Prius Personal Log  #184

March 8, 2005  -  March 13, 2005

Last Updated: Sat. 4/09/2005

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3-13-2005

Only where it's safe.  The trend is becoming blatantly obvious now.  The anti-SULEV people only prey on the weak forums.  On the strong ones (lots of well-informed members) they don't bother even trying on... because they know they'll get.  Yesterday, I had the opportunity to post the same reply to the same question.  Someone mentioned the "benefits" of Accord-Hybrid.  I quickly pointed out that there is no smog-related emission benefit at all.  Many of the non-hybrid Accords share the same ULEV rating, and some are even cleaner than the hybrid.  On the weak forum, that resulted in an attack.  They claimed SULEV made no difference, ULEV was "clean enough".  On the strong forum, nothing.  They simply ignored what I stated.  Well, too bad.  I'm doing my best to make the benefits of SULEV known.  It's quite a bit cleaner than ULEV.  Of course, PZEV is even cleaner (since it is SULEV with evaporative emissions also significantly reduced).  And if you haven't figure it out yet, Prius has a PZEV rating.

3-13-2005

Demand.  Today's anti-hybrid quote is, "Toyota has had over 4 years to find a way to match production to demand."  Naturally, I had something to say about that...  Completely dismissing the differences between THS & HSD is not objective.  THS was costume built to fit Prius.  HSD was designed to be shared throughout the entire fleet of vehicle types.  Obviously, that requires an investment of time & money to do that.  Quite a bit of time & money was required to deliver an entirely new body too.  Expecting the Toyota to deliver all that to a profitable level in just 1 year is absolutely absurd.  Also, don't forget that the bottleneck wasn't and still isn't Toyota.  Originally, it was the battery production capacity of Panasonic, along with the legal restriction caused by the Ovonic's battery lawsuit.  Now that the lawsuit is settled, Toyota has negotiated higher volume with Panasonic.  Expecting that to happen in less than 1 year is economically impossible.  That money to increase production capacity (facilities, materials, and workers) has to come from somewhere.  Patience.  Forcing people to change by giving up their SUVs and making them drive slower is completely unrealistic.  And it will do nothing at all to reduce NOx (smog) emissions.  A gas-guzzler that uses less gas by driving less is still very, very dirty.  A hybrid SUV that both saves gas and delivers a SULEV emission rating is dramatically cleaner.

3-12-2005

Pathetic Comments.  Watching a local television special on the national autoshow currently in Minneapolis, they disappointed me to the extreme.  Their comments about MPG were absolutely pathetic.  All they did was point out a Kia that was capable of delivering 33 MPG.  There was simply no mention of about hybrids at all.  But they did devote quite a bit of the show to very large & powerful vehicles.  It's a really sad new trend emerging.  People are lowering their standards.  Just last year, people were complaining about Prius only delivering MPG in the upper 40's.  Now, they are singing praise to any vehicle capable of 30 MPG.  That's what I call pathetic.

3-12-2005

User-Guide Updates.  I'll keep doing them as long as people keep asking for new stuff.  It's where Prius owners can come for own collection of "stuff you should know".  Today's updates involved tweaking a few sentences and creating a big section for the internal hatch release (including 2 photos)... User-Guide

3-11-2005

Fearing the success of hybrids.  That latest GM commercial for the Saturn Ion hints at it.  The advertisement stresses the ability to drive great distances on a small amount of gas.  They compare it to an extreme, diverting as much attention as possible from hybrids by implying the only other vehicle capable of that is a moped.  That's sad... but true in a way, since they don't actually offer a hybrid.  The mindset is falling well into place with fear on the other end too.  I read posts recently on Edmunds about how people are arguing whether or not the Silverado pickup is a hybrid.  Someone even went to the extreme of asking if the Lupo, which does nothing but shutoff the engine at a stop, is a hybrid too.  That's really sad.  They are all attempts to draw attention away from the "full" hybrids, the ones that deliver a very dynamic range of abilities... well beyond just hybrid basics.  They avoid talk of design aspects at all costs.  They don't want people to know what the advantage is of having a Planetary-CVT and a second (much more powerful) electric motor.  But I do!  They should not fear the change, they should embrace it.  That certainly isn't what we've seen though.  That fear is a bit amusing though, since it does reinforce the claim that hybrids are in fact becoming successful. In the past, they were basically ignored or easily dismissed.  Fortunately, that isn't happening anymore.  Those against the full potential "full" hybrids have seem to be in engaged in continuous battles now, trying to keep that success from becoming too obvious.

3-11-2005

$54.43 per barrel.  Remember when oil prices like that were just a nightmare you could wake up from?  Now they are a reality.

3-10-2005

Goodbye Wasteful SUV.  Ford is beginning to heavily promote Freestyle, their new downgraded version of a SUV.  In other words, they now have a "fat wagon" too.  Those new advertisements stress how car-like the drive is, how it doesn't feel like a SUV.  Interesting, eh?  I never imagined the day when Ford would openly speak out against SUVs like that.  But they are now!  The day of the SUV is over.  Finally!  Now we'll go back to the old days, when there were only a few and they were reasonably sized.  The wasteful (and dirty) monster-size ones are quickly losing appeal.  There's simply no way to compete with another vehicle that isn't even a SUV.  The draw of being different is quite compelling.  Cool!  By the way, Freestyle is only available with a CVT.  That's another factor the old SUVs can't compete with.

3-10-2005

More Drilling Nonsense.  It is estimated that it will take 10 YEARS before any oil can be pumped out of the Wildlife Refuge in Alaska.  How exactly is that going to help us now?  Getting hybrids to market will take a fraction of the time, and it helps to actually reduce dependence on oil.  New drilling sites in Alaska won't really.  It simply taps a source we own, rather than someone else's.  Of course, why deal with a problem now when we can just dump it on our children later?  After all, it's not as if this so-called hybrids have already been built & sold since 1997.  Yes, I was being sarcastic.  There's simply no excuse.  In the United States alone, there is over 100,000 Prius driving around already, surpassing the count of every other form of alternative vehicle propulsion technology in existence, combined!  And it was the "Car of the Year" in 2004.  How can that have possibly been ignored as a viable solution, something not even worth mentioning in that speech about dealing with our energy needs?

3-09-2005

4 days since.  Speaking of hybrids (wink), I couldn't resist checking that problem forum.  Sure enough, the latest message gap was 4 full days without a single post about a hybrid.  They're anti-hybrid efforts are really paying off.  That's sad.

3-09-2005

Ignoring Hybrids.  The push for more oil is happening, again!  They just don't give up.  They keep pushing new bills through until one finally passes.  I'm really getting sick & tired of this administration turning their backs on hybrids. They made lame excuses years ago.  Now they are just blatantly ignoring them and just purposing more oil will solve our problems instead.  Today's intensified push to allow oil drilling in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge was just plain wrong.  Doing it in combination with the hybrid promotion would be an entirely different matter.  But they didn't.  Hybrids weren't mentioned at all. It's as if they don't even exist.  We all know that once gas hits $2.50 and stays there, the cost differential for technology like HSD disappears. And the emissions benefit should be obvious.  The disgusting quote from the president today was, "Developing a small section of ANWR would not only create thousands of new jobs, but it would eventually reduce our dependence on foreign oil by up to a million barrels of oil a day.  And that's important."  Hybrids will do exactly the same thing (plus they deal with the smog problem too).  The new technology will not only revitalize the automaker jobs locally, it will also reduce the oil dependence.  Why won't he admit that!?!  Why is he only promoting a single solution, rather than suggesting *BOTH* drilling & hybrids?  Why do we have to put up with this crap?

3-09-2005

$54.77 per barrel.  Growing tired of seeing it so high?  Get used to it.  There is no relief in sight.

3-09-2005

Battery Talk.  Honda & Ford use the D-cell design.  That type of battery-pack for the Accord & Escape hybrids are supplied by Sanyo, which is preparing to double production for them within the next 2 years.  In other words, HSD will retain that 2 generation lead for awhile still.  And as time goes on, it will become more obvious what the heat-management & energy-density advantages really provide.  I'm glad more people are taking interest in the greater detail now.  Hearing questions being asked today was a great step forward.  We are passing the fundamentals of design now.  Interest in specifics is growing.

3-09-2005

TSB EL002-05  &  LSC 40J  &  30,000 Mile - Service  All went well.  In fact, it (refer back to 3-06-2005) was surprisingly simple.  They just ordered the revised model for me last week and installed it today.  By the way, the behavior grew more erratic as time passed.  Though it wasn't awful.  And I'm quite glad it was replaced so easily.  They also did the NAV update and the 30,000 mile service (the "comprehensive" service, not including the oil change) at the same time... there was a catch though.  The service was scheduled to take so long, they offered to provide a rental vehicle.  It was a nasty vehicle that used 20th Century technology.  You don't realize just how spoiled you are with a Prius until you have to drive something so primitive.  I had totally forgotten just how smoooooth Prius was when you launch briskly from a dead stop.  I take full advantage of the by-wire accelerator in Prius.  Doing that in a traditional vehicle is quite different, the vehicle jerks forward in a very unpleasant way.  I made a discovery too.  The seats in Prius deal with keeping you warmer in the winter dramatically better than that rental did.  No wonder people ask me if Prius offers heated seats and I question why they would need that.  Anywho, the Multi-Display replacement was a very good experience.  I hope everyone else that has to deal with that now has an equally positive story to share afterward.

3-08-2005

No Patience.  Some want the ultimate goal immediately.  Ignoring real-world economics and scalability delays doesn't help anyone.  Step back and look at the big picture.  Consider long-term goals rather than jumping to conclusions based on present-day observations.  The status of Toyota by the end of 2010 looks much different from want you just described for today.  Think about it, and ask questions if you'd like some detail.  That's advice I have to share far too often.  Another is the problem caused by assuming only a single hybrid configuration available for each vehicle.  In reality, people will have a choice... later, just like they do now for traditional systems.  They can make the tradeoff decision between power/speed and efficiency for themselves.  The catch is you'll have to wait for them.  Expecting Toyota to deliver those choices upon the initial debut is quite unrealistic, especially when their plans are now to deliver 2 new hybrid vehicles per year.  That's dramatically more aggressive than any other automaker.... especially when you consider the fact that Toyota will still be offering the traditional version at the same time.  Patience.

3-08-2005

The Next Few Months.  It will be very interesting to see how the world of HSD plays out in the not-too-distant future.  The perception for many will be as if it was a natural occurrence, an industry response to the recent surge in oil prices made hybrids somehow magically appear.  They�ll simply have no idea how much resistance & opposition there was originally.  Oh well.  The goal will still be accomplished nonetheless.

3-08-2005

$54.59 per barrel.  When will the madness end?  Or... would a better question be:  Will the madness end?

3-08-2005

From the Brakes.  How many times have you heard this one?  Most reporters are causing problems by implying that electricity only comes from that solitary source... the brakes, which is absolutely false.  In a "full" hybrid, the majority of the electricity actually comes from regular driving.  The regenerative part is just icing on the cake, and it is much more than the current "assist" hybrids can provide too.  For example: The Civic-Hybrid only has a 10kW motor.  HSD Prius has a 50kW motor used for capturing electricity through braking.  Clearly, HSD Prius has a significant advantage over Civic-Hybrid.  Far more electricity can be regenerated... even more than you expect, in fact.  That's very easy to prove too.  Just look at the improvement from the Classic model Prius, which had a 33kW motor for regenerating.  So you can imagine how little a 10kW motor actually provides from braking.  That's way generating (notice no "re" in that) is a fundamental part of the "full" hybrid design, always creating electricity when the engine is providing thrust to the wheels.  That way, you have lots readily available.  Relying on the brakes as a primary source is not a good choice; not much is available that way.

 

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