Prius Personal Log  #19

December 20, 2001  -  January 8, 2002

Last Updated: Sun. 8/05/2007

    page #18         page #20         BOOK         INDEX         go to bottom 

 

1-08-2002

Driving a Prius.  I had a tailgater following me.  I don't like when anyone is that close.  Maybe it was because I was driving a Prius and he just wanted a closer look?  Whatever the case, I was on a long ramp that merged with another before entering the highway, so I floored it as soon as the way was clear to provide extra room for easier merging.  That made the Prius smoothly shot off into the distance.  Maybe that shocked the tailgater to see me disappear so quickly?  He certainly wasn't paying attention to other traffic at that point.  A car merged so close beside him that even way down the highway I could see his headlights launch into the air when he hit the curb then come smashing down onto the median.  Neither vehicle stopped afterward, so I guess that guy was ok.  I bet he won't forget what he saw though.

1-08-2002

Power Climb.  The battery-pack was down to half from driving so much stealth right before parking.  I needed to climb 5 levels to exit the ramp.  When I started, both the engine and battery-pack provided electricity for the motor.  Upon reaching the fourth level though, modes automatically switched.  The engine revved up a little bit.  That was enough to send electricity to both begin recharging the battery-pack and feeding the motor to continue climbing without losing any power.  That was really amazing to realize that significant of a energy change could take place without feeling any performance difference.  Wow!

1-08-2002

48 F Degrees.  Whoa!  Last winter was so awful, my documented experiences made my Prius a prime source for cold weather performance information.  This year, I get to kick back and enjoy.  In fact, I can even wash the Prius and have more than just a few minutes see it clean.  It's actually warmer here in Minnesota than quite a few southern states.  Some of the northern states out east are buried in snow.  The weather system is so messed up that we are breaking all-time records over and over again.  Thank goodness hybrids are arriving help reverse the trend.

1-07-2002

Salty Car.  Ick!  What a mess!  Somewhere under that Winter filth is a beautiful collection of advanced propulsion technology with a shiny green finish.  I guess I'll have to wait until Spring to see it again.

1-07-2002

Time to talk about Taxes.  Deduction or Credit is a popular online discussion topic now.  Last year, hybrids were such a new concept that it was anyone's guess.  You simply couldn't get a straight answer.  This year, we still can't get any solid legal advice, but owners are now willing to stand their ground.  Justifying why they went claimed the Credit is much easier.  We know the intent of that money is to reimburse those bit that are willing to help lead the way toward expanding the acceptance of significantly cleaner technology.

1-06-2002

Green Prius sighting.  Another one.  Excellent!

1-06-2002

Winter MPG drop.  It's interesting to discover that some people never realized all vehicles get lower MPG in the Winter.  They always assumed the EPA ratings were a good measurement, not just a comparison under ideal conditions.  The multi-display in the Prius puts in-your-face information on-the-spot.  Most people never had that kind of detailed feedback immediately available, so they had no idea how their vehicle was actually performing.  Prius is a wake-up call.  Ignorance is no longer an excuse.  Yeah!

1-05-2002

2 hybrids in one drive.  On the way to the grocery store, I saw a Prius.  On the way back, I saw an Insight.  Cool!

1-05-2002

January Thaw.  Wow!  Once the temperature climbs above freezing (32 F degrees), stealth is remarkably easier.  I had fun silently driving around today (knowing that the weather won't stay this warm for long).

1-02-2002

Shut off already.  There was a train approaching.  I knew a long wait was on the way.  Sitting there silently was a pleasure I was looking forward to.  When I stopped, the engine started up.  I expected it to shut off quickly like it normally does; instead, it kept running and running.  What the heck?  I switched the multi-display over to the Energy Monitor.  Oh!  That explains the engine's behavior.  It was charging up the battery-pack.  I had forgotten that the last few miles had been driven almost exclusively using electricity.  (I guess I'm a bit spoiled by stealth now.)

12-31-2001

39.1 MPG calculated.  The reality of Winter has set in.  It was inevitable.

12-30-2001

Prius All-Season Screen-Saver.  It had been almost a whole year since creating the previous screen-saver.  And that one only included a single season.  In the meantime, four seasons went by and I've taken hundreds of new photos.  That offered an opportunity for building a new collection and doing a bit of reminiscing.  So I did!  45 photos were included in this one.  You'll be quite pleased with the scenery variety.  Take a look at the visual index and go for the download if you're interested:  screen-savers 3

12-30-2001

Honda Civic Hybrid.  The news of this upcoming hybrid is starting to trickle in.  Details are scarce though.  Lots of speculation.  Much won't really be known until they actually hit the road in late March 2002.  And even then, real world data will be quite limited for awhile.  Having a traditional vehicle available in hybrid form should be interesting.  It will probably keep comparisons to the Prius limited, since Prius is in a category all by itself (especially with such a unique dashboard and stealth).

12-29-2001

Power-Converter & Transaxle Photos.  Revealing (and very informative) photos were extracted from that presentation, then enlarged.  There's 2 of the Power-Converter (the components inside the silver box under the hood that says "Toyota Hybrid System"), 2 of the Transaxle (pieces of the CVT), and 1 of the Battery-Pack.  Take a look for yourself:  presentations

12-28-2001

Single Digits.  Yup, it's colder than 10 F degrees now.  Temperatures that low means the engine has to run longer to warm up vital components (like me), which means more gas is consumed.  Bummer.

12-28-2001

An Aqua Prius.  It merged onto the highway behind me today.  Traffic was pretty thin.  So we played for awhile changing lanes and passing each other.  Then my exit neared.  At the time, I was driving just a little behind him in the next lane over.  To make the departure fun, I punched it!  Within just a few moments I was able to accelerate from 70 to 83 MPH allowing me to fly past him before the exit.  Some reviewers say Prius doesn't have any zip.  Hmm?

12-28-2001

Stealth Acceleration.  It's extremely difficult now.  So virtually ever time I step on the pedal to get moving from a stop the engine starts back up.  Oh well.  It's just a seasonal thing for the Prius.  (The Honda hybrids do that all year long.)  And stealth is still possible while driving.  At 40 MPH, I can lift my foot from the pedal to shut off the engine and drive using just electricity.

12-27-2001

Ordering ends on January 7, 2002.  Prius will soon become a part of the dealer's regular allotment, no more ordering online.  Once all the current requests in the queue are filled, we'll see Prius sitting on the lot available for immediate purchase.  So hopefully by this Spring, those interested will be able to buy one sooner.  I still have a feeling demand will be so high that hunting around will be required and prices will no longer be consistent.  But how's that any different traditional low-volume vehicles?

12-27-2001

Better MPG.  I'm back to typical driving.  The MPG is going up.  41.1 is what the multi-display says now, but the temperature is suppose to drop into the single-digits soon.  So I suspect it won't climb much higher.  How long do I have to wait for Spring here in Minnesota?

12-26-2001

Eventually.  Patience is a common trait among Prius owners.  That delivery wait forces learning the discipline.  I said that great TechTV presentation would someday be available.  Today it finally happened.  Now you can see it too:  video files

12-26-2001

Pre-Delivery Prius.  There was a truck hauling a load of new vehicles up in the distance.  The car in back looked remarkably like a Prius.  I speed up for a closer look.  Sure enough, there was an Aqua one.  It was only 1 mile from the Toyota dealer too.  I wonder if the future owner will end up reading this?  If you took delivery of an Aqua Prius from Wilkins just a day or two from this entry, drop me an email to say "Hi!".

12-24-2001

Holiday Shopping.  The first 31 miles on this new tank of gas have been nothing but many short drives in temperatures around 20 F degrees.  Those are terrible conditions for any vehicle.  The Prius didn't do too bad: 34 MPG.  I can't wait to go for a long drive again though.  That's all it will take to get the MPG back into the 40's.

12-23-2001

Stealth for ice acceleration.  To accelerate without making the engine start up, you must carefully push down on the pedal.  By lucky coincidence, that's exacting what you're suppose to do when accelerating on ice and slippery snow.  If you push too hard, the wheels will just spin (of course, not as much as in a traditional vehicle).  So all you have to do to get moving from a stop is use your stealth driving skills.

12-22-2001

Declining Lifetime MPG now.  I watched that value continue to rise along with the temperature.  Summer was wonderful.  Fall was nothing to complain about.  But now the reality of Winter is setting in.  Today's gas fill up marked the first overall drop in a very long time.  Spring will be quite welcome when it finally arrives.  Here's my entire history:  Lifetime MPG Spreadsheet

12-22-2001

"B" Mode on Ice.  (I hadn't thought of trying this last Winter.  The Prius hybrid-system was too new to me then.  But it's not now.)  The engine braking "B" Mode offers seems like it would be a great way to slow down gradually on ice.  Using the brake on any vehicle to slow down while driving on ice is a delicate process.  Pressing too hard causes the wheels to lock;  even momentarily is enough to make you go into an uncontrolled skid.  Being able to do a gradual deceleration without using the brakes at all would offer a significant advantage.  And it turns out, it does!  I got to try it during today's storm.  Wow!

12-22-2001

Easy Stealth.  Normally people like to push the speed limit.  That usually makes driving down a 40 MPH road in stealth mode difficult.  But not now in Minnesota.  Winter does offer some benefits.  When the heavy snow falls, drivers on those roads typically slow down to around 30 MPH, which makes stealth much easier.

12-22-2001

Heavy Snowfall Photos.  I got yet another new type of Prius snow photo.  All of a sudden that nasty white stuff starting falling in those thick, heavy, wet, really sticky flakes.  I had never captured that situation with the Prius during the day before.  So I grabbed the digital camera and carefully drove out to the park.  The effort was worth it.  The resulting 3 new photos look great.  See: photo album 27

12-21-2001

42-Volt Batteries.  Starting next year we'll supposedly see some non-hybrid vehicles using this type of battery, rather than the 45 year old 12-Volt.  That "improvement" is expected to provide a 10 percent increase in MPG, which is only a 2 to 3 MPG boost.  It will add about $1,000 to the price of the vehicle.  And it will also force consumers to use only 42-Volt components.  That means replacing a light bulb could be difficult & expensive and adding an after-market device would be impossible, since everything is currently designed for 12-Volt systems.  Why aren't manufacturers just taking a risk like Toyota and creating a vehicle that offers a 100 percent increase in MPG?  Going to all that trouble seems dumb for so little in return, especially when they already know hybrid technology is realistic.  I use it everyday.

12-21-2001

Flashback.  The radiator in my father's van died.  Antifreeze was everywhere.  Naturally, the problem didn't occur at a convenient time.  So I was asked to help.  I've participated in countless repairs over the years.  This was yet another notch to add to the experience tally.  Several hours and hundreds of dollars later, we got the new radiator installed.  What a pain.  Thank goodness the Prius doesn't work the engine as hard as traditional vehicles.  That means components should last longer.  Sweet!

12-20-2001

Frequent Electric-Only.  This occurs every time I drive too.  Going down a hill, even at 70 MPH, the engine will usually disengage.  It keeps running, but not having to provide thrust allows gas to be saved.  Small amounts of thrust are available from the motor even beyond the 42 MPH maximum stealth limit.

12-20-2001

Frequent Stealth.  I wonder how often people think stealth occurs?  Some may think it's an ability that owners use only under special conditions.  It actually happens every single time I drive.  The most frequent is when approaching an intersection with a red light.  I'll let off the accelerator pedal and just glide.  That tells the computer it's ok to shut off the warmed up engine.  So I'll come to the stop in total silence.  Then with typical acceleration after the light turns green, the engine will start up about half way across the street.  At that point I'm going about 12 MPH.  But if there's no one behind me, I'll take it slower and get up to 30 MPH using only electricity.

 

back to home page       go to top