Prius Personal Log  #337

July 5, 2007  -  July 12, 2007

Last Updated: Sun. 8/05/2007

    page #336         page #338         BOOK         INDEX         go to bottom 

 

7-12-2007

2008 Escape-Hybrid.  It delivers a 14 percent MPG improvement for city driving.  That's great.  Operation is smoother in the new model as well.  But it hardly justifies the "next generation" label being touted.  Too bad no mention was made about a car getting the technology either.  The details today focused entirely on marketing a cleaner and more efficient SUV.  That's bittersweet.  Advancement cannot really be credited until the system is spread to another vehicle.  When will Ford finally deliver that Fusion-Hybrid they had been talking about for years?  A well designed system that consumers cannot purchase doesn't help.  We need a choice of something to actually buy.

7-12-2007

Got Caught Misleading.  Sometimes, you just have to allow a discussion to take its course.  Taking the bait like that is quite a risk.  But this particular time, boy did it ever pay off!  His newest troublemaking technique was to accuse me of the very thing he was guilty of.  The stir is suppose to draw attention away from him so no one notices the irony.  Only thing is, they did!  Supposedly, I was spinning the facts by stating goals about hybrid SUVs that Toyota never had.  But having documented them in my logs before sales began proves I'm correct.  So instead, he abruptly switched to the sales for the first year... claiming that goal was never met.  The number sold quoted was 38,000.  The goal quoted -was 50,000.  What he didn't tell you was the sold count was for the United States only and the goal was a total for all countries outside Japan.  Allowing you to conclude incorrectly is misleading.  Someone else pointed out those facts to clarify, revealing what he had tried to do (since he has used that very same number before to discredit Toyota).  Several others questioned why that was even a concern, since GM's goal for their first hybrid SUV are set much lower anyway.  I was thrilled that his attempt got noticed!

7-11-2007

BAS Plus?  The strangest rumor just surfaced today.  Apparently, GM is looking into offering their "mild" hybrid system with a Li-Ion battery-pack in place of the NiMH used currently.  I wonder how the heck that would work.  Since self-recharging is passive, it would be hard to imagine much of a benefit without the addition of a plug.  But with a plug, you'd have the concern of keeping the alternator from over-heating.  And how much more of an efficiency benefit could you expect from a motor that small?  That brings a whole new meaning to the "too little, too late" situation.

7-10-2007

Fuel-Cell Nonsense.  People were anxiously waiting to hear about a change of course in Iraq; instead, all we got was the same old ideology speech about the fight and another endorsement for fuel-cell vehicles.  What the heck?  The president isn't even trying anymore.  How will switching to hydrogen actually solve our energy problem?  Moving to a different fuel doesn't solve our need to reduce consumption.  I'm really tired of this nonsense.  Sadly, I don't expect much.  After over 6 years of ignoring the world around us, what incentive is there to change now?  We'll have to endure the remainder of this administration.  Bummer, eh?

7-10-2007

Winter Misconceptions.  We have yet another misconception document added to our arsenal.  Just like with the Highway Misconception document, I'm diving into details about stuff we often encounter as hybrid owners.  In the past, that often ended in frustration, because some people either don't simply understand or are intentionally attempting to mislead.  And of course, forgetting all the influences the cold season has on performance of any vehicle is a problem too.  But now, they are identified & explained for easy reference... Winter Misconceptions

7-09-2007

$10,000 Premium, part 2.  Economy of scale simply won't apply for Two-Mode with those plans.  Selling that many large hybrid SUVs is a step in the wrong direction, and not likely anyway.  People wanting a midsize car will be left without anything efficient to buy.  Not addressing that biggest market is missing a huge business opportunity.  Consider how many large hybrid SUV sales would occur outside of the United States, then think about the purchase of midsize cars.  It should be obvious that hybrids like Prius & Camry-Hybrid target that very need.  So why are they not aiming to deliver competition for them?  Where the heck are the "full" hybrids from GM?

7-09-2007

$10,000 Premium, part 1.  What were they thinking?  It now really sounds like the GM engineers were given instructions to create a hybrid system much like some people desire a notebook computer... powerful, compact, and efficient.  How much it actually costs appears to have been overlooked.  The claim is that it will add $10,000 to the price of the vehicle.  So of course, what portion of that GM is willing to take as a loss is the hot topic of discussion online today.  Subsidizing at first is fine.  It's great for product awareness and to work out any final design tweaks.  But the intended audience for initial Two-Mode availability is large SUVs, the very group of consumers that never shares any of their real-world efficiency data.  How are we supposed to draw conclusions about the technology with absolutely nothing to compare it too?  Basing price difference solely on EPA estimates is an invitation for trouble.

7-08-2007

New Attack.  As if you didn't think it could get any worse, the group who published that blatantly erroneous & misleading study claiming the life of a Prius was only 109,000 miles has launched a new attack.  Now they claim a majority of Prius owners base their purchase primarily on the purpose of making a statement and don't use it to replace another vehicle.  Of course, since making a statement was why many purchased a SUV originally, it's a rather weak argument anyway.  But nonetheless, it's the same old anti-hybrid technique we've seen on the forums: if you can't kill the product, change focus by discrediting those who buy it.  What's different now is that this comes from a paid study group, rather than just a few individual troublemakers.  Expect more of this nonsense as the success of Prius continues to flourish.

7-07-2007

Pointless.  The outcome wasn't entirely positive.  The discussion continued, but in the wrong direction.  When a forum staff member makes this comment... "I don't believe anyone has ever gotten 52 mpg in a Prius" ...why bother?  It's pointless to consume anymore time presenting facts to them.  It's simply a waste.  And as he put it... "people can say whatever they want and they have no reason to actually tell the truth" ...there's no reason to care.  They can stay in denial all they want, convincing each other not to trust the data.  I'll gladly accept a smug label as the result of facing reality.  Prius does indeed deliver that level of efficiency, which I've been witnessing for years now.  Though, last weekend was all I needed to prove that.  They just don't want to acknowledge it.

7-07-2007

$3.15 Suddenly.  The price of gas had been holding at $2.99 for awhile, despite oil continuing to get more expensive.  That resistance to showing a "3" was obviously having an influence... because it suddenly shot up to $3.15 per gallon.  The day following dropped them down to about $3.05 at most stations around here.  But looking at the bigger picture, it's getting ugly.  Oil is well into record territory.  At $72.81 per barrel now, there's simply no hope of relief.  Those days of cheap gas are long gone.  And to my delight, so are the monster-size gas-guzzlers.  A quick scan of any parking lot around here reveals a sea of cars.  Where the heck did all the SUVs go?

7-07-2007

Mega Mistake, part 5.  It's the following morning now.  I bet that turned out to be more of an eye-opening event than first realized.  I feared some obscure twisting of facts afterward to conceal embarrassment.  But the realization that judgment had been made based solely on local observation can be one heck of a wake-up call.  He unknowingly stereotyped... and of all people to point that out.  It would make anyone uncomfortable.  And as much as I'd like to avoid further anguish at his expense, I really do need to point out how this type of situation can get blown way out of proportion.  His particular experiences were accepted as the ordinary without question.  That assumption lead to a number of crucial problems... all stemming from a misunderstanding.  Oops!

7-06-2007

Mega Mistake, part 4.  I wonder how many other people are confused to that extent about Prius driving.  Hmm?  It certainly explains some of the irrational attachment to the concept "series" hybrid.  They sincerely must not have believed 50 MPG was actually possible by normal means from a "full" hybrid.  Of course, I'm sure there is still some denial mixed in with that... along with misguided hope of a major technological break-thru in the next few years too.  Studying history is a cure for that.  But finally making sense of this situation feels good.  That's fortunate, since the harsh reality of automaker commitment and production costs can be quite a strain on optimistic thinking.

7-06-2007

Mega Mistake, part 3.  This was my public reply to that:  It took over 2 weeks of refraining from posting anything to finally figure out what in the world the source of confusion was.  Now, I see it.  What you observe on the road does indeed occur, but that's to get MPG much higher than 50.  Those owners that squeeze out every last MPG frustrate me too.  For the rest of us that JUST DRIVE IT, we routinely see MPG in the upper 40's and low 50's.  More is possible during the warm season, but we simply aren't interested.  Last weekend, my drive from St. Paul to Chicago (for a wedding) was almost all highway at speeds just a touch over the limit to keep with the flow (mostly between 67 & 68). The resulting pump-measured average was 52.4 MPG.  From a well broken-in and well maintained Prius, why wouldn't that be realistic?

7-06-2007

Mega Mistake, part 2.  Enlightenment came from this specific comment: "Some people have the patience to get EPA out of a Prius, many others simply won't drive it that way.  I run into these Prius 50 MPG drivers everyday.  Holding up traffic off the light, literally driving 10 MPH under the limit on city streets, making me miss lights because they start coasting waaaayyy too soon."  Did reading that divulge to you what it did to me?  What a revelation!  His belief was that all Prius owners pleased with their purchase act that way, totally unaware that what he was actually seeing were hypermilers.  Assuming sometimes results in a price to pay when you are wrong.  The outcome of situation will be very interesting. 

7-06-2007

Mega Mistake, part 1.  There was always one particular troublemaker on the big GM forum that made me wonder.  His brand of Prius hate was quite intense.  He was absolutely unwilling to listen to anyone.  It fact, for months his signature included the phrase "Prius...NO!" in big, bold, red letters.  But just an hour after his most recent extremely negative Prius post today, that signature suddenly disappeared.  I think he abruptly realized he had made a mega mistake.  In other words, an error from a rather serious assumption reared its ugly head.  Reality came crashing down.  Who would have expected such progress?  Yeah!

7-06-2007

Highway Misconceptions.  It's finally available.  Those final touches took awhile.  But the document is at a point where I'm satisfied.  And like the others, updates from time to time will happen anyway.  So it doesn't have to be perfect initially.  As more is learned about market perception of hybrids, revisions will be made.  I sure am glad to have yet another resource to counter those with ill intent.  It's a sad reality when you need stuff like that, but it's the world we live in.  Misconceptions aren't always accidental.  Fortunately, the internet is a powerful tool that helps us more effectively deal with those problems... Highway Misconceptions

7-05-2007

New Forum Category.  It actually happened.  There is a new one now.  But with the typical GM administrative mentality, the approach is reactive... rather than proactive like Toyota.  When will they learn that responding after people have complained is too late.  It's a darn good thing GM supporters aren't that way.  Fortunately, some are well aware of how a need should be addressed before people are already begging for it.  Anywho, it's called "Alternative Fuels and Propulsion News".  How it the heck is that suppose to make hybrid discussions easier to follow?  Here's the official purpose & intent: "This forum is a catch all for news on Diesel, E85, Hybrid, Fuel Cell, etc discussion.  If it takes off, we will further break the forum up in to subcategories."  Talking about not acknowledging hybrids as the next natural step in automotive evolution.  They couldn't have done much less to promote them or encourage discussions.

7-05-2007

New Photos.  Today, it was an unpublished shot of the Consumption-Screen from my photo archive along with a brand new one.  There's also an up-to-the-minute digital of the Speedo/Odometer cluster, which was looooong overdue.  Catching up finally feels great!  Here's what I did... photo album 121

7-05-2007

Toyota's Stance.  This is nothing new... but it is officially in writing now.  A statement from Toyota was recently released stating how hybrid aftermarket plug-in conversions don't comply with EPA emission regulations.  That makes sense too.  The catalytic-converter is allowed to cool off entirely, which results in significantly higher NOx & HC levels from the tailpipe.  Allowing supposedly "green" vehicles to be quite a bit dirtier is totally inappropriate on many levels... which explains the strange predicament GM is now facing.  How will Volt be certified?  There is no quantification measure yet with respect to plug-in frequency or duration per drive.  Heck, just think of how much the EV button can influence estimates.  Imagine the effect a cold engine will have during the Winter.  Emissions from plug-in conversions and "series" hybrids could be quite a bit worse without controls to prevent that... which unfortunately cause lower efficiency.  It's a very real paradox just now starting to get attention.

 

back to home page       go to top