Prius Personal Log  #678

August 3, 2014  -  August 15, 2014

Last Updated: Weds. 9/10/2014

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Better Late.  Firing back is usually pointless.  Since the audience is unreceptive, that type of sparring goes no where.  But in this case, we now have the hypocritical stance as an element of change.  We're seeing statements being made which agree with what used to be dismissed.  But rather than that past coming back to haunt them, they try to present the idea as new and from them instead.  These blogs clearly confirm that's not the case.  Winning an argument isn't the point though.  It's to get change to actually happen, regardless of how.  So, claims like this are more of a footnote in history rather than effective debate material: "We can certainly all have our differences of opinion and even engage in some heated debate but throwing fire bomb statements is always counter productive."  In other words, things like pointing out the fall well short of goals doesn't help anymore.  That message has been received.  Finally.  There is a struggle to take the next step though... and there is an opportunity to re-try to create that partnership they summarily dismissed in the past, show how the playing field is level.  I posted:  So is down-voting facts, yet we see that all the time still.  Personally, I find it quite interesting to see the "constructive" comments of recent to simply be recites I what we've been saying for years, but got labeled as trolls for it back then.  That's confirmation of having been right all along.  In other words, there were business realities dismissed that are finally acknowledged.  The goal of mainstream acceptance is a whole lot more difficult than those blissfully posting years ago had ever imagined.  Heavy emphasis on engineering with wide disregard for the market has consequences.  It's nice to see that now being addressed.  The "too little, too slowly" has turned into "better late, than never".


Next Step.  We're seeing the same speculation emerge again, where want overshadows need from those posting not showing concern or even any supporting material.  That's interesting, especially since the "too little, too slowly" was so well confirmed for that very reason.  This explains why we got the quote the other day that GM considers Volt "not a mass-market" vehicle any longer for the chief marketing officer.  It's a way of satisfying both audiences going forward.  For those who focus on want, they will indeed get the Volt they've supported all along.  It will be a premiere plug-in vehicle to showcase what the technology can deliver.  For those who focus on need... in other words, the mass-market... they'll get that second model some of us have been pushing to get since before rollout began.  We knew priorities differed so much, a single choice wouldn't be able to appeal to a wide audience.  After all, diversification is a fundamental aspect of good business.  Odds are very good that new plug-in choice will get a unique new name, to disassociate itself from Volt, since it will differ so much.  Clashing directly with some of the principles enthusiasts haven't wanted to compromise isn't a bad thing.  This is why the "goals" and "who" questions were asked over and over and over again throughout the years.  That acknowledgement how the next step is taken.


All-Electric Range.  Statements like this are so close-minded, it's hard to know where to begin: "CARB should base their rules on all-electric range, and nothing else."  It has been overwhelmingly proven that goals should be set based on outcome, not the means.  What good is that electric-capacity if it isn't utilized well?  After all, the BMW i8 just got certified with an all-electric range of 0.  Yes, zero!  That's so far off of the expected 22-mile rating people had hoped for, it invalidates all previous arguments.  Another automaker took another approach.  They didn't choose to design for the test, a troubling practice of the past... which a few still endorse... as those pushing "all-electric range" still don't understand.  So what if the engine runs briefly or in an extremely efficient state.  The point is the outcome, not how it is achieved.  Copyright law prevents similar design anyway.  I sounded off to the narrow perspective saying:  Certain people have requested data.  Then when they actually get it, with video samples comprehensively detailing operation, they find excuses to dismiss that as an extreme or anecdotal.  Fortunately, organizations like CARB don't play games like that.  For your example, they won't end up settling on something as simplistic as just "all electric range".  We all know the "6 mile" nonsense is nothing but a testing scenario being exploited with the desire to greenwash.  Anyone taking time to look at the numbers will easily see that the 4.4 kWh battery-pack will deliver much more electricity, hence the actual distance of 11 miles.  The calculation to confirm is quite simple.  Those wanting to mislead will hope you don't actually do the math though.  CARB will include capacity in the determination of qualifying vehicles.  How could they not?  After all, it is when & where you choose to engage EV mode that's important, not whether the engine is utilized at some other time.


Denial.  I watched the posts get increasingly more desperate.  It has reached the point where there's no way to take them seriously anymore.  The lies are absurd.  One reply to me referenced something I didn't even say.  Anyone could see that was a blatant slander attempt.  Normally, implying what you meant through the use of misquoting provokes a rebuttal.  But when I mention sales and the response to that was claiming I had complained about EV range and HV efficiency is downright hysterical.  I didn't say anything even closely related.  Then there's that on-going "6 mile" nonsense.  They know it's a simple equation to figure out range based on kWh capacity.  Yet, they try to mislead by excluding that vital information.  The hope really is that we're fools.  The point of this recent exercise was to expose the reality of denial.  Marketing based on emotion didn't work.  The focus on "range anxiety" assumed people would have a fear of running out of electricity.  Turns out, they don't.  Leaf has been selling well despite that and the outstanding depleted MPG of Prius PHV satisfies even the most stringent need.  They are in denial that their favored approach failed to take the market by storm.  Rather than being the celebrated leader, Volt has become just another offering in the variety of plug-in choices available.  That's why I knew trouble was coming years ago.  When I sought out an ally, their exclamation of being "vastly superior" sealed their fate.  They were doomed.  Rather than accept a partnership, they chose to face the challenges alone... which is why some are so desperate now.  Pride is a very large obstacle to overcome.  Too bad some still don't what join the rest of the team trying to end the reign of traditional vehicles.  It's really quite sad.


Fools.  I saw this today and just plain couldn't believe it.  I certainly wasn't expecting an attack on the competition.  But one of the troublemakers on that daily blog couldn't resist.  He wasn't happy about someone posting constructive information and retaliated with: "The biggest lie is the PiP, which promotes a 11 mile EV range, but only gives six, because the other five is with the engine on! Those buyers were fools, and you are becoming one of them!"  Reading such blatant greenwashing and such shameful smug was quite a surprise.  You wouldn't expect anyone to go to such extremes anymore.  Oh well.  That provided me with the opportunity to present data:  Biggest lie?  Yes!  Though, it is becoming quite telling by how often it is repeated.  Lack of clarity about the EPA label is being used to mislead and some people are spreading that misinformation.  No matter how many times that 6 value gets addressed, pointing out that it really is 11 miles and explaining how the results are misinterpreted, the incorrect posts continue.  Again, here are 2 videos clearly showing the 11 is indeed a correct representation of the electric capacity available.  The commute in the one direction delivered 12.4 miles of consecutive EV driving.  The other direction delivered 14.1 miles.  Prius PHV - Commute Home (Deplete EV)  and  Prius PHV - Commute Work (Deplete EV).  It's too bad more people don't understand how PLUG-IN HYBRIDS actually work.  They make assumptions without checking facts.  The engine will start at times of high demand, then shut off or cut fuel when not needed.  It will also take advantage of the plug-supplied electricity to allow the engine to run at a low RPM for optimum efficiency.  That available capacity is used to improve MPG.  It may or may not be achieved through EV driving alone.  It doesn't matter.  The goal of reduces emissions & consumption is still achieved.  Notice on this video how the engine shuts off and EV resumes after the high-demand request and warm-up cycle are complete.  On that particular drive, there were 13 miles of EV.  Prius PHV - Lots Of Data


Next Volt.  Today was the big pre-announcement for Volt, so the daily blog was quite active.  The next generation will be revealed at the big auto show in Detroit this coming January.  Supporters still have no clue what to expect.  Profitability and no more dependence on Tax-Credits is a very big deal, but never discussed anymore.  Those topics have become taboo.  So, we get other attributes discussed instead.  That's not bad.  After all, getting more legroom in the back seats and having having 5 of them has been an improvement many are hoping to see.  The request for increased EV range is another popular item.  Someone did actually bring up the topic of sales though.  The mention of "mainstream" really stirred the pot too.  I was intrigued when this popped up in response: "Why the big uproar over the ‘not a mainstream’ comment? What is everybody afraid this means?"  It was my pleasure to point out why:  Mainstream has been concisely defined in this market as sales of 60,000 per year (5,000 per month).  That was the target the industry had established prior to Volt rollout and what GM embraced as a benchmark to achieve for the first generation Volt.  Since the results ended up well below that clearly identifiable milestone, the topic is avoided... hence the skittishness when "mainstream" is mentioned.


Misinformed.  There is a particular individual, who posts very frequently on technical threads, still doesn't understand the detail.  On the big Prius forum and being a PHV owner, you'd think he'd study the data provided.  Instead, he's becoming a conveyance of misinformation... which sadly, makes the posts a source of greenwashing.  Obviously, stopping that has been a priority.  I jumped on this today: "Actually once the vehicle exceeds 62 mph, full EV mode is no longer possible, because the maximum RPM of the MG electric motors has been reached.  The gasoline engine has to kick in to prevent over-speed of certain parts of the transaxle."  It makes sense why he originally jumped to the wrong conclusion.  But after awhile, you'd think one of the sources reaching out to help would finally get heard.  Overcoming beliefs about EV aren't easy.  So, we keep trying.  The stigma created to make people dislike any engine running was part of a major effort to undermine.  It will take work to changed the minds of those already convinced, based on what they were told by so-called experts.  This is how I tackled the situation:  That's a very common misconception, based in part on outdated information.  The design has been improved over the years.  That is clearly not the case anymore, as the videos confirm.  MG2 has a maximum RPM of 13,500.  You can see the spinning doesn't come close to that, even when cruising at 60 mph.  The actual reason for the blending is to not sacrifice efficiency.  Rather than wasting electricity to spin the motor extremely fast, especially since power fades as RPM increases, the system takes advantage of having an engine available.  Running it at low RPM is a much better for overall efficiency.  It uses very little gas that way, while also better using the electricity.


EV-Boost Mode - Video.  Watch this morning commute to work as I take advantage of the plug-supplied electricity while traveling at speeds faster than the EV limit.  We call that "EV-Boost" mode.  There isn't really much to say about it.  The outcome speaks for itself.  MPG is much higher, even when the engine runs.  You can see detail in the video showing the gas-engine running at a much lower RPM than usual.  That's due to its power be blending with output from the electric-motor.  It's a simple approach to achieving great efficiency.  In fact, that's what Prius has been doing from the very beginning.  The only real difference now is that there's more electricity to take advantage of and most of it comes from a plug.  So, no matter what speed you go or what the driving conditions are, the result will be a boost over the regular model.  See for that for yourself... Prius PHV - Commute Work (EV-Boost mode)


13.1 Miles.  That was a moment to savor.  It was what the EV range estimate stated today.  That's the high value I see at times during Summer.  This year, it's been a bit elusive though.  It doesn't reflect actual results well anyway.  The number is nothing but a calculation based on recent driving.  And since I don't have a pattern of any sort, especially during the warm season, expectations are hit & miss.  The other day I carried 2 kayaks on the roof, but traveled exclusively in the suburbs.  That meant lots of EV driving, but in a very inefficient way.  Who knows how the computer interpreted the results of all that aerodynamic drag added to the vehicle.  I used the A/C at the same time, further complicated matters.  Of course, that was exploiting the flexible nature of such a dynamic system.  It handle the big demand increase quite well.  Perhaps it knew that.  With so many factors to take into account, it's amazing the estimate value is even close.  After all, the EV range goes down quickly when you're cooling the interior using electricity but not actually driving.  Wanting a comfortable interior after loading up the kayaks onto the roof is a very worthwhile feature.  It lowers MPG overall, but no where near as much as if the engine had to run to provide that same cooling instead.  The electricity is used in the best way... sometimes for EV, sometimes for HV, sometimes for blending of both (called EV-BOOST mode).  The point is that 4.4 kWh battery-pack is taken advantage of.  That plug-supplied electricity helps reduce consumption & emissions, but not necessarily by just delivering a range of EV alone.  So, that number really doesn't mean much.  Just ask other owners.  Some see higher estimates.  Others see lower.  It works out nicely regardless.  Just drive it!


July Sales.  Failing to recognize the true competition has serious consequences.  Toyota, Honda, and Ford all recognized that right from the very start.  That's why Prius was introduced as a model choice between Corolla & Camry.  That's why Honda introduced their Civic hybrid as a traditional vehicle variant, then re-started with a new hybrid system.  That's why Ford struggled with Escape and ultimately chose to abandon it in favor of directly competing with Toyota.  It was only GM who didn't see the need to address the market with something realistically competitive.  Two-Mode was a disaster from the start, grossly over-priced and targeted at a tiny audience.  Volt wasn't much better, also well out of reach for ordinary consumers.  That's why posting these numbers are so humbling.  At least some of the automakers are better off.  But when you looks at others, like VW and Hyundai, it makes you wonder what they'll end up doing.  There's also Chrysler, which is a complete unknown.  The point is, traditional vehicles dominate and their reign of waste & filth will continue on for quite awhile.  The sale counts speak for themselves.  The top-6 sellers for GM: 25,321 Equinox; 20,926 Cruze; 13,537 Malibu; 9,961 Camaro; 9,636 Impala; 6,430 Spark.  The top-6 sellers for Ford: 26,558 Escape; 23,842 Fusion; 17,724 Focus; 7,545 Fiesta; 6,564 Mustang; 5,587 Taurus.  The top-6 sellers for Toyota: 39,888 Camry; 30,833 Corolla; 26,779 RAV4; 12,866 Prius (liftback); 11,357 Highlander; 11,661 Sienna.  Thankfully, Prius is holding steady in third place here.  In Japan, the smaller C model (known as "Aqua") is the top-seller for the country, not just Toyota alone.  The second most popular vehicle there is the regular (liftback) model of Prius.  Clearly, our market is less receptive.  But there is hope.  As each automaker invests and delivers next-generation improvements, overall interest should grow.  In the meantime, sales here are basically flat.


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