Prius Personal Log  #662

March 15, 2014  -  March 24, 2014

Last Updated: Tues. 5/27/2014

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Plug-In Hybrid, part 2.  I got a few likes and he got a few posts countering his position.  The choice was post operational detail, complete with a video showing battery, engine, and motor information:  In the past, which could be coined the "purity" chapter, there was much propaganda coming from Volt enthusiasts.  Their efforts to belittle Prius PHV marks a ugly point in plug-in history.  Thankfully, most of that is just a memory now.  Attitudes are changing.  Priorities are being reassessed.  I'm thinking this particular comment is about being poorly informed, simply passing along greenwash material without verifying whether or not it is actually true.  Watching that video of my commute, first at 70 mph, slowing to 55 mph, and then onto suburb roads, it's easy to see the redline statement is quite incorrect.  MG1 is rated for a RPM of 10,000.  During that drive, the highest RPM we see is under 6,700.  It's not even close to reaching maximum.  So what if a little power is used for carrier balance. That's the point of a hybrid. It seeks out efficiency opportunities by taking advantage of the resources it has available. It was designed to operate that way, and does even with the models that don't include a plug.  The misrepresentation of Prius PHV needs to be stopped.  It would be great having Volt owners as an ally in the effort to replace traditional vehicles.  That support would be mutually beneficial.  Sadly, gaining it continues to be a challenge.  The "leap" comment clearly confirms we are not there yet.  See the end result of that 16.8 mile commute.  Isn't that 128 MPG the point of being able to plug in?  That's significantly higher than a Prius without a plug could deliver, especially when the temperature is below freezing like that.


Plug-In Hybrid, part 1.  I wasn't too thrilled to read this post today on the big Prius forum: "Another prime reason why I say the PiP is a patched together EV is..."  Curiosity did compel me though, especially when it ended with this: "When/if you eventually get up to 60 mph or so, it is spinning MG1 at close to its redline RPM and using power to spin it backwards just to keep the stinker from spinning. With the Volt both MG's are working to move the car forward!"  Most pushing the rhetoric were too afraid to actually join the discussions there.  But here was a Volt owner doing exactly that.  It provided a minor glimmer of hope.  Unlike me, he wasn't serving as a lightening-rod, a well known owner facing opposition head-on to keep the fighting off-site.  That worked remarkably well for years.  But times are different now.  It's a new chapter.  So, I asked:  Why do Volt owners continue to force PiP, a vehicle clearly presented as a PLUG-IN HYBRID, into the category of EV?  Notice how no one else does.  Notice how they focus on results instead?  As PiP owners, we see the efficiencies from blending electricity & gas for power.  We see the MPG above 100 while cruising faster than 62 mph.


Changing Perspective.  Forcing it is called greenwashing.  Looking from elsewhere is called spin.  In other words, you can't win.  So sometimes, you just have to go with it.  I found this particular claim amusing: "If I did my math correctly the Volt is the best deal."  It came from a well known antagonist attempting to undermine Prius PHV.  My approach was to point out the perspective of the rest of us by implicitly asking if our tax making is being spent the "best" way it could.  I suspect the response will be anger.  But shouldn't that question be addressed?  Why should only a select few benefit?  Just think if there was a specific amount allocated to the automotive market instead.  It would encourage competition.  The more you rollout, the more you benefit.  Right now, there's no speed incentive.  Each automaker is independent and they can milk the "halo" effect in the meantime.  So, I replied with:  Isn't the point to encourage & spread plug-in vehicle acceptance?  We'd get more bang for our buck if 600,000 people got $2,500 credits than 200,000 getting $7,500.  The same amount of money would have triple the market impact.


Almost Out.  Within the next 3 weeks, the HOV sticker supply will run out.  They allow single-occupant vehicles to drive in the carpool lane on select California highways.  Only plug-in vehicles were eligible and that was a compelling reason for many dealing with the dense commute traffic there to purchase one.  There absense soon means uncertainty is coming.  No one has any idea how it will affect sales.  Years ago, when that was an incentive for Prius, sales continued relatively unchanged after the supply was gone.  But back then, there was little competition.  Fewer choices is easier to deal with.  What will happen this time?  If nothing else, the stickers (75,000 total) provide a high resale value, which will stir the used market.  Waiting to expand rollout until then makes even more sense now.  This unknown is a big deal.  Each automaker reacting in a different way count introduce yet another chaotic element to deal with.  It's confusing enough with state incentives varying so much.  Just imagine what added dealer incentives could do.  Remember the inventory pile-up last Summer and the abrupt price reductions?


Feeding Hype.  It doesn't take much.  It feeds off of itself too.  A great example from yesterday was a comment posted in response to this information: "One of the units, most likely the 1.0-liter three-cylinder version, is expected to be utilized for the redesigned 2016 Chevrolet Volt."  It was a statement in an article that highlighted the upcoming new engines just revealed by GM.  It was only speculation, a reasonable guess.  Clearly, the commenter didn't understand or didn't want to know that: "So, it looks the 'downsizing' of the engine in the Volt is real and confirmed."  Someone else will naturally take that as supporting evidence... totally unaware of its origin.  Stuff like that happens all the time.  The nature of the original information won't be entirely known or it's taken out of context.  One thing leads to another and you end up with a mess.  Claims without merit or any type of support take on a life of their own.  Those posting clarification get attacked, labeled as trolls, then ultimately banned.  We've seen it before.  That ended up in disaster.  Yet, hype starts again.  It's easy to see why too.  Hope blinds logic.  People wanting it to be true won't question the claim.  As a result, they become enablers.  They serve as silent approvers.  That makes a bad situation worse, contributing to the growth of hype.  The cycle continues.  Ugh.


Failed Because.  We are faced with thought-provoking situations now.  Some people are looking back, referring to what happened with a hindsight perspective.  The resulting distortion is a very common problem when depicting history afterward.  Past decisions are unintentionally misrepresented, seemingly obvious long after the fact.  But when in the depth of it, while events are unfolding, those same circumstances appear very different.  That's why the Volt enthusiasts disliked Prius supporters with a passion.  They worried that some of their observations while previous chapters in history played out would resemble current dealings.  I was outright hated by a few, since I had documented that past in great detail.  It makes them worry about the potential of repeating the same mistakes again, especially after having been warned about them the first time.  Misrepresentation is where it starts.  That's where the "failed because" problem emerges.  More and more, I hear people claim Volt failed was because GM had expected the price of batteries to fall much faster.  It's stated as if that was the sole reason.  All the others are being forgotten already.  That overly simplistic view contributes to assumptions, leading to future trouble.


Plug-In Gathering.  There were 40 of us this evening.  About 20 of the vehicles in parking lot used plug-supplied electricity in some fashion.  Tesla.  Leaf.  Focus EV.  i-MiEV.  Volt.  C-Max Energi.  Prius PHV.  That was a great experience.  Unfortunately, most of the event took place indoors, away from the cars.  It's still Winter here.  So, everything was still cold & dirty and the sun was quickly setting.  The upcoming gathering in May will be dramatically different.  I'm really looking forward to that.  The attitude of Volt owners there are dramatically different from encounters online.  In person, they are a joy to spend time with.  They are true supporters, interested in taking the steps needed to achieve acceptance by from the masses.  They desire mainstream penetration and don't share that nasty attitude of enthusiasts.  I really enjoyed getting to chat with them.  The others were fun too.  Seeing several Leaf & Tesla parked them among the others was sweet.  It's what I've been looking for to for a very looooong time.  Their understanding of Prius PHV being an affordable option for high-volume middle-market sales was clear.  They agreed.  There were no arguments or debates.  None of the nonsense I had to deal with online ever emerged.  We were all on the same team, working together to make recharging at home a simple & ordinary experience.  The evening was quite inspiring.


Gone.  All that rhetoric.  All that misleading.  All that chest-pounding.  It's all gone.  The situation now is as it should have been right from the start, Volt is a plug-in hybrid contributing to the effort to help wean us off our oil dependency and reduce emissions.  No more "vastly superior" nonsense is such a relief.  It didn't actually accomplish anything.  In fact, there are many who would say it caused a market setback.  Whatever the case, the change now is obvious.  The blogging & posts have died.  Activity has almost completely vanished.  Most supporters left long ago.  Now, even the enthusiasts are moving on.  It's a welcome transition… further proof we are in a new chapter.  Unfortunately, talk dominating the big GM forum is all about their 3 new small engines just unveiled.  In other words, traditional vehicles will pose an even greater challenge to overcome… a reality most in the past didn't take seriously, hence being identified as "enthusiasts" rather than supporters.


Double-Lens LED.  When it comes to being "vastly superior", there is no argument about which headlight type illuminates the best.  Unfortunately, that is one of the many reasons for Prius hate.  The advanced-technology models feature double-lenses LED-bulb headlights.  That's what I have on mine.  It's the ideal combination of light-source and light-projection.  Road illumination is clearly the top offering, so much so, it scares me when I notice how poorly some other lights work.  Some people literally cannot see the road at all.  There's nothing but a bright glow a single car-length in front of the vehicle.  Mine is dramatically better… which is why we are starting to see LED headlight with single-lens popping up now.  It's hard to believe it took so long.  I put a set on with 55-watt halogen single-lens lights on my 1984 Dodge Omni, way back in 1990.  Those were called "projector beams" back then and were a great aftermarket add-on.  The clean height cutoff and even broadcast made them an uncontested leader.  Who knew it would take 23 more years for them to catch on.  Prius has had single-lens with halogen, even on the base model, since the third-generation rollout in 2009.  They are standard on the new Toyota Corolla, with LED.  They will be available on the upcoming Ford F-150 too.  This market acceptance has stirred Volt discussion, since it comes with lens, but uses halogen bulbs.  Stepping up to LED should be a given, considering the market it now appeals to and growing competition.  I welcome the change.  All the lights in my home were switched to LED back in 2010.  They use less electricity.  They have proven robust & reliable too.  LED bulbs have been used as brake lights in Prius since way back in 2003.


We Knew All Along.  No longer interested in the nonsense being spread on what remains of that daily blog for Volt (which only rarely features Volt anymore), I spend more time following the big Prius forum.  Who knew that there were be pot-stirring there too.  It was a blatant effort to start up some discussions... provokes to engage in fierce debates.  Certain individuals thrive on that.  So, they drop bait to entice.  If you were an outsider, that would be called trolling.  Unfortunately, there's standout term for long-time members who do the same thing.  Anywho, it was a claim that Volt was an entirely new design and was in no way related to Two-Mode.  Excuses used to justify delay are acts of desperation at this point.  Even some Volt owners have changed their tuned, finally supporting what the rest of us knew all along: "Volt's 4ET50 transmission is a complicated device. It contains a planetary gear set, three clutches and a final gear reduction set.  The advantage of the 4ET50 transmission is that it allows the Volt to operate in two modes during extended range mode: pure series and power link.  The advantage of power link is that it increases mpg in extended-range mode by mechanically connecting the internal combustion engine (ICE) to the wheels."  I posted that in response to a trolling attempt, followed by this:  That's a quote from a strong supporter of Volt, one who cared about being straight forward with what the next-generation design should feature.  He wasn't afraid to go into great detail explaining how Volt is indeed a successor to Two-Mode.  He also pointed out how Volt doesn't fit the EREV definition coined for it.  He didn't waste time feeding rhetoric.  That's a stark contrast to the posts here.


Final Fight.  I keep waiting for a finale.  Maybe this was it: "The distinction you miss is when gas starts being used.  What good is my car if it has 100kWh of battery, but it starts using gas after 2 miles?"  We've seen the hypocritical stance being taken routinely.  You argue with someone disingenuous long enough, they will eventually contradict themself.  The fact that I got labeled as a "broken record" in the past for repeating the same message over and over served as confirmation that I was paying close attention (noticing the tree directly in front) and so were they.  So when I read that quote today, it provided reason for excitement.  The absolute approach was a clear effort to avoid contradiction.  Working so hard to avoid slipping down that path (forgetting to also observe the forest) exposed a weakness.  That's what I'm always looking out for... and was rewarded nicely this time.  It was a blatant misrepresentation of the plug-in model.  He got caught portraying it as Prius delivering either EV (electric drive) or HV (gas drive).  Either he didn't want others to know there was more or he simply didn't understand the design himself didn't matter.  All that was necessary as a response was to point out there was indeed more.  Excluding vital information is greenwashing... and everyone is well aware of that.  The implications of a very active poster intentionally doing that was huge.  It was checkmate.  Whether forfeit or denial, it was irrelevant.  I won the fight.  That worked out great!  I closed the chapter with:  After all this time, you still don't know how the system in Prius PHV actually works?  Well, that explains a lot.  Even when the engine is running, it's still heavily drawing from the battery-pack.  That plug-supplied electricity is still being taken advantage of.  Take the time to watch the videos and read detailed information.  Notice how engine RPM stays extremely low (usually 992) and the resulting MPG is well over 100.  Owners call that EV-BOOST.


Misleading Continues.  The effort to greenwash is far from dead.  Thankfully, dealing with it takes less effort.  It never ceases to amaze me how certain people use deception.  But they are well aware that others will innocently fall victim, believing what was posted and unknowingly spread the incorrect information.  So, posts like this are needed from time to time:  The 6-mile mark in the EPA testing cycle has been a source of misleading for years.  It does indeed trigger the engine to start at that point, but that is by no means an indication of the plug-supplied electricity already being used up.  That's just when the hard-acceleration test is performed.  The engine shuts off shortly afterward.  There's still 5 miles worth of electricity remaining.  Yet, no matter how much real-world data and driving videos are shared, the claim of 6 miles being the total available continues.  I posted this back in September: "Using Volt's own specification for comparison: 16.5 kWh = 38 miles.  That works out to 2.3 miles per kWh of electricity, which means 4.4 kWh = 10.1 miles.  Then when you take into consideration Prius PHV weight is 621 pounds less than Volt, it's easy to see where the 11-mile EPA rating came from.  The capacity is clearly there."  The math is simple.  It takes into account usable capacity from full and compares systems using the same approach too.  There is no reason for any more misleading to continue.


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