Prius Personal Log  #263

April 23, 2006  -  April 28, 2006

Last Updated: Sun. 5/21/2006

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4-28-2006

Anti-Hybrid Nonsense.  This reply to my reply about a Prius owner's criticism of a poorly written hybrid article said it so well, I have to pay my respects by preserving the entire thing.  Here it is, what Tony's message said in full: "For some of us, it's only been a year or two that we've been reading and getting all worked up about this type of "journalism" (with apologies to real journalists).  Keep in mind that John has been battling this crap for many more years.  I'm surprised his head hasn't exploded yet."  At times, I was so frustrated...  Well, you get the point.  Just look at the website.  The volume of content is proof that I've been upset far too often.  Fortunately, the choice to retaliate with real-world data has proven very effective.  The consumer anti-hybrid nonsense grew to such huge pile of crap that I started to notice patterns, so I wrote an analysis paper documenting them.  The media anti-hybrid nonsense that we are now having to frequently deal with have recently adopted many of those very same techniques.  So rather than being frustrated by this new resistance movement, I actually feel vindicated by having already taken the time to inform people what to be aware of.  It's sad that so many are suffering due to not planning for the future.  The Prius owners saw it coming and struggled to help spread the technology as much as possible before it become a necessity.  Taking advantage of short-term profits to pay dividends to stockholders rather than investing in research & development has been the bad mindset of our society.  Now we have to face the consequences of that poorly made decision.

4-28-2006

$71.88 per barrel.  It's in the news all the time now.  There is no hope of seeing the "good old days" return anymore.  The reality now is that expensive oil is a reality.  An invasion of small cars is inevitable at this point.  That makes the pattern undisputable.  History has repeated itself.

4-27-2006

Nice Try.  That was the extent of a reply from a well known troublemaker.  He didn't even bother responding with misleading data or twisted logic.  The choice was to just dismiss me entirely.  Too bad for him that more forum readers are asking questions nowadays.  You cannot just ignore that.  They won't allow curiosities to go unfulfilled.  Having to acknowledge challenges is required, not an option.  He has to try... even if it risks exposing what he is up to.  And I don't even have to push the issue.  The curious will do it for me.

4-27-2006

Lost Perspective.  Speculation about the next model of Prius (coming in 2 years) is really getting out of control.  Today's worries were that the current model would lose substantial resale value due to the magnitude of improvement the next will supposedly offer.  Does worrying make any sense at all?  If that did indeed happen, just think of what all the non-Prius non-hybrids will be selling for.  Basically, the entire used market would be a disaster.  Is that something we cannot handle?  Will panic ensue?  Obviously, perspective has been lost.  The market for new vehicles is collapsing as I type this, with respect to certain domestic automakers.  That has a more profound impact on the country's economy than used vehicles.  And there's no need to speculate.  Just do a search online for keywords like "Detroit Financial Crisis".  That should reveal quite a few details about the mess we are already in.

4-27-2006

Advanced Warning.  It�s sad though that I cried "the sky will be falling by the end of the decade" over 6 years and very few people cared.  Now that the evidence of the nightmare to come is arriving at our doorstep, looming for people to finally acknowledge, some people are still denying it will happen.  Arrgh!  Look around.  Where are the monster-size gas-guzzlers now?  Their numbers are shrinking.  Traffic has many more friendly vehicles than just 1 year ago.  Change has begun to reveal itself.  This is your advanced warning.

4-26-2006

Hybrid Pricing.  The title of the article seemed innocent enough.  But the opening sentence had this comment in it: "I am not actually anti-hybrid".  That caught my attention.  I was very skeptical, bewildered about what the actual intent of the article could be.  It turns out there was indeed a reasonable amount of info about hybrid pricing... but it was laced with misleading comments.  There were subtle messages endorsing GM.  The writer really wasn't anti-hybrid.  He was anti-Toyota and anti-Honda.  His argument centered on the fact that they need to deliver a less expensive hybrid, just like GM will be doing.  The reality that "you get what you pay for" was totally avoided, instead implying that all hybrid technology was the same and the current hybrids are just overpriced.  It was very disturbing, because I figure some people will actually believe that nonsense.  All hybrid technology is not the same.  GM will be delivering an "assist" hybrid in a few months.  It won't even remotely operate the same way as a "full" hybrid, nor will it achieve the efficiency or emissions.  Yet, the writer didn't mention that.  He, like far too many others, focused exclusively on price.

4-26-2006

Still Comparing To Corolla.  A Prius enthusiast wasn't thrilled after reading yet another article that had done that type of comparison.  I agreed, responding with this...  That's a dead giveaway that they are doing nothing but number crunching, not actually doing real-world comparisons like owners do.  And those numbers take the liberty of deciding what should be included.  My parents have a Corolla.  So I end up playing chauffer in it for them from time to time.  The quality differences between it and Prius are surprisingly plentiful.  There's all kinds of little things that those with insincere intentions could easily dismiss as something to mention in an review article... supposedly not worth paying any extra money for.  But those doing comparisons in-person notice though and do mention about them being well worth it.  There are some less obvious benefits from Prius too, like the idle being rather significantly smoother, than never get mentioned... but should.  Of course, how often do smog-related emissions get mentioned?  That commonly gets dismissed as something no one would ever be willing to contribute some money toward with the purchase of a new vehicle.  The popular media, in general, is very disappointing.  They do a terrible job of reporting hybrid information.  In fact, they routinely help to spread misconceptions.  That's rather scary when you think about just how much that have mislead consumers, preventing realistic solutions to some problems from being accepted.  Just imagine how different the automotive market and oil situation would be now if sincere efforts to properly report hybrid information would have been done 6 years ago when Prius was first introduced in the United States.  And now we have our president saying: "I strongly believe hydrogen is the fuel of the future."  It is a complete dismissal of hybrids, setting the focus on technology that won't be affordable or for that matter even available for quite a few years still.  How the heck is that suppose to help the problems we are dealing with today?

4-26-2006

Rewarding Guzzlers.  Supposedly, the president is determined to deal with our "addiction to oil".  The plan is to extend credits to those that purchase hybrids of any kind.  Back when hybrids were new, that would have been ok.  It would have helped as an endorsement & encouragement to purchase them.  But now, how exactly will that use less oil?  Monster-Size hybrids, which have been included in the plan, will end up using dramatically more fuel than a just a smaller non-hybrid vehicle.  It's a flaw in our measurement system that allows guzzlers to be rewarded.  Rather than using a value to indicate the amount of fuel required to travel a specific distance, we (here in the US) instead say how far we can go with a gallon.  That seems sensible, but is reality is very misleading.  That's why focus is so easily placed on how much fuel wasn't used rather than how much was.  Telling people how many gallons you are actually consuming is far more informative.  The fact that you "save" gas is not as important as.  You pay for what you use.  Getting money for not using something doesn't really make any sense.

4-25-2006

Sickened.  I felt that 6 years ago, when my Prius delivery wait began.  Unfortunately, newbies are still having to deal with it, resulting in a sickened feeling.  Some SUV owners have been horribly smug.  Hearing the statement "it's only a car" when referring to Prius was very disheartening.  A few even freaked out with the impression that I was leading a campaign to force them out of their SUV, clearly not understanding how the technology actually worked.  Then it got worse.  They started using the term "car" when referring to their SUV, a crude attempt make their truck an acceptable vehicle for non-truck purposes (like their daily commute to the office)  Needless to say, I've been dealing with smugness and disingenuous intent for far too long now.  Can we finally get past the attitudes and deal with the actual problem instead?  Emissions & Consumption must be reduced.

4-25-2006

Not Enough.  Today's attack on "full" hybrid enthusiasts started with a claim that we are all wrong and ended with an exclamation that we should get over ourselves.  Geez!  It was a rather blatant endorsement for GM's inexpensive hybrid system, stated by this purpose quote: "Put mild hybrids in SUV's and get an efficiency gain of 15% and you will save more gas per year then the Prius does."  Since the average cost of a new vehicle is $20,000 and the cost of gas is close to $3.00 per gallon, the price of the base Prius (which is nicely loaded) is right on target anyway.  In other words, his claims about new purchases were both incorrect and misleading.  It's more of the "save" nonsense, focusing on purchase price rather than the actual amount of gas that will be used.  He obviously ignored the big picture too.  A goal to increase their entire fleet efficiency by 15 percent would be setting the bar way too low and clearly only a short-term solution, since all that would do is keep the demand problem from getting worse.  As for the MPG number crunching, he totally ignored everything else... like lower smog-related emissions.  Having to repeat the same old "the anti-hybrid didn't acknowledge this" arguments are making me sound like a broken record.  Yet, I get the impression that it is still beneficial for newbies, especially since the effect of speed & temperature on MPG continue to surprise people.  Anywho, a goal of only a 15 percent improvement is not enough.

4-24-2006

$2.72 to $2.89  That was the price range for a gallon of gas I witnessed on my commute home.  A 17-cent spread is very disturbing.  Seeing jumps like that from morning to evening was frustrating enough.  But at least there was consistency.  Now people are going to be driving around just for the sake of finding the best price.  That's obviously going to consume more gas that the routine stop at your favorite local station.  It will destroy the loyalty station owners expect for continue business.  This instability will end up hurting a lot more of the economy that people realize.

4-24-2006

100% Chance.  $3.00 per gallon gas before the hybrid market is truly established cannot be denied anymore.  In fact, some people are already paying that.  The national average is still lower though.  But it shouldn't take long with no major force working to stop the rising prices.  In other words, genuine hybrid competition cannot be counted on.  That means an inevitable invasion of small vehicles... again.  I witnessed that as a child.  Now I get to as an adult.  Thankfully, even though it will start the same way again, the ending will not.  By then, hybrids would have gained a significant foot hold.  Those very irritating misconceptions will fade away quickly as people let go of their fear and embrace change.  Desperation has proven to do that it the past.  So what's beginning again is a total waste.  There's a 100% chance hybrids will get greater attention now.  I like those odds.

4-23-2006

Judging Demand.  The final "before Camry-Hybrid is available" battles are now being fought.  Arguments taking advantage of the apparent sales drop for hybrids are exploiting a misleading market statistic.  That drop is really only relevant to the hybrids which favor power rather then efficiency.  But they avoid giving you clues that let you figure that out... like any knowledge of what the market was like before then.  Know that changes everything.  But I remember it clearly and do my best to share that information.  Back then there was a massive amount of hybrid power disbelief, so much so that it was impairing the market.  The number of people under the misconception that the technology could never be fast or used for large vehicles was undeniably the majority.  And of course, the anti-hybrid took heavy advantage of that.  It prevented taking the next step.  So both Toyota & Honda set out to prove them wrong.  But now that they have, those doing after-the-fact analysis have a very hard time trying to figure out why they would ever do such a thing.  In other words, that effort was so incredibly successful that some just cannot accept the fact that the proof was ever needed in the first place... which is an absolutely fantastic verification of effectiveness.  That's the best kind.  It's quite rewarding.  Anywho, if looking back requires some to ask why there was any resistance, you clearly did a a very good job of implementing change.  So don't judge demand based on simple observations.  Dig to find out if there were other factors that influenced a decision made several years prior to what you see happening now.

4-23-2006

They Don't Get It.  Comparisons between the upcoming Saturn Vue-Hybrid (from GM) and the Toyota Highlander-Hybrid are popular discussion topics now.  The argument is that GM gets it, they understand that people want a cheap hybrid SUV.  Really?  Highlander-Hybrid was not configured for optimum MPG, it was power.  So how does price fit into the equation?  It doesn't.  The attempt to mislead was yet another rather blatant maneuver to defend the "assist" hybrid design.  If Toyota would have wanted that first model of Highlander-Hybrid to favor MPG, they would have used the less expensive 4-cylinder engine instead.  In fact, they would have used the very same one that is now available in Camry-Hybrid.  But they didn't.  In other words, they get it much better than GM does.  Rather than making SUVs most efficient first, they are instead emphasizing the technology being used in hatchbacks & sedans.  GM's problem is that they place far to much attention on short-term products.  That's what they don't get.  The "assist" hybrid design simply does not support augmentation well.  The passive electrical system would make it entirely dependent on a plug and the inability of engine & motor to work independently would limit what could be achieved.  Those shortcomings don't exist for the "full" hybrid design, which use a persistent electrical system, a second motor, and a Planetary-CVT.

 

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