Prius Personal Log  #223

September 27, 2005  -  October 1, 2005

Last Updated: Thurs. 10/06/2005

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10-01-2005

Anti-Hybrid: Nothing New.  Pushing the belief that the technology isn't new, asserting that people understand and decided against it, is a widespread practice online.  You tend to forget that even the newbies on forums are much better informed than the general public, who never reads posted messages.  The reality is that online participation is not representative of the typical consumer.  The knowledge gained by reading people's comments, and sometimes even asking questions of your own, is very powerful.  That education quickly makes you unknowingly comfortable with new technology.  The anti-hybrid people are well aware of this and take full advantage of it.  The opportunity to trick you into believing that everyone feels the same way is quite compelling.  And the deception usually works.  You finding yourself implicitly agreeing that nothing is really new, even though most people don't have the slightest clue how a hybrid actually operates.  After all, it's easy to take something for granted if it's discussed all the time.

10-01-2005

Anti-Hybrid: Doesn't Meet Expectations.  Taking the apparent MPG discrepancy one step further, the anti-hybrid antagonists will claim disappointment is on several levels.  Arguments everywhere from the seats being cheap to safety being compromised can be found.  But it's only them saying that.  Actual owners don't.  Newbies aren't aware of that fact though.  They just keep ready bogus claims and eventually start believing them.  Veterans see that deceptive pattern.  And you will too, but not until after the damage has been done to countless people beginning research on hybrids.  It's easy for them to get away with it too.  There's simply no way to prove that a seat is too hard or too soft or too short of too tall online, it's just a text message without any supporting detail stating an opinion.  And that's the key.  It's just a personal judgment.  They convince you to be disappointed.

10-01-2005

Anti-Hybrid: Not As Advertised.  Reporters are notorious for feeding the belief that the EPA values, those big numbers on the window-sticker, were actually what the owner should expect.  They don't tell you that they were only intended to be used as a basis of comparison, that the grossly outdated testing criteria isn't even remotely close to real-world driving conditions.  They don't tell you about the fine-print either, which clearly states that MPG will vary greatly depending on driving conditions.  Instead, they work the "not advertised" idea into a controversy to make a good article, something that will really grab their reader's attention.  And it does!  The anti-hybrid participating in online discussions caught on to that.  But they are even worse, carefully selecting data that only serves their ill purpose... to essentially amplify the perceived shortcoming.  The most popular example is comparing the efficiency a manual-transmission diesel driving only highway miles to a Prius with a well-rounded lifetime average.  Of course, the diesel will appear a little better.  But try comparing an automatic diesel in mixed driving to a Prius.  That's a reflection of real-world driving that the typical owner would experience, something that makes the diesel look terrible... not even close to its supposed MPG either.

9-30-2005

Anti-Hybrid: Perspective.  This one is quite interesting.  Changing perspective to force a meaningless scale is very common.  For example, rather than acknowledging that the 100,000 Prius sold in the United States for the 2005 model year was a lot, then compare it to the 17,000,000 total new vehicles sold that year.  They attempt to make the number seem small, even though 100,000 is actually a lot.  After all, combining the number of all electric cars in the entire world ever built pales in comparison.  But they still insist 100,000 has no importance.  They'll even goes as far as comparing it to the worldwide market count of 60,000,000 new vehicles annually to further play down the significance.  Then they'll get hostile if you point out how different the United States is from the rest of the world, how monster-size vehicles are plentiful due to cheap gas, emission regulations are trivial, and people are brainwashed into thinking spending more on a vehicle will somehow help the economy.  Look at how new automakers start their business.  It's small at first, just like the hybrid technology was.  Then it grows.  It's that growth they don't want you to know about.  By focusing solely on current numbers, they prevent you from consider how quickly they grew and how large they will get in the future.  Don't let them.  Perspective diverts attention, especially when they want only want you to see the short-term.

9-30-2005

Anti-Hybrid: Rare Circumstance.  Blowing a situation way out of proportion is what the antagonists thrive on.  Insisting that extremely rare circumstances are actually very common is something you'll certainly encounter when researching hybrids.  Newbies don't know where or how to find lots real-world data.  So it's easy for the anti-hybrid to vaguely refer to the same event many different times in many different way, making it seem as though that event happens a lot.  An absolutely great example is a PSD breaking.  That's the power-split-device, the component which connects the 2 electric motors and gas engine.  I only know of 3 cases of that ever happening.  One was bad right out of the factory and was ultimately replaced by giving the owner an entirely new car (providing the engineers a great opportunity to study that rare circumstance in great detail).  The other 2 appear to just be flukes, based on the older design that didn't use traction-control much... something that would obviously protect the PSD, and clearly does in the newer model.  But again, the anti-hybrid people don't want anyone to know just how unlikely that is to ever actually happen now.  They treat the event as if it happens all the time, knowing most people won't be able to actually confirm that.

9-30-2005

Anti-Hybrid: Misconceptions.  Intentionally spreading misconceptions is by far the worst of the anti-hybrid actions taken.  They play on people's fear & gullibility.  The easiest to spot example is the way the battery-pack is charged.  They'll convince you that replacement will be needed simply because every other rechargeable device you've ever owned has eventually required new batteries.  But what they don't want you to know is that the charging is done in a entirely different manner.  Most people use their cell-phones and other portable devices in an abusive way, draining the battery to the point of being almost completely empty before plugging it back in.  That causes damage (weakens the chemicals inside), something they've unknowingly grown to accept.  But "full" hybrids, like Prius, most definitely do not work that way.  The battery-pack charge-level is rarely ever allowed to drop below 45 percent.  High power charging & discharging is never allowed either.  Those are practices that would greatly extend battery life for devices like cell-phones, if people actually cared for it that way.  But they don't.  Prius does.  The anti-hybrid people will do everything they can to keep people from learning that.  They take advantage of misconceptions to impede the success of hybrids.

9-30-2005

Anti-Hybrid: Market Improvements.  Acting as if the market now is the same as it was 5 years ago is an interesting technique you'll see used occasionally.  If confronted, they'll unequivocally deny that people didn't understand hybrids until recently.  Pointing out that some people still believe you have to plug them it will be responded to with a laugh, as if there's no way anyone could have ever believed that.  And the fact that some automakers pushed the idea that they only way to achieve improved efficiency was to compromise safety will be outright rejected.  Then there's the reality that salespeople would lie to sell you a non-hybrid instead, resulting in a much larger commission that they could quickly collect.  Of course, you also have that whole fuel-cell diversionary fiasco that was clearly anti-hybrid.  It's a past that made the success of hybrids very difficult to overcome... yet success was achieved anyway.  The antagonists don't want you to know that though.  Because if you did, you'd see that it is the most quickly accepted profound automotive engineering replacement technology ever.  So don't believe their false claims.  The market is in fact improving, much better now than in the past.

9-30-2005

Anti-Hybrid: Changing Definitions.  This is a very popular anti-hybrid response.  When a hybrid enthusiast posts a message with a concise point, highlighting a clear advantage for the hybrid, the antagonist simple changes the definition.  The most obvious example is the meaning of hybrid itself.  It is a blending of some sort.  In the case of an automobile, it is the combination of gas & electric propulsion.  They attempt to change that by stating other non-traditional improvements also count, even if they have absolutely nothing to do with providing power to the tires.  The perfect example is auto-stop.  By just increasing the size of the already existing battery and starter, you can shut off and rapidly restart the engine to save gas when the vehicle is not moving.  That absolutely is not a hybrid, it's just an improvement to the current design.  That's it.  But they contend it is a hybrid to prevent the importance of the point you attempted to make from being realized.  It's like shooting at moving target.  Every time you get close, the location abruptly changes.  And they'll keep right on changing the definition to prevent any debate from ever being won.

9-30-2005

Anti-Hybrid: Introduction.  These personal logs are loaded with instances of anti-hybrid attacks, where certain people who want hybrids to fail respond to online forum messages with harmful intent.  They are determined to do whatever it takes to prevent progress.  They fear change, and I know it.  So for awhile, I debated.  But eventually it became clear that they absolutely wouldn't give up, that desperation forced them to take some rather surprising approaches.  So I departed, figuring there was no benefit in drawing anymore attention to them.  Then an idea hit me.  What would happen if I returned, after months of being absent?  Turns out, they attacked me immediately.  Certain antagonists, determined to dissuade newbies, didn't want someone of my experience joining in again.  I was far too well informed about what they were truly up to.  And I used that to my full advantage, but not to win any quarrels this time.  My true purpose was research, documenting every trick they pulled so I could teach people afterward what to look for.  And believe it or not, within just a week I had witnessed about two dozen different deceptive techniques... which I will now share with you (in no particular order).

9-30-2005

$66.24 per barrel.  It's clearly not going down anytime soon.  Perhaps once the upcoming Winter starts to melt away, we may see prices back to the former record high of $50 per barrel.  But now and likely through the entire cold season, that price for oil will be ugly.  Gas is $2.75 per gallon.  Diesel is $3.05 per gallon.  Do you think some people are finally having second thoughts about owning a monster-size gas-guzzler?

9-29-2005

39 F degrees!  I'm just plain not ready for this yet.  Seeing that cold of a temperature on the news before leaving for the commute to work today was rather disheartening.  It means the MPG will drop below 50.  Isn't that terrible?

9-28-2005

2 Days Left.  The advertisements for GM's final 2 days of employee-discount pricing are plentiful.  That will all be ending soon.  Then what?  They saw a significant decline in sales for monster-size gas-guzzler the first few months of this year.  Then gas prices started to rise.  Sales tanked, so awful it was embarrassing.  Their response was to introduce those never before available discounts.  It appeared to work.  Yet, Toyota kept selling their vehicles exactly as planned, without any incentives.  They remained unaffected by the rapidly changing market, no negative impact.  Interesting, eh?  Now I'm more curious than ever to find out what's going to happen next.  How will GM compete?

9-27-2005

New HSD Commercial.  It was fantastic!  I saw that brand new 60-second commercial this evening, during the "Daily Show" on Comedy Central... which I just happened to be recording onto DVD.  Sweet!  It's the first ever television advertisement with a Prius that I didn't have to scan the airwaves for days to finally capture.  The statement made was: "If the air were clean again."  And they asked: "What if all cars released 80 percent fewer smog-forming emissions?"  This new promotion is for HSD.  Toyota is marketing the technology, not specific vehicles.  This will help wonderfully with the introduction of Camry-Hybrid, which will include HSD, next Spring.  Everyone except Honda will be unable to compete with such a campaign, especially clean diesel.  Setting the expectation of clean to an 80 percent improvement will make the current pollution hard to deny.  It's the SULEV emission rating I've been raving about all this time.  Yippee!

9-27-2005

Startup Freeze.  Today, it happened for the very first time.  I had heard other HSD Prius owners randomly encounter it over the past 2 years, but I simply had no idea what they were describing.  So curiosity finally got the best of me.  When playing with my new cell-phone while getting into the car, I allowed myself to be a little careless.  To my surprise, that inattentiveness worked!  My opportunity to debug had arrived.  (Being a computer programmer, I was very much looking forward to that.)  Anywho, I felt the brake-pedal fight back a little bit as I pressed the power button.  Clearly, my foot wasn't far enough to the floor.  Several indicator lights by the speedometer lit up like a Christmas tree.  All I could do was shift to "N".  Then everything stopped responding entirely.  So... I let go, pushed the brake again, held it there for about 20 seconds, then pushed the Park button.  The system immediately came back to life.  I shifted to "D" and drove away.  You just have to be more attentive, making sure the brake is fully depressed before pushing the power button.  But if you do flub, don't panic.  It's pretty easy to recover anyway.  And you don't even have to reboot.

 

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