Prius Personal Log  #302

November 23, 2006  -  November 29, 2006

Last Updated: Weds. 9/22/2010

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11-29-2006

Giving Credit.  I've been through this before, many times: "Let's give GM some credit here."  No, it has to be earned... like a credit for each sale.  If they don't sell anything, nothing is earned.  If they only produce a few, they won't get much in return.  Without doing something that actually makes a difference, why should they be given any praise?  Talk is cheap.  Merit requires action.

11-29-2006

Supreme Court.  The global warming debate reached the federal level today.  It was totally absurd.  The effort was as unproductive as I could imagine.  What a waste of time.  Of course, we all saw this coming.  Crossing of governmental branches is a common occurrence now.  The check & balance nature of our system is definitely not as robust as in the past.  They influence each other more than our founders had wanted.  Anywho, it was a toss back and forth on the semantic level.  Avoiding actual substance was clearly happening.  You could hear that so well in the sound bites.  I was quite frustrated.  Basically, the conclusion was that regulation wouldn't actually have that much of an effect... since hard data could not be provided.  Beyond a reasonable doubt wasn't acceptable.  They demanded precise numbers and absolute proof.  Why?  None of the lower courts require such an extreme.  "Ongoing Harm" was an unacceptable argument.  The EPA claim that "carbon dioxide" is not a pollutant was quickly embraced, despite the fact that other forms of pollution are already regulated, to concluded responsibility was not upon the government.  In short, they saw no need to enforce.  MPG increases will not be required.  Automakers are allowed to proceed with business as usual.

11-28-2006

Second Generation Escape-Hybrid.  I saw this one coming a very long time ago.  The same thing happened with Honda.  They introduced the next model with fewer improvement than the upgrade from Original to Classic Prius, yet called it a "generation" anyway.  That in itself was frustrating enough.  But knowing the reality that the generation label for Prius was intentionally suppressed as a technique to undermine really upsets.  Certain people did that with the intent of making the model changes seem less significant.  The reason for that should now be obvious.  They were protecting their own interests, well aware that it would take many years to catch up to where Toyota already was.  Fortunately, not everyone is that counter-productive.  In Australia, they identify the upgrades to Prius as "Series" instead.  And the HSD model is indeed the third.  Sadly though, here in the United States the Escape-Hybrid has just been declared second.  How come a "softer, seamless transition", an "economy mode", and "new display" equate to a next generation label for Ford but all the design improvements for Prius in 2000 didn't?  Asking that question to the Prius enthusiasts resulted in complete silence, not a single response... even from those that use to be upset by me pointing out their identification shortcoming.  They now understand why it was necessary to push.  Considering what the competition would do later on wasn't a concern.  That has clearly changed.  It has become a genuine problem.  Antagonist efforts is easier to notice with the passage of time.

11-28-2006

Exceeds EPA Estimates.  That is bound to become a slogan for Prius.  In the past, those against hybrids didn't hesitate to declare Prius a failure by pointing out that the EPA estimates were not being achieved... even though they only represent ideal conditions, which real-world driving doesn't.  Now the tables will be turning.  The revisions are too low.  So rather than being a realistic expectation, they actually undercut the hybrid systems abilities.  That means a large percentage of owners will get better MPG than what the window sticker implies.  Meanwhile, traditional vehicle estimates will only get closer to real-world.  So once the negative fallout subsides, the reality will be that Prius does better than expected.  How about that?  Of course, I don't expect too much press on that.  Reporters often don't like to report that their own previous conclusions were in error.

11-26-2006

The Previous Entry.  It was the online eulogy I posted upon learning of the accident.  That simply isn't enough of a tribute to someone that was always there for us.  We got so much from him.  In addition to his contributions to a better future from his executive position at Toyota America, he took the time to chat with us.  It started in a forum then transitioned to in-person appearances.  He answered questions and gave presentations.  That man was always there at bat for us, paving the way for future hybrids.  His death will really be felt.  I sure hope people appreciate all he did.  The enthusiasts certainly will miss him. 

11-26-2006

Dave.  He did a great deal to help us, well beyond the engineering and executive expertise he provided.  Some of us had the privilege of personal exchanges.  He shared a tremendous amount of wisdom.  I privately received words of encouragement, telling me how contributions from owners like myself really would make a difference... he even described how.  That extra effort really impressed.  Do what you can to keep his dream alive.  That passion to make technology an instrument of change is something we here have in common and should continue to share amongst those we encounter.  It is up to us now.  Make him proud.  There is history to be made.

11-26-2006

Long, Long Overdue.  What can I say?  I've fallen way behind with certain routine website tasks.  Today, I played catch up with my mini promotional material.  I keep them in my pocket, just in case the opportunity to discuss hybrids presents itself... which is often, now that gas prices are permanently high.  But sadly, I had let the very information that gives me credibility to grow old.  The personal data was quite outdated at this point.  So I finally buckled down to provide updates and replace the photo with one much more recent.  See... website cards 13

11-25-2006

Didn't Last Long.  It was actually rather odd.  I hadn't expected (somewhat) objective discussions to actually even hold on until then.  So today's abrupt end was no big deal.  It was quite predictable.  When participating on a competitor's forum, you'll naturally encounter a variety of misconceptions.  The most profound was the new one for plug-in hybrids.  The person was under the impression that you absolutely had to plug; otherwise, the hybrid would leave you stranded like electric vehicles could.  That absolutely isn't true.  But the post sure supported that belief.  And since you'll never get a response from having pointed out an error in understanding, you just have to accept and move on.  I've come to deal with that on a regular basis too.  It isn't a big deal either.  There was a surprise left me a bit frustrated though.  A new method of antagonism has emerged.  That figures!  It's pretty simple.  You just connect to an online information repository, read about Prius, then recite that information into a discussion.  It gives you instant credibility.  That way, people are under the impression you know what you are talking about when you post vague misleading facts.  Thankfully, a request for detail still works as an effective counter response.  They freak about getting exposed, as what happened today.  Of course, since I'm only interested in constructive feedback, it's pretty easy to just move on.  The reality that those online resources empower is a great benefit for the supporter too.  They can just as easily find out for themselves that they were being mislead.

11-24-2006

EPA Revisions.  That is becoming a very hot topic already!  I thought that wouldn't happen until later in 2007, when the 2008 estimates are officially released.  But those hoping to draw away attention from Prius see it as an opportunity to good to wait for.  Sadly, the revisions do nothing for that fundamentally flawed system.  The most common of things, like winter fuel & driving, is missing entirely.  Suburb values are absent as well.  There is no follow-up either.  Where are the real-world results?  Why must we settle for only estimates?  Then we have the plug-in hybrids on the way, which they have absolutely no clue how to deal with.  And how come emission ratings still aren't being added to the window stickers?  Whatever the case, they still mislead.  The revisions still leave much to be desired.  Basic questions, like the influence of wind, A/C, heater, and ethanol, are left unanswered.  People will continue to find out the hard way that those values are still only ideal condition estimate.  Remember, YMMV.  Your Mileage May Vary.

11-24-2006

Condemned To Repeat It.  The recent DVD release related to Global Warming lead to a discussion about political environmental history.  So of course, this insight quote was brought up: "Those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it."  An important point in that DVD was how some intentionally undermine progress by dwelling in the past.  Endless discussions without conclusion prevent the next step from being taken.  Many Prius owners are already well aware of how one administration makes a mess and the following has to clean it up.  The perception is that the first did more for the people, but in reality its usually the opposite.  Cost of the war in Iraq hasn't been realized yet.  That penalty is what the next administration will have to struggle with.  They won't get credit for all that effort though.  See the pattern?  Just like with hybrids, its not WHY (since that part should be obvious), the real focus should be HOW (since poorly conceived plans usually have consequences).  Some hybrids are not actually clean; they don't reduce smog-related emissions.  So endorsing them as if they are the same really doesn't help; they are not a worthy solution.  Global Warming is not the only problem we have deal with.  We need to always keep goals in mind.  Awareness is the key.  Good intentions mean nothing when an enemy is limited time & resources... hence, "an inconvenient truth".

11-23-2006

Publicity.  This stuff is great!  I'm actually going to miss it in a way, but not much.  The time to move on has come.  But these final comments are worth noting.  Like this: "It puts the publicity out there over a extended period of time instead of just a one time hit with everything and then people forget about it."  That was from a GM supporter, who is thrilled by the flood of hybrid enticements included in the 2007 Auto Show kickoff announcements.  Naturally, I had to provide some perspective...  October 1997 was when Toyota revealed Prius to the world.  Just 2 months later sales began.  People wouldn't forget if there was actually something to buy.  And seeing them on the road is far greater of a draw than any promotional hype.  GM needs to build & offer.  It's that simple.  People like you will help with the sell part.  Their current "all bark and no bite" approach really isn't accomplishing much, with respect to actually making a difference.  I'm thrilled by GM's complete attitude reversal toward hybrids.  But now I expect them to deliver.  The time for talk is over.  You cannot get owner endorsements, the best type of publicity, until there are owners!

11-23-2006

Pulling Out.  The recent discussion about GM planning to abandon the minivan market has captured me interest.  This was the quote that I just couldn't resist responding to: "I think GM is definitely doing the right thing pulling out and focusing on more appealing, profitable vehicles."  So I asked...  What if the profitable market vanishes?  It certainly did in the computer industry for PCs.  Remember how each sale used to result in a fairly hefty profit?  Things changed.  That profit eventually became razor thin.  Computer makers not able to adapt to that new reality found it a very difficult struggle to survive.  Some, like the giant IBM, ended up leaving the PC market entirely.  For the rest, it was high volumes of low profit product... since no other option remained.  There may be no large profit source to chase eventually.  That's quite a risk hoping there will.  The hope that gas would remain cheap certainly proved to be disastrous.

11-23-2006

11 Years From Now.  It was a point about Global Warming that I found especially troubling... since we have control over this aspect.  The proposed increase in American fuel economy standards currently being fought by automakers will take 11 years of before it catches up to the standards that the Europeans nations and China already adhere too.  Ouch!  Being that far behind is embarrassing.  No wonder GM doesn't sell anything in China; even their most efficient vehicle (excluding the rebranded Korean models) don't make the cut.  It's a sad reality.  Not only are we wasteful now, but we plan to continue to be for quite a few years.  Arrgh!  I'm very frustrated.  We have the resources available, but don't bother using them.  What happened?  Priorities are definitely a mess.  Disregarding the environment penalties of complacency, what about the national security aspect?  Being addicted to oil is a very bad thing.  Why aren't we taking that seriously?  There are lots of good people here that will help to there part.  But instead, guzzling is still seen as acceptable... and apparently will for awhile still.  Dang!

11-23-2006

Minivan Appeal.  This rumor is becoming a reality.  GM appears to be ceasing plans to sell them.  Oddly, that actually provides great potential for the remaining minivan market.  The convenience of large sliding doors and fold-away seats is something that some people will still want.  That is what minivans offer, something you still don't get from the crossovers (fat wagons, intended for those not wanting a SUV).  Toyota has already begun selling a hybrid minivan (Estima in Japan).  It's a combination of features that spell a great opportunity.  If both GM and Ford want to abandon that, they lose.  So the market mutates into a niche segment not supported by all the automakers.  Will anyone cares?  That uniqueness worked remarkably well for Prius.

11-23-2006

Petition Value.  It's been awhile since someone tried another.  They simply don't work as people think.  Basically, a petition is nothing but an attention-getter.  That's it, seen action rarely ever follows.  Realistically, no difference will ever directly be made no matter how many signatures are gathered anyway.  Signing your name to indicate intent will never be the same as signing your name on a check.  Actual purchases, or even deposits, are what really cause a response.  How can you take a non-obligatory list as something of consequence?  Where's the commitment?  Those listed aren't actually obligated to contribute anything afterward.  They just take a few seconds to... essentially... make themselves feel better.  Sorry to be cynical, but today I was far from alone on that stance.  Several people pointed out how minor of an effect petitions have historically had when one was posted today.  The value simply isn't there in comparison to so many other things people can do.  The most significant, naturally, is putting their money where their mouth is.

 

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