Prius Personal Log  #401

January 19, 2009  -  January 25, 2009

Last Updated: Mon. 3/23/2009

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1-25-2009

EREV, types.  ASSIST = parallel.  FULL = series-parallel.  EREV = series.  That's what all the effort equates to.  This identifier represents a compromise and the desire to move on.  The catch is, a large quantity of something must finally be built & sold.  All we're getting still is lots of talk.  That's even beginning to frustrate the enthusiasts themselves.  Hopefully, within the next few years, it will translate to so much pressure that their hybrids will rapidly join the mainstream.  Unfortunately, right now, it's basically just propaganda.

1-25-2009

EREV, changing.  Remember how "E-Flex" was originally promoted as the technology's name?  Then they tried "REEV" for awhile.  It was all an attempt to draw attention away from the fact that we were still dealing with a hybrid... which is the very thing a certain in power swore was a terrible business investment.  After experiencing enough of that nonsense, you cheer when a decision is finally made.  Commitment sure is nice.  I'll accept the choice of "EREV", then force them to stick with it.  No more changing!

1-25-2009

EREV, declared.  After 2 years of uncertainty, a step forward has finally been taken.  I want hybrids to replace traditional vehicles.  But not just any hybrids.  They need to actually deliver benefit in the form of significant emission & consumption reduction.  Some don't.  Reliance on the ASSIST and FULL labels was how pointing out differences begins.  If people aren't even aware that there is more than one type of hybrid, nothing else you say will be heard.  That's why I kept pushing SERIES every time Prius was called a "parallel" hybrid.  Regardless of intention, doing that undermines progress.  Now the Volt enthusiasts have declared the label of EREV to identify their "series" hybrid.

1-24-2009

Discovering the 2010 Prius.  The new dashboard, buttons, and screens sure had me jumping for joy.  Seeing how the Energy Monitor and the Consumption Screen had been moved from the Multi-Display to a device illuminated like the speedometer was exciting.  I wondered how rearranging of the dashboard would enhance the driving experience... and it turns out, you don't even have to drive to find out.  Just sitting there with my cameras made it obvious.  Hopefully, you can see that too in the photos I took... photo album 129

1-23-2009

$46.47 Per Barrel.  It was all the way down to $35 recently.  Where the heck oil prices will settle at is anyone's guess.  That could be up or down.  What we do know is that it will take awhile.  The upcoming stimulus plan and the second half of the TARP (bailout) money must happen in the meantime.  Jobs are still being lost in every market and production plans continue to be cut back.  This is a "peak oil" warning sign.  Loss of consistency is bad for everyone... which is precisely what we've been witnessing.  Permanent change is coming.  It's long overdue.  Hopefully, the desperate nature of the situation will prevent much resistance.

1-23-2009

2010 Prius Reveal.  There I was, a high-definition video camera in one hand and a digital camera in the other.  Being ambidextrous sure came in handy that evening.  50 of the most outspoken supporters of Prius had all gotten together for a gathering in Detroit, of all places, to get to see the 2010 model for the first time and learn as much as possible as quickly as possible.  Those 3 hours raced by so fast, I sure was glad for the recording devices.  Now looking back at what I had captured, it's pretty easy to see how exciting of an experience that was... photo album 128

1-22-2009

Solar Option.  Ever leave your windows open on a hot day?  That same cooling is what the solar option will provide… specifically 80 watts to run the air circulation system with when you are gone, keeping the car comfortable without the security compromise.  Every little bit adds up.  Being able to push air through the car while it's not in use and later while you drive, without needing to draw power from the vehicle itself, will contribute to improved efficiency.  You never know what the solar option will lead to later either.  This introduction is welcome one.  And yes, my pre-order includes it.  Delivery in late-May or early-June is just in time to try it out.  I can't wait!

1-22-2009

Winter Memories.  Once upon a time (early December), it was actually quite different outside.  Winter like that routinely sure would be interesting.  Seeing an average of 51.5 on the Multi-Display doesn't happen that much here in Minnesota.  In fact, it almost never does... unless you get a lot of wet, heavy snow during the commute home.  In that case, traffic moves along at a very slow pace... as it did that evening.  I drove at a steady pace between 30 and 40 MPH most of the way.  It made the Prius very happy.  So, I whipped out the camera to document what I saw on the Consumption screen... photo album 127

1-22-2009

Blatant Ignore.  Enthusiasts of Volt were avoiding the topic of the 2010 Prius like the plague.  Nothing had been posted, which was significant departure of behavior from before the reveal.  Today, that changed... or so it seemed.  There was a close-up photo of the solar option.  It appeared as though discussions were being stirred with that topic as a starter.  After all, the same option had been addressed for Volt ages ago.  Unfortunately, quite the opposite occurred.  It served as an excuse to dismiss.  They had been provided a reason to continue to ignore.  And they did.  They obviously don't like the improvements, making their reasoning Volt (as the prototype is configured) even more difficult to justify.

1-21-2009

Blatant Smug.  The big GM forum is totally lost, without direction and uncertain what the March bailout deadline will bring.  So, the breaking of my silence and finally sounding off about the new model Prius in a smug way shouldn't have been much of a surprise.  Random comments don't stir any discussion.  Feedback is essential now.  The clock is ticking for GM.  They must express a clear purpose and gain the support of the enthusiasts.  Feeling let down is putting it mildly.  Action must be taken.  Big change is required.  Did the following to-the-point post help?  Who knows...  50 MPG from my midsize car, complete with moonroof and solar panel.  Anyone else wish GM would also produce a vehicle like the 2010 Prius?

1-21-2009

Blatant Errors.  It's pretty bad when the front-page feature of a monthly automotives publication makes such a blatant error: "The Insight's Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) system isn't a series hybrid like Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive (HSD) - it's a parallel system.  In simple terms, this means both the engine and the electric motor drive the wheels, as opposed to the series system in which the wheels turn only from power provided to it by the electric motor."  But the situation is even worse when none of the SERIES hybrid supporters care.  Supposedly both are authorities on the technology.  Spreading of incorrect information like that is bad for everyone.  Yet, it still happens.

1-21-2009

Warmer Photos.  After seeing the resulting 39.2 MPG average from a high of -17 F degrees on those unbelievably cold commutes, it was a relief to finally see the temperature rise.  It warmed all the way up to 5 F.  Can you believe it!  Anywho, that evening on the drive home from work, my reading on the odometer hit 111,111 miles.  That spelled yet another unique photo opportunity.  So, I took a photo of that, capturing the Multi-Display as well as the snowy road in the background all in the same shot.  I'm pretty happy that those difficult lighting photos turned out looking pretty darn good too.  It's amazing how far digital technology has advanced since first getting a Prius 8 years ago... photo album 127

1-21-2009

Ford DCT.  A new dual-clutch six-speed automatic transmission was officially announced today.  Ford's target market is the small-car segment, starting with Fiesta in 2010 here.  Engineers should be given credit for delivering a big efficiency gain, but the complexity is truly amazing.  Talking about a huge step in the wrong direction.  We all always knew the step up from 4 to 6 gears would come with that penalty.  But when you look at the component diagram I wonder about reliability & cost.  Will consumers?  That probably depends upon what the concern about oil-dependency & fuel-efficiency is then.  Currently, really small cars are still a niche here.  Time will tell.

1-20-2009

Certified Used Hybrids.  Just in time for those of us upgrading from the Iconic model Prius to the 2010, Toyota announced an official certification program for hybrids.  The benefit is additional inspection and warranty coverage.  Having any type of formal process helps.  Official criteria should provide comfort for consumers unfamiliar with what to look for.  After all, that's been touted as a helpful with used car sales of traditional vehicles.

1-20-2009

New Prius?  To my total amazement, the Volt enthusiasts are pretending there was never a new Prius revealed.  It's been a whole week.  And even when provoked, they just ignore the reference entirely!  Nothing has been blogged about, despite it being such a hot topic just weeks earlier.  What could have changed?  Are they perhaps afraid that the upgrade is too impressive to compete with?  After all, they had set expectations quite low.  Being told your preferred technology will one of many can be a let down.  For me, it's quite the opposite.  I've been wanting traditional vehicles to be phased out by whatever engineers can dream up as practical & affordable... as long as it does the job of significantly reducing emissions & consumption.

1-20-2009

The Big Energy Gamble.  Whenever a major political event takes place, you can depend on the education television channels to deliver.  This evening's feature for me was a Nova presentation on PBS.  The majority of information was devoted to non-mobile clean energy solutions.  The final segment before concluding was all about hybrids.  It was a dream come true for those needing a quick, intense dose of support.  Prius was the showcase vehicle, with heavy emphasis on plug-in augmentation.  It was very exciting to watch.  Lots still needs to be done though and the cost of proposed changes is a very real fear for many people.

1-20-2009

President Obama.  The nightmare of broken promises is over.  Inauguration day was today.  Yeah!  I got so frustrated by the previous administration saying things like "we're addicted to oil" then not doing anything about it beyond just a token gesture.  All those years wasted.  Tax credit for purchasing a vehicle heavier than 7,500 pounds was insane, especially when such a short-lived credit was available for the hybrids.  The denial about climate change and fighting efforts to reduce carbon emissions was horrible.  To not even try was sickening.  Thank goodness we now have someone from the opposite extreme in charge.  Hopefully, the outcome will not only be better for the environment and our security, it will also create jobs... which we really need.  Best of luck President Obama.  We share your enthusiasm for change.

1-19-2009

Even Colder Photos.  This batch from the commute the next day is even better.  I was able to pull back further, allowing for an even wider view.  Not only can you see the Multi-Display, you can also see the Speedometer too... both in action as I drove.  Having a quiet back road to drive later in the morning worked out great.  I basically had the route to myself... and took full advantage of that opportunity.  There's a collection of shots for each of the 4 background colors available.  The temperature briefly dropped all the way down to -22 F degrees too.  See... photo album 125   photo album 126

1-19-2009

Two Models.  The rumors are intensifying.  Talk of Toyota offering both the current and new model of Prius at the same time is abundant.  Of course, that's not rocket science.  It's basic economics.  An automaker signs a contract with a supplier.  That supplier fulfills the quantity agreement.  The automaker must do something with those components.  Building the original intended amount of vehicles is the most sensible solution.  Waiting until inventory of one model is gone before rolling out the new model, featuring a generation difference, is an unnecessary risk.  Most consumers prefer tried & true technology.  Supporters jump on the new technology, providing real-world data in the meantime.  Everyone wins.  Sounds good to me.  Of if nothing else, it could be just like back in 2001, when the United States got the Classic model and Japan continued with the Original.  Market differences is hardly a new thing.

1-19-2009

Painted Into A Corner.  Have you ever considered how long automakers will delay updates to their dashboard?  The traditional look contributes heavily to waste.  The tiny speedometer numbers and analog interface simply can't be altered... because then people will ask why MPG information isn't provided.  Your attitude about consumption changes quite a bit when you are well informed.  The data from the Multi-Display in Prius is priceless.  You discover just how outdated 20th Century technology really is.  Efficiency awareness is not what an automaker selling guzzlers wants you to learn about.

 

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