Prius Personal Log  #424

June 19, 2009  -  June 26, 2009

Last Updated: Mon. 8/17/2009

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6-26-2009

"Full" Battery.  I finally saw all 8 bars filled on the battery indicator of the new MID (Multi-Information Display).  That isn't actually full.  It's somewhere around 80-percent capacity, just like it was for the Iconic model.  But with the 2010, you get much more play with electric-only driving.  So, the thought of the many city streets I was about to travel made for a very exciting experience.  It certainly wasn't disappointing either.  The larger motor and the ability to draw more electricity from the battery-pack really contributed to a "fun to drive" story.  That was a lunch escape to remember.  It was a discovery process in the form of a smooth & silent cruise.  For all those anxious people impatiently waiting delivery of their own 2010, it's stuff like this that make the painfully long delay totally worth it.

6-26-2009

Test Drive.  Lunch was fun today.  I got together with a friend who has owned an Iconic model Prius almost as long as I had.  That made his impression of the 2010 a very important one.  Being so aware of the hybrid system in the prior generation allowed him to immediately detect improvements.  And boy did he ever!  Being behind the wheel only a few seconds was all it took.  The feel of vehicle handling and power of the system really captured his attention.  The delight was quite obvious.  And that was without the PWR button pressed!  Later when he merged onto the highway, the argument of "fun to drive" was put to rest forever.  It was clear to him that no one could use that line of reasoning again and still be taken seriously.  But neither of us thrive on aspects of driving like that.  We like what the display was indicating.  Seeing an average of 56 MPG is the ultimate endorsement.  All the other features, along with fantastic efficiency, makes the next purchase decision later an easy one.  After all, his multi-vehicle household only has one Prius currently... and it makes recommending the 2010 to those asking about his Prius a no-brainer.

6-25-2009

Fighting Change.  It's truly amazing how much resistance some still have to change.  They fight you with every post, insisting you are somehow trying to cause harm.  In a way, that is actually true.  The short-term practices of the past are what contributed heavy to the financial meltdown and must end.  Why is acceptance so scary for some?  GM is the ultimate example of this denial at play.  The die-hard enthusiasts honestly believe a FULL hybrid version of Malibu still is not necessary, despite Ford's recent success with Fusion.  They figure the technology in Volt is the only solution required and that waiting the 6 to 8 years it will take for prices to become competitive and volume to grow to mainstream levels is no big deal.  They believe status quo is just fine in the meantime and that current products will just be abandoned without resistance when the time comes.  Doesn't this sound familiar?  We went through this already both with fuel-cell vehicles and later with Two-Mode.  Heck, they even tried pushing E85 as a new standard too.  How effective were any of those beliefs?  You can't just hope for a miracle solution someday, you must embrace the change today.

6-24-2009

Market Focus.  Why is it so difficult for some to admit the obvious?  There's a large market for midsize, midprice, clean, high-efficiency cars.  That's where a substantial amount of production should be focused.  Those vehicles in the middle tend not to stand out, by their very nature of being so common.  That lack of exciting draw is what keeps some executives from taking that market seriously.  But now with the order wait-list for the new Prius at 200,000 in Japan, you'd think priorities would be easier to change.  After all, strong sales is what sustains business.  Perhaps when the June sales figures for the United States are released, then we'll see some attitude change.  Given enough time, the harsh reality of bankruptcy may cause GM to focus on the market for the common consumer.  After all, Ford is investing heavily in that now.

6-24-2009

Still Evading.  The most devoted of GM supporters are still fighting the inevitable.  We get nothing but excuses.  They don't want to address need.  It's self-destructive.  Why are they so stubborn?  The reality of bankruptcy still hasn't sunk in yet.  Geez!  Anywho, this is what I posted today, frustrated by the defiance of certain individuals...  Even if the market shrinks to just a third the size it once was, that's still millions of vehicles.  Automakers must produce something.  Consumers will eventually need to purchase something.  Used vehicles only last so long and our problems with oil dependency and air quality won't go away unless we actually do something.  All the excuses being posted don't face that reality.  Unwillingness to acknowledge the need is a big problem.  Keeping the status quo is how we got into this mess.  This thread about the large number of consumers waiting for delivery of their new Prius makes it overwhelming clear that there's a market for midsize, midprice, clean, high-efficiency cars.  Whether or not you like Prius itself has nothing to do with it.  When the purchase occurs doesn't either.  Each automaker should be offering a high-volume vehicle in that category.  Stop evading that point.

6-23-2009

The Other End.  The one is guzzler appeal fading appeal.  The other "end" is the enthusiasts post for Volt.  They want to capitalize on the change, taking advantage of the opportunity to push their extreme.  The difference between "superiority" and "mainstream" still isn't understood.  The concept of "being competitive" is simply dismissed.  Tired of their nonsense, I posted this...  Reading through the posts above, I see that the usual incorrect information about Prius is now mixed with facts that are outdated.  The persistence of comparing vehicles with such drastic price differences is bad enough.  But not understanding how the new model operates and what features have changed says a lot.  We are about to begin the second half of 2009.  Between the bankruptcy outcome for GM and the sales count for Prius, it should become obvious how much the market is changing.  The shift to low-profit affordable vehicles that don't guzzle is already underway.  That puts traditional vehicles in a difficult spot.  Some will really struggle to remain competitive.  How does that position Volt, in a market so different from which it was originally conceived?

6-23-2009

Coming To An End.  That's quite obvious when posts are filled with literally nothing, detail missing entirely.  They've become horribly vague.  Arguments pretending to be constructive don't actually say anything anymore.  You get comparison references to Prius that use only words like "better" which are completely void of quantitative measure.  You have no idea how much or even if it actually makes any difference in real-world driving.  For that matter, the use of the word "Prius" is so generic you are setup with the hope of incorrectly assuming the new model.  These are all undermining techniques we've seen countless times in the past.  There is nothing in them to sway consumers with, other than fear.  But those driving hybrids know it's really the fear of change.  That's why all the nonsense is increasing.  The era of guzzlers is rapidly coming to an end.

6-22-2009

Made In Mexico.  The new technology message being chanted on the big GM forum has been "Buy American".  Even though foreign-owned automakers build some hybrids here (with the hope of significant increases later) and employ workers here, that's not good enough.  I thought jobs for our men & women was the point.  Apparently, not... because the most hypocritical news just hit the web causing an enormous stir.  The premiere hybrid from GM was hoped to be the Sierra.  It's their big pickup truck and has been a symbol of pride.  But of all things, it's not going to be built here.  Instead, that will take place in Mexico along with the non-hybrid model already produced there.  The enthusiasts should have studied more before promoting a message they now regret.

6-22-2009

Keep Your Clunker.  The argument against Prius backfired wonderfully today.  It was hard to believe they'd actually back themselves into a corner like that.  Several posts from various forum members were attempts to convince that you were better off keeping an old vehicle from 15 years ago than to get a Prius.  It was based on economics alone.  Other factors like safety and reliability were totally absent.  Single point arguing was the best they had to offer.  I was quite amused.  On a forum supporting GM, the automaker's fate had been totally forgotten.  Keep you clunker was the message they decided to convey.  Consumers eventually have to buy something and GM must produce something.  But they absolutely refused to acknowledge the reality of the situation.  I responded with this...  That's it?  With a group so devoted yet so divided about what the next step for GM should be, you'd think the arguments would go deeper than just reciting the same old over-generalized replies.  Holding on to extremely old vehicles is the ultimate example avoiding the issue.  GM PRODUCES NEW VEHICLES!  Telling people not to buy anything is an absolutely horrible solution.

6-22-2009

Now It's Hot.  It suddenly became Summer here.  The morning commute temperature was 84 F degrees.  Living in Minnesota, people are quick to complain about the afternoon temperatures climbing into the mid 90's.  But I'm even quicker to remind them of how long Winter is here.  Flashbacks of January cause them to suddenly reconsider their complaint.  Then I point out that the Prius is absolutely loving it.  Seeing the average MPG maintained at 58 is truly remarkable.  Getting the opportunity to try out the solar ventilation and give that electric A/C a workout is fantastic!  I so look forward to enjoying moments like this.

6-21-2009

Lots of MID Photos.  It took quite awhile to learn what was important to take photos of on the new MID (Multi-Information Display) and to figure out how.  This one is different from the two other Prius.  Information is directed toward efficiency well beyond what we had available before.  4 weeks and 4 tanks into ownership, I'm getting a feel for what will ultimately be needed in the downloadable documents that end up being created, which will include some of these photos.  The Eco-Meter and 1-Minute Consumption screens are the most informative.  The Energy Monitor, which I didn't use much in the past, gets used even less now.  Past Record hasn't come into play yet, but later I could imagine it revealing some trends.  Proximity to the Speedometer is fantastic.  Move that data source higher was a wise decision.  The type of display makes the green & white colors remarkably easy to see under all lighting conditions.  The red color tends to fade away in the bright, but its use is sparse anyway.  Anywho, here are... photo album 134

6-19-2009

Ugly Hybrid.  It boggles the mind that debates about Prius still quickly degrade to appearance.  Funny thing is, even those who don't care for the new look are questioning whether or not others are even aware of the changes with the 2010.  On several occasions now, a collection of photos have been posted by them to make sure.  Of course, those who already spewed recent ugly comments obviously won't recant them upon discovering they made that error.  Being poorly informed is commonly anyway.  During the transition to a new generation, that is especially widespread.  All the news about the order lists growing to a massive scale is truly frightening to some.  The death of the dinosaurs cannot be denied anymore.  Being replaced by cars shaped like Prius makes the situation even worse for them.  Careless guzzling is ugly.  Sleek aerodynamics encasing an extremely practical shape is beautiful.

6-19-2009

The End Is Near.  You can easily tell now.  The antagonists have run out of material now.  They've got nothing on the 2010 Prius and the Iconic model arguments are years quite outdated, debunked long ago.  Hearing about the stellar MPG new owners are getting is making their desperation difficult to conceal.  The best they can do is attempt to spin there own spin, a confusion tactic.  I've had it.  I'm biding my time waiting for real-world data collection.  It's a slow process.  Each tank takes awhile to use up.  Anywho, this was my response to the craziness caused by the refusal to acknowledge the recent increase in production volume as a result of all the new orders:  Yes, anything you can do to distract from the total quantity.  Percents & Rankings work well for that.  Comparisons do too.  Point is, the penetration of hybrids into the market is growing deeper quickly.  And once a consumer takes that step away from a traditional vehicle, their misconceptions vanish.  That influence easily spreads, to their family members & friends... and neighbors... and coworkers.  Then you've got people like me sharing real-world data online.  It's that acceptance you fear.  Avoiding the total quantity confirms it.  180,000 sales is 180,000 more on the road, regardless of how they got there or how those sales were perceived.

6-19-2009

Passing Power.  I got the opportunity to use that new PWR button for passing today.  When you have farm machinery driving slowly on a curvy country road, patience for the opportunity needs to be followed by the willingness to drop the pedal.  For me, that was the chance I had been hoping for.  When the moment arrived, the outcome was delightful.  The Prius charged around the obstacle with the greatest of ease.  Surges of thrust like that are exactly what electric motors deliver extremely well.  Those hoping to undermine using the not "fun to drive" excuse are in trouble when they discover what that PWR button is capable of.

6-19-2009

Clunkers.  A billion dollars was approved by the Senate to enable consumers to trade in their guzzler for a more efficient vehicle.  The guzzler must be less than 25 years old and be rated for no higher than 18 MPG.  The amount of money received is greater for a greater increase in efficiency.  That makes for a very convenient excuse to abandon a terrible mistake of the past.  Those still feeling the pain of $4 gas may find this great incentive to exceed the status quo.  Why bother with a run-of-the-mill 30 MPG vehicle when you've always driven a stand-out vehicle anyway?  This program puts hybrids like Fusion and Prius in a great position.  It's easy to embrace the high MPG when there's an incentive like this available.

6-19-2009

180,000 Orders.  The count is up to an amazing quantity now.  With automotive market, as well as the economy as a whole, such a mess, this is really good news.  All those orders are in Japan, where there are government incentives to help stimulate sales.  Something like that may happen here later too.  Right now, there's lots of uncertainty still.  My guess is we'll see strong sales without a clear indication of how many are still waiting for delivery.  Having Prius become the top-seller here as in Japan is unlikely.  Camry has held that position for many, many years now.  Enough orders to make the struggling automakers reconsider plans is all we need anyway.  Investing heavily in technology that doesn't address the consumption & pollution problems well is the concern.  Token gestures cause even more harm now.  Significant volume is the key.  The news of all these orders is a very good sign.

 

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