Prius Personal Log  #226

October 3, 2005  -  October 8, 2005

Last Updated: Sat. 10/15/2005

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10-08-2005

Blogging.  It's turning into a source of information sharing better than the news.  The people that write blogs aren't being sponsored by anyone.  They aren't running for reelection.  They don't even have to answer to anyone that might not agree with their view.  The entries into their public journals are candid comments, quickly published shortly after the event took place.  So everything is written in present-tense, from a participant type perspective.  They aren't observations long afterward, once further detail is revealed.  They are instead "in the moment" documenting of how they are still feeling about whatever just happened.  That's extraordinarily good news for me.  I've been creating blogs for over 5 years now.  My collection is almost 1,000 offline pages long now.  No one can ever compete with that, they will always be the oldest.  Those opportunities to record the past as it was unfolding have already passed too.  The early years of hybrid rollout are history now.  The only way to document them at this point is to look back at them.  There is no mystery anymore.  We already know what happened.  Blogging is a powerful new resource that I am very glad I was able to contribute to.  So... what do you think will happen next?

10-08-2005

Modern Marvels.  I was totally impressed by that show today... for the most part.  They featured aspects of automotive history in relation to the stock carried at auto supply stores.  It all applied well to the designs of the past and to those of the present.  Unfortunately, their one error was when they made the blanket statement that all vehicles still start their engine the same way as the very first battery starter did.  That isn't true for Prius.  In fact, the way the hybrid system starts the engine isn't even remotely close.  Oh well.  I treat that show as if it was a historical documentary, rather than an educational program about current design.  Prius has simply been around for too long now (since 1997) to call it a future technology.  It is here now.  In fact, it is all over the place.  I spot them on the road all the time.  Nonetheless, I could apply the label of "modern marvel" to Prius.

10-08-2005

Braking.  Still to this day, over 5 years after purchasing my first Prius, I get the biggest kick out of how much less I need to use the brakes than traditional vehicles.  Seeing them on the road riding their brakes while approaching a red stoplight is delightful.  All I have to do to slow down at that rate is lift my foot off the accelerator-pedal.  The effect is deceleration, which is caused by the 10kW motor spinning to generate electricity, which is then used to recharge the battery-pack.  That's really sweet.  Then when I step on the brake-pedal, it causes the 50kW motor to spin instead.  The result is even greater deceleration and even more electricity being generated.  Efficiency is obviously gained by that, as well as longer life for the brakes... since they aren't used as much as the traditional vehicles.  Pretty cool, eh?

10-08-2005

More Waving!  It's great now that gas prices are way up.  I rarely ever got any acknowledgement from other Prius driver's as they drove by... in the past.  But recently, that changed.  Quite a few of them are very energetically returning my wave now.  Sweet!

10-07-2005

House Energy Bill.  An effort to deal with the gas problem (supply shortage & high prices) was voted on today.  It passed narrowly with lots of fighting, 212 to 210.  It will do absolutely nothing for gas prices in the short-term.  And due to ever increasing demand, it may only keep prices from getting worse in the long-term.  It's an ugly reality for those automakers gambling everything on the hope that prices will return to the cheap level again.  Hybrids are clearly a solution that will continue to sway people away from guzzlers.  It's a good thing too.  Besides that bill making it quicker & easier to expand existing refineries and built new ones, it also allows clean-air restrictions to be dropped.  That's really sad.  Using the struggling economy as an excuse to pollute more is inexcusable... especially when increasing gas supply is deemed more important than just using less in the first place.  There is no sense of balance.  All they do is push a certain agenda, rather than allowing several options to flourish.  Ever hear of diversification?  That's one of the first things they teach you when studying economics.  Apparently, they missed that.

10-07-2005

Uncharted Territory.  Despite the website's massive collection of digital Prius photos, personal data, and personal logs (blogs), I'm still frustrated.  Much of the same nonsense continues... due to the ever-increasing audience.  More and more new people join in with excitement about what hybrids have to offer.  The anti-hybrid people fear the newbies will become enthusiasts, helping to spread that excitement to even more newbies.  So in that frustrating antagonistic manner, they try their best to sway the undecided.  The unfortunate reality is that this situation is much like the presidential vote.  Many simply don't pay attention until shortly before the need arises.  With such an expensive purchase and a commitment of at least 8 years, you'd think they plan ahead.  But that's not what actually happens.  So the opportunity to deceive is something we have to deal with.  Fortunately, the internet is maturing into a very power research tool.  Rather than being bomb-barded by propaganda brainwashing you to believe in what they have to offer, you can actually make that determination for yourself by reading about real-world experiences.  And some are doing exactly that.  I see evidence of it routinely, detail not commonly known being used as rebuttal material!  It's something that simply didn't exist in the past.  It's uncharted territory for all of us.  It's what I plan to take full advantage of it by continuing with the website contributions.

10-07-2005

In the 40's now.  Both temperature & efficiency have fallen into the 40's.  That has really bummed me out.  Like usual, I'm not ready for the cold season.  But following the same routine for decades now here in Minnesota, I absolutely love Winter... eventually.  It's that transition that I haven't mastered yet.  Fortunately, Prius makes it much easier to deal with.

10-07-2005

More Digital Memories.  I'm still sorting through that virtual shoebox full of Prius photos to publish.  The backlog is pretty big, not getting smaller all that fast.  Oh well.  In a way, it's nice always having something to look forward to.  Here's the latest... photo album 101

10-07-2005

Bad Advice.  As an effort to reduce the growing backlash against the grossly misleading EPA efficiency estimates, Ford is promoting an educational seminar for owners of their hybrids.  Unfortunately, some of the advice they suggest does not apply to Prius.  They recommend accelerating slowly.  That definitely goes against the advice Prius owners have been using for years, suggesting "brisk" acceleration instead.  The reason for the difference is simple, their hybrid system operates at a lower voltage & speed... hence their other conflicting recommendation of traveling at just 20 MPH in the city for optimum efficiency.  With a top stealth speed of only 25 MPH, that advice makes sense for them.  But since 42 MPH is the maximum speed for Prius stealth, there is absolutely no reason to drive that slow in a Prius.  Going the usual city speeds of 30, 35, and 40 are no big deal for the HSD (Toyota) system.  Any of those will yield very pleasing results.  Interesting, eh?  Even though both hybrid automakers use the "full" design, which is undeniably more flexible than the "assist" design, there are still some boundaries to be aware of.  The choice of battery-pack density (W/kg density), operating voltage (can be different from battery-pack voltage), and operating current (DC or AC) all make a big difference.  HSD has an advantage with each of those aspects.  So don't take advice without asking which hybrid it applies to.  It may be bad.

10-07-2005

Experts Say.  Does it surprise you at all anymore that so-called "experts" cannot be trusted?  For example, this quote published today... "There are likely to be few surprises or silver bullets among the fuel-efficiency tips, however.  They include common sense bits of advice that few drivers are likely to abide by:  Don't brake as much.  And drive a maximum speed of 60 miles per hour on the highway.  Auto experts say if you do follow these rules, you will get the EPA estimate."  How in the heck can that possibly be true?  Cold & Hot Temperatures, Ethanol-Blend & Winter-Formula Gas, Daily Commute Traffic, Hill Climbing, and Head Winds are all factors which influence efficiency that you have absolutely no control over.  Note that the EPA also assumes you are the only thing inside... no passengers or cargo.  All of that makes conforming to their absurd limitations quite unrealistic.  So again, I ask what the heck is wrong with my 49.2 MPG lifetime average?  Who cares if it isn't as good as what those ideal EPA criteria show.  It is still a very pleasing efficiency improvement, regardless of whether or not it matches the results of that very outdated testing method.  Remember, these are the same experts that said monster-size gas-guzzlers were a sensible choice.

10-06-2005

Sunset Season.  Fall brings changing weather.  The presence of clouds during the evening definitely increases.  That's prime photo-taking opportunity.  And lucky for me, I knew that.  Paying close attention to the activity in the sky as the sun got lower last Saturday, I was able to get to the right place at the right time.  That was pretty sweet!  It's been quite awhile since I was able to capture a such an incredible sunset (with Prius) like this... photo album 101

10-05-2005

More Models of SUV.  What the heck difference does that make?  An article today made a really big deal out of that, stating having more SUVs in 2010 to choose from than hybrids will be better.  It didn't even make any sense.  Some SUVs are hybrids.  Regardless, since when does greater choice have any correlation to demand?  The number of total models GM offers is far greater than Toyota's, yet GM is currently suffering from major losses and Toyota major profits.  It would seem as though only having a couple of very well thought out models to select from is a good thing.  Quality, not quantity.  I guess there "more is better" mindset is just too hard to give up.

10-05-2005

HSD Components.  Wow!  The anti-hybrid antagonists have come up with an entirely new pointless argument.  They are now attempting to convince people that since Prius and Highlander-Hybrid don't use identical parts, they have absolutely nothing in common except the name "HSD".  Is anyone going to fall for that kind of brainwashing?  Since when does component size alone make that much of a difference?  The HSD systems in those two hybrids function exactly the same way.  The operation of the PSD (Power-Split-Device, also called the "Planetary-CVT") is indistinguishable.  Inverter, Engine, Generator-Motor (MG1), and Thrust-Motor (MG2) interaction is identical.  The only exception is the 4-wheel drive version shares electricity with the extra Thrust-Motor (MG3).  But the management of charge-level is utterly duplicate.  And the battery-pack modules themselves are literally the same component, there's just more of them in the bigger vehicle.  All varieties of HSD strive for cleaner emissions the very same way too.  In other words, they are attempting to make an issue out of nothing.  After all, having a different size engine has never been an issue in the past.

10-04-2005

Best Third Quarter Ever.  The third quarter this year (that's July, August, and September 2005) was the best ever for Toyota.  That's pretty amazing considering the competition was offering those desperate-to-reduce-inventory discounts at the same time.  It tells us that those "bigger is all that matters" days are over.  Consumers wants have changed.  For that matter, due to gas prices their needs have changed as well.  In other words, it's official.  History has repeated itself.  Those stories I heard when growing up about how the Japanese caught the American automakers completely off guard (or more accurately, in a state of denial) have been relived.  It happened again!!!

10-03-2005

Like a College Loan?  Have you noticed a similarity, how our country is like a student paying for an education.  They justify that generous spending for the sake of a better future, not truly aware of how the loan is going to be paid back afterward.  It makes a lot of sense, a risk worth taking.  But that's where the similar nature ends.  After graduation, the student is willing to do what it takes to pay back the money.  Certain politicians feel new objectives can be treated the same way and they don't bother to ask anyone to change their ways to help with the cause.  So spending continues to grow, making things even worse.  And the goal (graduation, some type of end-state) never really seemed to be achieved.  In reality, it isn't actually like a college loan at all.  They just make you believe it is, so you think they're doing the right thing... like how we got into the monster-size gas-guzzler mess.  They said the spending would be "good for the economy".  They were wrong.

10-03-2005

No More Discounts.  It's over.  Their gone.  Those impossible-to-sustain-the-business employee discounts have ended.  Supposedly, a new type of pricing approach will begin.  I wonder who will be interested.  Hmm?  The automakers that were struggling are now forced to deal with change.  I'll bet they'll still fight it, only allowing the inconsequential to actually happen.  The greed derived from the huge profits of the past are now just a thing of the past.  No more.

 

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