Prius Personal Log #414
April 22, 2009 - May 1, 2009
Last Updated: Tues. 6/16/2009
page #413 page #415 BOOK INDEX
Green Credit, condemn. That followed with this gem of a
quote: "Just wanted to say I have never, ever seen an environmentalist
condemn Toyota for making the Sequoia, Land Cruiser, Tundra, etc before".
Personal encounters can't be proven anyway. The motive was to undermine.
But the crude attempt to divert the discussion didn't work. Those aware of
the history and with any business sense know how important product diversity is.
When sales of one begin to drop, you better have another already available which
you can shift volume to. The other automakers, especially GM, clearly
didn't prepare for what's happening now. Interest in midsize & midprice
vehicles which offer great efficiency is a product they didn't both to invest
in. Anywho, here's how I responded:
That wouldn't make any sense. Toyota used that profit to fund the retooling of
their hybrid design to make it profitable. Other automakers used their profit
And now that the opportunity to do that has expired, some try to avoid facing
the reality of that poor choice to not invest more in the future.
Green Credit, history. Some still genuinely believe an
automaker will be sell lots of guzzlers if they also see an impressive hybrid.
This quote about profit is what set me off: "The Volt will help GM leapfrog
Toyota's green credit. It doesn't matter if the car loses for a few years, its
not about sales, its about indirect sales."
Green credit? Someone needs to study history.
Gas was still cheap. Climate change was still considered a "crock of @#%!". The
automotive market was thriving. Prius had *already* become profitable and selling at high-volume by the
time "green" was thought of as something of praise.
Of course, if you honestly believe green credit will allow an automaker to
continue selling lots of guzzlers, you're in for quite a surprise. The world is
rapidly becoming a very different place. Delay of 4 to 5 more years before a
competitive efficiency vehicle is available simply is not acceptable.
Pre-Order Confirmed !!! It felt so good to see the email finally arrive. Knowing that production of the 2010 Prius was well underway, but still not hearing anything about my pre-order beside just the price, was making me crazy. More information won't speed up arrival any. I just need something to keep me from going nuts in the meantime. The fantastic Spring weather is about to roll in. The long slumber of Winter is broken by escaping for a trip to take photos and bike or rollerblade. Excitement from the discovery process which comes with a generational upgrade is very fulfilling. I'm like a child looking forward to the school year ending. My delivery will take place pretty darn close to the same time. Anywho, I followed the instructions and confirmed my pre-order. Submitting that online request form will change it to an order, the dealer will be notified, and the car itself will be assigned for delivery. Yeah!
Lack of Objectivity. I've been a pain in the backside for years, pushing those posting vague & misleading content to finally clean up their act. Some do, not realizing they were contributing to greenwashing efforts. Others don't, since they are indeed attempting to deceive. Motive is revealed when they are confronted by many. Today was the day for one particular troublemaker. He's a hard-core enthusiast of Volt, doing everything he can to preserve the "40-mile" range acceptance. From that, his posts frequently undermine lower battery-capacity designs. In a discussion about a "10-mile" capacity for the plug-in Vue-Hybrid, that intent came shining through... and about a dozen popular posters finally retaliated. The reality crashing down on Chrysler must have been the rally call they needed. It was devastating. Talking about vindication! They pointed out how his "facts" were incomplete and made far too many undisclosed assumptions. The group freely expressed their disappointment with his approach, making his lack of objectivity obvious for even the most casual of readers to notice. I was absolutely delighted.
Chrysler. It's going to happen. No last minute deal was struck. Using taxpayer money to maintain business required serious recovery efforts by today. They didn't materialize. Whether or not that would have resulted in sustainability doesn't matter anymore. Bankruptcy is required now. Hopefully, the first phase of dramatic court-enforced restructuring will do the trick. If not, the second phase of asset liquidation will occur. When & What are big questions now. I suspect the changes for Chrysler will be quick & painful to avoid the impeding deadline for GM next month. Do you think this will result in a much more sensible product-line? Achieving that this way is a terrible means... but it sure is better than the automaker disappearing entirely.
Humidity. The arrival of Spring is commonly marked with very humid mornings. Today was no exception. The fog was pretty thick. The Prius loved it. My entire commute got a MPG boost. Seeing that efficiency bump on the highway at 70 MPH sure was exhilarating. I can't imagine what it will be like when that becomes a permanent sight... just a month or so from now. Waiting is agony... but it sure is worth it.
Final Month. It's entirely possible that today will mark my final month of real-world data gathering for my Iconic Prius. A tip up north with the Prius heavily loaded inside & out combined with colder than temperatures doesn't exactly make the average one to stand out. It will be just another one in the mid-40's. Next month should be considerably better; however, I'm really hoping the data is incomplete. Upgrading to a 2010 model as conditions reach the ideal will make for exciting discovery... even with the kayaks on top from time to time. Witnessing MPG highs is very rewarding.
Thunk. Thunk. Despite the damp road, the silence of stealth allowed me to hear it. There was a faint distinct thunking sound as I drove. The water threw me off though. I couldn't quite pinpoint the tires as the source. I finally stopped. Sure enough, there was a 3/4 inch rock wedged in the tread. The small part was just large enough to hold on, with a majority exposed. It would have made for a dramatic noise (a destruction to a close-following vehicle) if I had entered the highway with it still attached. The momentum would have flung it pretty hard. Fortunately, I caught it. Being able to stop without wasting any gas or having to deal with exhaust fumes as you inspect sure is nice, a hybrid benefit rarely mentioned.
Ignoring the 2010. Reading articles written for Earth Day
which pretend the 2010 Prius doesn't exist sure is frustrating. They
ignore the new model entirely, pretending it doesn't exist. All
information about Prius is for the 2009 model. That allows them to
understand efficiency and overstate the base price. In other words, they
lie by omission. There's no way to ever know the extent of damage caused
by that type of misleading, but we certainly are aware of the effects. You
hear it in discussions on a regular basis. Undermining progress takes many
forms. This was just one particular example.
Engine Load. I don't think that exact value has ever
been documented... anywhere. And now that the 2010 Insight owners are
fiercely arguing the amount of drag by the engine when no fuel is being used is
trivial, I expect them to actually quantify it. Claims of being equal,
despite a fundamentally different hybrid design, won't be accepted without
actual data to support it. For my 2004 Prius, when driving faster than the
Stealth limit (42 MPH), the LOD value according to my ScanGaugeII is 20.
After dropping below that speed, the engine will physically stop when the LOD
value falls to 12. Makes you wonder what I'll see with the new Prius, eh?
$2,000,000,000 More. On the eve of Chrysler's bankruptcy/takeover deadline (less than a week away), the government has provided GM with the money promised to allow them to sustain business until their deadline. Seeing billions of taxpayer dollars being exchanged with such uncertainty isn't comfortable for anyone. Some enthusiasts are exhibiting new levels of hostility, since survival is now at stake rather than just prestige as in the past. Regardless of the outcome, what they once knew is dead. Permanent change is now taking place. Wondering what it will encompass be is situation now. Hearing about the resulting requirements for both automakers should come within the next few months. The denial nightmare is over.
Lots of 2010 Prius! Toyota's original plan was to provide 334,000 worldwide for the first year of production. But today a Japanese article stated a revision, an increase in volume to 495,000. Yeah! That's just plain sweet. Committing to numbers like that from the start means a serious push of the technology, penetrating even deeper into the market than the competition expected. It sure makes Ford's plan for 25,000 the hybrid Fusion quite small in comparison. That's really puts pressure on GM promises too. And you know Honda will respond with aggressive promotion of Insight. Hybrids will emerge as an economic recovery strategy, building up what was once thought of an a niche market into the new standard sooner than many expected.
Intentional Misleading. You really have to pay close attention. Today's example was a rather clever attempt to mislead. When quoting the efficiency of the upcoming Audi A4 diesel, they compared the European estimate to that of the EPA estimate of the 2010 Prius here. The Audi is 51.13 US MPG. The Prius is 51.3 US MPG. It gives you the impression that the diesel will get virtually identical results as the hybrid. Assuming that based on the numbers provided makes it quite easy. Unfortunately, that's totally dishonest. The testing used in Europe is very different from that here. Both measurements must be quoted using the same criteria. But when you do that, the hybrid is revealed to be dramatically more efficient. When you look up the European estimate for 2010 Prius, you see that it is 71.2 US MPG. Clearly, that is not what the greenwashers wanted you to know. Take the time to verify numbers. Tricks like that are far too common.
Dealer Notification. The first was finally sent. Yeah! A friend in North Carolina got a call from his dealer with details about his 2010 priority order. That's exciting... for him. I'm still impatiently waiting for mine. Fortunately, the manager at my dealer was kind enough to show me his computer system so I could see how the notification will come to him for mine. I appreciated getting to see that. Here in Minnesota, shipments come from the other coast. So, I wouldn't expect my timeline to match anyway. The wait is difficult. It's history repeating itself all over again. Of course, third time is a charm... right? I know, patience.
Publishing Corrections. A popular automotive magazine recently wrote a comparison article featuring the 2010 Insight and 2010 Prius... published online, before the pricing of Prius here was available. They just guessed. And of all things, the conclusion drawn was that Insight was a better buy due to the $3,000 lower sticker-price. Well, it turns out the difference will actually only be $1,200. What will they do about the paper version of the article about to be mailed out to subscribers? Odds are that edition is already printed. Do they just follow up next month with a correction? We know how terrible of a solution that has been in the past. Countless troublemakers wanting to undermine only make reference to the inaccurate article, pretending there's nothing wrong with it. Maybe the online version will be revised, making the correction clear enough to help avoid that. You think?
Halting Production. Hearing about GM's plan to halt production in 13 plants for up to 10 weeks was quite a surprise. We've heard that the inventory build up of unsold vehicles was becoming excessive, but to that degree is shocking. The economic downturn is revealing itself to be much worse than predicted. The changes once thought of as harsh are now looking to be rather sensible. Saturn, Hummer, Saab, and Pontiac brands will be cut entirely. The remaining will need to be scaled back significantly. Once a giant automaker which gloated about the number of models and record-quantity production, soon to be dramatically smaller, that's not an outcome anyone expected... especially so quickly. Isn't it amazing how the long-resisted change finally happened?
Anniversary Dates. My first commute with my first Prius was supposed to be memorable because it was a hybrid; instead, I got trapped driving through the spilled remains of a spectacular accident. So when the first anniversary came around, I really had reason to celebrate the event. No such luck though. That day was September 11, 2001. The world definitely had other things to be concerned about. Unfortunately, the one year anniversary of second Prius was profound in a bad way too. A tragic life-changing event in my family just happened to be on the very day. So... with the 2010 Prius, hopefully it will be off to a better start. The first commute opportunity for new owners will come on May 18. The day before that marks an anniversary date for me... 8 years, 8 months, and 8 days into Prius ownership. That's not the only special date with memorable numbers this year either. My 9th anniversary is on the 9th day of the 9th month of the 9th year of the millennium. Makes you wonder what the date will be when I get this third Prius, eh?
Insight Advertising. There were 3 totally different Insight commercials on television this evening, on Earth Day. It was definitely an opportunity Honda was taking full advantage of. They know the 2010 Prius is coming to this market soon. Quantity will be larger. After all, the automaker producing it is and so is the existing consumer-base. So, establishing a sizeable presence right away makes sense. It's a good strategy. The advertising is great. Drawing attention away from guzzlers is a wonderful turn of events.