Prius Personal Log  #43

November 8, 2002  -  November 19, 2002

Last Updated: Sat. 3/08/2003

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11-19-2002

Rollout Success.  Some owners aren't seeing acknowledgement from other owners like they did just a year ago.  Strangely enough, that's actually a sign of genuine success.  The average person has begun to purchase Prius.  They don't have "cult" like behavior similar to the early adopters.  They don't exchange information online.  The don't have gatherings offline.  The early adopters were so well informed that they confidently confronted inexperienced hybrid mechanics.  An average person wouldn't do that.  And now they don't have too.  The mechanics have had the opportunity to get familiar with the hybrids at this point.  So, seeing that the technology is being used by a more diverse spread of people really is rewarding.  And they know they've contributed toward reducing consumption & emissions.  So everyone wins.

11-19-2002

Hydrogen Infrastructure?  One of the worst oil spills in history occurred TODAY!  The tanker only had a single haul.  Wasn't adding secondary hauls required years ago?  What happened?  How can progress move that slowly?  And is this the same industry that's going to transition to providing hydrogen SOON?  With an environmental catastrophe on that scale happening TODAY, how can we possibly trust them to quickly, affordably, and safely switch to something entirely new?

11-18-2002

Bladder Effect.  It suddenly got warm out.  That caused the bladder in the gas tank to relax.  It's exactly the opposite of what happened last week when I filled up.  So this next gas consumption calculation could end up skewed, making it appear as though MPG wasn't as good.  Thankfully, it all balances out in the end.  And there's no worries ever of running out of gas, since I always refill around 400 miles.

11-16-2002

Oops!  I very routinely check air-pressure in the tires now.  Every Saturday, a few moments are taken to make sure 42 PSI is in the front and 40 PSI is in the back.  During the turbulent temperature change weeks throughout the year, the front is only down by 0.5 and the back by 1.0.  So that's not a concern at all.  I bet I could go several weeks without actually needing more air.  But since it's become so darn easy to top off the tires with that cordless inflator, I don't mind doing it.  However, I've neglected to routinely check the status of the spare tire.  In fact, it had been since mid-Summer (right before the Hybrid Road Rally).  My discovery today was that it was down to only 22.5 PSI.  Oops!  Perhaps should check more often.  What's the PSI in your spare?

11-15-2002

Drive-Thrus are the best!  I handed her a $20 and a website card.  When she noticed the photo of the Prius, I mentioned it was running on just electricity right now.  She quickly pulled off her headphone and leaned out the window.  You could clearly tell when she had confirmed that there really wasn't an engine running.  Her eyes got big and she screamed!  Then she disappeared inside.  I heard yelling.  One of the words was Toyota.  She popped back out.  I handed her an Info-Sheet before she could say anything.  That really got her excited.  Then when she tried to ask a question, I tossed her a Selling-Points document.  At that point, she was overwhelmed by the experience.  She exclaimed, "I'll read through all of it!"  I definitely made an impression. What people find exhilarating about vehicles is changing.  Sweet!

11-15-2002

40 MPG all year long.  He insisted he got that performance all the time, Winter didn't make any difference.  I tried to explain that was impossible (especially with his non-hybrid).  Even if you could somehow keep driving the same speeds regardless of road conditions & traffic and prevent longer warm up times, you still couldn't control the fact that reformulated gas is less efficient.  That Winter gas change alone degrades MPG.  Without a Multi-Display, people really don't have a clue how their vehicle actually performs.  No wonder gas-guzzler sales continue to be strong.

11-15-2002

Time of Prosperity.  This cycle is over.  The recent elections made it much easier for people to see that fact.  The economy of the past supported gas-guzzler purchases.  The economy of the future can't support that type of over-indulgence.  We need to become more practical.  Thank goodness a technological solution already exists.

11-15-2002

Our enthusiasm & combined knowledge.  That's what scares the heck out of corporate players and deceptive mechanics.  They had no clue a genuine "help group" would actually emerge.  Prius owners blissfully providing a helping-hand without any type of monetary compensation is beyond their grasp.  To that I say "Ha! "  The endless feedback owners and wannabees provide me is what makes our secret-weapon (the handout materials) so good.  Constantly tweaking them to fulfill our growing needs has impressed quite a number of people.  It allows everyone to contribute there own findings and be part of the new "Age of Awareness" we're establishing.  The rest of the automotive industry will have no choice but to evolve too.  (Thanks for helping out.)

11-15-2002

Advertisement Frustration.  A local Toyota dealer ran a Prius ad on the radio recently.  They made the comment "Imagine what you could do with an extra $2,000" when referring to the money you get back from the government.  Do they misunderstand the tax law or are they misleading people about what's actually available?  I couldn't tell.  But what I do know is that you can get a $2,000 deduction, which for me calculated to $280 actually returned.

11-14-2002

That new route.  More research is required.  My overall tank average calculated to an improvement of 3.7 MPG!  That's actually higher than my best expectations.  It was colder this week and at fill-up time, so the bladder could definitely have shrunk a bit.  But then again, the cold would have also required longer warm up time.  And I had to switch to another pump; that could introduce a difference too.  The route is in fact longer, but only by 0.9 of a mile.  So the realistic performance increase (probably about 2.5 MPG overall) more than makes up for it.  I'm just going to take the wait & see method.  If the next several tanks all show that improvement, then I really did discover a much more hybrid-friendly route to work.  Wish me luck.

11-14-2002

Is that one of those...?  I've had really good luck getting attention at the gas station.  Today a guy just walked away from his vehicle and starred at the Prius.  I approached him.  He jumped at the chance to ask that question.  Then he got excited by my answer.  I provided a website card.  He responded by telling me he sometimes drives as much as 2,000 miles in a week and that the Civic he owns just died.  Opportunity knocked at that moment!  Not only would he be receptive to accepting an Info-Sheet, but he would also be interested in a Selling-Points document.  So I provided an extremely high-quality printout of each.  He thanked me for going to trouble of doing that.  That got me really excited.  How much you do you want to bet that ends up reading through all the material I provided and study the detail in each of the photos?

11-13-2002

Ripple in a Pond.  Is that the kind of effect Prius is having?  How about an ocean?  Have you ever seen what happens to a special type of ripple when it travels all the way across the Pacific without any interference?  It amplifies to the point where it's given a new name: Tidal Wave!  Prius is literally traveling across the Pacific the same way.  And have you ever noticed how sometimes a whisper gets more attention that a shout?  Just a few commercials on television is enough to get people's attention.  Then in parking lots, Prius literally only whispers the same way.  Creepy, eh?

11-13-2002

Prius Reputation.  Toyota is obviously taking their time rolling out Prius to our gas-guzzling market.  Why?  I figure it's because reputation is everything.  There's simply no way for Detroit sell a lot of brand-new, no-real-world-experience hybrids of their own when Toyota already has 100's of 1000's of them on the road already with 100's of 1000's of miles driven already.  Reaching that goal takes awhile.  When that's achieved, we'll be right on schedule.  Toyota will be there ready to roll out the "green" carpet to the masses.  After all, they have repeatedly stated they'd be building 300,000 hybrid systems per year by the end of 2005.

11-13-2002

Prius Promotion.  It's already the best, so I don't mean that.  It's the television advertising.  Toyota is definitely spending money on that type of promotion now.  I've seen the "More Green for Less Green" Prius commercial almost every time I've watched TechTV lately.  That's pretty cool.  It's also quite shocking.  I usually don't pay much attention to commercials.  Unexpectedly hearing the word "Prius" all of a sudden really surprises me.  I wonder how many times the typical person has to hear the word "Prius" before curiosity gets the best of them and they end up visiting a dealer.  Then it's all over.  Taking a test-drive is all you need to become hooked.  Experiencing the smooth & quiet is what finalizes the purchase decision.

11-13-2002

New Commute Route.  Road Construction and the repeating threat of Winter delays forced me to look for an alternate route to work.  Just a few days ago I discovered a low traffic, small, scenic, side highway that actually didn't take any more time to use than the big highway with all the stop & slow traffic.  The end result was a much more pleasant drive that's a little further, a little safer, and a little bit more efficient (there appears to be about a 1.5 MPG improvement).  Who would have thought my commute would be transformed to so much better of an experience?  Gotta love Prius.

11-12-2002

Did he know I was driving a Prius?  I pulled into an enclosed parking ramp.  While rolling along in stealth, I encountered a person on the passenger side.  He said "Hi!" to me as if it was no big deal.  Even though the driver window was open, there's no way any driver could have heard that with an engine running.  But since everything else was dead silent, I did.  Was here aware of the fact that the Prius made it possible or did he subconsciously clue into the opportunity that quietness offered?

11-12-2002

Too Dependant on Electricity.  I hadn't heard that line of reasoning until now.  The fact that someone would actually prefer a traditional engine is surprising.  Don't they realize how mechanically simple an electric motor is?  An engine with all its valves, sparkplugs, pistons, air hoses, fuel injectors, and exhaust piping pales in comparison.  Those parts need to be carefully maintained.  Those parts don't exist in a motor.  The motor is brushless.  There's just wires to feed it.  The more dependant on a simple motor, the less you need a complicated engine.  How can that not be a good thing?

11-11-2002

SUV Extremes.  "Monster-Size" wasn't enough, now there's "Combat-Size".  In the past 4 weeks, I've seen 4 different civilian Hummers.  Each was a flashy color (yellow, red, silver, and golden-brown) with lots of shiny chrome.  The most recent one was when I was in a parking lot.  That provided an opportunity to observe.  All kinds of people took notice.  The most disturbing was a young boy.  You could tell he was amazed by the sight (obscene spectacle?)  The vehicle was so enormous it made all the SUVs look small.  It was a blatant disregard for consumption & emissions.  It's pure waste & vanity at an extreme.  No one really needs anything that big.  What happened to the original, practical-size Ford Explorer?  SUV size has reached an excessive level.  What do you think will happen next?

11-10-2002

New Milestones.  I've exceeded the original ones I had anticipated: 2 years of ownership, 40,000 miles of driving, and 100,000 hits on the homepage.  What should the new ones be?  60,000 miles is a interesting point in vehicle life.  That's when traditional warranties typically expired, so some people chose to sell the vehicle shortly before they reach that.  That means the data I'll be providing is all they'll ever need to know for comparisons.  1,000 gallons of low-sulfur gas is another good one.  Only about 80 gallons of the gas I've purchased so far weren't the clean stuff.  So I'm doing my best to keep emissions extremely low.  Persistently providing interesting Prius content is a challenge.  Striving for that is really good.  That means the counter should keep increasing.  No certain number is necessary, just that interest continues.  How about MPG?  Of course, the endeavor to keep Lifetime MPG high is to be expected.  And it's a no-brainer at this point; we have already identified the simple things you can do to improve MPG here: owner advice 2.  So maybe I should just quit setting goals and keep doing what I've always done.

11-10-2002

Gas Prices.  They still keep fluctuating.  The range is about 20 cents.  That made me curious.  I wondered what the average price had been over the last 2 years.  So I checked my data pages.  I've purchased 933.775 gallons for a price of $1,334.68.  That calculates to an average of  $1.42 9/10  per gallon.

11-09-2002

Sightings.  I saw 3 Prius today (2 Aqua, 1 Silver).  That's pretty normal.  I see Prius all the time.  What I rarely see is Civic-Hybrid, but today I did (an Opal).  And seeing an Insight now is becoming unlikely.  There simply aren't that many of them and some owners may treat them as their prized summer vehicle (a common practice here in the frozen north), choosing to use something with 4-wheel-drive until the snow & ice melt away.  It also prevents having to expose their nice car to all the nasty sand & salt used on the roads throughout the Winter.  The thrill of a hybrid sighting is great.  But it the next introduced are the RAV-4 and Escape, noticing a hybrid will be difficult.  The once thought of "just a family car" Prius will end up really sticking out in traffic.

11-08-2002

The Next Toyota Hybrid.  This comment in a release article seems to support the thoughts I've had: "Toyota Motor Sales America is expected to announce several new hybrids, possibly including a hybrid version of its small RAV-4 sport utility vehicle, at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January."  Having the RAV-4 (Consumer Reports highest rated small SUV) as the next full-hybrid (like Prius) makes a lot of sense, since Toyota will be providing hybrid components for the Ford Escape hybrid anyway.  Both vehicles are small (practical-sized) SUVs.  Both vehicles will be able to use those same hybrid components (a 65kW motor and a 300v battery-pack).  Both vehicles with benefit from the each others media attention.  That sounds like a good plan to me.

 

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