Prius Personal Log  #323

April 3, 2007  -  April 7, 2007

Last Updated: Weds. 5/02/2007

    page #322         page #324         BOOK         INDEX         go to bottom 

 

4-07-2007

350 Miles Later.  The check-engine light is on still, of course.  Fortunately, it doesn't have any effect on operation of the hybrid system itself.  Propulsion is not directly connected to emissions.  So I feel comfortable continuing to use the car, as the dealer had stated was ok.  The fact that they took it for a drive themselves helped with the confidence too.  Being such a expensive replacement, their thorough diagnosis was appreciated.  Interestingly, MPG is actually up.  But that's due to driving in temperatures well below freezing using summer-formula gas.  Unfortunately, I haven't received that scan-tool yet.  (Free shipping typically doesn't equate to quick, as in this case.)  Hopefully, all will come to a happy conclusion within the next week or two.  We'll see.  It's pretty obvious that the antagonists will take advantage of this predicament... you know, leave out vital facts to mislead about the reliability and the ownership experience.  That's unfortunate, but it does help point out the genuine & sincere nature of these blogs (personal logs).  I'm documenting events as they unfold, stating what I think the future will bring based on what I now at that moment.  This isn't a retrospective look back like the commentaries we have to endure.  Wish me luck.

4-07-2007

Anti-Diesel Reminder.  They hate the voice of reality.  I'm against any efficiency technology that doesn't deliver an emission rating of at least SULEV.  That's quite clear by my speaking out against the first hybrid models of both IMA and GreenLine.  So the resistance is not based on diesel specifically as they claim.  In fact, I have stated on many occasions how a hybrid many years from now could use a tiny engine very cleanly, even with diesel.  But they choose to ignore that.  They also like to pretend that diesel SULEV prototypes don't exist.  That's sad.  But their attitude as enthusiasts is no different from some of the automotive executives.  So I don't let it get to me.  I just repeat the same old story, endorsing the SULEV emission rating as a level of clean we should strive for as a minimum.  And in the spirit of reminders... PZEV is even better.

4-07-2007

IPCC Report.  A new report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change really stirred the environmental concern this week.  That group, consisting of 2,500 scientists and representatives from more than 100 nations, is considered a worldwide top authority on climate change.  Things look grim.  We are clearly having an impact from our greenhouse gas emissions; however, the debate about what the response should be continues.  In other words, the problem is finally getting substantial attention, but appropriate reaction is not likely anytime soon.  Out of desperation for greatly improved efficiency, the market demand will drive supply.  Unfortunately, that's a very slow process.  Waiting to react will cost some automakers far more than if they had prepared for this in advance.  We all knew oil prices would eventually get ugly.  It wasn't a matter of "IF".  It was always a problem of "WHEN".  Ignoring an upcoming need isn't wise.  What will they do in response to this report?

4-07-2007

Buying Chrysler.  An offer was made this week.  That ended rumors of a potential sale.  The opportunity for the US division of Daimler to once again but US based is realistic.  That should make things interesting.  What there is currently never really worked beyond saving the company from financial disaster.  They recovered, but moving forward didn't ever seem to gain any traction.  It was a struggle to deliver anything new.  Remember their original effort in the hybrid arena?  They were going to deliver a Durango that used a "through the road" design, where an electric motor powered the front wheels and an engine for the rear.  It was a configuration with two systems that were not actually physically connected, yet (to them anyway) the concept worked so well they promised in 2000 for 2003.  That obviously never became a reality.  Anywho, no consumer-based hybrid has emerged since then either, only a partnership still waiting to debut something.  Their non-hybrid offerings have been modest.  In other words, major change is needed to bring life back to the struggling automaker.  A purchase, like that offer, would split the company into a more manageable pieces... especially considering how different the market is here than the rest of the world.  It could be a very good move for both.  We'll see.

4-06-2007

LS600h.  The advertisements have begun.  This Lexus hybrid features an 8-cylinder engine using the HSD system.  Output is 438 horsepower.  It crushes pretty every power misconception you can imagine for a hybrid car.  It's a good thing too, because the vehicle isn't exactly affordable.  With a price tag of $104,750 there won't be too many produced.  But then again, how many non-hybrid luxury cars like that are produced anyway?  The point isn't mass-market penetration.  It's something more in line with establishing the hybrid option as something you naturally associate with luxury.  After all, the Plantery-CVT is incredibly smooooooth and stealth is remarkably quiet.  Aren't those qualities you'd expect when paying a higher price?  The reduction of emissions & consumption is an obvious benefit too.

4-05-2007

Motivating Post.  How can you not be moved by a message posted with such attitude: "I'm so sick of hearing about fuel standards.  Can't the government worry about a real issue.  Don't mandate standards of a product, let the consumer do that."  That is so wrong on so many levels, I don't know the best way to respond.  How can consumers buy something that isn't even offered?  Where's the hybrid car from Ford?  Why aren't there any "full" hybrids from GM yet?  How come we spend so much on Iraq and so little on our energy needs?  Why are carbon-dioxide emissions being taken seriously everywhere but the United States?  What will be the impact of high gas prices on the well being of our economy?  And most importantly, aren't our elected representatives suppose to represent us?  If so, they are the voice of consumers as well as the government itself.  A mandate coming from them is a consumer response.

4-05-2007

Quite a Mess.  This post of mine should speak for itself...  Some people here wonder why I, a long-time & outspoken Prius owner, participate on this [GM] forum.  Well, besides trying to learn as much as I can about new technologies and the consumers to which they will be marketed to, it's simply the same draw many lurkers have.  And I tell ya, it's pretty difficult not being perceived as smug after reading the extreme range of reactions to Lutz's most recent comments.  There's been... complaining... disbelief... misconceptions... sarcasm... concern... accusations... frustration... and even denial.  That's quite a mess.  The GM supporters certainly do not sing as a united harmonious chorus yet.  But someday, they will.  And that's what ultimately compels me.  Witnessing that yet-to-be agreed upon solution emerge from this current disaster will be pretty sweet.  Right now though, our oil problems continue to get worse and the leadership is unclear about what to do about it.

4-05-2007

Prediction Authorities.  J.D. Power and Associates are at it again.  Their newest report stating: "hybrids and diesels will reach 9% of U.S. auto sales by 2009" sure upset me today.  I gladly interjected the discussion thread about it with this...  Is that a way of spin-doctoring just enough for us to hopefully forget their prediction from July 2005 that stated: "total annual sales of hybrids in the United States will only be 3.5% (around 600,000) by 2012".  They simply don't have credit in this arena.  To have that, at a minimum, they'd have to know what gas prices will be years from now, to assess the resulting consumer behavior.  They also should already know what battery technology discoveries will occur, and what low-cost production will come about from those events that haven't happen yet.  In other words, they are making wild guesses based on data available today will little consideration of just how much the automotive industry is changing due to the economic, political, and environmental factors now emerging.

4-05-2007

The Price Complaint.  GM is making a really big deal of the so-call "hybrid premium" now.  Claiming it is too much to be a realistic solution just doesn't jive with me.  Toyota doesn't seem to agree either.  The extra cost can be justified.  But it will be a bit of a challenge.  Study the "full" hybrid design from GM.  Those clutches, something the competition doesn't offer, should be enable that system to squeeze out even greater power & efficiency.  However, that benefit adds to the vehicle cost... hence the price complaint.  GM's option costs more than Toyota's or Ford's.  What are they going to do?  The plans have been to offer their "assist" hybrid design for cars and reserve the "full" for only the larger vehicles that could more easily justify the extra expense.  The E85 diversion won't save them from acknowledging that too much consumption of any kind is bad, whether the source is oil or renewable.  The preference for cars is growing as well.  There are now in a bit of a pickle.  The mixed strategy will confuse consumers.  I wonder how price will actually come into play.  With gas prices still climbing, the market continues to change.  Are they prepared?

4-04-2007

It Returned.  I drove home from the dealer.  Ate lunch.  Then drove to the dentist.  Leaving there, I jumped onto the highway.  Just seconds into the acceleration, that darn check-engine light came back on.  Clearly, returning to the dealer was of the utmost importance.  So I did.  They were surprised to see me again.  My response was a silent "thumb down" gesture.  They exhibited concern.  Well aware of the situation and my identity, they immediately took the Prius in back to pull the code.  This time, no stopping and starting was needed like before, where my Bluetooth connection had been established and dropped at least 10 times informing me what they were doing.  The problem was instantly clear.  The CAT (Catalytic-Converter) was experiencing some type of problem.  The new sensor made that obvious.  The fact that my prior visit also included an intermediate checkup didn't hurt either.  I got a status update in the form of "bad news, good news".  That replacement is very expensive (similar to non-hybrids, but nonetheless still costly).  I knew that already.  Fortunately, I was also aware that it should be covered under warranty... and kudos to them for telling me right away that they were already processing that coverage paperwork.  Hopefully, the fix & cost will be painless.  In the ideal, later reimbursement for the sensor will be trouble-free too.  But patience is required.  That figures.  Oh well.  So far, I am pleased with their handling of the situation.

4-04-2007

Code P0420.  Something related to emissions was my guess.  That may actually be the case too.  We'll see.  An air sensor (connected to the exhaust system to tell the computer what the end result is) will be replaced.  On two occasions, immediately after a gas fill-up triggered the check-engine light... which could affect air mixing & emissions.  The other was when beginning a climb up a steep highway hill.  So that may indeed be it.  Having also seen the light once a few months ago convinced me to not wait, especially since the sound of the engine under a heavy load seemed to have dropped ever so slightly in pitch.  Maybe those are all the clues I needed.  The estimate was $347, including the diagnostic.  So obviously, there's a bit of a gamble.  Traditional vehicles bare the identical burden, but I bet the antagonists will omit telling that part though.  Thankfully, I have that scan-tool on the way.  It's something I'll appreciate having later, being able to catch codes immediately if one ever comes back in my Prius or any other vehicle in the family or any close friends.  I'll get my money's worth from that.  Hopefully, this replacement will prove a good choice too.  Wish me luck.

4-04-2007

Nail In Tire, Again.  Got another one.  I had a sneaky suspicion that slow leak wasn't coming from the rim.  And sure enough, while rotating the tires, they spotted the true cause.  Oh well.  It was $54 that I would have preferred not spending, but what are you going to do?  Running over junk in the road is hard to avoid.  So, they plugged the hole, remounted, and balanced. 

4-04-2007

75,000 Mile - Service.  Since I was planning to go to the dealer anyway, I figured having the odometer only at 74,008 was close enough.  That way, all would be ready for my upcoming biking trip and there would be no question about the condition of the car when the check-engine light was being diagnosed.  This one was the "Intermediate" service, where they inspect & tweak quite a few things on the vehicle.  The cost was $161.99, which included an engine air-filter replacement.

4-04-2007

Naive.  Is that the most appropriate term?  Since I clearly identify myself as a Prius owner on the big GM forum, a few members are not happy.  They unmistakably voice their opinion that Toyota supporters should not be welcomed to participate there.  They have no idea what's coming.  Stating my objective to gather constructive information about Two-Mode and GM's hybrid plans apparently means nothing.  The thought of creating a concise collection of information stating exactly how that new hybrid system works isn't a need for them.  They figure the vague overviews are enough.  They have no idea what the antagonists will exploit or even perhaps that they await the opportunity.  Allowing them suffer the same way Prius supporters did is not a good plan.  Their own members will spread the misconceptions.  It's starting already.  I'm familiar with the signs, well practiced with what to look for.  So I intend to help, preparing well thought out responses ahead of time.  Every type of resistance, from fear of change to jealously will emerge in abundance.  There will also be plenty of confusion contributed from the "assist" and "series" hybrid supporters.  Needless to say, I think I've made my point.  They are not aware for what awaits.  Naive may be the best way to describe their current attitude.  Hopefully, they'll overcome that soon.  But I have a feeling it won't be until owners make the discovery on their own and find themselves overwhelmed by a backlash, just like the Escape-Hybrid enthusiasts did... who still haven't recovered.

4-04-2007

Saving Money.  That still seems to be the most popular anti-hybrid argument point, the fact that it supposedly won't.  I find that amusing, since even the experts didn't believe the price of gas would get so high so quickly.  Of course, time as a factor really doesn't matter much anyway.  If it happens anytime during the lifetime of the vehicle, their equations become invalid... which we have now witnessed every Summer.  It's an annual cycle they fail to mention.  The price is neither low, nor constant by any means.  Oil demand keeps growing, there are on-going political problems, and supply complications are becoming quite common.  So saving oil should really be more of a concern than the money at the pump.  And most hybrids do exactly that.  Many reduce smog-related emissions quite a bit too.  But those types of reductions aren't given the credit they deserve.  In fact, simply breaking even isn't either.  They attempt to convince you that coming out ahead is the only valid measure.

4-03-2007

Record Sales.  There were 19,156 new Prius sold last month.  That's a record to the extreme.  In the past, demand could not be gauged due to a limited quantity of third-party components.  More Prius simply couldn't be delivered.  It gave that impression that sales were flat... which the media & antagonists sure liked to spin.  So now what?  Toyota still has a restricted supply available; however, it recently grew larger.  Consumers are gobbling up those extra Prius.  No more ordering then having to wait.  Ending pain at the pump by purchasing a new hybrid immediately is proving to be quite a compelling draw.  The temporary incentives obviously help too.  Seeing so many more Prius on the road will squash the remaining misconceptions.  Yippee!

 

back to home page       go to top