Prius Personal Log  #339

July 20, 2007  -  July 26, 2007

Last Updated: Sat. 7/28/2007

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7-26-2007

New Territory, part 3.  What I find most fascinating is the fact that you can scale up a "full" hybrid with increased battery capacity.  In fact, we have been told that the plug-in Prius being tested delivers 24 more horsepower.  That's the advantage of using such a small pack in the first place.  The "series" hybrid doesn't have that option.  It requires a substantial size, since all power coming from it exclusively is the entire point of the design.  But with a "full" hybrid, you don't care anywhere near as much if the engine contributes.  In short, with battery technology still so expensive, you aren't going to see a competitively priced "series" hybrid for a very long time.

7-26-2007

New Territory, part 2.  The clever engineering of Prius is something they should rightfully fear.  The 10,000 RPM of MG1 (the smaller electric motor) has yet to be exploited.  On paper, thermal and lubrication needs for the PSD have already been addressed.  Testing that along with the software changes and the battery augmentation are what's causes the stir now.  That puts Toyota way ahead of GM.  The vehicle isn't a concept, as with the competition.  It's a fully functional model... already!

7-26-2007

New Territory, part 1.  Most of them still have no understanding of how a "full" hybrid actually works or are even aware of the factors that influence efficiency.  Yesterday's MPG survey continued to provide proof of that throughout today.  It was quite disturbing finding out just how deep the greenwashing has gone.  What a mess.  Their hope of what could be is preventing certain realities from being acknowledged.  They are destined for disappointment.  It will take longer and be more expensive than they imagine.  History is loaded with examples of that.  But since this is all new to them, seeing that won't come easy.

7-25-2007

Powerful Keyboard.  My response to that MPG survey was met with some rather intense reactions.  I had no idea just how much more powerful my messages were than those from others.  One person actually pointed that out in fact, stating the extent of my experience with matters of fuel efficiency.  Another exclaimed fear that my purpose was to spread propaganda for Toyota's hybrid system.  But the most potent was from the person who set it up, claiming the effort was to undermine what had been an objective thread.  Who knew asking questions could raise such attention?  Just typing a few sentences stirred the pot in a very unexpected way.  Now what?  The attempt to prevent misleading data from being collected had a very strange outcome... revealing that they really haven't considered what MPG measurement actually entails.

7-25-2007

Plug-In Prius.  No matter how many times I pointed out that augmented "full" hybrids would be serious competition with the "series" hybrid, they just didn't want to hear it.  In fact, some even freaked out and threatened to have me banned when I provided details.  Today, that officially changed.  A press release from Toyota clearly stated their design, complete with specifications and a video, of the plug-in Prius they are currently testing.  By installing a second battery-pack, tweaking operational software, and adding a plug, an affordable mass-production solution was created.  Electric-Only driving is available for a range of up to 13 km (8 miles) and speeds up to 100 km/h (62 MPH).  That's something I would most definitely benefit from.  But what I yearn for is the combined data, where the engine is assisting.  The MPG at 70 MPH would be astounding and the range of plug benefit would be extended to encompass my entire daily commute.  Sweet!

7-25-2007

MPG Survey.  He setup an online survey in a discussion thread, providing categories to capture real-world data in 5 MPG increments.  Sadly though, the highest level was only "30 MPG or greater".  I just had to respond to such a quote worthy opportunity.  So I did, with this...  Why was the bar set so low?  There are non-hybrids that could have fit into a "35 MPG to 39.9" category.  And obviously, there are some vehicles that greatly exceed that.  Such a low maximum does represent the current mindset rather well though.  And how come there wasn't any rules about what measurement could be posted?  To skew results upward, all you have to do is report summer data instead of an annual average.  That is true for reporting what the computer says verses measurement by filling the tank too.

7-24-2007

Vaporware.  Some still aren't acknowledging market need.  That desire to focus on reputation continues to lead some astray.  It's hard to determine if it is just a matter of being poorly informed or if they really are attempting to draw focus away from other designs.  Whatever the case, I couldn't resist responding to this today: "I will state categorically that the Volt concept and eFlex is not vaporware."  That statement could be considered a red herring, since the product itself isn't actually the point of concern.  It's PRICE and AVAILABILITY.  Even if the product works just fine, it will still suffer a painful death simply by being too expensive or too few delivered.  This isn't rocket science, it's standard business practice to sell at a competitive level and produce in large volumes.

7-24-2007

More New Graphs.  Yesterday's effort was to convert graphs on the spreadsheets for the 2004 Prius.  Today, it was for the 2001 Prius.  They came out great.  Having a uniform look to the entire collection is nice.  It was a good opportunity to increased resolution too.  I wonder how helpful they are to those researching hybrids.  Hmm?  The antagonists hate them, so there is obviously a benefit of some degree in support of hybrids.  Anywho, here's what I worked on today...  personal data 2   personal data 4   personal data 6   personal data 8

7-24-2007

Time Validation.  That's the polite way of putting it, just like his endorsement for BAS a year ago: "I can't see how it won't be successful.  It's a small premium for a nice performance/economy gain."  But reading the full context, you'd see that he was disregarding the facts, ignoring market need, and was very insulting.  No matter.  It's over.  Several active members on both the Prius and big GM forum sounded off about how extremely disappointing the Aura-Hybrid has turned out to be.  Camry-Hybrid delivers significantly cleaner emissions, much greater efficiency, and is notably faster.  That's what consumers have been yearning for.  Saving money by purchasing a "mild" hybrid instead is already revealing itself to be a blunder of a move in the wrong direction... a terrible way of building a positive reputation for an automaker struggling to turn around.  And as a result, those enthusiasts would blindly supported the design are also now having to deal with their previous statements.  That early data has been validated by time.  Go "full" hybrids!

7-23-2007

Fancy New Graphs.  The 7 years of data I've accumulated continue to grow in importance.  Real-World experiences documented in such detail are very informative.  So delivering the highest quality realistically possible for a wide audience is even more important.  That's why I just upgraded to the 2007 format of Excel for the spreadsheets.  The graphing tool within that version of the software is really slick.  I can add a three-dimensional aspect (curves & shadows) to the images while at the same time have the text rendered in a more pleasing manner (anti-aliasing).  I'm pretty happy about that.  Using the free viewer & plug-in from Microsoft will allow people without Excel to be able open the spreadsheets.  So, there's no reason to hold back.  After all, those new graphs are also available on webpages...  personal data 10   personal data 13   personal data 15   personal data 17

7-22-2007

Hybrid Types.  Identification of differences has recently changed rather profoundly.  Those with only one motor designs (IMA & BAS) still stand together.  But for those with two motors, the story is unfolding in an unexpected way.  Consumers usually shy away from engineering terms & concepts, so that part wasn't a surprise.  It's the speed that I wasn't expecting.  The enthusiasts have already made up their mind.  HSD has been crowned "best for the majority" type.  Everything from the small model Prius to Highlander works well with this particular design.  Ford's hybrid is expected to target the same range of vehicles.  Volt was promoted as compact since concept debut, leaving no real opportunity for that platform to even be speculated about for midsize.  That leaves Two-Mode.  And despite the effort to point out similarities with the other "full" hybrids, the increased complexity & price deeply reinforce the power & efficiency goals... branding it a "large vehicle only" type.  Will this truly help avoid confusion?  The vehicles actually offered will certainly make purchase decisions easy.  But what about the future, especially when it comes to oil dependency concerns and the well being of the automakers.

7-21-2007

$30,000 Price.  Concern was my reaction to reading it, and I wasn't alone.  Others felt that was a bit much for Volt as well.  By then (2010), the plug-in "full" hybrids will be competing for the same consumers.  They would have totally shaken the "built for the city" misconception by then too.  Just think about Hymotion's objective to be selling aftermarket battery augmentation kits for $5,000.  It will make sales of the "series" hybrid a genuine challenge.  Overcoming the engineering hurdles of today isn't the final step.  Enthusiasts either forget that or dismiss it... I haven't figured out which is the more common problem.  Whatever the case, it will still be 4 years before enough real-world data is available to allow for objective analysis anyway.  So don't waste too much time on that particular issue.  Much with Prius & Camry-Hybrid will happen between now and then.

7-21-2007

Reputation.  I understand how certain high-quantity message posters are in part just protecting their domain.  For years they ruled with the "most" title, which earned them a localized form of respect.  But anywhere else, it means pretty much nothing.  Their reputation exists only in that forum world.  So when someone from outside with a reputation that spans well beyond their reach, the response is a defensive one.  And when the topic of discussion is one that enthralls readers of all types, they get down right hostile.  Losing attention on that scale is quite a loss.  To make matters worse, time is their enemy but a friend to the trespasser.  That's great for me!  Successful leaders welcome feedback from diverse sources.  It's a compelling reason why I participate on that big GM forum.  Comments there are not held back in any way.  Some see absolutely no reason to even be polite.  Surrounding myself with fellow Prius owners only isn't all that productive, which makes the draw back to the dark side quite strong.  Funny part is, the more those troublemakers fight, the weaker they become... since I denote & study every bit of information they provide... which is what I base my reputation on, seeking out rather than defending.

7-21-2007

Alternative Guzzling.  Talking about effective greenwashing.  Some people honestly believe just switching to an alternative fuel (like ethanol, diesel, or hydrogen) will solve our problems entirely.  That doesn't make any sense.  Guzzling anything is bad (and expensive).  Efficiency technology will still be needed anyway.  We have to reduce consumption too.  But a war on 3 fronts is confusing.  Emissions (carbon & smog), fuel type, and how much fuel we actually use is often more than the typical person can comprehend all from a single new technology platform.  But that's what we need.  The "full" hybrid has already demonstrated emission & efficiency improvements and tests are now be conducted for the support of increased alternative fuel use.  Including all 3 is quite a challenge, especially when you consider price (vehicle & fuel) along with how robust the design must be.  But I state it again... that's what we need.  Alternative guzzling is unacceptable.

7-20-2007

Camry-Hybrid Price.  The hybrid market just became a whole lot more intense.  Today, we got an announcement from Toyota that the price of Camry-Hybrid will be $1,000 less for the next model year to $25,860.  That means the 2008, which will begin production in about a month or so, should see even stronger sales.  A second mega-success from Toyota is what will truly shake up the automotive industry.  Hitting the bull's eye twice is too far beyond just getting lucky to deny... especially with the production volume at mainstream levels.  The price drop itself will be achieved by not offering special features at the base level.  The wheel rims, steering-wheel, audio system will resemble the standard offering on non-hybrid model.  Why not?  That makes sense.  People will still have the option to upgrade, just like traditional offerings.  The lower price should make this hybrid more compelling for those looking for one configured differently from Prius... though it will still come with a Multi-Display!  But you know what I mean, Camry-Hybrid places less emphasis on efficiency allowing for impressive power instead.

7-20-2007

10-Year Life.  How come some enthusiasts read a "10-year life expectancy" battery-pack claim and accept it as gospel for Volt but dismiss the very same thing for Prius?  Obviously, that was a rhetorical question.  One is just a concept vehicle and the other is almost 10 years old.  Whether they intend to be or not, that fits the profile of being hypocritical perfectly.  It's not a big deal.  Their transparency is easy to see anyway.  Sometimes, I just need to vent.  Having to deal with non-objective behavior like that routinely is rather frustrating.  But now having pointed it out, I feel better already.

7-20-2007

Ultimate Bait.  This claim by the lead troublemaker, says it all: "The point is, most Prius owners are "Holier than thou" types, and frankly the average person is sick of their crap."  Because no matter how you attempt to respond, you'll end up falling into his trap.  Think about it.  Sighting any data whatsoever automatically places you into the category of better informed, not average.  And of course, what does "average" and "sick" and "crap" actually mean?  It's the classic vague approach combined with a meaningless label.  No matter.  His replies are often so insulting and filled with such inappropriate language that dropping down to his level would only reinforcement the perception of "Holier" anyway.  And with his posting rate of over 17 per day for the past 2 years, his not-like-everyone-else complex is pretty easy for others to notice.  So, no need for me to point it out.  I'm not taking that bait... though I'll admit that I didn't expect him to take it this far.  I know quite a few Prius owners that simply drive their hybrid, just like it was any other car, blending into both society & traffic.  With many, you don't even realize they own one unless you just happen to catch them in the parking lot.  The claim about sticking out and stirring trouble is just a sad attempt to downplay the mainstream acceptance.

 

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