Prius Personal Log  #242

December 20, 2005  -  December 28, 2005

Last Updated: Sun. 1/01/2006

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12-28-2005

New Oil Filter.  I wonder if any of the other Prius owners have used the other oil filter yet.  Hmm?  The last number for the part is a 2 rather than a 1.  That means it came from Thailand instead of the United States.  This oil filter appears to be nearly identical, with the exception of it being about 1/8 inch shorter (making it a closer match than the one from Japan).  The odd part is the gasket is lubricated with some type of goo and the whole end is sealed in shrinkwrap.  I've got just a little over 1,000 miles on the one I installed.  It seems to work just like the other.  I hadn't heard any talk of it online.  So I thought I'd at least put a mention here.

12-28-2005

Why? (part 2)  My comments prompted a question, asking me why Toyota has pursued development of fuel-cell technology.  This was my response:  They are doing both the bottom-up & top-down approaches.  It's to ensure their "full" hybrid design is truly complete in every respect... so much so that they can plan to phase out their gas-guzzler design in favor of hybrids, which is exactly what they have stated.  Business risk is significantly reduced when testing is that thorough.  It makes the ultra-long-term goal rather obvious too.  Toyota's goal for 2010 is to provide the hybrid option in every model they offer.  At that point, the market can choose which they prefer.  It will be a decision like transmission was decades ago.  Why Hyundai is drawing attention to fuel-cell development rather than just sticking to offering their first hybrid is a mystery.  Of course, we still have no clue if GM was ever serious with their fuel-cell development either.  It looked promising.  But without an infrastructure to support it or any type of consumer phase in, it was a risk on such a massive scale that the risk was horribly unrealistic.

12-27-2005

Why? (part 1)  The recent announcement from Hyundai stating they would have a commercially viable fuel-cell vehicle by 2010 prompted questions... and some attitude.  What is their objective?  Fuel-Cells have so many shortcomings it simply doesn't make any sense pursuing that technology for vehicles without stating a goal.  What criteria must the technology achieve to be considered successful?  And if that initial testing goes well, what will they do with it?  The use of hydrogen is unlikely to be either as clean or as efficient as the hybrid I just drove to work today.  It most definitely is not affordable.  And it doesn't actually reduce our dependence on imported oil.  So I can't imagine an announcement (void of any detail) for 4 years in the future to be anything more than just a "Hey, look at we're planning to do!" attention-getter.  But I guess we are going to have to put up with that hype until we actually see hybrid competition with Toyota/Lexus.  Honda's design somewhat deficient and the quantity is limited.  Ford's design offers great potential, but again too few are available.  GM is simply a joke; the pickup they offer isn't really even a hybrid.  That's it.  Until then, talk about fuel-cells being being the replacement for gas-guzzlers (rather than the natural progression from a "full" hybrid) will continue.

12-27-2005

Attitude Change.  Although he's still absolutely obsessed with MPG and places little value on emissions, one of the biggest antagonists of the past said this recently: "The HSD Prius as large and heavy as it proves Toyota�s HSD is truly something special.  You would have never heard me say that a year ago but today, I truly find it a work of art."  The source of the original resistance will likely remain a mystery.  But that attitude change is the outcome we wanted.  So there's no need to complain.  I can still wonder though.  My guess is he simply didn't understand how the system actually worked.  Or perhaps, just waiting for proof of its worth was needed.  Whatever the case, I would have never imagined seeing him say that.

12-26-2005

Like it's 1999.  Hmm.  This upcoming New Year has got me thinking about the past.  The "like it's 1999" phrase has an entirely different meaning now that it is in the past, rather than the future back when it was popular.  That was a time when wasteful habits were so widely accepted that consequences of the mindset spreading weren't considered.  But now that we are experiencing the affect of supply shortages exacerbated by the ever-increasing size & power of SUVs, people are giving it some thought... so much so that sales of them are irrefutably falling, taking the well being of some automakers down too.  Advice from back then still applies now.  Diversification is important.  Those automakers that gambling by having their entire product-line nothing but gas-guzzlers are now paying the price.  It was too much of a risk back then as it is now.  That's one of the first things they teach you in economics class.  Heck the "don't put all your eggs in one basket" phrase is taught in quite a few disciplines.  Obviously, Toyota was paying attention.  Planning to offer HSD in all their vehicles definitely reduces the risk.  No matter what type of vehicle is a popular seller, they will still be able to make sure it is consuming & emitting less.  But at this point, like back in 1999, we are probably not going to see anywhere near as many excessive vehicles as we have recently.

12-26-2005

202 Years Later.  Building New Orleans on a flood plain was never a smart idea in the first place.  But people did anyway.  And the investment kept growing and growing as the decades went by, always in denial of the risk... which made itself clear when hurricane Katrina flooded the city.  The matter sometimes boils down to "when" not "if".  Considering the matter of oil, it is definitely "when".  There is only a finite amount available.  We will eventually use it up.  Then what?  Not preparing to deal with the inevitable is just plain stupid.  True, there was no certainty that the flood would happen.  And they did manage to avoid it for 202 years.  But this is different.  We know for a fact that the oil supply cannot be renewed.  Our children will face this reality.  Why make it a harsh one?  Why not reduce consumption now and work on utilizing renewables in the meantime.  The "I'm entitled to drive a monster-size gas-guzzler" attitude is horrible.  A hybrid that uses less gas (which later could be greater use of renewable ethanol) and drives sometimes using only electricity (which could be more often and electricity from renewable sources) makes a whole lot of sense.  So why is there so little support for the "full" hybrids still?  After all, how much longer can we push our luck?  The use of gas dates back well over 100 years ago already.

12-24-2005

Politics.  Many times in the past, I've pointed out parallels between politics & hybrids.  You get the identical type of senseless response sometimes.  This week, it was about the withdrawal of troops from Iraq.  We asked for a phased approach, suggesting about a third in 6 months.  Their response to say that leaving immediately was totally inappropriate and exactly the wrong thing to do.  It's like they don't even listen.  They hear the criticizing, then respond with a statement that will rally support for them... even if it has nothing to do with what you were saying.  I see that all the time with hybrids.  Those "anti" people just keep reciting facts helpful to them, so often that what I'm saying gets drowned out in the flood of messages... until recently.  It's that lack of progress that gets to them.  For example, if diesel has been such a great choice all these years, how come their are so few of them still.  See, they come up with their own questions then notice that other people's aren't getting answered either.  That frustration is what finally gets the job done.  It's that push from the average consumer I'm hoping for now.  They are beginning to notice just how disappointing the MPG in their gas-guzzler really is.

12-24-2005

New Year's Resolution.  Mine is to stop caring what the anti-hybrid have to say.  After 5.5 years of milking them for every conceivable argument point, they literally have nothing productive to contribute anymore.  Nothing else is even left to prove.  The technology is a runaway success.  Most of those antagonists haven't ever driven a "full" hybrid anyway.  They mislead & undermine due to their fear of change.  That's sad.  We've seen so many Prius owners go from "curious internet surfer" to "passionate enthusiast", shunning what people from the old school have told them.  Driving is believing.  Hearing positions to the contrary is just a waste of time.  Owners know how well the technology works and how committed Toyota is to making it a standard.  In other words, the anti-hybrid have been warned.  Change is coming whether they like it or not.  I'm going to devote my attention to this next stage of rollout.  Between the madness caused by the tax-credit for Prius and the growing excitement for Camry-Hybrid, those trying to impede success will really struggle to find someone to listen to them.  Happy New Year!

12-23-2005

Curiosity.  It has a powerful draw.  I couldn't resist.  Finding out what the diesel (anti-hybrid, of course) supporters had to say as a final word before Camry-Hybrid is debuted became a priority.  It's only 17 days away now... and I have absolutely nothing to worry about.  Those particular antagonists are full of hot air, with no new approach to deal with their market share slipping away from them.  Status quo is their strategy.  In other words, we'll get nothing but the same old vague statistics and rare facts stated as if they were the norm.  You know, sighting "greenhouse gas" emission reductions while totally ignoring the smog-related type.  And they like to quote MPG values from manual transmissions doing nothing but highway cruising and only during the summer to make you assume that is what happens under all driving conditions.  Then you've got the push for biodiesel as if their is no such thing as ethanol.  The whole situation is quite pathetic.  Rather than providing raw data and allowing people to make the determination for themselves (as with the spreadsheets hybrid owners share), they recite the conclusion they came up with... over and over and over and over again... without ever sighting any detail to explain why.  They know the end is near for engine-only vehicles.  The increase in electric motor use, which has already been clearly demonstrated by the "full" hybrid Prius, is obvious evidence of that approaching end.  In other words, my curiosity is now satisfied.

12-23-2005

Engine Clatter.  This comment posted today from an owner just after having driven her new Prius home from the dealer was great: "I love how the engine goes quiet."  Kind of blows your mind how diesel supporters advocate the clatter of their engine, eh?  Quiet has always been associated with luxury, an element of envy.  Having an engine noisier than a gas that never stops running is certainly not something to be proud of.  Yet, they comment about how pleasing that sound supposedly is.  Why?  I thought being able to hear other people in the vehicle or your music was important.  A moment of silence is regarded as something to cherish.  How could that clatter be appealing?

12-22-2005

Economy Only.  Forget comfort.  Forget features.  Forget safety.  And of course, forget emissions.  This quote today is the same old nonsense we had to deal with over 5 years ago: "Hybrids are all feel-good hype for the Greenies and nothing more.  Upcoming vehicles like the Honda Fit and Toyota Yaris will be better choices for those who really want economy."  What more can I say.  Some people will go down fighting, resisting change to the bitter end.

12-22-2005

Now, it does.  Today we got a message stating: "To me, the 01-03 [Prius] just looks like any other car."  And indeed, it does now.  But years ago, people couldn't handle how ahead-of-its-time it was.  There are several vehicles with similar shape & style today, so it's no big deal anymore.  And of course, people did (and still do) have no idea that an entire generation existed before the debut in the United States.  In fact, that's why they think it resembles Echo... because Echo is what they saw here first.  In reality, Prius was on the road 2 years before Echo even existed.  But that was in Japan.  Back in 1999, some US auto-magazine reviewers got their hands on the "Original" model.  They wrote about the aspects they found disappointing.  Toyota also provided the opportunity for 20 families to drive the "Original" model for a month each.  All that feedback resulted in a bunch of upgrades, making the "Classic" model... which most people assume is the first, but it really isn't.  Taking for granted that the 01-03 blends into the crowd now really shouldn't be advocated.  Knowing that complete history is important.  After all, there's more to a car than just looks.

12-20-2005

Misleading Statistics.  This phrase in a message today is a classic: "[hybrid technology] will remain a minority part of the passenger vehicle fleet, literally for years to come".  It's a well known method of using statistics to mislead.  The other automakers are so far behind, there will indeed be a perceived minority in the overall market.  But looking at Toyota alone, you will get an entirely different story... because they will in fact be able to sell a majority of their passenger vehicles as hybrids.   No matter how deep in denial an antagonist is, there is simply no way to dismiss the need to reduce emissions & consumption.  And with the Toyota hybrid design quickly proving itself, consumers won't see any reason not to choose it.  After all, the diesel supporters certainly haven't been able to provide any compelling reason to go with diesel (non-hybrid) instead.  So watch out for the altering of perspectives.  Sometimes you won't readily notice that's what they are attempting to do.

 

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