Prius Personal Log  #176

January 28, 2005  -  February 1, 2005

Last Updated: Fri. 2/18/2005

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2-01-2005

Lexus RX 400h.  The "official" launch was today.  Sales begin in April.  The details about this hybrid are pretty existing.  It's obviously fast, blazing fast in fact.  You get 268 hp (200 kW) overall.  That's a heck of a lot of horsepower, far more than I've ever needed.  The torque is will impress even the doubters.  The reason is there is a rear motor, something the current SUV hybrid doesn't offer.  It is called "MGR", providing 68 hp (50 kW) & 650 lb-ft of torque.  The other motor, which works just like the big one in Prius, provides 167 hp (123 kW) & 247 lb-ft of torque.  But my favorite aspect is the emissions rating, it's SULEV.  Naturally of course, you can increased efficiency too.  28 MPG is the estimated combined value.  As for the battery-pack, it uses the same modules as Prius, only there are more.  It provides 288 volts to the hybrid system, which converts and steps it up to 650 volts.  In other words, this system is destined to be a popular one.  The configuration is what many have been longing for in a powerful hybrid.

2-01-2005

That Nasty Article.  ABC News picked it up.  I was pretty upset seeing it the first time.  But seeing the same misleading crap (from 1-26-2005) published again for a different audience, that's just plain nasty.  I thought last year's articles were bad, when incorrect conclusions were made about misunderstood data.  Now, this group knows exactly what it is doing and what the effects of their dishonesty could lead to.  That's really disturbing.  I wonder what's next.

2-01-2005

Off to a good start.  49.6 MPG is what the Multi-Display showed as I pulled into the driveway this evening.  That's a darn good way to start out this new month.  I can't wait to see how it ends.  With efficiency like that already, seeing over 50 MPG all Summer long (despite the E10 gas and the high-traction tires) will be pretty much effortless.  Cool!

1-31-2005

January MPG.  The average for the month worked out to 42.1 MPG.  Phew!  I was worried it would lower.  Fortunately, we had a warm spell at the last moment, hence a sudden climb.  Now there's have 2 months left, wondering how low that dip will go on the graph for 2005.  The cold will eventually go away, right?

1-31-2005

Diesel Desperate.  This quote posted today by an outspoken anti-hybrid person was blatantly desperate, "It is still a very successful selling power train in the other 45 states".  But since that very same misleading pro-diesel (non-hybrid) comment has been used by him repeatedly and I refuse to give him the attention he wants, I'll just vent in a log entry instead.  Sales of diesel vehicles are limited by a quota, plain & simple.  There is no magic to that.  It is a set amount that the EPA does not allow them to exceed, due to their horribly high level of NOx (smog) emissions.  There is no actual way to judge actual success, since unlimited sales were impossible.  But the part that is outright deceptive is the fact that a total of only 35,000, spread among all of the diesel vehicles VW offers, were sold in the United States last year.  That's it!  The number 53,991 is "insignificant" when he discusses last year's Prius sales.  But the smaller number of 35,000 for the entire diesel offering is somehow considered "very significant".  That's clear evidence of desperation.  Go Hybrids!

1-31-2005

Looks good... on Paper.  This quote today prompted a response, "Biodiesel is a superb answer to fossil produced diesel fuel."  My question is: Where?  Biodiesel is that solution that has yet to materialize as anything beyond a novelty... due to the usual holdbacks (politics & profit), naturally.  Until biodiesel itself, the cleansing hardware, and the additive required to allow you to exceed a 20-percent mix in the winter all become both readily available and competitively priced with a PZEV gasoline hybrid, forget it.  Remember, ethanol is a bio fuel (grown rather than drilled) too.

1-31-2005

Pollution Alert.  The air is ripe, filled with dangerous emissions.  People here (the metro of Minnesota) with breathing-related problems are being told to avoid going outside.  That's not good.  Clearly, hybrids (the clean kind) are needed immediately.  And that's just to prevent any further damage.  But unfortunately, that isn't going to happen overnight.  It's going to get worse.

1-30-2005

Mixed Messages from Nissan.  Chief Executive of Nissan Carlos Ghosn said the following about hybrids today, "They make a nice story, but they're not a good business story yet because the value is lower than their costs."  That's the antiquated short-term thinking philosophy.  Why invest in the future when you can have quarterly profit now?  Yet, they are doing it anyway.  Their Altima sedan will offer the HSD system in less than 2 years.  What exactly is he trying so say about that value?  Is it really a sincere attempt to deliver a hybrid or just a "me too" strategy.  I'm definitely getting mixed messages about their intentions.

1-30-2005

Yet Another Payoff.  How about that!?!  I have benefited yet again from playing offense.  By having fought such a fierce battle 2 months ago, staking a very clear claim that "full" hybrids were superior to "assist" hybrids, I have made my intentions easy to understand.  Rather than people questioning my loyalty, they take it for granted.  Normally, routinely pointing out Toyota design features on a group for Ford enthusiasts would be considered an attempt to sway readers to the competitor.  But since those readers unmistakably know that my loyalties are for "full" hybrids, they welcome my presence.  An endorsement from a Toyota person in support of Ford would be a bit strange in the traditional world.  But now with hybrids, where totally new approaches are being adopted, it actually makes sense.  My intentions in favor of the "full" design are clearly understood.  So efforts to promote it are encouraged.  In other words, I have successfully forged an allegiance beyond brand.  Cool!

1-30-2005

FEH.  I sure am hearing that abbreviation an awful lot now.  Do you think it is an attempt by the hybrid folks to distance themselves from the traditional?  The name "Escape" is attributed to a SUV that is efficient, but nothing to ever brag about.  But the "Ford Escape Hybrid" actually is.  It has much cleaner emissions too.  I think those enthusiasts have discovered they need to do something significant to avoid the stigma Civic-Hybrid is currently struggling with.  Interesting.

1-30-2005

Calling it a Car.  I have noticed how some still absolutely refuse to call the Escape-Hybrid a truck (or even a SUV).  Calling it "car" every chance they get is not helping to sell the new image.  It's the same nonsense we had to deal with before the hybrid existed.  When will they learn that in order to make change occur, you actually have to do things differently?  And yes, I noticed that when I posted a message stating the belief a SUV is a car makes the person a "victim of very effective marketing" it was quickly deleted by the moderator.  I also remember how the auto industry mocked Toyota for creating the RX & Highlander SUVs using a car chassis, rather than a truck.  The competition clearly stated why that was a terrible thing to do to a SUV, in which they never followed suit.  It is a truck, not a car.  And since it was awarded "Truck of the Year" for 2005, I rest my case.

1-30-2005

SUV misnomer.  "Sport Utility Vehicle" is clearly a marketing term.  Yes, the ground-clearance, suspension, and tires all blatantly prove the vehicle is a truck, not a car... hence being in the EPA truck category for MPG regulations.  But the fact that it is used almost exclusively for the same purpose as a car negates any benefit from those truck components.  Why do you need them to drive to work, and the grocery store, and the bank, and the movies, etc.  Where does "sport" or "utility" ever come into play?

1-29-2005

Navigation System Upgrade.  While in my friend's 2004 Prius today, we played with the Navigation System.  He had it set to speak & display in French, rather than English.  So I was curious as heck what that would make the "Nav Lady" sound like.  It was quite entertaining to hear, but seeing those translated words is not what caught my attention.  I had noticed something different on his screen.  Being only 6 months newer of a model, I was surprised and a bit disappointed.  I wonder if I could get that as part of the free upgrade Toyota is providing.  Hmm?  It appeared as though his display options for split-screen view were greater.  And sure enough, when I checked mine I confirmed that was the case.  He had 2 more available, a basic "3D" view and a "Next 3 Street" view.  That second one looked pretty handy.  But I have already grown fond of the split-screen view that simply allows you to zoom at 2 different scales simultaneously.  Regardless, it is nice to see how quickly Toyota provides improvements to their already impressive features.

1-29-2005

Reverse Beep Discovery.  We now have a suggestion for those that couldn't get the beep to disable.  A friend of mine with a 2004 Prius stopped by my place today.  We changed his oil, then (with great determination) attempted to figure out way the heck he couldn't get his reverse-beep disabled.  After countless attempts on his Prius, we jumped into mine to do some comparing.  Very first try it worked.  That got us both rather flustered.  Being software programmers, we're suppose to be good at debugging stuff of that nature.  Well, believe it or not, we actually did.  Our strong-willed (stubborn) nature paid off.  We discovered something no one else has ever mentioned.  Yeah!  The missing step was right after the first one.  After you switch to the odometer/trip-meter to display "ODO", you must actually drive at least 1 mile with it that way so an increment to the number shown on the odometer is triggered.  It makes a whole lot of sense that an ODO trigger would be needed if the owner hadn't recently driven with that setting active.  Needless to say, the method in which we discovered that should be obvious.  We went for a drive to clear our minds.  And sure enough, the very first attempt after that worked perfectly.  Figuring out why was pretty easy then.  We'll probably never figure out what the full criteria actually is (like how long ago you had to of had it on ODO), but this very clearly provides an option that previously hadn't ever been suggested.  So if your initial attempts fail, there is now something else to try.  Cool!

1-28-2005

Studying History.  Well, it's about dang time.  People are overwhelming now acknowledging the fact that Prius was actually introduced in 1997, not 2000.  Those "America Only" blinders have finally be removed.  Yeah!  However, there is still a bunch of studying to do before really understanding what all that history really means, as in this reply to that effect today...  Now that you've seen a HSD Prius (2004+), you need to study the CLASSIC (2001-2003) model.  Then when you a good handle on those differences, take a close look at the ORIGINAL (1997-2000) model.  I'll certainly enjoy studying the Escape-Hybrid, since it obviously blurs the lines among the Toyota hybrid generations.  The technology nowadays is better, and Ford was able to take advantage of some of the real-world feedback Prius owners already provided.  So the first generation from Ford is naturally going to be more refined than Toyota's first.  But the part I'm most interested about is how the future will play out.  It's not a matter of if improvements will come, it's when.

1-28-2005

The Attacks Continue.  It has been really interesting watching the activity on that hostile forum I stopped participating on last Summer.  The host has to routinely delete the really offensive posts and remind people to remain on-topic.  Originally, those attacks were on me.  Now they are on those that filled my shoes.  Bummer.  The same anti-hybrid people use the same techniques for pushing their beliefs and causing trouble.  That's really sad.  I wonder why they fear change so much.  Hmm?

1-28-2005

Prius Everywhere!  Seeing them almost every time I drive now is fantastic.  And it isn't a matter of seeing just one.  I can sometimes be treated 4 or 5 of them (combined Classic & HSD).  I can't imagine how excited I'll be by the end of the year, getting the occasional glimpse of another hybrid from Toyota on the road... that isn't a Prius!

1-28-2005

Remember When ?  It will only be a few years from now when people look back at those huge boxes that sat on their desk wondering how those could be referred to as computers.  Something so large, heavy, and definitely not portable is totally impractical... by future standards.  It's the way Prius owners are already beginning to look at the world.  Not having a touch-screen on your dashboard is absurd.  How can you possibly know what the heck the vehicle is doing?  Well it turns out, people don't.  They have no idea what they are missing... much like having access to the internet anywhere you are at any moment you desire... like with the newly emerging generation of computers.  Then of course, you have the silly nature of vehicles that run endlessly, without any way of shutting off the engine when it isn't needed.  See where I am going with this?  In the not-too-distant future are children are going to be asking us to remember when.  They will be fascinated with the way things used to be, wondering what that life would have been like without out all the "modern" conveniences.  And you thought the VCR was a revolutionary invention.

 

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