Personal Log #427
July 12, 2009 - July 21, 2009
Last Updated: Mon. 8/17/2009
page #426 page #428 BOOK INDEX
Comparison Reviews. Where to begin after reading a review that starts with this: "Hybrids are all about fuel economy, right?" The complete disregard for smog-related emission reduction is nothing new. But this time, the supposed journalist went way beyond that. He compared a 6-cylinder AWD hybrid SUV to a 4-cylinder FWD traditional SUV. How is that even remotely constructive? Heck, comparing two traditional SUVs so differently configured wouldn't ever been taken seriously. Why did he think he could get away with that for a hybrid? Some are getting so desperate to stall the change now taking place they are willing to say just about anything.
Oops! The positioning, angle, and length of the tower connections for the roof-rack required quite few trial & error adjustments... as well as a keen eye of what to look for. One aspect I overlooked was the new height of the metal span with respect to the foot placement. Rather than the rear sitting directly on the bend like the front, it is now lower. The fit was quite snug, even without the need to tighten the clamp much. I did regardless, like with the front. Unfortunately, that caused a dimple in the metal on both sides in the rear. Oops! Fortunately, it's subtle and I will be able to warn others about it. I guess that means my 2010 Prius is officially broken in... since I broke it. Darn! Oh well. Being so close to the solar panel, the fine distortion may not ever be noticed anyway.
New Undermining. Well, I now know what the first educational document will be for the 2010 Prius. The topic of "driving modes" comes up pretty much on a daily basis now, by newbies... who ask genuine questions and typically get a constructive replies. That's great, but seeing the same thing repeated over and over and over and over again will even get to those with the best of intentions after awhile. Having a document readily available helps prevent much of that. It's also helps deal with those that intentionally attempt to cause harm, better known as undermining. With the modes, they see 3 buttons and tell everyone those are the only modes available. Combining that with extreme vague comments causes a great deal of confusion, misleading those wanting to learn about Prius. It's frustrating to read that without having something to easily rebut with. Soon, we will.
Smaller Vue-Hybrid. It shrunk! I couldn't believe what I was seeing. It stopped right in front of me. I turned to my friends and pointed out that the new vehicle right there was a hybrid... a shocking smaller hybrid than in the past. What the heck? I didn't realize Vue was being transformed from a SUV to an wagon. But there it was. That vehicle now looked much like a Subaru Forester rather than the Saturn Vue we had all grown accustomed to. Evidence of downsizing that blatant is the ultimate sign of change. Each model of vehicle was expected to grow over the years. It was a silly way automakers promoted change. Now the trend is reversing. Well, it's about dang time! Hopefully, they'll find a desirable size and finally just stick with it.
Kayak MPG. Taking the one kayak with the sealed cockpit up to 70 MPH was no big deal. The MPG dropped about 8 MPG compared to the suburb driving, but that's hardly a value to complain about. In fact, that's pretty darn good. The next test was to put the second on and not have either cockpit sealed. That's a huge amount of drag added. Both interiors will grab the wind and the two bodies will funnel air through a narrow opening. Needless to say, efficiency plummeted on the highway. But even then, MPG around just 40 isn't exactly bad. Most cars can't even get that at their best, yet the Prius was delivering it and its worst. And to my delight, there was less noise than with my Iconic Prius. Not sure why, but that's nice. In the end, the roof-rack performed wonderfully. Everything held in place just fine under the pressure of 50 total miles of driving.
Roof-Rack Photos. It seemed
like forever waiting for the rack supplier to finally provide the clips &
measurements so I could adapt the roof-rack from my 2004 Prius to fit my 2010.
Of course, the weather has been disappointing anyway. Cloudy & Cool is not
what you want for kayaking. Nonetheless, I still needing proof that a new
model Prius with the solar-roof package could indeed support a roof-rack.
Some sales were contingent upon that information. Providing photos would
easily solve that dilemma... and today, that happened. Adjustments took
forever, but I managed to get that done and still have enough time to go out for
a drive to test the fit along with taking some photos with a scenic background
(despite the overcast sky). See...
photo album 137
Perfect Timing. A close friend from work still hadn't seen my 2010 Prius yet. Wouldn't you know it, my maiden voyage with a kayak on top resulted in her pulling up along side of me. That's the first time we've ever encountered each other outside of work. That was perfect timing! It now gives me a great excuse to bring up the topic at work, especially since another coworker just purchased a kayak. Seeing the hybrid doing that is a great endorsement for the practical nature of the technology. What compromises are there? This model is large, powerful, and obviously quite capable of carrying substantial cargo.
Roof-Rack on a Solar. The rack manufacturer finally provided the clip sizes and space recommendations. That meant rushing out to the store and spending a few hours making adjustments. The initial assembly gets quite involved anyway. But with all the accessories already added from my Iconic Prius, adapting it fit on the 2010 would inevitably take awhile. After all, not only was I trying to avoid scratches & dents, I also had all that glass on the roof to avoid. (Tip: use a thin exercise mat for roof padding during the install.) The larger dimensions of this new model Prius meant multiple attempts before finding precisely the right distance for each component. But in the end, all that effort totally paid off. The kayak rides great on top. To my delight, efficiency didn't take all that much of a hit either. The 14-footer on top, with cockpit seal, yielded a 54.1 MPG average after 11.3 miles of suburb (up to 55 MPH) driving. How about that?
2010 Recognition. The timing couldn't have been better.
I got spotted by an Iconic owner yesterday. He almost over-steered while
abruptly realizing what he was seeing half way through his turn. The look
on his face was priceless! I wondered how long it would take for something
like that to happen. The new model is still too rare for the typical
consumer to recognize. But owners of the Iconic model immediately notice
it's a Prius... though it's different just enough to cause the loss of
attention. Curiosity coming from a chance spotting on the road can be
quite compelling. After all, I had just spotted my first Smart
convertible. Seeing one with the roof missing pass me caused a
double-take. Did I just see what I thought I saw?
More Park Photos. These came from another nearby park. The
2010 Prius still less than a week old at the time. It was a much enjoyed
opportunity to use the digital camera some more. I discovered how much lighter
the silver paint is on this model than on my 2004. It makes the over-exposure
problem even worse in bright sunlight. The Prius glows in contrast to the
backgrounds filled with grass & trees. Oh well. What is difficult to work with
during the day is quite the opposite at night. I'll be able to some really nice
low-light photos at sunset. Those are always nice. Anywho, here's what I
photo album 136
Nothing Left, part 5. The desired outcome of the bankruptcy is to have nothing left. Legacy obligations are eliminated as a result of the courts intervening. Basically, the business volunteers for an amputation. Now, those holdbacks of the past are gone. They have been removed from liability. This has enables the once struggling automaker to start fresh, which is exactly what GM is now positioned to do. So then, why the heck are some enthusiasts still not acknowledging the outcome? It's truly bizarre. They still must have the urge to fight even though it is no longer necessary. Of course, it could be the reality that this GM must actually deliver on promises. All their excuses to not do so are gone.
Nothing Left, part 4. Remember, the hope was always that something affordable would also be offered. That meant an electric-only range much smaller than 40 miles. After all, the system was supposedly able to deliver 50 MPG after battery-pack depletion anyway. That could make it quite competitive... especially since there are many consumers will short commutes. 40 miles is overkill. Why not offer a choice of less? Of course, now the lack of data sharing is beginning to make people wonder about the efficiency expectations. In fact, there is really nothing left of the original concept vehicle anymore. The new GM seems to be accepting that and will hopefully gather valuable consumer input from their new social sire for Volt. It's only the original enthusiasts that are providing resistance now, unwilling to acknowledge the changes. The old market they still defend doesn't exist anymore. What's wrong with the option of an affordable model?
Nothing Left, part 3. Reading about the hype still makes me really curious how things will play out in the next few months for Volt. Remember, the plug-in Prius will begin to be available in small quantity (500 total) for a handful of corporate fleets around the world this Fall. The data resulting from that will position Toyota well to compete later. What the reaction will be in the meantime is anyone's guess though. Old GM was known for propaganda that rarely matched reality. Enthusiasts still follow that mindset. New GM is clearly taking a new approach. That management is quite content with nothing left from that perspective. Starting fresh with more realistic goals is the only way to survive in this new market. Hype has harsh penalties... which consumers are well aware of. But will those old-school enthusiasts ever figure that out?
Nothing Left, part 2. This is
what I posted on that site upon hearing about the new one: Sorry to be blunt, but many here don't consider Prius an ally. So, my
perspective on Volt will probably just be disregarded anyway...
Volt discussions had already faded away. There was basically nothing left. Talk
of the pre-production model vanished with the emergence of the new GM. It makes
this new approach from GM introducing a social site for the technology not much
of a surprise, especially since it has changed so much.
Their "How the Volt Works" animation provided indicates the battery empty at 36
miles and makes no reference whatsoever to MPG with the engine running. That
further reinforces what some had suspected for awhile.
Volt now faces a market very, very different from which it was originally
conceived. Can we finally be realistic here?
Nothing Left, part 1. The downward spiral came to an end
today. GM launched their own social website for Volt. That put the
already struggling enthusiast blogging site in a very awkward position.
The shortcomings there could easily be addressed by this new competitor for
attention... especially if the information source for the enthusiasts is no
longer available. They've had almost nothing to report since the
bankruptcy. And now that there's a new GM, relationships to the old may
not carry over. We've went from some implying & speculation to nothing
but. This is why I've been writing about the site. The lack of
advancement indicated an outcome like this. After 2.5 years, there is
still no Tech-FAQ and most threads die after just a single day of posts.
With 1.5 years left to go, that wasn't a good sign... especially with such a
negative attitude toward Prius still.
$1.49 Per Gallon. Guaranteeing that price for a year is
what Hydunai is offering as a new sales promotion. Remember the days when
people believed that was all the more they'd ever have to pay for gas? I
certainly do. Those fighting the progress of Prius absolutely insisted we
wouldn't see much higher during the lifetime of the Classic model. They
were obviously wrong, very wrong. Thank goodness those days of senseless
guzzling are over. This is undeniable proof that priorities have changed.
Of course, hybrids are far from the norm still. But at least the push to
promote those that only deliver 22 MPG is now seen as lipstick on a pig.
CR-Z & Fit Hybrids. That was the big announcement from Honda today. One is coming early next year and the other by the end of next year. 2010 is definitely staging to be enormous in terms of industry advancement attempts. With the popularity of Insight in Japan and the weak sales here in the United States, it's anyone's guess how this all plays out. Price will likely be the most important aspect, since both new hybrids will be using IMA. That system type is an ASSIST design, which hasn't competed well with FULL hybrids. A steep rise in gas prices would have a huge positive influence. We shall see. Consumer awareness of what the different types offer continues to increase at a decent rate.
Remote A/C. I finally had a genuine opportunity to use it. That was very exciting! It was a blazing hot day. I was given the duty of stopping at Dairy Queen to buy an ice cream cake. I placed the order. They took it in back to inscribe the message on top. I then popped outside to push the A/C button on my FOB. The Prius came to life, without me in it. That was actually freaky. The dashboard illuminated as if the vehicle was running. The cooling system started to make operational noises. No one was inside. I stepped back in. When the cake was ready, I stepped out into a cool Prius, despite the blazing hot temperature outside. Sweet!
Winning? The non-constructive nature of the "trophy"
mentality is becoming a real problem. Discussions are being cluttered with
cheerleading for prestige rather than actually focusing on a goal.
Today, it was all about "winning".
I asked: What does WIN mean? Needless to say, they didn't like me asking that or
saying this: With the bankruptcy reality yet to sink in entirely, I could imagine some people
still thinking that it means first.
WIN should represent sustained high-volume sales at a profit.