Prius Personal Log  #41

October 19, 2002  -  October 27, 2002

Last Updated: Fri. 4/09/2004

    page #40         page #42         BOOK         INDEX         go to bottom 

 

10-27-2002

End of the Decade.  Remember the 60's?  A goal was set to put a person on the Moon by the end of the decade.  And we did it!  A great goal to set for the 00's would be to make all passenger vehicles hybrids by the end of the decade.  I don't see any reason why that can't be accomplished.  The technology has already proven itself.

10-27-2002

Mary Tyler Moore.  Remember how her television show started?  You saw her driving to the Twin Cities (where I live!) in a now classic Mustang.  It was a memory they let you relive every week.  Doesn't that make you wonder how many people will end up sharing a similar memory, except they'll be driving a classic Prius?

10-26-2002

At the Dealer, part 2.  While I stealthed through the lot, I noticed some people walking toward me.  I whipped around and parked.  They were there to check out the Prius selection.  I initiated a conversation by stating an obvious fact, "All the Prius here are Green."  The woman corrected me by exclaiming, "Don't you mean Electric Green?"  That totally impressed me!  I wish everyone was that well informed and passionate about their feelings.  It was great!  I introduced myself by providing a website card.  Then observing their obvious excitement, left to go retrieve an Info-Sheet.  A salesperson joined us.  He recognized me from the newspaper article last week.  It was cool!  Later when I departed, they were preparing to go for a test-drive.  I wonder if they ended up buy a Prius... and what color?  Of course, every Prius is "green" regardless of what color you see.

10-26-2002

At the Dealer, part 1.  CNN had a great segment on Prius the other day.  But there was one misleading quote.  It really bothered me.  Today I stopped at my dealer to verify the facts.  It was said that Prius was $21,000 and that a Corolla was only $14,000.  It turns out, they were comparing a well-loaded Prius to a stripped-down Corolla without any options at all.  I find that very, very misleading.  The prices I saw on the lot were $20,500 for a well-loaded Prius and $17,500 for a well-loaded Corolla.  Only a $3,000 difference makes a lot more sense.  When will they learn?

10-25-2002

Leadership Inspiration.  I've emerged as a leader from my devoted support of the technology used by Prius.  That has lead me to look for inspiration to improve my leadership skills.  I didn't have to look far.  A man I already knew served as a wonderful source, Senator Paul Wellstone.  He was a beloved leader here in Minnesota, as well as throughout the country.  He spoke out for what many of us believed in, regardless of the political consequences that would incur.  I really respect that.  Now I need to make sure I do my best to follow his example, because he died in a tragic airplane crash today.  To do that, I need your help.  Please continue to send me private emails.  That personal feedback is priceless.  It reaffirms that my efforts really are beneficial.  Thanks!

10-24-2002

Upgrade?  Toyota is setting up the most brilliant revenue opportunity to come along in a very, very long time.  Theory me this...  When a typical consumer purchases a vehicle, does he or she ever make another major purchase for it afterward?  Normally, that answer would be a firm NO.  But in the case of Prius, that may not be the case.  Prius is a computer on wheels.  Computers can be upgraded.  Imagine what would happen if Toyota decided to offer an upgrade package, giving you the option of extending the stealth range and improving the data shown on the Multi-Display?  Heck, they could ever goes as far as offering a larger Multi-Display.  It wouldn't be cheap, but neither is the navigation system and they're selling lots of those.  Would you be interested in an upgrade years from now?

10-24-2002

Symbol of Hope.  Prius is becoming the symbol of hybrids.  It stands out just barely enough to be recognized as unique.  Photographers (still & video) have found this appealing, making Prius the premiere clean vehicle in many recent reports.  That really pleases me.  It's a confirmation that building a specialized vehicle from scratch, rather than retrofitting one, is a realistic option.  Vehicles like Civic-Hybrid and Escape-Hybrid are very helpful for short-term efforts, but not long-term.  The extra space & weight from an engine-cavity too large compromises efficiency some.  And a decade from now when fuel-cell technology actually becomes practical, having any engine-cavity at all will be a very big compromise.  Fuel-cells are thin.  Placing them within the floor of the vehicle instead of where the engine normal is would significantly lower the center-of-gravity, making it far less likely to rollover and increasing stability when turning corners.  That's great.  But having consumers still demand traditional designs would seriously impair the success of future technologies.  Seeing the acceptance of change already provides hope.

10-24-2002

That Multi-Display.  It really upsets me when some reporters (not all, thankfully) writing Prius reviews simply dismiss the Multi-Display, stating it serves no purpose.  They claim it's a novelty that ends up becoming a distraction after awhile, so it's not worth any monetary value.  Well, they're wrong!  It's really quite informative.  Apparently, they weren't paying attention.  I've learned a lot from it.  Today I learned cold temperature warm-up hurts most during the second 5-minute segment, not the first.  Did you know that?  On the drive home from work everyday, I very routinely see a stairway (to heaven?) pattern with the green MPG bars.  Each 5-minute summary of driving performance is usually 10 MPG better than the previous.  But that's not what I saw today.  The recent cold spell has interfered with the pattern I've grown fond of watching.  The second segment was only 2 MPG more than the first.  The third was unaffected though, the pattern resumed back at 20 MPG better.  That makes a lot of sense too.  The drive through the city used to be in stealth.  But now warm-up takes longer.  So the engine doesn't shut off until right before I need to accelerate to get onto the highway.  Having only a what's-happening-at-that-exact-moment meter isn't enough to notice that pattern.  But with a bar-graph that's so easy to see, it's no big deal.  And armed with performance feedback like that, you can take advantage of the hybrid design.  Without, there's no go way of telling apart good driving patterns from bad.  Prius genius pays off again.

10-24-2002

Encouragement.  I recalled a memory from 20 years ago today.  I remember being in the car with my dad.  Out of curiosity, I asked him how far that car would go if he shut if off while we were driving down the hill.  Without any hesitation, he did it for me.  We continued down, then rolled around the corner to a gradual stop.  That taught me about engine drag and got me thinking about what would happen if he had shifted to neutral first.  I wonder if he knew what his encouragement would lead me to? 

10-23-2002

Patience.  I approached the neighborhood crossroad in stealth.  The Prius stopped at the sign.  I immediately began a moment of silence.  The quietness overcame me.  It was incredibly peaceful.  Then a vehicle approached from behind.  I suddenly realized my contentment from being in a hybrid was out-of-place.  That stop-sign would never turn green, no matter how long I was willing to wait.  It was ok for me to drive now.  My Prius has obviously taught me how to master the art of being patient.  Groovy!

10-22-2002

The Cleanest Prius.  I had forgotten that 10% ethanol blending in gasoline was something done mostly just in the Midwest.  They first started doing that in the very early 90's during the Winter.  Then about 4 or 5 years ago it was switched to all year long.  That gasoline substitute is cleaner, and the source is from our own farmers (rather than imported).  Using it along with the low-sulfur gas (which isn't available in too many places either) means you're burning the cleanest possible fuel available.  That makes my Prius among the best for low emissions!  I wonder long it will take for everyone else to finally have that opportunity?

10-22-2002

Newspaper appearance after-effects.  I got a bunch of email and in-person compliments.  The website got quite a few hits.  And another reporter called for an interview.  That worked out really nice!

10-22-2002

Alternate Tires - 10,000 mile status  The Goodyear Allegra tires look almost new still.  Both handling and MPG have been great.  I'm quite pleased with that purchase decision to try something different.  So as far as I'm concerned, there is no tire issue anymore.  Very realistic alternative tires are available for those that don't care for the much softer original tires.  Just remember to maintain proper pressure and never turns the wheels when they're not moving.  Refer to this page for more tips and alternate tire choices: tires   And go to this page for a list of all the log entries about my "Alternate Tires" experiences: maintain

10-21-2002

More Prius stuff in that same newspaper!  I've missed out by reading so often online.  A friend of mine took the time to look through the rest of that paper.  There was a large color advertisement for Toyota with a Prius advertised among the featured vehicles.  There were also 2 other smaller photos in different locations advertising Prius too, with different prices.  Competition is beginning.  Is that a good thing?  If nothing else, it does indicate Prius is becoming a mainstream vehicle.

10-20-2002

Squished Rabbit... Again!  Another rabbit darted out in front of me.  Except this time, my Prius demonstrated a new design advantage: the hood isn't in the field of view.  The rabbit was so close that all I saw was a set of ear bouncing.  Had I been just about any gas-guzzler, the hood would have been in the way.  I wouldn't have seen anything.  Fortunately, I did. So I was able to hit the brakes and avoid squishing the rabbit.

10-20-2002

SUVs & Guardrails.  We all know the SUV's higher profile makes them much more prone to rolling over than cars, but what you may not know is how they handle guardrail collisions.  They don't bounce off like cars do; instead, they sometimes go over.  Oops!  Guardrails are there to keep you from encountering a greater danger, like a pillar or a lake or a cliff.  Being able to drive over them sounds downright deadly.  Why exactly are people buying SUVs?

10-20-2002

Greenwashing.  This is a subject that's hitting the news a lot.  The automakers based in Detroit are attempting to draw attention away from the success of hybrids by promoting fuel-cell technology.  The problem is hybrids are available today (well actually over 2 years ago in the United States) and fuel-cell vehicles aren't expected until 2010.  That's 8 years from now!  The average person will drive about 120,000 miles between now and then.  That's the duration traditional vehicles (from Detroit) typically last.  In other words, almost the entire armada of traditional vehicles will be completely replaced before fuel-cell vehicles become available in large quantities.  Imagine if they were hybrids instead... Accepting the profoundly new technology that way would be no big deal.  The benefits of keeping our environment clean would have already been embraced by society due to the success of hybrids.  Remember the movie "Contact"?  The important advice given was "small steps".  Promising technology (that currently is unrealistic, since it's 10 times more expensive than hybrids) for oh-so-many years from now while completely ignoring the dire needs we have now (reducing our dependence on foreign oil and cleaning up smog-infested cities) is just plain not responsible... especially when you take into account that 60 million (yes, sixty!) new vehicles are built each year.  So in the next 8 years, that's 480 million, assuming we have zero population growth and the lower-economic countries don't make any progress at all.  But in reality, the number will actually end up closer to 600 million.  Hybrids are significantly cleaner.  Hybrids get double the gas mileage.  Hybrids are designed to last longer.  Hybrids are the best next step, not fuel-cells.

10-19-2002

Oil Level really did improve MPG!  A number of people sounded off when we introduced this topic, all agreeing it should make a difference.  It makes sense after all, less splashing around in the crankcase means less resistance.  And we know everything is still being properly lubricated because the level is well above the "low" indicator.  Also, since Prius is so astonishingly easy on oil (the level never drops throughout the 7,500 miles of driving), there's no risk being taken either.  Anywho, when I filled up the tank today, it confirmed the readout on the Multi-Display.  MPG had improved.  There was no drop even though the temperature had been 10 F degrees colder than last week (upper 30's, an entire 20 F degrees lower than average) and I drove quite a few more short trips.  So this suggestion has been added to both the Owner-Advice webpage and the User-Guide.

10-19-2002

"Nature Approves" video file version 2.  I got it without any trouble.  Toyota is airing the commercial a lot.  Yeah!  And having more server-space and better technology available now than I did almost 2 years ago with the original version means I can share a much higher quality version.  So I will.  You'll find this new one here:  video files

10-19-2002

New "Nature Approves" Prius Commercial.  Whoa!  I was watching TechTV just now. And to my surprise, the "Nature Approves" Prius commercial came on... except this time it was different.  Text has been added.  It now clearly states that a $2,000 federal tax deduction is available.  Toyota's new video-logo has been added to the ending too.  I wonder if I'll be able to get a high-quality digital capture of this version?

10-19-2002

Another photo.  They saved the best for online afterward: a color photo with me posing in front of the Prius.  The photographer, Bruce Bisping, also did a great job.  He took advantage of the impressive cloud formations above by capturing them as a reflection on the hood.  That was very creative.  And the pose he chose for me worked well.  (He was also very understanding when he noticed the weeds directly behind us had invoked an allergic reaction making my eyes swell and become very sensitive to light.)  So I'm pleased about the photos too.

10-19-2002

1701-A on the front page.  There on the cover page of the newspaper was a tiny color photo of my Prius (you could clearly read the license-plate!) with the phrase "GREENMOBILES" referring you to the Business Section.  On the front page of that section were 2 very large photos: one of me pointing out the hybrid system under the hood and the other a trimmed-along-the-edge photo of my Prius.  There was more information included than what was published on the Internet.  That was cool!  Then the discovery of Multi-Display photo on the back cover of that section really got me excited.  Sweet!  I'm quite pleased.

 

back to home page       go to top