Prius Personal Log  #303

November 30, 2006  -  December 4, 2006

Last Updated: Sun. 12/17/2006

    page #302         page #304         BOOK         INDEX         go to bottom 

 

12-04-2006

One Last Stab.  The power in Washington DC is about to change.  So the House of Representatives is giving one last stab at trying to get a measure passed for opening 8.3 million acres of new offshore drilling territory.  This push requires a two-thirds vote.  That wasn't achieved in the past.  This is a final desperate effort hoping to avoid repeat failure of the past.  Next year brings a new session, with new representatives.  They'll be even less receptive to this already distasteful ambition.  After all, why conserve when you can just drill for more?

12-04-2006

Sick Joke.  Again, where's the commitment?  They don't actually have to deliver anything.  So all we'll end up getting is a small amount of vehicles based on an insincere effort.  Isn't it sad when I don't even have to tell you the topic at hand.  This is the same old nonsense.  But new quotes are always fun.  The best supporting one was this: "There is a place for plug-in hybrids, but most likely for city cars.  Driving heavy and empty batteries across the country would be neither desirable nor fuel efficient."  Since when is driving that far even a concern?  Of course, try asking a SUV owner what they think of the heavy and empty vehicles they drive all the time.  Talking about not fuel efficient.  It's the same old spin.  Keep the focus on long-distance highway cruising.  Don't let people think about the fact that the typical daily commute doesn't resemble that at all.  Neither does suburb driving, which many of us do extensively... and just happens to be the type of driving a plug-in hybrids would greatly thrive at.  My favorite quote though was the opening sentence: "Even those who strongly believe in advanced gas-electric hybrid vehicle technologies acknowledge that they have a long way to go."  In other words, hybrids offer a tremendous amount of potential.  At this stage, enthusiasts see upgrades continuing long into the future.  Lots of opportunity for on-going economic growth is fantastic!  What's wrong with that?  They make it sound bad thing.  Geez!

12-03-2006

On Paper, Again.  The audience on the GM side of market sure is making things interesting.  They attempt the very same on-paper type logic those of us supporting Toyota dealt with many years ago... and consequently fall into the very same traps.  But now with over 125,000 miles of Prius driving experience, my chiming in certainly has an impact.  Debates come to a screeching halt with that much real-world data available.  Basically, the only new item needed to point out is that other configurations can achieve the same goals; a single solution is not necessary.  Even so, we have the different pumping cycle to discuss... again.  Then there's the reality that highways have hills, there is wind, and there is other traffic, and charge-level to discuss... again.  But it does eventually reach the less obvious details, like engine components being lighter weight.  And there's always the efficiency ponder about A/C that's pure electric.  Again isn't so bad then.  But it certainly is repetitive, with nothing new to prove anymore.  The topics have been beaten to death already, a fact those GM supporters haven't come to grips with.  And I'm glad to see that... again, despite to redundancy.  It's about darn time discussions turn to what's actually important.  Being proud of guzzling was quite disturbing.

12-02-2006

No Big Deal.  Strange.  The announcement of Ford's so-call "second" generation hybrid system was met with basically no fan fair.  It certainly wasn't a big deal to anyone on the forum dedicated to Escape-Hybrid.  I clearly wasn't standing alone this time.  They actually agreed that improvements were modest, nothing to tout about.  Yet, the automaker itself deems them worthy enough to qualify as more than just incremental.  I don't.  The upgrade from the Original model Prius to the Classic included far greater changes... the very thing I've been pointing out for years, stating this very scenario would eventually happen.  And sure enough, there is indeed a domestic automaker now attempting to label a smaller set of upgrades as a full generational step forward.  We're probably still screwed for about the next year or so.  But after that, I bet that dang misleading "II" used to indicate the third generation of Prius will finally be abandoned... perhaps right about when the fourth generation becomes available in late 2008.

12-02-2006

10,000 posts.  On that big GM forum, your seniority (based on post count) is depicted by engine size.  The bigger the engine, the greater number of messages from that person.  Well, at some point it gets rather silly.  So being really clever, a member having exceeded the coveted 10,000 post level asked if a more fitting label could be assigned.  It was "70 MPG two-mode hybrid".  How about that for cool?  Rather than the highest member rank being a massive engine, it is now a reference to a hybrid.  Sweet!  Hopefully I don't sound condescending, but it's about dang time.  Finally, regard toward hybrids is swinging in a favor of them.  Yeah!

12-02-2006

Senseless Logic.  This question asked today was fantastic to read: "If I would have bought a $30,000 sports car, I would never be asked about breakeven.  Why is that?"  That begged this response from me... Ask the same question to a SUV owner.  Not a single one will give you a response with any respect to money.  Their purchase justification is always something other than the expense... obviously.  Our society in general places the topics of emissions & consumption very, very, very low on the priority list.  In fact, some even tell us that more is good for our economy, making the appeal of less darn near worthless for helping sell hybrids.  Breathable Air.  National Security.  Global Warming.  You must be a tree hugging freak if you think I'm going to replace my guzzling engine with a hybrid system!  I'm so tired of hearing statements like that.  Yet, the press continues to support it by writing articles on "breakeven" arguments, essentially contributing to the problem rather than changing focus to those more pressing issues.  Thankfully, we are least hearing "breakeven" nowadays.  Years ago, hybrids were easily dismissed if you couldn't prove they would "save money".  So not only did people want those emission & consumption benefits for free, they actually had the nerve to insist you should come out ahead.  Sadly, progress is very slow.  But we can point out when senseless logic is used, to help past the time.  Next time you see a sports car, what will you be thinking?

12-02-2006

Highway Operation.  Whoa!  The misconception about highway operation is clearly alive & well on the GM forum.  Fortunately, there are some that seem to be doing a pretty darn good job of pointing out the error in their logic.  Though, lots of repetition is obviously required before it finally sinks in.  Rapid responsiveness is what's not understood.  The beauty of a "full" hybrid is not needing to lock into a mode and keep it there, as people assume happens when cruising... on paper.  But in the real-world, efficiency opportunities that only last a few seconds are taken advantage of, since there is no such thing as a flat, windless, straight highway, without any traffic.  As a result, on the Multi-Display you'll commonly witness the flow of electric change 10 to 20 times per minute.  That ever-changing flow is accomplished through the use of a PSD (Power-Split-Device) which interconnects the engine and the 2 motors.  Since all are in motion all the time while on the highway, making one spin a little faster or slower is no big deal.  And because electric motors can respond significantly faster than an engine, they provide a gain that isn't available in a non-hybrid.  What's especially important to remember is the fact that electricity is always (yes, 100 percent of the time) being generated while the engine is running.  So the system doesn't even need to draw from the battery to achieve that brief MPG improvement using an electric motor.  Then of course, there's the efficiency benefit side-effect that comes from operating the engine at a very constant rate.  It took quite a long time for those questioning the operation of Prius years ago to finally figure out that their original conclusion was based upon an incomplete understanding.  So hopefully, those now discussing hybrids in the world of GM will overcome that same hurdle fairly quick.  It is by no means obvious.  Real-World operation is very different from the impression you get based on the simplistic examples often discussed by those that don't witness it on their commute every single day for the past few years.  The operation is not what you'd assume... not even close.

12-01-2006

Silly Gift.  Did you know that this holiday shopping season you can purchase a "Hybrid" emblem for your vehicle?  Isn't that silly?  Of course, that could be considered sick.  Someone is taking advance of an opportunity, providing an disingenuous "feel good" scam.  There are consumers that could be tricked into believing any vehicle claiming to be a hybrid actually is.  After all, the majority have no idea what the different types of hybrids are... or for that matter, even that there is more than one type.  But apparently, that is actually a mark of progress.  So I'll accept this twisted response to market change as silly rather than getting upset.

11-30-2006

12 F Degrees.  Winter has arrived.  Dang!  Being in denial was rather nice.  Now it is truly becoming cold.  I sure hope the snow comes.  Low temperatures without the look isn't as fulfilling.  Why endure this season if you can't get photos too?  Heck, I even enjoy the occasional bad driving conditions.  The variety is what keeps you young.  And fortunately for the area I live in, most of the people accept the need to slow down.  So it is safer than other cold regions.  Our generous use of sand & salt along with temperatures that guarantee no ice helps too.  Snow is generally cold & fluffy, not the messy type the folks further south have to routinely deal with.  In other words, cold can be good... as long as there is hope of warm in the not too distant future.

11-30-2006

Not Series.  What I find fascinating is the "plug-in" hybrid coming from GM will not be the rumored series design, as so many had speculated.  Instead, it is just an augmentation of the "full" hybrid design that many Prius enthusiasts hoped for... since that will definitely encourage Toyota to take another step further with the use of electricity.  But just like when Prius was new, they still have quite a bit of logistics to tackle.  Everything from misconceptions to salespeople still need to be addressed.  Then once those questions are answered, many will still wait for the real-world data before actually making a purchase.  With plug-in technology especially, there are quite a few unknowns.  Dealing with them will take time.  Meanwhile, lots of counter-efforts will likely thrive.  The greatest steps forward always encounter resistance.  Inevitable change awakens inevitable futility.  That's part of the game.  So I'm thrilled that GM is at least part of the hybrid market now, regardless of how.  They certainly weren't present (in a positive way) during the previous phases of hybrid rollout.

11-30-2006

Plug-In Presentations.  With the launch of a new model year comes speeches with misleading intent.  The presentations are pretty elaborate too.  So you definitely get the impression that change is being embraced.  But sadly, history has revealed them to be less than sincere.  That fact that the new "Green Line" isn't actually green is a great example.  Comments are too vague to actually be informative.  Emissions related to smog are not reduced at all, but consumers certainly don't get that message.  Today's "plug-in" announcement is the same thing, far too vague.  No pledge was actually given.  Their true intentions are a complete mystery.  When will they actually deliver something?  How many will be available?  And what will the fuel & emission benefits really be?  I have many questions and there is no hope for a definitive answer.  So when a presentation like that given today makes the news, the only course of action is to just note that it happened.  Later, I'll refer back to it... hopefully with a positive retrospective, but I wouldn't bet on it.  There's already quite a bit of history supporting the disappointment reality.  Even with a promise, it's not a guarantee.  We've seen that before.

11-30-2006

Hypocrites.  There's nothing like when a GM supporter on a GM forum speaks out as the voice of reality... "I find it ironic that when GM doesn't have hybrids, many if not most GM fans on this broad say hybrids suck, are a waste, don't work, are a lousy idea.  But the second GM releases, er, announces one, they're all of a sudden gaga for green!"  Of course, pointing out the ironic position was being polite.  I'm less forgiving, calling hypocrite when I see it.  That is most definitely the case now.  Hopefully, they'll accept it, we'll all have a good laugh, then move on.  Looking forward is the desire.  But progress cannot be made without acknowledging the past.  After all, it cannot be change unless something is different.  Pretending GM was in favor of hybrids all along is just plain not true.  Now they are.  Will all their supporters rally for this?  Some are, an encouraging gesture considering the complete opposite attitude not too long ago.

11-30-2006

Up To 45 Percent.  I'm quite amused by this statement: "By using this sophisticated hybrid technology, the Vue Green Line 2-Mode Hybrid is expected to deliver up to a 45-percent improvement in combined city and highway fuel economy compared with the non-hybrid Vue, based on current federal test procedures."  All the supporters are praising the number itself but never acknowledging the "up to" part.  In other words, 45 is an ideal not the expectation.  Of course, they ignore the "current" part too.  Next year, all estimates from the test procedures will be lowered.  So it won't be as high as 45 when the final number is released anyway.  Reality will burst their bubble.

11-30-2006

Getting Messy.  Reading through the reactions of GM supporters about GM's hybrid announcements yesterday is pretty entertaining.  Apparently, Toyota is still losing money on each hybrid sold and Prius only delivers an average of 40 MPG.  They proclaim GM's design will be more efficient, yet can't explain how and certainly don't have any actual data to support that.  The silly part about the whole thing is that two-mode for Vue has been delayed significantly.  Instead of a 4-cylinder version that we were lead to believe would be available in late 2007, there will only be a 6-cylinder and it will come sometime in 2008.  In other words, nothing competitive with Camry or Prius is on the way.  The only plan still for a mid-size vehicle is their "mild" system.  Lastly, they never speak of stealth.  Pretending that doesn't exist has become by saying the American hybrids from Toyota don't get an EV-button is their strategy for misleading.  That's disappointing.  Of course, all of it is a mess.  It's a new breeding ground for bring old misconceptions back to life.  Arrrgh!

 

back to home page       go to top