Prius Personal Log  #364

January 31, 2008  -  February 10, 2008

Last Updated: Mon. 3/10/2008

    page #363         page #365         BOOK         INDEX         go to bottom 

 

2-10-2008

Smart?  Two seats and a modest amount of cargo space for an inexpensive price is attracting the popular media.  I wonder how consumers will actually react.  The entire annual supply of Smart vehicles is already spoken for, ordered long ago.  BMW doesn't plan to increase production anytime soon either.  Will people be willing to wait well over a year for delivery?  When demand overwhelms the quantity desired to such a degree, it usually isn't a good thing.  Without the ability to purchase on a timely basis, the attitude may be to dismiss as hype.  That's how some become disenchanted.  It makes you wonder why GM is advertising Volt so much... long before even the first is available.  Is that smart?

2-10-2008

Green Theme.  It's amazing how much times are changing.  Those television commercials portraying totally impractical uses for a SUV are fading into nostalgic memories of the past, being replacement by those for hybrids.  Smaller is drawing attention.  Green is the theme.  Waste doesn't make sense anymore.  What was once deemed "good for the economy" is quickly becoming "bad for the environment".  I'm so happy!

2-10-2008

Heater Data, this morning.  It was just plain too cold to go out.  With the air temperature at -14 F and the windchill at -39 F, the decision to wait until lunch time came easy... though it had only warmed up to -6 F by then.  It was a 10 minute drive through the suburbs.  At a much slower speed than last night and with a few stoplights, it took the entire drive before the coolant reached 127 F degrees.  That delivers warm air, not as comfortable as when it's at 155 F though and definitely not "hot" like you see at 177 F.  Spring will come eventually, right?

2-10-2008

Heater Data, last night.  That was interesting.  After spending an hour and a half at the coffee shop, I jumped in the Prius.  Being very windy with the temperature at zero, the hop onto the adjacent highway would be one to ponder.  Rapid acceleration like that is by far the fastest way to generate heat, despite air slamming the front of the vehicle.  And sure enough, that's exactly what happened.  Comfortable heat is available when the coolant reaches 155 F degrees.  That point was reached pretty darn close to the first bar appearing on the Consumption Screen.

2-09-2008

Over Emphasizing.  A well known antagonist jumped on the opportunity to cause trouble.  A report just published stating the price of gas could drop about 50 cents per gallon this Spring was simply too tempting to resist.  But rather than being objective, he attacked with this: "Some of you kill me with your forecasts of $5 and $10 per gallon gas.  You need to go back to school and learn about supply and demand."  There's always an insult too, hence the reputation.  But the fact that he attempts to portray an attitude that all Prius owners feel that way is the problem.  Most are prepared to deal with $4, which is quite realistic over the lifetime of the vehicle.  That's it.  We stay focus on true need.  This is how I replied...  Pretending that $2.65 is cheap won't change the reality that our country has a emission & consumption problem.  In fact, many of us here just see that as denial.

2-09-2008

Ugly Body.  A new member started a new thread on the big Prius forum a few days ago.  It was highly suspicious.  Seeing a first post that obviously negative is a warning sign.  So my response was quite to the point.  His argument: "If Toyota would have used a regular body styling like the Camry they could sell more..." made no sense anyway.  Toyota did.  Whatever the motive, he did apologize later... having no idea how much of a stir claiming Prius had an ugly body that would cause.  My quiff with the situation is that he never acknowledged the fact of Prius is a hatchback.  So it appears as though he simply doesn't like them.  That's typical.  It's just like an automotive publication that doesn't like any type of family car.  So of course they are going to give a negative review of Prius.  After all, controversy sells.  But what was he thinking in the first place?  How could an adjective like "ugly" not be taken as an insult?

2-08-2008

Two-Mode Delivery.  A truck carrying 3 of them was spotted in Michigan.  That supposedly was the first demo-models being delivered to dealers.  In other words, none are for sale yet.  I wonder why.  Hmm?  It certainly puts a damper on whatever excitement the SuperBowl commercial and game-winner gift may have generated.  I doubt we'll ever find out if there were some last-minute updates delaying the schedule or it was a supplier issue.  Whatever the case, the wait for real-world data is obviously going to require quite a bit of patience still.

2-08-2008

$91.77 Per Barrel.  An average of $90 is becoming the norm now.  There is no reason to expect that to drop.  Demand doesn't have a way of dropping.  Population growth here is basically cancelling out the benefit hybrids are having so far.  And of course, the less developed countries are growing at a much faster rater.  The oil companies are definitely enjoying these profitable times.

2-07-2008

"Full" Term.  I was curious as heck how far that "parallel" nonsense would go.  Thankfully, it is died out quickly.  Having so well established the FULL terminology already, identification of hybrids like Prius using it has gone unchallenged.  I love it!  The Volt enthusiast attempts to undermine by lumping all prior hybrids into a single category failed.  There is simply too much history noting how the FULL and ASSIST types are not the same.  Accepting the SERIES term is next.  Trying to call them "range-extended" electric vehicles is rather obvious marketing spin.  Just call it what it is!

2-07-2008

Upgrade Thoughts.  There's strong potential that next year I could be upgrading to a new Prius.  Thoughts of the next generation design are very exciting.  Just think of how rare of a position that puts me in.  Very few have had the opportunity to live history the way I have.  Sharing those experiences is quite fulfilling.  I'm more than happy to take photos and document what happens.  Never did I imagine being in such a situation.  Of course, just think of the patience needed.  I can't imagine what I'll feel like hearing details of the upcoming improvements... then waiting.  Once again, I'll have to endure delivery anxiety.  Oh no!

2-06-2008

Interesting Development.  Yesterday, I read something disturbing.  Sure enough, my suspicion was confirmed today.  It was too compelling to resist.  The writer had suggested that the reason a back-up camera was now available for Prius was because it needed to compensate for a visibility shortcoming.  This was my response to it showing up on the big Prius forum...  I see the latest undermining effort is spreading.  The idea came from a recently published article.  It makes me wonder why it took the antagonists so darn long to think of it.  Now we see the thing here emerging as a question from a first-time poster.  An innocent victim following up on a rumor?  Perhaps.  But then again, Prius is hatchback.  So of course visibility will be different.  You can't cheat like you can with a sedan, relying entirely on the rear-view mirror.  Using the side mirrors is required from time to time.

2-06-2008

Strangely Quiet.  News of Two-Mode and E-Flex is rapidly falling off.  Of course, that shouldn't be any surprise.  Without an actual product seen on the road, fading away with after the hype of the Auto Show kickoff makes sense.  Really, what were they expecting?  Heck, if I chime in it will just be misconstrued as being smug.  So, they get nothing.  Silence is awful.  Not getting any attention is like a death sentence.  What in the world does that mean they will do?  Think about it.  What happened Insight and Accord-Hybrid?  Focus elsewhere caused them to slip away.  Consider what the market truly wants.  As for what I find strange, it's how quickly the quiet came.

2-06-2008

3 Classics.  Wow!  That was truly an amazing coincidence.  Within just a single city block, there were 3 Classic model Prius all driving by.  I passed each with a silly smile on my face.  Seeing such a sight is extremely rare.  And as time goes on, that will become less and less likely.  Ahh!  Of course, at some point they really truly can be considered classic.  Years pass by quickly.  Excitement of new models escalates the status of the oldest.  Cool!

2-03-2008

$88.96 Per Barrel.  That "recession" term is becoming more and more of a concern.  The dollar is weakening.  Economy fears are becoming a main election issue.  And the price of oil has settled to an average around $90.  That puts the price of a gallon of gas here at $2.99 and diesel at $3.29.  Empty promises will now actually have to be fulfilled.  More of the usual isn't on anyone's agenda except the President.  His plan is to avoid making the situation any worse.  Change is on the horizon.... patience in the meantime.

2-03-2008

Denali XT Concept.  GM unveiled a new hybrid concept today.  It's a bulky bodied pickup truck with a small bed, featuring Two-Mode.  I'm not sure what to make of a unique looking vehicle, especially having 23-inch tires and a 4.9 liter engine.  It certainly doesn't look like something you'd ever use for work.  Isn't that the purpose of a pickup?  For such a large build, it's rather odd that towing capacity is only Class-II rated (3,500 pounds).  Interestingly, it is capable of using E85.  Of course, neither price nor emission-rating was mentioned.

2-03-2008

Non-Constructive Comparisons.  Today I had to endure number-crunching of a very non-constructive nature.  They simply can't wait for real-world data.  The "series" hybrid enthusiasts just arbitrarily come up with estimates and insist that 30 MPG should be the baseline measure.  It's quite frustrating... though, I'm rather intrigued to find out if they can keep up such behavior for the entire duration until real-world data is actually available.   Odds are some prototype numbers will just be accepted as an expectation, even though we know how unrealistic trial numbers can be.  Think about it.  A base priced 2008 Prius, plus tax, plus 150,000 miles of gas at $3.25 per gallon getting 48 MPG is still less than what Volt alone will cost, without tax or electricity.  And by 2011, Prius should be more efficient and gas likely more expensive.  There will be a plug-in available at some point too.  Patience.

2-03-2008

Diesel Absence.  The invasion never happened.  Poor emissions, even with "clean" diesel, have prevented any type of progression forward.  Just like the hybrid supporters had been saying for years, the emission equipment required to reduce the levels of NOx (source of smog) and PM (particulate matter) was simply too expensive for diesel to be competitive with gas hybrids.  Of course, diesel efficiency (including the carbon reduction benefit) wasn't enough anyway.  And now with so much attention being focused on hybrid plug-in options, even that is losing appeal.  The MPG boost coming from greater electricity use easily exceeds the best case examples for diesel alone.  Non-Hybrid choices won't be considered real competition years from now with the push of battery research & development continuing.  I like that.

2-03-2008

Size Obsession.  Fortunately, it's dying quickly.  Yesterday GM announced the Sierra pickup featuring Two-Mode, again.  There was an immediate backlash.  Truck people were defending the need... as if it were a matter of existence.  In reality, the actual issue was size.  Why must pickups be so massive?  Why the heck do you need a 6.0 liter 8-cylinder engine to pull just a boat?  What happened to buying only the capacity you actually need?  Fortunately, those questions are getting hard to evade.  More realistic sized pickups will inevitably gain attention.  But for now, the giants are still being emphasized.

2-02-2008

Making Assumptions.  It's like self-inflicted undermining.  The hype around Volt is causing people to assume more than ever that relying on electricity as long as possible is the "best" design.  Using an expensive plug-in system with a large battery-pack, that makes sense.  But with a battery-pack of limited capacity or a system without a plug, that doesn't.  A combustion engine in its stride (an efficient RPM) will allow an accelerating full-hybrid to save electricity for more efficient use later, like stealth driving.  Unfortunately, when a Prius owner attempts to explain the difference and how their system (which is much less expensive) must be selective for electricity use, it sounds like a defensive response.  There's no real way of providing clarification for their incorrect assumption.  The mindset on never using any gas ever is preventing constructive feedback.  They simply don't what to acknowledge how using a small amount of gas could be better... allowing for a much wider market penetration of hybrids.  What's wrong with an affordable PZEV emission vehicle providing a 50 MPG average?

2-01-2008

Sales Statistics.  January was great!  Prius sales were up from that month last year, which in itself was impressive.  The number came to 11,379 sold in the United States.  Camry-Hybrid did really well too, with 3,750 sold.  I'm certainly pleased for a slower month (Winter is a tough time for the automotive industry) to do that.  Just imagine what happens later when gas prices do the Summer climb!  Of course, seeing more and more on the road in itself is a major contributor to continued strong sales.  We have a lot to look forward to now.  Momentum for hybrids is building!

2-01-2008

Two-Mode Fading.  Still nothing.  But now their point-of-view is becoming crystal clear.  That big GM forum was founded during the rise of SUVs, back when they were claimed as safer and portrayed as "good for the economy".  Remember, back when Hummer became a consumer choice rather than military equipment and gas was less than a dollar per gallon?  Times are changing.  The world economy and sense of responsibility is different.  It threatens the very core of their existence.  Prius rose in stature during that same period.  Now it is hailed as the prime example of success new thinking.  That puts a monster-sized hybrid in an awkward position.  It needs real-world endorsement to thrive.  But so far, consumers don't have the option to buy one.  Excitement is fading.  Many niche products have failed to gain high-volume, profitable acceptance... including hybrids.  Remember what happened to Insight?

2-01-2008

349,531 Miles.  Jesse's record-breaking Prius adventure came to a tragic end this week.  Thankfully, he wasn't hurt... not a scratch, in fact.  The airbags and seatbelt worked their magic to protect occupants.  But the Prius itself was destroyed.  A car failing to yield for a red light struck him head on.  He was a victim of someone else's impatience.  That's really unfortunate.  Oh well.  His next adventure will now have to begin.  Here's photos of the damage... owner:  Jesse 4

1-31-2008

HOV Lane.  Fortunately, there was never an HOV benefit here for hybrids.  Wanting them to be abundant, like I do, that wouldn't make sense.  But some states offered that to help stimulate initial sales.  Did they realize monster-size hybrids would later emerge?  Well, the fact that legislators in Ohio are now trying to disallow that for them, my impression is no they didn't.  In other words, the Tahoe-Hybrid won't be able to drive in the HOV lane with only a single person inside.  Yeah!  That's not a vehicle which should be used for daily commuting anyway.

 

back to home page       go to top