Prius Personal Log  #335

June 21, 2007  -  June 25, 2007

Last Updated: Weds. 7/04/2007

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6-25-2007

Automaker Scramble.  Their effort to catch up was published in an article from Detroit today.  This was my favorite quote: "The hybrid revolution gathers speed - and Toyota's Prius is way out front.  While Honda announced that it is discontinuing the gasoline-electric version of the Accord because of slow sales, the Toyota Prius continues to defy gravity."  No wonder so many despise me.  Being a well-known voice for the premiere hybrid aims a very big target in my direction.  That success simply can't be dismissed anymore.  The article clearly pointed out how the market is changing and those automakers recently in denial are now struggling to recover.  It's ugly.  They are very unprepared for this situation.  Gas was suppose to remain cheap for quite a few years still.  Concerns about emissions were suppose to remain out of the mainstream.  But all that has changed.  They now have nothing compelling to sell.  Trouble awaits.  Their scramble is quite serious.

6-25-2007

Political Statement.  Supposedly, buying a Prius makes one.  But there is little agreement about what that statement actually is.  It differs depending on who you ask.  Yet, I keep hearing the claim.  So there is definitely a mentality at play.  The message itself remains a mystery though.  Maybe they really mean that purchase decision is about the environment, which this current administration simply doesn't care about.  Giving people what they want, rather than acknowledging actual need has been the priority for the last 6 years.  We need clean choices.  Instead, we have been provided with efforts to increase supply with no concern for the emissions that increased consumption will result in.  Using less is needed, regardless of where it comes from.  Why do they dismiss that reality?  I guess the act of people noticing on their own the denial of offering us a true choice is the purpose.  So, the statement wouldn't have to be explicit.

6-24-2007

They Don't Believe, part 4.  Speaking of need, I don't think they believe sales of 1,000,000 per year will actually happen.  With gas prices high now, growing concern about emissions, and the technology about to celebrate its tenth birthday, why wouldn't it be realistic?  That kind of demand seems like a natural progression, right on schedule.  Don't they believe the same would be possible for their preferred technology?  If so, what would make the "full" hybrid less likely to achieve that?  Watching how this plays out and what the next step supporters take will be truly remarkable.  We have arrived at a distinct time in automotive history.

6-24-2007

They Don't Believe, part 3.  That lack of belief certainly explains their stance on the "series" hybrid.  No confidence in the technology I drive would lead to support of that as an alternative instead.  But looking at the market as a whole, does it make sense to rely on that alone?  The "full" hybrid offers a wide span of options... lots of flexibility, hence the term full.  Considering the current state of the automotive industry, too far of a step away from the engine will be difficult to accept.  The many players involved simply aren't ready.  And the need for a large-scale solution is here, now.  Waiting doesn't make sense.  Just think about how long it took to get this far.  Resistance to change is a bitter reality.  We have to be practical.  Address the need, not the want.

6-24-2007

They Don't Believe, part 2.  Some sincerely feel that the "full" hybrid is nothing but a clever marketing ploy.  Spend money developing a vehicle that will attract a lot of attention rather than relying on traditional advertising.  Again, the problem is not understanding the technology.  They don't believe the success of vehicles like Prius is anything beyond just a spectacular success in public relations.  But don't take my word for it, read this post: "There is a reason why GM hasn't spent the money on a two-mode hybrid system.  They don't see a benefit of having two complete systems to run a car.  The only reason they are doing it now is Toyota has wrapped themselves in green robe.  It is a PR thing.  Bob Lutz was quoted saying he should have used marketing money to develop a hybrid system."

6-24-2007

They Don't Believe, part 1.  Reading the fallout has been interesting.  Some simply don't believe a market where competing "full" hybrids coexist is possible.  So any positive comment I make about Toyota supposedly means it is a negative connotation against GM.  The world is black or white to them.  No wonder I couldn't make any progress.  All my comments about wanting "full" hybrids to become the new standard were immediately dismissed.  That actually makes sense.  If a person doesn't believe we have a oil supply or emissions problem, why cooperate with someone from the outside?  Their paranoia is absurd.  But not understanding the technology does lead to drawing incorrect conclusions.

6-23-2007

Amused.  It's better than being bitter or holding a grudge... especially with an ugly outcome of such close mindedness.  How would you feel when a comparison is made between a large SUV and a midsize car just because they are both hybrids?  When I asked why, the response was a personal attack.  Geez!  What an extreme reaction to a perfect legit question... as was that from asking about the other hybrid SUVs already available.  My query onto why the hybrid wasn't compared to the non-hybrid version of the same vehicle feel on deaf ears.  Clearly, that is an objective analysis.  Yet, none addressed it.  So, I'm amused instead.  They'll figure out the big picture eventually.  I understand how learning about it from an outsider wouldn't be comfortable.

6-23-2007

Nothing Else.  Any reference to a Toyota product is unacceptable.  That was response I was provided.  Even if it's a reply to misconception, it will be deemed an attempt to endorse the competition.  They can post whatever they want.  But I can't.  Confirming their paranoia sure was easy.  Not wanting any input from someone outside sure sounds familiar.  For that matter, not being allowed to reference external sources does too.  I remember that particular restriction all too well.  Impairing your ability to state sources of information spurred lots of posts... the very thing moderators were instructed to encourage.  Not being able to prove what you claim causes threads to continue endlessly.  My passion for advancing forward is in direct conflict with their passive discussions.  Oh well.  They'll get what they wanted... all alone ...nothing else.

6-23-2007

The Most To Lose.  Remember that big Escape forum years back?  The senior most member there went to extremes to make me feel unwelcome.  Having much greater experience with hybrids and the fact that they tend to sour the appeal of trucks, my presence meant change.  Fighting me become a priority.  The very same thing happened over the past few months on the big GM forum.  Witnessing that history repeat itself was intriguing.  He had the most to lose.  The battle was futile.  Yet, it was fought anyway.  Interest in using less gas is rising.  All I have to do is wait.  So that's what I'll do.  Consumers will make their need heard.  Remember that other troublesome forum, the one with all those anti-hybrid posts?  Remaining in observation mode there for awhile really paid off.  Is silence necessary this time too?  I'll let them decide.

6-22-2007

$3 Reality.  Accepting the fact that Detroit only provides about a quarter of the worldwide annual vehicle production is tough enough.  But adding to that the fact that both carbon & smog emissions are getting quite a bit more attention lately is even tougher.  Then you have people like me pointing out that there are over 1,000,000 Prius owners already, denial simply isn't an option anymore.  Change is happening.  The $3 gas price reality brings that point home.  Everyone is feeling the effect.  It's the very thing Prius supporters were accused of spread fear about years ago.  Someday it would happen.  We have to prepare.  That day is come.  It's difficult to not give that impression of being smug.  Now what?  Some still aren't taking the situation seriously.  Consumers here are buying fewer guzzlers and they are driving them less.  The rest of the world never did in the first place.  This new reality begins with acceptance.  The 20th Century is over.

6-22-2007

Needed Now!  No wonder the "series" hybrid enthusiasts feel threatened.  Comments like this posted today hint at the true nature of the problem: "I know the Prius has been a great halo product for Toyota, but GM has to really fight the media's negative PR against large SUVs by improving them first."  Our people with authority are beginning to insist upon actual results, not something that will just boost image.  With the success of Prius, pressure increasing to finally do something about emissions, and our obvious consumption problem, the same old excuses don't work anymore... which is becoming rather obvious when the hearing "large hybrid first" approach only makes some people more angry.  Upsetting both elected officials and consumers a clear sign that change is needed now.  Delaying a few years still, when the competition is already offering what the market wants is a act of denial.  Where are the cars to compete with Camry-Hybrid?

6-21-2007

Senate Decision.  At least someone is thinking straight.  Today the Senate voted on a bill to require the fleet average efficiency to be increased to 35 MPG by 2020.  So rather than the current 27.5 MPG for cars and 22.2 for trucks requirement, there will be a combined value.  That should make things interesting.  What's especially thought provoking is the fact that the SUV loophole gets closed.  That shortcoming in our very outdated law won't be exploitable anymore.  Overall, this sounds like a good thing.  Many compromises were made though.  Funding for wind & solar was basically dropped entirely to get this to pass.  That's unfortunate.  But it's a darn good start.  Essentially not doing anything since 1989 was a problem growing worse each year.  So, it is progress.  I wonder what the fallout will be.  Each step forward usually brings some type of unexpected outcome.

6-21-2007

More Drilling.  The insanity of this administration never ceases to amaze.  Once again, after so many failed attempts, they are once again pushing the idea drilling for more oil in Alaska.  They've crossed that line between strong-willed and stubborn.  How can that possibly be a priority anymore?  Efforts elsewhere are to reduce our energy consumption.  Since even with a massive supply available, the resulting emissions are bad.  Using more is a not a good plan.  And who's going to pay for the new drilling facilities?  Investing in technologies that enable us to use less are not being taken seriously.  Where's the "Manhattan Project" of this age?  Focusing on supply rather than actually fixing the actual problem shows just how disingenuous their intent is.  I'm not happy.

6-21-2007

Still A Guzzler.  Optimal conditions for the testing models of Two-Mode in the largest vehicles has been reported to deliver about 29 MPG.  That's quite a technical achievement.  Cost is still a big unknown though.  Improvements like that are rarely cheap.  But to my delight, that's not what some are focusing on.  Phew!  In optimal conditions, Prius owners have been able to squeeze out about 60 MPG from a tank.  Right now, my Multi-Display states 55.9 MPG after 116 miles.  Driving conditions have been great lately.  So without doing anything special, efficiency is higher than usual.  But that's not what I report.  I stick to only quoting the lifetime value.  That is a real-world expectation.  For me, it's 48.2 MPG.  For a large truck or SUV, whether it is a hybrid from GM, Ford, or even Toyota, reports of averages around 25 MPG won't be looked favorably upon.  That's still lower than non-hybrid cars.  Technology doesn't excuse guzzling.  It all comes down to purpose.  Are you using the vehicle for the purpose it was designed?  If not, the amount of fuel being used cannot be justified, regardless of efficiency.

6-21-2007

As Good As It Gets.  Remember the effort to get details about the Two-Mode design?  That experience was like pulling teeth.  No part of it was pleasant and there was a "something lost" feeling afterward.  Anywho, the big GM forum is a mess.  I wonder how representative they are of the market in general, or those that purchase GM products.  Talking at odds with each other.  No agreement on purpose.  No real effort to promote.  Just a lot of confusion & resentment.  What are they going to end up supporting?  I saw just how deep the divisions are.  Some were aware of just how urgent the need was for a very efficient midsize car.  But sadly, there were far more that praised how smart it is to focus on the large guzzlers now and wait for small plug-in.  The two extremes were definitely well represented.  That's for sure.  Too few in the middle is the problem.  Having little for the changing market to actually purchase is going to make the already bad situation even worse.  Oh well.  It's not like that weren't well informed.

6-21-2007

73.6 MPG.  Yeah!  It's about dang time someone finally provided a little bit of actual real-world data.  We've been hearing about Prius plug-in augmentation for years, but never got anything beyond just best-case scenario samples.  That's it.  Disappointment was all I could muster.  There was literally nothing to work with and my estimate only served to frustrate others.  But fortunately, it was actually remarkably accurate.  I figured telling people 75 MPG was a realistic expectation.  Google has a small fleet of converted Prius they've been driving for awhile.  Their resulting overall average so far is 73.6 MPG.  How about that!

6-21-2007

Greaser Fines.  That was the topic of a report on NPR this morning.  People using veggie oil in their vehicles instead of diesel are getting fined for not paying road-use taxes.  That money is usually collected through the purchase of fuel at a public filling station.  But when your fuel comes from a grocery or discount store instead, nothing is contributed to the funding of roads.  State agencies are now seeking out those doing that, catching them red-heading by inspecting the contents of their tank.  The result is a large unexpected bill.  One very upset owner ended up having to pay over $1,000.  He regretted not knowing that taxes would still need to be paid.  It was a penalty that soured the appeal of his choice.

 

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