Prius Personal Log  #167

December 18, 2004  -  December 21, 2004

Last Updated: Sun. 1/02/2005

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12-21-2004

Remembering the Past.  My first exposure to an Auto Show was way back in 1978.  Talk back then started with the popular new Dodge Omni (of which, I ended up owning one later).  It was a new vehicle that gave the "traditional economy cars" a run for their money.  In fact, it was so impressive it really got my attention.  We began discussions about future automotive technologies then.  The spark of excitement has kindled to a roaring fire.  In other words, I've been studying hybrid potential for just about 27 years.  It was interesting to hear about how the failed attempts of the past had shaped our present.  But it was the discovery of how the success came about that I was most interested in.  My research was firsthand.  I got to witness the market penetration of fuel-injectors, from the point of view of driving 3 vehicles that all routinely suffered from carburetor problems.  It became obvious that injecting fuel was a far better choice.  I got to witness the market penetration of front-wheel-drive, from behind the wheel.  The benefit was blatantly obvious on snow & ice.  I dreaded the times I had to drive a vehicle with rear-wheel drive.  And the introduction of ABS to the mainstream was a blessing from above.  Wow!  The control it offered when panic braking on snow & ice was unparalleled.  No manual pumping could ever compare with what the computer could deliver.  Another significant observation was when the automatic transmission evolved to the point where it could deliver greater torque than a manual transmission.  That resulted in the birth of the mainstream SUV.  And of course, I got to watch the birth of the minivan too.  It went from "I wouldn't be caught dead in one of those" to "Check out the minivan I just bought".  So the market penetration of hybrids is really just another step in the automotive history I've been witnessing.  Only now, the need for the technology is becoming rather urgent.  Reducing emissions & consumption is a big problem we currently face.  And that's why I do not see why merit of a technology should not be taken into consideration.

12-21-2004

Predictable.  I do find it rather amusing how predictable they have become.  It's the same old bunch of people repeating history again.  PRETENDING that the very same confrontation had not already occurred was quite expected.  They hope a new audience will see their views differently.  They also hope their lack of success on the previous attempt will not be discovered.  EVADING questions is the first clue.  They just plain will not reply when you ask them what they actually want.  FOCUSING on nonessential aspects of the discussion is an obvious attempt to prevent the big picture from being looked at.  They hope the purpose of the topic will be lost among their trivial chatter.  PERSONALIZING the discussion is when they reveal that they have become desperate.  Sticking to the facts has failed, so they try to make the victor appear to lack credibility.  It doesn't work anymore, because I already knew they were going to do that.  It's the same old story all over again.  So... I guess I can't really call that a prediction.  And you can't either, now that you know what to watch for.

12-21-2004

Purpose: Concluded.  Two of them did everything possible to evade the "state your purpose" question, even when asked again in a different and very direct way.  They knew I had them cornered.  All I wanted was them to do was admit that all hybrids are not created equal, that hybrids should be judged on merit.  They didn't.  The remaining did appear to actually answer.  He said his purpose was to defend Honda's honor, even though I never said anything bad about Honda.  (Remember, it's the "assist" technology, not the automaker.)  The technology is limited.  So only the short-term can be served by it.  Anywho, that single answer wasn't honest.  Bummer.  He's actually a very heavy supporter of diesel (yes, anti-hybrid), so he taunts a wide range of hybrid forums with those beliefs routinely.  (Those cross-posted messages all contain the identical text.  His hope is someone will respond to that bait he dropped, hence the label "troll" applies.)  So those few that are actually know this aren't too thrilled.  But most members on this forum weren't aware of that.  Regardless, the point was served.  The first step to progress is identifying the problem.  Clearly, that was accomplished by this effort.  So, now I can move on.  Finally!

12-20-2004

2005 Calendar.  Here's the first of the calendars for 2005 that you can download & print.  This particular one uses the 12 collages I created with favorite Classic photos... calendar "A"

12-19-2004

State Your Purpose.  It is the most simple of requests... which I've use to foil the only three remaining hybrid-owning troublemakers.  They all believe strongly that all hybrids should be treated equals, even if they deliver the same results.  Two is a fierce loyalist to Honda.  The other provides web-services equally for all the hybrid owners.  So it is pretty easy to see why my statements about "full" hybrids (being the better choice) do not make them happy... and haven't for years.  But the difference now is that they are losing the battle.  No more equal treatment.  Ford's move to embrace "full" hybrids makes the current & upcoming "assist" hybrids look bad.  Anywho, I asked them to state their purpose.  Both ignored the request.  They know I know them too well.  After reading each others posts on the many hybrid forums over the years, it's pretty obvious they believe strongly in unconditional equality.  I don't.  To me, that's like awarding everyone in the class an "A" just for completing their homework.  Sorry, in the real-world, it doesn't work that way.  Here, merit is based on results.  That means some won't get an "A".  So with my purpose, "To significantly reduce emissions & consumption in a reliable & cost-effective manner.", I am unwilling to compromise.  After all, why would I do that?  Two automakers have now demonstrated that "full" hybrid technology is in fact realistic.  In other words, when someone attempts slander, I rebuttal by asking them to state their purpose.

12-19-2004

10 Miles of Green.  Wow!  Despite the generous use of electricity (since cooling isn't a concern when it's only 14 F degrees out), the charge-level still remains high (in the green, that's 7 bars).  Having the engine run to keep the heat flowing means electricity will be generated too.  So you end up with a surplus (which is exactly the opposite of what the anti-hybrid people claim).  But to even my surprise, it is more plentiful than I had expected.  I didn't realize it could last 10 miles, especially with a brief jump onto the highway.  It did though.

12-19-2004

Upcoming Competition.  Clean-Diesel will soon be fighting to fill demand for better fuel efficiency.  So that current edge which "full" hybrids have now over "assist" hybrids will become even more pronounced.  (Sorry if that upsets anyone, but it is true.  Don't shot the messenger.)  There are a number of reports that already state how the HSD model of Prius edges out the current dirty diesel.  That means a retaliation of some sort is to be expected.  Those supporting the new cleaner diesel systems will definitely attempt to sway your attention away from hybrids.  However, the research clearly states that the addition of cleansing hardware will cause a minor reduction in efficiency and a large increase in cost.  So I'm not anticipating friendly encounters.  They are likely to be rather intense... a "last stand" for diesel, if you will.  Because by then, the #1 selling sedan in the United States (Camry) will be available as a hybrid with HSD.  That, along with several other new hybrids, will make the reasoning for diesel quite difficult.

12-19-2004

Early!?!  That absurd comment was made today about the status of hybrids.  PNGV & Japanese research to develop hybrids began 12 years ago.  Rollout of the first "full" hybrid began 7 years ago.  Rollout of the first "assist" hybrid began 5 years ago.  Sales of hybrids now total over 300,000 vehicles.  There is simply no way you can claim this is an "early" stage anymore.  The research is complete.  So complete in fact, that it clearly shows that "assist" hybrids cannot support our needs beyond the short-term.  What benefits are there of later adding a plug or a fuel-cell if the vehicle can't ever be driven using only electricity?  They are minimal.  That is not true for "full" hybrids, since prototypes of those setups have already proven it.  In other words, we are now dealing with issues that apply to a stage well beyond anything you could call "early".  The introduction is over.  Large scale rollout has begun.  Other automakers are now preparing to compete... which they should have done sooner.  So the word "late" is actually appropriate.

12-18-2004 Getting Colder.  This evening, the temperature dropped to just 7 F degrees.  Brrr!
12-18-2004

More Wallpapers.  Created 6 more photo layouts, now I have enough for a 2005 calendar... wallpapers 2

12-18-2004

What about the Future?  When looking at hybrids, most don't look to the technology's future.  They focus solely on what's available this year, since that is the technology they are considering for purchase.  That leads to a rather serious problem, because the infrastructure is at stake based on current investments.  And I'm not just talking about the economic survival of an automaker.  It's our dependence on imported oil, the finite supply of oil itself, and the increase of breath-relating problems caused by smog... especially since there are 60,000,000 new vehicles purchased worldwide annually.  Taking a look at the big picture, you'll find that "full" hybrids offer a clear path to the future.  Because they use a persistent electrical system, there is always an ample supply available.  That electricity is efficiently derived due to the inherent design of the PSD (Power Split Device).  So that electricity can be taken advantage of.  Not only can the propulsion be made increasing dependent on electricity, that electricity can be used for other things too, like for A/C.  This is not true for "assist" hybrids.  This rely on a passive electrical system, where regenerative braking is the primary source of electricity.  This works perfectly fine for modest use of the electric motor, but not much else.  More would require electricity created using forced-charge (an aggressive generating mode), which is normally avoided due to the efficiency loss.  In other words, there is no realistic way to improve "assist" technology beyond a threshold that "full" technology has already surpassed.  And the "full" technology offers significant potential beyond that too.  What future does "assist" technology provide?  None, based on the third-generation now available.  It will satisfy short-term wants, but not long-term needs.  That's why I keep emphasizing purpose.  People need to ask, "What about the future?", rather than getting preoccupied with only what is happening today.

12-18-2004

It's the Technology.  Geez!  Some people immediately jump to a conclusion assuming that if you say anything negative about a technology you are really trying to make an particular automaker look bad.  In other words, they take it personally rather than objectively.  Oh well.  You can only state "it's the technology" so many times.  And they always seem to overlook when you say positive about the automaker.  Today's outburst came from someone claiming we are putting "all our eggs in one basket" by endorsing only "full" hybrids.  In reality, that couldn't be more wrong.  The automaker can attach any engine, any motors, and any battery-pack they want to the system.  It is entirely their choice... just like they have now with automatic transmission vehicles.  Heck, they can even configure the PSD (resize the internal component to achieve different levels of performance) to there own liking.  In other words, the "full" hybrid design provides more flexibility than an automaker has ever had available.  That isn't true for "assist" hybrids.  The sharing of a single shaft restricts choices, as well as being less flexible in actual operation too.  So we really need to focus on the technology.  In fact, notice how I didn't mention any particular vehicle or automaker in this entry.  The system could be installed in any vehicle by any manufacturer.  And in the future, it will be.  The technology provides for a very wide variety of configurations, allowing many options for implementation and desired purpose.  So... don't jump to a conclusion, and certainly don't take it personally.

12-18-2004

Even the Best.  The guys on CarTalk are considered experts.  And I agree.  They are quite entertaining too.  However, they are not always well informed on everything related to automobiles.  Today on their radio show, they told us the only way to adjust the temperature inside a Prius was to press the buttons on the Multi-Display.  They even went to the extend of emphasizing the danger that entails by forcing you to take your eyes off the road.  That is just plain wrong.  There are up & down temperatures buttons on the steering-wheel, and they can be adjusted by just feeling for them with your thumb.  Neither the Multi-Display, nor sight, is actually needed.  They clearly weren't aware of that.  Even the best make mistakes.  I forgive them... this time.  Perhaps I should drop them an email.  After all, they've taught me a lot.  Now I have a chance to send a little knowledge their way.

12-18-2004

Not Again.  It never ends.  The same Honda owner keeps trying to convince people that "assist" hybrids will get better MPG in mixed driving that "full" hybrids.  Her objective of peace certainly won't be possible by claiming that.  The FreedomCAR study provides excellent data for this.  The 284,000 miles of data they collected from 4 Civic-Hybrids yielded a calculated average of 38.0 MPG.  The 380,000 miles of data they collected from 4 Classic Prius yielded a calculated average of 41.1 MPG.  That alone is enough to support the fact that her claim is doesn't match the data I've seen.  And that's without even pointing out the fact that their early results (only 16,000 miles of data collected so far) for the HSD Prius yielded a calculated average of 44.6 MPG... which I bet after break-in will climb above 45 MPG.  Should I also point out that the HSD Prius is a bigger vehicle too, or am I just bragging at that point?  Face it.  The facts show that the "assist" technology is both realistic and reliable; however, it is not proving to not be a cost-competitive solution.  The same cost delivers a "full" hybrid system which more efficient and cleaner too.  And of course, you cannot put a price on the endless praise stealth receives each year when the warm weather returns, which is a feature only available from "full" hybrids.  I wonder how long the convincing effort will continue.  Hmm?

 

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