Prius Personal Log  #183

February 27, 2005  -  March 7, 2005

Last Updated: Sat. 4/09/2005

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3-07-2005

Not in America.  Though relevant in Canada, this quote printed today is definitely not accurate for the American market: "The Ford Escape was first introduced in 2001.  Since then, it has sold very well and it continues to do so today."  Here, sales of Escape were so poor at one point that Ford really struggled to figure out where to produce the hybrid.  Then came along the idea to make it bigger and more powerful, which eliminated the possibility of them using THS... since it wasn't designed for that heavy of a load.  And of course, with the rise of gas prices and the anti-SUV crusades (remember WWJD?), the appeal of Escape has grown to the "sold very well" level only very recently.

3-07-2005

$53.89 per barrel.  Remember when oil was cheap?  It's hard to believe we saw prices in the 30's not too long ago.  In fact, it's getting so bad I don't think anyone will believe it was that "inexpensive" so recently.

3-06-2005

Break-In.  Both of my Prius have seemed to reveal an improvement even at 30,000 miles.  So have no idea if there is more to expect.  Nor do I care.  Just seeing that MPG in the mid 50's is plenty for me.  By the way, today was the first day in months that the temperature got all the way up to 61 F degrees, though it was rather brief... only a few minutes, in fact.  The stealth was absolutely wonderful!

3-06-2005

TSB EL002-05.  I got hit by that one just last week.  It's quite consistent the first few minutes of driving.  The software fights to figure out what the heck the firmware is doing.  It finally does, about 9 minutes or so into driving.  (The timing is shorter is the car is already warmer up.)  Then all is fine after that.  Highlander & Land Cruiser have the identical issue.  So right now, Toyota is replacing the entire unit under an exchange program.  All the dealer has to do is verify the problem.  Once they do, they can order you the revised model at no charge, as long as they send back the defective one.  Otherwise, corporate sends them a bill, since the engineers want your hardware to study.

3-06-2005

Prius DVD.  I finally finished the creating the DVD (that I've wanted for ages).  Hooray!!  Now I am totally exhausted.  Watching the same video over and over and over again...  Editing to the point where I'm going to scream...  Finding out that I have to capture the dang segment "just one more time"...  Watching the disc build corrupt itself...  Burning...  Verify...  Ahhh!  In other words, it was one heck from the usual routine.  Phew!  Needless to say, that strive for perfection paid off big time.  I am absolutely delighted with the way it turned out.

3-05-2005

"Spite" Button.  The television has become wonderful lately.  The anti-hybrid crowd pretty intensely fought the value of the "Power" button, stating it had not real appeal.  Now that I'm seeing it advertised as a cool new feature in luxury vehicles, I can't help but to feel spiteful.  I'll try to behave, but it sure is tough.  Pushing it (with the fob still in my pocket) rather than having to deal with a key makes it just way too easy.

3-05-2005

Car Like.  Have you noticed the wording in the newest Ford Freestyle commercials?  They're stressing the "car like" appeal.  That's a subtle move against the way they used to advertise back in 2003, since their own SUVs clearly cannot compete with that.  The reign of the dinosaurs is finally coming to an end.  Ancient technology in vehicles so grossly oversized that the compromise safety is now becoming a thing of the past.  Yeah!

3-03-2005

SSC-40L.  There was the potential that the brake-light switch could eventually fail (in several Toyota vehicles, not just Prius).  So Toyota issued a recall on the switch.  Today, the dealer installed the new one in my Prius.  Now those sweet LED brake lights are guaranteed to shine whenever I step on the brake-pedal.

3-03-2005

It really was a problem.  That Multi-Display weirdness manifested itself a number of times over the past few days... but only when the Prius was first warming up, which was rather interesting.  And a new one appeared, the radio shutting off all by itself.  Anywho, I consulted with other owners online and found there was a TSB (Toyota Service Bulletin) for that exact situation.  In fact, the conditions described were so well documented that it was as if they wrote them for me.  Toyota did an excellent job of making sure the customers were well taken care of.  That TSB actually covered to other vehicles too: Land Cruiser & Highlander.  It's great to see how Toyota is using the same parts in other vehicles.  That will help to continue reducing the cost of Prius.  So now I wait.  I'm at the dealer right now, catching up on log entries.  I'm curious as heck how long it will take them to diagnose the problem and how they'll respond.  After all, it isn't everyday that a customer comes it with photos of the problem.  But I did.  I had one of the temperature missing and another of that "check connection" message.

3-02-2005

$53.05 per barrel.  The continuous climb of oil prices is nearing the all-time record high.  Interestingly though, the price of gas isn't.  In fact, the price per gallon is unusually low right now... about 20 cents lower than you'd expect.  So it must be true.  People are not panicking about prices anymore.  They have actually grown accepting of the permanent increase.  In other words, it worked.  The industry knew if they could prevent spikes, the higher prices wouldn't generate a negative backlash like it did just repeatedly a few years ago.  It makes you wonder what kind of an effect that has had on the way people drive now.  Obviously, they haven't all purchased hybrids.  But that could explain the popularity of new vehicles like Scion.  Having one of them to offset the operational costs of a monster-size gas-guzzler would make a lot of sense... in our crazy world that depends heavily on the price of oil per barrel.

3-02-2005

Ageless Online.  I often forget about the physical attributes of those I communicate with online.  None of the 20th Century stereotypes or prejudice mean anything to me.  I couldn't care less.  In fact, I believe in exactly the opposite.  Being such a die-hard Star Trek supporter, I thrive in the differences people have.  That's actually a draw.  Getting to hear about their point-of-view is quite intriguing.  But every now and then, I get really caught off guard because of that.  When I encounter someone with very similar qualities, I just assume they are like me.  That familiar nature makes it quite a natural path to follow.  So when I make a discovery, it is very rewarding.  Today's was finding out one of my friends was actually from a totally different generation.  He was the very same age as my mother.  Cool!  I had no idea.  It's really amazing the things you can find when you let go of preconceived beliefs.

3-01-2005

February Prius Sales.  They more than doubled from last year.  The total came to 7,078... which I believe is actually a monthly record too.  That's pretty darn good for the shortest month.  Do you think that single commercial during the SuperBowl was the cause?  Something certainly sent a lot of people to my website.  The new ad campaign that just started will really have an impact then.

3-01-2005

Pessimistic Attitude.  Some figure the "good old days" are lost forever, having no expectation of them ever returning.  And it doesn't seem to be any particular generation either.  Whether they experienced those times firsthand or just heard about them, the attitude is the same.  Why?  Am I so rare that only I believe things will get progressively better, that someday we really will overcome the political & economical nonsense we are currently having to deal with?  Yes, it takes a very long time, but it is certainly something to hope for.  Just look at Prius.  When I got it, I clearly stated it would take a minimum of 4 years before the mainstream consumer would take it seriously.  Well now in year 5, it is pretty obvious that the patience was definitely worth it.  Prius is rapidly growing in popularity.

2-28-2005

Still Full.  I couldn't squeeze anymore gas in the tank even if I wanted to.  (Topping off is never accurate.)  So it looks like the short month of February has forced me to end the month-end data gathering a bit premature.  I'll have to settle for the fact that I filled up 2 days ago instead.  Oh well.  I was cold the last 2 days anyway.  That would have only brought the statistics down.  Now that distance (86 miles) will have to be counted toward the much warmer month of March instead.  Oh well.

2-28-2005

Multi-Display & Speed/Odometer photos.  I needed some for that update to the User-Guide.  So naturally, it was a safe bet expecting them to eventually show up on a webpage too... photo album 92

2-28-2005

Ahh!  What's Wrong?  I didn't panic.  But I wasn't too thrilled by what I saw.  Nothing!  The distance in the average section of the Consumption Screen was missing.  Then it finally appeared.  Why?  I had no idea.  But since the Prius was running just fine, I started my drive home.  It really bothered me though.  So I tried to switch the Multi-Display over to the Energy Monitor.  Nothing.  Then a second after I had removed my finger, the button turned green.  Then another second later, it switched to that screen.  No arrows.  No charge-level.  Just spinning wheels on the empty template.  What the heck?  I'm a programmer.  So debugging a computer problem is no big deal.  I tried a few logical things.  Turning on the radio via the dashboard button worked fine, and so did adjusting the volume.  Nothing appeared on the Multi-Display though.  So I started testing the steering-wheel button.  Nothing, not even a beep... until I got to the temperature button.  One of the last I tried, naturally.  The Multi-Display suddenly flashed a "check the connection of the air conditioner" message.  That's it!  I suddenly remembered the "Climate" button near the Multi-Display was the last button I had pushed before shutting off the Prius this morning.  Now the screen was acting really, really sluggish... as if it was getting overloaded with input.  Yup!  That was it.  The moment I touched that button it became obvious it was stuck in the pressed position.  Sure enough, the moment I released the Multi-Display snapped back to the fully operational state.  Phew!

2-28-2005

$51.75 per barrel.  The price of oil is still rising.  I wonder how high it will go this time.  Hmm?

2-28-2005

It Happened!  I wondered how long it would take.  The demand for a full-feature forum for Escape-Hybrid finally coalesced.  The founder of the small Yahoo group had discovered that their are certain anti-SULEV and anti-FULL hybrid supporters that take advantage of the weaknesses that basic forum structure (broken threads, text-only format, etc.) allowed.  He has also discovered that the massive Escape group (+9,000 members) is very, very anti-hybrid.  They use every subtle technique available to undermine the success of any hybrid related topic.  By the way, this is what I accused them of back in December.  I got branded as a troublemaker.  So I left.  2 months later, the same nonsense is happening to others... proving I was right!  Vindication is bittersweet though.  I wish there weren't people that fear change so much.  Anywho, you have no idea how much of a blessing http://PriusChat.com is until you try to provide support for a hybrid that doesn't have a full-feature forum available to them.  It's awful.  He figured that out.  So when I got word to him that a full-feature forum was in the works for Escape-Hybrid, the idea was immediately & fully embraced.  He was struggling to create one himself.  The one already being setup was looking for someone to help establish it, an owner of that hybrid to draw attention to it, to field the initial questions, and to encourage participation.  What a perfect union.  Sweet!  The full-hybrids are definitely going to benefit from the full-feature forum.  After all, why settle for "part" when you can have "full"?

2-28-2005

Weight.  The weight of the complete "hybrid battery system" for the Original Prius was 167 pounds.  The battery itself was 125 pounds.  That's a difference of 42 pounds.  I hadn't even thought of looking that up until someone else pointed it out today.  The difference for the Classic Prius was just 4 pounds (system: 114, battery: 110).  The difference for the HSD is apparently so small it isn't even listed.  That probably that means it's less than 1 pound... too little to even bother mentioning.  So I have both listed as 99 pounds.  The fact that the controllers & connectors weighed so much more in the past is of no surprise.  Just like with most computer systems, weight of circuitry has been reduced significantly since the mid 90's.

 

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