Prius Personal Log  #230

October 20, 2005  -  October 24, 2005

Last Updated: Tues. 11/01/2005

    page #229         page #231         BOOK         INDEX         go to bottom 

 

10-24-2005

Inconsiderate Drivers.  I was sharing a dark & desolate 4-lane divided road with an Escape.  He didn't seem to be paying any attention to his speed, varying somewhat as we traveled side-by-side.  I was maintaining exactly 36 MPH, in that 35 MPH zone.  While I was enjoying the stealth, some idiot in a SUV aggressively approached from behind... then changed lanes because the Escape was going a little faster.  Then it slowed down.  The SUV got back behind me.  He was annoyingly close, definitely tailgating.  In fact, he got so close his headlights completely disappeared from view at point.  That was just plain dangerous.  The driver was frustrated and wanted to pass.  I couldn't care less.  I was driving safely.  He wasn't.  The Escape increased his speed a little.  The second barely enough room emerged to pass, he shot out from behind me, into the other lane, then tightly squeezed in front of me.  I was pretty upset.  That was totally uncalled for and quite dangerous.  My Prius displayed disapproval with a blast of high-beam light from the HIDs.  As clear as day I could see the last thing in the world I wanted to see.  It was unmistakably a HSD emblem under the word "Highlander".  Yes, that was my very first sighting of a Toyota SUV hybrid... and it was driven by someone that was extremely inconsiderate of others.  To make matters even worse, I caught up to it just seconds later at a red light.  All that impatience amounted to squat.  It was a complete waste, saving no driving time whatsoever... and really ticked me off.

10-24-2005

Hybrids Cost More.  It was advertised as "The Story of the Decade".  Then when I finally got to see this supposedly sensational television news report featuring how we are going to deal with the disappearing supply of oil and the unbearable gas prices, that's all they said.  They cost more.  That's it.  I couldn't believe it.  They didn't bother pointing out any facts.  Only a vague reference to price was made.  I was furious.  They basically just blew off hybrids entirely, just a few seconds before they moved on.  Focus went to biodiesel, and without making any reference to ethanol at all.  Talking about incompletely reporting.  The climax was great.  A glorious finale, that really got me fuming.  They ended the report saying this, "Hydrogen powered cars and fueling stations are already in use."  I couldn't believe it.  That was one of the most pathetic reports I have ever watched.  It was mind-boggling.  To be so vague & misleading is horrible.  No wonder so many people don't understand hybrids.  These so-called professionals are doing a terrible job of addressing the problems.  What is a person to think after seeing such nonsense?  My guess is they will assume hydrogen is the answer... even though they have absolutely no clue how the technology works or where the heck that hydrogen will come from, or the fact it costs even more. 

10-24-2005

Intentional Deception.  It just keeps getting worse.  Today someone absolutely insisted that there was no benefit of a "full" hybrid, since the "assist" hybrid delivered the same MPG.  He even went as far as stating the EPA rating for both Prius and the new Civic-Hybrid were identical... on the highway.  That wasn't the slightest bit constructive or objective, and I let him know it.  How can anyone possibly think that deception is actually going to work?  We know for a fact that the estimates stated by the EPA don't reflect real-world averages, but that is absolutely no reason to just arbitrarily dismiss them.  After all, they were established to provide a basis of comparison.  Both vehicles are subjected to the identical testing conditions.  That means a difference reflected in the results is genuine, since all other influencing factors have already been accounted for.  In other words, the 60 MPG city estimate for Prius is undeniably better than the 49 MPG city estimate for Civic-Hybrid.  There is quite literally no way they can be considered the same, no matter how much certain people attempt to mislead you.

10-23-2005

2-Year Anniversary.  I was always frustrated by the reality that the best research material came from hostile territory (certain online forums).  But since that was where the "anti" (Hybrid, Full, SULEV, etc.) people spread & exploited misconceptions, I had no choice but to participate there... until my research was complete.  Today, that happened.  And by lucky coincidence is was my 2-year anniversary with the 2004 Prius.  How about that?

10-23-2005

Full Hybrid (operation).  There's yet another educational resource available now.  It concludes the exhaustive work I've been doing lately to fill in all the gaps.  Every bit of unintentional & deliberate misinformation has been addressed.  It's all nicely packaged in a brand new document now available to further spread the understanding of how the hybrid system in Prius actually operates.  Both newbies and those that have wanted rebuttal material will be happy that this is at their disposal.  I'm thankful for the incentive they provided to make it a reality.  Hearing their requests to learn more is quite powerful encouragement.  And the war to reduce emissions & consumption is far from over.  How this helps with your own particular battles... Hybrid Type: FULL (operation)

10-23-2005

Not Understood.  Comments like this are becoming far too common: "I'm not sure what the differences are between a "full" and "assist" hybrid is."  Most of the people here don't either.  That's why the constructive criticism has been pretty much impossible on certain forums.  There are dramatic differences between those two types of hybrids.  Operation is fundamentally unique, so different it is completely inappropriate to lump them together into a single group.  Basically, it would be like calling a gas & diesel engines the same thing... which we all know is totally inappropriate.  Yet, people attempt to do that to "full" and "assist" hybrids all the time.  The differences are not understood.  Being aware of that changes everything.  Some arguments can be reexamined later with completely different interpretations, because the person was under the wrong impression when they said that.  But even so, not acknowledging that misunderstanding may just reinforce their original intent.  In other words, carefully observe.  Sometimes it ends up being that the person was actually defending their favorite automaker, rather than objectively discussing the different technologies.  And other times, they are just against hybrids of all types.

10-22-2005

New RX400h Commercial.  Cool!  I wasn't expecting something so impressive.  It was "the world's first hybrid luxury SUV" maneuvering between other vehicles in the road, all of which were revolutionary vehicles of their time.  It was so good of a television moment that I was a bit jealous.  Prius is suppose to have that honor.  Oh well.  It was inevitable that the other hybrids using HSD get that special attention too.  Just think what will happen with Camry-Hybrid next year.  That is destine to trump this.  But for now, Lexus gets the spotlight.

10-22-2005

From 300,000 to 400,000.  Yup, you guessed it.  Toyota officially announced that their annual hybrid production will increasing next year by another one hundred thousand vehicles.  Remember those many years ago when I argued that someday Toyota would reach their seemingly impossible goal of 300,000?  The anti-hybrid antagonists laughed at me.  They thought I was out of my mind.  Well, look who's laughing now!

10-22-2005

Didn't Realize.  Being well prepared is paying off.  I didn't realize that in discussions with diesel supporters I would run into either deliberate dishonesty or indisputable ignorance.  But it happened today with this statement: "What good is a hybrid on long trips on the highway when no braking is occurring?"  Was the person intentionally confusing readers by pretending Prius works like an "assist" hybrid or was he completely clueless that a "full" works in an entirely different manner?  Whatever the case, I can refer to the illustrations & summaries now available to effortlessly point out those differences... discreetly suggesting they do some studying before putting their foot in their mouth like the Honda owners have been doing lately.

10-21-2005

Regrettable Quotes.  It was this: "Let's not forget that Honda invented hybrids to begin with."  I found it on a Civic-Hybrid forum that I silently & anonymously monitor, on a thread that was discussing the success of Toyota.  I know the person will regret having said that once he eventually figures out the error he made, but what I wonder is how he'll respond.  Prius was available for purchase back in December 1997.  That's a full 2 years before Honda's Insight and 80 (yes, Eighty!) years after the first hybrid debuted.  Neither Honda nor Toyota invented hybrids.  1917 was quite a few years ago, way before either company even existed.  Fortunately, still to this day, the technology in Prius is the most advanced.  For that matter, even the Classic model offers a design substantially more advanced (flexible, dynamic, adaptable) than even Honda's newest for 2006.  But if you believe what the popular media has shoveled to us rather than doing the research yourself, you could easily make a regrettable quote of your own.  Not being well informed can really be embarrassing. 

10-21-2005

Losing Money.  The third quarter reports came out this week.  Ford lost $284 million.  GM lost $1.6 billion.  Toyota made a whole bunch of money... profit so high it would be gloating to mention the amount.  Let's just say they did quite well.  I'm delighted.  That kind of capital is required to establish the new baseline.  To set the expectation that new vehicles will naturally be hybrids is dramatically easier if the competition is just trying to survive, since they will hopefully have no way of resisting.  Accepting the change could help everyone in the long run.  Rather than coming up with some half-baked fix quickly, and consequently losing a ton of money on that too, they'll do what it takes to deliver a proper solution.  All that mocking in the past, saying hybrids are just a "stop gap", is mud on their faces now.  Will they wipe it off and quietly embrace the reality that reducing emissions & consumption is an important goal?  Or will they dig their grave even deeper, making the already dire situation even worse?

10-21-2005

$60.63 per barrel.  That's the lowest it has been all week.  $2.24 per gallon for gas.  $3.29 per gallon for diesel.  Ouch!  But regardless of reason for diesel being so much more expensive now, that price difference is a sign of change.  By the time it settles back down to whatever the new "normal" will be, talk of the opportunity to purchase a Camry-Hybrid will be a hot topic.  With America's most popular car available as a hybrid (which will use gas), the competition for diesel will have increased by a whole level of magnitude.  That will force some type of counter move, something to revive the interest for diesel that is quickly fading.  I wonder what it will be.  Hmmm?

10-20-2005

Turn-Around Details.  The Honda owners have been relentless lately with their "not as complex" campaign.  So I thought I'd turn that around, making their implied advantage actually work against them... by implying that greater complexity can be advantageous.  For the well-informed, it doesn't take much to see the electrical shortcomings of the "assist" design.  But for those that require a "for dummies" type explanation, it has been quite a challenge to find a way to show the advantage the "full" design actually has.  But I think I've managed to do that.  Check out this brand new document, intended for those that desire a more detailed illustration...  Hybrid Type: FULL (details)

10-20-2005

Thinking about Spring... already!  There is a definite threshold at 50-55 F degree range, but it's not the ideal.  It is just a rather noticeable improvement compared to both colder weather (and the hot/humid stuff that requires A/C).  And now that the temperature is routinely dropping below that, it has been a foremost thought on my mind.  Each of the 5 previous Winters, which here in Minnesota typically means below freezing temperatures for several consecutive months, I have rejoiced when the warmth returns.  When the mercury finally climbs to about 50, so does the MPG.  But in the meantime, I'm going to have to deal with the 40's for awhile... dipping dangerous close to 39.9 MPG during the dead of winter here.  Fortunately, the efficiency I experience then is still significantly higher than everyone else.

10-20-2005

Slow Progress.  Some people are still under the impressive that fuel-cells will somehow be a choice available by the time they are ready to purchase their next vehicle.  Are they nuts?  Even if one was available, it certainly wouldn't be competitively priced.  And filling the tank(s) would hardly be realistic.  Where can I get hydrogen?  And how much does it cost per gallon?  Look at how long it is taking automakers to adopt hybrid technology.  Geez!  5 years from now, each is expected to have at least 1 one model available.  That's it!  An entire decade after Prius was introduced in the United States, the optimistic hope for is perhaps 2 to at a dealer choose from... if you're lucky.  Just because they said a model will be available, doesn't mean their will be sufficient supply to satisfy the demand.  Consider the reality that Honda only plans to offer 28,000 Civic-Hybrids for 2006.  Ford may be able to deliver as many as 30,000 Escape-Hybrid.  Those are pretty small numbers.  Even the 100,000 Prius for 2005 wasn't enough.  In other words, slow progress is what we have to deal with.  That's unfortunate.  But at least it is progress now.  For a number of years, we did actually go backward.  But I still worry about all the people that will suffer because it wasn't faster enough.

 

back to home page       go to top