Prius Personal Log  #286

August 21, 2006  -  August 28, 2006

Last Updated: Sun. 9/03/2006

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8-28-2006

Starting Over.  With still no success at reviving the dead, a "new" angle emerged out of nowhere.  Someone (I have no idea who, maybe a newbie, perhaps an alias) posted a message claiming most of the efficiency advantage of a hybrid in the city comes from regenerative braking.  Not mentioning how is a gross oversimplification.  But to totally ignore the fact that the engines automatically shut off when not needed and the fact that they are typically smaller is an inexcusable omission.  But then again, that could simply be another example of bait.  Missing the attention of the past could easily be reason to want to provoke the hybrid supporters.  Only thing is, no one seems to care.  We've got better discussions to participate in, those that are actually constructive.  I certainly have no interest in starting over.

8-27-2006

Getting Nowhere.  Absolutely desperate to bring back to life the now dead anti-hybrid discussions, new so-called data has been posted.  It's obviously bait.  But no one seems to be biting.  Sweet!  The claim was a simple cross-country trip that resulted in a 34 MPG average from a diesel Passat.  What wasn't mentioned is quite important, yet it doesn't appear to matter anyway.  The post is getting nowhere.  I love it!  But just in case, it's a good idea to point out that is best case scenario results.  If they told you about the emissions, the transmission, or included any non-highway driving, the MPG would be quite a bit lower.  Each has a penalty for the non-hybrid diesel.  They don't tell you that though; however, it now looks like participants are well aware of that type of misleading.  So it isn't necessary.  People aren't falling for that type of deception anymore.  Hybrids have captured their interest.  Hooray!

8-27-2006

Long-Time Regulars.  Someone pointed out some observations about the habits of these particular owners on the big Prius forum this morning.  Discussing the evolution of that resource is a fresh topic, now with so much history we actually can take a look back.  The primer for the discussion was to ask why the newer members are the ones that tend to provide the congratulations to those that just place an order or recently take delivery.  This was my response...  By the time PriusChat was finally established, I was already into year #4 of Prius ownership and very heavy into the online contributions.  Now I'm about to start year #7.  So I've seen and done it all... several times over.  Do you really expect the veterans to take away the "congrats" opportunities to from those that just shook off the label of newbie?  How many times can the same old "congrats" be provided from the same old Prius owner before it no longer sounds sincere?  Can you point out any other still-in-production vehicle model that has been able to hold interest as strong as we've witnessed with Prius?  Prius is quite unique.  So don't expect a pattern or cycle.  We are formulating plans along the way, responding to the bizarre circumstances of the ever-changing automotive market.  We are boldly going...  By the way, in less than 100 miles, I will be exceeding the magic distance I traveled with my Classic Prius before trading it in for my HSD model: 59,827 miles.  So despite my very senior status, I'm still doing stuff for the very first time.

8-26-2006

Peak Oil?  That topic sure is making the news lately.  Only thing is, we still don't really have a good understanding of what that actually means.  Apparently, it is when oil supplies are at their maximum, where further demand will force higher prices.  Isn't that exactly what we are seeing already?  The price of both oil & gas has doubled over the course of just 2 years.  That certainly supports "higher" by pretty much any definition I have ever heard of.  The U.S. Department of Energy says we have another 10 to 20 years before that point is reached.  How do they figure?  Are they totally ignoring how the difficulty in extraction affects the market?  What about the quality of the crude?   I hear talk of liquefaction from coal and extraction from shale.  But neither is cheap or easy.  And building & installing new drilling rigs has never been.  Now we have the problem of the aging pipe infrastructure to deal with too.  All of this is problematic at best.  So in 10 years, we'll really be in trouble.  Heck, just look at Norway, a major oil provider in the global market.  They figure all of their supply will be completely gone within just 9 years.  Then when you consider how long it is taking for the competition to begin offering hybrids, the concern of hitting a peak is all too real.  Seeing signs of the end coming means we are already at peak.

8-26-2006

20 MPG Hummer.  I couldn't believe it.  That's what the latest television for Hummer promotes.  They are touting the fact that it has an estimated highway MPG of 20.  That makes me wonder what it actually gets in real-world driving.  I bet it is quite a bit lower.  And we know quite well that MPG in the city is very disappointing.  Smog-Related emissions are never mentioned, so you could imagine they are nothing to be proud of.  What a joke.  There is simply no non-commercial or non-military purpose for a vehicle like that.  It is a symbol of our lack of concern for the environment, natural resources, and the dependence on others.  How much longer will that attitude last?  I can't imagine too much longer with so much emphasis on genuine efficiency benefits now.  Remember when the SUV used to be a respectable size?

8-25-2006

Outright Lies.  I had heard references to an article published a month ago, but it took until now to finally come across it.  The claim was that "Toyota's own numbers" state that the average life of a Prius is only 100,000 miles.  So when making a cost-analysis comparison to Hummer, which supposedly lasts 300,000 miles, it is a slam-dunk defeat.  Hummer wins by a landslide!  Since when is a lifetime beyond 200,000 miles realistic for any vehicle?  Even if an automatic transmission can survive that long, the body cannot.  The exterior is consumed by rust and the interior shows obvious signs of wear & tear.  Of course, the fact that an outright lie of claiming a Prius will only last 100,000 miles is just plain ludicrous anyway... making the entire argument pointless.  But it actually gets even better!  The article went on to say that development costs and components cannot be spread among vehicles, since each is a specialty design.  That has already be been proven false.  Toyota has been spreading HSD among vehicles and is planning for the entire fleet within the next 6 years.  Heck, they are even sharing (via contract) the technology with Nissan.  I can't believe some people have the audacity to fabricate information to protect their interests.  But unfortunately, it happens... as that article clearly revealed.

8-24-2006

Website Statistics.  I got asked today if I ever share them.  The answer is no.  Sorry to not satisfy your curiosity.  But I do from time to time mention HSD User-Guide PDF activity.  So it could serve for at least a little bit of inside scope.  That statistic currently goes back 28.5 months (since early March 2004).  Over that duration, there have been 177,848 downloads.  Pretty cool, eh?

8-24-2006

Intellectual Combat.  Since the anti-hybrid activity is quickly faded into memory, I thought it was time to finally publish a consolidation of the personal logs pertaining to the topic.  The resulting document, much like the others, were inspired by mounting frustration from having to routinely deal with such nonsense... hoping to bring it to an end.  Unfortunately, I've noticed that even though the battle for hybrids is being won, there's another arena with antagonists doing the very same stuff.  It's politics.  I had no idea their techniques matched so well.  But now that I've witnessed them countless times within the hybrid forums, it's really easy to recognize them coming from politicians too.  Regardless of scope, the original subject matter come from fighting the resistance to hybrids.  They pushed me.  I responded using intellect.  It resulted in documentation revealing what they were actually attempting do.  Their deception became more difficult to conceal.  I'm pleased with that outcome.  The pen is indeed mightier than the sword... anti-hybrid analysis

8-24-2006

Media Turn.  Now, hybrid cost makes sense to them!  That figures.  The only thing that has changed is the price of gas.  I didn't expect the popular media to be objective anyway.  So the fact that they never acknowledged that gas could become considerably more expensive anytime during the lifetime of the vehicle doesn't surprise me.  I knew it would.  Supply was flat, yet demand was growing sharply without any means of increasing supply.  That's a terrible thing.  In fact, it's suicide.  Too bad the media wasn't paying closer attention then.  Oh well.  They finally are now, and recently published articles make that abundantly clear.  Automakers acknowledge the trend toward consumer's interest in fuel efficiency.  So we now get to read much more positive articles about hybrids.  It's getting to the point where the worth is no longer being debated.  Instead, emphasis is on when the extra initial cost is realized.  For those with 5-year loans, they'll never know.  Since the payoff comes before the final payment.  Spending less overall is noticed sooner... and there are plenty of reporters now writing about that very fact.

8-23-2006

Highest Priority.  The latest Consumer Reports automotive survey clearly shows that "fuel economy" has climbed all the way to the top.  People now consider that the highest priority when making a decision about a new vehicle purchase.  Following that is "reliability" then "price".  The automakers depending on guzzlers to deliver a majority of their profit don't like that news at all.  High fuel costs are most definitely influencing the mindset of what will become popular now... just like low fuel costs did in the past.  Interesting how that works, eh?

8-22-2006

Anti What?  The transformation on that certain forum is truly amazing.  The anti-hybrid activity has shrunk to a level so small it is easily over-shadowed by all the excitement for hybrids.  The dream is growing.  More are getting involved in genuine steps forward.  I almost cannot believe it is finally happening.  For all the crap I had to put up with, this new reality makes me feel it was worth it.  Wow!  The administrators of that website were plagued with those arguments for years.  Now they are vanishing.  The new layout has prevented the antagonist activity from flourishing anymore.  Sweet!

8-22-2006

More Expensive.  Well, what do you know?  I read an article today that stated precisely what I've been saying all along about the "two-mode" hybrid design.  It should work just fine, but the extra components make it more expensive.  So unless there is a significant advantage over the so-called "one-mode" hybrid I'm driving now, it will be very difficult to sell.  All the difficulties of marketing hybrids now are exacerbated by the reality that this one should have a higher price and the stigma of increased complexity.  Makes you wonder how they'll deal with it, eh?  I would absolutely love an honest effort to educate buyers of the advantages of accepting advanced technologies like that.  It would make a hybrid like Prius seem like an everyday appliance then... exactly the hope Toyota has been striving for all along.  The automakers could be in a strange win-win situation.  That would be great!  But somehow, I'm not that optimistic.  So for now, it's sticking to pointing out the added expense.  Once we get real-world data, then there may be some hope.

8-22-2006

100 Miles Later.  It didn't take much to recover.  After 2 daily commutes, the average has increased over 10 MPG.  The Multi-Display now shows a very pleasing 47.l on it.  That's great.  Starting this tank with 2 kayaks on the roof wasn't a happy thought.  But the vacation was well worth the efficiency sacrifice.  Now though, it's back to normal.  I'll get to enjoy the 50's for the next 2 months or so.  Then... Winter!  Unfortunately, the Fall season is sometimes so brief it is literally as if it gets skipped entirely.  Perhaps this year will be different.  In the meantime, the MPG will keep climbing back up to the usual impressive level.

8-21-2006

That Person.  I'm trying to help without causing too much trouble.  That's a difficult balance though.  Recently pointing out to someone that his local group has a member undermining his efforts wasn't easy, especially since I want to stick to principle rather than pointing out specific instances.  That person was most definitely trouble in the past.  Hope is that there has been some change.  But considering the purpose of the group is only to promote improved fuel-efficiency, I'm concerned.  That was the problem all along.  Endorsing short-term solutions that don't also significantly reduce smog-related emissions is counter-productive... and that is exactly what that person has been striving for.  In other words, the "assist" hybrids are being treated as equal to the "full" hybrids.  Fortunately, some "assist" hybrids are now SULEV rated.  The emissions are indeed cleaner.  Unfortunately, that isn't the apparent trend going forward.  The upcoming models make no mention whatsoever about smog reduction being any better than their traditional counterpart.  Worse though is pretending that they can be augmented like the "full" hybrid, to take advantage of improved battery technology later with a plug.  The design of the "assist" simply doesn't support that, nor was it intended to.  So the long-term well being of the automotive market, for both automaker & consumer, isn't being taken seriously with such as endorsement.  Why invest in a solution that won't be competitive in a few years?  Infrastructure changes are very expensive.   A commitment that only lasts a few years is very unrealistic.  Anywho, I prefer not to discuss that person anymore.  I just want the "full" hybrids to become so common you wonder why I was even concerned about the attention given to the smaller step forward.

 

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