Prius Personal Log  #402

January 25, 2009  -  January 30, 2009

Last Updated: Sun. 1/03/2010

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1-30-2009

$41.68 Per Barrel.  The economy has stalled, waiting for action from the new President and Congress.  News of large recent bonuses distributed to upper-management at companies which received bailout money was the upsetting news this week, adding to the financial disaster.  What a mess.  Terrible business practices many had been complaining about for years are now revealing their consequences.  Needless to say, markets are now taking the "wait & see" attitude... bringing the oil industry to a stop.  Investment in new extraction technologies has become much more risky.  Gas is "cheap" for the moment.  Interest in drilling more has changed dramatically since before the election... just 3 months ago.

1-30-2009

Silverado-Hybrid.  The online response to the first-drive report was praise then move on to asking when the technology would be available in a midsize sedan.  That didn't go well.  It was nothing but a propaganda fest, the same old tired nonsense we've heard countless times already.  Excuses to use guzzlers as a commuter vehicles are so disingenuous.  There's no justifying required if you actually use a truck for utility.  But all that power with no passengers and no cargo is just plain wasteful.  Anywho, I liked responding to this particular attempt to greenwash: "can the prius fit 8 people? nope. you need two priuses to do what one tahoe can do."  Notice how two Prius will still use less gas than the one hybrid Tahoe: 100 miles @ 22 MPG = 4.5 gallons verses 100 miles @ 50 MPG = 2 gallons.

1-30-2009

Prius Fighter.  Remember that stance once taken?  This needed to finally be posted...  It has interesting how much has changed over the past 2 years.  Volt was deemed as a Prius fighter, the game changer.  That idea has been all but totally been abandoned since.  Vehicle size & price choices made that unrealistic, contributing to the low-volume production plans and discussions of what comes next.  The need for a midsize high-efficiency vehicle priced in the 20's still remains.  What will GM sell to consumers wanting that in the meantime, while we wait for generation two of Volt technology?

1-29-2009

CARB Authorization.  The ruling on whether or not California (and the other 13 states wanting CARB standards) will be allowed to enforce tailpipe emission mandates more stringent than the federal EPA requirement is now getting serious attention.  It was dismissed as frivolous by the previous administration.  This one is different though, and carbon-emission data has earned merit since those attempts to regulate in the past.  It's about time.  Not offering 50 MPG or even 40 MPG vehicles is an big problem.  Where's the choice?  Nothing available is unacceptable... especially when we know that oil dependency and climate-change must finally be dealt with.

1-28-2009

Inaction Consequences.  Tired of the nonsense from not doing anything over the past few years, the effort to allow states to choose how to regulate vehicle emissions is now well underway.  It had been stalled during the previous administration, claiming that federal criteria was adequate.  Arguments are that anything beyond the modest MPG increases required over the next decade will ruin automakers.  Not being able to sell high-profit guzzlers is the problem.  Margins on more efficient vehicles are slim.  Well, too bad.  They were warned this would happen some day and the technology has been proven affordable & reliable in the meantime.  Dependency on oil and not taking responsibility for the resulting emissions is irresponsible.  There are security & environmental consequences.  No more excuses.  It's time for action.

1-27-2009

Missing April Sales.  Those missing Two-Mode numbers finally surfaced.  Until now, I only had 11 months of sales accounted for... which came to a total of 6,874.  But now I know.  In April, there were 69 Tahoe and 49 Yukon hybrids sold.  So, the ultimate count for the year came to 6,992.  That's obviously an outcome quite a bit different from what the troublemakers insisted would occur.  They sure were a pain.  Now, none exist.  They've all vanished.  Not a single one wanted to provide an expectation of what to expect for 2009.  It's really odd when they fight you so hard, then abandon that effort abruptly when things don't go in their favor.  I want traditional vehicles to be replaced with clean & efficient hybrids.  They just wanted bragging rights.  Sadly, we both actually lost though.  Two-Mode sales were terrible and I'm still waiting for something worthwhile from GM.

1-26-2009

Invitations.  The opportunity to get well-acquainted with the 2010 Prius, like those who went to Detroit experienced that reveal evening, has been extended to other enthusiasts & supporters.  In Washington DC, New York City, and Chicago, there will be similar discovery events within the next 2 weeks.  I can't wait for the flood of new photos and posts from those who attend.  Being able to explore that way is fantastic.  You learn so much, so quickly.  It's quite fulfilling.

1-26-2009

HybridCars Video.  There's nothing like following a video link someone provides, pressing the play button, then seeing yourself.  There I was, at the Detroit reveal next to the 2010 Prius... saying something so fitting to that situation, they used it as the introduction for the video of the event.  In full frame close to the camera, I exclaimed "I Love It!" then turned away, returning with a "Where do I sign?" while imitating that gesture.  After a pause and a brief almost maniacal laugh, I said "I'm serious."  That was perfect.  Leave it to me to provide such a silly segway.  Following that was a fade to black noting the purpose of the video documenting:  Fifty of the world's biggest Prius fans were invited by Toyota.

1-26-2009

Energy Economy.  Many of the economic decisions now being made related to how we provide & use energy.  So, it only makes sense that such a label is given.  Of course, with the previous administration being sensible wasn't so easy.  We were told repeatedly that we were "addicted to oil", yet almost nothing was done about it.  They only said the words we wanted to hear.  But now that the economy it false pretense had supported is now collapsing, the change actually required is pretty easy to see... and much of it is with respect to energy.

1-26-2009

Decision Making.  It's so refreshing to hear that science will now be the basis for decision making, not politics.  Those that have not been attentive wouldn't have noticed how much changed over the past 8 years.  Prior to then, data from the scientific community was not simply dismissed using the excuse that "more study" is still needed.  Seeing that it was really just a tactic to delay making a decision.  Distractions in life allow it to seem reasonable, so constituents hadn't complained.  After all, it's easier to resist change.  But now, change is essential.  We must.  The economic mess does not allow for "business as usual" anymore.  No more status quo.  It's time to decide.

1-26-2009

Battery Pretext.  The effort to conceal is really taking an interesting twist.  With so much pressure to deliver higher MPG, the thought of compromise on Volt configuration is apparently now seen as an admission of failure.  That's the conclusion I draw with misleading so easy to expose: "The Volt won't work without a fairly large battery."  I enjoyed responding...  Charge-Depleted mode clearly demonstrates that with battery-capacity down to 30%, the Volt design will still deliver impressive efficiency.  You still get acceleration & regeneration benefits from the electric-motor.  Only the improvement from plugging is held back.  In other words, it becomes a viable SERIES hybrid without a plug.  Reducing the size of the battery-pack is a topic that is clearly being evaded with the disguise of a false claim.  There is nothing that doesn�t work.

1-25-2009

Highway Improvement.  I'm pleasantly delighted to see plenty mentions of it.  A few even dig into the reasoning too, though most simply point out how the larger engine allows the system to less to maintain highway speeds.  In reality, there's many factors.  The second most obvious is the lower Cd (Coefficient of drag) from the new body style.  I personally like the PSD improvement, torque is reduced by as much as 20 percent through the enhancement of the existing arrangement and the introduction of a second (a dual-stage configuration).  Then of course, there's the EGR (Exhaust Gas Recirculation) system that gets all the engineer types really excited.  It's cooled to reduced pumping losses.  The water pump is electric now, which also contributes to the overall improvement on the highway.  Needless to say, I can't wait to go for a drive with it.

1-25-2009

New Prius Stuff.  The new touch-tracer is the most obvious change.  I took a number of photos of that.  It redefines convenience.  Like a computer mouse, there's no reason to ever look down to see what your finger is about to push.  You know for certain by image super-imposed over the speedometer cluster.  The new Energy Monitor, especially in that new location, really looks nice.  But there's lots more to the other screens then I first realized.  Controlling two cameras at once was all I could handle.  My photos were based on observations of others... which is incomplete.  My next encounter with the 2010 Prius will reveal what I missed.  Apparently, a few features went unnoticed.  Of course, without being able to actually drive, it should have been obvious that something else was there.  Anywho, here's what I did capture... photo album 130

1-25-2009

Cheap Gas.  That's the real problem.  It's what led to the insane promotion of large SUVs as commuter vehicles and the near death of the minivan for families.  Encouraging reduced consumption for the sake of national security or the reduction of emission for cleaner air to breathe is a challenge.  How do you measure the benefit?  But with the pain people feel at the pump, the difference being made is quite obvious.  That's a big reason why we saw such a boom in sales back when gas was $4 per gallon.  After all, the fear of the technology has faded.  Most of the misconceptions are just a bad memory now.  Consumers see so many Prius on the road now, it validates the purchase.  Cheap gas doesn't.  Consumers need motivation.

1-25-2009

More From Detroit.  Watching through the video I filmed, there were a number of individual frames captured that looked really good as photo snapshots.  So, I used some software to grab them from the files.  It's really handy having one camera with a small lens and CCD the another a large lens and CMOS.  In difficult lighting conditions with minimal time available such as that, one is bound to get a good exposure.  What I got adds nicely to the collection, so there's even more to share with everyone curious about the 2010 model... photo album 129 

1-25-2009

Double Renewables.  That's the energy plan President Obama is suggesting as part of the economic recovery plan.  It both creates jobs and builds a better future at the same time.  Win-Win sounds like a great approach to me.  Infrastructure updates (transmission lines, primarily) and growth of solar & wind as power sources is long overdue.  The previous administration did basically nothing but introduce more red-tape.  I'm so glad we now have a leader that intends to actually deliver.  See, the catch is Obama set a 3 year deadline.  That's within his watch... quite unlike Bush, who proposed stuff without any deliverable for a decade... long after he could be held accountable.  Remember how he heavily promoted hydrogen fuel-cell cars for our children while disregarding our immediate consumption & emission problems.

1-25-2009

EREV, goal.  Sell something clean & efficient already!  For crying out loud, we're tired of the "all talk, no action" approach.  Progress is defined by what happens on the road itself, not what you read online.  Actual sales is how merit is earned.  Talking about what might be available years from now only serves to endorsement what is currently available.  The catch is, something must actually be available.  For example, with Prius, having a plug-in option available supports the platform now.  The same goes for a better battery-pack later.  One leads to the other.  What is the goal?

1-25-2009

EREV, self-defeating.  The hope is to avoid behavior that prevents progress.  Attitude of posts have been that Prius is a problem for Volt.  Acceptance that sales of traditional vehicles grossly overwhelm that of hybrids hasn't happened yet.  Rather than embrace those on the same team supporting changing, they are fighting them.  Claiming that Volt is the one and only solution is self-defeating.  Seeing that reality could come soon.  The bailout is an unavoidable wake-up call for priorities.

1-25-2009

EREV, comparison.  My loyalty is very much for FULL hybrids.  The current push of EREV is unrealistic for the masses.  That particular configuration is way too expensive.  Of course, the more you reduce the size of the battery-pack to decrease price, the more appealing the plug-in FULL hybrid becomes... and they know it.  So, the spirit if cooperation is remains absent.  They fear popularity of hybrids like Prius growing so much and so fast that the EREV is pushed aside as a niche... which means they are fighting the very automaker they endorse, since GM will be producing both types.  Needless to say, they try to keep comparisons vague.  Detail is thought of as the enemy... even though that is the very thing required to move beyond traditional vehicles.

1-25-2009

EREV, response.  This is what I posted in response to that official declaration on that Volt blogging website...  EREV was the whole point of the push for FULL here.  It was quite obvious that this Volt group would eventually notice the same problematic pattern, necessitating a supporter identifier.  Prius owners struggled the same way with ASSIST years ago.  Study the history and stop fighting those trying to help.  There are reasons for certain approaches, which you'll discover as you transition from enthusiast to supporter.

 

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