Prius Personal Log  #564

April 13, 2012  -  April 18, 2012

Last Updated: Sun. 4/22/2012

    page #563         page #565         BOOK         INDEX         go to bottom 

 

4-18-2012

Attitude Transformation.  It certainly is odd watching the divide grow.  The few remain antagonists continue to belittle & mislead about Prius.  One such attempt yesterday was trying to state the recent update for Prius v was the very same problem as a recall for the Iconic model.  He literally just made that up.  No SSC number to verify his claim.  No detail of any kind.  Just a bogus statement about Toyota having repeated issues from not being properly fixed.  This is the same individual who owns a Volt and uses "pathetic" when describing Prius, so he's basically a troublemaker who simply doesn't care.  Thank goodness most are nothing like him.  In fact, there are more and more Volt owners & enthusiasts who don't see a problem with offering a second more affordable model.  They don't see a shift of priorities from capacity & power to being affordable for the masses.  Old beliefs die hard.  Remember the acceleration wars of the past?  I sure am glad that nonsense is over.  Having the attitude of former foes transform is the most telling.  It hits you as strange to hear them agree now rather than argue.  In other words, consumer needs are finally being addressed... even if the acknowledgement is only with an implicit reference to sales.  Direct isn't necessary anyway.  We are witnessing a change.

4-17-2012

Brutal Opposition.  Looking back, it got pretty nasty.  Volt owners were deeply angered by the idea of a HOLD mode.  Anywho who brought up the topic was looked upon as suspicious, somehow having ill intent.  I was amazed by that.  Opposition to the idea of not totally depleting the battery-pack prior to starting the engine was brutal.  It would make Volt more of a hybrid than an electric vehicle.  The enthusiasts didn't like that at all... which is why they fought against it so much.  Hybrid equals Prius, in their mind.  Being associated with Prius was bad... since Volt to them was more a matter of bragging-rights rather than supporting a vehicle for the masses.  After all, if Volt were to become as common as Prius, there wouldn't be anything to stand out anymore.  It's a self-defeating situation... which has already defeated them.  Newbies are sounding off.  It's as if fighting last year never happened.  Wow!  Of course, that means a widened appeal and less focus on EV.  In the past when a high-opposed situation suddenly took an abrupt turn, those who had been stirring the trouble vanish.  It should be interesting to see what happens with this.  I'm looking forward to constructive discussion.  That propaganda of the past was unbelievable.

4-16-2012

Below Freezing Temperatures.  When saying "below freezing", I mean a few degrees under 32°F.  To think that even the meaning of that was twisted in those Volt battles of the past.  But when desperate, certain individuals were willing to try just about anything to retain attention.  It's too bad things got so ugly.  But then again, my first experience with the PHV model Prius at a below freezing temperature was quite uneventful... not what antagonists were hoping for.  I drove 4 miles in EV mode.  Frequent stops always made photo sessions a bit annoying, since engine would have to run so frequently with the regular Prius.  But with the PHV, having far more electricity available and a faster electric-only speed, the travel from location to location was quite pleasant.  Being that cold made it even better.  Some claimed that wouldn't be possible.  I proved it clearly is, even when the Prius sits out in the cold all night.  Knowing that will make the inevitable Winter conditions, which Prius already did better than traditional vehicles, even more pleasant to deal with.  But looking outside right now and seeing all that snow still, I'm looking forward to Spring... which was here just a few days ago.  Now, it's gone!

4-16-2012

Owners Prius Photos.  On the big Prius forum, there was a long-running thread where owners would post photos of their Prius.  It was very exciting to see them.  Such variety exists, which people wouldn't be exposed to any other way.  Routine addition of new photos to see was great.  No one had started one for PHV yet.  I stumbled across a fantastic opportunity to do exactly that, my escape up north.  Along that 188-mile drive, I stopped at a public-landing along a river.  This was the same location I took photos at over a decade ago with my Classic Prius.  It was the ideal setting for the very first scenic photo of the PHV.  Spring had arrived.  It was a beautiful afternoon, 72°F and sunny.  I had 2 bikes on the back, making the purpose of my long trip obvious.  Unfortunately, the weather didn't go as planned.  It rained all the following day.  Heavy downfalls with blustery wind didn't make for good biking conditions, so we waited.  It got colder.  Overnight, the rain turned to snow.   I woke up to discover my destination had transformed into a winter wonderland.  Even though that was far from what I had hoped, it was a golden opportunity.  28°F with 3 inches of fresh snow blanketing everything was a dream come true for photo taking.  So, I went nuts with the camera and started a new thread to share what I saw.

4-16-2012

The Aftermath.  Situations can change quickly.  That's certainly the case with the HOLD mode for Volt.  Owners finding out about it are already sounding off, saying they hope the upgrade will be offered retroactively.  We've even had real-world examples stated how that would be helpful.  It's drowning out the rhetoric of the past.  Those arguments from antagonists fiercely trying to keep Volt from being shown to have shortcomings are becoming an embarrassment.  I hadn't expected humility to be an ally.  That's nice.  Suddenly, I have others on my side... who would wonder why in the world anyone could claim that the suggestion to offer that button here was really just an effort to promote Prius.  They honestly thought that ability could somehow undermine.  When they fear diversity, that's a sign something is wrong.  Now it's out in the open.  Obviously, I feel vindicated too.  How could Volt not change?  With the sales struggle, simply waiting for the market to change instead wasn't wise.  Of course, there are still some who are dead set against the idea of change.  But their voice is getting drown out by newbies repeating what I said last year.  That means I don't have to say much anymore.  The newbie desire to embrace sensible solutions overcomes the senseless arguments of the past.  It still amazes me that it had got so bad, threads on the big GM forum were simply closed rather than actually addressing the problem.  Fewer barriers now takes us another step closer to actually getting something affordable.

4-15-2012

2013 Volt.  Things just took a very strange turn.  Events like this are why blogging enthralls some people.  You can document & read reactions to the unexpected, as they happen... and this one certainly qualifies.  GM just released details on the 2013 model of Volt.  What the heck?  It's only April.  How can announcing changes so far in advance be helpful?  Won't that harm current sales?  First thing I noticed was the removal of bluetooth for phone.  Support for it didn't come until recently.  It still had some quirks to be worked out too, quite unlike what Toyota has offered with Prius since 2003.  Bluetooth also took money away from their OnStar pay service, since that was what owners had used for calls prior to being able to connect with their own phone via Bluetooth.  Next thing I noticed was the introduction of the hold button for this market.  Volt will be getting it after all.  That put particular owners are in a difficult position.  They had argued fiercely that having a feature which behaved like the PHV model Prius was useless.  Yet, GM offers it in Europe now and will next year be offering it here too.  Now they'll sound hypocritical and be missing a feature on their own Volt.  Funny how things work out.  Then of course, the big concern has been price.  Will that heavy hyped drop finally happen?  The answer appears to be no.  Many of the features added actually rather nice, making it extremely difficult for anyone to argue that Volt isn't embracing the status of halo... becoming a well established niche rather than striving to be a mainstream vehicle.  GM did make it look even more like a traditional sedan.  That supposedly is a draw.  The bottom part of the liftgate will be the same color as the vehicle, rather than the standout black it has now.  Oh well, this makes the 2012 sales even more of a tale to tell later.

4-14-2012

EV mode EV, answer.  I figured a biking trip up to northern Minnesota would do the trick.  It turned out to be 188 miles of driving, all in HV mode... none of which were counted as EV, despite driven several miles with the "EV" indicator illuminated.  I even went out of my way and drove about 1.5 extra at the end of the trip without the engine ever starting.  It made no difference.  Being in HV mode means no official EV.  Of course, you still get outstanding efficiency.  But without the type of tracking having been established from this first PHV, how would advancements of the next be measured?  With MPG varying dramatically from owner to owner, that really is the only simple system available for noting improved design.  Looking at the big picture help, especially when in context of the approach having been taken over the past 12 years.  It makes sense.  That's why my initial gut reaction was what it ended up to actually be.  I hypothesized the counting could include some HV operation.  But that's too much of a short-term interpretation.  The system will continue to evolve over time.  As cost warrants, components will improve.  The catch is affordability... something others still have a difficult time accepting.  Just think what the EV range stated now will look like a decade from now, in the common car we encounter every day.  There will naturally be niche vehicles offering far more, but that's not the purpose of Prius.  By the way, the result of that 188-mile drive with the bikes on back was 46 MPG.

4-14-2012

EV mode EV, question.  The big question came up, what actually counts as EV miles?  The tally on the Drive-Ratio screen isn't clear.  Are miles driven while the "EV" symbol is illuminated in HV mode included?  Should they be?  Since EV mode is the default and you must push the button to switch to HV driving, that explicit choice is a decision not to use EV.  So, it does tend to make sense to not identify any engine-off driving then as EV.  After all, the HV mode is basically just regular Prius operation but with a Li-Ion battery rather than NiMH.  Wanting to distinguish travel which take full advantage utilizes the system to the fullest is quite informative... and it does support future efforts.  After all, the previous model of Prius had an EV button that didn't offer as much.  Now, with this first plug-in, EV is improved upon.  We are already aware of that CITY button not included in the initial rollout here.  It offers the ability to push the electric ability even further, something markets with much higher traffic-density and low-emission restriction zones can take advantage of right away.  Our current need here is different, especially due to the penetration barrier caused by consumer education and anti-plug propaganda... for that matter, the anti-hybrid push.  So, I set out to answer the question.

4-13-2012

Electric Bill.  The previous billing period was for 33 days.  It ended exactly 1 week prior to my first plugging in.  This month's bill spanned 30 days, of which 3 weeks worth included PHV ownership.  That meant at least 21 times.  Doing the math, taking into account 3.1 kWh per recharge, it was reasonable to expect about 65 added to my regular household consumption.  Instead, it was 30 less.  Huh?  Apparently, I'm not well aware of all the appliance draws at home.  My guess is the natural-gas furnace was responsible for that.  Long data collection may reveal some type of pattern.  But then again, at 10.5 cents per kWh, it's not much of an expense.  So for 30 nightly recharges, we're only talking about $10 worth of electricity anyway.  Looking that the gas consumption it offsets, using very crude estimations and guessing on gas price, I'm spending somewhere around $35 less per month on gas.  That's nice considering how much I drive.  For those who don't drive 20,000 miles annually, they'll spend much less.  The benefit is obvious no matter what your driving is.

4-13-2012

Not Ready.  The early adopter mindset seems to be spilling over from enthusiast to automaker.  This opinion pops up from time to time, more often now: "IMHO, for now GM wants the Volt to remain a low-volume full-price specialty car."  That's not the case for Toyota.  This first year, rollout of the PHV model will be to 3 different markets at the same time... Japan, Europe, and the United States in limited areas.  Next year, it will be all of the United States.  In the meantime, the infrastructure for public charging-stations and aftermarket charge upgrades at home are being established.  Ford will be joining in the end of the year too, with their one plug-in model based on a hybrid that won't even be rolled out until about June.  A faster pace is what we need.  Watching traditional vehicles compete for high-efficiency sales is a big problem.  The opportunity to capture the mainstream shouldn't be allowed to slip away.  Remember the "too little, too slowly" concern?  It's playing out right now.  Not being ready makes acceptance even more of a challenge.  It's a moving target and getting use to paying higher gas prices is an unfortunate reality.  As they say, strike while the iron is hot.

4-13-2012

Not The Same.  There has been a common theme on both the daily blog and the big GM forum.  You mention Prius and they feel threatened.  In fact, the fear has become so ingrained into their thought process, some have even come to calling it the "P" word.  It's the continued false belief that you are somehow trying to prove it is the best.  Pretty much no matter what you say, they think you mean something else.  That's probably why so few remain, leaving only die-hard participants.  The others got tired of the nonsense and simply moved on... especially due to the intentional provoking.  All that bait routinely dropped with the hope of having the opportunity to argue "vastly superior" claims, gets old & repetitive.  For the most part, I don't bother anymore.  Just sticking to real-world data has been working well... extremely well, as a matter of fact.  One of the outspoken troublemakers suddenly came to the realization that my providing of operational results from the PHV model actually proved that Volt is not the same.  It's what I've been saying for years.  But they were so scared of not market reaction they couldn't see the obvious.  The moment he pointed that out to the others, all those negative votes vanished.  Duh!  Their trophy-mentality clouded judgment to the point that they ended up arguing against themselves.  That analogy of a panicking animal desperate to escape a predator really fit.  Thank goodness they finally see the situation.  Unfortunately, there's still the reality of not meeting sales expectation, but we can celebrate this small victory.

4-13-2012

High-Volume Profitable Sales.  That daily blog for Volt is down to just random news events now, many of which aren't even about Volt anymore.  The well known posters are almost all long since gone.  But for the few who remain, they pounced today.  The topic was just a repeat post of real-world Volt data compared to generalized estimates on how the PHV may operate, an opportunity some still holding on to the past yearn for.  But knowing that the market & purpose are so different, what would that accomplish?  My guess is it was just an attempt to retain the spotlight.  So, I contributed my real-world data in response to a post pointing out their rehashing of assumptions.  Within about an hour, there were already 7 negative votes from my spreadsheet with 2 graphs and this single comment: "Real-World data tells a very different story."  Predictably, there was one individual who personally attacked.  I find that incredibly telling, not that it really makes a difference.  Those few enthusiasts likely aren't representative of most owners anyway.  For that matter, we know ordinary mainstream consumers aren't concerned with the details anyway.  We know the purpose is to significantly improvement emissions & consumption.  There isn't actually a goal to eliminate.  Their bragging rights of most EV or most MPG don't address the reality of high-volume profitable sales.  It's real-world data that makes a difference.  There's a practical balance of purchase priorities you just can't overlook.

 

back to home page       go to top