Prius Personal Log  #711

July 9, 2015  -  August 17, 2015

Last Updated: Tues. 1/12/2016

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Argument Points, hydrogen distraction.  This is an argument point I find quite amusing.  Whenever an antagonist stumbles in a debate, the topic of Toyota's current attention on fuel-cell advancement gets thrown out there.  It's an obvious distraction.  That's quite clear when scope is mentioned in a rebuttal and there's an effort to evade.  The reality that audience is very narrow and timeline is very long simply gets dismissed makes the hopelessness undeniable.  The market is set small, showing the current rollout program is to advance the technology through real-world feedback.  You cannot go wide scale without that.  They don't care.  They us the many hydrogen greenwash beliefs to spin the situation as Toyota having lost purpose... even though we know their is a next-gen regular Prius followed by a next-gen plug-in Prius on the way.  Those are targeted at ordinary car buyers, intended to compete with the true competition (high-volume profitable vehicles) right away.  Sales of hydrogen powered vehicles have nothing in common with that.  It's a long-term effort, quite different.  Hydrogen will exist in parallel to electric power anyway.  They will co-exist.  So, the distraction is just that... more evidence of not acknowledging actual need.


Argument Points, no plug.  The hypocritical & contradicting nature of some posts is a good indicator of status.  It's the most basic type of greenwashing.  We'll see a lot more of that too.  Expect it to be a strong theme coming from Volt enthusiasts.  Just like with gen-1 rollout, they'll do everything in their power to compare gen-2 to the regular Prius... the one without a plug.  You'll see comparison after comparison, complete with spreadsheets & graph, explaining how the 55 MPG won't in anyway be able to compete with the 50-mile of EV range.  No mention will be made about the plug-in model of Prius.  They pretended it didn't exist for years.  There's nothing signifying that behavior will change.  (They'll also dance around the reality that the Prius interior is larger as well.)  It's frustrating to constantly have to deal with such desperate misleading, but in no way a surprise.  And like I said, it's a good indicator of status.  Doing that shows us those individuals doing that just plain don't care.  Watch, they'll even avoid mention of GM's own non-plug hybrid, the upcoming Malibu hybrid.  Not being able to compete without deception tells us what?


Argument Points, copy cat.  The supporters of the plug-in model of Prius are quite abundant in the plug-in market.  Leaf and Tesla get a lot of upgrade and secondary buyers from Prius PHV.  They clearly understand the endorsement it provides for lithium batteries.  Ford Energi is less clear, mostly because the second-generation will likely be competing directly, without an idea what the market will be.  It other works, it's mostly a matter of awkward timing.  The BMW i3 is the only true EREV available, which is pretty obvious due to the ever-changing definition coming from the Volt enthusiasts.  Rather than focusing on results, they persist with focusing on semantics.  It's sad.  They're the ones who will still trouble for the next-gen Prius PHV too.  The obvious power increase coming from improved electronics and the capacity increase will have them claiming "copy cat" instead of finally acknowledging priorities.  Like always, they'll do everything they can to avoid dealing with the market.  Know your audience.  What got copied and why?  Based on goals, it's easy to see that Toyota has been following a natural progressive to keep their system affordable, practical, and competitive with high-volume traditional vehicles.  GM clearly is not with Volt; the goal of 25,000 sales for the first year of gen-2 rollout removes all doubt.  Tesla and BMW have a luxury audience, whose priorities are different.  Leaf is targeted directly at mainstream buyers though.  The Energi vehicles are too.  Heck, Hyundai is even pushing for being competitive.  Selling at a profit without dependence on a tax-credit it vital.  We see most automakers striving for that.  Obsessive attention on "copy cat" with complete disregard for actually selling in high-volume is a dead giveaway that intent of those online posts are not sincere.  We saw the trophy-mentality emerge way back in 2007 and continue on strong until now.  Don't expect that misplacement of priorities to change.  They'll continue to turn a blind eye to who the competition really is.


Argument Points, looking back.  The time is quickly approaching.  That chapter in history covering first-generation plug-in vehicles is coming to an end.  The rhetoric is starting to ramp up already.  It's quick surprising to see some of the same old argument points coming up all over again, the greenwashing crap is even worse that the hybrid nonsense too.  Think about how much more obvious the claims trying to raise doubt about climate change are.  They're rather desperate at this point.  Yet, some continue to attempt that anyway.  Fortunately, since battery reliability is proving reliable and the desire to plug-in fulfilled by each automaker in some fashion, the argument for delay is very difficult.  Sadly, there are a number of argument points that persist.  They're all weak, lacking substance & credibility, but still a force to be reckoned with simply due to the reality of most readers not being well informed.  So, I'll take the time to document recent observations.


Goals.  No entries for several weeks should be a clue that something major happened in the meantime.  That is indeed was the case.  I got married!  The love of my life just settled down.  The wedding was a blast.  All the prep work totally paid off.  The outside ceremony went extremely well.  She made the program on a stick, so it could double as a fan... and it did.  It was on the hot side.  Rather than a unity candle, which clearly wouldn't work with any type of breeze, we had roses for us and a white carnation each person attending added to the bucket at the alter (a bridge over a small stream).  That worked well in the warm & bright setting.  It looked really nice too.  At the reception there afterward, my best man pointed out to everyone how he knew it was true love... I started talking less and less about the Prius.  Everyone there was quite amused, since that indeed what happened... an indication I wasn't even aware of.  She likes the Prius.  It was incredibly practical during the move to our new house.  It even helped in the wedding itself, since I needed to transport an arbor for the alter and a special bike.  (We started our relationship through a biking trip.)  We stuffed ever last bit of remaining space to bring back gifts and leftover food.  It was a great evening with family & friends, a memory I'll cherish.  The lesson taught by the Prius and repeated several times over the past 15 years is that some things are worth waiting for.  That special day most definitely was.


Progress?  Here's an attempt, in response to: "If you don't have a spare 12 amps, you've got bigger problems to worry about than an EV."  It was a quote for a long-time troublemaker that I saw as an opportunity for progress.  Who knows if it will work.  But at least I tried:  Looking back doesn't accomplish anything at this point. Let's try looking forward.  It's time to move on.  After all, who isn't tired of the oversimplifications and outright dismissals?  Address what is needed to make some progress getting people to plug in.  Not having a 15-amp circuit (for a steady 12-amp draw) available is a big deal, something still not addressed in discussions here.  Can we finally?  Many home garage outlets are shared, used as a primary during initial construction.  That means the same circuit uses the same line somewhere in the center of the home and somewhere on the outside.  It's a common practice to make building the home itself easier.  That's a problem later on though, if you maxing it out all night for recharging.  Just go in the bathroom and startup a hair-dryer for confirmation or go outside and startup a vacuum.  You'll immediately pop the fuse the car was plugged into while recharging.  13 hours for a full recharge on level-1 isn't exactly practical either.  Getting home later in the evening would mean you went somewhere else after the work commute, resulting in a battery-pack being totally depleted.  Plugging in then wouldn't allow enough time to completely recharge before having to head out the next day for work.  Getting home at 10 PM and having to leave for work the next day at 7:30 AM would only provide 9.5 hours for recharging.  You stay out even later, you have even less time.  13 hours is too long, period.  (Note, that is what GM states gen-2 of Volt will need for level-1.)  Level-2 is required for large battery-packs to be realistic.  That adds expense and may not be an option for older homes without a large-enough box capacity.  Additionally, there's the problem of needing to plug in more than one vehicle at the same time.  With a small battery-pack, you can get away with a timer.  2.5 hours for a full recharge at level-1 for Prius PHV is easy to deal with.  There's more than enough time for even 2 to plug into the same circuit at the same time.  Set one for 12 AM recharging and the other for 3 AM.  Simple.  But with a larger battery-pack, you're basically screwed.  In short, there are challenges for recharging at home.  Finding a way to recharge at an apartment or condo is even more complicated.  This must be addressed.  Progress for plug-in vehicles is impaired dwelling on issues of the past.  Let them go!  Give this topic a serious consideration.


30-35 Miles.  The discussion today on that daily-blog for Volt was about possible configurations for the next-gen Prius PHV, specifically a model offering 30 to 35 miles of EV range.  I was really irked when this was posted: "It isn't 11 miles, it is only 6!  Blended burns gasoline.  Toyota and their fans are misleading everyone!"  My emotion didn't come from the content itself either, which is a blatant lie and easy to disprove.  It came from the fact that no one said anything.  The entire group there is nothing but enablers.  They allow the spread of false information.   That's just plain wrong.  It's like watching someone get hurt and not doing anything at all about it.  Allowing slander is something we now teach our children to stop.  Too bad the adults aren't taught the same thing.  Oh well, at least I can point out the problem and try to refocus on what's actually important:  As for the 6-mile greenwashing, that shows true desperation.  We all know the 4.4 KWH capacity delivers 11 miles total and that the 6 is simply the result of a hard-acceleration.  Following that particular point in the EPA driving cycle, there's still electricity remaining... enough to drive roughly 5 more miles in EV.  So if you don't drop the pedal, the engine stays off for the entire 11 miles.  My old commute on a mix of suburb roads (from 30 to 50 mph with a few stops) and 2 short stretches at 55 mph routinely delivered 13 miles of EV during the summer and 9 in the winter (without heater).  That makes the claim of 6 an obvious attempt to mislead.  It's also an attempt to distract from the plug-in hybrid purpose.  Blending still greatly reduces gas-consumption and emissions.  That's the point.  If you want purity, buy a Leaf or i3 instead.  This thread clearly confirms there's worry about the upcoming Prius, as well as serves as an endorsement for the other plug-in hybrids.  Notice the sales numbers for the Energi offerings?  Ordinary consumers simply what a reasonably priced plug-in option to boost MPG. It's that simple.


Responsibility.  You gotta like reading this: "Then why isn't Toyota making a big push for fuel-cells by building a "Super Hydrogen" network the way Tesla did with Supercharging stations around the country?"  We live in a do-nothing society, expecting someone else to take make things happen rather than joining in ourselves.  Reality is, Tesla only established some stations.  Others around the country have joined into the network by building their own, at their own expense.  The newest one to open in the Minneapolis area by me was exactly that.  The station owner paid for the charging equipment and power-lines himself.  Toyota will help establish, but it makes no sense to not encourage others to contribute.  For the benefit of many, why not?  After all, many other automakers have also experimented with hydrogen.  All need filling stations.  In fact, that's why the state of California setup the hydrogen highway.  It serves as a template for others to learn from.  Somewhat frustrated, I replied:  Why must someone else take responsibility for our own well being?  Our country is horribly behind in the acceptance of renewables.  I just got back from a trip to Germany & Austria.  Seeing how common solar & wind is there makes us look like really bad, like young children selfishly complaining.  It's embarrassing.  We should be doing it ourselves, creating that electricity locally for immediate consumption along with hydrogen storage.


Done.  It felt good drawing the remaining rhetoric (from certain particular individuals) to a close with this:  The generic "anti" comes from those tired or unwilling to discuss the actual issues in detail.  It's the same old nonsense we've seen for years when it comes to the "leap frog" topic.  Reality is, the "bad" is undeniable.  When an automaker is unable to capture the interest of its own customers, what's the point?  We've witnessed Toyota's struggle to keep Prius a top-seller here.  They've managed though, despite pressure from low gas-prices.  Success came from identifying consumer need, the balance of appeal-factors resulting in high-volume profitable sales.  GM didn't do that with Volt.  Focus was on want.  That's fine, if also given a choice.  That's where the upcoming Malibu hybrid and CTS plug-on hybrid come in.  Those are the "good", since they address what Volt does not. In other words, they are being targeted at people who have simply chosen to purchase a traditional GM offering instead.  Why some refuse to acknowledge the true competition and recent diversification is a mystery.  My guess is old habits die hard. It's easy to overlook audience and not notice change.


Cost.  This question from the big Prius forum was rather timely: "What does it cost in Europe?"  Seeing another part of the world, one that still depends upon driving personal vehicles for primary transport is quite vindicating.  I studied as much as I could using online resources, but there's nothing like actually being there.  I posted in reply to that:  Cost is just part of the equation.  Right now, I'm in Munich, Germany.  Talking about getting first-hand research about audience.  The European situation for plugging in faces many challenges, in addition to the issues related to driving... road & parking space, along with pollution from the large number of diesel vehicles.  Yesterday, I visited BMW world.  It's quite clear they achieved what GM did not.  They too faced high cost, but the decision was made to focus on making the design practical instead.  This next-gen Volt is clearly a specialty configuration, not one for the masses.  Look back at the original goals. Look at what i3 delivered.  btw, I've seen a ton of Prius-Plus (the European wagon model) used as taxis during my travel.  And yes, I even saw a Prius PHV.


Tesla Delivery.  I did end up spotting a Tesla on the road.  That did seem realistic to happen at some point.  What surprised me was another stop along the highway.  There was a delivery truck loaded with Teslas!  I couldn't believe it.  Again, I ran over for photos.  The encounter was much more of a surprise than I had anticipated.  The truck driver was quite happy to show me the load he was hauling... to the point of opening a Tesla, insisting I take photos inside.  When a friend of mine caught up, he jumped in behind the wheel and actually started the car up.  I had no idea what the European impression of a Tesla would be.  Clearly, they like that type of luxury vehicle.  Of course, who wouldn't be impressed by a 691-horsepower electric-car?  (It was the P85D model, which starts at $105,000.)  The estimated range for it is 253 miles.


Superchargers!  What a bizarre place for my first Tesla Supercharger sighting.  We just crossed the border from Germany to the Czech Republic.  There at a fuel-station to use the pay-loo and get some Koruna (since they don't use Euros) was a row of superchargers.  I couldn't believe it.  Needless to say, I ran over to get a photo.  Play first.  Business later.  I certainly wouldn't have expected to encounter a piece of new American infrastructure established there.  But then again, we were on a major highway where a Tesla potentially could do some long-distance driving.  Next is to look for an actual Tesla.


Small Cars & Roads.  What I've seen so far isn't encouraging... small cars, parked on small roads or small driveways, almost all running diesel.  At least back at home, the suburbs stand a lot of potential.  I have no idea how adding a plug would work.  Do they have the amp capacity to support that?  Where exactly would the plug go?  It's a difficult situation... not as bad as apartments, but not much to show promise.  Hydrogen really makes sense in those situations.  Hybrids without a plug present a challenge too.  What's the incentive to purchase one from Japan or the United States, especially with the wide variety of European automakers selling diesel vehicles there?


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