Prius Personal Log  #228

October 14, 2005  -  October 16, 2005

Last Updated: Sun. 8/13/2006

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10-16-2005

User-Guide, Fourth Edition.  I continue to take notes about suggestions that people post on the forums.  The good stuff eventually gets added, as it did today.  I added a new photo of the "Air Conditioner" screen and pointed out how to open the vent to the outside.  I also created an entirely new section for informational materials, complete with thumbnail images.  And of course, there were a few tweaks here and there to the existing stuff... User-Guide  (HSD)

10-16-2005

1,000 Percent Increase.  That was the "excitement" stirred by the announcement of the "ambitious" plans Ford announced today to speed up their hybrid production.  Ahh, why is that such a big deal?  Expecting to be able to build 250,000 hybrids per year by 2010 is rather lame.  Toyota's number will be 1,000,000 spread across a wide selection of vehicles.  The market is already established.  Growth is now at hand.  Why such a small number for a technology they already build?  And how many models will they offer then?  It's quite frustrating; however, it is still more than the so-called experts had been predicting.  By the way, even though Toyota has officially proclaimed that objective, they have been hinting that if suppliers can deliver greater quantities of the components needed they will see to it that even more hybrids will be built.  We could have much higher percentage increases, due to the competition heating up.  Sweet!

10-16-2005

Keep It Simple (Stupid).  Remember that K.I.S.S. motto?  It was advice for those creating user-interfaces.  But now, some are claiming it applies to technical designs too.  Is doesn't.  Trust me.  Being a computer programmer for over 2 decades now, I know this well.  We go to monumental lengths to make what the user has to do simple.  That means very, very elaborate coding to support simplicity for them.  It means a ton of work for us.  But we don't care.  Thousands of lines of well written code is dramatically easier to support than simple logic that doesn't actually work well and doesn't take all possible scenarios into account.  Doing some research of consumer needs, it's pretty darn easy to reveal shortcomings of the ASSIST design... which is why the K.I.S.S. argument has surfaced.  That type of hybrid simply can't deal with stop & slow commute traffic.  Where the heck does the needed electricity come from with only a passive electrical system?  In that case especially, K.I.S.S. doesn't help.  For that matter, there is no difference whatsoever with the interface between an ASSIST hybrid and a FULL anyway.  Look around for examples.  The new DVD recorders are extraordinarily complex.  The amount of software and sophisticated hardware required to make that VCR replacement a reality is mind-boggling.  But people don't care.  They just press the record & play buttons.

10-16-2005

Again with the Battery Replacement.  It never seems to die.  They focus solely on prices today, even though they don't take in account the fact that local mass-production hasn't even begun yet.  That will obviously help lower cost.  So will competition, once the market finally has competing hybrids.  They don't take into consideration the fact that battery technology is likely to improve either.  For that matter, the prices quoted aren't even consistent.  Each time a different mysterious source provide a different quote.  But the most maddening of all is that if you were to buy a hybrid today, you concerns wouldn't even have to begin until a minimum of 8 years or 100,000 miles.  Do they honestly believe that if an owner was faced with replacement (which is highly unlikely) that they wouldn't ever consider buying a used one from a wreck instead.  Obviously, they will be available then (some are now, in fact).  And obviously, their price will be lower than buying a new one.  But instead, again and again they keep pushing the fear that replacement is inevitable and very expensive.

10-16-2005

Anti-Hybrid: Shame.  Should I be honored that they created an offensive technique specifically to repel me?  Arrgh!  The most fierce attacks come from an automotive forum that hosted, by hosts that want lively discussions.  Rather than allowing you to ever win, they work toward stalemates... so the debates go on forever.  Because if they did come to a conclusion, you'd leave.  It's nasty a objective.  They have policies to help ensure their goal of continuous posting too.  One is that you are not allowed to include any reference that would "self promote".  That means no response from me can ever make reference to any of the data or materials available on my website.  Both those nasty antagonists and other hybrid owners attempting to impede the growing success of Prius know this, and boy do they ever like to exploit it.  They shame me for making statements that I cannot provide proof to support.  To a newbie unaware of my website, it appears as if they have successfully discredited me.  Fortunately, if they do any research on their own or participate on the friendly forums, they figure out what's going on.  Thank goodness.  In fact, it is actually rather beneficial that they get to witness firsthand the deception taking place.  Shame on the anti-hybrid people.

10-16-2005

Changing Definitions.  This now rather outdated anti-hybrid tactic surfaced today with a vengeance.  The person was being totally dishonest and extremely deceptive.  I found it rather amusing though.  It's a clear sign that certain people are growing absolutely desperate to stop the success of hybrids.  Too bad!  I'm going to do quite the opposite by pointing out that absurd claim instead: "SULEV is by definition an alternate fuel vehicle".  That has never been true.  No part of it is even remotely accurate.  The rating category below it was indeed first achieved using natural gas, rather than the regular stuff.  But Prius has been a SULEV since the Summer of 2000, when I got mine.  So you don't even have to search through the CARB website for details to know he statement sounds fishy.  It has absolutely nothing to do with the fuel being used.  Each category is based on measurements of NOx, CO, HC, and PM quantities.  What you put in the tank makes no difference.  You can use whatever type you want as long as the PPM for each afterward doesn't exceed the maximum allowed.  This antagonist attempted to change the definition and got caught.  Ha!

10-16-2005

Educational Documents.  My goal has always been to make the website as self-sustainable as possible... since having time to answer all the questions people can have about hybrids is just plain not realistic.  So, for years now I have been creating new documents to provide those answers for me.  And when the need arises, I also do revisions of the existing ones to keep them as up-to-date as possible.  That happened today.  There were a few minor wording updates and a bunch of cosmetic improvements.  Hopefully, you'll find them useful when trying to educate other about the hybrid technology in Prius...  Power-Split-Device   Energy-Flow

10-15-2005

Remember Those?  I couldn't believe it.  An "efficiency" car from over 20 years ago pulled up across from my Prius.  He was at the intersection.  I was in the parking lot next to it.  He was starring at me and the Prius.  I was starring at him and his 3-wheel miniature wonder.  I still can't believe anyone ever built something so tiny.  It was literally the absolute minimum for interior space length and just a little wider than an adult's body for width.  A cupholder would be a luxury.  And sad part was, it probably didn't even deliver efficiency equal to the Prius... hence his odd look at me.  I can't imagine how incredibly dangerous that would be.  The engine was probably lacking in power too.  The emissions were definitely awful.  Back then, all people were interested in was the MPG.  None of the pollution standards we know now existed.  Only the basics were required, like the presence of catalytic-converter.  Rating them on effectiveness simply wasn't anything I ever heard anyone talking about in those days.  Anywho, I'm certainly glad technology like what Prius uses is now available.

10-15-2005

Spoiled.  At this very moment, I'm relaxing at the coffee shop typing up personal logs on the notebook computer.  I peer out the window routinely, hoping to spot a Prius at the intersection.  Sightings happen quite often nowadays, so I just expect it.  But it took almost an hour before one drove by today though.  I guess I'm really getting spoiled by seeing so many.  Trying to forget just how uncommon that event used to be must be my goal.  Being able to see a half-dozen of them on just a 40-minute drive has become the expectation now.

10-15-2005

Big Picture.  Many people don't consider it.  But they should.  Imagine GM attempting to build an "assist" hybrid of their own.  The gasoline engines they build are not as efficient as Honda's.  That would make them even less competitive with the "full" hybrid design.  The real goal is to ensure a better future, not to just save some money on gas today.  Doing that requires establishing a platform onto which new technologies can take advantage of... like that in Prius.  How is a design that can't even propel itself without the engine spinning suppose to do that?  And if it could, where would the required electricity come from?  Remember, we are talking about over 1,000,000,000 (yes, billion) new vehicles over the next 15 years.  Being able to implement improvements along the way could make a massive difference.  A less flexible design isn't a wise choice.  That's intentionally establishing a barrier.  Why?  It's the big picture we need to consider.

10-15-2005

Hybrid Types.  Those two new one-page illustrated documents provide a summary (introduction) to hybrids for newbies.  They're a resource I've wanted for years.  That desire started innocent enough.  Back on the Hybrid Road-Rally in 2002, I encountered an owner of both Toyota & Honda hybrids.  He had absolutely no clue how fundamentally different they were.  People simply assumed they were the same back then.  But now, there are people intentionally trying to trick newbies into thinking they are.  So, it had become a need.  And already, a few people have expressed being surprised to learn just how different the two types actually are.  I'm hoping the documents will also be utilized as educational materials for those giving hybrid presentations because of this.  Far too often people have expressed that it would be beneficial having something like that available.  Now, they do.

10-15-2005

Anti-Hybrid: Sabotage.  It looks like the anti-hybrid antagonists have caught on to what I've been up to, documenting & revealing their strategies to everyone.  They are a lost about how to respond now.  Good!  It's about time.  And speaking of time, it's growing short.  Honda builds & sells a proper hybrid.  Their design is not a shame like GM.  The electric motor actually does provide assistance to the engine, making it a system that combines multiple ways of delivering power.  In only a month or so, Honda will be delivering their next design upgrade.  It's a software enhancement that alters the behavior of the engine, allowing it to stop using gas to let the electric motor alone propel the vehicle.  That makes it appear to be stealth mode.  But it really isn't.  To be true stealth, all engine motion must stop... which is impossible with their integrated design.  The only way that can be achieved is by adding some type of intercept, like a clutch or PSD.  The choice both the Toyota & Ford made for their hybrids was to use a PSD.  Honda still won't have either.  Their motor is bonded directly to the same shaft that the engine uses, meaning neither can spin independently.  Honda supporters don't want you to know that.  In fact, as I witnessed firsthand this week, they'll do whatever it takes to sabotage your efforts to explain reveal that design shortcoming.  In other words, they adopted the same "anti" techniques to sway people their way.  Well, too bad!  I'm doing even more than just revealing what they're up to.  There are now 2 brand new one-page illustrated documents that provide a simple summary of how the two hybrid types actually work.  This is something they have always feared.  Having an introductory resource like that clearly points out that they are significant fundamental design differences.  See...  Hybrid Type: FULL   Hybrid Type: ASSIST

10-14-2005

9 Months from Now.  Fast-Forward to then, when Camry-Hybrid sightings will begin to become common.  The most popular car in America will have a hybrid system available.  It will undeniably mark the end of the gas-guzzler age.  All this nonsense we are dealing with now, which is nothing in comparison to a few years ago, will be just a memory that will put a smile on our faces and be denied by everyone else.  They simply won't understand how there could have ever been any resistance to the technology.  It will be "so obvious" of a next step by then... 8.5 years after the first Prius was sold.  Oh well.  At least they will eventually figure out what we already know.

10-14-2005

SSC-50P.  That is the Special-Service-Campaign notice which was released to the public today.  It's for that "stalling" issue... of which I still haven't ever experienced and none of my friends have either.  Toyota went out of their way to improve the hybrid software even further.  That's pretty sweet.  As a programmer, I know just how beneficial it is to consider absolutely every possible situation a user could ever expose your programming to.  That requires a ton of time & resources.  Fortunately, they're taking the viability of their technology so seriously that it is considered an investment well worth it.  In additional to the software update, the mechanics will also be applying waterproofing grease to prevent any possibility of water vapor ever sneaking inside.  Just imagine how long it will take fuel-cell vehicles to achieve the same level of robustness.  They too will require updates after owners with extremely rare driving circumstances get to drive them for awhile.  Thank goodness Toyota is already relentlessly debugging hardware & software required to support a vehicle using electricity.

 

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