Prius Personal Log  #42

October 28, 2002  -  November 7, 2002

Last Updated: Sat. 12/07/2002

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11-07-2002

Cleanly & Efficiently going where no one has gone before.  The counter on the homepage reached 100,000 today.  So, we really can't say "Boldly going..." anymore.  There's too many of us and the territory has been well traveled (by Prius, of course).  In fact, that number is actually too low.  Cached views aren't tallied, and neither are viewings of any of the other pages.  But I do review the website's administrative reports from time to time to find out what's really happening.  There were a little under 210,000 file accesses just last month alone.  There was over 8 GB of data transferred, and that total doesn't include any of the archive or alternate-video-format files.  Also, there's no way of knowing how much of the log & album activity really takes place now that I offer offline viewing via PDF files.  Prius owners & enthusiasts are using the information I publish (which they helped create) to spread knowledge for building a better future.  For that, I will always be grateful.  So at this point while reading this, take a moment to pat yourself on the back for doing your part to help out.  Thanks!

11-07-2002

Temperature affects on LRR tires?  It just occurred to me that LRR tires might only be highly beneficial in warmer weather.  Here in Minnesota, the ground is frozen for 5 months of the year.  That means the tires are cold & hard just like the roads.  Neither would grab the other much (with respect to the rubber itself, not the tread's ability to grip).  So resistance would be low anyway, meaning even a standard tire could perform better then.  Right?

11-07-2002

Owner Webpage: Doug.  The New Jersey Lighthouse Society sponsored its third annual "New Jersey Lighthouse Challenge" where they invited people to visit all 11 of the lights remaining in the state.  Doug and his wife decided this would be a fun activity to participate in with their new 2002 Aqua Prius.  They brought along a camera to capture each stop.  Those photos have been put on a new owner webpage for your viewing pleasure.  Check them out!  (Doug, thanks for contributing.)  owner:  Doug

11-06-2002

Remembering History.  I'm sure glad I have these logs.  Without them, remembering what happened, at what particular time, and how it was perceived would be lost knowledge.  Here's a bit of info I want to remember but didn't document back when it happened (since log entries were infrequent and political comment was something I originally avoided):  PNGV, Partnership Next Generation of Vehicles, was established as a 10-year federally-funded initiative back in 1994.  Vice-President Gore was the leader of that cause (to create clean high-mileage vehicles, with the ultimate goal of a car that could get 80 MPG).  Prototype vehicles were presented in January 2000.  Things were proceeding right on schedule. Needless to say, I was very excited about what the new millennium was promising to offer.  That fueled the fire of my desire to buy a Prius.  When I finally did buy my Prius in September 2000, I couldn't have been more happy.  The new technology was beginning to be delivered.  But then in January 2001 the Bush administration began leading, they abruptly pulled the plug.  Just a few months after that, it was as if PNGV never existed.  That really ticked me off.  But it was an great reason for me to really beef up this website.  I wanted to prove their decision to discontinue PNGV was clearly wrong.  Now, their isn't much of a debate.  We know it should have been continued.  Advanced vehicle technology really does offer worthwhile benefits.

11-06-2002

Bladder = Safer.  The bladder in the gas tank is there to reduce harmful emissions.  Up until now, we thought that meant the purpose was exclusively to prevent pollution.  It turns out, that there's actually another benefit.  Here in the north, it becomes extraordinarily dry during the Winter.  That causes a charge to build up whenever you slide across the fabric in a vehicle.  Then when you get near metal, it is discharged.  In a few rare circumstances while at the pump, that spark has been enough to ignite gasoline vapor.  That potential deadly situation has prompted the media to spread a warning and inform people how to avoid the risk.  I wonder if any of them will think of telling people to buy a Prius, since the bladder significantly reduces those "harmful emissions".  (You also don't have to get gasoline as often!)

11-06-2002

Charge & Warm-Up.  New construction began today.  A major thruway was closed.  Traffic leaving work is much heavier.  I thought that might really hurt my MPG, but it turns out to not be all that bad.  The battery-pack is down to half usually (from having stealthed so much on the way to work).  That means when I leave, the engine wants to run to replenish the supply of power.  It has to run anyway to warm up the emission system.  So rather than running just for the sake of creating heat alone, the engine is used spin the regenerator-motor.  To do that, the engine has to work a little harder... which generates more heat.  (See where I'm going with this?)  Overall, that's a more efficient use of resources.  So a little bit of energy is saved and the engine shuts off a little quicker.

11-05-2002

Down & Up on the Multi-Display.  We got heavy snow today.  It was that really wet stuff that you knew would melt right away.  So it should not have affected traffic that much... but it did.  Fortunately, my Prius always makes the best of situations like that.  She provides entertainment for me.  The silence makes the radio sound great.  The lack of vibration makes the seating comfortable.  And sometimes, she shows me interesting patterns on her Multi-Display.  On that particular occasion, not only did I see a unique shape of green designed from the MPG graph bars, I was also able to capture a photo it.  See:  photo album 42

11-04-2002

Courier Prius.  While waiting at the crosswalk today, I noticed a White Prius approaching.  When it got close, I saw something that surprised me.  There was a business emblem on the door.  That was a "QuickSilver" express courier vehicle.  Excellent!  I had heard of businesses in other metro areas using Prius, but never one here... until today!  That's a great type of promotion.  I hope they decide to replace their entire fleet of vehicles with Prius.  We could end up seeing them all over the place!

11-02-2002

Misconceptions Reappearing.  The growing popularity of hybrids is causing the same old concerns to be discussed again, except this time it's a totally new audience in different online forums... and I'm now armed for bear!  So I've joined those forums hoping to extinguish those very active threads before they get out of hand.  I wonder what people will think when they discover how massive & thorough this website is?  Will it simply end the discussions?  Will it generate new topics the hybrid veterans never even thought of?  Will it spark a "revolt" of some type?  (Yes, that bad pun was intended.)  Will hybrids suddenly disappear off dealer's lots and become back-ordered due to overwhelming demand?  We're entering uncharted territory now, something Detroit automakers never expected.  The future is now in our control.  Sweet!

11-02-2002

"Stealth Secrets" on Discovery.  There was an hour long special is on stealth today.  It was depicted as: extremely advanced technology that took everyone else by total surprise, something they claimed could never be possible.  They were talking about the Stealth aircraft.  But Prius just happens to fit that definition well too.  In fact, you could even take it one step further by saying Prius is also helping to "defend" the well-being of our country.

11-02-2002

1994 Museum.  My fascination with advanced technologies officially began when I took my first computer programming class back in 1979.  It was extraordinarily primitive back then.  That simplicity provided a great educational background for me, a foundation to build upon.  The easy-to-understand nature of things allowed me to witness the establishment of countless new computer standards.  And I did exactly that.  So when the complexity of hybrid technology finally became realistic, I jumped on board right away.  It made perfect sense to me.  Anywho, I made an effort to save technology advertisements throughout the course of my education.  They did such a great job of showing what the market was like at a specific time, I knew saving them would be enlightening later... like today!  I scanned a some of the advertisements from 1994.  Look closely at them.  Read the commentaries I added.  They'll help to give you an idea why I have such confidence in the technology used by Prius.  You'll find them all here:  museum 

11-01-2002

Selling-Points webpage.  There's a HTML format available too:  Selling-Points  webpage

11-01-2002

Selling-Points document.  We did it again!  A bunch of the members on the Yahoo Group got together online and built yet another document to help promote Prius.  This one specifically addresses questions people commonly have when researching a Prius purchase.  It compliments the Info-Sheet nicely too, since it provides a completely different type of fact-list.  This particular printed document also offers a new layout.  If desired, you can fold it in half to create a small booklet.  If not, it also looks nice as a full-size handout.  Photos are included (of course), so 3 different formats are available: a photo-quality Microsoft Word DOC file (which can be altered by you, if desired), a photo-quality Adobe Acrobat PDF file (in ZIP format to make downloading quicker), and a standard-quality PDF (intended for online viewing).  Please check it out, then print & share as many copies as possible with others:  Selling-Points  print

10-31-2002

Third Coldest October.  The temperature average was lower than I had thought.  We set a record this month by it being the third coldest October in Minnesota recorded history.  That makes me feel even better about the 46.3 MPG month average.  It's starting to feel like Fall is already over.  I wonder how long it will be before it looks that way?

10-31-2002

MPG Skill.  I wonder how much my own skill has improved the MPG.  Hmm?  That Multi-Display has taught me how to take advantage of the hybrid design, and my foot has become very sensitive.  Now I can effortlessly engage stealth without even needing to look.  It's a second-nature response at this point, a beneficial habit.  But by how much?  Prius is pretty smart.  It knows how to take advantage of all common driving patterns, even if I don't try.  Perhaps the motto "Just Drive It" is all you really need to know.

10-31-2002

YMMV.  Your Mileage May Vary.  The EPA rating standards were established back in 1974 after that oil crisis.  That was a good attempt to create uniform measurement system.  But by 1985, it was obvious the resulting values weren't a realistic assessment of actual performance.  So they were adjusted.  Now, 17 years later with 20 MPH faster highway speeds and much heavier commute congestion, those values desperately need to be adjusted again.  And thankfully, that's exactly what the EPA is doing.  So expect revisions soon.  Unfortunately though, the benefits of hybrid design won't be reflected well.  But give it time.  At least this improvement will raise awareness (and force manufacturers to acknowledge the poor MPG their vehicles actually get with real-world driving).

10-30-2002

"Hybrid" will become more confusing.  An even greater variety of hybrid technologies will be introduced early next year when the Auto Shows begin.  Somehow we're going to have to identify the level of hybridization with terms like "SULEV capable" and "STEALTH capable"; otherwise, systems that aren't as clean or efficient will get lumped into the same category.  It's easy to see how labeling a vehicle a "hybrid" would draw appeal to it.  But that could be very misleading if automakers aren't up front about what they really meant.  Adding nothing but an auto-stop feature might be considered enough to call it a "hybrid".  Prius owners know that feature alone doesn't amount to much of a consumption or emission improvement.  Misconceptions could easily get worse instead of better.

10-30-2002

New "Silent" Advantage.  The guy working the drive-thru was a bit baffled today.  He said he listens for engine noise to notify him that someone is at the order sign.  But from my Prius, there was nothing.  Then when I spoke, the transmission was unusually clear since there weren't any background sounds of an engine running.  Upon pulling up to the window, he just starred at the car with awe.  The dead silence really impressed him.  I was able to promote Prius without even trying.  Cool!

10-30-2002

Attitude Changes.  It's amazing how things have changed over the last 2 years.  Convincing people that 3,000 miles was way too soon for an oil change was quite a challenge.  Now I'm getting all kinds of support saying every 5,000 miles in a traditional vehicle is regarded as typical.  Somehow the mindset has changed.  Kind of makes you wonder what people will think of hybrids 2 years from now.  Hmm?  The same thing has happened with tires too.  Using a Non-XL & Non-LRR tires with much higher than "normal" PSI on a Prius was something only the adventurous dared to try.  Now there's a bunch of us that having been driving around that way for over 10,000 miles already.  It's no big deal anymore.  Hopefully, we're on the edge of proving that hybrid technology is something even the most skeptical will embrace.  After all, it is the 21st Century now.

10-29-2002

Burst of Speed.  Usually I don't allow myself to push the pedal all the way to the floor, since that isn't efficient.  But merging onto the highway today, I needed to.  So I gave myself permission.  Swissssh!  The Prius bolted into the distance.  Man that's fun!  You really wouldn't expect pep like that to be possible, but it is.  That big battery-pack and powerful motor can really deliver a burst of speed.  And I do take advantage of that on city streets.  When the light turns green, I briskly (and safely) get to the speed limit.  That quick burst of speed usually puts me about 10 car-lengths in front of everyone, allowing me to enjoy that section of the road all to myself for a little bit (until the speeders catch up, anyway).  I always wondered if people ever thought I was showing off or just wasting gas.  Yes, I obviously like it when the Prius gets attention.  But really, that is a very efficient way to accelerate.  I average 45 MPG overall doing that.  You take advantage of the hybrid system to accelerate (that's high engine RPM and full power from the motor, fed by either the engine or battery-pack or both).  Then when you reach the speed limit, you let up on the pedal and engage stealth (which shuts off the engine).  It saves gas by doing that, and it becomes a second-nature habit fairly quick.  So then you just focus on the fun aspect of it.

10-28-2002

Prius makes Safer Drivers.  The reason: they obey the speed limit and are more observant.  It's so simple.  Anyone can do that.  But without a Multi-Display, there's not really much incentive.  Slowing down to get a bigger green MPG bar adds a benefit of safety.  You reduce the odds of injury by not exceeding the limit.  Maintaining that speed also means your progress is predictable to others.  That's helpful in accident avoidance.  Being observant to get a bigger green MPG bar adds a benefit of safety too.  You look ahead watching to see if the light is about to turn red.  Noticing that it will, you let up on the gas and begin an efficient glide.  That's significantly safer than trying to race through the intersection with the hope that no one else is doing the same thing or those with the green light have already begun to move.  Anticipating what's going to happen is much better than blind hope.  Sometimes the simplest things really do make a difference.

 

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