Prius Personal Log  #67

June 25, 2003  -  July 4, 2003

Last Updated: Thurs. 12/15/2005

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7-04-2003

Adding "new".  Renaming "classic".  I have begun adding content on my website for the 2004 model Prius.  That means I'll be adding a "classic" tag to the names of the files for the 2001-2003 models of Prius as the 2004 version becomes available.  The first of which is on these pages...  colors   animations

7-04-2003

How the steering works.  There are two types of steering shudder that owners of the older Prius (2001 & 2002) have encountered.  (The 2003 seemed to have been modified to prevent this.)  One is of a violent shaking nature without driver intervention, the other appears to be just a soft benign thump when turning the wheel.  The following addresses the second type, what I've experience:  The steering in Prius uses an electric motor to provide power assistance, rather than a traditional pump with fluid.  Unfortunately, that system is less forgiving.  So Toyota has had to tweak the way the computer responds to steering requests and the rack itself to prevent internal wear.  That leaves some of us with the earlier model (not all lucky, since alignment appears to contribute too) with steering that is no longer perfectly smooth when making hard turns.  This doesn't affect steering itself in any way, it just isn't soapy smooth anymore.  But it will remain that way?  Once the grooves on the shaft are worn a little bit, will the unforgiving nature no longer be a problem, as if break-in is now complete?

7-04-2003

Global Warming.  Whether the cause of this severe weather problem is a man-caused phenomenon continues.  It's a waste of effort placing blame.  Regardless of cause, it is a genuine problem.  Focusing on a solution instead is what those people should be doing.  Not even attempting to prevent those weather patterns from getting any worse (more often and more violent) is a really bad plan.  Ignoring it won't make it go away.  The technology in Prius is well proven.  It significantly reduces the suspected cause of the problem: Carbon Dioxide.  So why not use it?  What do we have to lose by trying.  The fact that our current executive administration has selected to heed the solution hybrids offer and instead put the spotlight exclusively on fuel-cell technology, which might not even reduce Carbon Dioxide emissions, is quite frustrating.  Why not endorse both and let the American buyers make the choice themselves?  After all, wasn't having choices a concept our country was founded on?  Needless to say, I'm frustrated and it's just hours away from 4th of July celebrations.  So do something to make America a better place, buy a Japanese made hybrid.  Seriously, do it!  Once the technology becomes popular (several hundred thousand sold per year) they'll end up being built locally.  But for now, our friends on the other side of the world are helping out.

7-04-2003

Regenerating Misconception.  This comment appeared online today, "I know the battery is going to get run down because I will not be regenerating it by braking."  That's a common misconception.  In Prius, regeneration by braking is not the primary source of battery-pack recharging.  While cruising down the highway, the engine will run at optimum RPM.  This will create more torque than what's needed to propel the car.  That excess torque is diverted to the smaller motor for electricity creation rather than the tires.  This tops off the battery-pack, so it will be at full when you exit the highway... just the opposite of what that person thought.  The hybrid system is more capable than people think.  Do you know that braking wasn't the primary source?

7-03-2003

Sweet Revenge.  I'll be savoring it in a few months.  The classic Prius delivers wonderfully.  You get fantastic emissions & efficiency without sacrifice.  That's really simple to prove behind the wheel.  But on paper, that's a different story.  People against Prius continually tried to paint a grim picture, making the size, speed, and handling seem sub-standard.  They were persistent & vague, so they may have actually been effective... on paper.  But with the new Prius, some specifications match well with the competition and some actually exceed them.  2004 is clearly a winner.  You get a great vehicle for a surprisingly fair price.  My revenge will be very reflective of the way Prius operates, "silence" will be the theme.  There simply won't be any debates anymore.  Those against the technology won't have any strong "facts" to support their beliefs anymore.  They will just fade away like a bad memory.  Bye.  Bye.  The time to acknowledge the benefits of the superior technology grows near.  Discussions about what vehicles that technology should be installed in will become popular topics instead.  Yeah!

7-03-2003

So when do you think... the EPA will release MPG rating numbers for the 2004 Prius?  Does anyone remember when that info was shared for the 2001 Prius?  I don't.  My logs weren't that thorough back then.  And I'm very curious how the test measurements (that don't accurately portray real-world driving situations anymore) will come out.  Whatever the case, my Lifetime average should climb to right around the 50 MPG mark.  That's pretty cool!

7-03-2003

52,000 classic Prius sold in the United States.  That's what it looks like for the upcoming grand total.  9,865 through June of this year.  20,119 in 2002.  15,556 in 2001.  And 5,562 from debut in mid-2000 to the end of that year.  Those numbers are pretty nice, enough to prove the worth of the technology and without being too many (which could cause misconceptions to get out of hand).  I'm pleased.  I bet collectors will be too.  Imagine years from now when the first hybrids become prized collector's items.  That's cool!  (Too bad I don't have enough $$$ to keep mine and get a 2004 too.  Oh well.)

7-02-2003

Electrochromic Mirror.  That was the one option not available for those ordering Prius early.  Oh well.  I can't have it all.  The next improvement to Prius will likely be available in 3 to 4 years, loaded with even better technology than the mind-boggling stuff coming with the 2004.  At that point, I probably won't be able to upgrade again.  So not being able to have this is just a fact of life.  Others will though, and they'll love it!  Electrochromic provides the ability to tint glass darker or lighter using electricity.  This technology will be used in the rear-view mirror.  When a bright light from behind is sensed, the glass will automatically respond by getting darker.  In other words, no more getting blinded from a tall following you.  Cool, eh!?

7-03-2003

2004 Ramblings.  With that password I managed to get, I placed the order.  Being rather persuasive (I'm just a little bit passionate about Prius, you know) paid off.  The dealer knew I was determined and had friends that would follow.  So they took the info I provided plus what Toyota had sent as a result of my submitted request and finalized it.  Now it's official.  I'm on the "wait was seems like forever for delivery list".  I'm trying my best to help out.  The sooner I get one, the sooner I can begin filling in the blanks that Toyota's public website for the 2004 Prius (which I suspect will be available right after this special offer expires) doesn't.  There's certain types of detail they don't provide, like real-world experiences.  That's where I step in!  Patience is difficult though.  I obviously haven't mastered the art yet.  I'd like to start helping that way now, rather than waiting.  Ahh!  The fact that such an amazing upgrade is available long before the competition can remotely even compete with the classic Prius is amazing, definitely worth the wait.  Isn't the marketing terrible?  They get us all pumped up then make us wait while almost drowning in our own curiosity and anticipation. Ahhhh!  Many times I've been called the top "cheerleader" for Prius.  Right now, I'm in a strange position.  I'm just as excited (way too over stimulated, perhaps) as everyone else but with no material to help out... yet.  Sharing experiences, photos, and video makes it much easier.  And it will sooth the pain of those still waiting for delivery, just like 3 years ago.  It's happening all over again!  Somehow I need to just hang in there.  Distracting myself by enjoying the outdoors with what the ever-so-brief Summer has to offer will work well...

7-02-2003

ORDERED MY 2004 PRIUS TODAY!!!  The color will be Millennium Silver Metallic color with a gray interior.  It's well loaded too, all kinds of great features that come standard.  But that not wasn't enough.  I totally went all out this time.  Every additional option possible is on my order.  Here's the complete list of goodies:  Electric A/C, Power Windows, Power Doors, Power Mirrors, ABS (Anti-Lock Braking System), Traction Control, Tire-Pressure Monitor, Aluminum Rims, Cruise Control, Keyless Entry, Tilt Steering Wheel (with audio/climate controls built-in), 60/40 Split-Folding Rear Seat, Multi-Display, VSC (Vehicle Stability Control), Rear Wiper, Side-Curtain Airbags, Smart-Entry, Smart-Start, HID (High Intensity Discharge) Lamps, FOG Lamps, Security Alarm, Integrated Garage Door Opener, JBL 9-Speaker Premium Audio System w/6 CD Changer, Bluetooth enabled Cell-Phone support, DVD-based GPS Navigation System.  Needless to say, I'm very excited about it.  I hope the anticipation of delivery doesn't make me crazy.

7-02-2003

Ordering a 2004 Prius.  There's a special early-adopter opportunity for those that were an early-adopter for the classic Prius.  Apparently, the criteria for it is you have to of had already used the order process from before.  3 years ago, I didn't.  I got my dealer to setup an order before I even knew there was going to be an online order system.  So I never submitted anything.  That made me wonder if Toyota would include me now.  Would they send me a postal notice?  I certainly wouldn't be getting a notice via email, since they don't have an email-address associated with my original Prius purchase.  So I called Toyota, wondering how effective that route would be.  When I called, I had to explain a few times what had happened and that as a result my dealer had managed to do my part and get a Prius without any interaction from me.  Anywho, the guy helping said just go back to that dealer instead.  Then I had to explain to him that the dealer no longer existed.  He had retired and sold the business.  There was literally no remaining path for me to follow except calling for help.  So he put me on hold.  He returned with a password and some order instructions.  Yeah!

7-01-2003

38 new photos.  None show a Prius.  But all show why Prius is important.  You'll find them (state park, flower, swamp photos) here in the... gallery index

6-30-2003

2004 Desires.  I visited my dealer this evening.  I told the salesperson I previously met that I have a friend who's a salesperson for Toyota.  (Dianne.  She's great!  If you need to purchase a Prius in California, look her up.)  Then I showed him the info she shared with the Prius owners.  He excused himself to go hunt for information.  When he came back, he brought his manager.  They were both surprised about the level of detail I already had.  This region has nothing yet.  They assured me they'd call me the moment they found out anything.  They saw how serious I was about a purchase though.  My salesperson was officially given credit for the first 2004 Prius sale at that dealership. Wish me luck with actually placing the order... soon, I hope.

6-30-2003

An Amazing Coincidence.  I knew today's fill up would be special.  It would increase my Lifetime MPG to 45.0 permanently, since I'll be replacing this Prius at the end of summer with a 2004 and performance doesn't drop below 45 in the warm months, the Lifetime value will continue to climb.  Yeah!  Also, based on what the Multi-Display was currently showing and what I had calculated at the pump the previous 3 fill ups, I knew this month would be a record-breaking one.  And it was!  This morning's measurement calculated to a monthly average (for 1,712 miles of driving) of 49.3 MPG.  Sweet!  The unexpected bonus at the gas station is what really surprised me.  It was an amazing coincidence.  I couldn't have planned that if I tried.  The odometer reading at that precise location was one that will be incredibly easy to remember, I'll simply never forget this particular mile: 54,321.  Cool, eh?

6-28-2003

Wiper Replacement.  It was time for new ones.  All that abuse from using them to remove ice & snow over the past 3 years caused streaks to show up in the rain now.  So I got replacements.  $7.43 was the price.  It was no big deal.  Installing them only took a few minutes too, but it definitely wasn't obvious at first how to do it.  I had to compare the new & old to figure out what was needed.  They squeaked at first too.  But it rained all day, so after 20 minutes of use the footings locked in well.  Now they are completely silent and rain removal is complete.  No more streaks.  I'm glad I did that.

6-27-2003

Monday.  This coming Monday is the likely final day of building the classic Prius.  So it comes as no surprise that package speculations are getting intense right now.  Realistically though, I still don't expect a final decision until they've actually started building them.  Then people will go nuts speculating what the prices for each will be.  It's like I'm getting to relive the same hybrid introduction I experienced 3 years ago.  Only now, I'm already driving around a SULEV hybrid that is currently delivering 50 MPG.  The fact that I'll be replacing it in just 2 months with an even cleaner and more efficient model blows my mind.  Sweet!

6-26-2003

Lemonade.  We (those on the Yahoo group) helped figure out what was going on.  It turns on that a scaling-factor is used, each ratio is standardized by a factor of 10,000,000.  Unfortunately, with low volume vehicles, that means the number is grossly over-amplified as a result... which incorrectly brings in to the top of the list.

6-25-2003

Where did the numbers come from?  That "Lemon List" rating got me really curious, so I actually checked out the source data to find out what the real story was.  How could Prius be rated the second worse?  I bet someone really messed up a calculation.  When checking the NHTSA website, 58 complaints had officially been filed.  11 of them were duplicate entries, where the complainer accidentally clicked the submit button more than once.  So those obviously shouldn't be counted multiple times.  21 dealt with the way-too-soft OEM tires, which even Toyota has admitted are a problem.  So they've been reimbursing owners, many of whom (like me) have just simply switched to a better type.  8 dealt with the known steering-rack issue, which is now covered under both special warranty coverage and a recall.  9 were simply misunderstandings about how the hybrid system works (some on the owners part, others the dealer is to blame).  That leaves only 9 actual problems reported out of the approximate 50,000 sold here.  Based on this data, you have a 1 in 5,556 chance of getting a so-called "lemon"... hardly a significant enough rate to justify being put on that list.  And when you think about it, 47 (excluding the duplicate entries, of course) out of 50,000 is 1 in 1,064... even that is pretty darn good for an entirely new, built from the ground up, vehicle still in low volume quantities.  So what's the deal?  Did someone have a vendetta against Prius who just wanted it to look bad?  I bet they didn't think there would be someone like me who look up the actual data rather than trusting the unexplained "index" value published.

6-25-2003

Price difference only.  The first 2004 "review" was published today.  Like usual, the reporter didn't actually drive the Prius.  Only vague speculations were made.  The detail focused exclusively on the money aspect.  Everything else was ignored, even emissions.  That's really frustrating.  But then when the price quotes aren't even accurate, I really get angry.  Thank goodness I redirect that emotion into the desire to buildup webpage content.  It will become increasingly difficult for facts to be overlooked.  There's real-world data overflowing here.  Prius offer far more than just gas savings.

 

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