Prius Personal Log  #58

April 5, 2003  -  April 12, 2003

Last Updated: Thurs. 5/15/2003

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4-12-2003

0-60 Reality.  On a regular basis, I see vehicles capable of faster acceleration than Prius merging onto the highway slower than Prius.  It makes me really wonder if speed was a factor in that person's purchase criteria.  They certainly don't use it, even though they have it available.  I guess that's called good marketing when you get people to buy something they don't actually need.  I think it's a waste of money.

4-12-2003

Driving with a bike on back.  At 70 MPH, the MPG was horrible.  At 65 MPH, I could see an efficiency improvement.  At 55 MPH, performance was much better.  Each time I slowed down, the MPG benefit (from both hybrid design and reduced drag) was obvious on the Multi-Display by the 5-minute summary segments.  Too bad it was so cold out (since that also hurts efficiency).  The final value ended up less than 40 MPG.  Oh well.

4-12-2003

Aqua, White, Silver.  Spotted these 3 Prius while on a long drive today.  That was nice... and quite unexpected.  I was driving to Northern Minnesota.  Outside the metro area you couldn't plan on sightings like that... until now.  Cool!

4-12-2003

That little strap in the trunk.  It was put there for the Japanese market.  They have a standard automotive safety device that fits in that in the little compartment in the trunk on the right and connects to the strap above it.  For owners in the United States, it's pretty much worthless... or so I thought.  Today I discovered my + shaped tire-iron fits perfectly in that area of the truck when attached to the strap.  Now it's out of the way (up against the wall) and move anywhere.  Cool!

4-12-2003

Alaska Oil.  They're pushing drilling efforts again.  It's very irritating.  It wouldn't be so bad if they were also supporting the advancement of efficiency technology, like hybrids!  But instead, hybrids are just being ignored as a solution.  Increasing the supply of oil is all this administration views as necessary.  When will they finally acknowledge the environmental problems that contributes too?  When will they finally figure out that our children will have a serious problem when the oil supply disappears?  When will they finally figure out that hybrids will lead us down the correct road?

4-11-2003

A Prius at 160,000 miles.  Another Prius reached high-mileage status.  But unfortunately, this one suffered an abrupt death.  A deer crashed into it.  Perhaps it was overcome with an overwhelming compulsion to ride inside?

4-11-2003

50 at 50.  Keeping the Multi-Display at 50 MPG is proving easy now that I'm at 50,000 miles.  My Prius is well broken-in and I know all the right things to do.  Unfortunately, I like to go on biking trips though.  So dragging the bike on back will hurt.  But hey, upper 40 MPGs all Summer long sounds like a good plan to me.  Right now, the Multi-Display states 51.0 MPG at 114 miles.  Pretty sweet, eh?  And the temperature isn't even ideal yet.  The average driving temperature for this tank has only been 60 F degrees.  Good times are on the way!

4-11-2003

Reporter Information.  It has improved greatly, but some is still wrong.  You can tell when they haven't actually driven a Prius.  They guess how the hybrid system works based on traditional concepts.  That obviously doesn't work well.  Prius takes a completely unique mechanical approach for delivering power.  I wonder how long it will take before I read an article that is written with all the information correct.  Hmm?

4-10-2003

Why only in California?  That's the only place you'll find most "special emission" vehicles.  The Ford Focus PZEV, the Honda Accord SULEV, that Nissan Sentra SULEV, and most of the CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) vehicles are good examples.  You simply can't buy them outside of California.  Yes, I realize one-tenth of population of the United States lives there, so logistically it sort of makes sense.  But not even offering special-order sales for those in other states is really troublesome.  It's indirect proof that automakers really only build & sell those vehicles to collect California emission credits.  Thankfully Prius is a SULEV that's available everywhere in the United States, especially in the states that don't have as strict pollution regulations.

4-10-2003

The Ultimate Misconception.  Have you ever wondered what it will be years down that road?  We've squashed many misconceptions already.  Ultimately though, there will be one that holds on longer than the others.  Will it be one that currently something not understood, or will a new one develop?  People will begin to witness the evolution of hybrids, each becoming progressively better (like the upcoming 2004 model of Prius).  That could actually cause incorrect information to be spread resulting in a new misconception.  Someday, they will ultimately cease though (I hope).  Hybrids will become standard.  People will be bewildered why there was any fear about the technology in the first place.  I'll have to explain to them that some felt the tried & true traditional design was a more "cost effective" choice, rather than spending large amounts of money investing in our future.  Oh well.  Some of us know better.

4-10-2003

Second 5-Minute Segment is higher now.  Minutes 6 to 10 is the time-range you notice the MPG drop most on the Multi-Display due to warm-up.  With the temperature much higher (finally), I'm enjoying a big increase.  Spring sure is a welcome change.

4-09-2003

How long can they deny it?  Certain automakers have been claiming that there simply isn't demand for a vehicle like Prius (which is much better than the original excuse of saying it isn't even realistic).  They're using that as a defense against raising emission & fuel-efficiency standards.  How long do you think it will be before there are so Prius on the road that consumers begin to re-volt (yes, bad pun intended) in large numbers?  It will only be a short matter of time before consumers figure out what a hybrid like Prius has to offer.  And it will only take a few more years before the "100,000 mile hybrid club" is formed.  The demand will grow rapidly at that point.  Will those certain automakers be prepared for that, or will they still get caught off guard by living in denial and pushing their dirty, inefficient, low-tech, high-profit vehicles instead?

4-08-2003

"Self-Recharging"  The need for this non-offensive promotional hybrid phrase surfaced again.  It started when "No Plug Required" was innocently and with best intentions suggested.  Some EV supporters expressed strong disapproval.  My website cards have had the "Self-Recharging" phrase on them for years without causing any kind of response like that.  (Thank goodness!)  So I'll continue to use that.

4-08-2003

Every stoplight was red.  I didn't mind at all.  In fact, it was a lot of fun today!  The brisk acceleration Prius offers is so smooth & quiet that I took advantage of it every time I saw green.  In a traditional vehicle, a quick start like that would result in a hard thump from the transmission and a roar from the engine.  Prius doesn't do that though.  So the appeal of pushing way down on the accelerator-pedal is quite tempting.  And I certainly don't resist it well.  I'm always several car-lengths in front of everyone just a few moments after the indication is given to go.  Swish!

4-08-2003

They come out to play.  Today sure was entertaining.  It was a wonderful Spring day.  People look for an excuse to do something outside when Minnesota warms up enough to finally melt away the final remnants of Winter.  That obviously included running errands.  I saw a whole bunch of Prius today.  It was great!

4-08-2003

Looking forward to the demise of the Prius.  I must be really perverse.  My photo album is intended to be a history book, containing photos of the classic model that started it all.  The personal logs will be the document recording how it all first began.  Hybrids will become very common.  It's blatantly obvious.  The technology will evolve to the trivial level.  The return on the extra cost will very easily be justified when so many on the road with countless trouble-free, low-emission, high-efficiency miles already on their odometers. Can you imagine what it will be like to see the first Prius beater?  One that's dented & rusted with paint peeling off and no more glossy shine, but it still runs just fine (since the motor always worked hard to prevent the engine from strain).

4-08-2003

Instead.  The styling of Prius is about to change.  It's expected to become more attractive (blended into the crowd more), larger, and quicker.  That certainly will make the demand increase to a frightening level.  Sweet!  That's a dream come true for many consumers.  It really makes you wonder how the other automakers will respond.  For them, it could be like one of those "Herbie" movies.  But instead of VW Beetles everywhere, there will be lots of Prius!  Their worst nightmare could become a reality.  It's not like we didn't tell them it's what people really want.  They had plenty of warning.

4-07-2003

"I wouldn't have know about them either."  Toyota does so little advertising for Prius (since many owners are doing that for them) that the few promos out there are really catching some people off guard, hence that quote from a new owner.  Realistically, most people won't take their first good look at Prius until the next generation is available.  By then, many of us would have put some serious mileage on our own Prius.  (Personally, I would have exceeded 60,000 miles already.)  That will make the decision must easier at that point.  Questions that early owners pondered will have solid answers.  Misconceptions will be squashed.  Then just a year or two later, purchasing a hybrid will have become a no-brainer.  The wheels of progress are turning (literally).

4-07-2003

50,000 Miles.  Today my Prius achieved that significant milestone.  I was beside myself when it happened.  Not figuratively either.  At the exact moment it that distance, I drove by another Electric Green Mica Prius.  That was an amazing coincidence.

4-07-2003

Look at those curves!  Have you noticed how the new SUVs no longer have the fierce, hard edges anymore?  They've been replaced with curves.  Rounded edges are what cars have.  Now some SUVs do too.  And guess what, it makes the SUV look like a bloated car.  Hmm?  It makes you wonder why the change has occurred.  Could it be the need to increase efficiency by reducing drag?  Could it be all the bad PR about the aggressive look of the original design?  Could it be that automakers are trying to make them look more like cars?  Or could it be that SUVs are so common that their uniqueness has been lost?  I bet as time goes on they'll end up evolving into more practical vehicles, by simply eliminating the features that aren't actually needed (like heavy-duty suspension).

4-06-2003

When showing off your Prius to someone... suddenly do an unannounced U-Turn right in the middle of a residential street.  That makes one heck of an unexpected impression, because it's something they simply wouldn't try with their vehicle.  But with such a short front-end, Prius just smiles.  It's not even a challenge to do that.  I did it today when showing off for a friend.  His response was "WOW!"

4-06-2003

11 photos of a BLUE MOON PEARL Prius.  My album now features a collection of digital Prius photos that aren't Electric Green Mica!  How about that?  Mary allowed me to play with her Prius for awhile.  (Thanks!)  It was a beautiful early Spring day out.  That made this great looking, but unfortunately discontinued Prius color, look it's best.  I found a near by park to capture some terrific digital photos at.  So I did!  You'll find them here:   photo album 48

4-06-2003

18 new photos showing what my Prius really looks like.  No showroom perfect shots this time (though the scenery is rather impressive).  It's the way you'll actually find my Prius throughout the Winter.  Just driving how from the car wash makes it a mess.  So after a commute, the great looking paint is completely buried under a layer of salt & sand.  And of course, I want to show that Prius is a real car that can endure the nasty conditions like the best of them.  So this particular set was a must.  The choice of the taking them at the conclusion of Winter worked out really well too.  Check'em out:   photo album 47   photo album 48

4-05-2003

At a Loss.  Ford's most recent gamble, the hybrid version of the Escape, is feeding a misconception.  They announced their initial sales of that new hybrid would be at a loss to help establish the technology.  Yes, this may have actually been with good intentions, but choosing to not point out that Toyota now makes a profit on Prius makes the market look like it has less potential.  I really wished they would have stated something to the effect that it would only take a few years to eliminate per vehicle the loss.  Oh well.  Like Microsoft has proven, even negative publicity actually helps raise awareness.  That's much better than our stealth hybrids "not being heard".

4-05-2003

Loss to Profit.  Do you remember history well?  The new vehicles of the past sometimes faced a tremendous challenge.  Mustang was an expensive gamble for Ford.  But, boy did that ever pay off!  Prius is more profound of a change than Mustang was. There's much more than a specialized body style. The propulsion system is completely unique too, quite different from anything else on the market.  So it shouldn't be a surprise to anyone that Toyota planned a longer than usual rollout strategy... which is the ideal way to setup a new infrastructure.  Prius is simply the first of many to be offered.  The technology will become accepted as a viable choice after awhile, the emissions & efficiency will be the draw.  Ultimately, this should result in very impressive profit.  This long-term goal will really pay off.

 

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