Prius Personal Log  #151

October 2, 2004  -  October 8, 2004

Last Updated: Sat. 11/20/2004

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10-08-2004

$53.31 per barrel.  Are you worried yet?  You should be.

10-08-2004

No way to compare.  If people don't know what the traditional vehicle gets for MPG, how in the world are they going to judge the Accord-Hybrid?  Supposedly, the traditional version gets 21/30 (city/highway MPG) and the hybrid gets 30/37.  But on a test drive today, the results from the hybrid were 21/25.  That measurement would appear to be a little disappointing if it were the traditional.  But it wasn't.  It was the hybrid.  So that will be interpreted as absolutely awful.  Too bad they didn't drive the traditional through the identical course exactly the same way.  I bet those numbers would be shockingly low.  But they didn't.  So people will just assume... since they really have no way to actually compare.  That's sad.

10-07-2004

$52.67 per barrel.  Ouch!  It's getting ugly now.

10-07-2004

Change.  It's unfortunate that the "assist" term is not being adopted by the media and general public.  Honda is clearly falling victim to GM's annexation of the "mild" term.  I tried to help out by promoting Honda's preferred term of "assist", but that just wasn't enough.  The powers-that-be have diluted the original meaning of "mild" to now include a vehicle that does nothing but auto-stop.  At least the term "full" is working out well.  Both Toyota & Ford are harmoniously promoting it without any conflict at all and the media is understanding & using it properly.  I understand how the abuse of GM marketing would upset the Honda owners.  But since the Silverado provides to electric propulsion whatsoever, it should not be called a "hybrid" anyway.  That's what we should be fighting.  Actually, endorsing them by accepting their use of the "mild" label contributes to the deception they have started.  We need to be specific by always providing detail.  I recently read an article that used the term "soft" hybrid.  It's going to get confusing really soon (if not already).  Some want to call anything other than a traditional design a "hybrid", whether that makes any sense or not.  It's at least nice knowing that "hybrid" now holds value, but it certainly isn't helping anyone by coining all these new terms.  There is a value in identifying categories though.  A non-brand label is informative.  The hybrid types I created provides a plain-english summary of each category.  I avoided the term "mild", knowing it would become obscured later (hence my nagging to find out what others feel the requirements should be).  There are obvious simplifications, like step-up voltage and high-density storage, but you get the point.  The Silverado clearly shouldn't be in the same category as the Honda hybrids.  And the Honda hybrids clearly shouldn't be in the same category as Prius & Escape-Hybrid.  They operate differently.  Whether their objective is the same or not has absolutely nothing to do with it.  After all, the purpose of all vehicles is ultimately transportation.  So it's the design itself that people really want to know more about.  How it will operate while providing that transportation.  Look at it this way...  The gas engine in a traditional vehicle provides propulsion power.  And the electric motor in an electric vehicle provides propulsion power.  A blending of the two, for the purpose of transportation, is what justifies a hybrid.  Both provide some propulsion power.  But in the case of the Silverado "hybrid", the electric provides no propulsion power whatsoever.  So how can it possibly qualify as a hybrid?

10-06-2004

$52.02 per barrel.  Today's closing price was no surprise.  I wonder what tomorrow's will be.

10-06-2004

When?  At what point should we acknowledge an achievement?  Some read a newspaper article about an automaker's planned and immediate give praise.  I don't think that's right.  Those reports are usually quite vague, typically don't take the big picture into account, and they often contain speculation (which is sometimes based on misconceptions).  There are better times, but which is best?  Some say when the model year of the upcoming debut begins.  Some say when the debut of that vehicle itself occurs.  Some say when the second model year begins.  Some say when the first 100,000 are finally on the road.  Some say not until the technology is available on more than a single vehicle.  Timing is a rather important question, because we have already seen several examples of Japan-only and only-certain-states rollouts.  And of course, quantity available has been a very big issue too.  It's just like the "generation" label question.  Many fought me when I pointed out the facts that Prius is now on the third and that other automakers will label their "generation" with far fewer differences.  And sure enough, that's what's happening now.  In other words, past & future play a huge role in the way we should respond to present events.  When is a very important question.

10-05-2004

Malibu-Hybrid in 2007.  GM vice president of North American engineering, Jim Queen, stated the following today (and refused to elaborate), "It's interesting to watch Prius.  Some areas of the country are starved for the car and in others the car doesn't resonate.  So the true demand for hybrids isn't clear, but we'll be ready with hybrids in a number of vehicles".  As owners, we know for a fact that is an outright lie.  Rather than enduring the 6 to 9 month delivery wait, I know of a bunch of people that are willing to fly anywhere in the country to buy a Prius immediately.  None are to be had.  Finding an unclaimed Prius on a dealer's lot anywhere is next to impossible.  Just check the online forums to confirm that.  It's pretty obvious.  Regardless of the deception, at least GM is now admitting they are playing catch up with Toyota.  However (there's always a catch), they are claiming their mild design will be a better value that the full design.  What the heck does that mean?  Based on the data currently available, the prices will be the same.  How can "better" equate from that?  The full design is noticeably more efficient in mixed driving, and it is unquestionably cleaner (smog emissions).

10-05-2004

$51.09 per barrel.  There appears to be no end to the price climb either.

10-05-2004

Prius Effect.  Owners make quite a first impression on people sometimes.  I'm sure many on the receiving end of an on-the-fly presentation think we are just exaggerating.  But then when curiosity gets the best of them and they actually take one for a test-drive, they're hooked.  We've all heard that story before.  But along the way we have built-up massive resources online, like http://priuschat.com and my website.  When the curious finally discover all that's available too, Prius instantly jumps from what they thought was a "specialty" vehicle to one that is leading the way to the future.  Face it, as popular as Camry & Corolla are, they just don't stir emotion to the level Prius does.  And later on down the road when Camry & Corolla are equipped with HSD inside, everyone is going to turn to Prius for hybrid real-world performance data.  Feel the effect.  It's great!

10-04-2004

Prius Taxi of Vancouver B.C. Canada.  Andrew has done a fantastic job of squishing the battery-pack myth for us.  No matter how detailed of a description I provide about Toyota's power management system, some people still don't believe that replacement might not ever be needed.  His taxis provide proof by having already exceeded the distance they ever thought possible... twice!  332,000 kilometers (206,295 miles) were driven with his 2001 and close to 368,000 kilometers (228,664 miles) combined distance of the 2004 in his small fleet (4 Prius, I believe).  Here are photos of the 2 taxi Prius he's driven, if your ever wondered what a yellow Prius looked like... owner:  Andrew

10-04-2004

$50.73 per barrel.  That's double what oil cost two years ago.  Not good.  It put the price of a gallon of gas at $1.99 today.

10-04-2004

Home Now.  It feels wonderful to be back.  There is need for research on the hostile hybrid forums anymore.  They literally have nothing constructive left to say.  I'm pleased I waited it out to the bitter end... but even more pleased to be able to devote my time to helping out owners and wannabes instead.  Yeah!

10-04-2004

That Snowflake.  It made an appearance this morning.  The temperature was a nippy 37 F degrees, so that "road awareness" indicator illuminated.  It is a miniature image of a road with a snowflake superimposed over it, telling you it's cold enough for unexpected ice while you drive.  For those that live further south, I suspect that could be rather handy.  Freezing occurs on bridges before roads, so you could be surprised by a sudden slick spot.  But for me way up north here, it's just a change of scenery on the dashboard.  That indicator will come on and stay on throughout the entire cold season... because temperatures remain far colder than that for several months.  In other words, I know that Spring has arrived when it finally turns off.

10-03-2004

Info-Sheet update.  This was long overdue.  There were a few tweaks to the text recommended.  And I changed the 2 photos on the front to a Winter look.  But what was really needed was a newer speedo/odometer shot.  So, I got one and added it.  Hope you find the revisions helpful... Info-Sheet  2004+

10-03-2004

"Full" Hybrid.  Something is necessary to distinguish the design from others, without being brand-specific.  So, that's what I'll be using.  You'll find that new label proudly displayed on Prius documents from now on.  Today's update was to the... Mini-Sheet  2004+

10-02-2004

Winter Photos.  I'm still working on them.  The delay in publishing (6 months) is actually working out rather nice.  It makes me look well prepared for the upcoming cold season.  Quite honestly, I would have preferred to deliver them much sooner.  But what the heck.  It's not like I wasn't busy with other Prius stuff anyway.  Here's 21 "new" sticky snow photos from back in March:  photo album 82   photo album 83

10-02-2004

An "Aggressive" Goal.  I thought the 2016 goal for fuel-cell vehicles was absurd.  Now there is an automaker who has set a goal that makes it pale in comparison: "80 percent fuel economy improvement by 2030".  How can that possibly be considered aggressive?  Toyota will exceed that a passive rate in half the time.

10-02-2004

Battery-Pack Voltage.  There is yet another misconception growing.  Unfortunately, this one is actually being spread by someone promoting hybrids.  He is likely totally unaware of the problem.  Understanding the wide variety of differences between all the hybrid designs requires quite a bit of study.  So unless you are rather obsessive (I'll confess that I am), a difference of this nature could easily be overlooked.  His quote was about voltage of each battery-pack.  The belief was that the HSD version of Prius uses 500 volts.  In reality it is only 201.6 volts.  But the propulsion system itself uses 500 volts.  The misunderstanding comes from not being aware that the Prius inverter (which converts the DC electricity to AC) also steps up the voltage at the same time.  This provides greater flexibility with battery-pack management as well as increased efficiency.  It's a great setup that the other hybrids would be jealous of, if they knew about it.

10-02-2004

Government Assistance.  Someone asked why this hasn't happened yet.  They had no clue it already had.  It's amazing how history comes back into play years later to an entirely new audience.  Too bad that past isn't better known already.  That sure would help with the understanding of hybrids.  PNGV was a federally funded program to produce a 80 MPG family sedan, championed by Vice-President Gore.  One of the prototypes delivered 72 MPG, using a diesel-hybrid configuration and every weight-reducing trick in the book (including patio-style seats).  But shortly after this current administration took charge, they pulled the plug that program to establish the "FreedomCar" effort instead.  Needless to say, the original prototypes disappeared and absolutely nothing has resulted from the new one.  By the way, the refusal of allowing Toyota to join PNGV is actually what caused Prius to be created.

 

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