Prius Personal Log  #418

May 23, 2009  -  May 28, 2009

Last Updated: Fri. 6/26/2009

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5-28-2009

Change Immunity.  The attitude & belief on the blogging site for Volt enthusiasts continues to be one of immunity.  This was the quote published by the webmaster today: "The Chevy Volt program will not be affected in any way by this process."  How can they honestly believe nothing will change?  The price of the battery-pack can easily be made affordable by reducing capacity.  Why don't they think that will happen as an approach to increase sales and decrease risk.  You know, offer a smaller one for a base model and a larger as an option.  They should see Volt as quite vulnerable.  In fact, it should look pretty darn realistic at this point that adjustments will be made to the current implementation plan. Volt won't die.  But the justification for such a high price simply isn't there.  Expect reconfiguring to make it profitable much sooner?  Of course.  Bankruptcy requires change.  That doesn't necessarily mean an end, but it does insist on a sound way of sustaining business.

5-28-2009

Warm & Sunny.  Believe it or not, it was much warmer & brighter.  The temperature was 79 F degrees and there wasn't a cloud in the sky.  What a change for the better!  The commute drive home was wonderful.  I watched the consumption average climb to 55.9 MPG after a total of 194 miles.  Also, the idea occurred to me shortly after leaving work to use the second trip meter (a feature which wasn't available on my 2004) to measure just the commute itself.  Unfortunately, I was already a few miles into it.  Better late than never, eh?  16.6 miles were tracked.  The result of that was an amazing 68.1 MPG average.  Wow!

5-27-2009

Cold & Gloomy.  What a terrible first day with the 2010.  The temperature outside was only 54 F degrees and the sky was heavy overcast.  I still had fun though.  During the day, I took a break from work and met that friend waiting for his own 2010 again.  We explored my new Prius.  It was another one of those memories you know you'll never forget.  That sure was exciting, despite the disappointing weather.  It even rained a little while we were driving around.  So much for a demonstration of the solar-panel.  Oh well.  At least the efficiency didn't fall too much.  After a total of 149 miles, the consumption average only dropped to 54.5 MPG.

5-27-2009

MID Photos.  My first drive and my first commute are documented with digital photos.  Memories like that are too precious to not share.  After all, those many anxious people waiting for delivery of their own 2010 need something to keep them preoccupied in the meantime.  It's so exciting to see MPG numbers that high while at the same time learning what the new data has to teach.  You'll like the new MID (Multi-Information Display).  The location is great.  The layout is refined.  The results are addicting.  It sure contributes a lot to the hybrid experience.  Take a look... photo album 133

5-27-2009

From The Other Side.  I saw that television commercial for the 2010 Prius this morning.  From the perspective of an owner, I didn't realize how much my impression would change.  Rather than being that new model I had been dreaming about for months, it was now the hybrid parked in my garage.  Those awe inspiring features were just a few feet away waiting for me to use them.  That's the side many yearn for, but few actually get so soon.  Yet, I did.  Hooray!  I'll do my best to take & share photos along with documenting my experiences in writing.  It's the least I can do... and something I wanted really bad.  I was so sick & tired of all the nonsense the old guzzler industry is struggling with still.  Let go of that self-defeating obsession with size & power already!  This is the 21st Century; vehicles that are clean & efficient should be the norm now.  Instead, we are still having to deal with greenwashing.  But now I have a source of real-world data stronger than ever.  MPG even higher than with my previous Prius should make an impression on those fighting change.  Resistance is futile.  Times are changing.  Enjoy the commercial.

5-26-2009

First Photo.  I had to take something unique, something that would stand out as uniquely mine.  After all, this third pioneer purchase most definitely qualifies as "boldly going".  By the time I got my license plates mounted on the 2010, it was quite dark out.  So, I figured what the heck.  Setting the camera to flash, I pushed the button with absolutely no idea how much of that new Prius would actually be illuminated.  To my astonishment, the back end of the hybrid with the "1701-A" was captured in a unique way.  Success!  What a great way to remember the moment.  Here's what I saw...  photo album 132

5-26-2009

GOT MY 2010 !!!  I was at work, just finished saying "at any moment the dealer will call me", when that's exactly what happened moments later.  What followed was the usual craziness... rushing around... gathering important items... final prep of the 2004 for trade... racing over there... signing lots of papers... then, driving home in a new Prius.  Sweet!  The moment was surreal.  It was late, but I was far from wanting to sleep.  My sister left an excuse for travel at my mom's.  She forgot her computer power-supply and I was more than happy to run that errand.  So, I did.  It was only 61 F degrees out.  That made getting rid of the silly 17 MPG the 5 miles of delivery transport had caused a test of patience to watch disappear.  But by the time I made it back home, it was indeed gone.  The average climbed to 55.4 MPG after a total of 72 miles.  Eventually, warm weather and vehicle break-in will bring even better MPG.  Oh no!  More waiting!!

5-25-2009

All But Certain.  That's the talk now about GM filing for bankruptcy.  They are really striving to make the process easier, so the new automaker which emerges will be better positioned sooner.  Worker compensation and benefit/retirement obligations will get agreed upon.  But the fundamental flaw of not having competitive products remains.  How in the world is all that debt going to be repaid?  Our market is rapidly transitioning away from large guzzlers.  The rest of the world already never really had that problem.  GM was the largest automaker for 77 years of its 100 year existence.  Now, it will be smaller than a few of its rivals.  Strange how things are working out, eh?

5-24-2009

Speedometer Photo.  I figured it would be the last opportunity to capture the odometer reading.  Within days I could be behind the wheel of a 2010 Prius, saying goodbye to the 2004 which I spent so many good times with.  To think about all though experiences in the extreme cold or the careful hot days driving the kayaks to the lake.  All that is about to come to an end.  The 118,091 miles recorded in the photo will mark a history filled with good memories.  Pushing the button on the camera made it official.  I was ready to take that next step.  Here's what I saw at that moment... photo album 132

5-24-2009

New Driving Buttons.  There are sparse reports trickling in from 2010 owners now.  Complaints about EV being too sensitive and ECO being too restrictive are common.  But who are the people posting those opinions?  It reminds me a lot of new owners going way out of their way to prevent the engine from starting.  The thought of allowing it to run briefly is counter-intuitive.  I suspect the same is true for the new driving buttons too.  We'll find out soon enough, when this 8.5 year Prius gives them a try.  My guess is that I'll be recommending "Just Drive It" even more so than in the past.  Easy to understand examples of when they work best will probably to awhile to discover.  Remember, all energy use is a tradeoff.

5-24-2009

MPG Improvement.  Many newbies will likely find my homepage and see the lifetime averages for my first two Prius.  Those values are over-simplifications of what they can expect, but those are still nonetheless long-term real-world examples from one particular owner.  For my circumstances, the resulting difference from the generational upgrade was a 2.3 MPG improvement.  Taking that same leap with the new Prius, the value calculates to precisely a 50 MPG average.  That's an intriguing number.  Too bad it will take an entire year to find out what it actually is.

5-24-2009

Checking Out The 2010.  The same guy that was over at Honda followed me to the Toyota dealer.  I figured he was just curious about the new Prius.  Turns out, that's his other vehicle.  After 4 years and 85,000 miles, he was yearning for the upgrade opportunity.  His excitement about the 2010 there (still) for us to drool over was surprising.  He wasn't thrilled about the delivery wait his was about to begin.  I was somewhat uncertain how to break the news to him that I'd be getting one in the next few days.  Fortunately, he took it well.  We circled that Prius like vultures the next few minutes, pointing out details along the way.  Luckily, dealers aren't open for business on Sundays.  It would have been an amusing sight for any observer watching us do that.

5-24-2009

Insight Size.  You know how you approach a vehicle from the sidewalk, where you are a half foot higher since it's down on the street?  That's the impression I got today as I neared a 2010 Insight.  Being so much lower than Prius hadn't occurred to me.  I just thought length & width we're a lot less.  Since I was at the Honda dealer, it was only a block from Toyota.  So, I went there for comparison.  The 2010 Prius is noticeably taller, to the point where interior height will definitely be a concern.  I wonder how much headroom there actually is.  Hmm?

5-24-2009

Greater Use Of Electricity.  That comment of mine was immediately responded to, but in an extremely vague way.  Giving the benefit of the doubt, I responded with the following.  (Unfortunately, it turns out the person was indeed attempting to greenwash by claiming even the price of the base Prius would go up dramatically in the next 5 years.)  BELTLESS operation is an example. It means not having to start the engine to operate a secondary system.  The A/C system, steering control, and coolant pump are each traditionally powered by belts connected to the engine.  Switching them to motor eliminates that, which increases efficiency by greater use of electricity.  MOTOR size increase is another example.  There's a huge difference between Insight & Prius for this.  One uses a 10kW motor, the other 60kW.  Much more propulsion & regenerating power is available for the larger, which is a greater use of electricity.

5-23-2009

Diesel Commercials.  The new Prius is obviously thought of as quite a threat now.  In the latest diesel commercial, a Jetta TDI commercial mocks the old Prius while sighting a very misleading 58 MPG record.  Negative publicity has backfired a number of times in the past.  You'd think that advertisers would realize drawing attention to Prius promotes curiosity about it.  People wonder why it's considered so much of a threat to the competition.  Prius owners like me love it!  I'm glad to provide lots of real-world data showing how realistic of a choice it is and especially happy to point out the new model.  Why bother with so-called "clean" diesel when you can buy a very appealing hybrid instead? 

5-23-2009

Late Next Year.  The near future is becoming a strange topic of discussion.  We are now frequently getting "late next year" reports on electric-only vehicles and plug-in hybrids.  They are presented as if they are coming soon enough that you can just simply wait to purchase one.  The extremely limited quantity is never mentioned.  The price is often brushed aside.  Both are bad.  Strangely, there is a good from this.  These vehicles are presented without any misconceptions attached anymore.  Fears of reliability or performance shortcomings are gone.  The idea of the automotive industry changing dramatic is somewhat acceptable now... overlooking the propaganda, of course.  Fortunately, Toyota is preparing to reach annual production of 1 million hybrids.  That combined with whatever Ford & Honda decide to produce should provide those wanting change with something to actually buy.

5-23-2009

Rebate Propaganda.  It has spread from enthusiasts to the media.  Lutz recently appeared on the Letterman Show, stating the price of Volt would be "right around $40,000".  That's a far cry from his original price target of "nicely under $30,000".  But to quickly prevent Volt's image from too much tarnishing, he mentioned the $7,500 tax credit available.  There was no mention of how many purchases would actually qualify it or the fact that you'd still have to finance the full amount and what until you file your return the following year.  It was instead presented as a rebate.  Those that crunch the numbers know the impression given does not match reality.  But the media simply doesn't care.  They were happy to spread the propaganda.  Several articles were quickly published all stating a $32,500 price with the "rebate" as the only disclaimer.  Lack of detail is frustrating.  People will later be disappointed or angry when they finally find out what those details are.

5-23-2009

Forgetful Consumers.  The problem is becoming increasingly obvious, even the inattentive are finally noticing.  When gas prices are low, people buy guzzlers.  When the rise, people panic.  You'd hope they are simply forgetting just how bad things get when in costs a lot to fill the tank.  But then again, you'd think they'd be smart enough to see that it will happen again.  The previous administration pushed the mindset that the problem with supply could be fixed permanently, so you'd have no reason to worry afterward.  That's not realistic.  Worldwide consumption is growing as the supply of oil that inexpensive to extract & refine is shrinking.  There's also emissions problems to be concerned about.  Yet, some still don't take any of it seriously.  Well, in case truly are just forgetful, let this serve as a reminder.

 

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