Prius Personal Log  #316

February 17, 2007  -  February 21, 2007

Last Updated: Sat. 3/03/2007

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2-21-2007

Aura-Hybrid.  The MPG estimate numbers were just released.  28/35 from the hybrid, a decent improvement over the 20/30 from the non-hybrid model but substantially less than the competing 40/38 from Camry-Hybrid.  This news should make draw the curious in.  Too bad there wasn't any mention of emission rating.  I'm particularly curious in that.  But how the typical consumer will respond to this newest hybrid is my overall must know.  They won't care much about design or operational detail; however, the offering of Two-Mode for larger vehicles but only BAS for the sedan will definitely stir questions.  Things are about to get very interesting.

2-21-2007

Growing Chaos.  At this point, some online discussion participants don't even realize there's any confusion.  It's just a jumble of misunderstood tidbits of information feeding misconceptions.  A great example of this is the "speed" concept.  Supposedly, Prius only has one... but they don't really know what that means.  Two-Mode has two, but no one seems to comprehend exactly want that actually equates to in terms of efficiency.  Then when it is pointed out that Camry-Hybrid uses a second PSD in place of the reduction-gear, the entire idea behind what "speed" really means completely falls apart... mostly because they have such a hard time figuring out how a "full" hybrid operates in the first place.  How come is it so different from an "assist" hybrid?  That's why I focus on the emission rating and real-world efficiency.  Those are solid values to base comparisons upon.  But until those details are actually available for the new hybrid, expect the chaos to grow.  Great, huh?

2-20-2007

Rio-Hybrid.  Yet another automaker is making plans to get into the game.  The only hybrid-related detail provided was that it will utilize a 12kW electric motor.  Other than that, we were told the car would have a 1.4 liter engine.  I'm not sure what to make of that.  With so little information, you can't even speculate.  No price expectation.  No efficiency expectation.  No emission-rating expectation.

2-19-2007

Gas Price Effect.  I read quite a few articles published and opinions posted over the past 3 weeks saying Prius was a difficult sale now... despite the obvious evidence showing recent monthly purchase records contradicting that.  A main arguing factor was that gas was less expensive now.  It's like they were in complete denial about the reality that prices will again climb sometime during the lifetime of the vehicle.  Well, I didn't have to wait long for an "I told you so" example.  This morning (when I filled up, thank goodness) it was $2.13 per gallon.  On the drive home from work, I saw the price had shot up to $2.45 for some reason.  (Oil futures actually went down. So something else is contributing to the problem this time.)  Anywho, take that 32 cent difference and spread it along a 150,000 miles of driving at an average of 48 MPG.  That's $1,000!  Favor swings toward Prius rather quickly when you consider economics that way.  Of course, it's more fun considering how much that extra 32 cents per gallon really amounts to for a vehicle only averaging 30 MPG.  That's $1,600!!!  In other words, the expense of gas is much greater than they care to admit.  Even when the price appears low, the amount really adds up still.  Hopefully, more people will do the math and see that.

2-18-2007

Peugeot Diesel-Hybrid.  There was a short post today.  It mentioned a model that's supposedly coming out the end of this year... to solve the "dead weight" problem of hybrids on the highway.  Right away, there were several posts criticizing that rather blatantly incorrect information.  I'm really tired of reading that.  Feeding the misconception as part of a new vehicle announcement is very frustrating.  It's make me wonder what else they intentionally mislead about.  There was no mention of emissions.  That's not good.  The type of hybrid or even what kind of efficiency benefit there would be was totally absent as well.  That's a bad sign.  Needless to say, I don't have high hopes for this new hybrid.  The announcement left me with more questions than had they not said anything.  Of course, there's always the spin from the diesel supporters to look forward to.

2-18-2007

Comprehensive Look.  I was impressed.  There was 10 pages of actual journalism, something well researched rather than the usual stuff we have to tolerate.  Quickly skimming through that document on Toyota's automotive stance (wanting to find out how much hybrid content there was) revealed the underlining theme I've been following for years now: Patience.  It takes far longer for change to occur than most people ever imagine.  Of course, I've known from the beginning that the entire product lifecycle would need to be experienced before it would be embraced as the new baseline.  In other words for a car, 8 years minimum.  When Prius owners purchase a replacement Prius because their first simply wore out due to an extreme amount of miles, then the majority will accept the technology... as if it had all along been destined to be the natural next step in automotive history... wondering how anyone could have ever questioned its success.  That's the way progress takes place in the real world.  The misconceptions are eventually forgotten and the resistors just fade away as if they had never been there.  But all that takes a tremendous amount of time.

2-18-2007

Misinterpreted.  I enjoyed reading this: "they just didn't want to sell them"  The person responding to that was disturbed.  He had misinterpreted the actual focus of the comment.  That's actually true.  But the "they" being spoken of is certain dealers, not Toyota corporate.  Profit from the sale of a Prius is small.  More money can be made from the other vehicles they carry.  So naturally there less interest in selling them.  To make matters worse, Prius buyers are usually much better informed compared to that of the typical new vehicle buyer.  So their old-school sales tactics aren't as effective.  Toyota corporate empowered the consumer with Prius.  Some responsible for sales (certain dealers) don't like that.  Well, too bad.  Bring on the smug by pointing out annual sales here of over 100,000 for the previous two years and the hope of increasing that to 150,000 this year.  Prius is selling well overall.  Always make sure you have correctly identified who is really being talked about.

2-18-2007

Honorable & Thankful.  Someone went out of their way today to make sure a post got the recognition it deserved.  It's not too often a message that positive gets overlooked.  But in this case, it got lost in the commotion caused by a troublemaker.  Fortunately, the trouble does become fairly obvious after awhile.  Placing focus on credibility and making it personal, rather than placing attention only on facts, clearly reveals true intent.  Using the "thick skin" armor to respond with just facts pretty much works under any conditions.  It's ok to state them.  Sometimes, people would rather end the troublesome thread immediately rather than just let it take its course.  They tend to burn out fairly quick if the discussion is kept constructive.  And in this case, that did indeed happen.  But I do wonder if that recognition really occurred.  Most newbies don't like dealing with intense responses like we saw today.  Sometimes the good message gets lost among an overwhelming amount of bad.  Oh well.  At least, I saw it.

2-18-2007

Attacks Continue.  This hostile response didn't surprise me at all: "And you admit that you endorse the Prius in the Volt E-flex thread."  Quoting me out-of-context does give that impression.  In reality, my support is for "full" hybrids.  In other words, if you use a Tahoe-Hybrid for the purpose it was designed, that's perfectly fine.  It relies on Two-Mode.  I like that (pending it really does deliver a SULEV or PZEV emission rating).  Hopefully, other vehicles will soon too.  But it's really, really, really, really hard to talk about a design that not a single consumer has ever owned.  So naturally more discussion is focused on what's been around for 9 years and over 600,000 have already been sold.  Look forward, acknowledge that multiple automakers offer "full" hybrids and that many types of vehicles will use that technology.  Stop drawing conclusions based on bits & pieces of information.

2-18-2007

Is That Normal?  We sure do hear that a lot from new owners...  Yes, the system waiting until 2 bars before the engine starting is totally normal.  And that's not actually low.  It's really still at about 45 percent of full battery-capacity.  The computer only shows you the middle (most commonly used) range.  Think about ages past.  When sitting in non-moving traffic without a hybrid, the engine runs non-stop.  In the summer, that produces lots of heat you just plain don't want.  Having a temperature gauge, you may get very nervous.  But since most only have a simple light, you don't.  You are completely unaware how hard the system is working to cool itself off... until you witness someone's vehicle overheat... a situation the hybrid easily avoids.  Anywho, that heightened awareness makes so many new owners freak out it amazes me too.  They do things totally unnecessary, then report later how their extraordinary circumstance led to those actions... only to find out afterward that all was just fine.  Had there not been an indicator in the first place, it would have been a complete non-event.  It's normal.

2-17-2007

Nothing To Support.  One of the things that came out of the recent attack was the simple fact that I place greater attention on the Toyota hybrids than that of the competitors.  Duh!  What do they expect me to discuss?  Hybrid designs like Two-Mode don't even exist yet as a consumer option.  There's nothing to purchase.  Not a single one of them has ever been in the garage of an everyday person.  It is still a product that has yet to be delivered.  Geez!  If I were to lower myself to that standard, I could tout the plug-in Prius as if it were going to be available soon.  Oh wait a minute, that's precisely what they've been doing with Volt... even though the automaker has made no claim to that effect.  In other words, there is almost no substance to those discussions.  It's just a bunch of verbal sparring.  What a waste of time.  Of course, I knew the hope of getting something constructive was a long shot.  Oh well.  They'll figure out that pointlessness eventually.

2-17-2007

$59.39 per barrel.  The most powerful argument point I seem to have ever made is the simple reality that expecting the price of gas to remain the same throughout the entire lifetime of the vehicle is totally unrealistic.  Within that minimum of 8 years, of course it will.  Just look at what has happened to the price of oil over half that time.  It caused the price of gas to double as a result.  Yet, some people still justify their purchase decision based on cost today.  I always hope that is because they are in a deep state of denial.  But sometimes I have to wonder.  The Darwin Awards exist because some people do things without giving any thought to the consequences of their actions.

2-17-2007

EV Speed.  Since my interest is on utilizing electricity more, the fact that the electric-only top speed is 42 MPH in our "full" hybrid doesn't mean much.  There's still a benefit when driving faster anyway... as countless owners have already demonstrated after concluding a mountainous decent.  Part of the problem is the "40 mile" electric use-before-gas type range isn't actually realistic.  In the Winter, battery-capacity is less to begin with.  But then when you add the amount of electricity required to run the heater, the range shortens the too much.  That concept of a "series" hybrid will have to remain a concept longer than some people hope.  In the meantime, the "full" hybrid will continue to evolve.  In other words, it way too premature to make any decisions yet.  Seeing the actual production models to choose from later should be very interesting.

2-17-2007

Attacked Again.  This is the same old story I've been dealing with for years.  The antagonist claims: "You want everyone to drive a Prius."  It is such an incredibly weak attack that now I just shake my head in amazement.  I can't believe they'd even attempt an argument so transparent.  But some still do.  Here's how I responded this time...  I never said that.  Since the very beginning many years ago, it has been all about the technology... making it available in the vehicle type of your choice.  Read my blogs, they provide overwhelming proof that I have been a strong supporter of spreading the hybrid option to sedans, minivans, pickups, and appropriately used SUVs.  So those implications to the contrary won't convince anyone.  That proof reveals the true intentions.

2-17-2007

Losing Focus on Goals.  This is a classic example of that: "C02 is not a pollutant.  It is a greenhouse gas, but it will not chemically harm the environment."  However, our dependence on oil is harmful to our society.  Fortunately, the direct result of using less just happens to be a reduction in CO2.  What is chemically harmful are the smog-related emissions, primarily NOx.  The "full" hybrids deliver a solution for both.  Some of the "assist" hybrids do too.  That's why hybrids are such a big deal.  A diesel offers lower CO2 emissions in the form of better MPG, but the penalty is an increase in NOx compared to gas.  It (the non-hybrid type) is indeed a false idol.  And to make matters even worse, the NOx level is actually higher for biodiesel than the regular non-renewable type, including new low-sulfur diesel variety.  So it really boils down to goals.  Focus on just CO2 alone is not a true answer... because that isn't the only problem we need to solve.

 

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