Prius Personal Log  #340

July 27, 2007  -  August 1, 2007

Last Updated: Sat. 8/04/2007

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8-01-2007

Closing Thoughts, part 4.  This one attempts to force the acceptance of goals, wanting to break the fixation on product.  But sadly, brand loyalty often inhibits the consideration of need.  "Engines burn so clean these days that the distinctions between the different classifications really is splitting hairs."  Consider how many people are already suffering from breathing related health problems.  Think of how our children will feel when they discover we had the technology available but claimed it wasn't worth the bother to use it.  Then, multiple your hairs by the 60 million new vehicles produced & sold worldwide each year.

8-01-2007

Closing Thoughts, part 3.  Even with what seems a sensible question, you have to wonder just how many years of repeated responses are necessary before they finally acknowledge.  How many times must they be told the same thing?  Anywho... "Why would smog-related emissions go down?"  The system is intentionally designed for that.  It's not secondary benefit like the reduction of carbon emissions.  With the Toyota system in particular, gas is actually consumed for the sake of cleansing emissions.  NOx can only be converted with heat.  So the engine must be kept warm by running it at seeming unnecessary times and unexpected RPMs.  Fortunately, the "full" hybrid system uses that energy more effectively than the impression gives.  The behavior is definitely not intuitive.  And of course, placing reliance on the electric motor(s) to offset use of the engine when it is most dirty obviously helps too.

8-01-2007

Closing Thoughts, part 2.  Selective implementation doesn't give you much confidence about the overall commitment to the technology, making you question its intent as a genuine solution.  "Why apply fuel saving technology to vehicles that already use relatively little fuel when you could apply it to larger vehicles that use more and will benefit more from the technology?"  Like many, you are under the misconception that the sole purpose of hybrids is improve efficiency.  That's unfortunate.  But I do understand how that came about.  In reality, smog-related emissions are dramatically reduced from most hybrids too.  That goal is overlooked, dismissed, and forgotten all the time.  As to what vehicles should get the technology, some of us are sick & tired of automakers not offering us the choice.  Telling consumers that 30 MPG is good enough is just plain wrong... especially since we already know they can do much better.  Offer the technology across the board, in all vehicles rather than only the worse offenders.

8-01-2007

Closing Thoughts, part 1.  Frustrated by the complete lack of progress, I arbitrarily selected a discussion thread to serve as a reminder of the nonsense later.  Here's a few quotes and responses... "Why nail the small cars that don't do as much damage with this tech when you can go after the real polluters?"  After 7 years of hybrid discussions, it's hard to believe anything new could surface.  But that statement truly leaves me beside myself.  Up until now, hybrid technology was considered an option offered to reduce emissions & consumption.  Am I to believe that "go after" means it is intended to be used as a penalty?

8-01-2007

House Efficiency Standards.  The bill from the Senate requires automakers to deliver a fleet average of 35 MPG by the year 2020 passed.  A similar bill in the House didn't even make it far enough to be voted on.  That disappointing news hit the media today and no alternatives were provided.  We have no idea what will later be proposed instead or even how long we'll have to wait for it.  In other words, the cry-baby automakers that still don't have anything to compete with Prius or Camry-Hybrid bought themselves some more time.  Do you think they'll make the best of that?  I seriously doubt it.  Far too much emphasis on pushing large gas-guzzlers still continues.  And as hybrids, they'll have more an excuse to keep driving them on their daily commute.  What the heck do you need a vehicle capable driving off-road and of towing over 8,000 pounds on paved highways to work and the grocery store and the coffee shop.  That's gross overkill.  Yet, they won't admit it.  And they continue to promote 30 MPG as something to be proud of.  My average for the last 3 months has been over 51 MPG.  Delivering a 35 MPG average 12 years from now shouldn't be that big of a deal.  Isn't oil dependence suppose to be a national security issue?

7-31-2007

Do The Math.  The "full" hybrids have a rather significant cost advantage over hybrids that depend on batteries more, like the "series" type.  They have a massive head start too, 10 years real-world driving exposure already.  The Prius count in the United States alone will be over 1,000,000 by the time Volt finally becomes available.  Cost will obviously be less as well.  Why can't enthusiasts do that same math?  You'd think they be in support of the "full" hybrids to help end the obsessions with traditional vehicles in the meantime.  But no.  They only what the "series" hybrid to be successful.  Coexistence is unacceptable for them.  Rather than sharing the market and simply being the higher-end option, they want to rule exclusively.  When will they learn that change doesn't work that way?

7-31-2007

Emission Reminder.  Sometimes, you just need to repost the same information.  You know, poke the bear...  Tier-2 Bin-5 is no where near as clean as PZEV.  In other words, MPG alone is not the true measure of green.  Higher efficiency only equates to a reduction of carbon emissions.  Smog emissions actually increase (yes, worse) when switching to diesel without extremely expensive cleansing equipment, which the automakers have chosen not to include.  So always check the emission rating too.

7-31-2007

$78.21 Per Barrel.  That's what I witnessed today.  It's the highest documented price for oil I've ever heard of, a definite record.  The warning should be obvious.  But I doubt those in power will take it seriously.  Fortunately, consumers are.  The resulting price for gas is definitely having an influence.  I see that in traffic.  The guzzlers are mysteriously missing.  Roads are dominated by more efficient vehicles.  They are the majority now.  The SUV is a dinosaur in danger of extinction.  Believe it or not, their use is changing to the purpose they were designed for.  It's about dang time!

7-31-2007

New "Assist" Hybrid.  It looks like Porsche is going to deliver that much desired enhancement the Honda hybrid owners always dreamed of.  This new design will offer an embedded clutch, where the system will have the ability to separate wheel motion from the engine.  In other words, the driveshaft can disconnect.  Unfortunately, all the other aspects of integration remain.  Not having the ability for RPM to differ between motor & engine is a definite limitation.  Not having a second motor and only passively recharging the battery-pack are also limiting.  It's still just an "assist" type, yet now more expensive with little in return.  But it's a Porsche, so that's ok.  Power is increased and there is an efficiency improvement.  People within that particular market will be pleased.

7-30-2007

Prius Price Drop.  Today's announcement that the base price for the 2008 will be $1,225 lower than the 2007 delivered an intense blow to the GM enthusiasts.  That's significantly lower than the $100 difference they were so smug about.  Seeing prices start at $20,950 is great news.  The reach of Prius broadens.  Market expansion is the key.  We'll see numbers continue to grow.  Yeah!  Not including features like heated mirrors and cruise-control as standard is how price could so easily be lowered.  I'm very happy.  It's a move I wasn't expecting from Toyota.  But since most antagonists failed to mention how well loaded the base model was anyway, this will definitely impair their efforts to mislead.  Good.  I'm tired of that nonsense and thrilled to see more Prius on the roads.  Next year is going to be a very good one for the "full" hybrids.

7-30-2007

Highway Commute.  Last year, I took the back way to work a lot.  Far less traffic along a very scenic route and slightly higher MPG was a good tradeoff for the extra 10 minutes of driving and being slightly further.  But with my schedule change this year, traffic on the highway is much lighter.  The later shift makes a huge difference.  And apparently, the Prius is broken in more... because MPG is remarkably high despite the 70 MPH cruise.  Getting better with age doesn't apply to just wine.  Vehicles like it too.  Don't you wish yours had a Multi-Display?  Routinely seeing a 54 MPG average is very rewarding for me.

7-30-2007

EV Max.  I wonder how much this topic is going to come up.  Hmm?  Almost none of the GM enthusiasts have a clue how Two-Mode operates yet.  So talk of electricity utilization is basically pointless still.  They get so fixated on EV range talk for Volt that they don't bother to research how a battery-pack of ample capacity could provide a benefit for "full" hybrid at highway speeds with the engine varying between low RPM and fuel-cut.  And discussions about efficiency for suburb driving remain problematic for the current Prius, with a EV max of 42 MPH.  The plug-in model altered to allow the -10,000 spinning of MG1 for the EV increase to 62 MPH would totally blow their minds.  Heck, they refuse to even acknowledge the fact that heater use and cold temperature capacity come into play.  We've got quite a bit of education to spread still.  The opportunities for misconceptions & misleading will be abundant.

7-29-2007

Insight.  I rarely ever blurt out my identity.  But today, I made an exception.  I parked right next to a very old manual transmission Insight today.  The owner saw that, leaving the store just as I was heading in.  She initiated contact, immediately asking about my Prius.  It seemed quite apparent that she had been driving her hybrid for years.  So, I thought she might recognize my website.  Nope.  But it didn't matter.  She and her husband were very accustom to the parking lot conversations.  They welcomed the opportunity for a brief chat with a fellow enthusiast.  That was exciting.  Most owners don't fit their profile.  It's getting harder and harder to find someone that is a veteran of the earliest days... with so many newbies now.  It's ok though.  The more that merrier.

7-29-2007

Canoe On Top.  Wow!  That was quite a sight.  The canoe on top of her Prius dwarfed my big kayak.  It was 4 feet longer and almost twice as wide.  That's one heck of a load for disbelievers of just how practical Prius really is.  Too bad I didn't have a camera handy.  It brought back good memories of the Boundary Waters.  Personally carrying an 18-foot canoe like that was an interesting experience.  The large shoulder-harness made the job easier than with little pads on the 16-foot canoes, but after a 1/2 mile of hiking through hilly trails in the woods with mosquitoes buzzing you basically wanted croak.  That's quite a load.  Thank goodness the Prius can handle it better. 

7-28-2007

54.6 MPG at 369 Miles.  The Prius has been unusually happy this week.  Despite being required to run the A/C (both high temperatures and high humidity), it hasn't really had any negative effect on efficiency.  In fact, what I see on the Multi-Display now is just a touch higher than what I'm used to.  Summer is great!  Better enjoy it now.  The warm season often ends abruptly... as clearly indicated by the MPG drop below 50.  Eeek!

7-28-2007

Single-Mode Highway.  The misconception persists.  Some GM supporters to continue to insinuate that there is no electric activity from a hybrid like Prius while on the highway.  To those particular individuals, that's why Two-Mode was created.  For some reason, they simply cannot accept the fact that motor contribution does indeed occur at faster speeds.  Why?  Getting a second mode is really just an upgrade, not an entirely new concept.  Geez!  Think of it as the addition of overdrive.  Under the right circumstances with the right configuration, it should be able to squeeze out greater efficiency.  That's it.  The design is still a "full" hybrid.  Overall operation is very similar to what Toyota & Ford already offer.

7-27-2007

$77.02 Per Barrel.  The price of oil is just a little bit lower than the all time record high.  The world as we once knew it is quickly fading away.  Change is absolutely inevitable.  Accepting this new reality is required.  There's no way to avoid it anymore.  Finally!  The denial was making me crazy.  How could anyone not see this coming?  Preparing for it should have been a priority a long time ago.

7-27-2007

New Territory, part 5.  I didn't even have to summarize the situation.  Someone did that for me: "The Volt is great, but it's just in the early design stages.  GM has YET to sell a single hybrid vehicle as advanced as the one Toyota began selling in 1997.  That's a ten year head start that Toyota has."  He's right.  By the time the first "full" hybrid is sold to a consumer, Prius will be celebrating its tenth birthday.  How long do you think it will take for GM to actually catch up?  I bet quite a few years will go by before there is a vehicle that is genuinely competitive in both function & price.  Just think what the upcoming new Prius models (3 of them) will offer... especially if they also offer the option of a plug and larger capacity battery-pack.  That's new territory GM and supporters are only just now beginning to contemplate.

7-27-2007

New Territory, part 4.  Here's my attempt to explain how the "full" hybrid actually works...  There isn't really "electric range" for the typical driver, since they usually exceed the electric-only speed/draw threshold.  It ends up being a combination of motor & engine instead.  That means the increased capacity will bring you much further than just 8 miles.  In other words, my daily highway commute at 50 MPG would be bumped up to 60 MPG to work.  Then on the way back it would be lower, like 51 MPG, since the "full" hybrid system would still be able to take advantage of the extra capacity available via the self-recharging that takes place while you drive.  Overall, there will still be a gain.  It won't be as substantial as having an even bigger battery, but it will be more affordable.

 

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