Prius Personal Log  #328

May 4, 2007  -  May 8, 2007

Last Updated: Sun. 6/03/2007

    page #327         page #329         BOOK         INDEX         go to bottom 

 

5-08-2007

Not A Moment Too Soon.  Timing is really important.  Press releases sure have been making their mark rather impressively lately.  But action is an entirely different matter.  These two quotes from today's news sure drew a clear picture of the situation: "General Motors is moving quickly to get the Chevrolet Volt out of the laboratory and into the showroom." and "That means the Volt could appear as soon as 2010."  Could they move any slower?  The new model of Prius will very likely arrive before that.  What are their priorities?  When will a hybrid car to compete with Camry be offered?  Their "assist" system doesn't, in terms of either efficiency or emissions.  Volt is only the size of a Cobalt, definitely not family seating.  All this talk of "soon" really makes me wonder.

5-08-2007

Strange Turnaround.  That previous entry was a brain purge, basically giving up there.  The information would reveal itself later on somewhere, somehow.  Little did I know that it would come the very next day in the very same place.  It was kind of creepy.  I had been struggling for over a year to get detail to verify my illustration of Two-Mode.  Help miraculously arrived.  Sure enough, I had an error.  But it was pretty easy to fix.  The concept had confused me until someone pointed out an animation showing another way the PSD could be used, taking advantage of the Sun--Planet--Ring behavior relation without actually splitting power.  It works similar to the "gearing" added to Camry-Hybrid using a second PSD, more it common with an modern automatic than I had realized.  Only with Two-Mode, it is sandwiched between an electric motor... so the power controller is totally different.  What a strange turnaround.

5-07-2007

Not Yet.  It was rather bizarre.  They ended up providing more than enough responses to make it overwhelmingly clear.  I hadn't expected the lack of constructive intent would become so obvious, but there it was.  They had absolutely no idea what I was talking about.  My comments about stealth made no sense.  Understanding why that ability to drive using only electricity was so important eluded that group.  The questions about speed & distance tolerance were just dismissed or ignored.  It really surprised me that such basic hybrid concepts were a source of bewilderment.  My pointing out of the benefit of the A/C being electric not getting any attention had raised my suspicion.  But then, when a message was posted about Two-Mode being superior to HSD because it didn't use a PSD, all doubt ceased.  Whether it was just being confused or undermining, the information I was seeking certainly couldn't be found there.  The technical interest simply hasn't emerged there yet.

5-07-2007

Harvest Photos.  There are even more new Prius photos from two and a half years ago now available.  It feels fantastic being able to finally make progress on my backlog of stuff to publish.  I've got lots to share with others and too little time to sort through it all.  Eventually though, and today's effort shows definite progress.  It's pretty cool seeing them too.  That first Fall with my HSD model sure brings back good memories.  I had owned it for just about a year at that point... an a fantastic year it was.  All my expectations had been either meet or exceeded.  And since then, the dream continued.  Now it's that wonderful history that you get to see more of... photo album 117

5-07-2007

Diskette (1.44 MB).  I stopped using them around 12 years ago.  It was the reliability that scared me away initially.  They were horrible.  The ZIP disk was dramatically better.  It was much faster and much larger (100 MB).  It didn't take long to make the jump from them to recordable CD (650 MB, at first) and professional CF (80 MB, my smallest).  That lead to the transitioned to the much more durable recordable DVD (4.7 GB) and the key-drive (1 GB, my smallest).  So hearing a report on NPR today that a production facility for diskettes was scheduled to close 2 years from now.  Talking about holding on to technology way past obsolescence.  Who still uses them?  One digital photo won't even fit.  What purpose could they possibly serve?  Heck, in this age of MP3 players with very convenient portable easily taken advantage of and high-speed internet, I can't imagine anyone purchasing a diskette anymore... especially since notebooks haven't even offered a drive for diskettes in quite awhile now.  How does that translate to the abandoning of traditional vehicle technology?  Think about price.  The diskette costs significantly more than any of the competing technologies.  At some point, hybrids will deliver a benefit on that scale too.  When will the final announcement for production of the non-hybrid technology occur?  For another example, think of 35mm film being replaced by digital.

5-07-2007

TV Commercials.  Both Prius and Escape-Hybrid television commercials are becoming a normal sight.  Wow!  It's about time efforts to push sales from meeting quotas to top-seller have begun.  Having Prius remain in the top-10 is clearly causing a ripple effect throughout the automotive industry.  At that volume, excuses about the vehicle being only a niche don't make any sense.  Too many continue to be purchased to support a claim of temporary success.  And now that the tax credit has dropped to just 25 percent, even that can't be used with much merit anymore.  Then of course, we have the "everyday" phenomenon.  Seeing Prius on a very regular basis sharing the road with you puts an end to many of the misconceptions.  There are simply too many disproving the nonsense the antagonists are now struggling to spread.  Yeah!

5-06-2007

Sales Spin.  Fortunately, those attempting to mislead abandoned the annual statistics.  But now the focus is monthly numbers.  Looking at them from a distant view, you see 12 then 19 then 13 for the previous three months of Prius sales in terms of thousands.  That drop of 6 in the prior month was supposedly a bad thing.  They want you to believe interest is waning.  Of course, they don't tell you that Toyota was well prepared for the rush of consumers that would take advantage of the tax credit about to be reduced.  This month it is now down to just 25 percent.  It got halved again.  6 months from now, it will be gone entirely.  So naturally, there was a very predictable spike in purchases.  But since why is 13,000 disappointing?  Maintaining sales at that level will achieve the 150,000 annual sales goal.  It's good business.  Everyone wins.  What's the problem?  The spin makes no sense.  All is proceeding well... and as planned.

5-06-2007

Bang!  That was nasty.  The car just off the right corner of the Prius decided to throw a dead bird at me.  Not the car, my head!  It had just struck it and the body bounced off aimed directly for my eyes.  At 55 MPH, those few feet passed fast.  The road was straight and the car was aimed straight.  In the split second I had to react, the only action available was to briefly duck.  So I did.  A moment later I saw a splatter mark of blood on the windshield and was able to safely resume the drive.  That bump sure makes you think.  Accidents happen very quick.

5-06-2007

ScanGaugeII Photo.  I finally had an opportunity to take a digital photo to show everyone exactly what my new add-on device was and where it had been placed.  Cleaning off the dashboard and situating the Prius in such a way that the soft lighting of the overcast day would result in the perfect setting I desired took a very long time.  After quite a few attempts to find the right camera placement and exposure settings, I managed to capture an extremely appealing result.  You have to really prepare yourself mentally for the willingness to snap the shutter that many times to get it right.  I'll admit takes me quite a few tries.  But thankfully with digital, that's no big deal.  See how it turned out... photo album 117

5-06-2007

Easy Target, part 3.  Finally!  It's great that something constructive resulted.  I wondered if the antagonist efforts to make it personal, instead of just sticking to the topic, would ever backfire to this degree.  From time to time, they'd get caught attempting to undermine.  But the larger scope of why rarely got any attention.  Now there seems to be some interest toward "full" hybrids in general.  Phew!  That automaker loyalty crap was making me crazy.  Addressing technical design aspects and operational detail is far more productive than they had first thought.  Now they may actually begin to realize just how much that really matters.  It's unfortunate that GM has chosen to support 4 entirely different platforms (traditional, assist, full, series).  That will definitely delay a harmonious outcome.  But there is still hope that it could happen sooner, rather than later.  Being willing to share information is the first step.

5-06-2007

Easy Target, part 2.  Here it is...  There are people that intentionally undermine, trying everything they can to convince you that I am obsessed with Prius.  They don't want you to know how much I did to help out Ford with their hybrid.  They don't want you to know how much I support the other Toyota hybrids.  They don't want you to know how sincere my efforts are to study the GM "full" hybrid design to ensure it is presented with so much detail you can draw your own conclusions.  So if you make a snap decision based on just a few post replies, you'll get an incorrect impression.  Put it this way, I've been studying "full" hybrids for over 7 years now.  In that beginning, I had a ton of engineering specs available.  Using them, I was able to convert the detail into plain-english documents, "for dummy" type guides.  That's the very thing I'm trying to do with Two-Mode now.  With so many years of experience and so many photos & blogs available, I'm naturally a target.   There is simply no way to avoid the attention.  So I try my best to ignore all the counter-productive efforts.  The goal remains the same, to provide information in the early years of "full" hybrids.

5-06-2007

Easy Target, part 1.  I was well aware of this already, though still surprised when someone explicitly pointed it out today: "I'm not trying to pick on you, but I can't resist an easy target."  Remember when I added an avatar?  Seeing that photo of the Prius with the two kayaks on top resulted in an immediate negative reaction from certain GM enthusiasts.  Revealing my identity brought about a very unwelcome feeling.  It had no effect on me though, my actions remained the same... as well as my intent, which I posted online as a response.

5-05-2007

Fall Color Photos.  Yet another fun day with the Prius long ago has revealed itself today.  I finally got another webpage published.  There's more vibrant setting shots for your enjoyment.  Thanks for the patience!  It's hard to believe it took so darn long.  But considering how disappointing the following two autumn seasons were, having captured one of the better ones is rewarding... despite the wait.  Hope you like this set... photo album 116

5-05-2007

ScanGaugeII, it's great!  I hadn't realized just how handy it would be.  The display of MPG provides the opportunity to leave the navigation system active on the Multi-Display much more than I used to.  The display of RPM is priceless.  That's just plain cool always knowing exactly what the engine is doing.  Seeing that coolant-temperature data is fantastic too.  I'll think nothing of insulating the Prius radiator next Winter, now with its status so convenient.  And it turns out that the location of the device itself is ideal too.  I'm pretty darn happy with it already.  Just think how I'll feel later when I begin to explore the other features the device offers.

5-05-2007

TC - VSC.  How many more times do you think people will continue to ask what the difference is?  TC (Traction Control) is a safety feature directly tied to forward movement, engaged when the wheels slip from accelerating too hard.  VSC (Vehicle Stability Control) is a safety feature that compensates for over-steering errors, when you turn a corner too hard.  You'd think each would be distinct enough for the typical non-technical consumer to distinguish.  Apparently, that's not the case.  So what does that revelation mean when it comes to hybrids?  I think it points to a reality in which hybrid features beyond efficiency, like stealth and electric A/C, will be all that those same consumers will be drawn to.  Hopefully, emission rating will also make that rather exclusive list.  But even just making an educated guess is tough.  Details obviously don't make an impression.  Others aren't understood.  Some are never even acknowledged.  No wonder why the automotive industry is such a mess now.

5-05-2007

Generations.  Now GM spokespeople are embracing the past.  At first, everyone in Detroit went out of their way to disregard the initial 3 years of Prius sales that took place in Japan.  As far as they were concerned, that had no relevance here in the US.  But now that GM is attempting to abandon their first vehicle with the "hybrid" label, acknowledging prior generations is in their best interest.  That way, they can say they are taking a step forward similar to what the competition did.  Having something in common is very important when attempting to quickly catch up.   A shared historical upgrade path would help.  Too bad people like me documented what actually happened in great detail and made it easy to find.

5-04-2007

Aftermath Observations.  That's what it felt like, as if a nasty tornado had just passed through. You know some hardship will follow, before they begin to overcome the mess they now face.  Looking at that mess, I'm not sure what to think.  The simplest of questions still remain unanswered, like price.  Stealth speed & distance would be informative too.  So would when the first car will get Two-Mode.  They just can't seem to agree on what's important.  I look forward to now slipping into observation mode.  (My own version of stealth, if you will.)  They've been made well aware of the issues and the rising gas prices are helping to persuade inquiries.  But they've got a heck of a long way to go on their own.  Every time I try to share history, they accuse me of promoting HSD.  That's disappointing; however, some actually do read these personal log entries.  So perhaps they'll share the knowledge of Toyota already have offered "assist" hybrids in Japan (the Crown sedan and the Estima minivan) and phased out the technology in favor of the "full" hybrids instead.  Learning from the experience of others, what a concept.  Oh well.  At least the storm itself is over.

 

back to home page       go to top