Prius Personal Log  #324

April 7, 2007  -  April 13, 2007

Last Updated: Tues. 5/01/2007

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4-13-2007

ScanGaugeII.  Got it!  Using the Multi-Display had always been the focus.  After all, none of the competing hybrids offered an interface anywhere near as informative anyway.  But I'll admit being a little envious of those enthusiasts who had even more... though I knew setting an example with what was available to everyone else already was really important.  Anywho, things have changed now.  Through the big Prius forum, you can get this very easy to install add-on device for $150 (including shipping).  That's realistic for someone wanting to know more about what the car's computer is actually aware of.  Freedom to seal up the vents for the radiator during the Winter is the first thing that comes to mind, since the scan-tool can actively display the temperature of the coolant.  I've had mine for a day now.  It's pretty sweet!  I was actually shocked how the Prius welcomed it.  The large open area on the dashboard to the left of the steering-wheel was the perfect mounting spot.  I just pealed away the Velcro stickers and tucked in the wire inside the door jam.  The remaining wire disappeared inside the underneath, allowing an effortless remarkable fit.  Unplugging it at either end is a snap too.  So now, I'm ecstatic!  RPM, MPG, MPH, and Coolant-Temperature are what I see at a glance... in funky green at night.  (There's a wide choice of programmable backlighting colors available.)  Later, I may swap to some other live-data to view, like Throttle-Position.  But heck, just seeing MPG displayed beyond the normal "99.9" maximum is interesting.  And of course, now having a tachometer is absolutely amazing.  RPM in a "full" hybrid is quite different from what you are familiar with in a traditional vehicle... especially when it drops to zero at 40 MPH.  I'm definitely pleased with this purchase.

4-12-2007

Expected Life.  That stupid (intentionally misleading) article claiming the lifetime of a hybrid vehicle is only 100,000 miles has been revised.  All that attention clearly had an effect.  But like the anti-hybrid publication you'd expect them to be at this point, the outcome was even more frustrating.  The revision was changed to 109,000 miles and they are now using "dollars per lifetime mile" as their primary argument point.  The environmental aspect has been set aside in favor of apparent cost.  That value isn't even the slightest bit realistic though.  It's blatantly insincere, at best.  But they attempt to gain credibility through the use of a seemingly accurate number.  How in the world do they justify anything so low?  That's far less than what actual owners are experiencing.  Heck, Jesse is now very close to 286,000 miles with his Classic Prius using the original battery-pack.  That's well over double what they claim.  The nonsense they are spewing is an uncaring attempt to deceive consumers.  Usually when you see something so deliberate, there's something to be lost if change occurs.  I wonder what they fear losing.  Hmm?

4-12-2007

Economics Don't Equate.  After reading this today, I was beside myself: "a senior [BMW] engineer has confirmed the carmaker will launch a hybrid vehicle but only if it proves more economical in real-world conditions than its diesel counterpart".  In other words, they simply aren't interested.  Aren't they paying attention to the transformation taking place by Lexus?  The market for luxury vehicles doesn't have a price barrier like those of us deciding upon a Prius or Camry-Hybrid have to contend with.  The hybrid option is a perk that has great potential in the mind of luxury consumers.  Think of the smooth, powerful experience to be gained from a plush "full" hybrid delivering a SULEV emission rating.  Economics don't equate when you are dealing with the passion of a lavish purchase.

4-12-2007

$2.79 Suddenly.  Right when you thought relief was on the way, the price shot off in the opposite direction.  The Spring holiday spike was only the beginning.  Now gas is starting to hurt.  Seeing $2.79 per gallon here is actually pretty nice.  Minnesota isn't taxing enough and we have ethanol contributions.  Elsewhere, things aren't as favorable.  There are in the low $3 already.  Just wait until Summer demand kicks in.  Then it's really going to get ugly.  By the Fall, when the consumer Two-Mode debuts, people will already be pleading for it to be offered in a car.  Starting with the largest SUV isn't wise.  How exactly are they going to entice purchases without also getting cries of discontent from those not interested in such a large, powerful hybrid?

4-12-2007

Basic Questions.  They wonder why I'm there.  The GM enthusiasts cannot even answer some of the most basic questions about their "full" hybrid.  What is the maximum speed of stealth?  How long can stealth be maintained?  Does the system come with Electric A/C?  Without knowing that, how will it draw consumer interest?  Remember, those very questions are aspect which differentiate that design from the less expensive one GM will also be offering.  Understanding differences like that are important.  Yet, they remain completely unaware of the reason why still.  In other words, no voice of leadership has emerged.  Their history is rolling out in a very different way from Toyota's 7 years ago.  Back then, people were studying the design intensely while impatiently waiting for delivery.  That found answers and shared them among the other enthusiasts.

4-12-2007

The Rebuttal.  I let the hybrid antagonists have today with this...  I find it fascinating how people see what they want.  Yes, I talk about Prius a lot... because I've owned 2 over the past 6.5 years and have driven 135,000 miles with them and people keep starting new discussions about Prius.  So, I'm well qualified to share experiences.  But I discuss "full" hybrids in general and SULEV/PZEV all the time too, yet people somehow don't notice that.  You'll find countless references confirming it.  If fact, I even routinely complain how little people pay attention to Camry-Hybrid... and it falls on deaf ears.  I also don't understand the obsession with concept vehicles.  Volt is vaporware.  It's that simple.  Haven't you noticed how I don't treat the plug-in Prius that way, even though it is already in the hands of a few consumers?  There will be a "series" hybrid available eventually, but the characteristics will obviously be quite different.  History has proven the disconnect between auto-show and showroom.  Get over it.  Discuss what will soon be available instead, Two-Mode.  Don't you find it odd how few actually do?  For some bizarre reason, there isn't much fanfare yet.  Strangely, Volt captured far more interest.  Why?  The "full" hybrid is a realistic choice.  Lastly, have you noticed how many people are still against hybrids?  Which automaker makes no difference.  Some just plain don't like them.

4-11-2007

Out Of The Hole.  Reading that analogy had me rolling.  I made a brief appearance on that diesel forum.  It was the same old routine.  I restated facts about SULEV and PZEV, then disappeared.  That to-the-point reminder makes them crazy.  So rather than acknowledge those facts, they attacked me personally... accusing me of coming out of the hole just to cause trouble.  It was amusing.  I'm a participant on the biggest GM forum and the biggest Prius forum.  They hide on that small, isolated group of threads which only a very limited number of people ever post to.  That's the hole, just a single tree.  I'm the one venturing among the forest.  Their perspective is amazing.  They see the world quite differently.  I make comments knowing a widely diverse member-base will have an opportunity to respond with feedback I wouldn't otherwise get.  They pander to a very specific audience.

4-10-2007

Prius Discussions.  It's been pretty interesting lately.  The antagonists on the big GM forums have discovered they're being carefully scrutinized.  I started with this... "Why is there a constant stream of new Prius discussions threads here?" ...after a barrage of personal attacks that had the tone of me not being welcome.  They enjoy all things hybrid from GM.  I clearly don't.  My favor toward the "full" hybrid design really ruffles the feathers of some; however, they are compelled to continue mentioning Prius on a very regular basis.  It's not like Civic-Hybrid, where it struggled from lack of attention.  Prius is top, and they just can't seem to shift focus on Two-Mode instead.  I enjoy watching that self-inflicted turmoil, especially when I just silently observe.  In other words, it's an ideal place for information gathering.  Their thoughts and perspectives are quite revealing.  They just figured that out and don't like the idea of me being included.  That levels the playing field.  All the "full" hybrids could co-exist.  A friendly rivalry doesn't appeal to them.  Some actually want Toyota to suffer.  I want to find out why.  What is the true nature of that bitterness?  Will they quickly be able to overcome it shortly after Two-Mode debuts?  Or will the problem come from within, just like what Escape-Hybrid is dealing with now?  Anywho, my response to the nonsense was the following...  Members here are interested in Prius, there's an obvious fascination clearly indicated based on thread history.  I'm interested in that interest.  Your question [why I participate] has been answered.  I'm watching the watchers.  It adds to the diversity of informational materials I share.

4-09-2007

Slow Kids.  My grading system analogy didn't make a newbie too happy today.  Awarding an "A" only to those that actually earn it makes sense.  He didn't like that, responding with this: "Do you treat the slow kids the same way you treat an advanced kid?  I figure, don't slam the slow kid (GM) for not being at or above grade level.  Give him praise.  Don't make him go home crying and not even try."  My voice following that was actually an echo.  Someone beat me to the punch.  But I posted something similar anyway, as a second to the same sentiment...   GM is an advanced kid.  GM is a giant with a wide array of resources available.  GM has already proven capable.  So there is no excuse for delivering the minimum.  Gas prices and emissions (both smog & carbon) are problems we are already facing.  How much longer should we have to wait?

4-09-2007

CAT Replacement.  It ended up being no big deal.  They arranged the warranty claim ahead of time.  So it was only a matter of getting the work itself done.  The catch was having to drop off the Prius the night before; otherwise, the old CAT (catalytic-converter) would be too hot to remove.  Around lunch time, they finished and called with the good news... after they drove 24 miles with it, to verify the replacement worked.  I bet they wanted to make absolutely sure that was indeed the true source of the problem.  Having me show up again, shortly after driving away under the impression all is well, wasn't an appealing thought.  I agreed, wholeheartedly.  And it turns out that fix did the trick.  Next is submitting a claim for reimbursement of the sensor replacement bill.  That too is something under warranty that I shouldn't have to pay for.  I'm happy with the way events played out.

4-08-2007

Surreal Day.  Ever have one of those days where the circumstances were so unique it was likely you'd never experience anything similar to that again?  Yesterday, I knew it was coming.  And sure enough, that's exactly what happened.  The holiday required several hours at work (a major software conversion) then traveling to my family for Easter celebrating and finally my girlfriend's family for more celebrating.  In other words, it was a spontaneous and unpredictable set of events.  That prepared me well for what happened late in the evening... with Prius.  A seemingly innocent comparison thread on the big GM forum took an odd turn the day before.  Circumstances seemed unusual.  Each situation described began sounding practically impossible, a statistical miracle.  In other words, hints of dishonestly grew.  Following that, genuine hate emerged.  It was obvious too.  Fortunately, I had abandoned participation long before that.  After posting real-world data, I choose to become a silent observer.  My instinct was correct.  They didn't care what was being said.  The success of Prius had grown to such a scale, hostile responses became a sad reality.  That type of "grand finale" attack was quite predictable though.  Too bad it couldn't be avoided.  Human nature is to vent frustration.  Surrender without defiance was unrealistic.  I hope that marked the end.  Those particular GM enthusiasts clearly didn't want anything to do with hybrids.  The upcoming consumer debut of Two-Mode should make things very interesting.

4-07-2007

Old Data.  Someone attempted to take an objective look at that very questionable (to a newbie), but obviously anti-hybrid (to an enthusiast) environmental report claiming Hummer is a better choice than Prius.  I joined into the chorus of constructive replies with this... Another trick is to use old data, not mentioning that anything has changed since then.  A simple example of that is showing the environmental damage in Yellowstone.  The abuse that happened long ago is genuine, but it has nothing to do with the effects of protective regulations established & enforced afterward.  Obviously, mining standards have improved significantly since that particular source first started yielding nickel.  But that wasn't mentioned.  For that matter, neither was the age of the mine.  We are led to assume the worse.

4-07-2007

Sightings.  There sure are a lot of hybrids around here (suburbs of the Twin Cities, in Minnesota).  I bet this area is more receptive simply due to already having seen E85 availability for so long.  Heck, many of the gas price signs now include a listing for that ethanol-blend.  The fact that the E10 mandate is so old doesn't hurt either.  We tend to accept the change with little resistance.  It's a good thing too.  Hearing about regions unfriendly to hybrids isn't pleasant.  Fortunately here, I'm seeing Prius everywhere.  You can use a stopwatch between sightings these days.  It's pretty sweet!  The count of Camry-Hybrid is growing too.  I saw 2 just on the way to the coffee shop this morning.  And while there, a new Escape-Hybrid drove by.  The days of wondering what comes next are over.  The momentum is established.  Gas prices continuing to rise only adds to it.  Realistic solutions to our problems are being embraced here.  Best of luck to those of you elsewhere.

4-07-2007

Small Cars.  I'm fascinated by the sudden attention being given to small cars... not those like Prius, whose use of "small" is meant often as an insulting mock.  It's the mini, so tiny that compromise is difficult to deny.  Rather than a nice balance of safety, comfort, and conveniences, the vehicle size is reduced to an extreme by eliminating what consumers usually deem acceptable.  That delivers very good MPG, but still not as good as a "full" hybrid and rarely ever as clean.  The catch is, many of them are dirt cheap... almost half that of Prius.  In other words, vehicles like GM's rebranded Aveo are getting quite a bit of press lately.  Interesting, eh?

 

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