Prius Personal Log  #259

March 25, 2006  -  March 29, 2006

Last Updated: Sat. 4/01/2006

    page #258         page #260         BOOK         INDEX         go to bottom 

 

3-29-2006

South Park, an episode about Hybrids.  The recent attention drawn to ethanol has brought out the worst in the anti-hybrid crowd.  Their fear of hybrids evolving to both take advantage of that renewable fuel as an energy source while at the same time also taking advantage of more electricity is rapidly becoming their worse nightmare.  So the antagonistic response has been to misrepresent those supporting hybrids.  Seeing this evening that the creators of South Park were on top of the situation was great!  There isn't actually any smug storm.  No one is forcing anyone to abandon their current vehicle.  But hybrid owners are suggesting that new vehicles be more responsible.  It was just too darn funny and so perfectly timed.  They blew that supposed attitude way out of proportion... well beyond what even the anti-hybrid wanted.  It pointed out how ridiculous things have become.  Of course, that fact itself actually does make me feel a little bit smug.  But then again, some of the anti-hybrid retaliation has included outright lies.  And the auto market's self-destructive nature of ever-growing vehicle size & power was absurd.  The upcoming end "doom" was inevitable.  So, it may as well arrive with a good laugh.

3-29-2006

E85 Victims.  The "yellow" marketing is claiming victims already.  Just because 85 percent is the amount of ethanol that the current systems support does not mean it is the only amount.  Any percentage up to 85 works just fine in a FFV system.  Remember, FFV means "Flexible Fuel Vehicle".  So if you want to use gas instead, or E85 isn't available, or you just want to top off your top, or if for some reason supply limits ethanol to a lower percentage temporarily... it's no big deal.  That's the beauty of it.  You can use whatever you want.  The infrastructure can vary based on harvests too.  The 85 is just a maximum.  Clearly though, some people are not getting that message.  That misunderstanding could easily stem from GM being rather vague with their television commercials.  After all, they want to push their technology... even if the only fuel available is still just 100 percent gas.  You'd think after 10 years of FFV sales, both Ford & GM would have pushed harder to spread ethanol use.  But they didn't.  Kind of makes you wonder if hydrogen will ever become available, eh?

3-29-2006

Extremists Again.  Will the nonsense ever cease?  Geez!  This was posted this morning by a very outspoken anti-hybrid person, one known to be disingenuous at best: "Then you have extremists that think unless every vehicle is SULEV rated it is a polluting piece of crap that should be run through the crusher."  Needless to say, I felt compelled to reply with this, carefully worded to solicit a response rather than the usual dismissal...  Destroy those vehicles already on the road, rather than just setting that higher standard for new ones.  Really?  Who are these extremists you are talking about?  I've been called that before, even though PZEV is cleaner than SULEV and it was in reference to a minimum for new vehicles.  Explain this stereotype you claim to exist.  Perhaps it can shed some light on the resistance to ethanol in any percentage.

3-29-2006

New Bandage, Old Problem.  Ethanol is pushing those in support of diesel & coal to speak out.  Here's my response...  Diesel & Coal are extremely dirty, so the priority right now should be to clean them up to the point where a vehicle can meet the SULEV emission rating minimum.  Then they'll become realistic.  But they still won't become a good idea until a way to use less also becomes available.  After all, reduction is the key.  Simply switching to an alternate fuel only puts a new bandage on an old problem.  That's where ethanol comes in.  All the hybrids are capable of 10 percent usage already.  And some owners have been fueling their hybrid that way for years now.  Both emissions & consumption are reduced.  Once that 10 percent infrastructure becomes well established, the percentage blend can be increased.  Until then, this E85 nonsense is just greenwashing.  At the same time, the evolution of plug-in hybrids continues.  With that comes introduction of a third fuel to the mix... gas, ethanol, and electricity.  That last one can be far cleaner than any other source of energy, plus its renewable.  In short, the solution is more than just a fuel.

3-28-2006

Can't Make Up Their Mind.  So... what's the deal?  Some claim hybrids will never become mainstream, using excuses like there's only a small percentage of them still and that a few aren't selling well.  Others claim they are destroying the American economy, using excuses like the downfall of the monster-size gas-guzzlers and the high gas prices are their fault.  Those viewpoints are complete opposites, neither of which addresses the future.  Don't you love how getting preoccupied with the happenings of today alone make people forget about looking forward?  People are buying Prius as fast as Toyota delivers them.  So even if the production rate doesn't increase, we'll be seeing more and more of them on the road.  New arrivals are appearing at a rate that is difficult to deny.  I spotted 5 Prius during the drive to work today.  It was only a few months ago that seeing 3 was a big deal.  Just think what the roads will be like a few years from now... especially when the other hybrids begin to get noticed too!  Whatever the case, those against this success better make up their minds.  Some say there are too few.  Some say there are too many.  But in the end, that need to reduce emissions & consumption will get the best of them anyway.  They'll have to choose something.  Not doing anything isn't an option.

3-28-2006

Expecting the Next Generation.  Many years ago, those interested in hybrids had a difficult enough time grasping more than just the concept of how the system worked.  Now they have so much better of an understanding of the inner workings that talk is common about what the next generation of hybrid system will deliver.  Looking ahead, rather than struggling to deal with the newest technology currently available, is a definite sign of progress.  Sweet!

3-28-2006

Until It's Gone.  That belief claiming "if we use less, others will have more" is starting to make me crazy.  Not due to that logic, it's the response it provokes.  Their reasoning is that we should just use the oil until it's gone ourselves.  And their conclusion is that the environmentalist will lose in the end anyway.  They base their reasoning solely on conservation.  It's pretty clear that the greenwashing has been effective.  Many people are becoming so focused on the aspects of oil consumption alone that the other benefit of hybrids is no longer discussed.  That's what those fighting their success want.  The fact that true hybrids also deliver an emission rating of SULEV (or better) in addition to improved efficiency is what they don't want you to know.  That's a genuine gain no matter when the oil supply is gone.  The reality that what comes of the tailpipe is cleaner (less smog-related emissions) irritates the heck out of those attempting to undermine.  Well, too bad.  I'm going to keep telling people that.  Those environmentalists will win.

3-28-2006

$25,900 Base Price.  That's what Toyota announced for Camry-Hybrid today.  Sales will begin in May.  It's a good thing there are a few review models making the rounds now.  Waiting for real-world reports is awhile off still.

3-27-2006

Speed Reduction.  I learned something interesting today when discussing Camry-Hybrid.  Turns out that both it and the already available Highlander-Hybrid utilize a PSD (Power-Split-Device) for speed reduction of their big electric motor.  That makes sense too, especially when you study the diagram.  It really doesn't have any effect on the operation of the primary PSD, which allows for the interaction of the other electric motor and the gas engine.  The purpose of this one is similar to the speed-reduction gear you'll find in traditional vehicles... but placement and shape are obviously very different.

3-26-2006

3 to 4 Time Farther.  Ha!  An article published in Scientific American (April 2006 edition) concluded that "a plug-in hybrid should be able to travel three to four times farther on a kilowatt-hour of renewable electricity than a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle could".  There's not much I can add to that.  It's basically a slam-dunk win for hybrids.  Why bother with hydrogen technology when there is such a significant efficiency penalty?

3-26-2006

Spring is almost here!  Speaking of Spring, that teaser from a few weeks ago was really becoming a source of irritation.  Winter returned with a vengeance.  We had seemingly endless close-to-freezing temperatures, due to all the snow that had abruptly been dumped on the previously exposed ground.  But now, it's almost all melted away.  In fact, I was able to ride my bike today without getting splashed too bad.  Anywho, when you have a Prius, the arrival of Spring is officially marked by seeing the 50's again.  That's both temperature and MPG exceeding that magic 50 mark.  I can't wait!

3-26-2006

Multi-Display Color.  Speaking of that screen, I didn't realize until then that "Beige" had become my favorite color scheme of the 4 available.  It must be, since that's the color I've been using since late last Summer.  It hadn't occurred to me that I had switched and left it that.  Needless to say, it's different now.  I chose "Green", since spring is just a few days away now.

3-26-2006

Practically Impossible.  That was weird.  Two consecutive 5-minute segments on the Consumption screen of the Multi-Display actually matched.  That's practically impossible.  The odds of road conditions matching that closely is so statistically unlikely that I never expect to ever actually see it happen.  It did today though.  They both showed 45 MPG averages with 2.5 regeneration symbols each.  With all the hills, traffic, and stoplights around here, I couldn't recreate that situation again no matter how many times I try.  It was still cool to see though.

3-26-2006

Down to $2,150.  Apparently, that's the price of an entire battery-pack in Prius now.  If that's true, arguments about replacement have lost their significance now... since an 4-speed automatic transmission in Camry costs more than that.  Of course, without reports of owners needing to actually having to replace, it's just a bunch of hot air anyway.

3-26-2006

Automaker Misleading.  We've witnessed antagonists doing it all the time.  But it isn't often you get an example on paper like I just did, as this rather lengthy log entry describes...  Has anyone seen the nonsense GM is now spreading with their E85 promotion?  They have a handout distributed at auto shows which states: "Annual gallons of gasoline saved with E85 2006 4wd Yukon SUV vs Toyota Prius is 133".  Not only do they mislead by using a cross-class comparison, but they don't even bother to mention either the non-E85 quantity for Yukon or the E85 quantity for Prius.  To things even more misleading, they use only highway MPG estimate values for their calculations.  That's intentional deception no matter how you look at it.  Doing the math yourself, you discover that Yukon guzzles 1,071 gallons for their 15,000 mile highway-only measurement with pure gasoline.  Prius uses 294.  That's 777 gallons less for the same distance using the same type of fuel.  Switching to E85, the MPG converts to 9.4 for Yukon and 34.2 for Prius.  That calculates to about 1,596 and 441, respectively.  In other words, Prius still saves.  In this case, Prius uses 1,155 less.  See how incredibly misleading their original quote of 133 was?  It gets much worse when using the city MPG estimate values.  Yukon efficiency drops and Prius efficiency improves.  So if they were at least trying to be sincere, they would have used an average of highway/city combined value.  But they didn't.  Instead, they choose only the value that favored their product.  That is just plain wrong.  On the same handout, they also compared to their Impala sedan and the Silverado pickup.  The Impala is from the same class, but the numbers still use those same misleading calculation methods.  Gas Prius saves 358.  And E85 Prius saves 533.  But since an E85 version of Prius isn't available today, they feel type of comparison is appropriate.  Long-Term that most definitely is not the case.  So comparing future model years (about the time E85 is actually available to many), the hybrid saves... not their non-hybrid examples as they claim.

3-25-2006

Hybrid Types.  It never ends.  Some are still at it, attempting to make all the models of hybrid appear as though they are the same.  That "dilution" is actually less of an anti-hybrid undermining technique than it is something that those with less capable hybrid use to make their preferred system look better.  In other words, the Honda supporters are once again attempting to call the newest model a "full" hybrid.  This time, the strategy was to focus on definition and simply changing it.  But rather than getting hung up in a semantic argument, I simply posted this message explaining why the two system were not the same...  That system has one small electric motor bonded directly to a gas engine, using a single shaft which requires both components to always rotate at the same RPM.  That lack of independent operation limits what's possible.  The system doesn't have a second motor either, which further limits abilities... like recharging the battery-pack even when motor power for the wheels is needed.  In other words, that "electric only" operation is brief and only occurs on spans of road that require little power to sustain the current speed.  It makes crawling through stop & slow traffic is pretty unrealistic, unlike Prius which thrives in those conditions.  They clearly are not the same.

 

back to home page       go to top