Search This Blog

CRZ deep zoom to Honda of Japan info :)


2015 Honda CRZ JDM Spec : Images in Post From http://bit.ly/1DNG2xu

After discussing the purchase of a CR-Z with the person who I love more than life itself, she agreed to let me buy a brand new one. Inspired by her kindness and generosity, I sought to learn more about it so that I can make a truly informed choice, and so that I will be able to fully appreciate what it is that we are adding to our family of vehicles.... at this... 


I navigated with the aid of google translate to the Honda Motor Corporations Japanese Website for the CR-Z. Here I found a plethora of juicy technical information, eye candy, and the story behind this epic reasonably priced sport hybrid featuring Honda's latest 5th generation IMA technology. The CR-Z is not a super high performance vehicle, it is the epitome of Japanese culture baked into a sport coupe that hails from the greatness of the NSX, S2000 and Civic Type R. This post is a work in progress.
Sleek industrial design with aerodynamic performance and eye catching DRG aesthetics

Our friends in Europe and Australia no longer have easy access to the CR-Z, as Honda has withdrawn sales from these markets due to love volume movement :(  



Born out of Honda's racing heritage, its the hybrid sport tuned successor of the CRX

The engineering team that worked on the CR-Z spent a lot of type at the race track dialing in the formula that ultimate gives rise to this dynamic sport hybrid.
The IMA layout gives good cargo area while yielding a 60/40 weight distribution

Special effort was given to maximize the interior utility volume, and placing the modestly heavy energy storage system low in the back helped to realize this objective. 
The hatchback design makes loading cargo into the utility space simple and easy
The extended access provided by the rear hatch makes loading and unloading of the utility space more practical. Hatchback designs also benefit from aerodynamic performance created by this mechanical layout, a feature most notable in the Toyota Prius.
The rear hatch folds down to produce a flat loading surface idea for utility transportation utilization
The flat read deck provides enhanced utility flexibility, making this compact vehicle useful for hauling road trip gear, luggage, or anything else that is about the size of two large luggage cases.
The subcompact design still renders plenty of utility storage
The mechanical layout of the system in relation to human scale and dimensions

In America, the rear seats are replaced by storage hatches, as the dimensions of these spaces are only appropriate for smaller people. In Japan, Asia in General, India, Mexic and parts of Europe, smaller people are more common than in the USA. Obesity rates in the USA are some of the highest in the world, so compact cars like the CRZ are less popular. I am 5ft 11in and 167lbs, a medium build American, and Meg is smaller. We can easily fit into the CRZ given the dimensions. 

Honda's engineers hard at work collaborating on the design, they have a history and traditions of motorsports excellence, the founder of Honda an engine fanatic who was obsessed with engine designs, his passion translated into the likes of the NSX over time through collaborate engineering at the industrial Japanese conglomerate level ;) These engineers are often culturally conditioned into the motorsports traditions, but in this example their objective was to build a clean technology sport vehicle that a normal person can afford, and to this end the excelled in every regard! Well Done Guys
The 6 speed manual transmission has its heritage in the Civic Type R, S2000 and NSX
The mechanical machining precision at Honda has given rise to a whole history of impeccable small engine designs, from lawn mowers to motorcycles, the transmission in the CR-Z is derived from the manual units utilized in other epic performance oriented vehicle models, including the spirited Fit, the Civic Type R, the S2000 and the NSX. Refined performance with reliability and clean efficiency has been a tradition of excellence at Honda. The short throw high precision 6 speed manual in the CR-Z is a gem amongst manual transmissions.

The 1.5L engine features both IMA for added torqued and efficiency along with i-VTEC for higher performance 
The power of the 1.5 liter engine was improved with new piston textures, molybdenum sulfide coatings, surface dimples, friction reducing bearings, specially designed engine oil, and a weight reduced chain driven SOCH 16valve i-VTEC system that boosts real world performance while also improving fuel economy. Peak performance is achieved at 6000RPM, the electric IMA providing peak torque at 1000 rpm, making the CR-Z a joy in traffic and on the twisty back roads that make driving fun.

The Energy Storage System featured 40 Lithium-Ion High Rate Batteries


The 100v NiMH battery in the previous generation CR-Z was replaced with a 144V Lithium-Ion unit of the same volume, same weight, but with 150% more energy storage and 150% greater peak output, it can soak up and dish out power faster and more efficiently. The Lithium Ion battery is also free of heavy metals and rare earths, making it more environmentally friendly from the upstream mining processes used to create the materials for this system. Speaking of environmental performance, Honda went through the entire vehicle with the ROHS standard developed for electronics, and applied it to the entire vehicle and all of the CR-Z parts and systems. That means no cadmium, greatly reduce PVC content, lead free solder, mercury free HID, and heavy metal free alloys.

The 2013 new system is %150 more powerful than the previous version
Forged Aluminum A arms reduce more than 8kg from the suspension
This is where we can really tell that Honda was going above and beyond a normal A-B car design, utilizing Forged Aluminum suspension elements that are normally made of steel, these high performance parts dramatically improve handling performance, and are typically only used in super high performance expensive sports cars. Mazda is the only other company that I can think of that does anything like this in affordable cars.

The Forged aluminum suspension give rise to dynamic handling performance 

Electric power steering enables on the fly multi-mode feedback control 

There are three driving modes, Econ, Normal and Sport, and each mode has a different type of steering and throttle response. The IMA system and engine are also tuned differently in each mode. Econ is design to give the best fuel economy, it makes the car feel sluggish and reducing the HVAC system load, IMA power and motor output. In Econ-mode the CR-Z can achieve greater than 40MPG. In normal mode everything becomes more responsive, and fuel economy drops to the upper 30MPG range. In sport mode, everything is tuned for performance.

780MPa high strength steel alloys make of the core structure of the CR-Z
Ligher, stronger steel alloys have become a mainstay in the automotive sector, as aluminum construction is so much more costly, it is reserved for very expensive models. Advances in metallurgy have enabled ultra high strength steel alloys, which in turn allows the car designers to make lighter frames that are stiffer, and fundamentally better. Using a steel core also makes the vehicle highly recyclable at the end of its life.

The Thing Brushless IMA motor, the 1.5L V-Tech Engine, and the 144v Lithium Ion Battery of the CRZ

Normally a small displacement motor has to be revved to the moon in order to reach its peak output, but the IMA system adds low end torque to the motor at the flywheel position, so that its easier to get good usable power in traffic congestion with lots of starts and stops. The system produces a behavior similar to a slow revving high torque diesel, but without the particulate emissions, and even more performance with less weight. The S+ boost function on the new generation CR-Z also allows for 10 seconds of electric over-boost through the IMA system, to aid when you are getting onto a freeway, passing someone, or going up a steep hill with the CRZ. The variable cam system actually leaves on to the exhaust values closed at low RPM's, which give the motor a grunty note and more torque earlier in its rev range. More power, better torque curve, improved fuel economy and reduced emissions. Innovation creates a string of benefits
The IMA Hybrid System Operating Modes, IMA Assist, Engine Only, IMA Boost, IMA Regen, and Idle Stop
The system is considered a mild hybrid because the CR-Z is unable to move under the power of the electric motor alone, the electric IMA motor is always helping the gasoline engine in this system. The electric IMA motor is also run as a generator when the vehicle is coasting, slowing down or descending a hill, filling the energy storage system with power that can be later injected into the power-train to boost torque and improve fuel economy. 


Advanced VSC allows for better control during defensive accident avoidance manouvering
6 Airbags, driver and passenger front, head curtain and side curtain with variable rate control deployment 
The Stick in 6 speed and Paddles for the CVT

The CVT model is more fuel efficient, the 6 speed model has more torque and power,  but the differences are minimal, and the trade off of an impeccable 6 speed manual for a CVT in a sports coupe can only be made by casual drives looking for a fun car, the manual is for vehicle geeks who like to be part of the power and action of driving ^^ I miss driving stick enough to justify opting for the manual CR-Z ^^ Woot Zoom Woot Woot 
10 seconds of Electric Boost
The steering wheel mounted S+ button activates a power boost feature. When you are driving, you press the S+ button and then give it a little more gas pedal, and the computer remaps the performance to maximize the systems output for 10 seconds, but only if the battery system is more than 50% full. This system mimics the KERS system used in formula one racing. From passing on the highway to a steep Seattle Hill climb, the S+ button offers boost on demand, electric boost from the IMA system. I think this is one of the coolest features of the CRZ!

Rear-view Camera System Standard 
The rear visibility in the CR-Z is very obscured, so Honda employed a cleaver backup camera system with a screen in the rear view mirror that displays an AR enhanced wide-angle digital video image to help the pilot of the CR-Z to execute a safe backup maneuver. This feature is standard on the base model ^^


How Much Will this Cost You 

Simple, the base model goes for about $23,500 out the door, but you can easily option it well north of this price.

First Person Visual Up-close Impressions 

Out and about today, Meg and I stopped at our local Honda dealer. Not a single CR-Z on the lot new, only a 2011 model in blue with 42K miles, for $13,560, the shifter was all cuffed up from rings, and the rear tail light had water in it. It is a $10,500 car at best given its condition.

On the way to my parents house for Easter dinner, eagle eye Meg spotted a white 2012 model on a side street. On the way home from my parents house we stopped for a moment so that I could look at it closer. It was in mediocre shape, having lived outside its whole life, a CVT tranny, probably belongs to a woman. It looks nicer in white than in blue.

Meg' lost some of her tentative enthusiasm for it after realizing that the 233L boot is rather small by contrast with our 2005's Prius II's nearly 2x bigger back end. With the rear hatch folded down the CR'z truck mode space increase to just over 400L, a respectable storage spot for a small car. The sub-compact size in first person made me feel slightly uneasy about it. I like small cars a lot more than Meg, but having spent almost 10 years with the Prius, and a tad more than a year with the 2013 Leaf, the CR-Z feels very compact from the outside, a further review will be needed to see what it feels like from the inside.

I am not sure that I feel like dropping $23K into something like this yet. I was so unsure after today that Meg and I turned to God to pray for insight and wisdom. Over time, as my initial enthusiasm settles against the cold fiscal realities, it remains to be seen if I will be hip to execute on this one for sure.

I watched 2 more you-tube reviews of the CR-Z, 4 total so far, and am left feeling inspired by both the above literature and the videos. This helps to balance my first person impressions, as I am sure that it is a fun car to drive, and at this I would hope so given its compact size. The frame stiffness is equal to the Civic Type R, but more compliant in terms of ride quality due to the clever suspension engineering according to 3 British reviewers who did extensive road testing of the CR-Z. The general conclusion from the video reviews is that the CR-Z is a solid car, well executed by Honda, but not for everyone due to its size.

We Got One ^^ 

On the 7th day of April, 2015, I woke up early, having made an offer on a 2014 CR-Z ex Man, and the internet sales manager agreed to the deal. I promptly hopped into our 2013 Nissan Leaf and began a 46 mile drive north to Honda of Marysville, when a test drive and paper work followed. The trip up there was butt puckering, the Leaf battery was not full when I left and was almost flat dead when I got there, the last 10 miles the dash was giving me the full digital range warning shebang that Nissan setup to keep you from getting stranded. The dealer had agreed on the phone to letting me charge up using one of their outdoor sockets overnight. I was late for work on this day, it took 4 hours from start to finish to get out the door in the new CRZ on the way south. The drive home in the new car was fun, the only major problem was a series of IMA warning lights, something that was due to the the lack of use of this vehicle. It was manufactured in Japan on in December of 2013, and sat on their lot for almost all of 2014, and a good part of 2015. They were willing to make a deal to move it, and I was glad to deal with them. They were pleasant and nice and this particular model had all the options I wanted already there ready to roll!

So far I love it. I lend my father our Nissan Leaf for the time being, as he has a charging outlet where he will be parking it at night. He is even going to help me out by taking it in for a service campaign to change out a occupancy sensor and for the 5000 mi service. When Meg and I brought the Leaf over this morning, I spent about a hour with my dad showing him how to use the Leaf, where to charge it, so on, and test driving it. We departed and spend the remainder of our day doing laundry and hanging out with our good friends Jaeson and Alicia.

The Test spin. My buddy Jaeson is a profession driver, and has a Honda Accord that is tuned to the moon, and a work in progress. He is an expert at driving manual transmission vehicles, and went for a spin with me. He let me drive and took me one a twisty route. He was very impressed with the handling performance of the CRZ ^^ we then went for a ride in his tuned Accord and he said overall that he was looking forward to a round of super high tech suspension upgrades to make his ride handle better overall in all conditions, some gear custom made in Japan to be installed by Twan, our local Honda mechanic enthusiast.

Meg and I have logged in a few hundred miles, and it is a nibble fun right for sure, maybe akin to the ride in a Lotus Elise or Mazda Miata. Performance is good, although I have yet to really get on it, its still new and the engine can have some time to break in.

I got good news from my State Farm insurance agent Steve at Brent Ward, and he was able to hook me up with a great deal on the insurance for my new ride. A new policy is forthcoming, I have to get back to him with the information about the lean holding institution that holds the title for said CRZ until I pay of the balance of the loan a few years from now.

The oil in the car is old and needs to be changed because it is old, and the 151R 12v Lead battery is gone the way of death because it sat around for a long time. The little hygrometer port on the top of the battery indicates that it is in need of a charge, the voltage hovers around 12.4, and this is after logging it more than 200mi of mostly highway in 2 days. I am absolutely certain the 12v battery is going to crap out soon. I called the service department to discuss the oil and battery, speaking to Ryan, he agreed that I should bring it back soon for some attention. When Meg and I head up there for the plates in a few weeks we will have them rework the oil and battery while we are there.

The IMA system seems to still throw errors randomly, something that clears up by simply restarting the CRZ. They have been occurring less regularly the more I drive it. The master technician said that time will resolve the error messages for the IMA, they are caused because the CRZ sat on the lot for so long.

All is well for now, I have to make a payment in about 40 days, a steep payment at that ^^ for a long time... but it is tuned to the moon and has everything I wanted except a moon roof. Meg thinks it is not needed, and I agree for now. It would really just be nice in the summer to vent the heat when it is parked. Time will tell on this one

First Fill-up of the gas tank on 4/10/2015
~ 300mi $20 @ $3/gal ... ... ... 

Meg and I woke up early, drove Winston the CRZ to Seattle, went to the Whole Foods at westlake and got some tea, a bagel and a blueberry muffin. The parking lot was mostly empty, making it easy to park early in the morning.

We departed from whole foods at 7:30am and took a route that became an adventure because you could not turn left for more than a mile, but I ended up taking a left onto 1st Ave so that we could hop on 99 and head south to the industrial district to do some recycling. A box of random wires and heat sink a dead UPS power supply, $9 in recycling, we were done by 8:10.

We used the smartphones for GPS and that was a mixed bag. The trip back to the eastside across I90 was far more intuitive from our 4th Ave location. After surviving a clutch workout in the hilly city, along with some stress inducing accident avoidance, we arrived at my favorite ethanol free gasoline station approximately 20 min later.

We both took a tinkle, filled up and made our way home. The stats were approximately 40.0MPG calculated by the CRZ. I added 6.882 gallons for $20.50 at $2.97 per gallon. This was to cover the distance between 156miles when the car was filled up by the dealer, to the 453.2mi mark on the Odometer, or and estimated 297.2 miles, the CRZ claimed we had 120mi of range left before the fill-up, and that more range than the Leaf can travel, just in the gas the remained in the tank before we filled up.

297.2mi / 6.882 gallons = 43.18MPG not far off of the computers 40.0MPG estimate. I drove this tank mostly in ECON mode, using the sport plus button perhaps a few dozen times or so. I would say that I drove it with moderate sport spirit, and compared to my traditional hypermiling, it seems it is possible to get even better fuel economy. The CRZ will always be on the quest for 50MPG's, but given its nature and dynamics, perhaps the 40.0MPG avg is a decent metric to live by.

On the way back to our home, we stopped at the office to share some digital photos with the powers that be, such that they might be better able to manage the parking structure in a way that keeps more people from spartan parking sans fee in a non-free in the underground parking structure devoid of electrical outlets, something that makes operating an electric vehicle here very inconvenient. I Touch on this subject in another posting about the real problem with electric vehicles is not range, it is a lack of 20a GFI 120v outlets where most people park their cars most of the time at work, while shopping at at home. Home owners with a powered garage can avoid this problem, and this is exactly why Meg and I gave papa Schwarz the Leaf to use from his house. He can make better use of the Leaf because he can plug it in and charge it where it is parked most of the time, all night long, every day. For Meg and I to use the Leaf, it required all sorts of charge planning, time robbing confusion, and stress. It is for these reasons that Meg and I are going to give the Leaf back to Nissan at the end of the lease.

Read the Entire Owners Manual

I read the entire owners manual by 7pm today, and was left feeling slightly disappointed on several counts. 1. The light bulbs in the vehicle are many, and mostly halogen, strange sizes too, and simple bulbs like the turn signal bulbs are hard to change. 2. An oil change involves the removal of a panel beneath the front of the CR-Z, dramatically increasing the complexity of servicing it.

The car has more than 50 fuses on the inside, and 3 more in the engine bay. It uses a tiny 12v battery that can be easily drained several ways that the owners manual warns against. At 19lbs, the little 151R size 12v battery is light, and I image their engines are fond of using it on this account, but I think the German car makers have the right idea going with gigantic flat batteries in the trunk area, low in the very rear of the trunk area, where the contribute to better overall balance and handling of the vehicles, usually in the right rear of the vehicle to offset the mass of the driver in the front left. I may modify the 12v system to add additional energy storage capacity if I find that the 12v battery becomes a problem because of its limited capacity. I guess on the bright side we can count on the electrical system being well made, since Japanese cars that are made in Japan rarely have electrical problems very much unlike German cars that are renowned for having strange electrical issues. Speaking of mobile energy, I think I will go ahead and keep one of the those mobile boost packs in the CR-Z, in case the little 12v Pb battery voltage drops to a 11v or some level where it makes it impossible to start the car.

I guess I am not surprised, sports cars are known to be a little harder to take care of due to their focus on metrics that rarely include easy servicing in terms of the engineering objectives. The process of designing and then refining the design of the CRZ would make and interesting documentary film, but few films of this type exist due to the nature of industrial espionage between automakers.

I tried to find a dyno chart for the 2013 CR-Z and what I found was not clear, strange, and it speaks to the complexity of blending gasoline engines with electric traction motors, for a combined power output in both horse power (kilowatts) and ft*lbs of torque (N m). I guess the official specifications really tell the story, we are talking about 130HP (97kW) @ 6000RPM and 140 lb*ft (189.8 N m) at 1000-2000 RPM. The dyno charts I did find were for examples of people who installed a cat-back exhaust system, yielding about 5.5ft-lbs of torque and about 8 hp over the stock setup. If I ever installed anything, I would like a full titanium exhaust for weight reduction, but the cost of such a thing means I will probably never do it. The one feature that Meg would really like is a powered sunroof, and my friend Jaeson says we could get an after market one for around $600, I think a good one would cost 3x that much.

Capacities for this CR-Z are minimal, it assumes 2 x 150lb people as driver and passenger, leaving only 300lbs for cargo, for a net total of 450lbs of load. It also says that towing is not appropriate and doing so would void  the warranty. I warns against having the vehicle towed by anything other than a flat bed truck.

The Idle Stop and Spot+ functions are only enabled after the CR-Z is totally warmed up. In practice this seems to take between 5 an 15 min depending on driving conditions, the temperature, route topography, and drive input. The number of conditions that restrict the Idle Stop functionality are many, and this means its usefulness to conserve fuel in stop and go traffic is diminished on shorter routes. I believe that Honda could have solved this problem by doing something brave, and using super capacity system along with the energy storage lithium ion system, so that more peak loads could be handled for short intervals with the engine and IMA motor sitting idle. This specific CR-Z and all 2013, 14 and 15MY models make used of Honda's 6th unique generation of IMA technology.

As of today, 4/11/15 I only know that the battery in the IMA system is 144v and Lithium Ion, I am not sure which chemistry of Lithium Ion (there are many), but I did manage to find the AH capacity (4.5ah) and also know that it can throw out 20,000 watts for 5 second bursts. 144v x 4.5ah = 648Wh, or about 2/3rds of a kWh. I will attempt to find out more and post this info as I find it. The internet is instrumental in digging up these facts, usually obscured in forum postings.

Speaking of the power-train, the second generation CR-Z enjoys a larger clutch and lower final drive ratio, two improvements aimed at better performance when using the manual transmission in the real world while also achieving better highway fuel economy by spinning the motor slower at freeway speeds.

Was the CRZ an Ideal choice ? 

This questions is more difficult to answer, but there are a few key points that make our purchase ok for us. Meg and I are not having children, so he 2 passenger capacity of the CRZ is sufficient, especially with the utility provided by the hatch-back design. It's also important to realize that we are going to move from our close to work urban apartment where the Leaf worked ok, to a farm much farther away from our urban centers here near lake washington. We know only that we are going to be driving more, but not how far yet, as the farm we are moving to is not part of our family yet. One way or the other, the Leaf will not be able to meet our future range needs. I also do not know what will be required of my next career job in terms of commuting, but I am almost certain it will required me to drive more than I do today. We also already own a Prius, and his name is Astro. The Prius is like an SUV for us, and we have even started using it as a storage bin to reduce clutter in our tiny studio apartment. The car payments effect on my budget will be significant and not in a good way, but that is mostly because I am still paying for the lease on the Leaf.

4/11/15

9pm. Picked up Meg from work, she had a negative experience with some imported teenagers in her department, they destroyed a bunch of products playing makeup, bored with their spring break, it was an interesting start to an evening together. We hope in the CR-Z, and make out way onto the strangest local highway, SR520, heading towards my friend Jae's house with a special bar of soap in tow for his lovely wife Alicia. Meg calls him while we are riding along and we confirm that they are knee deep into day 14 with a newborn baby girl, and thus unable to meet with us. Jae tells us to drop said package in a special spot, and so we did. Upon arriving to this special spot, we find that Jae has given us some thank you gifts. On this note I will branch out away from car talk a little more to talk about the rare special priceless power of true friendship. Kindness, love, reciprocity, generosity, care, concern, help, understanding, good times, fun, funny, and enjoyment. Even though we did not get to see them, it was lovely to interact with them in a first person passive way, something that goes beyond text messaging, phones calls and facebook.

We departed with grace, softly rowing the gears of Winston's butter smooth manual tranny, the OEM exhaust is muted with a gentle grunt, the intake also emits a special sound profile that can only be heart clearly with the subdued exhaust note. I left the CRZ in econ mode while using the S+ button sparingly, the IMA system is obviously tuned for performance, I love snorging up power from deceleration using the regenerative breaking function. The owners manual warns to play nice with everything for the first 600mi, and thus I will keep rolling Winston in Econ mode. On another note, I was able to return 42.0MPG indicated so far since filling up at the Et-Oh free station the other day. If the car is over-estimating the fuel economy as it did with the tank the dealership filled for me, we may be realizing even better fuel economy then the dashboard indicates. .

I found an interesting article on the examiner, where the author reviews the 2015 Honda CR-Z :
http://www.examiner.com/review/one-of-a-kind-2015-honda-cr-z-hybrid
Here the author uses playful and creative wording to describe this amazing machine.

The real juicy bits have to be navigated with google or bing translate off the official honda page, a link to this follows: you will not need the translated page if you speak Japanese fluently. http://www.honda.co.jp/CR-Z/
A dozen or so cross linked paged, with pictures and video, its very creative and loaded with content ^

More on this later /

4/14/15

We took an evening drive after work to a northern location yesterday night, dragging the fuel economy average from just 40MPG to over 45MPG, using some highway hypermiling techniques know as "downhill speed, and uphill slow", minimizing the engines energy output and thus conserving fuel. We got home late, having crossed the 600mi ODO mark, the hypothetical break-in point according to the OEM Operating Manual, it also warned to go easy on the brakes for the first 200 miles.

For its short wheel base and nimble handling, the otherwise somewhat sporty feedback actually produces a very smooth and stable highway cruising dynamic between 50 and 80 MPH. NVH at highway speed is lower than we might have otherwise expected from the CRZ's exceptionally connected driving dynamics. When I was a teenager, I worked at a exotic car dealership, and drove a Lotus Elise a few times. The CRZ's go-kart-esque quick steering agile feel driving dynamic reminds me of the aforementioned Lotus coupe.

We stopped at the Everett Schools Building, a new brightly lit complex, I hopped out to eat a tasty sandwich that Meg had saved for me from her word that day. Generally speaking I never want to eat anything gooy or easy to spill in our CRZ'. The OEM seats in the CRZ's EX are absolutely amazing, and very expensive. They are literally hand stitched in Japan, with precision and excellence, to spill food on them would be nothing short of not appreciating the nature of these seats. It was a cool, clear, dark evening, the 4100K Metal Halide lights in the parking lot were brilliant, I put the wrapper from the sandwich in their trash, picked a random dandelion flower for Meg, and off we went on the return route, Meg used her iPhone to help navigate this trip on at least two occasions.

I dropped Meg off at work today, she got to go to the Seattle Aquarium for a team build. We picked up some groceries, and I departed with a purple fabric bag filled with olives and chili, orzo, and dates, a pre-made lunch wrap "smoked turkey" and a small container of "smoked mozzarella pasta", items for my lunch later today. The CRZ was able to engage the Idle Stop feature more quickly today. It seems to take about 3 minutes of idle until the cold engine light turns off, 125deg working temp according to some forum postings. I think I will add a scan-guage to get more precise data in the future.

4/15/15

Today is Meg's Birthday, and we are going to be taking Winston out and about in the nice but cool weather today. It might make better sense to take our other Honda, Howard the PCX150, but Winston is a wee bit warmer to roll in on this cool spring day.

The sun is out and the weather is predicted to achieve a balmy 57deg F (13.7deg C). I have a few grams of green brewing in a hand painted mug that I painted with Meg at the Pottery Barn in Crossroads a few years ago. Back then our friend Pauly Fujita, a lovely retired art teacher invited us to go along to paint mugs with her.

Meg to this day still possess an unpainted mug because of a sale price deal, and because we have never gone back, perhaps that would also be a fun evening activity, only time will tell. This particular mug is painted in a tea theme, you can see it in the following picture.

I have been a green tea enthusiast for a long time, starting back in 2005, when I was looking for a healthy nootoopic substance to boost mental performance while also improving mood. I found green tea after reading some scientific journal articles about green tea extracts, specifically the amino acid l-Theanine (calming mood booster) and the most famous of all mind bending stimulant substances, the xanthene alkaloid known the world over as Caffeine. I also learned after trying tea, that I am not able to metabolize caffeine as efficiently as my father, as Meg or as many other people. In terms of raw sensitivity, individual can have up to a 500% difference in their sensitivity to the stimulating properties of caffeine. I also found that I am quickly able to develop a moderate caffeine tolerance, but at the expense of making my self chemically dependent on Caffeine to avoid intense vascular headaches. The trick is that I have to slowly wean myself off of tea by reducing the amount of tea I brew in a slow but even way, also at the end reducing the brewing temperature to reduce the caffeine extraction efficiency, thereby slowly tapering off my intake of caffeine. Now after typing that huge paragraph, my tea is probably just the right temperature to drink, and at this I will be back later with the story of Winston and the rest of our day.

Our first stop of the day was a trip to pick up two very important items from our local FredMeyer, namely a toilet brush, and dust pan for cat box sand. Happy Birthday Meg :)


We drove something like 100mi today, making out way to Gig Harbor. The weather was exceptional for day trip in our new black CR-Z Winston. We walked around the downtown section for about an hour on foot, stopping at a tiny health food store to pick up some tasty snacks. The Whole Foods Market it was called, a one off little health food store with mostly gluten free foods. After spending some time looking out over the water and walking around, we decided to take Winston for a spin through Gig Harbor, and drove up and down some wild roller coaster esque roads. The CRZ is surprisingly stable at high speeds and in tight corners. I drove with a bit of spirit today, and Meg found the driving reminded her of the Forza series on Xbox......

Meg says this one looks "Professional"
We split a coffee after our mid afternoon walk, Cutters Point, it was their original store. Meg and I are not much for drinking coffee, but both felt like an energy booster. We went to a small restaurant called Taste of Peru and learned all about foods from Peru. Our waitress was keen to tell us all about the food types from Peru. The restaurant had great reviews online, and the food was good. The portions were small and we only ordered 1 appetizer and one dish, the potato based appetizer was covered in a tasty herb based sauce called Huacatay, while the pork adobo was cooked in a seasoned red wine reductions. A fresh salad came with the adobo, with a dressing that was peppery and garlic in nature. Everything was tasty. 


We went for another short walk after dinner and then got in the car and headed back up I5 to our home. The ride home was nice, the rough surface of the well driven interstate translated into many types of NVH, depending on which stretch of road we drove over. There is a plastic noise, creaking coming from somewhere over the back upper corner of the passenger seat. Like a light clicking sound, certain types of road vibration elicit it. I have yet to pin-point the culprit. We never used the stereo system today, something I have mixed feelings about. I managed to stall Winston twice today, still getting use to driving a manual after 10 years almost 100% CVT driving.

It was a fun day, we got home and I fell asleep on the floor. The Odo reads more than 800mi now, still burning that tank of ethanol free gasoline we put in a few days ago. The fuel economy display on the dash indicating 44.2MPG, even after the spirited driving, it seems that Honda has really nailed the idea of a clean burning fuel efficient fun sports coupe with the CR-Z. Winston is a great example of this work.

4/16/15 Fuel Up 2

A midnight fuel session, less traffic to avoid in the early morning hours between my home and my favorite gas station. That last tank, the first tank that Meg and I paid for yielded 355 miles on 8.189 gallons of 87 octane ethanol free gasoline, divide those miles per that number of gallons and we arrive at 43.35 MPG.

The trip tick B is stuck at the 0 point, reading out the lifetime fuel economy of 42.1 MPG since the CRZ was launched into the real world, no one ever reset trip B :) and neither will we ^^ I woke up after another nap at 11:30PM on 4/15/15 and decided to head east to my favorite gas station, the only one that I know of near bye that retails ethanol free gasoline.

There was some crazy construction blocking the normal way to the gas station, a polite police officer managing the critical intersection let me by after I asked nicely, he said "is this the only place you buy gas?" and smiled with a funny smirk, to which I replied "indeed it is sir" and he pointed the way saying "have a good night, you better hurry before you get blocked in", and he was not kidding.

I was quick with refueling and taking the appropriate notes for my records, and by the time I made it back to the only way out, the intersection was almost completely blocked off by construction equipment. I managed to wiggle my way through some orange cones, and found another police officer in the intersection behind a giant paving machine, I had my window down and told him to "have a good night" to which he replied "I will try", I left Winston in "Normal" driving mode on the way home, hypermiling in 6th gear across I90 and up I405, the display for trip A indicating 46.7MPG when I parked it for the night. I had reset trip A after refueling.

After some green tea and cleaning up, Meg and I used our phones to coordinate with Alan and Alicia, friends and family. We got in the CR-Z and made our way to visit our friends, there we took some photos of them and their 18 day old baby girl. I just put those on a USB key to transport back later, some 500mb worth, far too large for email, it will be more fun to drop it off in first person anyway.
From there we departed for Seattle where we met up with Alan for dinner at Cafe Munir. The chef prepared a selection of things $97 worth, and everything was super tasty. The traffic congestion was out of control! My left knee is actually very slightly sore from all the clutch action. It was a lovely day. The plastic ticking noise is still happening, and I will try to figure that out soon. We came home after dinner and watched "unbreakable: a film from 2000 about an ordinary man who discovers a hidden skill set and gifting, I would give it a solid 7.5. Netflix is loaded with content, much of which I will never watch.

4/17/15

Out at 10:05pm, I woke up at 1:50am, with a faint headache, lightly sore neck and residual knee soreness in the clutch leg. I took the card out of my camera and trans'd the photos onto my touch notebook computer, a black acer model that I got while working a consulting job for an autoclave manufacturer about a year ago. I edit a lot of my photos on this machine lately, and then shuttle them to another machine for bulk storage. I formatted an old 1gb usb2 dongle, selected the appropriate batch from a new folder, an loaded up the dongle with Photos to give to my friend Jae. I put the high speed memory card back into the big dawg canon dslr, and use the camera to give the card a fresh format. I use a folder management technique called "already transferred" to buffer photos in an organized way to make use of the memory cards capacity, and I transfer off my new photos after a day of shooting, to a new theme based folder. On the cameras card, I transfer the new photos into the "already transferred" folder on the card, so the camera will not recognize them. This helps me to create an active backup, while also being organized. This photo file management technique was developed and refined over time, but the simple act of playing with digital cameras and computers.

Its time to go back to bed for now. Goodnight world. More tomorrow.

I woke up at 8am today, Friday 4/17/15, its another beautiful day in western Washington. The sun is out full blast, and Meg wants to take a trip to a natural area, so she is making snacks to bring along, including bringing those coconut flavored dates we purchased in Gig Harbon the other day at that little Health Food store called "The Whole Foods"

I was  thinking about the company Honda, and decided to read about its founder, the one Soiciro Honda who went from building bicycles out of a wooden shack, to creating one of the worlds largest and most powerful automobile manufacturing companies. He lived a long and full life, and was active right up until his death. His wife out lived him by 12 years, and was a pilot into her old age. They both enjoyed skiing and flying and hot air ballooning. They lived a life of passion and the spirit of their long loving relationship, his enthusiastic passion for motor vehicles, and the pursuit of perfection at Honda has given rise to generations of motorcycles and automobiles and power equipment like pressure washers.

Honda' builds some of the nicest small engines in the world, and those small engines are renowned for durability, a real world testament to the build quality. The Scoot we own, Howard the PCX150 is a single cylinder scooter made by Honda, and it has a time tested CVT transmission that even my mother Connie Schwarz got to experience in the 1960's, back when she piloted an automatic Honda scooter. Papa Schwarz has a nice pressure washer that is powered by a Honda Motor; in fact I am so fond of it, I paid to have it refurbished by a mechanic in Issaquah to keep it in good working order.

About a month ago Meg and I were at my favorite gas station when we encountered an old man riding a modified sport bike, he pulled off his helmet when I asked him a question about it, and there emerged a full head of silver white hair and a big smile. Keith Lake was his name, he sold his logistics company 20 years ago. He was a very healthy 70's something man, and had a lot of intellectual vigor, even though he had been retired for more than 20 years. That day Meg and I were riding in Astro the Prius, and we to talking about the philosophy behind buying a new prius and keeping one as rolling middle finger to the petro-chemical sectors 20MPG hegemony. He said something simple that has resonated with me ever since that day, as we were just about to leave, he pulls the door to the store open, turns and looks at us and says "If you like, then enjoy it, don't worry about what it means or what other people think about it".... and essentially he was saying enjoy yourself with that machine of yours if doing so makes you happy.

Bam the idea finally saturated my mind, it is not a hedonistic focus but rather a focus on enjoying life more, living more completely, on being the best version of your self and enjoying the choice you make not hindered by the ideology of others.

This made me think of Honda, I had read about the founder of Honda years ago, my first Motorcycle was a Honda, and I decided to trade out my Suziki super sport for a Honda PCX because the PCX150 is a superlative example of a machine that transcends a category, its a freeway capable machine that gets better fuel economy than a 50cc scooter than cant go faster than 40mph with one passenger. This was accomplished by a bar raising exercise at Honda Thai limited, where Japanese engineers sought to make the 153cc engine of the PCX more refined, more efficient, more powerful, and less complex. The solved these problems by integrating the started and alternator directly onto the crank shaft. They also designed a miniature liquid cooling system that mounts directly to the side of the tiny drive-train.

In many ways the PCX150 from Honda is like the Toyota Prius was to the rest of automobiles in its hey day. We are talking about 89MPG with Meg and I on it at full tilt 68MPH, or more like 100MPG's with just me in mixed urban driving. Even with its tiny tank 1.6 gallons, it achieves a decent range, more than 120miles per tank. The engine starting is buttery smooth, the 350W starter alternator mounted to the crank dumps its brushless powered directly into the engines crankshaft, enabling the PCX motor to start with almost no noise or jerking in a refined and polished way that reminds me of Hybrid automobile motors. Essentially by combining the crank-shaft, starter and alternator into unified single system, Honda raised the bar for all motorized 2 wheel vehicles. As the worlds largest motorcycle manufacturer, Honda more than any other company was able to leverage its industrial engineering talent. In this was the PCX150 is a rolling tribute to the spirited couple that created Honda so long ago.

Admittedly, my friend Jae inspired me to rediscover Honda when I learned about his Turbocharging project of his vintage Honda Accord. I spoke to the turbo-expert at a tuning shop, and he waxed and waned about the virtues of the OEM Honda Motors, their ability to take 7PSI of boost without breaking a sweat.

Speaking of boost, Honda sells an official Super-Charger setup for the CR-Z. It seems that it costs about $15K to install it with the associated performance upgrades, something I am not in the position to do and have no interest in doing. Boosting the power out would reduce the fuel economy, and that is not what I am about.

Its 4/19/2015 and I am going to stop writing on this post. Our CR-Z Winston has about 900mi on the Odo now, and I am having a hard time hypermiling beyond 42mpg in the city. That is not bad and still well above the official EPA estimates for the manual version :) Thanks for reading my short story about the first few days with our CRZ. I will write more about it in the future in other posts, so stayed tuned to my blog and stop back to check for new posts. Peace be with you








No comments:

Post a Comment