Prius Personal Log  #561

March 31, 2012  -  April 4, 2012

Last Updated: Weds. 4/11/2012

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4-04-2012

Charging Stations.  You have to wonder where some resistance truly comes from.  Some origins can be traced to assumptions.  Some emerge as the result of misconceptions intentionally being spread.  But the resistance itself is a choice of each individual.  No one forces them to have a particular attitude.  That's their own purgative.  The one which always irritated me (and still does) was brand loyalty.  Some people actually believe there's no way cooperation among plug-in supporters is actually possible outside of a particular offering.  Spanning across the automaker divide is impossible in their minds.  The response is thoughtless contradiction, rather than actually considering a mutual gain.  So when it comes to charging-station availability, that's just outright dismissed as being capable of contributing anything to the acceptance of plug-in vehicles.  It's actually the same old close-mindedness we dealt with in the past with no-plug hybrids.  On the big Prius forum, where they try really hard to be constructive, I pointed out a senseless remark (from an individual with a passionate despise for PHV) recently been posted on that daily blog for Volt: "Public chargers will do nothing, notta, zippo, for plug-in sales."  Then added:  I simply reminded myself his "vastly superior" claims fall on many deaf ears now.  Seeing charging-stations become available here will indeed be an influence.  Focus is shifting to the market in general too, rather than hope & hype of the past.  This previous month's sales of Volt included 2011 clearance models and HOV-eligible 2012 models with both federal & state credits.  So, it doesn't provide any basis to measure trend.  What April, May and June reveals will be telling... especially now that PHV deliveries are in progress.  There really isn't an early adopter phase either, since there is already a widely accepted charging standard and PHV is actually on its third generation.  There isn't much for misconceptions either.  The challenge now is basically setting realistic expectations for ordinary consumers.

4-03-2012

Repeating Questions.  The attempts to discredit are becoming so transparent.  Geez!  They ask same old question you've been asked countless times already.  Then they accuse you of ignoring them when you don't respond.  I think they believe the casual reader won't notice the pattern; however, drawing attention to me defeats that.  Forum regulars stand out.  So making me into a regular on the big GM forum by always targeting me for attack is counter-productive.  Yet, they do it anyway.  They even call me out when a new thread is started that they know I'll be interested in but haven't posted anything yet.  I find it quite educational.  After all, my purpose is to confirm market progress and find out what they fear.  It's somewhat bizarre how they so unknowingly expose themselves like that.  You'd think they'd realize it eventually.  But years later, it's still the same thing with each new high efficiency vehicle.  When their own vehicle expectations are not met, attack the competition.  There's an aspect of disbelief with so many failures caused by not setting realistic goals.  Learning from previous mistakes should be a given.  But that still hasn't happened.  Stop bragging.  Just focus on what can actually be delivered rather than always wanting to over-achieve.  Long story short, watch for repeating questions.  That's a sign.

4-03-2012

10-Foot Pole.  Whoa!  Sales results were posted today... and no one on the GM forum wanted to address them.  That thread which had been extremely popular just prior to that abruptly went silent.  Even using a 10-foot pole (something off topic) was avoided.  Nothing.  They wanted to stay as distant as possible.  My post with totals and the model breakdown was too much to bare.  Their expectations weren't met... and mine were.  That's a recipe for retaliation.  But since I was posting nothing but brief responses, they didn't actually have anything to retaliate with.  It's really difficult to spin clear & concise statements.  I knew it and they knew it.  That made me curious.  Each month has brought about new excuses.  What would come this time?  It was said over and over again to be patient, wait until the second year for that 60,000 annual level to be reached.  In fact, some got quite angry when 2 years back when I question how they believed such a sales rate would be possible.  They felt insulted.  I simply noted their unrealistic claim for reference later... which is now.  The priority of price should have been higher.  They didn't take that seriously.  Now, it's a big problem and the proof is overwhelming.  This next month's tally will be very interesting.

4-03-2012

Smashed By Prius.  Remember this quote from a few days ago: "Well, if you are looking at sales numbers, the Cruze smashes the Prius quite handily, as does Toyota's own Corolla."  I couldn't believe such a disconnect with the actual market was made.  But then again, we hear about claims not based on reality routinely from politicians.  I was so excited to post this March sales numbers, starting my post in response to that quote (again) with: "Not true anymore." and ended with: "Change happens."  These were the official tallies... 21,607 Cruze; 28,289 Corolla; 28,711 Prius.  The breakdown for Prius was: 891 Prius PHV; 4,875 Prius C; 4,937 Prius V; 18,008 Prius.  Even Camry-Hybrid had a great month with 5,400.  It was a crushing blow for those who boasted that hybrids were still far from being mainstream.  What can they say now?  Getting smashed by Prius isn't what they expected.  Traditional vehicles were supposed to remain the norm until Volt becomes well established.  Finding out the "too little, too slowly" concern was a warning that should have been taken seriously is a very problem.  What happens now that it's too late?

4-02-2012

Real-World Data.  It's now available.  Maybe it surprises you that it took so long to provide some.  But then again, perhaps not.  I collected & analyzed, sorting out important from trivial.  And I wondered what would be practical to document on a daily, monthly, and tank basis.  The first thing that hit me was filling the tank on the last day of the month would no longer be realistic.  It takes much longer to use up the gas when there's a plug.  Numeric truncation was another concern that popped out at me.  The display only shows the whole number.  So, short duration reporting could be misleading.  What's also misleading is the difference between kWh of electricity the PHV consumes verses how much is actually drawn from the outlet.  Some electricity is naturally lost as part of the conversion & storage process.  All this needed to be taken into consideration... before even thinking about how to represent it online.  The ideal is on-going graphs.  With the 2.5 years of daily-driving data I collected from the 2010, that was already well established.  However, I didn't have a convention yet for mapping that to the wild fluctuation of MPG yet.  Basically, you drive less, the value is higher.  But how does one associate that with the lower value shown for distance?  And what about plugging in multiple times per day?  Accounting for so many factors, not to mention seasonal influence, too awhile.  There's was lots to consider.  I think I did a fairly decent job of documenting the essentials.  Take a look for yourself...  PHV tank data  &  PHV daily data

4-02-2012

New Misconceptions.  The source hasn't been newbies or published articles or even comments from those articles.  It has been Volt enthusiasts.  I saw that coming, hence so much focus on them.  This was the good example posted on today on the big Prius forum, from Volt owner: "Prius PHV drivers will want go slow and hyper-mile it to to get to 15 avoiding ice."  First, notice how incredibly vague that is.  What does "slow" actually mean?  For that matter, what does "hyper-mile" imply?  And since when is trying to squeeze out 15 miles of EV driving before the engine starts up even a priority?  It's a plug-in Prius.  You get a significant MPG boost regardless of how you drive it.  It's quite frustrating how they continue to force an EV perspective, rather than just acknowledging the efficiency increase.  I tried to refrain from showing any emotion and just post something constructive:  Once the engine goes through the warm-up cycle, using it again becomes trivial... because it shuts off so rapidly afterward and replenish a little EV whiles it running.  In other words, those of us driving PHV on a regular basis have quickly discovered some of the pre-rollout assumptions didn't reflect the actual design.  You'd be surprised how well Toyota studied everyday driving behavior.  That early rollout program really paid off. They certainly did their homework to yield high returns for those consumers who simply get behind the wheel and drive.  And for those who do want to game the system, PHV offers lots of opportunity using the Eco-Meter and HV/EV button.

4-01-2012

Are What They Are.  It's really odd reading a goodbye.  There's a mix of feeling.  This one came from a long-time Prius owner who leased a Volt.  He tried really hard to bridge the gap and keep discussions constructive.  Volt owners constantly pushing the EV perspective upon PHV made that especially difficult.  He said: "I have enjoyed the vigorous debates here."  But with opinions so entrenched, his respect & courteous contributions not making any difference took the joy away... hence just turning focus to the numbers themselves, saying they "are what they are" and leaving it at that.  It's what I've said for a long time.  But the smug still thrives in some places.  Regardless of how hard you work to set realistic expectations, some just plain aren't receptive to being practical.  All that "vastly superior" taunting certainly confirms that.  The real-world data will finally change that attitude, we hope.  But not even acknowledging the difference in consumers being targeted makes anything else basically futile.  Fortunately, the debates themselves should end as the next generation of design is revealed.  We all knew this first generation of Volt faced a painful rollout.  Some just take longer than others to accept things like that.  I personally appreciated his help.  It's not often you get someone so will to expend so much time attempting to keep the peace while we waited for those numbers to become available.  I wish him well.

4-01-2012

First Road Trip.  The weather finally got nice enough out to take my first bike trip with the PHV.  Knowing that Prius would deliver 50 MPG even without taking advantage of the plug-supplied electricity, I was really looking forward to the experience.  I get relaxation time on the trail and behind the wheel.  That's a great way to spend a weekend day.  Of course, the car itself is still a bit stiff.  It will take several thousand more miles for break-in to complete.  Driving into an intense Spring wind wasn't exactly the best for efficiency either.  To make matters worse, my trip home would be in the evening, after the wind had died down.  Oh well.  The entire trip was 115 miles.  90 of them were on the highway at 65 mph over rolling hills.  Only 1 recharge opportunity was available, overnight at home before I left.  The end result was 57 MPG.  That's not too bad, especially coming from such a new Prius with an EV capacity of just 12 miles.  I'm certainly pleased with that.  It should creep up some by the peak of Summer, even with A/C use.  Road trips like that are totally worth it, even when they cause my Lifetime MPG value to be lower than average.

4-01-2012

Presumed Purpose.  There are so many newbies now, it's hard to convey a clear intent.  I'm still gather initial data and furiously taking photos to capture key moments.  Of course, we're so early in the rollout process, it's rather remarkable how much interest there is already.  In fact, there are some PHV owners joining the big Prius forum who have no experience with Prius prior to taking delivery.  That's quite an endorsement for such a new product.  But then again, Toyota planned so far ahead that virtually all but the battery-pack itself was already in place way back when the first 2010 was delivered back in the Spring of 2009.  However, there are fundamental questions still being asked: "I would presume the purpose of the PiP is to reduce the use of gasoline!"  I think it's great that the clean aspect of Prius stirs so little attention, people just take it for granted.  Being green has become so easy, it's forgotten about... which is far better than the downplay from antagonists of the past.  Anywho, my response to that presumption was:  That's actually secondary, though still a high priority.  The primary purpose has always been emission reduction.  This has been what sets Prius apart from many of the other hybrids.  It intentionally consumes gas for the sake of maximum cleansing.  MPG while in EV mode with the automatic switch to HV for warm-up is still outstanding.  There's also some EV replenish that occurs as a result of the engine running.  So unless you drive nothing but short-trips with hard acceleration, the gas usage is somewhat of a wash anyway.

3-31-2012

HeadCam Video.  Filming 3 different subjects each with different illumination all at the same time presented quite a challenge.  For the HUD (Heads Up Display) to be seen properly projected onto the windshield, the camera had to be located extremely close to the driver's eyes.  For both the speedometer-cluster and HUD to look sharply focused, waiting for an overcast day to have soft & consistent lighting was essential. For there to be enough EV capacity available to demonstrate a hill-climbing trip, only a single test-drive to calibrate equipment would be possible.  Confident I was well prepared, I strapped the GoPro HD video camera onto my head, then pressed record.  On the two turns where you could see me in the mirror, I put up an Eco-Meter photo to conceal that.  On the one turn where there's only a glimpse of the silly filming setup attached just above my eyes, I allowed that to be seen.  It's good to have a sense humor.  After all, the content itself is very exciting.  Watch the video carefully.  There's lots of detail to observe.  Driving exclusively in EV like that is not in any way necessary to achieve outstanding MPG.  In fact, when the engine does run, you'll find that switch to HV mode will actually replenish a little bit of EV capacity while at the same time deliver the usual 50 MPG you get from Prius even without a plug.  I enjoyed filming this. Hope you like watching it, in addition to finding it informative:  Prius PHV - HeadCam

3-31-2012

Smashing Prius.  The lack of perspective is truly astonishing sometimes.  Arguments on the big GM forum have become pointless.  If it doesn't happen in the United States, it doesn't matter.  With attitude like that, how does one have a constructive discussion about economics & business... especially when they insist the global market is taken into account.  Such blatant contradictions amaze.  I found this one posted today fantastic: "Well, if you are looking at sales numbers, the Cruze smashes the Prius quite handily, as does Toyota's own Corolla."  It came from someone who obviously hasn't been looking at the forest, still only seeing the tree directly in front of him.  Oh well.  Sales results coming soon should change that.  Here's what I posted in response:  Looking at the big picture (economies of scale from high-volume production) the sales in Japan are reason to acknowledge a shift in priorities.  Prius sales surpassed Corolla quite awhile ago, there.  Here, they came within striking distance last month... hence all the attention the recent C model rollout has stirred... since March could be the first ever here to make people consider Corolla no longer being the default compact choice anymore.  The potential to surpass its sales this year is very realistic.  Take a good look at the specs for the regular Prius and the C model.  What the others omitted was the fact that Cruze is in between the two... making for an uneven basis of comparison, which they cannot stand.  That's same reason why attempts to force PHV into an EV perspective happen so frequently.  They cannot claim Volt is vastly superior if it isn't even in the same category.  And based on my first 3 weeks of driving a PHV, the real-world data clearly shows their guestimate of how it operates were quite incorrect.  Long story short, next month brings about a fresh look from consumers... now that hype & hope are being replaced by actual sales.

 

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