking Closure, 4 of 5.  I'd rather not rebuttal anymore, but I would like to learn methods of dealing with this when someone else tries to pull the same thing.  We have had other great successes.  Like with the slalom & braking debate.  That person absolutely refused to acknowledge class-wide data.  He focused solely on a single comparison vehicle.  But once we posted volumes of data that tempered him down.  The final blow was when we continuously pushed the fact that a very easy way to improve those results was to simply upgrade the tires.  And now with firsthand experience & data available for exactly that, I doubt the debate will ever reemerge.  The real issue comes from when a person argues about nothing, making a trivial aspect appear to be a huge problem.  Leading discussions toward that makes it seem innocent enough, at first.  But then the original info gets lost in the threads, the topic mutates, and the less active readers don't notice.  Then it gets ugly.  Trying to keep discussions constructive & objective on the open forums (unfriendly to hybrids) is extremely difficult.  That's why I like the ones for Prius so much, they are a welcome refuge from the rest of the automotive world... which will hopefully later embrace HSD technology.  But right now, that's not the case.

7-13-2004

Seeking Closure, 3 of 5.  He very clearly stated (actually, proclaimed) he was anti-hybrid, eliminating all doubt of his motive.  That made dealing with him quite interesting, because he didn't say why he was really against them.  But he did use cost as his (weak) rouse.  Which meant all his arguments were constrained to the short-term, completely ignoring the reality that costs will drop later as hybrids become more popular.  His arguments started a whole year ago.  Then when I got my 2004, he attacked me personally (thank you very much to those that came to my defense)... using my non-broken-in, winter-only, mixed driving statistics as his sole comparison data to his well-broken-in, year-round, 100% highway driving... which clearly is inappropriate.  And his advice for achieving impressive MPG included pumping the 44 PSI maximum tires all the way to 50 PSI, which is well beyond the safety limits.  He also ruthlessly attacked my motives for buying a 2004 and even continually lied about the price I paid despite being corrected several times.  Ignoring him didn't work.  He just kept reposting until someone responded.

7-13-2004

Seeking Closure, 2 of 5.  Here's details of that situation:  He has openly admitted that he is against hybrids.  And he has taught me quite a bit about deceptive techniques... by giving me lots of practice detecting his.  I had hoped he'd simply quit after enough evidence emerged that his "data" was extremely misleading.  Apparently not!  We still need to figure out how to present facts without someone being able to twist them like that.  Unfortunately, ignoring him doesn't work at all.  Since he craves the attention so much, he just keeps repeating the same posts until someone bites... quite literally trolling (hence the term "troll" to describe a person of this nature).  I'm kind of hoping the success of Prius (you know... all the awards, all the orders still awaiting delivery, and all the happy owners) along with the introduction of other HSD-equipped vehicles that people like him will just disappear.  Being overwhelmed by so many on the road should help convince doubters of the potential for it to become very common.  But the fact that he actually owns a hybrid (not a Prius, and used only for cruising on the highway) gives him power to speak loudly against them.  More anti-hybrid sentiment is bound to surface later; from someone else, if not him.  So, having a non-abrasive way of responding to it, rather than the nastiness which has already transpired would be great.  Any suggestions?

7-13-2004

Seeking Closure, 1 of 5.  I've encountered several people over the years that have intentionally done things to undermine the success of hybrids.  Only one remained, until today... when someone else openly attacked him on an online discussion group he was not even a member of.  It was my very first opportunity to get unbiased opinions about that situation, since virtually none there even knew who he was or what he had done.  So, I gladly welcomed that.  Finally, a chance to step away from the details and look at the big picture.  It was the very closure I had been seeking for months now.  Yeah!

7-12-2004

An Interesting Development.  Makes you wonder what the media will do with this information.  Hmm?  There's a recall coming for the classic Prius, but it's not for a functional defect.  It's a preventative to insure the battery-pack lasts as long as possible under all operating conditions owners can (and will) expose to it.  A seal will be reinforced by mechanics applying a simple sealant (kind of like caulk).  No big deal.  But I bet the media will somehow blow that way out of proportion... completely distracting from the fact that the battery-pack itself works just fine and for many it would never leak even without the sealant.  The reality that it is a helpful measure will somehow get completely lost.  Arrgh!  Of course, there is a possibility that observant readers of hybrid articles will understand most of the reports are just hype anyway.

7-12-2004

Internal Storage.  It's like some people haven't ever heard of a luggage rack, for roof and/or rear carrying.  How often do you really need an enormous amount of storage space inside the vehicle?  A minivan is almost always the best choice for internal storage.  And of course, the new breed of inexpensive boxy vehicle (like Scion & Element) makes the size argument for the SUV even weaker.  Fortunately, all of them will eventually end up offering a hybrid option anyway.  As for Prius, it offers greater storage height than what first appears.  The floor is false.  It lifts out to reveal another 6.5 inches of depth.  Did you know that?

7-12-2004

Silly Arguments.  The "repair" arguments was posed, yet again.  This was my reply...  Bringing a new vehicle in for repair to anywhere but the dealer within the warranty period doesn't even make any sense.  Why would you willingly pay for a covered service by taking your vehicle somewhere else?  In other words, it means little to judge the current state of the market when that aspect won't be relevant until 3 years from now anyway.  And if you do feel the need to push that aspect, then the fact that a "full" hybrid is engineered to be more reliable than the traditional design becomes a discussion topic that cannot be ignored.  (Needless to say, they tried ignoring it anyway.)

7-11-2004

Upgraded Tires:  500 Miles  I'm just a tad under 500 miles with them now.  They are beginning to smooth out.  So there is definitely a minor break-in.  I'm not sure what kind of effect that has on MPG, but feel & sound are softened a bit.  Also, keep in mind that you'll have to go through it again when the tires are rotated (back-forth pattern, no crossing because these have unidirectional tread), since the front tires wear faster than the rear.  Fortunately, it doesn't take as long that second time.  An interesting observation today happened when I made a rather tight turn quickly into a parking space.  I left rubber marks on the hot tar or the heat.  That wasn't expected with tires that have a treadwear rating of 760.  That's really hard rubber.  But I suppose it could be just part of break-in.  And with tread so deep, all the way to the edge of the tire, it's no concern anyway.  The traction on both wet & dry roads is fantastic.  I'm very pleased with the choice I made.  And I will definitely recommend them to others, despite the expected 2 MPG drop.  This is one of those odd years where I will actually welcome the snow when it falls, rather than the usual denial that the warm weather won't return for several months.  I expect the grip of the tires will be impressive under those conditions too.  Stay tuned.

7-11-2004

It's over.  I was amused how today someone mentioned, "the hybrid/diesel debate rages on", since it doesn't apply everywhere.  The open format on Edmunds caused it to end there.  The diesel-supporters settled on a stalemate once the knowledge was gained that diesel (even in the mid-future) lacks the ability to achieve at least a SULEV emission rating without sacrificing efficiency and increasing the cost.  Knowing that puts the HSD hybrids in an even more appealing light... something they'd prefer not drawing any more attention to.  So they stopped debating.

7-10-2004

As time proceeds.  Toyota quite intentionally played it conservative with what they decided to present on the Multi-Display.  They did it for two very important reasons (that I can surmise)...  One was that they didn't want to frighten people away.  The fear of computers is very real still, even though many people own them now.  They really don't feel comfortable taking advantage of all the features (yet).  So keeping it simplistic was essential.  You can also think of it as special-effects; too much can distract you from the intent of a movie, or in this case the drive.  The other was to avoid liability.  The "change is bad" attitude is an unfortunate reality.  So starting with the basics was a good plan.  It also sets them up for new opportunities later on.  Once HSD becomes commonplace, Toyota will need other aspects of appeal to encourage new sales.  By then, Multi-Displays will be common, rather than rare like they are now.  At that point, lots of new features will be added.  Just imagine some of the animations and on-going statistics that could be shown.  Also keep in mind that increasing the size will be easier too.  That in itself will allow for greater detail to be added without a concern about being able to see it while driving.  The future holds great potential.  I can't wait!

7-10-2004

2004 Maintenance Records.  I've been documenting the stuff that has happened with this Prius, just like I did for the previous.  See... maintenance 3

7-09-2004

Parking Lot Meeting.  When stopping at a local retail store this evening, I discovered another Silver 2004 Prius in the parking lot.  It was parked at the end in the open, just like the way I always park... to avoid door-dings, get some exercise, and draw some attention to the Prius.  Needless to say, I parked right next to it.  And sure enough, that drew attention.  The owner was quite pleased when I showed up after finishing my shopping.  He chatted with me for awhile, interested in what a more experience owner had to share.  Cool!  And of course, I was thrilled to get feedback from a newbie. 

7-09-2004

Warp Stealth.  Today, we discovered a simple misunderstanding at play with some new owners.  They can detect engine activity when exceeding 42 MPH, even though the Multi-Display shows only electricity flowing.  The assumption was that the engine had started.  And that is kind-of-sort-of true, it did in fact "start" doing something.  The missing knowledge though was that no fuel was being consumed.  The engine spins, but without any combustion taking place.  It has to do that, based on the Planetary-CVT design, to relieve internal pressure.  Fortunately, that motion is just a very low resistance rotating (because the valves are held open) to keep the power-carrier for it active.  No gas is injected until more power is needed than what the electric-motor can handle all by itself.  The informed owner's have coined the term "warp stealth" to identify this situation.

7-09-2004

Free Parking.  The council of a prominent city is currently considering granting free parking privileges to hybrid vehicles; however, they didn't define what qualified as a hybrid.  That's bad.  GM already has a "hybrid" available that doesn't meet the criteria the city council had in mind.  They likely don't know that.  Best of intentions will be taken advantage of if there is money to be made or saved.  We (as hybrid supports) need to be very specific about objectives; otherwise, the goals we intended will not be achieved.

7-09-2004

Why?  When I brought my Prius to the shop on Monday to get the new tires installed, I went out of my way to say "Make sure to step on the brake when starting the car".  They didn't.  I witnessed them struggling to figure out why it wouldn't start.  So I approached and repeat the same instruction.  It obviously worked.  Then while standing there watching the guy shift to "D", I said the lever will return back to the default location followed by pointing to the "D" indicator.  He didn't believe me.  Ahhh!  I saw him drive away while holding the lever in the "D" position.  What is the deal with people being totally accepting of some aspects  of new technology and being totally resistant to others?  Do they just prepare themselves for a certain amount of trying, then simply stop after reaching that point?  Hmm.

7-09-2004

Decades Ago.  Remember how "hydromatic" technology (now known as "automatic") was once thought of the same way as hybrids are now... something with limited appeal and no potential to satisfy most needs.  Today, over 90% of the vehicles in the United States use that doesn't-require-shifting technology.  And besides being such a convenience, it actually delivers greater torque.  Few would have ever believed that could be possible.  So just wait until the skeptics discover what an electric-motor can do.  Another factor-of-denial is the reality that the newest version of "automatic" (a non-hybrid CVT) can be as efficient as a manual.  Just watch, later you'll get to tell people how you witnessed the penetration of hybrids into the mainstream.

 

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