Prius Personal Log  #14

September 8, 2001  -  September 24, 2001

Last Updated: Sat. 9/14/2002

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9-24-2001

Wow!  She's looks great.  I spent 3 hours cleaning the Prius.  I washed and dried the outside to a wonderful shine.  I wiped the dashboard and both sides of all the glass removing every spot.  I did a thorough vacuuming of the carpet.  Then I even got rid of the small amount of dirt buildup under the hood.  That's the best I've seen the hybrid since delivery a whole year ago.  I'm definitely ready for the auto show tomorrow.

9-24-2001

Stealth Climbing.  I get the biggest kick out of driving up the circular ramp one floor to my parking spot using just electricity.  Today I had to go several floors higher.  Silent & Smooth the whole way up the steep incline, something most people wouldn't expect the Prius to be able to do.  But it does!  Only thing is, it drains power really quick.  Fortunately, to exit I have to drive down anyway; that generates electricity to replenish the battery-pack.

9-23-2001

Turning the engine on using the defrost.  It's getting cold enough now to require a blower to keep the windows clear inside.  At the stoplight, I turned the dial to activate the defroster.  That started up the engine.  It's a really strange sensation having that happen.  But later when it's much colder, some type of heat will always be on.  That means the engine will turn off occasionally at stoplights.

9-22-2001

Night Rain Photos.  It went from dry to pouring rain within seconds.  For me that awful weather spelled opportunity.  (Having already been through all the seasons, it's getting much harder finding unique photo settings to pose the Prius in now.) Grabbing keys, my digital camera, and a tripod I ran out the door. That resulted in me getting 2 great photos and soaked to the bone.  I was drenched from the waist down, but it was worth it.  See:  photo album 21

9-22-2001

Goodbye +50 MPG.  Today's high temperature was only 58 F degrees and a tree across the street is all orange & red.  Fall is on the way.  Cooler temperatures mean upper 40 MPG is the best I'll be able to do.  Of course, that's still double what most cars with that interior size get.  And it's triple what some SUVs get.  Plus, it's cleaner than any gas vehicle.  In other words, there's nothing to complain about.

9-22-2001

The short Prius hood.  I discovered another advantage of that design.  When going up very steep inclines, like the kind you find in parking ramps, you can see what's in front of you rather than just hood.  I'll never forget the time we were trying to find a parking spot while in the Taurus.  My brother and friends were hysterical.  I didn't find that funny at all.  Only seeing the hood was dangerous.  What if the car in front stopped suddenly?  Fortunately, in the Prius I don't have to ever worry about the hood getting in the way.

9-21-2001

40,000 website hits.  That number on the home page only provides a vague idea of actual activity.  But now that I have a full-featured hosting service, that means I can get reports stating exactly what pages people find appealing.  I like that.

9-20-2001

He obviously noticed.  The driver was behind on my right, in the fog without his lights on.  I wasn't too thrilled.  So I opened my passenger window.  He immediately pulled up and leaned out his open window to hear what I had to say.  I said, "Would you please turn on your lights so others could see you."  He appeared disappointed and almost insulted.  That wasn't what he was expecting to hear.  So I very rapidly followed up with, "And yes, this is a hybrid."  He instantly perked up and screamed out a question about mileage.  Telling him I was currently getting around 49 MPG absolutely made his day.  He drove away with a big smile on his face and his lights turned on.

9-20-2001

Fog.  Visibility was less than 1/4 mile.  The news stated highway driving was very difficult.  You'd be lucky to go 30 MPH.  Ding!  That gave me an idea.  Why not drive local roads the entire commute to work?  So I tried it.  Those roads barely had any traffic, unlike the highway.  There were quite a few stoplights though, but that's something Prius handles quite well.  I ended up getting to work at about the same time I would have using the highway, but it was a more enjoyable drive not having to deal with all the traffic.  And naturally, by going slower than usual I got better MPG.  I'm thinking that when the heavy snow falls later this year, local roads will be a nice alternative using a hybrid.

9-18-2001

Just in the nick of time.  Next Tuesday is the charity car show my Prius will be in.  So I wanted the higher mileage and Lifetime MPG on all the cards I'll be passing out along with all the Info-Sheets.  I wasn't sure the timing would work out.  Saying I now have 20,000 miles racked up will help.  I'm shooting for the People's Choice trophy.  But I wonder what the "classic" car owners will think if I do win.  Hmm?  Anywho, here's the new card:  website card 3

9-17-2001

20,000 miles in just a little over a year.  I drive more than the average person.  Good thing I have a Prius.

9-17-2001

It was like a monster approaching.  Here comes this gigantic SUV right at me.  After checking the road conditions, I looked (upward, of course) at the driver.  Sure enough.  There's a guy looking back almost giddy to have caught my attention.  He gave me a big hybrid thumbs up!

9-17-2001

Got stuck behind a huge trunk.  You know the kind, it takes an forever for it to get moving from a dead stop.  It was really fun.  For most people that would be irritating.  But for me in my Prius, unexpectedly going from 65 MPH to Stealth was a pleasant experience.

9-16-2001

I felt its presence.  As I was silently driving through a parking lot, I got the overwhelming urge to stop & scan.  Sure enough, there was an Aqua Prius hidden among the other vehicles.  So I rolled over to leave an Info-Sheet & card.  My timing was great.  The owners caught me approaching.  And of course, seeing that I also had a Prius made me an instant friend.  So we chatted for a few minutes.  It turns out they wanted a Prius so bad they drove all the way up to Northern Minnesota to get a used one.  That's true determination.

9-15-2001

I wonder if that Insight owner knew?  It finally happened, an encounter at an intersection. I saw a Silver Insight approaching in my mirror.  So I opened the window and waved my arm out, then I honked a few quick times.  When he stopped, he looked over with a big smile and waved back.  That was nice, but I think he just thought I was acknowledging his hybrid.  It didn't appear as though he had any idea I was also in one. Personally, I like that. Prius was designed for stealth.  And that doesn't mean just silent electric driving.  That also means it blends in, looking like what people are already use to seeing on the road.

9-14-2001

How often do you use E85?  He had no idea what I was talking about!  Minnesota is the national testing area for E85, an 85% blend of Ethanol mixed with 15% Gasoline.  There are around 60 gas stations in the metro area that offer E85 and 10s of thousands of vehicles have been sold which can use both E85 and regular gasoline.  So whenever I see a someone in a parking lot with a FFV (Flexible Fuel Vehicle, usually a Ford Taurus or Ranger), I point to the FFV emblem on their vehicle and ask that question.  This guy, as well as all the others I've asked over the last year, had no idea his vehicle was even capable of using a fuel other than regular gasoline.  Then when I point out that E85 usually sells for 20 cents less than gas, those FFV owners get a really bewildered look on their face.  Why isn't this built-in ability advertised?  You'd think the fuel choice would be a great sales advantage.  Situations like this makes me curious how the unaware will respond to hybrid technology.

9-13-2001

Passed out around 100 Info-Sheets.  SES (School of Environmental Studies, part of the Minnesota Zoo) had their open-house today.  Just like last year, I got to park on the sidewalk by the front doors.  Except this time, instead of having only 600 miles experience, I had close to 20,000 and information to distribute.  Plus, that specific audience is great.  They're really interested in bettering the environment, not just the advanced technology and using less gas.  I had a blast.  I'd make eye-contact, then approach the confused person while holding out an Info-Sheet.  They couldn't quite figure out why I was parked on the sidewalk.  But as soon as I said "Hybrid Electric", they perked up and almost immediately reply with a question.  That was a very rewarding experience.

9-12-2001

Now I'm armed for bear.  It took just 10 minutes and $18.00 (before tax) to create 200 very high-quality, double-sided, black & white copies of the Info-Sheet.  I just went to Kinko's and had someone experiment with their new digital copier to insure the detailed photos weren't too dark or light.  That worked out great.  Now I should be more than enough for the Prius exhibit I'll be doing tomorrow for the open-house at SES.  (Leftovers will be used for the Auto Show my Prius will be part of in 2 weeks.)

9-12-2001

Could you pull over to the second window for a moment?  That's what the guy working the drive-thru window said when I passed him a card along with my money... after finding that he couldn't climb far enough out the little window to get a good look at my Prius.  I said yes and a second later I saw him running to the car with 5 guys behind him.  It was a hysterical sight!  All 6 were in total awe at what they were seeing, but not hearing.  Then they begged me to open the hood.  Naturally, I indulged.  They asked questions as fast as I could provide answers.  It was very entertaining to see so many people so excited.  Excellent!

9-12-2001

Perfect, another Prius.  All the talk at work about the attacks was rather depressing.  Discovering a Green Prius parked next to mine was a great way to conclude the day.

9-11-2001

The Panic.  Terrorist attacks on America caused gasoline price uncertainty.  Rumors of gas having reached $4.00 per gallon were circulating online.  As soon as I noticed, I jumped into my Prius.  At the gas station, I discovered a line with 7 vehicles waiting.  So I joined in, patiently waiting while listening to the radio and eating the snack I had brought along.  Sitting there not using any gas didn't cause much concern for me, and I knew I could drive a great distance on a full tank having a hybrid.  But I wondered what others thought.  When a pump opened, the next person politely took their turn and paid just $1.69 per gallon.  It turns out, those efforts were almost counter-productive.  Prices never went up.  In fact, the only thing that would have caused that was the rush for everyone to fill their tank.  Something like that really makes you think.  Continuing to help spread knowledge about the hybrid I have is helping to prevent a real shortage from ever happening.

9-11-2001

Tire Photos at 19,759 miles.  I required a distraction from the tragedies.  It was beautiful outside and unusually quiet (no airplanes flying).  That was the perfect excuse to finally take tire photos.  So I did.  Now you'll find photos of the front tires with my new full-size spare placed next to them for comparison.  The tread depth is very clear to see.  Also, there's a photo of the spare in the trunk showing you how well that bigger tire & rim fits.  photo album 22

9-11-2001

Why is traffic so bad?  I don't mind unexpected waits at all.  MPG goes way up in that stop & slow traffic.  I enjoy lack of engine vibration, and the silence is filled with my favorites songs on CD.  But this time, it bothered me that I couldn't figure what the cause was.  When I got to my desk at work, it was rather obvious... terrorists!  Everyone, except me, was more concerned with listening to the radio than keeping traffic flowing.

9-10-2001

"The Great Green Giveaway"  I got my a sweepstakes number in the mail.  Then I went to my local Toyota Parts Center to check it.  The number wasn't even remotely close.  I didn't win a Prius.  Bummer.

9-10-2001

Flashback!  The air was crisp.  The morning sky was a brilliant blue.  I felt great.  That made for a very powerful reminder of last Fall.  I had an incredible time then.  Those memories will always make me smile.  My dad and I had discussed significantly improved vehicle technology since the late 70's.  At that moment, I was literally sitting at the wheel of the future.  Prius fulfilled those dreams.  That's pretty sweet!

9-08-2001

Another Hybrid.  The Honda Civic hybrid was announced a few days ago, sales will begin in December in Japan and sometime this Spring in the US.  The design & purpose is very different from Prius, but it's inevitable that people attempt to compare anyway.  Prius is a Hybrid-Electric SULEV and the Civic will be a Hybrid-Gasoline ULEV.  That means the Civic won't be able to run on just electricity and won't have as low emissions, but it will still get significantly better mileage and will be significantly cleaner than traditional vehicles.  The technology simply isn't as "far reaching" as Prius.  That's ok.  Many people may find that aspect appealing.  Prius does incredibly well in slow, heavy traffic highway commutes.  That's why I like it so much (especially during the Winter here in Minnesota).  I can drive up to 42 MPH without the engine running, even while the heater is on.  Civic won't be able to do that, but it'll have a unique strength of it's own.  So people will have to seriously consider their driving needs before purchasing a particular type of hybrid.

9-08-2001

44.1 MPG overall for the first year.  The entire diverse range of seasons here in Minnesota are represented in that value.  During the worst part of Winter, it dipped all the way to 34.1 MPG (which is considerably better than any traditional vehicle was able to get).  With the very pleasant late Summer weather right now, I just got 50.1 MPG.  And to top that, the second year is going to be even more rewarding: the bearings and engine are broken-in now. 

9-08-2001

One Year Later.  Whoa!  A whole year has went by.   That's amazing!  I've driven 19,665 miles with my Prius through every road condition Minnesota could throw at it.  Everything went great.  I haven't had any trouble and I've had a blast doing it.  On a side note, I also drove 1,097 miles with my Taurus.  That kept the tires from going flat and kept me in-check.  By occasionally driving that car, it was a very real reminder of what traditional technology is like.  It forced me to remember how things still are for most everyone else.  So, naturally, the result was to promote the Prius as much as I possibly could.  Hybrids are so much better, there's no comparison.  I want everyone to be able to eventually have one of their own.  Then we'll all be using much less non-renewable resources and emissions will be significantly reduced.

 

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