2014 Toyota Prius

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Actually, there will be no 2014 Prius.Prius lead

The current model – the third Gen. Prius, last updated for the 2010 model year – will soldier on until next summer, when Toyota will replace it with an all-new fourth generation Prius.

The 2015 Prius.

But, you can get a preview of the ’15 by checking out the 2013 Prius plug-in hybrid. It has a lithium-ion battery pack as opposed to a nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) battery pack. Lithium-ion batteries can store almost twice the energy that NiMH batteries can store, which significantly increases the efficiency and the performance of the hybrid powertrain. In particular, the hybrid’s ability to move – and stay moving – on electric power alone, without any assist from the gas engine.Prius 2

Which of course means you burn less fuel. Potentially, no fuel – if you can get where you’re going without the gas engine kicking in before you get there.

The 2015 will reportedly come standard with lithium-ion batteries – and so should be able to run on electricity only for longer – and faster.

It’s even possible that Toyota will offer plug-in capability as a standard feature – pushing the electric-only envelope even farther.prius 2015 spy shot

That would be a real bell-ringer.

It’s also rumored that Toyota may offer AWD as an available option with the ’15 Prius. That I’m not much excited about – because it strikes me as silly. AWD is already over-sold (thanks to very effective over-marketing). Why add weight and rolling resistance  – which reduces fuel efficiency – as well as complexity and cost – to a vehicle built – ostensibly – to maximize economy?

Obviously, to make more money.Prius "plug in"

But, that’s a year in the future. Six months, at least, before we’ll get specifics.

For now, we’ve got the current Prius – and the plug-in version, with its high-performance lithium-ion batteries.

Let’s take a tour.

WHAT IT IS

The plug-in Prius is a longer-legged and even more fuel-sippy version of the popular Prius hybrid hatchback sedan.Prius battery

Instead of being “closed loop” – with the gas engine recharging the internal battery pack – you can top off the batteries – which are higher-performing lithium-ion batteries – by plugging the car into an external 120V household outlet. Which means, you can recharge the batteries without running the engine.

Which means, without burning any gas at all.

And not only that.

Once fully charged up, you can drive for about 14 miles in electric vehicle (EV) mode – gas engine shut down – and at much higher speeds (up to 62 MPH) than you could in the regular Prius – which can only go for about a mile on its lower-performance NiMH batteries – and no faster than about 25 MPH.

Naturally, there’s a price to be paid. Only you’ll pay it up front rather than at your local Exxon station.

The plug-in Prius starts at $32,000 – vs. $24,200 for the standard (non-plug-in) version. The Advanced version – which comes with numerous luxury amenities, including leather seats, a premium JBL audio rig, HID lights and heads-up display  – lists for $39,525.Prius dash 2

This is about what GM wants for the Chevy Volt – the plug-in Prius’ main competition. It zaps you with a $39,145 MSRP to start.

Another plug-in Prius rival is the Ford C-Max Energi. It features a lithium-ion battery and plug-in capability – and its base price is a more accessible $32,950.

WHAT’S NEW

Calendar year 2013 is the first year the plug-in Prius became available nationwide. It will hold the line until the arrival next summer of the 2015 (model year) Prius.

WHAT’S GOODprius trunk

Much better mileage than Volt (and C-Max) when gas engine’s running.

Can run for 14 or so miles without the gas engine running at all.

More passenger space – and cargo room – than Volt.

WHAT’S NOT SO GOOD

Volt can go farther – and much faster – on battery power.Prius console

Ditto the C-Max Energi.

Some ergonomic miscues (such as hard-to-see/hard-to-reach iPod hook-up in center console).

Electricity isn’t free – and there is talk of imposing special road taxes on hybrids, to make up for lost gas taxes.

UNDER THE HOODPrius engine 1

The plug-in Prius has the same 1.8 liter gas engine as in the standard Prius – and as in the standard-issue Prius, it’s used to provide motive power as well as a kind of carry-it-with-you generator to keep the batteries charged up. But the plug-in Prius has a different type of battery: Lithium-ion vs. nickel metal hydride (NiMH). The 4.4 kWh battery, when fully charged up, allows for up to about 14 miles of operation in electric vehicle (EV) mode at road speeds as high as 62 MPH.Prius "EV"

The only other hybrids that can do this trick are the Chevy Volt and the Ford C-Max Energi. The Volt can go farther on battery power alone – 25-30 miles or more under ideal conditions  – and is capable of breaking every speed limit in the land (including Texas’ 80 MPH limit) on just its batteries. It, too, can be recharged externally – so that you can avoid using the car’s gas-burning engine as much as possible.

Ditto the C-Max, which can go about 21 miles on the batteries – and up to 85 MPH.

However, the Volt and C-Max Energi differ radically from the Prius in one very important way: They’re  gas guzzlers – as hybrids go – when their gas engines are running.Prius display

Low-mid 30s for the Volt; low 40s for the C-Max   – vs. 50-plus for the Prius.

Reason?

The Volt was designed to operate principally as an electric car, even though it is technically a hybrid. GM gave it fairly long legs on battery power alone – but at the cost of not-so-great gas mileage if you exceed the battery-only range and force the car to revert to gas-burning to keep moving. The Volt’s smaller (1.4 liter) gas engine has to work overtime to provide the electricity to keep the wheels turning – and there’s no (or little) surplus energy available to put reserve charge back into the batteries. That means once the battery pack is depleted, the little engine is working pretty much constantly – in addition to working hard.

Which is why 35 or so MPGs.Prius hot rod

The C-Max, meanwhile, is more of a hot rod. It has a larger (2.0 liter) engine and a combined output of almost 190 hp.

Which is why low 40s.

The Prius is more balanced. You can travel a respectable distance on battery power alone – but if you run low on charge, your gas mileage won’t plummet. The 1.8 liter has power enough to keep the car moving – and to juice up the batteries. You won’t have the same EV-only range again until you plug-in for awhile. But there will be enough stored energy to avoid running the gas engine constantly. It will cycle on – and off. And it won’t have to work as hard when it’s on to keep the car moving.prius toggle

Which is why 50-plus MPG.

The standard – and only – transmission in the Prius is a CVT automatic, controlled by a video game-style toggle that’s either love it – or hate it.

The plug-in receptacle for the charge cord is located on the passenger-side rear quarter panel. There’s a 24-foot charging cable in the trunk, with a gun-type handle designed to resemble a conventional gas pump handle. Adjacent to the plug-in receptacle, you’ll find a small indicator light that illuminates while the car is charging up. It automatically turns off when the batteries are fully topped off – which takes a few hours to overnight using standard 120V household current.Prius "charge"

Toyota also sells a fast-charger which works off 240V current (such as a dryer outlet). This cuts the recharge time down to about an hour.

ON THE ROAD

Toyota has tried hard to make the Prius seem different – and futuristic – via gimmicks like the video game-style toggle shifter located on a “flying buttress” console that sweeps forward from the dashboard. But the truth – and arguably, a big part of the reason for its success – is that it behaves very much like an ordinary A to B family-type of car. Take away the hybrid-specific gauges and displays, the funky asymmetric dashpad – and that silly toggle shifter -  and it’s pretty much get in and go.prius road 1

It is quieter than other cars when running on the batteries – and there are a few distinctly hybrid sounds, including the whirr of regenerative braking (using the vehicle’s momentum to put some charge back into the batteries) when descending a grade and the slight fan noise emanating from the battery cooling grille in the rear passenger compartment.

But other than that, it’s not functionally obvious you’re driving anything out of the ordinary – and (with the exception of the obnoxious back-up buzzer that assaults you with high decibel Ding! Ding! Dings! whenever you put the car in reverse) it is as easy to drive as a Corolla or Camry.Prius road 2

Toyota’s hybrid technology is so seamless that visual cues – such as the iconically homely shape of the Prius – are needed to call attention to it.

The Volt, on the other hand, looks – and drives – sexier. It is much quicker: Zero to 60 in under 9 seconds vs. over 10 for the Prius. And as mentioned earlier, you can hot-shoe the Volt at triple digit speeds – on electric power alone.

The C-Max can almost get there, too.

Which is neat, of course – but also kind of beside the point. A 100 MPH electric car that gets 30-ish (or even 40-ish) MPG once the batteries are sucking wind is kind of like trying to lose weight on an ice cream diet.

Which is probably why the Volt’s been a sales Turducken -  an epic flop – while the Prius has been just the opposite. Toyota can’t bolt them together fast enough – and dealers are able to sell them at full mark-up. Sexy – and speedy – will sell.

But when it comes to hybrids, only when the cost is reasonable – and efficiency isn’t compromised.

Memo to GM.

AT THE CURBPrius low side view

The plug-in Prius is physically the same in terms of appearance and dimensions as the standard version of the Prius – with the exception of the electric receptacle on the passenger-side rear flank and the almost-invisible “plug in” badging. Advanced models have blue-tinted LED headlights. Otherwise, it’s familiar territory.

Inside, too – with a few subtle differences, such as the slightly different displays for the plug-in hybrid powertrain’s operation. For instance, you’ll notice two battery icons – one overlaying the other. The first indicates how much charge is stored in the battery you topped off with using the plug-in cord. It’s a single blue bar that gradually depletes – at which point, it is replaced by another blue bar, segmented (as in the standard Prius) which shows the state of charge of the battery as it is fed electricity by the action of the gas engine, or the regenerative braking system  – which captures the energy of inertia and converts it to electricity. This second blue bar only shows up after you’ve used up all the stored charge to run in EV mode.Prius display 2

As in the regular Prius, you can use the real-time data provided by the graphic displays to maximize the efficiency of your driving – and to get the most range out of the batteries. The graphic showing the power flow – from batteries to motor, and engine to batteries – helps you fine-tune your throttle inputs and so on.

You can equip the Prius with seat heaters, Adaptive Cruise Control (maintains speed even on downhill grades) and so on.

The Volt has similar features, but one critical thing it lacks is the ability to carry more than four people because of the full-length center console that divides the car’s interior.

The Prius can carry five.

It also has twice the cargo capacity: 21.6 cubic feet vs. a meager 10.6 cubes for the Volt.prius backseats

Again, I’m not sure what GM was thinking – or smoking. The Volt’s smaller interior – and minuscule trunk – would probably be acceptable compromises if it were more economical to operate than the Volt.

But, it’s not.

THE REST

Only two things I didn’t dig. First, the seats are pretty stiff – at least, they felt that way to me. More padding would be welcome. Second – and this is a small thing – the plug-in receptacle for your iPod is buried deep down in the center console – making it almost impossible to plug-in your iPod without stopping the car and rooting around down there.

One more thing: That obnoxious back-up buzzer has got to go. This is a medium-small car, not a 30-foot RV. It’s more than just annoying, too. It is arguably distracting – and thus, dangerous – to be hammered by warning buzzers while trying to back the car up.

I don’t know whether there’s some easy way to turn it off. I hope so. I would insist on it being disabled as a condition of sale.Prius sticker 1

On the economics:

It will take a few years to reach “break even” relative to an otherwise equivalent – and less expensive up front – non-hybrid car.

And, frankly, relative to the regular Prius.

That $8,200 price difference is equivalent to appx. 745 fill-ups (11 gallons per fill-up at appx. $3.60 per gallon). The regular Prius can go 606 miles in city-type driving on a full tank -  and 571 miles on the highway (EPA figures). Let’s split the difference and call it about 580 miles per tank. If you bought the standard Prius – and put that $8,200 toward gas – you’d  be able to drive for a long time before burning through it all.Oil Prices

This is probably why the plug-in Prius hasn’t sold nearly as well – so far – as the standard-issue model. It hasn’t helped the car much that gas prices have remained relatively stable at around $3.60 per gallon.

However, if gas prices go up to say $5 a gallon – or (god help us) more than that – then everything changes.

One other thing to be aware of: There is talk of taxing hybrids to make up for the motor fuels taxes hybrid owners aren’t paying.Prius HOV

When hybrids were curiosities, government provided incentives to get people to buy them – everything from special rights to use HOV lanes during rush hour to outright bribes (i.e., tax rebates). But now that hybrids are becoming as common as Camrys (there’s a hybrid version of that car, too) politicians are moaning about all the lost “revenue” – and looking for  ways to get it back.

One way would be to hit hybrid owners with a “hybrid vehicle tax” equivalent to whatever they claim the average non-hybrid owner dishes out each year in motor fuels taxes.Prius utility bills

Another would be to jack-up the cost of electricity. That’s likely to happen regardless, as utilities increase their rates to make up for the cost of complying with ever-increasing regulatory burdens as well as increasing demand.

THE BOTTOM LINE

The Prius could be – and should be – lighter. The current model weighs in at just under 3,200 lbs. If that were cut down to 2,800 lbs. or so, 70 MPG would probably be possible – and probably 20-plus miles on electric power alone.

The Prius could also be less pricey.Prius rear:last

Why not, for instance, make AC optional?

I mentioned in my review a couple months back of the regular Prius that I wished Toyota would make it so you could open the fixed front quarter windows – which would make it feasible to put AC on the options list – and probably drop 150 pounds of deadweight, too.

Ditto power windows and other cost-padding, weight-adding features. Maybe even a radio pre-wiring package – but no factory stereo installed. Anything to cut the cost – and so, strengthen the economic case for this car.

Maybe the 2015 will make it so.

We’ll see.

Throw it in the Woods?

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  34 comments for “2014 Toyota Prius

  1. ЯΞ√ΩLUT↑☼N
    August 1, 2013 at 12:18 am

    It’ll be interesting to see the logistics required in upgrading the electrical supply infrastructure once everyone drives a plugin. Not only that, the greenies love the idea of electric cars but fail to see that more coal will be burned to recharge them. Imagine everyone in a high rise tenancy has a plugin. That’s gonna cost all of them a lot more just for the beefed up electrical infrastructure in the building required for an overnight charge.

    Then there’s this:

    http://joannenova.com.au/2013/07/holden-volt-costs-more-to-run-than-a-big-suv

    • August 1, 2013 at 1:16 pm

      Absolutely.

      The thing that worries me most is that hybrids out there in large numbers will provide the pretext for taxing us by the mile (rather than via motor fuels taxes). This, in turn, will justify in-car monitors to keep track of how far we drive (and where we drive, etc.)

      It’s coming. I can feel it in my bones…

      • Mithrandir
        August 1, 2013 at 1:35 pm

        Eric,

        I am sure that it (tracking technology) will not be used in any way that will negatively affect the individual. (Official story until it no longer suits TPTB.)

        Some “benefits” of the technology:

        Automated speeding tickets
        24/7 tracking everyday of the year
        variable/fixed billing by time of day and/or location

        Encourage an underground economy of individuals making fixes to work around these (and other) “benefits”

      • Eightsouthman
        August 1, 2013 at 3:41 pm

        eric, your bones are probably accurate prognosticators. I gaze into my crystal ball and I see our next new car….’77 SS El Camino we always loved. A lead sled to be sure but pretty much bullet-proof. Cornered flat with WS-6 parts and trailer towing suspension, stopped quickly and devoured bad roads. Rebuild engine w/TBI and OD tranny, coming soon to a barn near us I hope.

      • Jean
        August 2, 2013 at 12:57 pm

        Anyone have good plans for an EMP gun?

        Talk about making Electric cars obsolete in a matter of SECONDS…

        (Though some clover braniac will decide EMPs should be declared WMD… Which is the correct designation for CLOVER, of course: THE ORIGINAL WMD. Babel being the historic precedent. Think of it in metaphoric terms: Ever try to discuss particle physics? With anyone outside the field? Maybe a physicist would have a clue, but outside the exact field? Say – a doctor? Let alone lawyer or CPA or Walmart greeter… But Clover has to feel special, so the lingua franca must be altered to use buzzwords, TLAs, jargon… And we’re unable to talk to each other, it’s Humpty Dumpty of Through the Looking Glass in a split-second. How many people here – smart people, based on the discussions – would know what the bus speed of their PC is, just by knowing it’s age? Or the difference between IDE, EIDE, SATA, SCSI, SCSI-1, etc? Or what RAID is? By number? Floptical? Turbo? Difference between AMD and IBM-clone chips? x86 vs. x64? Etc, etc, etc.)

    • eric_g
      August 1, 2013 at 1:23 pm

      Slow overnight charging won’t be much of an issue, if any. A large number of hybrids will actually even out the power grid, making it easier to predict baseload. However a lot of fast chargers (at several thousand dollars of electricians, permits, and possible service upgrades) will tax the system, and likely at peak times of the day (when you get home from work, plug in the car… while the A/C is chugging away to beat the afternoon heat, dinner is on the stove, etc).

      That’s the scenario that has grid operators sweating plug in hybrids. Especially when we see baseload power stations going offline due to wind farms dumping power on the grid for less than free (http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/texas-wind-farms-paying-people-to-take-power-5347).

      Look for more “smart grid” plans to ration out the power to you if you have a plug in hybrid, never mind if you have to get a quick charge NOW, there’s just not enough to go around… and that’s just not being fair now, is it?

      • Jean
        August 2, 2013 at 1:12 pm

        Eric G, Please explain how a large bunch of hybrids would even out the power demands?

        I’m not an expert, but did work for a power monitoring company – I’ve already seen the peaks and valleys of normal daily life, so I know, for example, why things like Solar, Wind, Hydro, and Nuclear suck. (Mostly for power generation – Nuclear is great for long term, steady load, but can’t generate more or less at the flick of a switch; wind doesn’t always blow, sun doesn’t always shine, and Hydro is about tapped with our current capacities – we’d need to go offshore for the systems to grow, seen some nice ammonia-based systems, though the greenies would probably shut THAT down as a biological hazard….)

        As for quick-charge – The local Starbucks is offering a “charge plate” (Forget who makes it), but it’s for cell phones – it has an emitter on the table, you use a special plug-in jacket on the phone, and it charges when you put the phone down on the table.

        I can see those pads being placed in parking lots and homes soon enough. More MANDATORY costs for us to bear, for the good of the Dirtball, of course.

        I’d like to start recycling greenies (Socialists, for those who don’t know. I mean that LITERALLY, Green Party in the US is socialist. Funny how you get those aligned… Almost as funny as Pink Pistols & GOP. ;-) )

        • Mithrandir
          August 5, 2013 at 12:15 pm

          Jean,

          I thought the Greenies were recyclable.

          They’re people.

          • ЯΞ√ΩLUT↑☼N
            August 5, 2013 at 12:57 pm

            Greenies are recyclable, but they taste awful, something like soy, tofu and lentils. I like kids and dolphins though, they taste like chicken!

          • Jean
            August 5, 2013 at 1:29 pm

            They are NOT people, they are herd animals…
            And all too often, HEARD, as well…. ;-)

            And they taste like….

          • Eightsouthman
            August 5, 2013 at 3:21 pm

            Rev, on my private forum recently I spoke of the sorry canned tuna you got these days and everyone lamented not getting a good share of dolphin anymore. This one guy’s college age daughter was lurking and cut in and said she liked dolphins and everybody told her they liked them too,preferably cut into steaks and grilled on the Q. I saw a 4 year old yesterday his mama’s boyfriend was wanting to throttle. Since I had been nice to him his cute little mama was sucking up to me. She looked fairly delicious herself. See dom, I can’t stop, here I am being the boogeyman again. But she was such a cutie and kept holding my hand. I suspect she was suspecting a throbber. I had to leave.

    • BrentP
      August 1, 2013 at 1:38 pm

      Except not everyone will be driving electric cars. In the future as those who wish to socially engineer society see it, only the very wealthy and well connected will drive at all. The current grid can meet their needs especially when the vast majority of us are cut off from it. Got to save the erf and that means us peasants won’t have 24/7 electric power. In fact if we aren’t loyal to the government we won’t even be allowed to have a solar cell.

      • Eric_G
        August 2, 2013 at 12:18 am

        Of course that’s the idea. Electricity has been the greatest equalizer of man since the black plague. It also got us used to generations doing better than their parents. But now it’s very hard to move the needle up. We’re continuing to see anemic growth because there’s nothing revolutionary out there. As we approach 0% GDP (or negative) the only way to get more is to take from someone else. This is truly a new paradigm for most of western society, especially in the United States. Some people who realize this are grabbing at anything they can now, starting with electricity. They may not even realize they are doing it, but it is happening.

        For example, here in Colorado, the fine citizens of the centennial state decided to force the electric utilities to buy 10% of their power from “renewable” sources. It doesn’t hurt that there’s a major wind turbine manufacturer in the state, and that the preferred backup source for when the wind doesn’t blow is natural gas turbines (provided by shale gas from BLM land on the western slope). No discussion of cost ever seemed to come up.

        Along with this referendum came tax breaks for residential solar, above and beyond the federal credits. It’s a great deal if you have a large roof or own a lot of land. But if you live in an apartment or trailer, too bad. And because the utilities have to buy your excess power at retail, not wholesale, rates, those same apartment dwellers end up taking it in the shorts with higher utility bills to boot. Next time you’re in Aspen, look at the rooftops and see just how many have solar panels. Then go out to 5 points in Denver and do the same thing.

        But anyway, back to the point. I watched a very interesting TED talk last night. It was far from the usual TED super-optimistic rah rah talk:

        http://www.ted.com/talks/robert_gordon_the_death_of_innovation_the_end_of_growth.html

        Certainly something to think about as we move forward, especially given the trend of gaining favor with the state to gain over others in light of innovating.

        • Eightsouthman
          August 2, 2013 at 1:06 am

          Eric, it seems to me that new technology is being thawrted and why not? TPTB are heavily invested in banking(control it), electricity,(same), fossil fuels and govt. which stifles agriculture so people are dependent on big ag. A situation like this is ideal for having all the money, power and control(state). Everyone else is just along for whatever ride they allow us to have. It’s extremely difficult now the state has so much power to be independent of any of these factors. Want to get off the grid for the most part? Recent legislation has made it nearly impossible for people to have backup so you’re either off the grid or on it. Want to barter? Good luck…and with precious metals too. This is not happenstance. The big slide for middle class came with a boom in ’07 and ’08 rocked the world. We also got another taste of what big oil can do those years too. The Gulf spill of BP was a planned event. Follow the splitting off of various companies so that the corexit poisoning didn’t come back to BP and only touched Haliburton lightly. Now there are 10′s of thousands of people displaced not only from the businesses they were in on the coast but from their actual places they lived. When corporations have hundreds of billions of dollars to use, they have carte blanche over everyone else.

          • August 2, 2013 at 10:56 am

            I agree, Eight.

            I expect them (along these lines) to “regulate” – then de facto (or de jure) outlaw small-scale livestock raising, such as having a dozen or three chickens (as we do). It will be done – naturally – in the name of “safety.” They will say that it’s “dangerous” to eat unregulated/uninspected eggs and meat. This has already happened, by the way, to people who produce their own milk/cheese and consume it without pasteurizing it, etc.

            If this happens to me, it will come to blows.

          • Eric_G
            August 2, 2013 at 11:45 am

            Preaching to the choir my friend. But the problem is what happens next? Talk to people like my brother in law, who’s a frustrated teacher. He knows the Internet should be putting him out of work (he actually told me that), and the state even put together online lesson plans he can use in his classes. But, he also said they are all terrible and not worth the effort. So, sensing an opening, I asked him why they were so bad. He shuffled around some excuse about not having the right tools for making a video or presentation, and that the Federal government should pick the best and make them standard. I then mentioned free and low cost production tools (like iMovie), and the fact that my phone has a better video camera than NBC had 20 years ago… to which he had no answer. I then suggested perhaps the state was the problem, being the only provider of content for his Internet lesson plans, and he launched into a full-on clover tirade, basically saying the only reason they suck so bad is because they weren’t run by the Federal government, just the state of PA (where he teaches).

            So here’s a guy who knows in the long run he’s screwed. He knows his children are screwed. He’s in the system that’s turning the screws, yet he is so brainwashed into thinking the state is the only solution he can’t imagine making a choice for himself. And he’s a guy who at first glance you’d think is a prepper, owns several firearms, hoards junk silver, etc. He’s quick to see the problem with giant corporations but unable to see how they got there through graft and favored legislation. I didn’t ask, but I would assume he’s OK with the NSA listening to all his phone calls. He doesn’t drink or do any drug himself, but is in favor of drug prohibition because others aren’t able to control themselves the way he is.

            This is what we are up against.

          • August 2, 2013 at 11:53 am

            Your friend sounds like a good Republican “conservative”!

            I know the type well; I’m surrounded by ‘em!

          • Jean
            August 2, 2013 at 1:38 pm

            Agreed.
            Beginning to think I’ll be allied with violent psychopaths like ALF before the year is out.
            That is NOT my happy place. :-(

          • BrentP
            August 2, 2013 at 1:51 pm

            What is worse is how the state and its myths have people brainwashed.

            On other sites I encounter these people who tell a historical tale of government failure and then blame the free market or libertarians.

            They say that with libertarians corporations will pollute unchecked… except libertarian property rights would have stopped the pollution their government allowed and still allows for its friends. One idiot recently told a tale of how some developer bribed a town political office holder to build a development over a swamp in the 1950s and then blamed the 1950s lack of regulation and the free market for not preventing it…. when the government approved it and buyers generally rely on government to make sure everything is done right. It’s just such programmed, conditioned thought processes.

            It just goes on and on myth after myth. It’s right out of a grade school text book. They recite them as how dare people like myself not believe these things. As if we weren’t taught the same crap in government school and figured out it was lies (generally of omission). Break the government hold on schools and everything will fix itself sooner or later. That’s the pin that holds the whole system together.

          • Jean
            August 2, 2013 at 2:18 pm

            re: eric August 2, 2013 at 10:56 am

            IT HAS HAPPENED.
            Why do you think that there are news cases about children’s lemonade stands being shut down – especially when they used THAT VERY JUSTIFICATION?

            I am NOT joking. That is LITERALLY what was said, it was a public health issue.
            (And that’s the same reason they used against the raw milk cooperative not long ago. And why you can’t have a slaughterhouse on a farm. And it’s all for company (now corporate) profits – and the sheep said “Thank you!” and went into the butcher shop happy and “safe”.

            This is where I’m an elitist: the normal idiots shuoldn’t be running things. They are venal and corruptible. They are stupid, too – they don’t see a problem selling out others, or destroying the civilization. At least smarter people have some notion of the rest of the world. (Used to ahve delayed graitification and some other concepts of society, but not sure those exist any more in most people, so I’d at LEAST like smarter people in positions of power – people who can see long-term ramifications, and don’t jsut think, “apres moi, le deluge!”)

          • BrentP
            August 2, 2013 at 3:06 pm

            The thing is, the ruling class intentionally engineer things to produce a result that supports their ideas about people.

            They break self learning. They encourage immediate gratification. They do these things because it benefits them.

            They want their minions in government to be that way because that makes them controllable.

          • Jean
            August 2, 2013 at 3:07 pm

            RE: BrentP August 2, 2013 at 1:51 pm
            Yeah – you nailed it.
            We’re spoon-fed stupid (“common mythos”, if you will) from cradle to grave.

            Both the Jesuits and Lenin (I think) said something to the effect of give me the child for 7 years and I’ll have him programmed. (Lenin was, give me the child for 7 years and he’ll be a Bolshevik forever. Jesuits took the Biblical commentary, raise up the child in the way he should be, and he will not depart after. Forget the exact comment, can’t even Google it.)

            Makes me love the lines from the first “Triple X” film: “These monkeys are chasing me because I just took this car. Obviously the car doesn’t belong to me, it’s not my style. It belongs to Dick, Dick Hodgkiss, the California state senator. You remember Dick, he’s the one who tried to ban rock music because he says the lyrics promote violence. It’s music, Dick! He’s also the guy who wants to pull every video game off every shelf in the country, because he believes that the video games diminish the intelligence of our youth. Come on, Dick. It’s the only education we got!” (Bold added by me – Jean)

            It’s the TRUTH, though. Best education I got about the world was playing games. Monopoly, Battletech, Chutes and Ladders, The Stock Market (Yes, it’s a game, for adults). Video versions not always that good, but hey – learned a lot from Deus Ex, and Command and Conquer, and even Warcraft.

            And that sort of mindset is what ensured Cloverism never had a chance. I know it sounds childish, but once you get into (good) sci-fi, the mental braces can’t force you to stay inside the lines. You’ve become too fluid. Braces only work on solids, not liquids*. I think most people arent’ smart enough to look at the world and figure out there’s more to it than THEM and this instant…. their minds are like a lego block, and about as malleable. Mostly because the variation is too much for them. The most they can handle WRT variation is who’s in charge, or changing seasons. Can’t handle “global warming” or such – or feminism, or patriarchy, or religious orthodoxy. Reason is, it’s SCARY to accept there’s more than ONE option. That’s why they all go back to an orthodoxy like religion, it’s all “change management” in a sense. CHANGE makes thing unpredictable. A FIXED viewpoint – even diverse fixed viewpoints – can be managed. but a billion different, changeable viewpoints? There’s no herd to manage, no way to control the society. It makes for revolutions and conflict and wars and changes in wealth and resources… The Haves become the Have-Nots. (Notice how many movies recently have that theme? District 9 was what, a decade back? Warning that we could ALL become the Have-Nots? Now? Elysium, Oblivion, even the latest Superman film had that as subtext. But the masses don’t want to understand it. I had thought to use a “V for Vendetta” quote, but got sidetracked at work. I’ll improvise, as I lost the original thought; this is close enough. It is on Freedom, and spoken by Adam Susan, the Leader of the Party, IIRC. Note the bold I added:

            “My name is Adam Susan. I am the leader.
            Leader of the lost, ruler of the ruins. I am a man, like any other man. I lead the country that I love out of the wilderness of the twentieth century. I believe in survival. In the destiny of the Nordic race. I believe in fascism. Oh yes, I am a fascist. What of it? Fascism…a word. A word whose meaning has been lost in the bleatings of the weak and the treacherous. The Romans invented fascism. A bundle of bound twigs was its symbol. One twig could be broken. A bundle would prevail. Fascism…strength in unity. I believe in strength. I believe in unity. And if that strength, that unity of purpose, demands a uniformity of thought, word and deed then so be it. I will not hear talk of freedom. I will not hear talk of individual liberty. They are luxuries. I do not believe in luxuries. The war put paid to luxury. The war put paid to freedom. The only freedom left to my people is the freedom to starve. The freedom to die, the freedom to live in a world of chaos. Should I allow them that freedom? I think not. I think not. Do I deserve for myself the freedom I deny to others? I do not. I sit here within my cage and I am but a servant. I, who am master of all that I see I see desolation. I see ashes. I have so very much. I have so very little. I am not loved, I know that. Not in soul or body. I have never known the soft whisper of endearment. Never known the peace that lies between the thighs of woman. But I am respected. I am feared. And that will suffice. Because I love. I, who am not loved in return. I have a love that is far deeper than the empty gasps and convulsions of brutish coupling. Shall I speak of her? Shall I speak of my bride? She has no eyes to flirt or promise. But she sees all. Sees and understands with a wisdom that is Godlike in its scale. I stand at the gates of her intellect and I am blinded by the light within. How stupid I must seem to her. How childlike and uncomprehending. Her soul is clean, untainted by the snares and ambiguities of emotion. She does not hate. She does not yearn. She is untouched by joy or sorrow. I worship her though I am not worthy. I cherish the purity of her disdain. She does not respect me. She does not fear me. She does not love me. They think she is hard and cold, those who do not know her. They think she is lifeless and without passion. They do not know her. She has not touched them. She touches me, and I am touched by God, by Destiny. The whole of existence courses through her. I worship her. I am her slave. No freedom ever was so sweet. My love, I would stay with you forever, would spend my life within you. I would wait upon your every utterance and never ask the merest splinter of affection. Fate… Fate… I love you.”

            Not even Freedom of Chaos. Only Order. Only a Prisoner – Information. In. Formation….

            I’ll close with something from V as well: “I’ll admit that anyone can make a mistake once, to go on making the same lethal errors century after century seems to me nothing short of deliberate.” True for the elected as well as the electorate. “Parliament of whores”, we get the government we vote for – which is the same as saying, WE are the whores. We are for sale, the only thing we quibble about is how much, and who is paying for it.

            Yet people say _I_ have issues.

            I think I need to go READ “V for Vendetta.” While we don’t have the obvious religious trappings, we have a definitive religious cult of statism that fills that void well.
            So here’s for your enjoyment: Quotes from V.
            http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/V_for_Vendetta

            *:We could argue super-coooled liquids like glass. But the cathedrals of Euope have stained glass windows where though the glass is marginally held in place by metal frames – the glass is still flowing, to the point they can’t play organs or such, it’ll shatter the glass – which is now thinner at the top than the bottom, for those braced pieces. But let’s not get TOO geeky. ;-)

          • Jean
            August 2, 2013 at 3:09 pm

            RE: BrentP August 2, 2013 at 3:06 pm

            LOL! Just as I was ranting about the same thing. :-) GMTA.

            Glad you stay on that side of Sanity. One of us has to…

          • Jean
            August 2, 2013 at 5:19 pm

            For my overlong commentary : I found the line from V, while thinking through another comment.

            Artists use lies to tell the truth, while politicians use them to cover the truth up.

            No one listens to the artists, though… Yet that is where creative genious lies. (Too bad the base and gauche are now considered, “art.”)

        • Jean
          August 2, 2013 at 1:37 pm

          As you clamp “braces on the brains” of a society / race / coutnry – they lose their originality.

          Exccellent example is Japan. Innovation in a real sense is nil; refinement, OTOH, is off the charts. For a few decades now, Japan has made a practice of taking what the US built and refining it in a million ways. So, US made a sat-phone; Japanese corporations made the phone smaller, lighter, better; modified how it worked; took the car phone and refined it; eventually combined new pieces designed elsewhere into a cell phone, based on Ercison, IIRC, but they didn’t DESIGN the phone – just improved what had been built, based on what came before.

          China’s another good example, as they had a HUGE Bureaucracy back in the days of the Empire. That resulted in a Babel situation – nothing really got done. Imagine adding in complete tracking and observation? Bad enough there were spies everywhere – now the spies are machines looking at you all day, tracking your keystrokes, etc. How to avoid complete stagnation and collapse? Becomes impossible.

          We’re almost there, but it’s not the singularity yet. (BORG are coming, make no mistake. It’s just being hidden and barely even on conspiracy sites – but we’ll be at the point where people GLADLY accept being tagged at birth, with adaptive wirelss connections – so we can be programmed and hacked by machine, without even needing propaganda in the form of TV & other mass media.)

      • Jean
        August 2, 2013 at 1:22 pm

        As long as those disloyal to gov’t are building deadfalls, tiger strips, pit traps, and buying guns – the Elite will re-learn history the hard way, via Highwayman of the 1600-1800s.
        I can see a sniper playing Robin Hood, using a Barret or so… Just shoots the Elite SOB from half a mile, and disappears again. Peasants come rob the corpse.

        How to find a man or three wandering and sniping? Even with drones using thermal, going to be impossible – can’t have boots on the ground everywhere, able to get to where the drone finds a heat signature that may or may not be the target, all the time. Fuel, food, transport, it’ll go off the charts, Cost::Benefit ratio is negative.
        Bodies keep stacking until even Clover’s had enough and grows a spine.

  2. ЯΞ√ΩLUT↑☼N
    August 2, 2013 at 10:10 am

    I was also wondering how some plugin drivers would need to recharge at work just to get home. They’d probably have their pay docked :)

  3. Jean
    August 2, 2013 at 12:50 pm

    Dumb question, please bear with me….
    I thought household current was 120 volts, not 110?

    Amperage could vary, from IIRC, 10-20 Amps… But I thought that the voltage was 120 for some reason. Or did that get changed when I wasn’t looking? There’s too much BS in this world, SOMETHING will get by even with our best efforts.

    • August 2, 2013 at 3:07 pm

      It’s 120 – though the actual voltage may vary. My bad (typo). Thanks for the catch!

  4. DR
    August 4, 2013 at 3:16 pm

    Couple of comments on the Prius review – first, the AC is electric (no belts) and doesn’t hurt economy as much as typical car units, (although it does deplete battery, so it has an effect) however point is well taken that a “stripped-down” lighter Prius would be welcome.
    Still, I like the platform enough that I recently gave my son my ’10 and got a new ’13 (non-plug in). The base Prius II can be had new for around 23K out the door. It’s a real five-seater, and for my driving needs, effectively doubles gas mileage over a non-hybrid sedan of similar size, while taxing typical “wear” parts like brakes, fan belts (doesn’t have any) much less than, say a Camry would. In just fuel costs alone (assuming 3.50 gallon averaged over 200K miles) the car will easily save around 12k over that driving life, compared with said Camry. Assume a new battery at about a grand, less overall repairs, due to the design, and you’ve got an economic wonder, to be honest about it. If gas spikes up significantly over the next few years, the savings alone could nearly pay for the car.
    True, they’re not racing machines, but they do teach one how to drive efficiently, though the great real time fuel/mileage monitoring instrumentation. I manage to stay out of the way of the enthusiast drivers, as many of them seem to see a Prius (even a white one!) as a “red flag,” ha ha. Don’t want to be a “clover,” y’know.

  5. Ken
    August 5, 2013 at 11:32 am

    Just a minor point on the Prius write up – great prose by the way, an informative and easy read.

    AT THE CURB. Last (full) para the last ‘Volt’ should read ‘Prius’ I believe.

    Ken.

    • August 5, 2013 at 12:42 pm

      Thanks, Ken!

      And: My kingdom for a copy editor….

  6. Tor Minotaur
    August 15, 2013 at 3:46 pm

    2013 Toyota Prius Walk-Thru Video Transcript

    Okay, let’s do a quick walk around of this 2013 Toyota Prius, 2014 model year, plug-in hybrid. You can see the plug-in outlet right here, that: I’ll show you how that works: Here’s your gun: this end – just plug in any standard 110 volt grounded household outlet. And this: which kinda looks like a gas lever – pop it open and you just stick that sucker in there like that and you’re good to go. It will automatically turn itself off when it’s charged up.

    It takes a couple of hours – to overnight – depending on how much charge is in the batteries. You can get a 240 volt fast charger from Toyota, but it is an extra cost. 2013 is the first year of the plug-in version of the Prius. And the main difference other than the plug-in feature in a standard Prius is: this one has a lithium-ion battery – which is more efficient than the regular nickel metal hydride pack that the standard model comes with.

    You can drive this car up to about fourteen miles/fifteen miles on battery – at speeds up to 62 miles an hour. The regular Prius only goes about a mile on batteries and you can only get it up to about 25 miles an hour before the gas engine kicks in. So this one is potentially a lot more fuel efficient. The downside on it is, it’s a lot more expensive. It’s $8,200 dollars more than the regular Prius, so you really need to run the numbers before you decide to buy this. It’s neat, it’s technology, I just don’t know that it necessarily makes all that much financial or economic sense.

    A couple things about it that I’d like to see changed: Now you’ve got these quarter windows right here, but they’re fixed. And if you could open them like in the old days, you could get a nice air flow in the car and maybe not have to use the air conditioning as much. Or you could get rid of the air conditioning entirely.

    One thing that I don’t particularily like about the Prius – and a lot of people have complained about – is the toggle shifter. This little Game Boy like toggle shifter which is kind of awkward and funky: and when you put it in reverse, the car beeps obnoxiously: You can hear it – I’ll do it for you – You hear that? That’s your reverse chime: Isn’t that obnoxious? It’s like this thing is a dump truck! And it’s also making this other beeping noise because the door is open. And it just kinda goes, and it won’t stop until you stop reversing of course – There’s no shutoff.

    Small other thing that I’m not a big fan of: if you look in here that’s where the iPod hook-up is – and I mean it is deep in there – and you can barely see it. And when you’re in the car – it’s pretty difficult to get to it. Not a big fan either of this wooden console here, it’s not easy to get to stuff.

    Apparently they’re going to redesign that with the next generation Prius which comes out actually next year calendar year 2014. But it’s going to be the 2015 model. So you’re gonna see a whole new vehicle coming out and probably, actually it’s pretty certain, that the next-gen Prius – the 2015 – is gonna have lithium-ion batteries like this one does.

    No word on the cost. And no word on whether they’re gonna make the plug-in feature standard – or extra – like it is on the current generation. You can read the rest of the review on epautos.com – and I’ll see you next time.

    - Video Transcript obtained using a web based PHP script – known as Interactive Transcript – that’s coded by SERPsite.com: it enables you to download YouTube videos’ closed captions easily into txt or srt format.

    – Looking at these transcripts, I see an opportunity to develop a new, more Objectivist version of English. One that’s based on the reality of the way lucid and diverse modern speakers like Eric actually talk. The centralized Aristotlean subject-predicate model, the sparse punctuational choices, and the rigidly-formal, never-adhered-to protocols and conventions of allegedly orthodox English just ain’t cutting it.
    The spell check/grammar check dumbed-down algorithms just can’t deliver the simple and easily digestible contextual presentations one enjoys when viewing and learning from a spoken-word online YouTube video.

  7. Garysco
    August 20, 2013 at 7:30 pm

    Great write up Eric. The word dystopic mobile won’t leave my head. If I had $35,000 to $40,000 cash in my pocket would I buy it? If I buy it arbitrary government will demand a “windfall profit tax” for not using enough gasoline or diesel, or an excessive home electric “grid overuse” tax from me, or a lithium depletion fee, or-or-or. OR I could spend $20, 000 on a new Corolla, drive it for 250,000 miles on 34 MPG gasoline and plugin my own Garmin and IPod. Hmm, let me think.

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