Prius Personal Log  #294

October 13, 2006  -  October 15, 2006

Last Updated: Mon. 10/30/2006

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10-15-2006

First Unpleasant Encounters.  That was the hot topic of discussion today.  It started with a new Prius owner being confronted in a very unpleasant way by a neighbor loaded with misconceptions.  So, I contributed an experience of mine to consol the person some.  We all experience negative perceptions in some form or another...  My first unpleasant encounter was way back in the Spring of 2000, when I was still waiting for my first Prius.  The woman freaked out when I started talking about it.  She assumed the technology would be so good and so affordable that she'd be pressured to give up her beloved SUV.  I attempted to explain that the vehicle the system was installed in had nothing to do with the actual technology itself, that other vehicles would later offer it too.  But that was pointless.  She had already concluded that only small cars could be hybrids.  Attitudes like that got worse as the years passed.  But now that the "bigger is better" push has lost its appeal, we stand a really good chance of people now actually care about efficiency enough to notice that hybrids can be larger vehicles.

10-15-2006

Distorted History.  I still wonder want effect printed so-called facts like this have: "Honda's two-seat Insight, the industry's first hybrid, introduced in 1999, will be dropped this year."  The writer cannot call him or herself a journalist with such a blatant error.  Hybrids were actually introduced 2 years earlier, and the first was Prius from Toyota.  It does give the impression that hybrids started simple and small... which come help, but that isn't the truth.  So I'll point out whenever a misconception is being fed.  Of course, the other problem is what "this year" means.  Since we are now into the 2007 models and Insight was already discontinued a month ago, I'm not sure what the heck people think.  Some will very likely get a different impression.  It makes you assume they were among the regular hybrid purchase choices, rather than the reality of it being a special extremely low quantity production.  Oh well.  At least it's better than routinely reading about so-call facts from the anti-hybrid.

10-15-2006

The End.  It's been hectic lately, especially if you've been following the on-goings from the perspective of the personal logs alone.  But none of this should be any surprise.  For years, I've been hearing about the day ULSD (Ultra Low-Sulfur Diesel) finally arrives.  So now that it has (today!), I expect results.  None of the same excuses will be tolerated anymore.  The efforts to fulfill clean & efficient improvements should be well underway.  No more waiting.  If diesel is going to be part of the future, it has to up the ante.  Keeping the status quo by just barely meeting the minimum emissions regulations doesn't actually help.  The same is true for the "assist" hybrids; fortunately, they are cleaner but the long-term business economics & acceptance are questionable.  2007 models have arrived.  2006 can realistically be declared.  All our fuel is low-sulfur and the tax credits have begun phase-out.  That's the end of what was and the beginning of what will be.  It's about dang time!

10-15-2006

Changing Focus.  That was another one of those twisted posts, where it was worded backward for my benefit.  I love how creative some of the supporters on my team have become.  They definitely share the same beliefs and help to support them.  Anywho, this was my reply to a comment about how the antagonists attempt to change the topic of discussion every time they start to feel pressure...  They absolutely hate my broken-record posts.  Over and over and over and over again, I sight the emission ratings.  Not changing the subject makes them absolutely crazy.  The future scares them.  They fear the computer industry, knowing it is doing everything in its power to improve battery technology.  So whether or not the automotive industry invests in research, they'll end up with better (higher power density and lower prices) anyway.  They don't have to do anything. The by-product of portable computers, cell-phones, MP3 players, Bluetooth devices, digital cameras, DVD players, etc. will be something the hybrids will also take advantage of.  And of course for spite, I sometimes point out how biodiesel causes increased NOx emissions.  That really ticks them off, especially with all the recent attention to ethanol... which does exactly the opposite.  The fact that I've been using E10 in my Prius for over 6 years irritates too.  Both the diesel and the "assist" hybrid supporters have a lot to lose.  So special occasions like now (ULSD availability) invites their efforts to distract from the ultimate goals of both emission & consumption reduction.

10-15-2006

More Nonsense.  Here's another of my replies to a series of senseless anti-emission arguments...  Ah!  The "disenchantment" tactic.  That's old school stuff.  I figured such a transparent of a response would be used.  What a joke.  All along, clean advocates have been saying "X" is the highest level of pollutant the body can tolerate.  Efforts were made to reduce from "XXXX" to "XXX" in an affordable way.  That milestone, which took many years to accomplish, was celebrated.  Then the next phase began.  Reduction from "XXX" to "XX" was achieved many years later.  They celebrated again.  The ultimate goal still hadn't be met yet, but it was an undeniable step forward.  Then the greenwashers chime in, saying the next step is in vain.  Going from "XXXX" to "XX" didn't help, so why bother?  Duh!  Since emissions are still beyond tolerance, of course new cases of asthma, sinus allergies, and worse breathing problems continue to emerge.  We still haven't dropped below the threshold to prevent that.  They want you to believe we've come far enough.  They want you to believe that final step isn't worth it.  They want you to lose hope.  That's sad.

10-15-2006

Blatant Emission Attack.  In a way, I'm glad to spend the time documenting some of the resistance I've been dealing with.  But at the same time, it does seem a waste.  Will people really care about such blatant attacks against improved emissions.  Whatever the case, this was the absurd quote this morning: "The biggest road block to simpler cars is the complex emissions devices.  All of which are just there to please a few fanatics that somehow have infiltrated our EPA and CARB.  I don't find the air any cleaner today than 10 years ago.  It is all chasing red herring IMO."  We know the PSD is less complex, despite his claims.  But the fighting against change is very frustrating.  So, I had to somehow respond...  In other words, you haven't noticed just how many people are suffering from breathing-related health problems.  Yet, you keep pointing out how tiny the quantity of hybrids are so far.  The facts, they contradict your claim.  SULEV was brand new when Prius was first introduced.  It took quite a bit of repetition to make people finally acknowledge that the drop of smog-related emissions between that current clean standard (ULEV) and the new one (SULEV) was a major difference.  It's 72.4 percent.  That's quite significant!  And with so few vehicles having that rating on the road still to this day, how could they have possibly made an observable difference yet?  To further discredit your remark, note that the SULEV rating duration is an additional 20,000 miles.  The later in the life of a vehicle, the harder it is to remain clean.  So the additional 50,000 miles that PZEV adds to ULEV is undeniably another big step forward.  But since so few of vehicles have that rating, what difference could that have made from 10 years ago yet?  Clean is a problem only now being addressed.  Low-Sulfur gas availability nationwide happened just this January.  Low-Sulfur diesel available nationwide begins today!  That means the rollout of emission cleansing devices is still in the very early stages, since they all required fuel that is low-sulfur.  So drawing a "red herring" conclusion already is far too premature.

10-14-2006

Bluetooth Entertainment.  The quick stop at the gas station this evening was very entertaining.  I jumped out of the Prius, leaving my friend in it with the system still on.  Inside, I ran around looking for the various items we needed to buy.  At the register, my phone rang.  It was an unfamiliar number.  But I answered, despite the inconvenient timing.  Nothing.  The phone said "connected", yet I wasn't hearing anything.  What the heck?  I hung up and finished my purchase.  It rang again.  Huh?  Same dead response.  But after a moment, I finally realized what was happening.  And sure enough, when I got outside, that sight confirmed the source of my confusion.  My friend was talking to someone through my Bluetooth connection!  Upon the first set of rings, I completed the connection myself by pressing the talk button on the phone.  But it was the Prius that had control.  So, I couldn't hear anything.  But my friend suddenly heard my brother speaking... mysteriously, out of the dead silence.  He was calling to provide his new phone number.  That figures!  The next time the phone rang, she noticed the Multi-Display had changed and took the initiative of pressing the answer button that appeared.  So by the time I got back, they were having a good laugh at my expense.  They were able to piece together the bizarre sequence of events before I had a chance to chime in... leaving me as the victim simply by the process of elimination.  Dang!  Oh well.  It was pretty darn funny.

10-13-2006

62,500 Mile - Oil Change, part 2.  This time, my method of oil change got a closer look.  I have always lifted up the engine-side of the vehicle... with a jack from just behind the front tire.  Quite a number of people have pointed out doing that tips the oil pan enough to prevent complete drainage.  I wasn't ever concerned though, knowing how easy the hybrid system was on oil anyway.  But I had always been curious about how much that actually was.  So today, I measured.  There was precisely 2 ounces left behind.  The owner recommended fill amount is 3.5 quarts.  That converts to 112 ounces.  So the calculation works out to less than 2 percent remaining, a somewhat trivial amount... as assumed.  I don't think many people will care either.  But if they do, just lowering the Prius before putting the plug back into the pan is all it takes to drain those 2 ounces out.  Not a big deal, though harder to reach if you don't jack back up afterward.  Whatever your choice, now you have more information to consider.  That's always a good thing too.

10-13-2006

62,500 Mile - Oil Change, part 1.  The fact that I had exceeded 60,000 miles with my HSD Prius (engine warranty expires then) and that I had previously owned a Classic Prius made the decision to lengthen the oil change interval pretty darn easy, especially using synthetic.  The Classic had always been 7,500 miles, and I was always impressed by how easy it was on the oil.  True, the HSD has a redline that's 500 RPM faster.  But with a larger electric motor, the engine doesn't get worked as hard anyway.  So, I thought what the heck.  After all, other countries go much longer than the standard 5,000 miles.  Toyota likely conformed to it in part just to simplify maintenance schedules here.  Anywho, I finally did that change this evening.  The condition of the oil was most definitely in better shape (darkness and thickness) than the garbage that I remember coming out of my non-hybrid much sooner.  So I was quite pleased and see no reason not to continue with 7,500 mile intervals.  That duration seems about right for my driving.  Only costing $20.22 per change, I'm not saving much money.  But using less oil is always a good thing.

10-13-2006

It Felt Great.  Do the "assist" hybrid supporters understand the technology?  Or is it the business factors that elude them?  My use of the word "augment" certainly caught this one particular antagonist today totally off guard.  He just kept assuming the extreme scenario only.  I bet it never crossed his mind that smaller incremental steps is what the automakers will embrace.  But then again, that should be obvious.  There have been 3 distinct models of Prius already.  Having the 4th follow the same upgrade pattern makes perfect sense.  Yet, he wasn't expecting it.  Why?  I suspected the short-sighted nature of our society simply claimed another victim.  But now he'll be really mad that I pointed that out so publicly.  Though, it was intentionally on that dead forum... where there is literally no hybrid posts anymore, just that single troublemaking diesel support thread.  So not many people actually would have witnessed the encounter in-progress anyway.  And reading the conclusion afterward simply doesn't have the same intenseness as when the event was actually unfolding.  Oh well.  It felt great.  I sure am glad to have achieved that closure.

10-13-2006

Silly Denial.  I hadn't realized the arrival of ULSD was going to provide so much entertainment.  The diesel responses were quite predictable.  But for a die-hard supporter of "assist" hybrids to join in and stir the pot, that's the tops!  I pointed out the long-term benefit of the "full" hybrid design, by augmenting the electric abilities.  He focused entirely on the present instead, hoping to convince readers the two designs were the same... even though their actual operation has virtually nothing in common.  Then he pointed out how no one would ever buy an augmented hybrid, since that modification invalidates the warranty.  I, for the second time, had to point out that it would be the automaker itself providing that.  So the claim of coverage denial was meritless.  It got so silly, I didn't know how to proceed.  The evidence of denial was absolutely overwhelming.  It was good fun!  Anywho, this was his quote that had me rolling: "Until a manufacturer offers an 'augmented' Prius or Escape for sale, they're the same.  And let's face it, Toyota is not going to."  So at his expense, I'm going to reveal out how he is dead wrong... just by pointing out that Toyota has already announced that they are planning to do precisely that.  The 2009 Prius will indeed by augmented.  By replacing the current NiMH battery-pack with a Li-Ion, electric drive abilities will be enhanced... increasing the current range from 3 to 9 miles.  At the same time, the overall price of the system will drop.  The result will be a more affordable hybrid with even higher efficiency.  Ha!

10-13-2006

Not The Same.  This time it was the long-term argument.  It was very obvious that his intentions were not sincere.  I had just finished pointing out how the "full" hybrid designs (like HSD) can be augmented.  And again I pointed out that through either aftermarket or offered as an option for new models, it would happen.  I even sighted that it had already been demonstrated several times.  We've read reports of a few augmented Prius making the news on a regular basis.  Heck, there is even an Escape-Hybrid augmented too.  That is long-term, something that can extend well beyond the current offering with only minimum adjustments... a fact that is absolutely not true for "assist" hybrids.  They are not the same!  His continued efforts to greenwash simply won't work.  I'll keep rebutting his every post.  Yes, I'm frustrated.  But I'll manage.  One design supports augmenting, the other does not.  Attempts to deceive won't work.  It's hard to believe a few would so blatantly mislead this way.  But there it is.  The messages clearly reveal that intent.  Oh well.  Talk is cheap.

 

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