Prius Personal Log  #627

July 7, 2013  -  July 12, 2013

Last Updated: Weds. 8/28/2013

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7-12-2013

Stuff happens.  It's hard to believe some posts come to this: "But you are not entitled to make up your own 'facts'."  It's not surprising though.  Some people make up their mind and you are stuck with them unwilling to even consider anything else.  A number of us have had it.  He has declared PHV a failure and that's that.  I sounded off with:  Rather than just provide information, we get conclusions drawn for us and they presented as "facts".  Toyota hasn't even expanded rollout beyond the initial markets.  Yet, we are told the game is over already.  The outright dismissal of purchase priorities, like helping contribute to a better world by supporting the effort to reduce emissions & consumption, there's nothing but arguing about financial return.  That type of absolute isn't constructive.  Add to that the childish name-calling and complete disregard for consumer understanding, it's basically a futile effort to attempt reason.  This isn't anything new to Prius.  We've been through it many times in the past.  What makes it different now is the scale.  Offering a plug-in model changes perception of the regular model.  That's great for the ordinary consumer driving a traditional vehicle still, but it puts those who considered the purchase the plug-in and ended up getting the regular instead in a difficult position... especially if their decision was heavily based on financial points and they now see their original calculations in error and substantial rebates reducing price.  Long story short, the resulting spin is a manifestation of buyer's remorse we simply cannot do anything about other than allow him to vent his frustration.  Those "facts" will be drown out by the real-world data contradicting them.  So, there really isn't much to be concerned about.

7-12-2013

Direct Confrontation.  A new discussion thread was created to deal with the problems we've been having with the "rip off" poster.  His attacks on PHV quickly turned to lashing out at individuals.  We wanted to know more, but not at the expense of other threads.  So, a new one was created exclusively to address the issue.  I joined in with:  This thread has turned out to be quite informative.  I was scratching my head wondering what in the world motive could be.  The ardent nature of messages didn't match the words actually being posted.  Facts were being dismissed and ignored.  It didn't make sense.  Why lash out at owners rather than just the technology itself?  We ended up finding out there is a strong resentment for those having received credits & rebates for their purchase.  Since he didn't have that opportunity, the reaction is understandable.  It's not reasonable.  There's simply no place for insults like that.  But having those feeling is though.  Paying more for less happens sometimes.  It's frustrating.  Being a victim of misleading makes the situation even worse.  There isn't much we can do to make things better.  Life isn't fair.  That sucks.  You have to focus on positives.  Make the best of the situation.  After all, having a regular model Prius is still quite nice.  Resale value stays high.  MPG is well above traditional vehicles and all the other hybrids without is plug.  You are still contributing to reduced emissions & consumption.

7-12-2013

EV Confusion.  Sometimes, a bit of exposition is helpful:  Prius PHV is a plug-in hybrid.  That means the engine shut off when it isn't needed.  While in EV mode, you are telling the system to draw as much electricity from the battery-pack as possible.  While in HV mode, you are telling the system to draw less.  Switching modes changes tolerances, it doesn't prevent.  As some have pointed out, even while in HV mode, estimated EV range will slowly drop.  The system is seeking out efficiency opportunities and taken advantage of them when they are found.  That's what is supposed to happen.  This is why there is still an "EV" symbol even while in HV mode.  When it illuminates, that informs you some capacity which would otherwise be used for EV is being consumed.  Technically, that actually is EV mode, since the engine isn't running.  To avoid confusion, as it is a feature of HV mode available in both the plug-in and regular models of Prius, those of us wanting to keep things straight call that STEALTH mode.

7-11-2013

Fundamentals.  How many times can the same comments be brought up?  The purpose of antagonist is to undermine, to prevent conclusions from being drawn.  So, any kind of doubt that can be raised or point that is no longer in context will be exploited for that purpose.  It would be quite maddening if you were willing to play that game.  I do only for milking out information that otherwise wouldn't be surrendered.  They get desperate sometimes, unwittingly revealing a weakness for the same of winning an argument.  Sacrificing the war for a battle never makes sense.  But then again, their intent isn't sensible anyway.   My choice was to post: Still trying to buy time and completely disregarding all the other excuses, we are finally down to the fundamentals.  Prius was configured to achieve profit without change, and it did.  Volt most definitely was not, and will not.  Quite a bit of reconfiguring is needed still.  That's a fundamental difference you cannot just overlook or dismiss.

7-10-2013

Decontented Volt.  Those few still left on what remains of that daily blog for Volt aren't happy when someone else echoes the same message I've been conveying for years...  The current configuration of Volt isn't enough; another model must be offered.  Of course, whenever I expressed that, they'd spin it to mean GM should abandon the current model entirely.  Even though that most definitely not what I have said, that is what they hear.  After all, posts are always assumed to somehow be related to Prius, despite that never have been mentioned.  They don't want Volt to become common, since then it won't stand out anymore.  That loss of being special undermines all that they've worked so hard to endorse.  It's a losing battle.  Becoming mainstream requires uniqueness to be forfeited.  That's too great of a penalty in their mind.  So whenever an affordable model is mentioned, they get very defensive.  I finally chimed into the discussion with:  This group has been dead set against GM offering a second model of Volt for years.  They know something affordable & profitable for the masses to purchase is a necessity, but they'd rather gamble on the next generation than address product diversity.  Of course, the current inventory situation and the topic at hand (upcoming 2014 models) will force change anyway.  So, it's a basically a moot point at this stage.  The time for being proactive has already expired.

7-10-2013

Scapegoat.  The follow-up to the "losers" insult was: "So basically, you guys are getting someone else to pay for your expense to make this feature looks like it's a good buy."  The logic of considering the true cost of gas and the penalties of the resulting pollution fell on deaf ears.  He just plain did not care.  He got mislead by a salesperson, missed out on the discount opportunities, and now wanted to take out his frustration on us.  He needed a scapegoat to feel better.  We weren't happy about his short-sightedness.  But making it personal took the "rip off" argument to a whole new level.  I tried to remain constructive though:  The point of the tax-credit is to help rapidly establish the market.  If used well, by the time it expires, that cost differential will have been eliminated.  In other words, the $2,500 some of us get will be matched by a $2,500 drop in cost.  The so-basically fails to acknowledge that purpose... which is realistic for Prius PHV to fulfill.  Enough, or should we also point out oil is still heavily subsidized?

7-10-2013

True Colors.  It didn't take long for the owner who was supposedly making an effort to be constructive to finally show his true colors: "I have nothing against the PPi or the technology.  Pay for your own car, losers."  Calling out in an insulting way like that and claiming we were stealing enraged those who had been patiently trying to discuss issues with him. I posted:  We've been through virtually every angle, to no avale.  It started off with a thread claiming the plug-in model was a "rip off" and got worse from there.  When you express no interest or value in our reduction of emissions & oil-dependency, that's one thing.  But then when it turns to flag-waving & insults, that's quite different.  We all see how much employment Toyota vehicles generate in the United States just with the traditional & hybrid vehicles.  Add to that the opportunities the plug introduces, it simply makes no sense for such terrible attitude... especially when there was a very clear effort to make the design match purchase priorities of the masses.  At least there is this thread now to voice opinion, rather than deal with off-topic interjections within other discussions.  The big question though is:  Why?  My guess is not having any background information about how the market actually works.  After all, many enthusiasts don't.  That experience with a dishonest salesperson made the situation certainly didn't help, but lashing out at us doesn't either.  To specifically address the "loser" comment, haven't you noticed that no matter how much some of us have an issue with other automaker offerings, we always make a sincere effort to treat owners nicely without stooping down to name calling?  Use ignore if you don't agree.  Post information showing your stance actually does address the needs of both business & country.  Provide suggestions for improvement.  Just don't resort to vague generalizations, disregard for the big picture, or remarks that clearly aren't constructive.

7-09-2013

Perspective.  There certainly is a wide variety now.   Much of it stems from goals. When they differ, typically you'll find that the person isn't seeing needs the same way.  The influence of urgency never matches either.  For example: "I just see Toyota's handling of the iQ has evidence that they aren't taking a plug-in market seriously."  That little electric-only vehicle is a niche offering, not intended for the mainstream.  True, the audience is middle-market, but plan isn't for it to become a business-sustaining product.  Not all vehicles must be profitable and sold in high-volume.  Volt gets a lot of fallout because it was intended to be just that, but came up well short.  That isn't the purpose of iQ.  It is the purpose of Prius though.  This first implementation of PHV will not only establish expectations, it will also pave the way for easy rollout of the next generation, while at the same time deliver sales well in excess of iQ.  Needless to say, I did respond, but there really wasn't a whole lot to say:  Compared to what other traditional automaker?  Nissan is basically alone.  None of the others have made any dent in the market.  We also know that attacking middle-market head on rather than approaching via a niche pretty much always gets the same assessment.  So, it's somewhat of a red herring until the cost drops enough to make either viable for high-volume.

7-08-2013

Avalon Hybrid.  I saw my first today.  It was quite unexpected too.  I was just walking along the street and noticed that the car I approached was a new large Toyota sedan.  I looked close at the interior space and dashboard arrangement.  It wasn't until I backed up to look at the entire side of the vehicle that I noticed the hybrid emblem.  Cool.  I like seeing the HSD system implemented on a larger vehicle so covertly.  It provides Toyota with lots of real-world production & support experience well ahead of the anticipated demand.  They can refine the system in the meantime, improving efficiency and reducing cost with little to no attention.  That's preparing for the future. Just think what that larger system could offer when the price of battery capacity finally drops significantly.  Having something already well proven waiting for the upgrade is a good plan.  It helps out a lot with product-diversity too.

7-08-2013

Silence.  "It's interesting how tight-lipped GM has been on the 2014.  Either there is nothing to report, or they don't want to show their cards.  Production starts next week, you think we'd hear something."  That quote posted by a die-hard enthusiast of Volt on that daily blog sure caught the attention of some people.  June sales were strong, due in large part to the price-reduction, but that provides no indication of what to expect for July.  It could have easily been a surge, the opportunity some sitting on the fence had long awaited for.  After all, we know some PHV owners did the same thing.  We know also though that the effect is temporary.  We know that won't result in a large quantity either.  GM won't be able to unload roughly 8,000 Volt still in inventory soon enough.  Call me anti-GM or anti-Volt for pointing out the facts, but don't disregard that in the process.  Toyota has the flexibility of just producing regular models instead.  The ability to switch battery-packs offers a big inventory protection (profit retention) approach GM simply doesn't have with a plug-in only Volt.  Prius doesn't have a one-size-fits-all risk like that… which is why we hear anything but silence from it.  This is an important time in history.  We truly don't know what will happen next… other than the inevitable spin that will follow from those who will claim the choice was an obvious one.  What will it be?  The silence makes us wonder.  The outcome of what happens in the near future is very important.

7-07-2013

Blocked Vent?  The temperature was in the 90's.  The Prius had been baking in the sun while we enjoyed a long lunch.  We jumped in, I fired up the A/C, then we headed out.  About a minute later, the dashboard lit up with warnings.  Hmm.  Was it that misleading door-ajar message?  I had only encountered that one time ever.  It was so easily rectified, I wasn't able to confirm either.  I pulled over, asked everyone to open & close their door, then restarted the Prius.  That would have been a nice observational opportunity.  But unfortunately, I noticed the back passenger had also shifted position at the same time.  I asked if she had been leaning up against the door.  Her response was "Maybe."  I asked if she was aware that the vent could have been blocked.  Her response was "Want vent?"  Needless to say, the restart had already shown all was well at that point.  So, there wasn't anything else left to observe.  My guess is the battery-pack had sensed it wasn't able to breathe and sounded off a warning concerned that it wouldn't be able to cool itself later as I drove.  The lesson learned was to raise awareness of the vent adjacent to the back seat.  Mention of it in the past obviously wasn't enough.

7-07-2013

Reviews.  They certainly stir a lot of attention. The addition of a plug to Prius is most definitely doing that… especially since there is no standard whatsoever on how the electricity usage is actually reported.  They write whatever the heck they want, without any detail, and just label it as an "observation".  That's extremely misleading.  But then when you consider the lack of any standards when it comes to comparing MPG anyway, the situation is understandable.  Basically, the automotive reporters are still geared toward appealing to emotion rather than focusing on being practical & affordable.  This is the quote that got a number of us riled up: "But in normal hybrid mode, fuel economy dropped to 43 mpg, one less than the regular Prius."  Needless to say, we didn't know how that conclusion was being drawn.  My response was: I just got back from a 425-mile vacation, without ever plugging in. 270 of those miles were with 2 bikes on back, 2 people inside, and a bunch of cargo.  The A/C was on the entire time.  The other 155 miles were driving around, sight-seeing and stuff.  The A/C was on the entire time. 8.87 gallons were used. 47.9 MPG was the end result.  Even that extreme example delivered better fuel economy.  It's frustrating to read such reviews that mislead & confuse.  They clearly don't have an informative method of comparison established yet.

 

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