Prius Personal Log #426
July 2, 2009 - July 11, 2009
Last Updated: Mon. 8/17/2009
page #425 page #427 BOOK INDEX
Green Motors. The idea that GM will compete as a "green" automaker is now drawn out. Taking longer to deliver less is the outcome of the bankruptcy. The bold (some say, unrealistic) goals of the past are still there, but the expectation is that very little will come in the next few years. Neither Two-Mode nor Volt, both once hyped as superior technologies, will be competing in the midsize-midprice market for quite some time now. Remember all the fear last year? That outcome is a focus on survival, then loan payback. Hybrids will follow. In the meantime, the newest generation of Prius will penetrate deep into the mainstream.
Forgotten Foes. Remember their awful undermining of the past? Many of those antagonists have vanished, as if they never existed. Too think of all the trouble they caused... now just a memory. All those claims of hybrid doom have become almost comical. It's hard to believe they'd say things so absurd. Back then, they took advantage of misconceptions. So, their online banter didn't seem absurd to those poorly informed back then. But knowledge of hybrids is common now. Fear of the technology has subsided. Those foes to supporters like me have lost their audience. With so many hybrids on the road now and such concern for emissions & consumption, just dismissing them as a fad or a risk doesn't work anymore.
Still Misleading. The comparisons to Prius, with the older model presented as if it was the new, continue. This is really getting out of hand. With all the promotion Toyota has done to emphasize the availability of the 2010, there's simply no excuse for a reviewer to publish an article that makes no mention of it. Today, it was praise for Insight... comparing it to the 48/45 MPG that Prius offers. There was absolutely nothing included to indicate a model offering 51/48 MPG existed. An improvement available? No, readers are gullible and will accept what's written without question. It's hard to believe some continue to exploit like this. Misleading like that is very frustrating. To put it bluntly, excluding vital facts is dishonest.
Driving The Corolla. That's what we drove the family around the cities in. The family got together this evening for dinner. That was the vehicle most conveniently available. Allowing me to drive it was an opportunity to observe if any maintenance was required. So, the decision made sense. I managed just fine before dinner. But the running around afterward finally got to me. I really missed the Prius. That 2002 Corolla delivers well, for the purpose it was designed. It's a comfortable & reliable car for a fairly low price. That's why it is so popular and will continue to be for many years to come. But it can't compare to Prius. The two cars clearly each from their own class.
Emerging From Bankruptcy. GM no longer has their legacy debt to worry about. That's official today. The automaker is now privately owned with far fewer models & dealers. They don't have the retirement obligations anymore either. That should help a lot. But they still don't have anything to compete with. Their brand new hybrid, just rolled out (Yukon Denali) is yet another monster-size SUV. Plans for a 4-cylinder hybrid car, something to compete with Fusion or Prius, remain elusive. Focus on being able to pay back the loans was stated as an important objective, but we have no idea how beyond the staff & asset reductions already in progress. You get the impression that it's just a smaller version of the same automaker. What will they be doing differently now?
Review Anger. It's hard not to get upset when the
greenwashing is so blatant. You have to wonder how poorly informed some
writers think their readers are to publish such nonsense. Needless to say,
I couldn't resist holding back my opinion after reading it...
Talking about intentional misleading!
The data is for the 2009 Prius, yet the photo is of the 2010 and there is no
mention whatsoever about the improvements from that new model or even its
The new model offers a definite MPG increase, creating an undeniable conflict
for the "cost of ownership" purpose of the document. 54.7 MPG is the summer average from my 2010 as of 3,022 miles,
which is clearly higher
than the 51.3 MPG summer average from my 2004.
Full Disclosure. I've been following the actions of the blogging website dedicated to Volt since the very beginning 2.5 years ago. The insincere attitude there always rubbed me the wrong way. The most frustrating point has been the continuous misrepresentation of hybrids. Prius gets called a "parallel" type so it can be lumped into the same category as Insight. The host simply never cared that they are not the same. He just wanted to distance them from Volt, which has always been called an "electric" vehicle rather than a hybrid. Now, I know why. He also hosts a website for all-electric vehicles... the one that just 2 days ago was responsible for that surplus spin. Not disclosing explains a lot. Of course, what I found even more interesting is that the consumer-test model electric car he's driving now is only delivering 70 miles rather than the estimated 100 miles. Makes you wonder what Volt will actually deliver, eh?
Diesel Propaganda. Yet another example that uses the older model Prius for comparison.
The hope is to sour appeal for hybrids so much that you don't discover the 2010
Prius for awhile still. It's a reason why Toyota chose to spend a lot on
advertising initially. Toyota predicted the competition would take advantage of
outdated information to push a few more sales in the meantime... and they were
right! It's quite frustrating witnessing supporters of the competition
intentionally mislead like this. But then again, taking such desperate
measures is confirmation that they fear the new model. They already see
how difficult it will be to compete against.
G8 Summit. What more is there to say? Concerns
for the environment keep getting pushed as a higher and higher priority.
That's what we've always wanted. For the major powers of the world to get
together and agree to important emission goals is great. How that will
actually happen is what we anxiously await. Will this summit result in
much? Probably not. The United States is a terrible burden still.
We should be setting the example, using our wealth to lead by example.
Instead, we are only doing token gestures. It's really sad... but
understandable considering the collapse of the automotive industry here... which
was a large contributor to the problem.
2010 Sightings. I'm starting to see them now. 3 days in a row! First was a Black one. Then it was a White one. And today was a Brown one. At the rate they are selling, it won't take too long before I start getting overwhelmed by Prius sightings, too many too count. Gotta love that! Having a mix of generations on the road and quantities high enough for multiple sightings routinely must be the next level of "mainstream" acceptance. I suppose that's what qualifies as Prius as a "ubiquitous" vehicle. Sweet!
Surplus Spin. Anything they can do to undermine the success of Prius. Geez! The latest twist now is that there's a "surplus" available. Rather than a lengthy delivery, no more delay. You can just buy a 2010 model in the United States right away. And since there's a huge wait list in Japan, this is supposedly a bad thing here. What kind of crock is that? Toyota finally got capacity up to the point of regular inventory, so antagonists attempt to make you believe that is a problem. It's just spin. In reality, it makes Prius mainstream... since that is completely normal for most other vehicles. Having a few available on the lot for immediate purchase is a good way to conduct business.
Understanding EV. This mode is stirring lots of questions
& comments. I chimed into an active discussion about it today with this:
The purpose of EV is rapidly becoming a big
It is intended only for stop & slow driving. That's it, not for suburb
driving. STEALTH is for that.
STEALTH is automatic. In fact, there isn't even a button for it. The maximum
electric-only, engine-stopped speed is 45 MPH in this mode.
STEALTH is indicated by the instant MPG indicator pegged at 100.
Accelerator Feel. The way antagonists twist perspective is quite surprising sometimes. Lately, it was the lack of aggression. Supposedly, the feel is too smooooooth. Of course, isn't that what those purchasing a luxury vehicle expect? Getting coarse feedback is what you'd typically associate with a massive engine truck, not a family car. Yet, they certainly try to paint that alternate picture for you. It's another example of how they undermine. Convincing you that expectations should be different works in online comparisons. Fortunately, it doesn't during a test drive... since the feel of the electric-motor is often commented about with high praise.
#1 in Japan! How does one respond to that news? Prius topped the chart in Japan for June. It was the very best selling vehicle there. That's a record you always hope for, but don't actually expect to achieve so soon after debut. I certainly didn't anticipate such a huge climb in popularity so quickly. Dethroning the #2 here, Corolla, is what I've been looking forward to. That in itself will be a major achievement here. But to shoot past Camry there, makes you wonder what the heck will happen here when production capacity is increased. The unique advantage of Prius being a hatchback does add a competitive edge. The ability to fold the seats down for a large cargo area from a non-truck is a great convenience all too often overlooked. That combined with amazing MPG is quite a draw. Time will tell. Sales are the ultimate endorsement.
Iconic Comparisons. It's hard to believe some are still trying to paint a pretty picture for the Honda hybrids by comparing them to the model of Prius no longer available. Not only did the article published today do that, but it also used the outdated Prius 60/51 rating as if it was no big deal compared to the revised Civic-Hybrid 40/45. Using information that old and never even mentioning the fact that there is a newer model available makes you wonder how gullible some people think we are. Both writer & publisher are at fault for misleading. Whether it was poor research or an intentional attempt to undermine, it doesn't matter. Damage results regardless. There's no excuse for comparisons like that.
Independence Day. A recent upgrade to the posting options of the daily blog dedicated to Volt was the ability to reply to specific posts in a branching structure. With that, it became much easier to follow original topics. Sadly, what came with it though was the ability to rate. That gives each participant an opportunity to cast a quick opinion vote on the content without posting anything. Wow, is that ever revealing! The messages attacking Prius draw huge favor. The messages portraying Prius as an ally get harsh criticism. Those plus & minus tallies are blunt. They have clearly declared independence, wanting absolutely nothing to do with any other hybrid. Their choice is for Volt to stand alone. Ok. Fine with me. I was sick & tired of that group of enthusiasts constantly fighting the very vehicle helping to pave the way for mainstream plug-in vehicles. Whatever. Now they don't have to address a less expensive configuration. A smaller battery-pack aimed at making Volt affordable for the masses is obviously of no concern to them. Independent? Why? Unique is counter-productive. The point is to deliver a ubiquitous technology for significant improvement of emissions & consumption.
992 RPM. That's the lowest sustained engine speed (still using fuel) I routinely see while driving. It will climb to 1044 RPM without influencing speed or the 100 MPG reading at all. But when it drops to 960 RPM, the engine is about to stop. That's the indication the threshold has been reached. I love seeing sustained RPM that low. 1184 was the common low in the Iconic Prius. This larger engine combined with the extra power-carrier on the PSD and the changes to the internal maximums has obviously made a difference in suburb driving. On the highway, it's more difficult to detect the difference. But you can still see that RPM is lower than it had been. That translates directly to improved efficiency. Gotta love it!
Hostility. With the ASSIST and TWO-MODE hybrids, it simply faded away after awhile. Real-World data ended the debates that went from constructive to hostile. Those argumentative posts were understandable. Attitude like that is to be expected when there is so much to lose. But with Volt, so much has already been lost and delivery is still 1.5 years away. So, the pressure continues to build. Unlike Ford seeing the success from their hybrid development efforts, GM has a very long way to go. The strong sales for Prius in an otherwise depressed market makes the situation even worse... to the point where some don't care anymore. It's really unfortunate. Having constructive posts being overwhelmed by attacks on the competition sours the appeal to lurkers. They don't like reading posts filled with insults and no attempt to address the actual issues.
Still No Tech-FAQ. Have you noticed that none of the Volt enthusiasts have compiled one? After 2.5 years of the same technical questions & confusion over and over again, you'd think someone would finally deliver something. Instead, nothing. Having a resource like that would end their ability to be vague. Readily available detail has that consequence. It helps everyone involved. Meanwhile, the 2010 Prius has already exceeded them. Owners have posted more detail in just 1 month than then entire existence of Volt. We know extremely well how important it is to provide information to allow consumers to draw their own conclusions with.
Not The Same. Remember that nonsense from years ago, where the antagonist was vague and attempted to alter definitions? That very thing is happening again! It was sporadic until recently. Now the Volt enthusiasts have joined together to force Prius in the same category as Insight. They consistently label both designs of hybrid as the same, calling both the "parallel" type. It's sad to see such blatant deception. In the past, misleading like that was fairly easy to get away with. But now, the typical consumer understands hybrids enough to know that there are different kinds. They are aware that some are more efficient than others. Desperation to make Volt a standout vehicle rather than mainstream competition is causing the enthusiasts to risk credibility this way. Don't they see how damaging that is?