Personal Log  #2

October 1, 2000  -  December 9, 2000

Last Updated: Fri. 4/09/2004

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Checked the engine oil again.  After having driven over 6400 miles, the oil was now a dark brown pancake syrup color (similar to "Aunt Jemima's original flavor" syrup) and had about the same consistency as syrup too.  It appears as though the oil doesn't breakdown anywhere near as quickly as it does with gasoline-only vehicles.  And if the oil filter is doing it's job well, I have nothing to worry about.  Changing the oil & filter every 7500 miles (or 6 months, whichever comes first) will be really convenient, and I'm not consuming as many resources either.


1 F degree was how cold it was this morning.  I drove from my garage to an open parking ramp where the Prius sat all day.  It started right up afterward.  16 F degrees was what the multi-display said.  After less than a minute of warmup, I put it in "D" and drove away.  Then a few minutes later, the same duration I remember with my Taurus, piping hot air started blowing out of the heater.  Driving was typical too.  Bitter cold temperatures aren't causing problems like some of the skeptics expected.


Got the "Nature Approves Car" television commercial.  This video-file was also provided by "ee_of_ee", so thank you to him again.


Got the "True Car" television commercial.  A video-file copy of this very cool commercial was provided by "ee_of_ee", our Prius engineer friend on the Yahoo discussion-group.  So if you have the opportunity, please say thank you to him for providing this so I could share it with all the Prius enthusiasts.


Discovered super stealth-mode.  I pulled into the Mall of America parking ramp using just battery power.  Then the idea suddenly hit me: "I wonder if I can climb to the top without the engine starting."  No one was behind me, so what the heck. At 10 MPH, I ascended. 6 levels and 0.3 miles later, I made it.  The engine wasn't needed.  Excellent!


I had a SUV tailgate my Prius this morning.  At first I thought he was just being rude, but then it appeared as those he might be checking out the multi-display.  I suppose from that vantage point with those lighting conditions, it may have been very easy from him to see it.


"This Hybrid-Electric Car Gets 45 MPG" is what it now says in the back window of my Prius.  I created a message (0.75 x 20 inches, similar to those used for colleges) with that phrase and very discretely hung it just above the spoiler.  It's just enough to generate curiosity in the person behind me at the stoplight.


Created the FALL website card.  This one is really colorful.  I took the photo at the same location as the previous card, but this time I show the entire hillside and lighting is much softer (the sun was setting at that moment).  Check it out:  website cards


Gas-Pump accuracy concerns are growing.  Based on my experiences so far, it appears as though the automatic shutoff feature can really differ between gas-pumps.  That means the "MPG calc'd" value isn't as accurate as I had hoped it would be.  Oh well, at least the "Lifetime MPG" value isn't affected by this; it still provides the measurement of overall MPG correctly.


Did some stealth-mode driving (with the heater on low) when the outside temperature dropped to 14 F degrees.  The Prius silently climbed small hills from a dead stop and accelerated from 0 to 25 MPH then maintained that speed for 0.5 mile flat stretches just fine.  No problemo.  The engine wasn't needed (once the car was warmed up, of course).  The cold doesn't seem to have any affect on the motor/battery performance.  Yeah!


Met some people at the gas station that already knew me.  They been had given a Prius card for my website by the dealer after having done a test-drive.  Awhile back, I dropped off a bunch of cards to provide potential customers with a source for further information.  Apparently, it worked.  Cool!


Unexpectedly photographed a new Energy-Flow path.  I was out taking more winter photos of the Prius when I noticed the multi-display showing something I hadn't ever seen before.  The engine was providing electricity for both the wheels and battery-pack, but it wasn't providing any thrust.  Luckily, I had the camera with me and turned on.  So I quickly snapped a photo, which you'll find in:  photo album 4


It started to snow!!!  So when I got home, I parked the Prius out in the driveway and took a bunch of night photos right away.  Then I left the car parked there until morning.  When my alarm clock sounded, I grabbed my camera and ran outside.  There was a Prius buried underneath a layer of fresh snow... the perfect setting for a bunch more photos.  Look here for the 3 night and 6 morning photos I ended up with:  photo album 5


Discovered stealth-mode works in the winter.  I just figured now that the temperature was only 27 F degrees, the engine would have to stay on to run the heater.  When the temperature was in the upper 30's, that was what happened. But now that it's even colder, things are different.  The engine does in fact shut off. I can wait at stoplights and drive through parking lots silently (using just battery-power) even in the winter.  Hooray!


Was followed by an Echo.  I obviously got the attention of the woman driving an the Echo.  She must have noticed the similarities in car shape because she followed me around the corner and into the lot then stopped right behind where I parked.


Finally saw another Prius while driving mine.  The unique tail-light is what caught my eye, the snow & ice over the silver paint confused me for a second.  Unfortunately, by the time I was able to confirm it was a Prius it had entered the off-ramp.  But that was during my commute to work, so odds are good that I will eventually see it again.


"Hi John! How's the Prius?"  That's the way friends greet me now.  I've been so successful spreading the word about the technology that they're fascinated to hear more.  Well, that is sort of what I was hoping to accomplish.  (Keep checking my website, I'll do my best to share new info.)


"The car isn't making any noise because it's a hybrid. See that label near the trunk."  That is what a man said and pointed out to a woman as I silently rolled by in the parking ramp of the Mall Of America.  He was the first person I caught the attention of that actually knew what a Prius was.  It won't be too long before everyone knows.


Switched back to 87 Octane gasoline.  I tried 90 Octane for 1263 miles.  There wasn't any improvement to MPG.  And since engine knocking isn't an issue, I really don't see any benefit (especially since the Prius was designed to run well with octane 87 anyway).  My personal data page shows the details of my octane experiment.


Drove 840 miles using 90 Octane gasoline.  After having filled up for the third time with higher octane, there doesn't appear to be any improvement in MPG.  There's probably a change due to the temperature dropping.  And being precise is difficult with a gas-tank that has a bladder.  But I kind of hoped there would be a noticeable increase in MPG like there was with my two previous gasoline-only cars.  Oh well, an average of 46 MPG is nothing to complain about.


Photographed the multi-display on the dashboard.  It took countless attempts to focus and aim the camera while trying to get the car to do exactly the right thing, but I ended up with 4 good ENERGY photos.  Plus, I got 2 good CONSUMPTION photos.  Check them out:  photo album 4


Checked the engine oil.  Even after having driven over 3500 miles, the oil was still a light honey color. Wow!


Created the FALL Screen-Saver.  Using the 28 best photos from my photo album, I created a screen-saver for those craving more Prius stuff (because I know just how long that delivery wait can be).


Took a lot more colorful photos.  Enjoying another fall day, I drove through rural Minnesota toward the river valley in Stillwater looking for trees with vibrant red & orange leaves.  This adventure resulted in 15 great photos which are now in:  photo album 3


Took photos the night of Friday the 13th.  With the moon full and the desire to get a new type of Prius photo, I couldn't resist.  So I drove over to an isolated parking lot and took photos to my heart's content... during the witching hour of course, at midnight.  These are the 6 best photos from that:  photo album 2


Filled up the gas tank with 90 Octane.  The first 8 tankfuls were all 87 octane.  I'm very curious to find out if this will improve the MPG enough to pay for itself.  The results will be available in:  personal data


558 Mile Road Trip!  4 of us (full-size adults) traveled to northern Minnesota without any struggle.  The interior offered comfortable seating.  The trunk was big enough to hold all of our stuff.  The acceleration & power was consistent with the gasoline-only vehicles on the road, even on the 6% grade climb out of Duluth.  Overall MPG was 43.  The Prius performed quite well.


Took lots of colorful photos.  Enjoying a fall day in Minnesota, I drove around my home town looking for trees with vibrant red & orange leaves.  Once I found a place like that, I drove my Prius into the foreground and captured the scene with my camera.  The resulting 9 best (which I got many compliments on) are in:  photo album 2


"Whoa, you just never know what's going to happen!"  That was the comment made to me about the previous customer in line at the coffee shop.  I couldn't resist.  I responded by saying, "Yeah, having a hybrid-electric vehicle I'm surprised all the time."  Needless to say, I had his attention as well as everyone else around me.  So I said I would drive by the front windows to let everyone could see the car.  And when I did, two workers and a customer ran across the shop and bolted out the side door.  They couldn't resist the opportunity to see the car up close rather than through a window.  It was great!  I got quite a few "oohs!" and "aahs!"


"You forgot my drink."  I drove through the drive-thru but was only given my bag of food.  The girl, after having realized the mistake, apologized and gave me my drink.  I said, "No problem.  It's not like I'm wasting any gas.  The car is on just battery power right now."  When she leaned for a closer look, she noticed the glow (it was dark out) of the multi-display and the digital speedometer.  Seeing the intrigued look on her face, I mentioned that the car was a hybrid-electric.  Needless to say, she was quite impressed.  In fact, within seconds she got everyone else working there looking out the drive-thru window too.  The amazement on all their faces was wonderful!


"Was the engine running when you drove by?"  That was the question I was asked after having driven by the building entrance using only battery power.  When I told her the car was a hybrid-electric, she was shocked.  The Prius appeared to be just another car, but that silence gave her a feeling about something being different.


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