Prius Personal Log  #327

April 28, 2007  -  May 4, 2007

Last Updated: Sat. 5/05/2007

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5-04-2007

Diluted Market.  My first clue was how easily the GM hybrid supporters dismissed the "assist" type.  The major reveal though came in the form of ignoring questions.  Not a single one of the enthusiasts ever wanted to discuss the Plug-In Two-Mode system.  No matter how many times I brought the topic up, nothing.  It was evidence that the "full" and the "series" designs were distinct, but an in-between configuration like the plug-in remains a big unknown.  It could swing the favor in either direction.  They clearly didn't like that.  So instead, there are two groups fighting each other now.  Rather than the Volt concept adding to the hybrid anticipation, it actually ended up dividing supporters.  Now they have a diluted market.  Oops!

5-04-2007

Trouble Within.  Having recently discovered that the division within the GM community was in the form of 3 fronts, rather than one side or the other, I pushed for closure.  On a thread asking what people will do now that gas prices were so high, I interjected with a single-sentence post pointing out that many hybrids also significantly reduce smog-related emissions.  Sure enough, they freaked with a flurry of strong anti-hybrid responses.  It confirmed my suspicion.  Having recently witnessed strong anti-full responses from the "series" hybrid supporters, it was now very clear.  There is no spirit of cooperation.  Lines had already been drawn, even before there were any owners of either type of hybrid.  Now I understand the lack of constructive posts.  They simply aren't interested.  That pretty much ends my research.

5-03-2007

Not $3.  Here we go again.  Back when the $2 threshold was being breached for the first time here, gas stations fought the necessity to raise prices as long as they possibility could.  As a result, price variances around town were quite inconsistent... which is exactly what I'm seeing now as we approach the $3 threshold.  Some are already there, others are as much as 20 cents lower still.  But with the holidays and Summer travel approaching, higher is inevitable.  The long overdue funding for highway projects will have an effect.  And of course, there's the hurricanes and political turmoil to look forward to.  In other words, not $3 is somewhat of a trivial milestone.  They fight anyway.  Sadly, perception has a powerful effect on actions... a rather disturbing disconnect from reality.

5-03-2007

Less Complicated.  That's the contention now.  It's obviously not true.  Two-Mode adds clutches to the component inventory already present in both the Toyota & Ford hybrids.  Those clutches provide for greater flexibility, like being able to isolate the motor or engine operation.  They even allow for thrust contribution from both motors at the same time.  However, that ability is not free.  Yet, they insist it is a moot point without providing any detail whatsoever to support their assertion.  I can deal with that.  But the "less complicated" claim, no way.  I'm actually hoping it's a misunderstanding, where their perspective is actually from the installation point-of-view rather than operational.  Getting clarification is next to impossible though.  It's looking rather hopeless.

5-03-2007

Undermining.  The propaganda for Volt continues.  Now, it is an attempt to passively belittle the "full" hybrids by reclassifying them "medium" instead.  I got tired of reading those posts and responded with this...  Changing a definition 7 years after the term has been in heavy use is totally inappropriate.  The identifier of "full" has been used with respect to the systems in both the Toyota & Ford hybrids for too long now, and has recently been attributed to a GM system as well.  Since the term "series" hybrid has been used to describe the system you just denoted for well over a half-century, I have to challenge your intent.  Why can't you just accept what has already been established?

5-03-2007

Don't Give A Crap.  This attitude is so extreme, it's all I ever need to refer to when someone asks why I am so passionate about hybrids.  You'll probably be shocked that anyone would post it.  But that's exactly what I saw today...  "I drive a gas guzzler that gets 13 mpg and I don't give a crap, I'll keep driving vehicles with big V8's until they stop making them.  If people are complaining that gas is getting expensive and they can't afford to drive their vehicle they should rethink their entire financial situation.  That would be cutting it too close for my comfort since gas prices really are trivial if you're smart about your spending."

5-02-2007

What A Mess!  Putting it bluntly, those particular GM enthusiasts are oblivious to the world around them.  Both SUV and Pickup sales have been falling.  Gas prices are still rising (they hit $3 per gallon here today).  GM is investing in "assist" hybrid systems for cars, rather than using Two-Mode.  And waiting several more years is not realistic.  How come they won't acknowledge any of that?  The denial is unbelievable.

5-02-2007

Knowing History.  Some don't.  So when it comes to certain aspects of hybrid acceptance, I am witnessing the same thing repeating all over again.  Thankfully, there are some things that have changed since then.  Remember a few years ago?  Gas was cheap.  GM was heavily campaigning against hybrids.  Misconceptions were abundant.  There was a battery technology lawsuit.  Little attention was given to carbon emissions.  There simply weren't enough real-world miles driven yet to satisfy doubt.  And the technology itself was much more expensive.  Knowing history is important; otherwise, you could end up suffering unnecessarily.

5-01-2007

April Sales.  Tallies are in.  The counts are fantastic!  For Toyota to meet their new target for Prius sales, the monthly purchases need to be about 12,500.  Well, if the trend continues, that will easily happen.  In April, the amount was 13,056.  Pretty cool, eh?  Camry-Hybrid had a very good month too.  4,410 were sold.  How will the competitors respond?  As time proceeds, the differences between "assist" and "full" hybrids will become better understood.  How will consumers respond?  While all that's taking place, gas prices will continue to rise.  How will the economy respond?  In other words, more change is inevitable.  The progress so far is encouraging.  I can't wait for the results of May sales.

4-30-2007

Feeding Assumptions.  The nonsense continues.  Just like I dealt with many years ago, there are still certain people that push one improvement or another... but not both.  Today, it was the PZEV rating.  Since GM offers several non-hybrid models and each vehicle which shares that same body sells well, we are suppose to believe that the PZEV version is purchased often.  It was a rather blatant attempt to mislead.  He was clearly feeding an assumption.  His vague references were obvious.  A few people called him on it too, insisting he respond with actual sales data.  He refused, saying he didn't claim anything.  No detail.  No remorse.  Just a personal insult.  That's why I call people like that antagonists.  They couldn't care less about being constructive.  I stick to the facts.  Unless emissions & efficiency are both improved, it is not an true solution to our problems.

4-29-2007

Just Plain Cool.  I was riding my bike on a path next to a residential thruway, enjoying the spectacular Sunday afternoon.  Out of the blue approached a whirring sound from behind.  I could have been listening to a special-effect on a sci-fi movie based on the exhilarating reaction.  I was beside myself.  Hearing 2 large electric motors regenerating (it was an AWD Highlander-Hybrid) that close from the outside was something I had yet to experience, until that very moment.  It was just plain cool!

4-29-2007

What's Acceptable, part 10.  Looking back at what I deemed acceptable 4 years ago for upcoming hybrids, the emission expectation should be at least a SULEV rating and the efficiency should be double the class average for hybrid-only vehicles and at least 50 percent better for hybrids with traditional counterparts.  The Prius upgrade that followed and the Camry-Hybrid that followed came very close to satisfying both criteria.  The next models will easily exceed it.  Now consider what the other automakers have attempted to convince us is the solution (which certain troublemakers have obviously endorsed).  Some don't deliver any smog-related emission reduction at all.  Some only deliver a modest increase in efficiency.  Do you find that acceptable?  Or will you insist that the technology already proven by the early adopters be spread to the masses at an aggressive rate?  Doing nothing yet and just waiting seems absurd, yet that is implicitly suggested on a regular basis.  It's frustrating, to say the least.  Understand the entire situation now?

4-29-2007

What's Acceptable, part 9.  One regret I have about the experience is only hinting at time, not explicitly asking how long it is acceptable to wait.  That's a big deal.  This particular antagonist has in the past spoken in favor of the "series" hybrid.  Are we suppose to do nothing in the meantime?  If it actually debuts in 2010, will the only option be for people to get on a waiting list?  Enduring production delays until capacity catches up to demand is a very real problem, especially when third-party suppliers are involved.  And what about model offerings?  Volt is a small car (like Cobalt).  Will consumers have to wait until 2013 before a mid-size sedan "series" hybrid is finally offered?  Do they sincerely believe asking people to tolerate high gas prices for at least 5 more years is acceptable?  And what about the competing technologies?  The next generation of "full" hybrid sounds like another promising step forward.  I can't imagine market patience to last much longer.  Suffering has already begun.  How much more of a wait can really be tolerated?

4-29-2007

What's Acceptable, part 8.  He ended up being scolded by another leader for not being objective.  The fact that I was asking questions without any bias toward automotive brand or type of fuel became evident.  It's the same old story, wanting detail about emissions & efficiency expectations with "full" hybrids as the basis of comparison.  Each encounter (battle of words) makes that increasingly clear.  But some don't like that an outsider is helping to rally the troops.  Why?  Can't they see that the enemy is within?  Those fighting hybrid progress are members of that very GM forum.  Change is something they feel uncomfortable with.  So they do whatever they can to prevent having to face that fear.  It's unfortunate.  Two-Mode is coming... whether they like it or not.

4-28-2007

What's Acceptable, part 7.  Without clear expectations and accompanying research, disappointment will result.  That label of "hybrid" is confusing in itself, even without the antagonists intentionally misleading.  A vehicle is a long-term investment.  Getting stuck with one that doesn't perform as well as thought is a very real possibility for those that don't consider detail... which is the very reason I push for it.  Sadly, simple considerations like "gas price threshold" are still overlooked.  You'd think people would have a breaking point.  Instead, they just tolerate continuously climbing prices without ever stating when a hybrid purchase would finally be appropriate.  Vehicles are a very large expense.  Feeding them gas routinely hurts.  Why don't these self-proclaimed leaders on the discussion forums take charge and acknowledge needs?  Finding out what's acceptable is a necessary step that continues to be avoided.  That's really unfortunate.

4-28-2007

What's Acceptable, part 6.  Nothing.  Just vague comments were the conclusion.  There was no desired MPG expectation included.  There was no mention of emission rating.  There was nothing numerical with respect to cost.  It was just a lot of generalizations allowing for guilt-free recants later.  No commitment was the underlying message.  If they don't set a solid goal, you cannot hold them accountable later.  Sounds familiar, eh?  That's what I've been dealing with for years.  Being constructive by clearly stating detailed objectives would be a miracle.  Someday, perhaps... but certainly not today.

4-28-2007

What's Acceptable, part 5.  Pushing for a definitive answer is quite a challenge.  It rarely delivers.  But without trying, I'd be guilty of the status quo just like them.  And if you didn't already guess, the follow up was more of the same nonsense as before.  So, I stated:  Replying with what you do *NOT* find acceptable was an attempt to evade the question.  Detail telling us what you would approve of for the next generation of vehicle is what I have repeatedly ask for... but still have not been provided.  What type of fuel should it use?  How much fuel can it consume?  What should the emission rating be?  How much should the system cost?  What should the driving range be?  How fast must the system be?  Not even attempting to answer questions like that is what's trying the resolve of GM fans.  The changing times have left them without focus or expectation.

4-28-2007

What's Acceptable, part 4.  Unfortunately, the reply to that was only a rant about nickel mining.  No effort was made at all to be constructive.  So I was quite the opposite of vague, with this:  Fine, don't provide us with the criteria you deem acceptable.  Not answering the question is a reason why these are trying times for a GM fan.  Without something to look forward to or to work toward, progress simply won't be made.  If you're not part of the solution...

4-28-2007

What's Acceptable, part 3.  The response was exactly as anticipated, too bad I'll have to press for detail.  "You know how I feel about the hybrid models, I am all for an environmentally friendly option, but right now I am not convinced that there is a hybrid on the market that is environmentally friendly."  The fact that you still haven't explained what "environmentally friendly" actually means reveals a lot about your current attitude.  Care to change that by telling us what you would find acceptable?  After all, dismissing options for the sake of remaining status quo will only work for so long.

 

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