Episode 134: Driving Green and Saving Gas with PLX Devices
GreenTalk Radio host Sean Daily talks about fuel-saving driving tips and technologies with Michael Silva-Morales of PLX Devices, makers of the Kiwi.
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Sean Daily: Hi! And welcome to GreenTalk a podcast series from greenlivingideas.com. Green Talk helps listeners in their efforts to live more eco-friendly lifestyles though interviews with top vendors, authors and experts from around the world. We discuss the critical issues facing the global environment today, as well as the technologies, products and practices that you can employ to go greener in every area of your life.
Sean: Everyone welcome to another episode of GreenTalk Radio, this is your host Sean Daily and we’re going to be talking today about a topic with King and Minds end qualities, pretty much everyone out there in United States these days and elsewhere, in the area of $4+ gas, I think I filled my tank yesterday and it was $4.20 a gallon at the station, very painful.
We’re all worried about fuel costs and among other things and environmental impact of ongoing of fuel usage in general. But there are methodologies you can use in the products that are available in the market to help you reduce your fuel costs.
I’m going to be talking to one such company today, PLX devices. My guest is Michael Silva-Morales; he is the director of sales for PLX devices. They are premier suppliers of after market electronic products for the automobile industry.
They were founded in 2003, their PLX Kiwi their primary product is a product that company says can reduce your global warming impact if your automobile by up to 33%, with your annual CO2 signature by as much as 2 tons and help motorist save an average of $560.00 on their annual gas usage.
So be fascinated to hear more about that, so Michael first of all welcome to the program.
Michael Silva-Morales: Thank you Sean.
Sean: So why don’t we just jump in. Tell me about this product, I’m fascinated to hear about what it does, but I’m also curious to hear about the company itself. So tell us about how PLX Devices came about and the origin of the Kiwi product.
Michael: Well the origin of the Kiwi product, we started two years ago, it’s actually we were working on building the algorithm, the background of this company actually started off as a Wideband company.
Sean: Now what does that mean, if I can stop you there, what was that mean a wideband company?
Michael: Well, Wideband company it's basically for the after market, import racers and things of that nature, so we were trying to design products that help the air/fuel ratio for the after market automobiles. That in return, better air/fuel ratio mix gives you better gas mileage.
We didn’t know we’re stepping upon the Kiwi until a couple of years later, and then we realized that, saving gas is really the key. We had no clue the gas prices would travel so high, so we didn’t know, it kind of just fell about that the Kiwi fell into this, it was coming out no matter what, in 07-08 but we had no clue that gas prices were going to go this up.
Sean: You didn’t know what a gem you had discovered and how happy were they.
Michael: We were saving a couple of dollars everyday on gas would be great but we had no clue what an impact it would actually have.
Sean: Sure, so now, so the product itself, how, the company was founded in 2003, when did the product itself come out?
Michael: It's been a development for about three years; it just came out this year.
Sean: Okay, so give us a breakdown for somebody who is just completely knows nothing. Like oh say for example myself, about this try luck, tell us exactly how the product works?
Michael: Well it's a green track product which gives you real time information on your driving habits.
Sean: Okay, so gives you real time information, what is it a console then like a computer type of?
Michael: It kind of a almost a chip of an iPod or CP as seen that sits on your desk and what it does it teaches you how to drive, it's not a magic pill that you put in your tank, it's not snake oil.
Sean: I was hoping for the magic pill in the gas tank, that’s my.
Michael: Yes, but it doesn’t work. What this does is it puts yourself on a dial without going hundred. What I mean by that is, you could actually improve up to 20 to 33 percent gas savings on your vehicle, just by driving habits, people don’t realize, driving a car the way you probably drive it now, you’re accelerating, deceleration, your stop and go habits, it changes a lot.
Sean: So those things that we are doing that are wasting gas, it's giving you basically feedback about those that you can change that behavior.
Michael: Absolutely, and it has some lesson program in there, for smoothness, acceleration, deceleration and drags. It gives you some, there’re built in green drive license in this unit, which can train you on how to improve your gas mileage.
So if say every time you go to work, you take off really fast and then you stop really hard, if you can just take off little bit smoother, decelerate then of course people can do this on their own, but you really need someone there and something showing you.
And this is where it comes to the point where we really reach the general public, at the very end there is the summary, every time you turn your vehicle off, and in this summary it will tell you how much you spent in dollars and cents, so if you drove to work, imagine driving to work and everyday your driving cost you about $8.30 to drive to work.
You don’t know this, until you actually see it. We don’t do percentage, we don’t anything like that we really want to touch bases with the general public and I relate to you, and everybody else relates to actual money. You feel the value then you realize it. Now it cost you $8.25 to drive to work everyday, imagine improving that to $5.20.
Sean: Well, that would be a good thing, certainly.
Michael: Certainly, we can do this if you just change your driving habits.
Sean: So now, give me an example of what are some of the more egregious, in terms of fuel wasting habits that the average driver exhibits, and how does this console give you that feedback and then what can you do to change it?
Michael: Well one instance, say you’re driving 75 miles an hour on a freeway, you’re wasting up to 3 miles per gallon, if you just drop it down to 55 miles an hour or 60, you could save up to 3 miles a gallon.
Sean: Okay, so that’s going to give you average, your average speed is going to be one of the matrixes that you’re getting.
Michael Silva-Morales: Oh absolutely, and same with stopping, if you can predict your stops a little bit better, you can actually save on fuel.
So you know if you’re going to stop, you are not giving gas up in to a point where you just hit the breaks, you’re wasting a lot of kinetic energy.
Sean: Got it, so what about on the acceleration from a stop, I know that whole lots of people take kind from the red light.
Michael: What great about this is that it's giving you your actual in-continuous
Miles per gallon, so you know when you take off, you see it dropdown, even if your car is giving 32 miles to the gallon, you’ll see it dropdown to 6 or 7 with a fast take off. If you smooth your take off of, you can have it right around 12, 13, 14 it's a huge difference, don’t double it, by just taking off a little bit smoother.
Sean: Now I’ve seen some of these feature in some, not too many but some newer automobiles, is this basically supplementing that and providing this as a complimentary add on for cars that don’t have that technology, is that the idea here?
Michael: Even if you do have the technology, this keeps your core out more information, and then it also gives you lesson, which the others don’t, they just kind of give you round about, this is what you’re getting miles per gallon, this will give you more than that. It will give you a trip summary, along with your actual miles per gallon.
So you can read your current miles per gallon, looking at the screen on the same screen right below it will give you kind of trip summary, your average, if you will. So even if you’re coasting down a hill, and it's saying you’re giving 80 miles to the gallon, you’ll see your
Michael: entire trip and the moment you start your car, to wherever you’re ending up, that you’ll see that average at the bottom, and that’s what we want to make high, we want to make our averages high as possible.
Sean: Okay, well I want to hear more about the product and company and this idea of saving fuel in anyway possible. But we’re going to be, we’re taking a quick break and then we will be right back on GreenTalk radio.
I’m talking with Michael Silva-Morales he is the director of sales for PLX devices, makes of the PLX Kiwi, a product that can help you save you on your fuel cost.
We’ll be right back on GreenTalk radio.
Sean: Hi! Everybody we’re back on GreenTalk radio this is Sean Daily, we’re talking about fuel savings technology to go greener with your car and my guest to talk to me about that, who is talking with me about that, is Michael Morales.
He is the director of sales for a company called PLX devices. They make a product called ‘Kiwi’ which is neither a yummy fruit nor a New Zealander; it's a device that helps you, basically it installs in your car and helps you monitor your driving habits, to improve fuel economy.
So Michael I would just like to draw on a little bit more about this. How hard is this product or is it hard for the average driver to use?
Michael: Not at all, in fact it's a plug-and-play device. I know people talk about plug-and-play and in computer world never work, but this does work. It plugs into your OBD2 port with.
Sean: Oops, say that again, we will resolve it
Michael: Oh I’m sorry, it slides into your OBD2 port
Sean: OBD2, okay this sounds like a character from a Dr. Sue’s book.
Michael: It sounds, doesn’t it? Every 1996 and newer vehicle have one, and this is the diagnostic port, it's used for mechanic detecting and so on and so forth.
Michael: Well we started from here, we got algorithm to read, to read the actual, everything that’s going on in your engine, right on your ECU in your engine.
Michael: Now, it's very simple, plug in your OBD2 port, that’s located right hand on your desk on the driver side. It's very easy to find, they made it that way so mechanic can get to it as well.
It derives it's power from that as well, so there’s no playing into your cigarette lighters, it's nothing, one plug, plugged in, you turn your car and it comes on, it has a sleep mode, so it doesn’t weak your battery, so after the car is running is using it, you turn it off, it give you summary report with a lapse of 15 seconds and it will go into sleep mode.
Sean: And so I’m also curious about on the vehicle side, does this thing work with every car or which cars in particular does it work with?
Michael: Anything 1996 and newer.
Sean: Okay so and this sell foreign and domestic?
Michael: Foreign, domestic any vehicle, like I said the OBD2 port and Can bus which virtually the same.
Sean: And that port you’re saying is always located on the driver’s side interior.
Michael: Yes, on the driver side underneath the steering column, they are all located there for easy access.
Sean: I’m going to be going to go look in my car and check find this out.
Michael: Afterward you’ll find it you’ll be delighted go ahead then.
Sean: I will be yes, it’s very cool. I doing a lot of things in my car [laughing] and go with [xx] and not so much with the cars, I have to say.
Michael: Well in our instruction book it will tell you a general location for the OBD2 port.
Sean: Okay cool great, and I’m also curious about other features, and we talked about the gassing once in giving you real time feedback about your driving habits and things like that, are there any other new worthy features of this product that people should know about?
Michael: Well there’s a check engine code area, it's called our check engine, now say if I’m going to drive around and I’ve done it, don’t get me wrong, I’ve done it I’ve driven around with and an engine light on, a lot of people do because the engine light is the one feature that let’s you know that something alight on the vehicle but a lot people just keep driving because it doesn’t have an effect on their vehicle.
Well most of the times I would say, 75 percent or kind it's an OT sensor that went bad, when an OT sensor goes bad, this is what causes your actual vehicle to waste fuel.
The ECU executor of your vehicle, which is called the ECU, if the OT sensor goes bad on your vehicle which happens, more common than not because of the bad gas, it will, the computer will give more fuel to the vehicle, it does this as a safety feature, because the OT centre actually tells you how much fuel to put in, how much is going to the actual engine of the vehicle.
The computer systems read this information, whereas the OT sensor goes out, which is common, this will actually, the computer certainly has a default which it gives it more fuel, and extremely truly waste of gas.
Now with the Kiwi, we have a check engine feature which check, they’ll actually check codes for you, so you can find out why your engine light is on.
Michael: It’ll give you your codes, and then instead of spending a couple of hundred dollars at the dealership, that will read the code for you, this will read it for you, and then you can replace the part or go to your local mechanic and have them replace the part that’s found.
Sean: I see now, I want to buy it just for that reason, I mean the fuel saving thing is cool, but because my wife and my car, that light always go on, it's like what does that mean, check it for what, you know, and then yeah that’s the thing that’s so expensive to bring it down to the dealership.
Michael: Exactly, the check engine features is a wonderful item it works just like a cantle, you have to purchase for a few hundred dollars, it works just like that and it will give you a code, you look up the code and it will see exactly.
And now for instance, I had a vehicle drove around for about a year and half, had a bad OT sensor and the light was already found but it didn’t affect the vehicle, so I just assumed, I just keep driving it, so far no affects. Well I changed the OT sensor, kind of it was an OT sensor, I changed it my fuel miles went up.
So these are all, these are all put in here for a purpose. This is a purpose of, if you don’t have a check engine light, you’ll find out what it is, most of the times you’re wasting a lot fuel by not repairing that when the check engine light comes on.
Sean: Well what do you think one last break and we’ll be right back with Michael Silva-Morales, he is the director of sales for PLX devices, a premier supplier of aftermarket electronics product, who has a product called Kiwi which helps you save fuel cost and get other cool diagnostic information at the same time.
We’ll be right back on GreenTalk radio.
Sean: Okay and we are back on GreenTalk radio, this is Sean Daily talking with Michael Silva-Morales who is the director of sales for PLX devices, and they have a device called the Kiwi that will help you save on your fuel costs and get very cool diagnostic information when that evil check engine light comes on your car.
And their product, I want to mention the website again it's at plxkiwi.com, and you can also find that on the page, the episode page on the website if you’re looking at that.
And so Michael, we talked about the product and some of the things that it does and all the features and so forth. I’m curious, the number one question on peoples mind is going to be, what’s this thing costs, so what’s the answer to that?
Michael: The MSRP on it right now is 299.
Sean: Okay, and do you guys have any oral live studies on like how soon people maybe able to recoup on that?
Michael: Oh, yes absolutely, the average vehicle Sedan Fort or Sedan, you’ll with change in your driving habits and you going to Kiwi obviously, you will save up to 20 to 33 percent. Now percentage, I never really do, I really do dollars and cents, you’ll save right about $500.00 to $600.00 a year, so you will recoup about three quarters of the year you will recoup your money from the Kiwi.
Sean: Great, and the other last words about the impact of the Kiwi, in terms of environmental impact.
Michael: Absolutely, you’ll save around 200 tons per year of CO2.
Sean: That’s an average, sort of an average theory?
Michael: No the average car, average car Fort or Sedan again produces about 8 tons, 15000 tons of CO2 per year. You’re going to save 2 tons of that, so helping out the environment, and also when you’re saving this, and a lot of people will understand.
The Kiwi too was designed for a lot of reasons, obviously to save on CO2 your carbon footprint, but also a lot of people aren’t driving as much anymore. If you could save a few more dollars, you might be able to take that trip to the beach or take a drive.
I’ve noticed and I’ve noticed it allover, people on the weekend just aren’t going anywhere anymore. So it would be nice if, once a month take that trip that you always used to take, if you can save some fuel.
Sean: I’m sure you’re serious about the hybrid does this work with hybrid vehicles as well.
Sean: Okay, so you work with the [xx] and other similar vehicles?
Michael: Yes, we testing with the [xx] it's a great vehicle, even improved on their desk knowledge.
Sean: Great, I knew a lot [xx] owners are rising to tricking their [xx] to get even more out of them so that’s interesting note.
So with that we are actually out of time for today, so I want to thank my guest Michael Silva-Morales who is the director of sales for PLX devices, they have a product called the Kiwi which you can find on mynet plxkiwi.com or www.plxkiwi.com.
That will help you save fuel in your automobile and also provide diagnostic information and other goodies. You can read all of that are on their website.
Michael thanks again for being on GreenTalk radio and sharing the information with our listeners today.
Michael: No problem, thanks Sean.