Prius Personal Log  #320

March 15, 2007  -  March 20, 2007

Last Updated: Sun. 3/25/2007

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3-20-2007

Aura-Hybrid Price.  The hype online today was how about the upcoming GreenLine model of Aura; it will be the cheapest hybrid available.  What a joke.  It's only going to be $100 less than Prius, and you don't get a touch-sensitive Multi-Display or a reflector-type digital speedometer or even MPG readout.  Of course, Prius will deliver much higher efficiency too.  But none of that was ever mentioned.  The articles certainly liked pushing the "green" concept though, despite the fact that not a single one of them actually stated what the actual emission-rating was.  Such an obvious omission make me suspicious.  Vue-Hybrid doesn't offer any improvement to smog-related emissions at all.  Anywho, the base price (with destination) will be $22,695.

3-20-2007

He Got Caught, part 2.  This was my private response to that person.  Well, it's public now.  But the point was to initially provide a personal touch offline, giving him ample opportunity to reply before revealing it in the personal logs.  Now, that time has passed.  So, here it is...  The old days of hybrid rollout were pretty rough, but that provided a ton of inspiration and a small group of devoted helpers.  The website grew into a conduit for that energy as a result.  And now that GM is entering the game with a very hopeful sense of determination, I am once again attempting to gather info... but from a brand new set of helpers!  As you've uncovered, certain people attempt to undermine.  It's difficult to figure out why.  But I know quite well that a good old fashion rivalry between GM & Toyota will be a win-win situation for everyone.  So I'll be darn sure that concise details are provided, everything I can do to prevent the misconceptions from getting out of hand.  Thanks for doing your part to help.

3-20-2007

He Got Caught, part 1.  I love it!  That troublemaker pushed his luck too far.  A member known for being objective posted a very positive comment about my website and my effort followed by this: "You on the other hand seem to lie dormant on these forums till you see his name show up and then just pop up to post something (anything) to drag him down.  What's the deal?  If you don't like your Prius, sell it.  I've never met a car owner like yourself.  You basically wait around to bash others who like your car."  That made me feel great.  My struggle to remain concise & polite is obviously really beginning to pay off.  Yeah!

3-19-2007

Playing The Game.  I've obviously learned how.  Most participants on the forum have no idea what your history is.  So when an attack occurs, the magnitude or sometimes even the fact that is an attack goes unnoticed.  But today, that certainly wasn't the case.  One of the rather active members on big GM forum figured out what was going on.  When a certain antagonist requested more info, but not anything from my own website, that got him suspicious.  He investigated.  Then out of the blue, I get a private message saying "Incredible!" and a public message pointing out how the only time that troublemaker ever participates on the group is to respond negatively to one of my posts.  To that, I jumped for joy.  By playing the game my way (lots of patience, making responses concise, and being polite), he got caught and his ill-intent was revealed to all.  Yeah!

3-18-2007

Greenest Car Award.  It was presented in Britain today.  Civic-Hybrid was bestowed the honor.  I felt the whole thing was disingenuous.  The "green" criteria was engine size, fuel consumption, noise pollution, and pedestrian safety.  Sadly, there was no acknowledgement of smog-related emissions.  Too bad, the runners up would have fallen way off the top-10 list.  I'm getting really tired of this new definition of what being "green" means.  The quality of the air we breath is very important; yet, that certainly isn't the way some portray it... by not even including it in the their clean measurement criteria.

3-18-2007

$3.19 Per Gallon.  That's how much gas now costs on the West Coast.  Here it's less.  But then again, seeing a price of $2.39 is still a concern.  Remember how $2.25 was the tipping point for hybrid acceptance?  The supply & demand balance is a delicate one.  Things could get ugly rather quickly.  Let's hope that the resistance continues to fade.  Fighting change is becoming pointless.  The misconceptions are proving false.  Even speculation about consumer disinterest and business sustainability is losing merit now.

3-18-2007

Disadvantage, Bad Choice.  Posts with an exclamation like this are quite frustrating: "So while the HSD might be doing something on the highway circuit - its not optimized for it, a disadvantage... HSD is a bad choice unless you live in an urban area."  Restraining emotion the best I could, this resulted... So, you're saying I should be disappointed while cruising down the highway only getting 50 MPG?  That's interesting.  Just because a competing system won't be quite as efficient in certain circumstances doesn't make it a failure.  It is still affordable & reliable while still delivering a decent improvement over traditional systems.  Of course, the assumption is that all things are equal.  But in reality, different battery technologies and reliance on electricity does alter the outcome.  On-Paper expectations won't necessarily translate directly to real-world data... especially when you introduce a factor like A/C.  So if things weren't interesting yet, just wait.  The hybrid market is about to get all stirred up.

3-18-2007

Transmission, part 2.  Naturally, a troublemaker sounded off immediately after my post.  He wasn't at all happy about me being so concise.  His intent for well over a year now has been to undermine the Toyota design, downplaying the abilities.  The most effective method is to sound authoritative and accuse me of being wrong, which is precisely what happened with this: "Wrong. With HSD one electric motor generates power, and one sends power to the drivetrain."  So of course, I responded carefully this way...  MG1 = Motor/Generator #1 is primarily responsible for generating electricity, but also sends power to the engine for starting.  MG2 = Motor/Generator #2 is primarily responsible for sending power to the wheels, but is also used for generating electricity when braking.

3-18-2007

Transmission, part 1.  Prius doesn't actually have one.  There is basically just a device that very much resembles a differential.  The power-carriers are permanently engaged.  Nothing ever shifts.  So naturally, getting people to accept that is a challenge in itself.  But then when you begin comparing the Toyota and GM designs, the whole thing becomes a confusing mess.  Forum threads don't promote that type of understanding clarity unless you choose your words very carefully.  Here's my attempt...  HSD has two electric motors (MG1 & MG2), just like Two-Mode.  Both work as power providers & generators, just like Two-Mode.  They are also connected to an engine through a PSD (Power Split Device), just like Two-Mode.

3-17-2007

Blatant Anti-Hybrid Posts.  How to deal with them came up today.  The discussion was interesting.  Here's my contribution to it...  Don't bother responding.  Easily debunked posts aren't worth the effort anymore.  In the past though, I did push back to undercover the argument weaknesses they were attempting to exploit.  But those days are over.  So much has changed with respect to hybrids that anyone wanting to make a decision for themselves can find credible resources now.  However, there are some people that intentionally mislead.  There are some that outright lie too.  Both have the intent to undermine progress.  For identifying & dealing with those situations, I've compiled these two documents... Anti-Hybrid Analysis and Understanding Hybrids.  Hope that helps.  Good Luck!

3-17-2007

Hypocrites.  How else would anyone expect me to react after reading this comment... "0% financing for 3 years and 1,000 cash is a very mild sale, completely in line with what GM stated they would be doing." ...when just a few weeks ago Toyota offered less attractive incentives for Prius and they were mocked?  There was no cash back in the offer and it was only for 2 year financing.  Now GM is offering more for a very wide array of vehicles, but that's ok.  Is all really well?  If so, how can they not claim the same for Toyota?  How come Prius sales were considered a problem but for these GM vehicles it's not a big deal?  What's different?

3-17-2007

Perspective Needed.  With what would you respond to this: "the $5000 amortized takes a while to recover"?  I did this way...  Honestly, how much does that actually matter with a vehicle like that?  In the past, many didn't really care.  Consumers were gladly paying a premium.  The large SUV was never a vehicle considered among the those trying to save.  I'd love to hear discussions about factors beyond just the MPG only focus most people have now.  You know, the stuff that is very difficult to assign a monetary value to.  Still to this day, after so many years of comparison, almost no one ever talks about things like how much smoother the hybrid engine runs.  Just a minute behind the wheel of a Corolla and a Prius points how dramatically nicer it is (Atkinson-Miller pumping cycle with lighter weight moving components), especially when idling.  That's a pleasant benefit you quickly grow fond of as an owner, but is rarely ever mentioned by a reviewer.  Instead, all we usually get is number crunching.  The ownership experience isn't just about money.  Sadly though, that isn't what the popular media finds appealing.

3-17-2007

Tahoe-Hybrid, part 2.  That response was tactful & courteous; however, it was incomplete.  Naturally, I have more to say.  SUV owners don't ever post MPG data.  If you're lucky, you'll get an honest spot-check tidbit of info.  But that's it.  Just look at the diesel supporters for some perspective.  They tout efficiency all the time, yet they don't provide much for real-world data beyond vague references.  So expecting more from a SUV hybrid owner is really pushing your luck.  Heck, for that matter we don't get squat from the "assist" owners or those testing plug-in either.  The hybrid market is plagued by a data shortage problem.  It's basically going to take another model before the level of acceptance for Two-Mode can be judged.  Lack of detail means lots of time will be required to achieve proper perspective.  That simply cannot be rushed.

3-17-2007

Tahoe-Hybrid, part 1.  I couldn't resist responding to this: "I should hope it will get better economy than 20/25 in real life.  Can't wait to see the full spec."  I can't wait for real-world data.  Efficiency improvement is a major selling point.  But when people are unaware of what their past vehicle truly delivered, they are usually disappointed with a hybrid.  And not having an annual average available, something that accounts for seasonal fluctuation, is a big problem those of in the early days of hybrid had to deal with.  No basis of comparison is a serious challenge to overcome.  To further complicate matters, most people don't have a clue what all the factors of influence are (way too many) and how much their impact actually is.  So when it comes to the extremely dynamic nature of "full" hybrid operation, there are at a complete loss.

3-16-2007

Prius Spotting.  The other day, the temperature spiked way up above normal for this time of year.  It was a brief sample of what things will be like once winter finally ends.  Anywho, there was Prius a plenty as a result.  Walking around the lake (about 45 minutes) I ended up seeing 9 Prius!  That was truly remarkable.  I can't wait to find out what the sighting frequency will increase to with the latest increase in production & sales.

3-16-2007

Mercedes.  Within the next few years, this automaker expects to offer a hybrid option for every vehicle they produce.  It's about time.  The luxury market has been a prime target for hybrids.  With the price premium people are willing to pay, that only makes sense... especially considering the natural quiet & smoooooothness advantage the hybrid system offers.  Of course, since Lexus has already been pushing in that direction, hearing from a competitor was inevitable.  Sales volume is much lower than with something aimed at the mainstream, like Prius.  So image & intent is a much bigger deal.  Waiting for mass-market acceptance is not.  This is most definitely good news.

3-15-2007

Frustrated.  This new use of the word "mode" is quite misleading.  Since the beginning, there has been a Stealth mode... where the engine would remain off and motionless for up to 42 MPH.  Years later came the EV mode, where the top electric speed was lower but the electric draw threshold was higher.  Then there's the Engine-Running mode, where seeing the flow of electricity change direction 10 to 20 times per minute was a common sight.  That's 3 already.  A more specific label is obviously needed to properly identify any new behavior.

3-15-2007

Mode Labeling.  There was an unpleasant exchange of words today.  Someone was really upset with how the upcoming new type of hybrid, Two-Mode, is being understood.  His belief was that "single" is all the consumer needs to know to distinguish it from the other.  So naturally, I provided some insight...  But "single mode" doesn't actually mean anything.  What "two" actually delivers is far from clear.  Even the enthusiasts are scratching their heads trying to explain how that differs from "one".  There are unique aspects in design, but why "two" is used instead of some other identifier remains a mystery.  Fortunately, the differences between "assist" hybrids and "full" hybrids are obvious, since whether there is a second motor and a PSD clearly defines the operational behavior the system will have available.  Of course, the argument over semantics is rather pointless.  It all still boils down to these 3 main hybrid decision factors compared to similarly equipped vehicles: Efficiency Gain, Emission Rating, Purchase Price.

 

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