Prius Personal Log  #326

April 23, 2007  -  April 28, 2007

Last Updated: Sun. 4/29/2007

    page #325         page #327         BOOK         INDEX         go to bottom 

 

4-28-2007

What's Acceptable, part 2.  It started with the following, an invitation to join the "trying times" thread with a perspective that ultimately must dealt with: "The Aura is a superior car.  The Camry is bloated, in price, and stying IMO.  The Aura is a clearly a winner..."  I interjected with:  I find it very interesting how you avoid discussing the hybrid models, ignoring the reality that the playing field is quite different in that arena.

4-28-2007

What's Acceptable, part 1.  Far too often people complain about what they don't like and omit information telling us what they actually want.  Having been a computer programmer for over 2 decades, I'm well aware of the fact that an effort to change will probably fail unless you gather concise requirements from the users.  Automotive needs are no different.  Being vague is a recipe for disaster.  Not even telling us anything at all, just complaining, is counter-productive by causing a loss of focus.  Yet, that's what I'm dealing with today.  I'll attempt to find out what's acceptable.  But that's usually futile; however, it does reveal to lurkers what makes a constructive discussion.  So there is hope... given enough patience.

4-28-2007

Soapbox.  This morning, I could resist climbing up on it:  People will flock to 4-cylinder "full" hybrids ...given the opportunity.  The purpose of delivering reasonable power with great efficiency is quite compelling of a sale, an especially strong draw at high gas prices.  The catch is automakers must actually deliver them.  The powerful hybrid trucks will be strong sellers too ...if used for the purpose they were designed.  That's a catch most people are in denial about.  It's easy to justify the price of a feature you actually need.  Want on the other hand, is not.  It's that simple.  The obsession with each new model growing larger is over.  Those days are in the past now.  Emissions & Efficiency are finally getting the attention they should have had all along.

4-27-2007

Oil Reality.  Somewhat constructive discussions are now growing common.  True, I had someone call me a "treehugger" simply because I own a hybrid.  But for the most part, people are becoming receptive to what owners have to say.  In other words, the GM enthusiasts are choosing loyalties.  Some genuinely want success for hybrids.  Others do all they can to resist change.  It was inevitable that polarization developed.  That's a side-effect of taking a step forward.  It's about dang time!  With the reality of oil prices continuing to rise based mostly on demand (no political or environmental turmoil currently), the pain in your wallet from gas fill ups really hurts... and it will undeniably get worse.  Refinery capacity is maxed out.  Demands keeps increasing.  GM is moving at a snail's pace.  All that will cause attitude change to emerge... which thankfully, I have been witnessing recently.

4-26-2007

AWD Hybrids.  The newest from Lexus sedan hybrid will feature AWD (All-Wheel Drive) now too.  The hybrid SUVs have always offered it.  There's a hybrid minivan in Japan (Toyota's Estima).  And the next model of Prius is expected to as well.  That type of growing diversity is great.  In combination with improved efficiency and reduced prices, how can anyone question the long-term goals for hybrids anymore?  These aren't ambitious promises forecasted for the distant future that won't deliver any product for many years.  They're steps forward that we are witnessing now.  Yeah!

4-26-2007

$2.89 Per Gallon.  Seeing the cheapest gas in the nation now that expensive, the constructive discussions are finally getting notice.  Today, it was provoked with this question: "What do you think customers will do?"  My response was...  The SUV to CAR ratio has dropped dramatically here over the past few months.  Traffic now consists of significantly fewer guzzlers.  I have no clue what the guzzler owners are doing differently, but the observation is impossible to dismiss.  I suspect they are driving less overall and/or favoring their secondary more efficient vehicle.  Change has occurred.  That's evidence supporting the "gas price threshold" has been reached.  It's too expense to carelessly consume anymore.  Concern about global warming is likely having an influence too.  My guess is the trend will continue and sales of hybrids will remain very strong.

4-26-2007

Bluetooth Discovery!  Who would have thought I'd stumble across a new feature after all these years?  Not me.  But nonetheless, I did today.  Instinct compelled me to push the volume-down button on the steering-wheel after having answered the phone and heard that the speaker set was too loud for that particular connection.  It took a moment for me to absorb what had happened.  Doing that with radio and CD was a brainless maneuver.  The idea that could also be done for Bluetooth never crossed my mind though.  But my eyes noticed the effect of the adjustment on the Multi-Display.  Volume had indeed by lowered a notch using that remote button.  I hadn't ever heard anyone mention not using the screen and it hadn't dawned on me to try.  Oh well.  Better late than never.  I'll document that convenience in the User-Guide

4-25-2007

Selling Point.  I see that the lower cost of the "assist" hybrid from GM is starting to attract attention; however, there doesn't seem to be much thought behind the comments posted.  I asked how much more they think the "full" hybrid option should be priced.  Consider a 4 MPG gain by upgrading from "assist" to "full" hybrid, yielding a lifetime average of 40 MPG instead of 36 MPG.  Over the course of 150,000 miles at $3.00 per gallon, there's a difference of $1,250.  Needless to say, my post wasn't responded to at all.  Those numbers are pretty solid, especially since the price of gas continues to rise.  Appeal from purchase price rather than saving more at the pump isn't as compelling as the marketers had anticipated.

4-25-2007

E25 Promotion.  I briefly caught mention of this on the radio today.  It sounded like there was a move to adopt the Brazil standard of an E25 (25 percent ethanol, 75 percent gas) blend here in Minnesota rather than the upcoming mandated E20.  Perhaps studying their real-world data has revealed that the additional 5 percent was practical.  I hadn't expected that.  But I suppose it could be realistic.  After all, manufacturing precision and the quality of components is quite impressive now.  Being able support a blend that high may not be that big of a deal.  I sure hope to hear that promotion again.  The website for more detail eluded me.  I got too caught up in concept itself.

4-25-2007

Confused Hate.  I couldn't resist responding to this... "It should be obvious that I really HATE greens, mostly because of their "holier than thou" attitude toward the world."  What a confusing thing to say.  Both the terms "green" and "world" are quite vague.  I suspect being "green" requires some kind of big sacrifice well beyond just spending more for the hybrid option alone.  The false belief of getting forced out of your vehicle type of choice, rather than simply being asked to consider the upgrade next time to a cleaner and more efficient propulsion system, is common.  That's unfortunate.  But misconceptions are still abundant.  As for having an attitude, our country's automotive market is very different (we guzzle much more) than the rest of the world.  Yet, the denial of that isn't considered "holier" and the acknowledgement of it is.  That's backwards.  And that's quite troubling when you consider how slowly change is accepted.

4-25-2007

The Reality of Need.  He purchased one of the first Escape-Hybrids.  He established the Yahoo group to discuss it.  He patiently waited for Ford to deliver a hybrid hatchback or sedan to add for has family's use.  It took too long.  Not having any choice available from his preferred automaker was a reality he had to face.  The need required action.  Buying a Prius instead was the result.  Here's my posted response to his decision...  Sadly, that "slow" catch up process has crawled to almost a complete stop.  Fortunately, the inevitable demand from the overall market will force a new breathe of new life into Ford's hybrid effort.  In the meantime, owners like myself and now you will help stimulate change.  I'm still driving my 2004 Prius, which now has almost 76,000 miles on it... barely broken in compared to Jesse's 2002 Prius now with 286,000 miles.  Last year, I really took advantage by purchasing a roof-rack and 2 kayaks.  That kills the MPG (down to 36 on the highway), but that's still pretty darn impressive.  And I can hardly complain about the daily commute at 50 MPG.  Anywho, you'll be quite pleased too.  The "full" hybrid platform in general is proving remarkably competitive... something Ford simply can't delay investing much longer.  But for today, it's more of the same old excuses & distractions.  Have fun with your new hybrid!

4-24-2007

GM Dethroned.  It happened.  The long awaited sales volume king has been dethroned.  Toyota sold more vehicles the first quarter of this year than GM.  Toyota downplays accomplishments like that.  I've been dreaming about the de-emphasis of quantity obsession.  This is the beginning of the end.  Now more attention can be placed on the product itself.  Yeah!  Hopefully, that will translate to concentration on long-term prosperity rather than the short-sighted return on stock holdings.  Toyota's corporate strategy has been to invest in the future.  Clearly, that is paying off.  I sure hope GM seriously considers doing the same thing.  Survival should be less of a concern at this point.  Changes to help with that are already in play.  Being able to compete with this newly developing market should be what's important now.  Efficiency (which includes reduction of carbon emissions) is a much higher social priority than in the past.  Will they finally give that need the attention it deserves?

4-24-2007

Brainless Posts.  Certain antagonists are getting so desperate now, they're posting messages so transparent you can't help but respond in a condescending way.  I refrain, but it's awful tempting.  Today it was this... "Toyota has ONE gas car (non-hybrid) that is PZEV.  One.  No Lexuses.  No Scions.  GM has 8.  Even VW has 4.  Toyota needs to stop suing CA over CARB and make another gas car that gets a PZEV rating." ...in response to a discussion about carbon emissions.  That didn't mislead anyone.  Someone quickly pointed out that it had "nothing to do with PZEV at all".  Of course, many of us were already well aware of his passion to defend GM and the "assist" hybrids.  So his undermining efforts on the Prius forums are something that are routinely monitored.  Yet, he keeps trying anyway.  What I got a kick out of how he stressed that the number of models available is what matters, not how many vehicles from each automaker are actually sold.  I also couldn't help but to be assumed by his explicit effort to dismiss hybrids... knowing that sales of Prius (which is PZEV rated) is an impressive quantity that absolutely should not be ignored, especially because Prius significantly reduces carbon emissions too.

4-24-2007

"Hybrid" Discontinued.  Finally!  That clearly disingenuous vehicle labeled as a "hybrid" but not meeting the criteria to be one is dead.  The Silverado (and Sierra) pickup that offered only an auto-stop feature won't be produced anymore.  Thank goodness!  When the system provides no thrust whatsoever from an electric motor, calling it anything besides a traditional vehicle with auto-stop is just plain wrong.  Heck, there was no MPG increase on the highway at all.  The only efficiency benefit was from sitting still, which is a situation drivers do all they can to avoid in the first place.  If you rarely ever stop, there is barely any gain... a reality most people are now well aware of.  So the 3,000 sold will go down in history as the "hybrid" that never was.  I'm so glad that nonsense is over.  Phew!

4-24-2007

Panic Syndrome.  That's the term I just coined for the following, since we got yet another repeat post with the same situation described...  Pretty much every new owner that hadn't already encountered a panic discussion-thread before delivery will end up sharing a panic story of their own virtually identical to the experiences of other unaware newbies.  It's the same thing every time.  They begin to feel nervous when stuck in a traffic-jam, based solely on what they assume is happening to the battery-pack.  That empowering Energy-Monitor leads them to the wrong conclusion, shutting everything but the car itself off and having to sweat out the remainder of the wait... only to find out later that all was running perfectly and no response was needed.

4-23-2007

10,000 Miles.  This argument presents a new form of desperation, they're really reaching now.  Knowing that the nickel mining claim has been debunked, the anti-hybrid are running out of supposed negatives to work with.  It now looks like the only problem with hybrids they can denounce is the fact that the raw battery materials must be shipped great distances before final assembly.  Though that is an undesirable practice, it certainly is not uncommon.  Heck, how many goods are shipped here from the other side of the planet?  The quantity is truly frightening.  Fortunately, great efforts are taken to make that process as efficient as possible.  Volume & Weight are factors seriously accounted for due to the money involved.  So, it's a very weak point... especially since as production grows, that assembly will later be moved to a closer location anyway.

4-23-2007

$65.89 Per Barrel.  The price continues to frighten.  Remember how the experts never imagined this happening?  Well, it has... and there is no hope in store.  Demand continues to increase.  The ability to grow capacity is impaired.  We've got problems.  Here in Minnesota, I'm fortunate to have the "cheapest" gas in the nation.  It's selling for an average of $2.65 per gallon.  That's considered very good compared to the $3.37 nightmare in the San Francisco area.  Sadly, it puts the national average just 15 cents below the all-time record... and we currently aren't facing any political or environmental influence.  This is just business as usual.  Summer travel will only seasonally amplify, if we're lucky.  I doubt we'll be so blessed.  There is a strong probably that things will progressively get worse and stay that way.  The good old days of hoping prices remain at $1.99 per gallon are long gone already.

 

back to home page       go to top