Posted on June 12th, 2009 No comments
The point of this article seemed to be to deny its own premise. Craftily titled, “Hybrids still worth the extra cash?” the body of the article tries to avoid saying but does say, “yes”. And aside from the idiocy of the comparison and the blather of the article, I thought that in 2009 we might be past this kind of silliness.
And speaking the teh stoopid, this article, curiously enough from Canada as well, is about as pointless.
Posted on March 19th, 2009 No comments
From the Detroit Free Press…
The program would apply only to new vehicles built in North America, with cars having to hit at least 27 miles per gallon on the highway if built in the United States and 30 m.p.g. if built in Canada or Mexico. Truck models would have to make 24 m.p.g. on the highway.
The old vehicles traded in under the program would have to be crushed or recycled. And in a nod to plug-in hybrids such as the Chevrolet Volt, the bill would offer a $7,500 voucher toward any U.S.-made vehicle that garners 100 m.p.g.
All the new vehicles would have to carry sticker prices less than $35,000.
This is a proposal for a bill in congress. While I do think it has some merit the next time an “American” company starts whining about government support or crying for “free trade”, I want to remember this.
Posted on February 17th, 2009 No comments
Lead off graph from this Casey Williams Yukon hybrid review…
Imagine a Toyota Prius crawling over rocks and slogging through mud. A friend owns one, but admitted he drove his Toyota Tundra 4×4 to work when 12” of snow fell. I said, “A real man would have driven his Prius.” To which he replied, “I tried, but couldn’t get it out of the driveway.”
Allow me to counter Casey’s anecdotal yuck-yucker with my own, and I have photographs…
February 2006 Road Trip to Quebec City Canada for their Winter Carnaval
The morning we arrived it had been snowing since the night before (and for us, since upstate New York), 27CM of fresh snow
Our third day there, after traveling to the Ice Hotel through a fresh 12CM of snow, parked at the Parc de la Chute-Montmorency
Maybe you’ve seen this image as one of new banners.
I have lots more. The point is, this continuing slight against the Prius, that it won’t work in snow is pretty dumb. If the best thing you can say about a $50K hybrid tugboat is that handles better than the Prius in deep snow, I would suggest you have a pretty weak product.
Posted on February 12th, 2009 No comments
Sometimes, lazy writers just toss together a combination of exciting buzzwords rather than write an actual article or report that has any basis reality. You might opine that this doesn’t happen often. I would suggest it happens all too often and this particular case is especially egregious.
This idiot figured, well, rather than me explain it, let me show you a few key sentences and phrases…
Aside from that nice young mailman your grandma ran over when she forgot where the park gear in her Prius was located, hybrids haven’t killed anybody … yet. However, all that could change if the world’s business and political interests converge on a desolate, sun-baked Bolivian wasteland known as the Salar de Uyuni.
Known as the “Saudi Arabia of lithium,” Bolivia has half of the world’s known deposits.
The deep divide between rich and poor in Bolivia fuels civil unrest, and when there’s money to be made from a valuable mineral, you can expect violence to follow.
So think about that before you go out and buy a hybrid.
As innocuous and endearingly ugly as it may be, the Toyota Prius may be the vehicle for destabilization in South America.
First one has to wonder if the author realizes that the Prius does not currently use Lithium batteries. Yes Toyota plans to use lithium assuming several things, none of which, by the way, have happened yet. It might be a bit premature to assume hybrid owners are causing destabilization in Bolivia since current hybrids aren’t using lithium. Now if the point of the article was that Toyota was destabilizing Canada…
Nah. I’m not going there. It will give the punters some ideas they don’t need.
And I don’t mean to be intentionally shortsighted any more, I suppose, than author of this piece means to be intentionally misleading but laying the blame for possible future problems in Bolivia on current hybrid owners is stupid and factually wrong.
Posted on January 20th, 2009 No comments
Oooo, no contest this week. Peter Foster of Nationalpost.com for this doozy…
The Wall Street Journal noted this week that the hybrid was “Once ridiculed as impractical, too expensive or a gimmick by other automakers.” But while it may be spawning a bunch of imitators — including a Ford Fusion hybrid put together by Canada’s Magna — there is no reason to believe that the original assessment was wrong. Hybrids appeal primarily to the relatively wealthy who either lay awake at night fretting about their carbon footprint and climate change and/or who want to be seen as conspicuous consumers of environmental virtue.
Well, Peter, for that, your faux Wall Street Journal portrait and much, much more complete cluelessness in your article you win this week’s “fool of the week” honors. Congratulations.
Posted on December 18th, 2008 No comments
Car batteries a matter of national security
The Detroit auto makers have not played the security card publicly, as they wrangle with governments in Canada and the United States for financial assistance. But they are working the national security angle behind the scenes.
Here’s the Detroit side of the argument: there is not one single lithium ion manufacturing facility in North America and to create one would cost at least $250-million (all figures in U.S. dollars). In a nutshell, Asian battery makers have cornered the automotive battery market, and there is absolutely no chance of that changing if the Detroit auto makers stumble and fail.
Read the rest of the article at the link above.
Posted on November 27th, 2008 1 comment
Here it comes, the “quiet cars are dangerous” articles from earnest people with “concerns”.
Once again, to date there have been no, none, accidents involving the blind and hybrids. This is a solution in search of problem and it’s pointless to talk about making hybrid cars louder. If this was a problem we could find a better solution that add noisemakers to hybrids.
Posted on October 29th, 2008 3 comments
Beep! Silent cars need a reverse alarm
The Ottawa Citizen
While walking my two dogs before work Monday morning, I happen to notice a neighbour’s car with its reverse lights on. The car was parked in its driveway but there was no engine noise as it was a Toyota Prius.
I stopped because walking behind a car with its reverse lights on can be risky, particularly if the driver isn’t paying attention or is distracted. I am thankful for my caution because it was at that very moment that the car backed out, silently.
The driver was startled to see me standing at the curb. Given her reaction, she was not aware of my presence — at least not until she was almost completely out of the driveway.
Had I been walking along distractedly, I would not have heard that quiet car backing up. Luckily I saw the visual cue but what about someone who is visually impaired would that person have the opportunity to avoid bodily injury if placed in the same situation?
I have read stories about this kind of automotive phenomena happening to others but I got to experience it first hand. People are used to hearing an engine’s noise to alert them that a car is near them.
Electric cars and some hybrid cars that operate on electricity at low speeds gives no such audible cue. I would like to suggest that hybrids and electric cars be equipped with audible alarms to indicate a reverse action. These alarms are found on all large trucks, heavy equipment and even golf carts.
If it wasn’t for my diligence that morning, myself or my two animals could have been hurt.
Honestly, do pedestrians really need a 120 dB rumbling or an electronic alarm rumbling to know, a backing up is something to be cautious of? Yes, driver’s always need to be careful when driving in reverse (or driving forward for that matter). But this whole “bell the cat” idea for the Prius is silly. That’s just my opinion.
Posted on October 10th, 2008 No comments
Toyota Texas Workers Scrub Graffiti as Factory Idles
By Alan Ohnsman
Idled Toyota Motor Corp. assembly- line workers in San Antonio are spending two weeks cleaning city parks, removing graffiti, painting benches and fixing fences instead of building pickup trucks.
Japan’s largest automaker, which counts on the U.S. to absorb 29 percent of vehicle production, is fighting the first annual sales slump in 13 years. With the credit crunch scaring buyers away from showrooms, the Toyota City, Japan-based company suspended truck-assembly operations in Texas and Indiana and cut initial output plans for a new sport-utility vehicle plant in Canada to half the original target.
Toyota said in July it would halt Tundra pickup production in San Antonio and Princeton, Indiana, from late August until mid-November to trim rising inventory of the full-size truck that went on sale last year. The move was a first for the company. Production of large Sequoia SUVs in Indiana also was suspended for the same period.
Workers in Texas and Indiana factories aren’t union members and haven’t been laid off. Toyota reassigned them to training programs and modifying assembly-line procedures to improve ergonomics, said Kelly Dillon, a spokeswoman for the Princeton plant.
While 100 Princeton employees volunteered to take unpaid leave, 140 others were redeployed temporarily to the Georgetown, Kentucky, plant and a Subaru of Indiana Automotive Inc. factory in Lafayette that’s run by Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd., a Toyota affiliate.
Toyota also scaled back plans to make Highlander SUVs at a plant under construction in Mississippi, shifting the vehicle to Indiana. Instead, the Prius hybrid hatchback, now exported from Japan, will be built in Mississippi starting in 2010.
Posted on September 11th, 2008 No comments
Gems worth $200,000 stolen from parked car
Sherri Zickefoose, Calgary Herald
A gemologist who left $200,000 worth of uninsured precious gemstones in a parked car may have been targeted for a spectacular theft.
Experts say it could be the work of gangs south of the border.
Within 30 seconds of parking near Kensington, a thief broke into the trunk of the woman’s black Toyota Prius. In broad daylight, a man made off with her belongings, including a travel case filled with hundreds of gems.
Police can’t say for certain whether the car was targeted for the gems, or if an errant prowler hit the jackpot.
Gangs from the United States commonly target gem salespeople and are becoming a big problem in Canada, according to Jewellers Vigilance Canada Inc., a jewelry theft watchdog.
“In Canada, travelling salespeople have become real targets. They do a lot of surveillance. They’ll sit on malls and jewelry stores and do surveillance on these people. They wait for situations when they go out and grab lunch and leave their car unattended,” said John Lamont, director of loss prevention for the group.
“They’ll even puncture a tire or a radiator and follow to offer help.”
Jewel heists targeting salespeople have been growing in the past few years in Alberta, an expert says.
“Right now is probably the busiest time of year for salesmen,” said David Roberts, manager and gemologist of Calgary’s Roberts JC Jewellers.
“You want to have everything loaded up in your store for Christmas. You would just have to sit outside a store and watch them come and go with their cases and roller suitcases.”
“It’s a very unusual situation. It’s a big theft,” said Det. Doug Crippen of Calgary police.
The theft occurred Sept. 2 in the 100 block of 14 St. N.W.
Police say nearby surveillance video shows a man breaking into the car within 30 seconds of the woman walking away from it. She was only away from her vehicle for about 15 minutes.
The woman, who runs her own business out of Vancouver and regularly travels to Alberta, is devastated, police say.
The woman told police insurance for the gems is prohibitively expensive. That’s common for small business owners, experts say.
“This is a complete loss for her,” said Crippen.
Jewellers Vigilance Canada gets the word out to jewellers, warning them of stolen gems through daily bulletins.
The group, which operates a website at www.jewellersvigilance.ca, is a non-profit that works with the RCMP and other law enforcement agencies.
The gem owner, who travels from the Vancouver area to mines around the world to find, buy and process the stones, says the gems can be identified should the thief try to sell them. “I don’t think they’ll be very easily sold in western Canada, as the jewelry industry communicates amongst themselves. We hope the stones will surface.”
Posted on August 27th, 2008 No comments
Toronto, Ontario – Toronto’s Centennial College, in collaboration with the Canadian Automotive Repair and Service Council (CARS), is offering a new training course on hybrid vehicle technology, the first of its kind to be offered in Canada.
The 16-hour training course is designed to give participants an understanding of hybrid electric technology, including critical safety issues and how to perform routine maintenance and service on current production hybrid component systems, such as those from General Motors, Toyota and Honda. The part-time course is intended for practicing automotive technicians who want to offer aftermarket service, and is an invaluable aid to service advisors, auto body repairers or towtruck operators who may be first at a crash scene involving a hybrid.
Hybrid vehicle owners and enthusiasts can also enroll, although the level of technical information may be high for many laypersons.
The course begins September 17 at the Ashtonbee Campus in Scarborough (Toronto), Ontario, and is scheduled for Wednesday evenings in four-hour blocks over four weeks. A second class begins on October 22. For more information, visit Centennial College.
Posted on August 14th, 2008 No comments
Eco-friendly ‘spaceship’ cars take off
By Sam Van Schie – Victoria News
When Rob Dennis wanted a Toyota Prius hybrid in June, he was put on a waiting list. There wasn’t one available anywhere in Canada.
Last week his car finally arrived, replacing the small SUV he’d driven for the past nine years.
“It’s a big change – a big step forward in technology,” said Dennis. “I call it the spaceship.”
Toyota hybrids run on a combination of gasoline and a high voltage battery, depending on speed. The battery is charged from the gas engine, which switches off when stopped if the battery is full.
Hybrid cars are perhaps best known in Victoria for their use as taxis. Yellow Cab of Victoria, for example, has 70 cars in its 90 vehicle fleet either Prius or Camry hybrid.
Operations Manager Surinder Kang estimates drivers save 70 per cent on fuel using these vehicles.
“It’s a real blessing,” said Kang. “We’re in our car 12 hours per day,” which really puts the hybrids to the test. He said battery problems are rare and drivers experience less down time for repairs.
And after waiting to see how these cars would fair on the road, more people are now ready to buy and Toyota is struggling to keep up.
From 2000 to 2005 Toyota Canada sold 6,500 hybrids, a number they surpassed in the first five months of 2008 alone.
And in B.C. the demand is especially high. Nationally 30 per cent of Camrys –Toyota’s most popular car – sold are hybrid models, but in B.C. it’s 50 per cent.
“The province has always been early adopters of green technology,” said Melanie Testani, spokesperson for Toyota Canada. “We expected they’d do well (in B.C.).”
She said Toyota increased production of hybrids to try to meet demand, but they had no idea it would be so high. So new buyers have to wait.
At Metro Lexus Toyota in Victoria, there are only demos available for customers to try, if their own they have to wait for the next shipment – or the one after that.
“It’s incredible that people will just wait and wait. They don’t know how long it will be,” said sales adviser Ferdie Roxas of the 25 to 30 people who buy a hybrid car from the dealership each month.
“Because people are replacing a car or SUV, they have something to drive already and want to downsize, mainly. They want one bad enough to wait, we haven’t seen that in years.”