Prius Personal Log  #57

March 21, 2003  -  April 5, 2003

Last Updated: Mon. 5/26/2003

    page #56         page #58         BOOK         INDEX         go to bottom 

 

4-05-2003

Never mind.  All the new snow melted by the end of the day.  Cool!  Err, I mean "Warm!"

4-05-2003

Ahhhh!  This morning, it's winter again.  Everything is covered with a few inches of snow now.  Will it ever end?  The season of great MPG seems like it will never begin.

4-04-2003

Echo?  I still find it amazing that some people think the Echo is the Toyota's hybrid.  No wonder the market-strategy is to get people to associate the name "Prius" with hybrid technology.  I understand the high MPG mix up.  And I understand how the body mid-section of Echo looks like Prius, but neither the front nor back looks like it at all.  So what the heck will people think when they see the new Prius body style?  Will they still associate visual attributes as being hybrid, or will the name "Prius" finally sink in?  And if it does, how will the current Prius be identified.  Will it "echo" the new one?

4-04-2003

Reality Check.  Gas is all the way down to $1.35 per gallon here.  It was just at a record high.  In other places in the United States, it still is.  Changes greater than what the market was setup to handle are obviously occurring.  Prices should be more stable.  After too much fluctuation, people will begin demanding solutions.  Waiting a decade or two for fuel-cell vehicles is unrealistic now.  Hybrids deliver improved efficiency today.  Vehicles that use hydrogen instead will get an opportunity later anyway.  In fact, they'll be able to take advantage of the technology developed for hybrids.  It appears that others agree with this plan too.  Demand is outpacing supply.  Waiting lists are begin to form for Prius deliveries.  The upcoming 2004 model should makes things interesting.

4-03-2003

Summer-Formula Gas.  It's still cold out; however, now I'm getting better mileage.  I think the switch over from Winter to Summer gas occurred by April 1st.  So this tankful uses the more efficient formula only available during the warm season.  It's not warm yet, but I'm not complaining.  When I pulled out of the garage this morning, the Multi-Display showed 50.8 MPG after having driven 85 miles.  The temperature was only 34 F degrees.  I figured efficiency would suffer as a result.  It didn't much at all.  And on the drive home in the evening, the temperature was still 34 F degrees.  The efficiency remained pleasing too.  After 122 miles total, the average had only went down to 49.9 MPG.  That's amazing, especially when you take into account that the road were extremely wet which caused a little bit of drag.  Near 50, I like that a lot.  Now only if the temperature was that high too.

4-03-2003

15 new Prius photos.  Wet, Heavy, Sticky Snow provides great digital photo opportunities.  I couldn't let this one slip by.  And I didn't!  I hunted down yet another new scenic location.  This one had lots of trees in the background.  All those branches covered with snow looked great.  Putting the Prius in front of that was "genius".  (So much for modesty.)  Anywho, just follow the link to see what the digital camera captured:  photo album 46

4-03-2003

Rumblings on the next generation Prius.  People are beginning to get impatient already.  The debut is 2 weeks away still and the curiosity questions are pouring in.  Boy, are they in trouble.  The delivery wait will seem like forever.  September won't ever come.  Of course for some, that's a dream come true.  It's a guaranteed way to draw out the Summer.  Back in 2000, time came almost to a complete stop waiting for my Prius.  But it was worth every minute.  So I will do may best to make their wait a memorable experience.  Even though it still hasn't warmed up much here yet (we are getting icy rain this evening), my Multi-Display currently says 49.9 MPG.  Later when it does get warmer, it will rise above 50 MPG.  That means I need to make sure everyone knows it, to help increase demand even further. 

4-02-2003

Window Conversations.  It's barely warm enough, but it happened today anyway.  At the first stoplight, a driver next to me motioned for me to open my window.  The moment I did, he very eagerly started asking questions about the Prius.  Then when the light turned green, I bolted away to show off the power the hybrid system delivers.  At the second stoplight, the window conversation continued.  Then the same for the third.  That was fun.  I'm really looking forward to Summer when I can do that on a regular basis.  It's great!

4-02-2003

Remember 100 years ago?  Some homes had both electric bulbs and traditional lighting (candle holders) built into fixtures, just in case that "fancy new electric" technology ever failed for an extended period.  It turns out, that wasn't necessary.  The redundancy was just a waste of money.  That's the same way I feel about comments just like this one from a fleet vehicle purchaser published in a Washington state newspaper, "The main competition for the Honda Civic hybrid is the Toyota Prius, said Logue.  But the Prius is an electric motor with gas assist, the opposite of the Honda.  Speaking from years of experience, Logue points out that if the electric system on a Prius breaks down, it might be a long tow to bring it back to the county shop in Port Townsend.  But the Honda can run exclusively on its gas engine if the electric motor falters, he said."  Realistically, the odds of the engine (which is very reliable anyway) failing are much higher than the motor system.  And we all know the motor system is quite capable of getting you out of harms way even without the engine working.  So basically, consider it a wash, no strong benefit either way.  Also, where the heck did his "years of experience" come from?  It couldn't have been based on recent hybrid technology, since that has already proven very reliable.  Lastly, fleet vehicles are sold long before age ever sets in.  Reliability is hardly much of a concern with vehicles having so few miles anyway.  It's just another technology based misconception we have to deal with.

4-01-2003

"I need something bigger."  That statement is what you'll commonly hear when introducing Prius to someone.  Don't respond with any comments.  Just let the person describe what their needs are, in detail.  Refrain from interjecting.  The longer you wait, the clearer the picture will be.  Most everyone ends up describing a 4-wheel-drive minivan, not a SUV.  Surprised?  Try it sometime.  You'll be amazed.

4-01-2003

MPG Fun.  It is (for the moment) warm.  So the 40 miles I drove today resulted in 52 MPG on the Multi-Display.  That was great!  It was also a big boost from yesterday's weirdness.  That final fill-up of the month calculated into the average resulting in a 44.8 MPG value.  How strange.  That is also my lifetime value!  What are the odds of that ever happening again with so much temperature fluctuation?  Anywho, that's the sign of more fun to come.  The warmer weather will deliver higher MPG.  I'll watch both the monthly & lifetime values climb until the snow falls again.  Yeah!

4-01-2003

$75 BILLION approved.  That's how much the Bush Administration was granted for the war effort.  It kind of makes the $1.2 given for both fuel-cell development and hydrogen infrastructure setup combined seem a bit lame.  I wish we would invest more in our future, not just the present.

3-31-2003

3rd Generation Prius.  Wednesday, April 16 at 1:40 PM EST the newest Prius will make it's debut at the New York International Auto Show.  The 1st generation was introduced in 1997.  Then in 2000, it was replaced by the much improved 2nd generation.  Now it's going to happen again.  This upcoming Prius is expected to be larger and even more efficient.  Doubts about the potential of hybrid technology will soon be squashed.  Are you ready?

 3-29-2003

"I found your site while doing some Google searching."  I certainly read that same comment a lot in my email.  It's now a gauge I use to measure of hybrid interest.  The number increases as the price of gas increases.  Interesting, eh?  People curious about hybrids know that the Internet can provide a wealth of information.  So they do some searching.  I bet many don't expect to discover a website like mine.  Sweet!  I'm glad I can help out.

3-28-2003

PZEV vehicles.  Oh no.  A misconception is being created as a result of the new PZEV emissions rating.  The term is being used generically.  We need to be more specific.  PZEV credit potential is different between traditional vehicles and hybrids.  0.2 is the highest credit potential for traditional vehicles.  0.3 is the highest credit potential for hybrid vehicles.  That extra tenth is a really big deal.  The reason for the difference (I think) is that hybrids get much better MPG than traditional vehicles fitting for PZEV, which obviously provides a big reduction in CO2 emissions.  So don't use the term "PZEV" without adding something to clarify what you actually mean.

3-27-2003

Full-Size Spare Tire.  I had another one built today.  (It's nice being able to help out friends that also own a Prius.)  This one was less expensive than the full-size tire I had built 1.5 years ago and was even easier to get this time.  10 minutes at Toyota to buy the basic black steel rim.  20 minutes at Sam's Club to get a new tire mounted on it.  $188.42 total.  Want to know more, just click that above to read my 8-24-2001 log entry detailing the first one.

3-26-2003

Clean Fuel Deduction.  I did my taxes today.  Wow!  The TurboTax software sure makes taking the deduction for your new hybrid easy.  (Too bad I already did that for mine 2 years ago.)  The process of hunting for the proper line & text to enter has been reduced to a simple yes/no question that's part of the standard entry process.  Excellent!

3-25-2003

"Stealth It's Not"  That phrase is now part of a television commercial for a new SUV.  Is that some kind of an anti-hybrid statement?

3-24-2003

"...electric concept vehicle."  That's all I heard when flipping channels on the radio today.  They were talking about stuff at the Auto Show this year.  Apparently, people are starting to show interest in future automotive technologies.  Too bad they don't realize I've driven almost 50,000 miles with one of those "concept" vehicles already.  The amazing technology they dream about is what I drive everyday.  I wonder what they'll think when they finally figure that out.  Hmm?

 3-23-2003

Enthusiast.  In the past, the label "enthusiast" implied you were interested in speed & power.  That's not necessarily true anymore.  Enthusiast can instead mean that are interested in efficiency & smooth/silent driving.  Those aspects are extremely different from the other criteria.  I think that is beginning to frustrate some of the original type, especially when you factor in the reality that the newer type has strong potential to capture the interest of more than just a niche audience.  Cool!

3-23-2003

New Owner Webpage.  I'm not the only one adding new photos to my website.  Larry did today too.  And his contribution really makes a quiet but powerful statement.  You have to the see the photo of his Prius along with the special "extra" photos he took for us to really appreciate the meaning.  Of course, many hybrid owners already understand.  But those visiting the website from having just followed a link on a search result will be taken aback...  owner:  Larry

3-23-2003

9 new Prius night photos.  At 4:00 AM on a Saturday morning a few weeks back, I took advantage of the minimal lighting and melted snow formations.  That, along with the condition my Prius looked at the time, made for a really nice setup.  You'll find the best of what I saw here now.  Take a look:  photo album 45

3-22-2003

Surely they can do better.  I like hearing that comment about current hybrid sales.  It's probably because my response is, "of course they can do better".  That tends to surprise some people.  With no real competition yet and gas prices so cheap, why not continue developing the technology instead of pushing what's available now?  The few owners now are providing real-world testing.  Showing prototypes at auto-shows doesn't accomplish anywhere near that much.  In fact, it's almost a joke compared to the feedback you can get from an actual owner.  So by the time the masses are ready for hybrids, the technology will be extremely mature.  Like with many other aspects of life, you get out what you put into it.  The automakers that actually try will do far better than those that don't invest a sincere effort.  In time, Toyota will deliver better efficiency, better emissions, better power, and a better selection.  This is only the beginning.  Lots of potential still exists.

3-22-2003

How to tell it's Spring in Minnesota ...is when a complete stranger approaches you in a parking lot with a very excited look on their face wanting to know more about your Prius.  That happened to me today.  It's been about 6 months since a previous encounter like that in a parking lot.  When the temperature drops, there just isn't much interest in standing outside next to a Prius talking about it.  But when things warm up, boy does that ever change.  (Heck, I even get people starting conversations with me while waiting at a stoplight during the summer.)  I'm sure looking forward to doing on-the-spot presentations again.  It's quite is a thrill to see the excitement it causes.  That attitude completely nullifies the claims some people make about their not being any interest in the technology, especially stealth.

3-22-2003

Embracing change may soon be a requirement, not a choice.  9 wells are currently burning in Iraq's Rumaila oil field.  We are at WAR now.  "Operation Iraqi Liberation" ...which abbreviates as "OIL" (hmm?) it isn't actually about oil, but what to do with the oil there after the conclusion of the war will be a very big issue.  After all, that's how they pay for things like food.  Too bad it's now burning, causing supply depravation (and pollution).  I bet global supply estimates didn't take that into account.  Oh well.  Thank goodness the technology in Prius already offers a realistic solution.

3-21-2003

Did you try or even consider the Golf TDI?  I got asked this today about that slightly smaller, diesel alternative to Prius.  My reply was: SULEV emissions was my highest priority.  So a TDI system was the last choice on my list.  I simply couldn't choose something dirtier than a typical traditional gasoline vehicle.  My second priority was supporting the technology with the greatest future potential.  The design in Prius opens up a brand new world of opportunity.  Diesel (non-hybrid, of course) just raises the bar a little bit in the efficiency category, and that's it.  MPG was third for me.  It's just plain cool achieving a 50 MPG tank from time to time.

 

back to home page       go to top