Prius Personal Log  #68

July 5, 2003  -  July 14, 2003

Last Updated: Sat. 11/29/2014

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7-14-2003

2004 Prius Colors.  I hadn't noticed initially that the Toyota marketing department hadn't compared the new color sample files to the original ones.  After all, they weren't actually intended to ever be available together.  One replaced the other on their webpages.  But I put them together.  That made the 2004 look smaller, which is very misleading.  So I enlarged it to the proper scaled length.  Then that revealed the fact that the classic was actually stretched, where the vertical was not in proper proportion to the horizontal.  Oh well maybe I'll fix that someday too.  In the meantime, you get the proper sized 2004 with the gray-patterned background replaced with plain old white.  That way, it's easier to see the color itself and you can make a nicer printout.  These are the pages with new image files:  colors   animations

7-14-2003

SUV Owners Fight Back.  They just don't understand.  They think the push for cleaner emissions and greater efficiency means they will have to give up driving an SUV.  The "What Would Jesus Drive?" campaign is really confusing issues.  The fact that SUV drivers don't actually use their vehicle for what it was designed does for is a problem, but stopping doesn't have to be the solution.  Putting a hybrid system inside is what really needs to happen.  But the SUV owners don't understand that.  All they want to do is retaliate now.  Thank goodness Toyota is coming to the rescue.  With the RX400-Hybrid (originally expected to be called the RX330), the Highlander-Hybrid, and the Escape-Hybrid (supplied by Toyota, assembled by Ford) all on the way, the situation should hopefully change for the better without much conflict.  Why are people so short-sighted?  Basing decisions about the future solely on technology from the past is absurd... but do it anyway.  Arrgh!

7-14-2003

Sienna & Highlander available as hybrids.  The more powerful hybrid system in the new Prius has a modular design and it will be built in the full assembly-line fashion.  That opens up brand new opportunities.  And sure enough, Toyota announced 2 new upcoming hybrids today.  The Sienna minivan and the Highlander SUV are now expected to be available with hybrid systems by 2005 (model year 2006).  There still aren't any plans to offer a new hybrid car (like Corolla or Camry).  So those believing Prius will eventually be discontinued will have to agonize over it longer.  It's an absurd idea anyway.  Why would Toyota stop offering the only full-size hatchback available in the market?  That advantage fits well with their initiative to increase the number of sales in the United States.  So in short, the hybrid invasion has begun.  All types of vehicles will begin appearing as clean & efficient choices.

7-13-2003

Blinker.  Geez!  How far can a person drive without noticing their blinker is blinking?  I witnessed it for a few miles today.  Was the person being inattentive or was the through-the-steering-wheel design so poor that the blinking wasn't noticed?  That certainly won't happen with Prius.  The display placement out near the edge of the windshield eliminates all visual impairment.  Seeing instrument status requires no effort.  It's there, right in the line of sight.  Looking down between your hands and the wheel is not required.

7-13-2003

Multi-Display Time.  I wonder how many Prius owners tell time based on 5-minute summary segments shown on the Consumption Screen of the Multi-Display.  Hmm?  I certainly do that.  When I get in the Prius is rarely noted, but I can tell you how long I've been driving just by the count of the green bars I've seen.  Each represents 5 minutes.  And without even trying, I can get pretty darn close to telling when the next will appear.  My internal clock has become quite familiar with that length of time having anticipated so many 5-minutes segment appearances over the last 3 years.

7-13-2003

Slowdown Joy.  Prius owners rejoice when traffic slows unexpectedly.  That means the MPG will climb.  Most everyone else gets frustrated.  I seriously doubt that comes exclusively from getting to their destination just 90 seconds or so later than they would have.  I bet part comes from the total waste of gas that delay causes in a traditional vehicle.  In Prius, it's just the opposite.  Having a hybrid like that makes the world a slightly better place, literally.  Less waste.  Less pollution.

7-12-2003

Think of it like biking.  I was asked why city mileage is better than highway in a hybrid.  That forced me to come up with a really good, clear analogy since we've be taught in the past to expect the counter-intuitive result in traditional vehicles.  Prius uses less energy driving in the city, which results in less energy being used.  The same goes for biking.  When you pedal, you try very hard to get the most from every stroke and the most from every gliding opportunity possible.  The hybrid system seeks out those same types of opportunities.  Also, imagine trying to maintain full speed on a bike.  You'd expend a lot of energy rapidly working so hard to maintain that fast speed.  The same is true for a hybrid.  Slower speeds are better.

7-11-2003

56 Chevy.  Is that what the classic Prius will become, ever-so-close to the ideal show car?  More and more people are confirming that the new Prius is the first "no compromise" hybrid, where it literally fulfills each person's needs without any type of sacrifice.  I know quite well that I wasn't making any type of sacrifice with my classic, but the draw of a hatchback sure is appealing.  That type of storage is significantly better than a trunk with a pass-thru.  And of course, the extra goodies like the electric A/C and Smart Entry/Start are a huge improvement over every other vehicle on the market.  Offering the impressive features like that sure will draw attention.  Then there's stealth, it will be even better in the new Prius.  Wow!  It will be very interesting to observe how history plays out.

7-11-2003

We know.  Owners actually paid to find out.  Reporters make "educated" guesses.  Unfortunately, all their education dealt with traditional vehicles.  Those that make claims online are even worse.  Sometimes I can't even remotely figure out where they came up with such absurd ideas.  But whatever the case, regardless of what you hear, remember that owners made a commitment and spent their hard-earned money on what they believed.  That speaks much louder than anything an observer can say.  In fact, some that speak negatively usually have something to lose.  Why else would they be against a technology that could ultimately improve the vehicle of their choice... trucks, minivans, and even SUVs can all benefit?  Of course, we already know that.

7-11-2003

No details.  Message posts from an owner apparently getting great MPG makes me crazy when no details are included.  And I find them all the time on discussion groups for the other hybrid.  It offers a manual transmission, which is more efficient for that design.  Using higher octane provides a MPG boost.  Driving only highway miles will too.  Also, since that vehicle provides a lifetime display value and people generally don't keep track of every fill up on paper, I can only assume that value is misleading.  Then of course, we all know how temperature and tire pressure have an effect on efficiency.  Not knowing how that efficiency was accomplished makes me wonder about the credibility of that "data".  Recreating it certainly won't be easy with all those unknowns.

7-11-2003

Prius makes braking simple.  Today, I got a fun reminder of that.  While driving along the Mississippi River near St. Paul, there's a number of steep, curvy roads where the recommended speed is 25 MPH.  So you always have to slow down and be careful.  For me, all I have to do is stop pushing the accelerator-pedal.  That's it, no brake.  The regenerator kicks in to heavy enough automatically without even needing to touch the brake.  That's pretty cool.  The person in front of me today sure would have liked that.  I got to watch him ride the brake the whole way down.  Never at anytime would he have suspected that the Prius behind him didn't have to work that hard to handle the road.  Oh well.  Someday everyone will figure out the special abilities the hybrid technology offers.

7-11-2003

2 Pigeons.  Stealth worked a little too well today.  I silently crawled up to 2 pigeons pecking at some food on the road.  They didn't care.  Despite the size, the Prius didn't register as a danger to them.  I got so close I couldn't see them anymore (within about a foot).  Still in disbelief, I finally had to break the silence.  Tapping on the horn sure changed their mind.  The flurried away.  Next time, I think I better honk a little sooner. 

7-10-2003

Prius Racing.  After the mini-gathering, 2 of us ended up side-by-side at the same stoplight.  I just glared at the other driver.  (There's not much else you can do it stealth, engine revving isn't possible when it isn't even running.)  The light turned green.  Each Prius seemingly normal drove away.  In reality, both of us dropped the pedals to the floor.  But with the quietness and ease of acceleration, a bystander couldn't tell.  We could though.  Both were neck-and-neck, giving full-capacity toward acceleration.  It was pretty sweet.

7-10-2003

Mini-Gathering.  That sure was fun.  3 Prius were able to get together at my dealer today.  A few people had expressed interest in making their 2004 Prius orders together.  So I picked a date & time.  That turned out to be more difficult to make work than anticipated, but the small group sure was fun.  Gary placed an order to get his second Prius.  And Kou placed an order to get his first.  Mitch joined us to share stories about his Prius.  And boy did we ever have stories to swap.  All had been involved with Prius for a long time.  All had witnessed the quality of the technology.  No had any doubt that the new Prius would be anything less than perfect.  I bet we were quite a spectacle, all singing praise the a certain hybrid.  I can't wait to have a big gathering once the 2004 deliveries begin.

7-10-2003

Mutually Exclusive Misconception.  Some people are continuing to insist that a fuel-efficient vehicle must be small, that there is no way possible make a SUV use hybrid technology.  They do this to show that people simply aren't interested in buying "hybrids".  Boy will they be surprised when Toyota starts delivering the Lexus RX330-Hybrid to dealers.  A hybrid system in a SUV that competes directly with traditional designs will be great.  Only, that won't be much of a challenge.  Getting much better efficiency and emitting far less pollution while still being able to tow a modest-size load sure will be impressive.  I wonder how long it will take the competition to catch up once they discover massive demand for that type of vehicle.  Hmm?

7-09-2003

The end of the Rainbow.  I discovered what was there today.  It was a Prius!  The front had just passed through.  A clearing in the distance formed allowing the sun to peak through and illuminate the clouds above dropping rain.  That created a rainbow.  So I grabbed the digital camera, jumped in the Prius, and quickly drove to the park.  There I set up for a shot with a nice green background of trees with the rainbow above and the Prius below.  That just happened to make the rainbow appear as though it was pointed directly to the Prius in one shot, so I scrambled to capture that moment.  Another shot emerged.  I was quite pleased (but very wet, since the umbrella was used to protect the digital camera).  The lighting was very different from the rainbow photos 2 years ago.  I like that kind of variety.  Maybe you will too...  photo album 53

7-09-2003

Drained.  "This whole procedure is wearing me down" came from an expected 2004 owner today.  The anticipation and lack of certainly very closely resembles what happened 3 years ago.  There literally weren't any solid details to share, so speculations flew.  The August deliver rumor makes sense.  On August 1, 2000, I was able to do my first test drive.  By then, I had already been waiting almost 2 months for delivery.  So that was quite a treat.  2 weeks later, the reports started coming in about people getting their Prius.  At that point, I began (rather desperately) searching for a distraction.  The excitement grew to an overwhelming level.  Then finally on September 9, 2000, I got my Prius.  Yeah!  But I still felt the agony people were suffering from.  That's what inspired to shoot entire collections of photos and share them with those still waiting.  The response was amazing.  Needless to say, I'm really looking forward to doing it again.  When will that actually be though?  Ahh!

7-09-2003

New model perceptions.  I wonder what people will think once the 2004 finally arrives.  The classic Prius already fulfills the need quite well.  The new Prius does even better, so there should be very little debate about it being what replaces traditional design.  The hybrid technology is proving itself to affordable, practical, and reliable.

7-08-2003

Same old story.  Around 50 MPG calculated for each tank lately.  Need I say more?  photo album 53

7-08-2003

The quiet approach.  That's what Toyota is taking... again.  This provides the opportunity to deal with misconceptions on the small scale before the whole world forms a premature opinion based on technology that is still growing.  Tire Pressure is an example.  Selling a mass-production car with 42 PSI in the front tires is not by any means common, but there is a huge benefit in doing that.  So as time goes on, that recommendation could finally appear.  Toyota will observe what owners do.  Then based on what they learn, they'll make the benefit more obvious.  Stealth is another example.  It provides a great marketing advantage, yet Toyota didn't even acknowledge it until recently.  They observed how owners embraced the idea, so they added a comment about it in their promotional material.  In fact, they even called it "stealth" rather than electric-only driving.  That's proof.  The owners coined the term themselves.  Pretty cool, eh!?

7-07-2003

Curiosity.  I'm curious as ever to begin to getting feedback from brand new Prius owners.  It's a bit strange getting to relive such an exciting event in my life AGAIN!  But it's real.  I get to experience that same near-overwhelming feeling of anxiety as 3 years ago when the classic Prius was introduced.  So when delivery of the new one begins, the same discovery process will remerge.  Whoa!  That will be a lot of fun!!

7-06-2003

Democrats on the Environment.  It's happening.  This has become one of the hot topics in the presidential campaign, so hot it is the first time it has ever been a debate topic.  I hadn't realized it was never given that kind of attention before.  No wonder we have so many problems now.  Thankfully, the arguments & rebuttals won't be theoretical anymore, they is an actual proven solution available. (Hint: I drive it to & from work everyday.)

7-05-2003

2004 Prius Ads.   The first of three new advertisements (green, of course) is now available...  ad scans 3

 

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