Prius Personal Log  #338

July 12, 2007  -  July 19, 2007

Last Updated: Sat. 7/28/2007

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7-19-2007

Stereotyping.  A few days ago, a Hummer was attacked (glass smashed, tires slashed, metal damaged).  A message was scratched in the paint saying: "For The Environ".  Unfortunately, the assumption is that someone owning a Prius did it.  Now certain people online are feeding the stereotype like there's no tomorrow, using this as an excuse to make you believe all owners feel that way.  This is nothing new.  I've documented many examples of how particular troublemakers try to convince others that a generic hate is acceptable.  But now there are even more examples, like this one posted in response to the Hummer attack: "Anyone who says Prius owners aren't the smuggest idiots you have ever met, this is your proof."  It's a sad reality that being constructive is a lost practice, where making it personal gets so much attention.  Vandalizing property is just plain wrong.  But what about spreading hate?  Encouraging a stereotype certainly isn't helpful.

7-18-2007

Crawling Along.  Progress is slow.  Supporters of Prius learn patience... but also see the urgency of need.  So when a Volt test-drive rumor the other day was published in the Detroit Free Press, some of us were skeptical.  The lithium-ion batteries are still very expensive and thermal limitations are still a very big problem.  Many of us, including myself, had assumed the concept "series" hybrid shown was fully functional... using an unrealistic but testable power source.  It turns out, that wasn't the case.  Volt can only crawl, literally.  Slow speeds are all that's possible.  No wonder a retraction was published right away.  That's reassuring.  Keeping misconceptions from getting out of hand is very important... especially with such a long wait still.  Hopefully, all this attention will formulate into a genuine commitment to delivery something the masses will accept.  At least the crawl is in the right direction.

7-18-2007

100 MPH Prius.  That's been the hot topic for articles & discussions for over a week now.  Al Gore's son got pulled over by the police at that speed, in his Prius.  Talking about fantastic negative publicity!  Until then, not many really thought of a non-modified Prius as a vehicle capable of going that fast.  But with this particular event, all doubt ceased.  Clearly, it can.  Celebrity endorsements have always been without much substance.  So no one ever expected news from them to make all that much of a difference.  That changed this time.

7-17-2007

Bin-5.  I find it interesting that emission references continue to be so vague.  You'd think that using the Tier-2 rating labels would prevent it, but that actually led to an incorrect conclusion today.  One of the more active members on the big Prius forum thought that Bin-5 was the same as ULEV.  He didn't realize that Bin-5 category didn't have a specific label available.  Since ULEV is closest, making that assumption is easy.  But in reality, official measurement published for Bin-5 is 0.160 which is clearly a larger quantity that the 0.125 for ULEV.  They definitely are not the same.

7-16-2007

Spin Nonsense.  It is pretty much the same now as I've been reading for years, with the exception of Camry-Hybrid being available too.  In a rather blatantly anti-hybrid article published today, the reporter quickly diverted focus by stating how much larger of a share Prius sales counted for.  Whatever.  Those 28,070 Camry-Hybrid sold the first half of this year shouldn't be dismissed so easily.  That puts it on track for exceeding annual sales of 50,000.  Isn't that a respectable number, something worthy of attention?  If not, the competition is really in trouble.  I have a feeling the GM enthusiasts will be joining in soon, gladly accepting the "smug" label to challenge claims of a "hybrid dilemma".  The real problem is when reporters lump all types & categories of hybrids together, just like he did in this article... attempting to conclude that only Prius has seen any success by setting it aside rather than sighting detail and goals.  Of course, allowing us to draw our own conclusions doesn't allow for exciting things to read.  What would they publish if there was no spin?

7-16-2007

Constructive Outcome.  After so much conflict in the past and the lack of cooperation from his peers, I really didn't expect a worthwhile outcome from that "mega mistake".  But to my surprise, the posts lately have actually been constructive.  There's hope!  Sadly, he's still outnumbered by quite a bit.  But it's these early days that are the hardest.  They don't have any momentum to leverage from.  GM doesn't sell any "full" or "series" hybrids yet.  And of course, Toyota is still considered the enemy... rather than a new player on the same team.  Patience, I know.

7-16-2007

The Race, part 2.  What followed were some responses, all with respect to reputation.  It was quite disturbing.  Image won't pay the bills.  So, I sounded off:  All of the automakers need to offer technology that significantly reduces both emissions & consumption.  Why do so many people miss that point?  GM & Toyota will each have to build around 9 million vehicles annually to satisfy demand, delivering a majority using a new technology.  Whether or not they do is not a choice.  It's required for the business to survive in the 21st Century.  The only decision available is which technology. Reputation alone doesn't mean squat.  Consumers must also have a product to actually buy... which means high-volume quantities... hence the topic of this thread (Toyota sticking with NiMH).

7-16-2007

The Race, part 1.  It was time to break the silence again.  This time, it was a response to this: "eFlex does have the potential to leapfrog Toyota's lead in this race."  What is the point of the race... technical achievement or high-volume sales?  If GM sells 1,000 Volts and 50,000 hybrids with Two-Mode, which did better for keeping workers employed?  Far too often, reputation seems to be placed as a higher priority than the well being of the business.

7-15-2007

Lone Fall Photo.  This one was sitting on my hard-drive.  I can't for the life of me remember where the heck that particular location was.  The situation was likely just an opportunity that didn't work out, where I found a single spot to take a photo but nothing else near by.  That happens far too often, especially nowadays.  There was a larger selection of places to go to when I first got my first Prius.  Since then, quite a bit of the outback has been developed.  Anywho, here's that one... photo album 122

7-15-2007

750,000 Hybrids Annually.  That's how much today's press release from Panasonic said their expanded production capacity will support.  They provide the NiMH battery-packs for Toyota.  This is obviously good news.  The technology has proven to be robust.  Even with the more expensive Li-Ion batteries on the way, NiMH won't go away anytime soon.  I expect a co-existence for awhile.  Options for hybrids will grow diverse as the market expands.  The current one-size-fits-all mindset will change.  After all, traditional vehicles aren't sold that way.  There's a wide array of choices available.  Why not for hybrids too?  Of course, some of that variety will simply come about due to supplier facility limitations.  750,000 is a great start, but no where near enough to supply the majority.

7-15-2007

Summer MPG.  You can never have enough of this type of photo.  I love the effect warm weather has on efficiency.  Even with A/C use, it's still much higher than in the Winter.  So to remind you of that, here's two more Multi-Display captures, showing just how great the Summer MPG can be... photo album 121

7-15-2007

Camry-Hybrid Sightings.  They are so frequent now, it reminds me of the days back when Prius sightings were no longer rare.  That was when there were just enough to look forward to spotting 1 or 2 on a typical daily commute.  On the really good days, you'd spot 4 or 5... which is exactly what happens with Camry-Hybrid now.  That means it's just a matter of time before they become so abundant you win arguments by default.  Enough to routinely see them rules out any dismissal based on it being a niche or fade.  For Camry-Hybrid, it's especially important.  The look of Prius was once considered its greatest weakness, now it is claimed to be its greatest strength.  Neither can be said for Camry-Hybrid, since it has a traditional model too.  In other words, frequent sightings force people to finally look beyond what they see only.  Focus primarily on the technology itself is long overdue.

7-14-2007

Still Learning.  It never even crossed my mind that the "low battery" misconception could manifest itself in this way...  Rather than the usual worrying about draw from accessories, this time it about being able to get thrust from the motor.  The new owner had assumed that you couldn't be generous with the pedal once it got down to pink (2 bars).  And unless you tell the system you want to accelerate quickly, it will route all that electricity being generated to the battery-pack.  So his "electric assist wasn't working" comment was actually a choice.  He had no idea that simply pressing the pedal harder would have changed what he was seeing... which surprised me!  I'm obviously still learning what newbie interpretation of the Multi-Display information can be.  That's great proof of just how diverse Prius ownership really is.

7-14-2007

Winter in Summer.  Adding new photos to the album is always rewarding anyway.  But when you can dig up some of snow covered scenery when it is really hot outside, it means even more.  That's what I did today... a little bit of December here in July.  It's hard to believe just how cold I was running around with the digital camera and tripod that evening, especially since that particular encounter attracted attention.  I ended up doing a quick on-the-spot presentation of the Prius for two people who had stopped to watch, curious about what the heck I was trying to accomplish.  I'm quite pleased with how these came up, a cooling effect achieved... photo album 121

7-14-2007

The Need.  Whether the struggling automakers like it or not, hybrid family vehicles are needed.  They had pretty much abandoned the midsize car market.  Their pursuit of revenue from monster-size guzzlers was inevitably only temporary and should have been reinvested for development.  Oddly, it seemed as though it had with fuel-cell prototypes.  But the purpose of those vehicles still remains a mystery.  How can switching to hydrogen solve our energy problems?  Skipping the conversion step and using electricity directly makes more sense.  And that's where the plug-in hybrids should come into play.  But instead, all we get are vague promises and drawn out schedules.  Why isn't this a priority for them?  Can't they see the need?

7-14-2007

Discussions Buried.  Exactly as foreseen, that new forum category called "Alternative Fuels and Propulsion News" successfully buried hybrid discussions.  On the first page, only 2 of the 19 topics listed were about hybrids.  On the next, only 3 could be found.  Those pages represent 6 weeks of activity.  It's very easy to see how they really don't want to encourage the topic.  Following threads is quite a challenge.  And of course, starting one is rather pointless.  A few certain top posters have quickly extinguished them in the past.  This behavior on the GM forum is identical to that on the Escape forum years ago.  They fear change.  Providing a safe haven for hybrid discussions definitely qualifies as resistance.  When will they finally acknowledge the need?

7-13-2007

$73.93 Per Barrel.  The price keeps going up.  No one is surprised at this point.  We aren't repeating history anymore.  That catching of Detroit of guard again has occurred and the problem continues to get worse.  Guzzling gas is rapidly become an unpopular topic.  The difference this time is that we have emissions as a concern too.  No matter how cheap the price of oil could fall (which is unlikely anyway), using it is still bad.  Both carbon & smog are growing problems, a direct result of driving.  Abandoning the old technology is necessary.  After 100 years of non-hybrid vehicles, we are long overdue.

7-13-2007

GM Fanboy.  Wow!  The history of that guy caught misleading really has become a hot discussion topic.  By clicking on his avatar, you can trace backward and read his previous posts.  They reveal an ugly pattern of defending GM and saying misleading things about Toyota.  People have not been happy about that find.  I noticed a long time ago.  But it wasn't until now that others were suspicious enough to check.  And of course, at this point his posting behavior is quite obvious... so they gave him that label.  It's what you get when you aren't objective and you personally attack members.  I always figured has complete disregard for constructive criticism would eventually upset the wrong person... but I had no idea his ill intent would be exposed in such a public way.

7-12-2007

Fiercely Anti-Prius.  Certain paid special interest groups absolutely hate Prius, taking advantage of anything negative available to exploit.  Today, it was the new EPA estimates about to take effect.  The article didn't even bother mentioning any other vehicle that you'd normally see on the road today.  The opening sentence simply sighted "cars", "trucks", and "other hybrids".  The rest was stuff about Prius exclusively that in no way could be considered constructive, just some vague complaint examples of why the change came about.  In the closing paragraph the MPG for a "Ferrari F430" was mentioned, but the reason why that particular vehicle was singled out for comparison to Prius would be extremely difficult to explain.  But they didn't.  Heck, they didn't even explain how the estimates are measured.  It was just more propaganda... the same old nonsense lives on.

7-12-2007

One Million.  That's how many hydrogen powered vehicles the New & Renewable Energy Minister for India pledged today by 2020.  For what purpose?  Simply switching to an alternative fuel doesn't actually solve the problem of consumption itself.  It just moves the problem from one source to another.  Guzzling something else could actually be worse than just sticking with what we already have.  How much will setting up the new infrastructure to produce & deliver hydrogen cost?  For that matter, trouble is bound to surface when no Per-Gallon-Equivalent prices are included.  Not establishing a target could leave consumers with an expensive burden later.  Vague is bad.  This pledge leaves people with far too many questions.

 

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