Prius Personal Log  #400

January 12, 2009  -  January 18, 2009

Last Updated: Mon. 3/23/2009

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1-18-2009

Reflections.  Today was my first opportunity to playback some of the video I had captured during the Detroit reveal.  Many of the nuances are now saved on my computer if I ever forget.  But I doubt I will.  Fantastic memories have already been permanently stored in my brain.  That event was amazing!  It was like touching a dream.  You hope the technology will continue to improve, especially after 9 years of support.  But to actually see that history unfold in a dramatic moment is quite unexpected.  It was so much fun.  I can't wait for delivery!

1-17-2009

Extreme Cold.  The outside temperature was -20 F degrees.  It was my coldest commute ever in a Prius.  That spelled opportunity.  The digital camera I have now is way better than years past, where difficult lighting conditions simply could not capture action properly.  Shots would end up blurry.  Not anymore.  Rather than be confined to just a capture of the screen, I could actually get some of the surrounding area too.  So, I did... photo album 124

1-16-2009

Reality Reminder.  Sometimes it's needed.  The propaganda automakers feed to consumers is quite misleading.  You get the impression more is coming sooner & cheaper than what actually happens.  And with the 2010 Prius recently revealed, random posts of disappointment emerge from newbies expecting a plug-in option available immediately.  I interjected this dose of perspective on the reality of the situation...  Do you have any idea how many "planned" hybrids have come and gone over the past 9 years?  Toyota actually delivers something in large volume at a reasonable price, then continues to improve it.  The plug option is coming.  Li-Ion still has a few quirks that need to be dealt with (like cold weather operation).  In the meantime, the platform which will use it is being rolled out.

1-15-2009

Propaganda.  With the 2009 Auto Show circuit about to open to the public, lots of promotion is being broadcast on television.  Unfortunately, most of it is hype.  They are representing most of the new technology concepts as if they will be available soon... abundant & affordable.  That's sad.  People are getting mislead, being provided with a portrayal that gives the impression of quick & easy change.  The entire bailout situation is absent.  There is no sense of urgency.  It is almost a "business as usual" mentality... like a complete denial of the financial disaster unfolding.  The next few months certainly are going to be of major historical significance.  Fasten your seatbelt!

1-14-2009

Pre-Order Submitted!  I'm looking at a printout of the confirmation I just received.  Like with my two previous Prius, the pre-order took place online.  The next step in the process is to go to the dealer.  That makes the order official.  It should occur in 2 to 3 weeks, when an email with instructions arrives in my inbox.  Then I'll have roughly 4 months of agonizing delivery wait to endure.  Getting to submit a webpage form indicating my purchase preferences is very exciting.  It's by far the biggest internet purchase I've ever made.  My choice was the "gold" priority package, a silver metallic exterior with a gray leather interior.  This is the one that comes with the moonroof & solar options... just in time for Summer... which is difficult to imagine considering how cold it is at the moment.  Oh well.  The loooong wait begins.

1-14-2009

Everybody Knows.  How many times have I had to deal with such nonsense: "Everybody and their mom knows that hybrid's basically and mostly improve only city fuel economy.  Sometimes I can't believe how stupid people are."  What a pain.  I posted this:  There are so many reports of real-world driving proving that false, no one is buying that nonsense anymore.  But if that isn't enough, direct your attention to the 2010 Prius...  There are no engine belts.  Everything is electric.  No parasitic loses like in traditional vehicles.  The engine uses an Atkinson-Miller pumping cycle, which is more efficient that Otto used in traditional vehicles.  Heavy components in the engine are not needed, since the electric motor contributes to power when demand is high, resulting in better efficiency.  So, even without mentioning less mechanical loss from the "transmission" system, it's easy to see that MPG can be noticeably higher on the highway.

1-14-2009

New Prius Features.  This is a quick summarized list from the official itemized brochure, not detailed differences enthusiasts will later provide.  Nonetheless, it's still a handy reference to what's new in general:  Driver Knee Airbags, Tilt/Telescopic Steering Wheel, Driver Seat Vertical Adjustment, 4-Wheel Disc Brakes, Touch Tracer, EV/Eco/Power Modes, Tilt/Slide Moonroof: Solar Ventilation System and Remote Air Conditioning System, LED Headlamps, Headlamp Washers, Intelligent Parking Assist, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control with Pre-Collision System, Lane Keep Assist

1-13-2009

Insight's Official EPA.  The estimate numbers are now available.  MPG is 40 city and 43 highway.  That's a far cry from the original model.  It's a wide margin, making the difference quite apparent without any need to point out how much larger of a vehicle Prius is.  How the two hybrids will compete is an intriguing topic.  Price is the most obvious.  But the market of post $4 gas is aware of vehicle "electrification" feature.  Driving with the engine off while running the A/C wasn't a subject of much discussion in the past.  Now, the situation is much changed.  That's something which makes the FULL hybrids stand out from the ASSIST.  Consumers are becoming better educated about hybrids.  This time, not being the same could be much more of an issue.  We'll find out in just a few months.

1-13-2009

Lipstick on a Pig.  That was the "short take" response by the big GM forum to the reveal of the 2010 Prius.  It's a comment that doesn't make any sense.  In fact, it is quite absurd.  How can a clean & efficient vehicle be considered a pig?  Have they lost all touch with reality?  Will they ever finally get serious?  The denial is truly amazing.  I suppose pressure from Ford moving forward with hybrids makes the effort from Toyota hurt even more.  Enthusiasts are disenchanted.  Stockholders are angry.  Consumers are left with nothing appealing to buy.  So... they mock the competition.  That figures.

1-13-2009

Detroit: denial.  Media coverage from Detroit sources barely existed.  There was only a brief mention of an unveiling.  On the big GM forum, they summed up the 2010 Prius as "Lipstick on a pig" ...which makes no sense whatsoever... until you read the posts and realize they focused almost entirely on the look of the vehicle alone.  Acknowledging any detail about design would be treason, as the Volt blogging site demonstrated by pretending nothing from Toyota happened in Detroit.  It's amazing.  The denial is so blatant.  If you have nothing to compete with, just ignore the competition.  No wonder Detroit was chosen as the location.  If that couldn't get attention in home field, the expectation of bailout money actually being used for progress toward better efficiency isn't realistic.  Disappointment looms.  The next few months sure are going to be interesting.

1-13-2009

Detroit: responses.  Just did a quick scan of the online activity in the big Prius forum.  It looks like there's a wide variety of opinion.  Basically, no pattern has emerged yet... which would have been surprising.  Word spreads quickly, but overnight is a bit absurd.  Fortunately, we do have a decent amount of initial information to work with.  Interest is huge.  I saw a big spike in the web activity logs.  What those interested in the new model really want to know about is what I'm curious about.  Repeating questions in forum responses are what will form into the new Info-Sheet and User-Guide for the 2010.  Misconceptions are the greatest concern... especially with greenwashing such a problem now.

1-13-2009

Detroit: electric motors.  The big one (MG2) grows more powerful.  It will be 60 kW, up from the previous 50 kW rating.  The smaller motor (MG1) becomes faster.  The RPM will be 13500, up from the previous maximum of 10000.  Both improvements will ultimately deliver greater efficiency.  The electric side of the system certainly is maturing nicely.  As the competition struggles to offer any kind of midsize hybrid, Prius moves on to a generation design supporting very capable motors.

1-13-2009

Detroit: power carriers.  In the current PSD (Power Split Device) that the Toyota hybrids use, there are 4 of the planet (interior) power-carriers.  With the new model Prius, that number increases to 5.  If you've ever dealt with ball-bearings, you understand how pressure can be reduced by spreading the load.  More means less is put on each.  Movement should be easier.  Efficiency should improve as a result.  That's pretty sweet!  How to animate and explain the operation could be a challenge though.  Calculating position gets really hard with so many rotating & revolving pieces.   Thank goodness the engineering isn't something that needs to be discussed in that level of detail.  Even most enthusiasts stay away from figuring out how many teeth each of the various sized components have.  And to our delight, the overall FULL hybrid design is still less complicated than a 6-speed automatic transmission.

1-13-2009

Detroit: cat heating.  That was the new standout feature of the design indulgences.  Piping hot coolant down to the catalytic-converter is a significant improvement focusing heavily on emissions reduction, which should really help with the plug-in upgrade later.  Heating that device up as quickly as possible is the key to cleansing exhaust... with an obvious side benefit of using less fuel.  The engine can shut off sooner and stay off longer with this improvement.  Eliminating the need for the thermos should offset the cost.  It's a win-win enhancement.  I'm curious as heck to observe how it performs in the extreme cold.

1-13-2009

Detroit: impressions.  A bigger engine which delivers greater efficiency.  That's going to be difficult to explain.  The new exhaust heat capture/exchange system could be too.  Not having a pump belt anymore should be a no-brainer.  Stealth still having the same threshold, yet EV & ECO now being available is obvious discussion, debate, and criticism subject matter.  Did I mention the solar panel?  How about the really impressive improvements to the user-interface?  This year is going to be a wild ride!  The 2010 raises ups ante rather significantly.

1-13-2009

Detroit: bonding.  The even has caused a stir.  Online posts are beginning to label our "group" as insiders.  Now that we've all met each other and those directly responsible for Prius in person, you definitely get a feeling of being informed like only someone being paid would... though instead, our incentive is to make a difference.  We all share this incredible adventure together.  it's very much a bond others won't understand.  Heck, I didn't even realize it was possible.  We all quite literally went where no one had gone before.

1-12-2009

Detroit: looking back.  9 years ago my quest for a better vehicle started.  I would have never believed it could lead to all this.  The friendship forged from online sharing is amazing.  We've opened up minds to explore a newly emerging world.  Some of my friends are going to upgrade for the first time.  I look back at my experience with a new model reliving the feeling of awe.  It's extraordinary to see imagination come to life.  Some long hoped for improvements actually materialized.  It's great!!

1-12-2009

Detroit: excitement.  Mine was intense.  I've got a bunch of photos and video to share.  Having so much new website content now at my disposal is mind-boggling.  It's a treasure that the curious will gobble up.  I wonder what the explosion of 2010 stuff from so many sources will do.  The forum & blogging activity will be incredible.  In a time of economic hardship, this certain is a bright ray of hope.

1-12-2009

Detroit: pioneering.  That fairy-tale dream... getting to be part of the debut didn't end with getting back on to the bus.  Instead, it was hearing of a new pioneering opportunity called "Prius Priority".  I had hoped there would be something special awaiting.  We get to purchase one of the first models built!  Like back in 3003, we as pioneers get to place orders before the dealers.  Our past efforts will be rewarded by getting to lead again.  Pioneering continues with this newest model.

1-12-2009

Detroit: there it was.  A new model, right there.  The 2010 Prius.  I had my video recording non-stop in one had while attempting to snap as many photos as I could with the camera in the other.  It was quite a thrill.  The data I collected in those first 30 minutes is more than what some will be able to get for months perhaps longer.  It was an unprecedented opportunity... 3 full hours just for us!

1-12-2009

Detroit: indulging.  It was hysterical.  We were over and under and inside everywhere we could be.  Getting a hand-on experience like that was absolutely incredible!   No auto show would ever allow you to inspect and investigate to that degree.  Pieces of the car itself were getting removed.  Yes, we actually took a few things apart!  We wanted to see the new battery-pack... all the way into the back seat... to follow the wiring.  We were quite thorough.  How many could fit under the back to check out the new suspension and the front the new engine was quite an amusing question to answer.  It was all there for us to explore.  We loved every minute of it!

 

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