Prius Personal Log  #180

February 11, 2005  -  February 14, 2005

Last Updated: Sat. 4/09/2005

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2-14-2005

Caught in the Act!  That debate continued, even though my rebuttals had ended.  I wondered why.  He posted a constructive message that was clearly designed to make the worth of SULEV appear meaningless, a deliberate act to make the environmental (air-quality) aspect of Prius & Escape-Hybrid appear to have no value.  I figured out why, later on when I was checking the other forums that I monitor but don't post to.  There was that very same message.  From that group's perspective, it was totally out of the blue.  Not provoked in any way by that group, he attacked them... but it didn't appear that way.  It seemed innocent.  But when the same person does that over and over and over again, the pattern becomes obvious.  He was dropping bait (hence the term "trolling".)  Reusing the same message to see if he could stir up a debate there too is just plain wrong.  No one there asked for it.  He just arbitrarily posted it.  Sometimes you need to keep an eye on certain people.  Being observant can really pay off.  It wasn't me specifically he was after.  Posting to that other group, which I don't even participate on, made it obvious that he was looking for a fight and/or just craves the attention.  But I caught him.  I know.

2-13-2005

Rain & Snow.  It was actually warm enough here this afternoon to rain.  That brought back some exciting memories from the warm season.  Those tires I have work great in heavy water like that, squeezing it through the deep channels to prevent hydroplaning.  The rubber itself is somehow influenced by moisture too.  Handling is pretty impressive, despite the rain.  That changed on the way home though.  Over the course of the 3 hours I was out, the rain turned to a thick & heavy snow.  Driving on that was obviously slippery in comparison to the dry roads I've been on for the last few weeks, so naturally I triggered the ABS at the first stop I encountered.  Keeping grip on turns was a different story.  The tires work well for that.  Overall, it was quite an educational experience today... a Rain & Snow comparison I never thought I'd be able to ever do within such a short span of time.

2-13-2005

Changing the Rules.  As far back as I can remember, the only way to get a lot of legroom in a sedan was to buy an expensive one.  In other words, "full" price got you "full" size... "mid" price for "mid" size... "small" price for "small" size.  It was simply an unwritten rule in the industry, a way to help sell the higher profit vehicles.  Well, things have changed now.  Ford is making a big move to revitalize their car offerings.  Since the bottom is now dropping out in the monster-size SUV market (very high-profit vehicles) they, like many other automakers, really need to take a look at how cars are configured.  It's time to change the rules.  The new Ford 500 is the perfect example.  For just a "mid" price, you get a lot more interior seating room than you ever imagine.  That's a smart move, as choosing to offer a CVT is too.  It's about dang time.  Having to conform to obsolete design beliefs was really a pain.  I wonder how that will get some people to take a closer look at Prius.  There's more legroom than the length of the car would seem to indicate.  Change can be a very good thing.

2-13-2005

Like Sitting Still.  There is a new full-feature hybrid forum already setup that is now starting to attract interest.  It's for Accord-Hybrid.  I told the Escape-Hybrid enthusiasts that was going to happen.  They got passed by like they were sitting still.  I wonder what is going to happen now.  Hmm?  They know they need a strong internet presence; otherwise, they'll suffer the same fate that Civic-Hybrid has.  That hybrid rarely gets mentioned anymore.  Prius, on the other hand, is enjoying overwhelming attention... thanks to several popular online resources for it feeding the fire, including a full-feature forum.

2-13-2005

MPG Passion.  Here's a bit more of my Pre-Prius history.  The MPG passion I had before "Miles Per Gallon" was the computer format of the same MPG name for digital-video.  Back in the late 90's, I stopped using my VCR for recording my favorite relaxation past-time: Music Videos!  You have no idea how rewarding that is... or perhaps you do.  Basically, MPG offers all the same advantages that MP3 does... except you can see the music too.  So the thought of losing that history (they stop playing most videos after awhile) was horrible... hence a better understanding of my obsession to document the early years of hybrid history.  It is guaranteed to be different later, just like the music now played on the radio.  Anywho, it was one heck of a challenge way back then trying to capture the highest bit-rate possible without causing the video to get out-of-sync with the audio.  The computer power back then was quite primitive by today's standard.  I really, really struggled with that.  But it turns out, I did a fantastic job.  Now that I'm done with the hybrid battles, I've turned my attention to converting those MPG files to DVD videos.  And believe it or not, they look pretty darn good.  So needless to say, when I do the same thing later for the Prius videos I have, the results should be equally pleasing.  That will be great!!  I've always wanted some type of "thank you" gift to give those that attend the hybrid gatherings.  Now I'll have one.  Sweet!

2-13-2005

Cross-Class Comparisons, part 2.  Another completely different way of looking at the situation is with respect to the relative size & power of the engine.  Calling a 2.5 liter and a 5.0 liter engine both ULEV because they both emit a specific quantity of NOx emissions makes no sense at all.  One is twice as big as the other.  So if the quantity was the same, that would mean the big one is only emitting half as much per unit of utilization as the other... making it twice as clean, from the engineering perspective.  In other words, the vehicle classes take that type of proportional relationship into account.  Comparing vehicles is a very difficult task.  Those fighting the success of hybrids know this, and take advantage of it.  Don't let them fool you.  Always question the merit of data that crosses a class... like comparing a compact-car to a midsize-car.

2-13-2005

Cross-Class Comparisons, part 1.  That has never been a good idea.  I was upset the very first time I read an article that compared Insight to Prius.  It just didn't make any sense.  What in the world did a tiny 2-seat manual-transmission hybrid have in common with a compact 5-seat CVT hybrid?  The answer was always, "they're both hybrids".  Well, that's just plain wrong.  Overlooking the fact that the hybrid systems literally have absolutely nothing in common, you see that the vehicles themselves don't either.  And now that HSD is beginning to be installed in other vehicles, you can completely eliminate drivetrain from the discussion.  That narrows the focus down to vehicle class... or so you would think.  But I forgot to mention that in a final deceptive act to win that emissions battle: They attempted to argue that class made no difference.  In other words, Escape-Hybrid, Taurus, Excursion, and F-150 could all be treated as if they were the same.  How does that make any sense at all?  A practical-size SUV, a sedan, a monster-size SUV, and a large pickup have totally different purposes.  So why would comparing them using a ULEV label make sense?  Why even bother with a label for that matter?  Why not just state the actual amount of NOx emissions?  The reason is that cross-class comparisons have never been honest, they are extremely misleading.  Just look at the mess the EPA has with MPG estimates.  Because they don't identify any categories beyond just "City" & "Highway", you have no clue what actually pertains to your particular situation... like climate.  In other words, generalizing is never appropriate.  The classes were established for a reason.  You can't just ignore them by grouping all vehicle classes together.

2-12-2005

Mild Winter.  For this tank, it has been above freezing all but the commute drive to work.  I even saw a temperature up to 48 F degrees for a little bit while running weekend errands this afternoon.  A mild Winter (here in Minnesota, anyway) sure would be a nice, and it certainly looks like that is exactly what we will end up getting.  That's make for great MPG.  Watching that lifetime value finally start to creep back up again will be a welcome change.  Each Winter doesn't have to be nasty.  A nice one every now and then is nice.

2-12-2005

Hmm?  I am now wondering what will happen now that I've left.  I was fighting a battle for the Escape-Hybrid enthusiasts, defending their belief in cleaner vehicles.  The two opposing that most vigorously were known for having other motives.  The one pretending to support Honda was actually endorsing ULEV to protect his interest in diesel & biodiesel.  On other forums, he is relentless with that interest.  But here, he didn't mentioned that.  But I know quite well that anything greater than ULEV is a difficult challenge for diesel and even harder for biodiesel.  So when I say SULEV is the minimum to support, he attacks... using every technique in the book.  But I know what to look for and how to respond.  So I said my piece and moved on.  The other was simply a die-hard defender of Honda, opposing anyone that says anything that could hurt their reputation as the "clean leader".  Well guess what.  Honda is moving away from that.  The monster-sized pickup they advertised several times during the SuperBowl last Sunday is clear proof of that.  That's the type of image they distanced themselves from in the past.  But not anymore.  Their latest hybrid supports that too.  It is just a ULEV.  That's it!  They already sell SULEV traditional vehicles, why not that hybrid too?  And why is their Civic-Hybrid that's SULEV only available in California & New York?  Both the AT-PZEV (which is SULEV with significantly reduced evaporative emissions, plus a longer warranty) Escape-Hybrid & Prius are available nationwide.  Why isn't Honda doing that?  I sure hope the upgrade of Civic-Hybrid is cleaner for everyone... which makes me wonder.  Will that Honda defender suddenly stop fighting if that actually does happens  Hmm.  Whatever the case, I am just an observer at this point.  I hope things go well over there.  I'll be devoting my time to the HSD enthusiasts now.

2-11-2005

Calculated verses Displayed.  There's always talk about what the difference actually is.  We all know the Multi-Display numerically rounds to the optimistic side, but few have details available.  I do, of course.  Here's what they are...  After 59,827 miles with my Classic Prius, the ultimate average for the Multi-Display would have been 47.5 MPG.  (To get that, you have to crunch the numbers for each of the documented fill ups.)  The actual calculated average, determined by pumped gas quantities rather than anything shown on the Multi-Display, was 45.4 MPG.  That difference is 4.4 percent, 2.0 MPG.  For my HSD Prius after 28,430 miles, the Multi-Display average would have been 49.9 MPG.  The calculated average works out to 48.6 MPG.  That difference is 2.6 percent, 1.3 MPG.  In other words, they are pretty darn close.

2-11-2005

Back in 1970.  I can't believe it!  He used the "cleaner than 35 years ago" argument!!  Too bad he didn't know about my log entry from a few days ago.  Oh well.  His claim was that the overall difference between SULEV and ULEV from that perspective is only 0.1 percent cleaner.  Needless to say, I quickly moved the discussion to a much more relevant perspective by stating...  There are 60 million new vehicles sold every single year worldwide.  That makes the 0.1 percent a very scary value.  With a volume that large, the seemingly insignificant difference is amplified to a scary level.  It's like saying just 1 penny isn't that much money.  But when 59,999,999 other people share their seemingly worthless penny, it becomes one heck of a lot of money.  And that's each year!  The new CARB emissions standards acknowledge this, just look at the new Tier-2 specifications.  Then take a look at the new European emission standards, which are just as strict.  Attempting to convince people that ULEV is clean enough is clearly not objective, especially since there are so many 2003 model vehicles available as ULEV:  Buick LeSabre & Park Avenue & Regal, Chevrolet Impala & Monte Carlo & Astro & Silverado, Chrysler PT Cruiser, Dodge Dakota & Durango & Ram, Ford Focus & Mustang & F-150, Honda Accord & Civic, Kia Spectra, Jeep Grand Cherokee & Laredo, Mazda Protege & 626, Nissan Altima & Sentra, Pontiac Bonneville & GrandPrix, Toyota Camry & Matrix & Sequoia & Solara, Saturn L100 & L200, Volkswagen Golf & Passat & Jetta & Beetle.  Yet, the smog problem continues to get worse.  SULEV is quite realistic.  In fact, some traditional vehicles already offer it.  What's wrong with wanting hybrids to be that clean too?  After all, you don't what to fool people into buying a ULEV hybrid with the misunderstanding that it is going help our air-quality... because it won't.  All the ULEV hybrids do is reduce consumption.  Their smog-related emissions are no better than many non-hybrid vehicles.

2-11-2005

Prius Drive-By.  As clear as day, there it was.  I was watching the news this evening.  On a story about the Minnesota State Highway Patrol, they showed video footage of a Patrol vehicle stopped on the side of a highway.  In the background I noticed a Salsa Red Prius approaching.  And sure enough, not only was it the "extra" that was given the most time on-camera, it was also the one that passed right by the vehicle they were talking about near the closing of the story.  I bet the camera-person did that intentionally.  It seemed just way too obvious.  Sweet!

 

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