Prius Personal Log  #301

November 18, 2006  -  November 22, 2006

Last Updated: Weds. 9/22/2010

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11-22-2006

Strange New World.  Rumor was that Toyota is planning a diesel-hybrid.  The diesel supporters used that to personally attacked me, despite the fact that I wasn't even participating.  It was the same old transparent nonsense.  They claimed that diesel would never be used, despite the fact that I have included "non-hybrid" and "engine-only" references countless times to prevent that very belief.  Heck, on many occasions I have clearly spelled out that any system delivering SULEV is worth consideration, even diesel.  But just like some politicians, they simply don't care and instead try to make people believe something different.  The silly part though was the fact that it was stated with a proud exclamation of: "We told you so!"  That's hysterical!!  Not only is it smug, it also contradicts their very core propaganda of hybrids not being worth the money.  Ha!  With such blatant discredit attempts and complete reversal of what to support, I don't even have to participate.  It looks like they are doing a pretty darn good job of self-destruction on their own.  That is quite strange.

11-22-2006

Prius Bashing.  How to deal with that was the hot discussion topic today.  Some people have never experienced that.  I find that absolutely fantastic.  Why should there be intentional negativity anyway?  Prius really is a great overall balance of emissions, efficiency, power, conveniences, price, etc.  If others don't see that, tough!  It's their loss.  Resisting is a waste.  The need for improved emissions & efficiency will in some way or another impact them later anyway.  I personally fought lots of battles, many going well beyond the "bashing" level.  But back then, the purpose was constructive.  It shook out every conceivable argument against the emerging technology and exposed most of the antagonist techniques for undermining the success.  Those are well documented now.  So there is simply no need for any more rebuttals even for the sake of responding to a bash.  It's over.  Hybrids have proven a viable solution.  Next comes the fun stuff... hence some of the bashing owners experience.  People see the upgrades are coming.  The good thing gets even better.  Sweet!  Hopefully, that bashing was symbolic of the end.  We are just now getting to the point where troublemakers realize they have lost... and many will just fade away, as if they were never there in the first place!  So talk of this will be just a memory of another time.  Yeah!

11-22-2006

Motor Trend's Car of the Year.  No, it's not Prius again... though that could happen again, with the new model.  Today, that honor was bestowed upon Camry.  The redesign, which includes the hybrid, is a huge hit.  Toyota most definitely has a winner.  The best seller car in America got even better.  I wonder how this is making the competition feel.  Hmm?  Honda is obviously struggling with Accord.  But then there's Ford with the oddly selling Fusion.  It actually seems to be doing fairly well, but the direction is unclear.  Perhaps keeping out of the spotlight until the hybrid version is available is their plan.  GM is doing the opposite, with talk of the hybrid version of Aura is increasing.  Will they actually build & promote it the same way they push Pickups & SUVs?  For the most part, sedans have been a waste of resources as far as they were concerned.  But now that profit opportunities are growing, maybe they'll actually have a change of heart.  We'll see.  The news of this cherished award definitely won't go unnoticed.

11-21-2006

EPA Adjustments.  An article published today about the change coming for 2008 models turned out to be a short-lived opportunity to attack Prius.  Supposedly, the new lower adjusted numbers will have a negative affect on sales.  I asked how.  EPA estimates have been revealed to be nothing but generalized values for so long that there really aren't many uninformed buyers anymore.  Finding real-world data for Prius is no big deal.  MPG is far from the only draw to Prius anyway.  There are many other aspects of appeal, some aren't even quantifiable... like the silence of stealth driving.  Look at it this way, people never cared about fuel-saving payback period until the hybrid came along.  Try to find that in old reviews.  You can't.  It was of no concern back when gas was cheap.  But now that it isn't, how come non-hybrids of any configuration are considered cost-effective?  How come the differential between a V6 and a V8 isn't routinely debated?  Makes you wonder.

11-21-2006

Electric verses Mechanical.  It sure is nice reading comments like this today... "motor is a lot less efficient than a mechanical connection" ...despite the fact that it is a misconception.  That at least indicates hybrid discussions are now being taken more seriously, since type was the topic at hand.  During steady-state highway cruising, there is indeed a conversion penalty.  But that's pretty much the only time.  In all other situations, and there are quite a few, you're better off with the electricity.  So the differences between HSD and Two-Mode aren't really as significant as the popular media lead you to believe.  Basically, whenever RPM changes on the engine or when it is extremely high, efficiency takes a hit.  The electric motor provides a buffer from that, hence the resulting improved MPG.  The benefit of creating & consuming at the same time is to elongate the life of the battery-pack as well make sure there is always an ample supply of stored electricity available.  For those of us with electric A/C, the benefit taken advantage of even more.  I'm really curious what this new design will entail overall.  Far too much emphasis is being placed on efficiency.  Emissions are practically never mentioned and cost is completely absent.  Better requires balance.  The plug-in option obviously provides superior efficiency, but cost is far too prohibitive.  Two-Mode could indeed provide a MPG edge in certain situations, but what will the price for that be?  The addition of clutches isn't free.

11-20-2006

9 Mile Conspiracy.  Now someone has mysteriously appeared to cause trouble.  His message on the big Prius forum claimed that the 9-mile electric range of the upcoming fourth generation Prius was "deliberately chosen to make it useless to most people".  A provoked discussion ensued:  So... your first post was an attempt to create a conspiracy, eh?  Well, give it up and do the math instead.  It's basically a matter of economics.  Toyota has always placed competitive-pricing near the top of the priority.  That's why the Classic model was sold at a loss originally, yet later became profitable at the same price.  Choosing a marketable configuration is a bigger deal than just simply trying to squeeze out the highest possible MPG, especially when third-party suppliers are involved.  That means considering what the competition offers is absolutely essential.  And as we all know, Toyota is already quite a few years ahead of everyone else.  Greater EV range will eventually be offered.  Patience.  Also, don't forget the reality of EPA estimates.  There is no system currently in place to deal with such a design.  That most definitely does complicate an already confusing situation.

11-19-2006

Don't Look Pretty Anymore.  The upcoming revisions to the EPA estimates is really feeding a lot of hype now.  It's becoming somewhat frustrating.  Hopefully, it won't get worse.  I can deal with quotes like this: "How will Toyota and Honda market hybrids when those numbers on the stickers don't look so pretty anymore?"  That seems like an innocent question, taken out of context.  But within the message posted, it was a relatively clever attempt to undermine... because it was newly asked.  That was never a problem in the past.  But now, there's potential to make it a problem.  The anti-hybrid love to make non-issues a hot topic of discussion.  Fortunately, there is an easy solution at hand: Word of month from owners.  That is by far the most powerful marketing.  Nothing can compare to an endorsement from someone that is pleased with their purchase.  Those EPA estimates are of very little value anyway.  They only serve as a basic start point for research.  In no way will those numbers ever reflect real-world situations... like seasonal fuel differences, stop & slow commutes, heavy use of A/C, excessive speed & acceleration, ethanol blends, extreme cold, tire types, and poor upkeep.  So it's up to owners to provide real-world data, because without that you simply can not objectively make comparisons.  For me, using E10 for fuel in Minnesota with mixed driving, my Classic Prius averaged 45.4 MPG after 59,827 miles.  Then from my upgraded to HSD Prius the average is 48.6 MPG after 64,578 miles.  Clearly, the revisions to the EPA testing results still won't reflect what I have observed.  And just think, had I been using pure gas instead of the ethanol blend, the HSD average would be about 50.3 MPG.  So regardless of what you are led to believe by those trying to mislead, actual data reveals what you really need to know.  The rest is just hype.

11-19-2006

Digital Shoebox.  I'm still digging out Fall Prius photos stored away on the hard-drive.  They've been there for 2 years now.  I sure am glad I expended so much effort back then.  The following Falls colors were really disappointing.  True, this year's deep reds were intriguing.  But it's those vibration orange & yellow leaves from the past that really impress.  Fortunately, I captured that past.  Unfortunately, you still don't get to see all of it for awhile.  But a little at a time, those photos get revealed... photo album 114

11-19-2006

An Inconvenient Truth - DVD Released.  If you thought the documentary was amazing, watch the special features on the DVD.  "An Update With Former Vice-President Al Gore" will really get your emotions stirring.  The year that has passed by since the filming has provided even more scientific evidence, making for a very compelling argument that we are on a self-destructive path... unless we rapidly change our ways.  Still to this day, I'm blown away that some people just don't care.  Heck, some even insist that there's nothing we can do.  Clearly, that simply isn't true.  And with Al as my virtual mentor, I've been playing an offense position for many years now to show exactly that.  Of course, with such a public standing my intent isn't in doubt anymore.  So I will most definitely use this DVD as a major component in my arsenal, to help prove way we can no longer be complacent.  Watch it.  You'll really be impressed... and shocked... and frustrated... and worried... and motivated to do something.

11-19-2006

Oxymorons.  Can someone tell me is when did Lexus start selling oxymorons?  I was frustrated after reading that, but understanding nonetheless.  Asking why a very powerful luxury car equipped with hybrid technology is a legitimate question.  So, I answered...  When people began to disregard the benefit of the engine not running in stop & slow traffic.  A performance Lexus is capable of dealing with that by using an electric motor.  The competition wastes lots gas by depending solely on a grossly oversized engine for that need.  Also, when people began to dismiss the importance of the SULEV emission rating, which the Lexus hybrid delivers.  Naturally, the response was very sarcastic: "Zzzzzzz ZZZZ zzzzzz ZZZZZZZZ zzzzzzzzz".  He didn't like my response at all, or this rebuttal... Yes, being complacent of emissions & consumption is another way of putting it.  In return, I got this: "Guilty as charged and loving every minute of it."  And they call hybrid owners smug.  To make it worse, someone else chimed in with this: "I'll take my grossly oversized engine thank you." and this: "I love my gas guzzling vehicles."  That's the typical denial and fear of change hybrid owners routinely have to deal with.  I wonder if there's an oxymoron to describe that situation.  Hmm?  Those that need the technology the most are the most resistant to accepting it.

11-18-2006

Fighting Amongst Themselves.  When the discussion about which is better emerged, GM's upcoming V8 diesel or GM's upcoming V8 two-mode gas hybrid, my interest was captured.  The GM enthusiasts are fighting amongst themselves!  The argument was made about how DOD (Displacement On Demand) was rarely ever used while cruising with a load on the highway.  My response to that is how such non-hybrid information can be relevant to a hybrid, especially when high torque from an electric motor is precisely what you need when towing a heavy load.  They is to significant of an operational difference.  But then again, the entire discussion was basically pointless anyway.  How tiny of a portion of the population actually has that need in the first place?  We are talking about so few it is as silly as a SUV ever going off-road.  True, people will do that type of towing.  But far greater of a percentage of the use is overwhelmingly without the load.  Statistics clearly support that... which is why I avoid debates of that nature.  The masses simply aren't affect either way.  That need is so far from common that it is basically a waste of time.  Greater benefit will come from expending resources elsewhere.

11-18-2006

Distraction Technique.  It's far from new.  Watching "Who Killed the Electric Car", you hear a reference to the founding compromise for PNGV (Partnership for the Next Generation of Vehicle).  The automakers agreed to establish the effort to develop an 80 MPG car with the understanding in return that the Clinton administration would not pursue an increase in fuel economy standards.  (Assumed success of that is what lead to the "Zero Emission Mandate".)  Unfortunately, that distraction technique turned out to be far worse than the usual delay tactic.  Fuel economy progressively got worse, the 80 MPG car was proclaimed a failure (despite working prototypes demonstrating impressive efficiency), and the administration that followed terminated the funding.  In other words, they had developed technology capable of competing with Prius and simply abandoned it.  The distraction worked.  The obsession with monster-size gas-guzzlers was so intense that it was very easy to stop caring about fuel economy... which is precisely how we became addicted to oil in the meantime.  Fortunately, it was only the domestic automakers that were involved.  Those in Japan took the need seriously... hence the hybrids now available.  And thankfully, we now have professionally produced documentaries to preserve that dark history those having distracted don't want us to remember.

 

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