Prius Personal Log  #350

September 30, 2007  -  October 7, 2007

Last Updated: Sun. 10/24/2010

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10-07-2007

He's At It Again!  There's one particular Detroit publication writer that does everything he can to undermine the success of hybrids.  It's not a misunderstanding or confusion like the other article I read today, because this guy does it routinely.  Those of us that follow his writing cringe just by the sight of his byline, well aware of the reputation he has for professional antagonism.  It's not like enthusiasts that cause trouble.  He's actually paid for it!  Anyway, today's article used Insight as the source of ill intent, sighting battery-pack problems with it to lead you to believe other designs suffer the same fate.  They don't.  They take preventative measures to ensure deep-discharging doesn't occur.  That particular model didn't.  But he was so vague, I'm sure many readers won't realize how obvious of an attempt that was to mislead.  Arrrgh!

10-07-2007

Starter Battery.  A general article about winter preparedness for vehicles was published today.  In it, there was a section about the problem with hybrids.  That intrigued me!  The writer clearly had no idea what he was writing about.  It was a strange mix up of "starter" battery and "hybrid" battery references, including talk of an ability I have never heard of.  Too bad he didn't mention the source of the battery drain during extended parking... the keyless system, which can be disabled just by pushing a button.  He never mentioned that the 12-volt is nothing but a source of electricity for computer & relay either.  But I bet he didn't know that.  He seemed to assume that small battery was what actually started the engine.  It's not.  He implied that a special technician was needed for a jump too.  That's not true either.  You just connect the wires exactly the way you would with a traditional vehicle.  Wait a few minutes for recharging to take place, then remove the wires and start.  It painted a very, very misleading.  I wasn't happy reading that.

10-07-2007

Ironic.  I've attempted to point out the irony in the situation several times now.  Certain individuals just don't get it.  I bet the typical lurker does though.  In fact, I would think they'd clearly see what's going on.  It got out of hand back when that first "superior" reference was made.  Taken out of the investor context, it became fuel for GM supporters to fight with Toyota supporters.  Focus of the true competition, non-hybrids, was lost.  Now at this point, that original objective has been totally abandoned.  Efforts to label HSD as "outdated" are easy to find.  The amusing part is those arguments are used to call the Prius owners smug.  See how ironic that is?  Claiming their "full" hybrid technology is better, rather than recognizing the goal to achieve mainstream production levels for competition with traditional vehicles, makes them smug.

10-06-2007

Tahoe-Hybrid Commercial.  I saw my first on television today.  Unfortunately, I only caught the very ending, so I have no idea what was said on video.  But in the world of writing, it's not at all what had been expected.  Throughout the time leading up to now, there was always heavy emphasis on how superior Two-Mode would be to the "full" hybrids that only had a single mode... due to the benefit it offered on the highway, from a purely engineering standpoint.  But in its implemented state, that anticipated gain is absent.  With so many factors at play, we'll probably never know why.  Towing capacity is reduced due to limitation of the cooling system.  No one expected that either.  Whatever the case, attention has been diverted to city efficiency instead.  Highway isn't talked about anymore.  It's as if none of that hype ever happened.  Interesting, eh?

10-04-2007

Being Constructive.  On a rare occasion, it happens.  Unfortunately, a positive outcome means the death of the thread.  No further discussion is the silent nod of acceptance.  That was the case today.  I was unexpectedly delighted.  The request was: "I would love to hear your explanation of how non-hybrids are going to be the Volt's direct competition."  And my response...  The question of whether or not a consumer wants to purchase a hybrid comes way before the choice of which one.  With so many non-hybrid models available, the odds are in their favor unless emissions & efficiency are a very high priority.  For the past decade, that reality was quite obvious.  But now that the hybrid market is about to expand, remembering to consider the big picture is clearly becoming a problem.  Put another way, new vehicle purchases this year in this country will be roughly 16,500,000 million non-hybrid and around 300,000 hybrid.  That's a 55:1 ratio, something which simply cannot be dismissed if the point of hybrids is for them to become the mainstream choice.

10-03-2007

Government Support.  The Japanese are taking the need for hybrid battery advancement more seriously.  They had a pledge of their own today, $215 million.  That's quite a bit more than the $20 million from the US.  I wonder how it will be spent.  Hmm?  Here, there's always the problem of patent ownership.  Who has the right to produce a product based on research paid for by the government with the intention of it being shared?  Production contracts become a legal nightmare.  The PNGV program exposed that problem.  Do those in Japan have potential for similar complications?  And what about Japanese vehicles that are built here?  Too bad engineering is so easily impaired by issues of politics & economics.

10-03-2007

September Sales.  They were outstanding!  Prius enjoyed a pleasing gain of 23.8 percent over the previous year's.  This September was 12,494.  That's just 6 sales short of the monthly minimum to achieve the 150,000 annual goal.  But others were way over that already, so it's not a big deal anyway.  The fact that the goal is proving to be realistic is though.  It helps to reinforce newer hybrids, like Camry-Hybrid... which saw an 8 percent gain.  Growth is always encouraging... since the wait for additional sippers (as opposed to muscles) is a long one.  The current stage we are in is development and ramping up production.  That means Prius & Camry-Hybrid are the emphasis here for the time being.

10-03-2007

The Rebuttal.  Devoting attention to personal credibility attacks, the biggest of the troublemakers missed the obvious.  I was more than happy to point it out saying this...  To recite what many others here have stated countless times already: Price will go down as production volume goes up.  So not pushing for a large quantity quickly simply does not make any sense.  ...along with a redundant reminder that I was far from alone and the importance of price.  Needless to say, there was no response.  My efforts to propel hybrids into the mainstream are clearly in support of what other members have voiced as a need.  Sales are what counts.  The nonsense about reputation are blinding certain individuals from seeing what's actually needed.

10-03-2007

They Still Don't Get It.  Yesterday was yet again another attack on my credibility rather than actually considering what I said.  They just dismiss my statement: For a hybrid to successful, it has to sell in quantities like the traditional vehicles.  Certain enthusiasts are so obsessed with the "leadership" title that they absolutely refuse to acknowledge the difference between engineering accomplishment and accounting accomplishment.  Why are some so pig headed?  Geez!  The reality is that non-hybrids are the competition, not other hybrids.  Automaker rivalry is preventing objectivity.  Consumers want that choice today, not several years from now.  Credit for innovation will be given based on actual merit earned.  In other words, purchase counts.  When I mention 100,000 annual sales (per vehicle worldwide), I get accused by the GM supporters of a "double standard" attempt... even though I hold Toyota to the very same criteria.  Now that the reputation of hybrids are established and most of the misconceptions dispelled, why wouldn't genuine competition with traditional vehicles make sense?

10-02-2007

2008 Sighting.  I spotted my first today.  It was that great new blue color, still on the delivery truck.  So... does that count?  It physically wasn't "on the road" yet.  Whatever the case, that officially puts the spotlight on year number 5 now for the HSD Prius.  We can close the chapter in history that marked the 2007.  The next should be interesting.  My hunch is the dual existence will begin with the 2009, introducing a smaller model while also still offering the current one... until the following year.  Then after that, the third (and largest) will arrive.  Seeing a line offered should be quite exciting.  In the meantime, enjoy this history in the making... back when only one Prius size was available.

10-01-2007

Excluding Highway MPG.  This time it was Abdullah Bazzi, manager or the Dodge hybrid vehicle program, saying: "I measure success by the end result - a successful launch of the Durango hybrid and Chrysler Aspen hybrid next year, each delivering around a 40 percent improvement in city mileage and 25 percent improvement in combined highway and city mileage."  Notice how he, just like the others associated with Two-Mode, doesn't mention highway MPG anymore.  A year ago, they were demeaning the competition by making claims of how their technology would offer an improvement.  Turns out, that didn't end up being the case.  So, they are just pretending that topic was never of any importance by ignoring it entirely.  Interesting, eh?

10-01-2007

Tax Credit Expired.  It's gone now.  The phase-out process is complete.  You don't get anything back from the federal government when purchasing a Toyota or Lexus hybrid anymore.  Both the sales & time limits have been exceeded.  Now what are the antagonists going to claim?  Their spin is annoying, but they rarely fail to present a view contrary to progress.  This time though, it's going to be tough.  The final phase wasn't that much money anyway.  Someday they'll accept change.  When is hard to tell.  In this situation, I'd expect silence to be an indication of that.

9-30-2007

85,000 Mile - Oil Change.  This time, I was on a driving vacation when the extended 7,500-mile change interval arrived.  But I knew that was going to happen.  I also knew that it's smarter to avoid interfering with a perfectly running system during a critical time.  So I did.  After all, I was quite curious what the oil would reveal with those additional miles anyway.  And of course, there's been anecdotal evidence that aging oil gets thinner when not contaminated or burned.  Since Prius is so easy on oil, could I actually proved what I've casually observed in the past?  Turns out, I can't... too many variables... though MPG from the trip was outstanding and the condition of the oil afterward was indeed thin and surprisingly translucent, despite the 7,884 miles on it.  Whatever the case, I was pleased with the decision to wait to do the change afterward instead.

9-30-2007

Northern Minnesota Trip, elevation.  That was exciting!  There's a 600-foot climb in that part of the state I visited.  It had been 7 years since my previous visit, when my Classic Prius was just 1 month old.  So this time was the first for my HSD Prius and a long overdue experience for a owner who lives in farm & lake country, which is quite flat.  I watched the battery-pack charge-level climb into the green and fill all 8 bars.  The spin-up of the engine by the smaller motor to consume the unneeded electricity was fascinating.  I didn't realize it would sound like that.  My only witness in the past to that was brief and while stopped.  This was quite different.  Shifting to "B" for engine-braking was too.  That Prius was happy.  MPG was great, despite the climb up initially.  I can't wait for the next opportunity to do that.

9-30-2007

Northern Minnesota Trip, teeny-tiny.  You don't realize just how small a car can be until you see a Smart up close.  With a trip taking you just 30 miles from the Canadian border (a country where they are available for purchase), chances are better that you'll actually get to.  And lucky for me, I did.  The interior may be tall, but the entire vehicle is way shorter than you ever expect.  I makes Prius look absolutely enormous in comparison.  Talking about a weight reduction.  There's nothing to it... basically you only get two seats.  The rest of the car is missing!  No wonder efficiency is so good with just a traditional engine.

9-30-2007

Northern Minnesota Trip, sightings.  For some odd reason, there are way more Prius up there than what we have around here (South-Central Minnesota).  I was absolutely shocked by seeing them every couple hundred feet in the popular locations.  There was no way of knowing how many were actually local to the area, but it was quite a thrill nonetheless.  Sightings were plentiful.  Out on the open highway there were quite a few too.  In fact, the Camry-Hybrid count was rather impressive as well.  I suppose with that area having a population that's more spread out, which means more driving, having a hybrid makes even more sense.

9-30-2007

Northern Minnesota Trip, emissions.  That topic simply isn't getting proper attention.  From the Two-Mode hybrids being introduced in November to the oldest still on the road, carbon is pretty much the only mention ever.  I did quite a few searches during my late night vacation surfing, only one recent hit addressed the smog type.  And it was from Europe.  Here, absolutely nothing.  To make matters worse, that just happened to be when President Bush addressed the United Nations on the topic of global warming.  His new proposal was even more disappointing that his original "self regulate" nonsense when he refused to adopt the Kyoto Protocol.  This time, he stated a goal for 2050.  That's absurd.  We need results far sooner.  Needless to say, emphasis on the SULEV and PZEV ratings is obviously still required.  The purpose of hybrids is assumed to be efficiency alone... which would be an incomplete solution.  Too bad so few realize that there's more.

9-30-2007

Northern Minnesota Trip, paranoid.  Their postings have become quite amusing.  Taken as entertainment, you could really enjoy yourself.  In fact, I've been told they don't take what they say seriously.  That little smiley-face at the end of a post is supposed to render all of what they say into sarcasm.  I don't buy that for a moment... since rather than a spirit of cooperation, they want the competition to suffer.  They somehow figure only a single automaker can be successful.  That means progress from any other is something to fear.  They see conspiracy in the most benign comments.  You sometimes just have to shake your head in disbelief.  Yet, there it is.  I found plenty of examples while on my trip.  I don't mean to mock.  But they make it so darn easy.  So I refrain in the forum, but note it here... because, you just never know what their paranoid mindset will come up with next.

 

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