Prius Personal Log  #37

September 2, 2002  -  September 12, 2002

Last Updated: Sat. 11/09/2002

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9-12-2002

I'm still amazed.  People just don't notice.  I drove slowly (savoring every moment of it) through the grocery store parking lot in total silence today.  Not a single person gave the Prius more than just a quick glance.  Stealth is obviously an appropriate term.  At what point will most discover the amazing technology under that hood?

9-12-2002

War.  It's getting a bit absurd.  The Bush administration hasn't done anything help reduce our dependence on foreign oil, yet we're planning to fight one of the countries that provides it.  Isn't that like biting the hand that feeds you?

9-11-2002 Prius:  Driving a Better Future

In the past, some people wondered why I do so much to promote Prius.  Today, it's a bit more obvious.  Events from exactly 1 year ago have redefined what many people find important.  I believe we are "driving a better future" buy purchasing a Prius, hence the new slogan.  Use it to help spread the word.  Prius's ability to reduce emissions & consumption will really be appreciated by our children.

9-10-2002

Remember when... vehicles use to run their engines when they weren't even needed?  They'd just sit their wasting gas while you waited for a light to turn green.  Isn't that silly?

9-10-2002

Prius Rocks!  That's the title of the latest contribution.  This new owner webpage is thanks to Allen M.  It shows his Aqua Prius in Arizona.  Cool!  Or more appropriately, Hot!  You'll find it here:  owner:  Allen M

9-10-2002

Squished Squirrel.  It was tempting!  I was driving in stealth at 30 MPH.  Only about 25 feet in front of the Prius, a squirrel darted out running at full-speed.  Instead of letting fate decide whether or not he could navigate between the tires safely, I made the split-second decision to slam on the brakes.  Living in Minnesota, I get several months of practice every year attempting to achieve maximum braking without triggering the anti-locks (lots of snow & ice driving).  And in a Prius, you also get the advantage using the regenerator to slow down if you can avoid needing anti-lock.  My skill was less-than-perfect though.  I ended up skidding about 1 foot.  Bummer.  That's actually pretty impressive though.  But I'd prefer not to wear my great tires down prematurely.

9-09-2002

2 years ago.  I signed the papers for my Prius.  Whoa!  It's true!  Time really does fly when you're having fun.

9-08-2002

44.x LMPG the whole year.  I started Year #2 on 9/08/01 at 19,665 miles with a 44.1 LMPG.  It climbed to 44.6 LMPG before Minnesota Winter set in.  Then it dropped to 44.1 LMPG from dealing with the cold and traffic differences.  All through the Spring & Summer, I watched it rise back up again.  Today, a year later and without LRR tires anymore, my Prius is at 38,486 miles with a 44.9 LMPG.  That's pretty nice, definitely in the realm of DOUBLE what other family-sized would get under the same conditions.  Plus, the Prius was quite a bit cleaner.  Sweet!  Year #3 begins...

9-07-2002

Recharging while Climbing.  I had a Prius moment today, something only other owners can truly understand.  The battery-pack was drained down to half from having driven so much stealth.  There was a very long hill to climb.  I pressed the accelerator-pedal.  My Prius zipped up the hill.  The engine provided thrust to make the small motor generate enough electricity to both power the big motor for propulsion help and to recharge the battery-pack.  When the hill climb was complete, the SOC (State Of Charge) had also climbed.  It was now at the 3/4 level.  That's a behavior most people wouldn't expect.  I do.  In fact, I really look forward to seeing that.  Isn't the technology fascinating?

9-07-2002

He was revving his engine.  Was he trying to get my attention?  We both had time before the light would turn green.  So I lowered my window and yelled over, "Did you know I'm in a hybrid?"  No reply.  I followed by saying, "I'm running on just electricity right now, so there's nothing for me to rev!"  The passenger quickly figured it out and asked, "What are you getting for gas mileage?"  He understood.  Cool!  My response of "51 MPG" got his attention, but the light changed.  It was time to part.  Bummer.  That was an exciting encounter. 

9-07-2002

Reflections.  We were in the shade driving by an abandoned store (in stealth, of course).  Suddenly I entered a patch of sunlight.  It illuminated the car.  We both saw a beautiful brilliant green Prius in the window.  I screamed with excitement!  She shook her head with disbelief stating it was only my reflection.  She didn't see what I saw, it was the dawn of a wonderful future...  Back on 9/9/99, I spent the entire day in the Y2K lab at work pretending it was 9/9/00.  I was a computer programmer that had already invested an entire year identifying & fixing problems with the date rollover to the new millennium.  That was the final full-scale testing effort for me.  Everything was running as if it was exactly 1 year in the future.  The software worked great, but I was disappointed.  Yes, we had successfully prevented what would have certainly been a disaster, but I completely missed 9/9/99.  Every datestamp on every job and every printout said 9/9/00.  That's all I saw the whole day.  Little did I know what the significance of September 9, 2000 would be.  It was the day I signed the papers for my Prius.  Whoa!  Then came 9/11/00.  It was my first commute with my Prius, in other words: the "Maiden Voyage".  It was an overwhelming emotional experience.  Little did I know 9/11/01 would be even more extreme emotionally.  Now 9/11/02 is quickly approaching.  Reflections of the past keep appearing.  But when the day comes, I'm not going to share any of thoughts from then.  Instead, I'm going to celebrate the future we are building.  One that Prius is helping to create.  A lot of people asked me back in 1999 if I thought the world would end when 2000 came.  My response was "I hope so!"  That shocked them.  My second statement didn't though.  I said, "I hope the world as we know it ends, so we can begin living in a new & better one."  It turns out, that was correct.

9-07-2002

Another Owner Webpage!  There's another now.  This one puts a creative twist on an already creative photo of a Silver Prius.  Check it out.  I'm really curious which each person will choose as a favorite.  (You'll understand what I mean when you see the new page.)  Thank you Bill M. for sharing with us.  Here's a link... owner:  Bill M

9-07-2002

88, a magic number?  88 F degrees seemed to be the ideal operating temperature for my Prius throughout the Summer.  (I was dressed comfortably and didn't need the air-conditioning, of course.)  MPG was fantastic that warm, both going slow & fast.  I wonder if 88 will reveal itself as significant with some other aspect of driving a high-technology vehicle.  Hmm?  88 was the speed required to activate the flux-capacitor to enable time-travel...  Seriously though, it's 44 doubled.  44 MPG was my lifetime average for the entire year...

9-07-2002

51.5 MPG at 298 Miles.  That's what showed on the Multi-Display today.  It's one of the last hot days of the year.  I bet I won't see another long-distance statistic that high until 2003.  Oh well, cold weather happens.  I'll have to settle for the 40's for awhile.

9-06-2002

Subtle Prius Advertisement.  I got a fold-up advertisement in the mail today from the Toyota Parts Center.  I thought it was the typical quarterly pamphlet pointing out which components are on sale.  It turns out there was more there than I had expected.  The first fold revealed a close-up of a rather familiar bumper.  Sure enough, when I unfolded it completely, there was a large photo of a Prius.  A new black one, no less.  That was pretty cool!  I wonder if that subtle approach will catch the attention of lots of other people.  Hmmm?  If current Toyota owners keep seeing & hearing about Prius, the decision about what to buy as a replacement vehicle will hopefully be a no-brainer.

9-05-2002

Th!nk.  That's the name of the electric vehicle from Ford that never quite made it to the United States market, they announced the plan cancellation last week.  I believe it should have been named "Th?nk".  A 2-seat, 50-mile range, 56 MPH top-speed vehicle wouldn't appeal to everyone anyway.  And of course, those were the specifications for the European version with a recycled plastic exterior (no rust or dents ever!).  The US version would use sheet-metal instead, to make it more appealing visually.  But that would have added weight, which would have reduced the range & top-speed.  The 2-seat vehicle discontinued by GM back in 1999 was more practical; the approximate 100-mile range and 90 MPH top-speed (governed, 120 MPH actual) made a lot more sense functionally.  The benefit of Ford's vehicle was the price was just half ($20,000), making it affordable for many.  My point is, neither could ever reach mass-market appeal in those configurations.  Generational improvements would be required.  That's a natural progression you'd normally expect and plan for.  But instead, they pulled the plug (bad pun) on the projects after only the very first stage of rollout.  Throwing away hundreds of millions of dollars doesn't even make sense.  Perhaps they discovered offering a hybrid like Prius is a much better plan.  It's affordable & practical.  What a concept!

9-04-2002

Record Sales Numbers.  1,756 was the number of Prius sold in the United States this August.  That amount, as with all the others in the past, is easy to misinterpret.  It appears low.  But when you take into account that fact that only 1,416 were planned to be built that month, it becomes much different.  Over 100 percent are still being sold.  Prius is meeting Toyota's financial expectations ...and then some.  That makes investors happy.  The demand is growing.  The long, slow, thorough rollout strategy is paying off.  In short, it's going well. 

9-04-2002

LEV & Flag Stickers.  Seeing "LEV" stickers on the driver's windows of gas-guzzlers (put there by manufacturers) has always been annoying.  Yes, those vehicles are in fact quite a bit cleaner than what was available in the past, but it's really misleading.  ULEV is cleaner and rather common; there are 90 models of vehicles with that rating now.  How would people know that though or the fact that a higher rating exists?  SULEV is even cleaner.  Maybe some education is needed, especially now that owners of gas-guzzlers are putting US Flag stickers on the driver's door of their vehicle.  Are they trying to emphasize the fact that they waste more than everyone else?

9-04-2002

90,000 website hits.  Originally, the draw here was from the content I had created on my own.  As time went on, contributions from others appeared in small indirect way.  Now, I'm pleased to give credit directly to specific owners.  That new owner section where they can offer their own content is really exciting.  Having a bunch of variety just a click away will really help bond the owners.  I know others will find it both informative & entertaining.  I just hope manufacturers will notice that we're all interested in hybrids.

9-03-2002

6 Half Stars.  Prius definitely offers variety.  You can never really predict what optimizations the computer will take advantage of.  Today I received 6 half stars (25Wh of electricity regenerated) in a row on the Multi-Display, 1 in each of the 5-minute Consumption segments.  That was intriguing.  I don't recall ever having seen that before.  I wonder how long it will take before I finally see it again.

9-02-2002

Prius Info-Sheet, new & improved for 2003.  You'll notice a number of differences.  Most importantly, 2 photos showing the battery charge have been added.  Needing this was an unexpected discovery we made at the Hybrid Road Rally, onlookers were curious why an indicator wasn't available and the Honda Hybrid owners were surprised they hadn't ever noticed it.  So now it's visually documented.  The 2 new Prius colors have been added and 1 removed.  The big photo & speedo/odo/fuel photo have been replaced.  And quality of some photos have been increased even further to take advantage of the new inexpensive better-than-photo inkjet printers now available.  3 versions are now available: a large PDF, a small PDF, and a DOC file.  Download any or all, then print & share as many as possible with others.  Here's a link to the webpage for it:  Info-Sheet

9-02-2002

Owner Additions.  3 great photos were added today.  Thanks Bill T!!  Work continues on getting additional content, so just send an email my way.  It's open to anyone that wants to share something Prius related, like a photo.  The benefit is everything can neatly be organized & presented on a single webpage (for each owner) and we won't be consuming the last few MB of storage available on the Yahoo Group.  People with their own website may have page too.  You can use it as a welcome link since the WebRing isn't fully functional anymore.  Will we be seeing you Prius stuff soon?  Here's a link to the first... owner:  Bill T

9-02-2002

Hybrid Excitement !!!  I pulled up to the drive-thru window.  I handed the guy my money.  I waited patiently for change.  All of a sudden, another guy dives through the window screaming "IS THAT A HYBRID!!"  After I finished chuckling (the sight of him sticking out the window that far was pretty funny), I replied "Yup!"  Then he proceeded to tell me a story about how he had seen one at the "Zoo School" (School of Environmental Studies, where we've had 2 gatherings) open house.  I told him that was me.  He got even more excited.  So I handed him my prototype of the new Info-Sheet, saying he was the very first person besides me to ever see it.  That made him jump for joy!  It's truly rewarding to see that kind of excitement.  Have you ever witnessed a reaction like that about a practical family vehicle?

 

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