Prius Personal Log  #423

June 13, 2009  -  June 19, 2009

Last Updated: Mon. 8/17/2009

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6-19-2009

Total Silence.  It was obvious even at the time of all the diesel attention that supporters were in a state of panic, attempting everything they could possibly do before the 2010 Prius deliveries began.  I checked last week to see if that one particularly bias diesel website had posted any updates since their final post with the abrupt "correction" to their MPG results.  Nothing.  The outcome they feared is being confirmed by their total silence now.  Not hearing even a peep from groups once so vocal says it all.  This is the double entendre meaning behind the "stealth" term given to Prius... since there have been times in its history where it silently progressed even deeper into the consumer market.

6-18-2009

What's Different?  It sounds like GM is planning to repeat the same mistakes of the past.  Rather than spreading themselves too thin with brands, it is becoming a wide selection of propulsion systems.  Internally, the automaker's divisions competed for resources among each other.  Drain like that from within makes competing with actual competitors (other automakers) much more difficult.  We've seen that same struggle countless times before.  How will this be any different?  The plan is to offer 14 hybrid vehicles by 2012, including BAS+, Two-Mode, Plug-In Two-Mode, Voltec, and traditional automatic & manual transmissions.  Why are they attempting to deliver so many different designs?

6-17-2009

Quick Reference Guide.  I didn't realize or remember there was a DVD that came with my 2010 purchase.  Wow!  It's mostly for first-time hybrid owners.  So you can imagine how I would have so easily set it aside when given the large bundle of stuff that can with during the time of purchase.  After all, I prefer the hands-on introductions when learning anyway.  Then afterward, I follow up with the formal education.  You tend to pick up much more that way.  The intriguing part is, by watching it, you quickly become well informed... much more so then a person would about a traditional vehicle.  Toyota definitely wants to empower owners.  What an exciting & unexpected find!  Just imagine what Prius could have been like if something like this had been available years ago.  It's almost like a video version of the User-Guide.  Of course, I suppose it could also intimidate... giving an impression Prius is somehow different in the way you drive it.  That's not the case.  The video just makes it finding features very easy and tells you about what happens when you move, touch, or switch something.  Close-ups with motion & sound do an excellent job of pointing things out that no printed manual could ever accomplish so easily.  Needless to say, I was quite impressed.

6-16-2009

Attitude Adjustment.  How much do you think has actually changed?  The reality of the bankruptcies impact has yet to be seen.  The outcome is likely to be on an enormous scale.  But unfortunately, a shift on that magnitude can go overlooked.  It's like the change over to cell-phones and notebook computers.  The reason for the subtly is due to the amount of time it takes.  Much of that comes from the resistance to it.  Someone needs an attitude adjustment to prevent the delay; otherwise, those unwilling to adapt die in the process.  We've lost countless manufacturers of other popular products of the past.  What truly makes the automakers any different?  These consumer goods are a bigger risk due to the purchase price.  It is reasonable to expect the death to be quite painful.  So, why must it comes to this?  Shouldn't the success of Prius speak for itself?  How can there be any doubt still?  Our dependence on oil and the quality of our air should be reasons enough.  Not being competitive anymore and attempting to nurse the automakers back to health should be a clue that major change is required.  Yet, the revitalization plans we hear about still leave much to be desired.  What lessens have been learned?

6-15-2009

Greenwashing Proof.  It feels absolutely wonderful when someone attacks you about Prius information, claiming you have no idea what you are talking about, and you've got an arsenal of photos available clearly providing proof that they are attempting to greenwash.  I was delighted to refer to my album for that.  The effort to document my experiences paid off a large dividend this evening.  Though, it took me aback to see the sight of the old Multi-Display again.  Reliving such a vivid memory, in this case the day temperatures dropped all they way down to -22 F degrees, emphasized how those times are now over.  Rather than making history, I'm now driving the new standard.  This model Prius will be the ubiquitous one.  We'll see it everywhere, in very large quantity.  The Classic & Iconic models are already quickly becoming part of an intriguing past.

6-15-2009

Questions.  You know that the end is near when a number of GM supporters start pointing out GM's own deceptive practices.  There's simply no way to start fresh without first acknowledging the problems that required the restart.  Now with several examples of failed hybrids, overcoming mistakes of the past should be easier.  But you never know.  I find it odd how relevant my skepticism from the original Two-Mode announcement still is.  In short, it seemed disingenuous.  Sadly, the "over promise, under deliver" reputation was accurate.  Anywho, I posted this...  4.5 years ago when Two-Mode was announced, it was hyped as superior to the competition with this statement: "The hybrid technology that currently exists is already outdated and will likely be gone in a couple of years".  Not only was that inaccurate, it was also an empty promise.  GM is telling us what to drive by not offering a choice.  They never delivered.  We are still waiting for that hybrid competition.  Is BAS+ also cancelled or just BAS?  Will there ever be a 4-cylinder Two-Mode car?  What is the production volume intention for Volt technology?  Fundamental questions continue to go unanswered.  Speculation is wild.  GM supporters quarrel amongst themselves.  It's a mess.

6-15-2009

Uncertainty.  The situation at GM is rapidly degrading.  2 weeks after declaring bankruptcy, it's really a mess.  The hope to send a message of change has turned into just more of the chaos which led the automaker to that point.  In other words, the haphazard approach to survive continues.  Seeing this is easy when you try to figure out what the objectives are for GM with hybrids.  Within just a few searches, you can come up with a half-dozen very different outcome impressions.  This is what I posted to illustrate the type of clarity we should expect:  The problem all along for GM has been not setting clear goals.  Then consumers don't even have to care about what the particular technology is.  For example, Toyota set the following with Prius...  Price: low 20's  Efficiency: 50 MPG  Emissions: PZEV

6-14-2009

Freaky Transition.  The very long awaited transition from analog television to digital finally happened 2 days ago.  When helping a relative with the setup today, I swapped back over to the analog tuner to see if anything was still there.  All that was available was "if you can see this video, on continuous playback".  That was freaky.  For the channels you grew up with to now be reduced to just providing information on how to complete the setup for digital really makes you think.  Imagine, someday hybrids will be the standard.  Engine-Only configurations will be reduced to special-need vehicles.  It's inevitable.  Heck, do you even remember when you last used chemical-based film?  Embracing new technology can be surprisingly easy sometimes.

6-14-2009

Solar Guilt.  Now, it's getting weird.  I love it though!  Today marked my first bike trip of the year... which is a sad commentary on how busy things have been, considering it is already the middle of June.  That meant it was hot outside.  Driving to the location, I used the A/C in the 2010 for the first time... which performed remarkably... efficiency in the 2010 is truly amazing.  Anywho, by dumb luck when parking, the very best spot just happened to be available.  It's extra large and in a corner shaded by a tree.  I snapped it up... then realized my Prius was the only vehicle (obviously) with a solar roof.  Hiding from the sun is that very last thing you'd expect with technology like that.  But I did anyway...  then felt a little bit of guilt seeing all the open spots in the bright sun.  Who would have thought?

6-14-2009

EREV Estimates.  Efficiency estimates are crude, at best.  But credible sources are attempting to establish criteria for what owners are likely to observe in real-world conditions.  Today, we got information from the researchers at Argonne National Lab.  They're known for their objectivity with past reports on Prius.  This one, of course, makes reference to the Iconic model, rather than the 2010.  So, it is already outdated.  But the methodology for measure should hold... especially with Volt, which is still just in the concept phase.  What I found most interesting from this study was that they specified 20-percent as the generator usage.  Expectations are far less from enthusiasts, who crave the ideal rather than being realistic.  As for the MPG when the generator was in use, they approximated 50 city and 45 highway for Volt.

6-14-2009

Reaching 35 MPG.  There was an article published today about the challenges automakers face to meet the 2016 fleet-efficiency requirement.  The situation was summed up with this statement: "The fact that even most hybrids don't make the grade raises some interesting questions."  That set the tone.  I was angry.  The older model Prius was listed rather than the 2010 and the hybrid Fusion was missing entirely.  Talking about misrepresenting the situation!  Some of us call that "lying by omission".  Needless to say, it was an anti-hybrid report disguised as a constructive analysis of economy standards.  And naturally, there was no mention of emission benefits whatsoever.  Deception like that is a harsh reminder of the resistance to change we still face.

6-14-2009

Pointless Posts, objectives.  The internal fighting GM experienced before bankruptcy was a major contributor to their problems.  Two-Mode, BAS+, and Volt were all claiming to be the new technology standard, all competing for resource from the demands of the traditional product-line.  They were spreading themselves too thin with technologies the same way they did with the number of brands & models.  That was old GM.  The new GM claims to be "reinventing" itself.  Purging those obstructions of the past is great!  But it sure looks like they are beginning to recreate them over again.  If they'd declare clear objectives, all that can be avoided.  Do they want a low-volume plug-in technology that will offset guzzlers, so they can still meet CAFE requirements?  Do they want to replace their traditional product-line with hybrids?  Or do they want to replace and also offer a plug-in?  Knowing the answer to those questions has a profound influence in how resources are spent and how the automaker competes, as well as the time expectations.  What are the objectives?

6-14-2009

Pointless Posts, competing.  How many times have you heard that Two-Mode is more scalable than HSD, that it is superior to the FULL hybrid technology the competition offers?  Then shortly following that, someone will post how the technology in Volt will render all else obsolete?  They are arguing with each other, but assume it's me just stirring trouble.  Here's what I had been patiently waiting to get: "GM has strong hybrid technology this will be coming to the market and it will compete with the Prius."  And my reply to it... So many posters absolutely insist the technology in Volt is the new standard, rendering the FULL hybrid (like Prius & Fusion) obsolete.  Yet, you just confirmed that's not actually the case.  You confirmed GM will deliver FULL hybrids to compete with.  Point made.

6-14-2009

Pointless Posts, volume.  A very frustrated member on the big GM forum finally just blurted out: "They do not want it to be a large volume vehicle."  That's what I've been saying all along.  He even went as far as preceding the statement with this: "The fact of the matter is that the Volt is being manufactured for CAFE and PR."  I responded with these statements...  I was attempting to get someone to admit that large volume was not an objective for Volt.  Point made.  Volt's purpose is different.  Point made.

6-14-2009

Pointless Posts, pattern.  It was getting agonizing for even me.  I can't imagine the impression you as a reader of these entries get from all my back & forth posts about the GM vehicle plans.  The posts may have seemed pointless, but they weren't.  Going between the discussions on the big Prius forum, those on the big GM forum, and those on the Volt blogging website, I noticed a pattern.  The casual reader most likely would not.  So, I figured I had an advantage.  And sure enough, I got what I was looking for.

6-14-2009

MID AVE MPH.  It took almost three tanks before I figured out the value of this new data.  Too bad I didn't document it from the very beginning.  Oh well, that's only two entry points missed.  The number itself is what threw me.  Overall average speed is what's recorded, including the time you are stopped.  That seems odd until you start comparing your data to other owners.  If the value is only 29 MPH, you probably stayed off highways most of the time.  If the value is in the mid-30's to 40 MPH, it's probably a good mix of city, suburb, and highway driving.  Higher than that, mostly highway.  This will be interesting to watch for a pattern develop from my data, especially since speeds tend to slow in the Winter due to bad driving conditions.  I like how we now have an readily available reference basis for driving type.  Stay tuned.  I'm quite curious.

6-13-2009

Niche Mindset.  There's a strange sense of panic that only a small market exists for Volt and Prius will gobble it up.  People fear they need to show superiority or die.  In reality, there's lots of traditional vehicles which must be replaced with something.  The instinct to fight competitors will ultimately kill GM from within.  Just look at how many internal groups are contradicting each other with the many hybrid types being offered.  Meanwhile, Ford is getting along just fine with Toyota.  It's a fascinating to watch what inspires competition.  Honda just quietly does their own thing.  GM loves to hype what they still don't offer.  Meanwhile, the price of oil continues to climb.  It's now at $72 per barrel and we've become accustom to paying at least $2.50 for a gallon of gas.  Just imagine what things will be like a few years from now.  The last thing hybrids will be thought of is a niche.  They'll be so common some will wonder how there ever could have been any question about them becoming the norm.

 

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