Prius Personal Log  #712

August 18, 2015  -  August 21, 2015

Last Updated: Tues. 1/12/2016

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8-21-2015

8 Million Hybrids.  That milestone was reached by Toyota last month.  It works out to 10 months to sell 1 million.  What does that mean for the rest of the industry?  Numbers like that may be nothing but trivia to ordinary consumers, who may not even notice just how many are actually sharing the road with them.  The majority likely don't even care.  But then when you start naming off the variety available, the perspective changes.  You can see the automakers having dismissed them for years.  Being expensive and a challenge to sell for countless greenwash excuses, what is a dealer to do?  It's far easier to let sales staff to do what they've always done... stick to simple sales with a decent commission.  I can't imagine how difficult it is to explain how the hybrid system operates, hoping they'll not waste your time and leave confused... or wondering why Toyota's system delivers better MPG.  But that was the point of having started worldwide rollout way back in 2000.  It takes time to establish a reputation.  8 million now speaks for itself.  From Prius C to Highlander, there's a variety of choices available (30 of them worldwide) and more on the way.  It's a moving target with uncertain competition.  What does that mean for the rest of the industry?

8-21-2015

Spy Photos.  It appears as though, some halfway decent photos were taken and shared online.  I like the look of that new car.  Good thing too.  The plug-in model isn't suppose to come until next year sometime, most likely near the end.  So, I'll end up seeing quite a few new regular models on the road before having the chance to upgrade my current PHV.  That's ok, I'm still thoroughly enjoying it.  The new house is yielding an average of 135 MPG for the commute to work & back, with a recharge at each end.  I'm quite curious how that new location & route will do in the winter.  It's further than before and has a number of large hills to climb & descend.  Looking at those spy photos, my favorite color is red and I haven't ever actually owned a red car.  Perhaps this 5th will be that.  I'm just saving up for the opportunity while I wait.  As for everyone else, who knows.  I'm amused by the initial comments posted online.  I'm focusing specifically on the general automotive sources, nothing devoted to any specific vehicle.  That's where you draw out a lot of the diverse activity.  And sure enough, the attacks from Volt enthusiasts began right away.  They are easy dismiss though, since claims there are so many substanceless and misleading comments.  There are some insults too.  It's the "ugly" posts wasting time though.  Hopefully, actual detail about the car will cause all that to fade.  Right now, there's a lot of childish nonsense to sort through.  Makes you wonder what those same people say when seeing the new Camry and new Corolla... especially have being told how well they've been selling.

8-19-2015

The Reveal.  Today we got the official announcement that the reveal of the 2016 Prius... the next-gen model... will be in a little less than 3 weeks from now.  It will be in Los Angeles, where there and the rest of the country will have just finished celebrating Labor Day.  Finding out some detail about what's to come then sounds like a nice way to conclude the holiday weekend.  In the meantime, there's going to be quite a bit of speculation.  I'm sure we'll get a big mix of posts too, including some using the argument points, as well as the usual greenwashing.  Being able to see the vehicle itself will be nice.  There's always horribly vague posts whenever a reveal takes place.  People will exclaim "ugly" but never bother to actually share any detail.  They just express there feeling without any explanation.  How is that helpful?  Whatever the case, we'll be anxiously awaiting information that has nothing to do with cosmetic appeal.  Performance detail is a really big deal.  Who knows what spin will result.  But the more impressive those specifications are, the more intense the attacks.  With 4th generation though, there's nothing we haven't heard or faced many times already.  Price will naturally get lots of attention.  With gas so inexpensive, selling any hybrid is a challenge.  But then again, there's new one coming from Toyota which has nothing to do with Prius.  That's the new RAV4.  A smallish SUV hybrid should address the market issue quite well, especially when the hybrid system itself is so well established already.  Anywho, a large chunk of the wait is almost over.  Hooray!

8-18-2015

Argument Points, guzzling electricity acceptable.  This is by far the worse for environmental improvement... when a plug-in supporter just plain doesn't care about how much electricity is consumed.  They focus solely on not using oil anymore.  Thankfully, these particular individuals are not common.  However, the disruption they cause to those who truly want EV to be success sure is a problem.  Using more electricity is not the answer.  Figuring out how to drive further with less is the key.  Just like with MPG using gas, you've got Miles/kWh using electricity.  A plug-in vehicle that guzzles is bad too... especially with a most of our electricity coming from coal and natural-gas.  Neither is a renewable resource... and sadly, we have little wind & solar in this country still.  If you were charging up at home using the sun, the situation may be different.  But who wants to have to plug back in right away.  Why wouldn't you want more driving opportunity?  That reason is simple: impatience.  Some supporters are so fed up with the slow pace of adoption, they want to get more plugging any way they can.  Some of us don't want to sacrifice doing it right for doing it quickly.  In the long run, that type of tradeoff ends up being costly.  It's best to be patience... though, very trying at times.  There's a balance.  The compromise of inefficiency electric travel isn't worth it.

8-18-2015

Argument Points, diminishing returns.  Forcing people to look at the big picture is a problem we'll always have to deal with.  There's simply no way to know what the a person's perspective or intent is.  They recognize whatever the issue is, then attempt to find a solution often based upon arbitrary information.  In other words, they're doomed to fail if what is presented to them is incomplete.  That's the goal of greenwashing, when misguiding someone through omission is the desired outcome.  Undermining is when the wanted result is for the person to make incorrect assumptions.  Diminishing returns is a great example of both.  MPG is presented only for certain vehicles.  It shows the improvement (decrease in MPG) for the selection.  What we see left out all the time is anything above 50 MPG.  In other words, the plug-in Prius is intentionally excluded from many arguments.  They don't want you to see that efficiency begins to level off significantly beyond 75 MPG.  So to undermine, they exclude.  To greenwash, they'll sight real-world data for Volt.  Seeing MPG beyond 200 gives the impression of a major improvement, when in reality there is little gain.  More electricity does not necessarily mean an equal savings in gas.  The return is less and less, even though MPG grows more and more.

8-18-2015

Argument Points, no experience.  Among the biggest points of argument derive from information sources without any experience.  We seeing review after review from writers who use a stock-photo in their article written about some supposed road-trip with the car.  Many supporters scratch their heads wondering if that person ever even touch the vehicle.  The strangest descriptions came be found in what they publish.  Clearly, many have little knowledge in the engineering.  We find lots of examples of anecdotal experiences written up.  These are obviously based about observations rather than research, but sometimes they are so wrong you can't even tell if the reporter had actually driven or just witnessed what happened.  Needless to say, the lack of detail gives reason for suspicion.  That doesn't matter to an antagonist though, they'll refer to the article relentlessly, sighting it as an authoritive source and dismissing contributions from owners proving the claims false.  Think about it.  How much training would you need to teach others about a new technology?  A road-trip certainly won't inform you of wide variety of circumstances the system is designed to deal with.  That's why the reputable publications do 1-year reviews.  Collecting just a small sample does not tell the whole story.  You need lots of real-world data and some knowledge on how to properly analyze it.  That requires experience.

8-18-2015

Argument Points, only 6 miles.  Throughout the entire duration of Prius PHV production, the specification for "electric only" range was sighted as 6 miles.  Everyone attempting to undermine its acceptance would completely disregard the 11-mile stated capacity in favor of drawing attention to the arbitrary 6-mile mark on the EPA testing-cycle.  They'd all want you to believe that hard-acceleration point meant no electricity remained.  It was an outright lie, often in the form of intentional omission.  The same people over and over and over again dismissed the facts, even when presented in video detail, with the hope readers would assume they were being honest.  Well, you know what will happen with the next-gen is rolled out...  They'll all state 11 miles instead.  That's so the percentage of capacity increase will look smaller.  It's a classic hypocritical response.  We've seen it many times before.  When Prius was first rolled out to the United States, the first year available was overwhelming stated as 2000... even when the topic was about the technology itself.  They'd complete disregard the 3 years Prius was available in Japan prior to that.  But now, the first year available is always stated at 1997.  It goes to show you how easy it is to be misled and how poor research some writers are.  A true journalist would never make that mistake, but someone wanting to undermine would think nothing of omitting or limiting scope.  That's sad.  But then again, it makes it easy to discover who's sincere and who has ill intent.

8-18-2015

Argument Points, engine runs.  The is the pointless argument point... again, coming from the Volt enthusiasts & supporters.  The original intent of Volt was to deliver an EV with a backup engine, for when those times come along when you need range outside of the battery-capacity.  GM didn't deliver that.  Turns out, the capacity much be much larger.  So, the engine gets used far more frequently.  To make matters worse, using the engine routinely rather than in rare circumstances, it must be larger... and well as the tank, radiator, exhaust, the vehicle itself, etc.  Heck, even the cost must be more.  Needless to say, that didn't work out well from profit perspective.  To make matters worse, BMW did actually deliver.  So naturally, we get this on-going argument.  Personally, I find it quite amusing since much of the detail ends up contradicting itself and fails to acknowledge goals.  Prius PHV is a plug-in hybrid that reduces emissions & consumption.  What's so complicated about that?  So what if the engine runs, the goal is still achieved.  Unfortunately, the rhetoric is so bad at times, the online posting never get beyond what "runs" actually means.  Spinning without consuming any gas is apparently the greatest of all sins, according to them.

8-18-2015

Argument Points, profit achieved.  The goal of mainstream automakers is to sell vehicles at a high-volume profitability.  We all know & praise the other type, which makes a small number of vehicles for a much different audience.  They make a profit too though.  They are relying on a subsidy or accept loss for the sake of reputation building.  It's business.  The engineering achievements are great.  But when it comes down to what's important, it's paying the bills.  With GM in particular, we've seen how having the money necessary turns into a disaster.  So, when Volt gets hyped, it is appropriate to ask about goals.  What will it compete against the GM product-line and how will the other automakers react?  One of the biggest points of contention in that regard is when profit was actually achieved for Prius.  We know back in 2002, during to the first-generation sales, that particular goal was reached.  Toyota had improved & diversified.  What we call the "first" was actually the second.  Rollout to the United States for Prius was really an upgrade from Japan's model.  But with so much bias here, our attitude of what happens elsewhere so bad, and the simple being able to disregard the initial 3 years made the topic of profit easy to spin.  After all, how many people still remember Echo?  The engine in Prius was detuned, the hybrid system replaced with a traditional transmission, and the body simplified.  It shared the same platform.  That's a cost-reduction measure which Prius directly benefitted from.  That reality is evaded.  None of the antagonists even want to address that.  Anywho, the point is the date is still argued.  After all this time.  It's hard to believe anyone would attempt to convince people that Toyota continued on, selling millions of hybrid systems at a loss for another decade.  Yet, we still encounter such arguments..

8-18-2015

Argument Points, tax-credit.  It's terribly dishonest to disregard tax-credit dependency.  How is ignoring cost helpful?  Yet, we saw that all throughout the entire lifecycle of the gen-1 Volt.  Supporters gambled that sales would pick up over the years and cost would fall dramatically before the gen-2 rollout.  Neither happened.  So, expect this to be a big argument point in the years to come.  GM has made an effort to set expectations by clearly stating the first year of this next Volt will only have a production volume of 25,000.  That has quietly angered Volt enthusiasts who, for many years, have stated the second generation will sell even better than the second-generation Prius.  53,991 was the sales total here for 2004... all without a tax-credit... for that first year with gen-2 Prius.  The importance of the $7,500 for Volt cannot be overstated... especially when you consider the 2005 sales.  They were 181,221... again, with any tax-credit.  The subsidy was a major problem... for a car being portrayed as a "game changer".  Proving a technology is viable is quite different from selling to the masses.  That distinction kept getting swept aside though.  So, it will be interesting to see how, or even if, it gets argued with the second generation.

8-18-2015

Argument Points, profit achieved.  This one makes me laugh.  Toyota has sold well over 7 million hybrids.  Yet, some of the most stubborn antagonists will still argue that profit wasn't achieved until very recently.  Wow!  How could they believe that people are so stupid that they'd won't question how that could be achieved.  Selling at a loss for nearly 15 years at that volume just plain does not make any sense.  But then again, the vast majority of troublemakers have a strong engineering background an little to none experience in business.  You can tell their lack of accounting & economics background by just asking a few basic questions.  They'll respond with a personal attack or something completely off topic.  Evade is their motto.  Reality is, automakers are in the business to make profit.  Although the motive to have the spotlight is compelling, that isn't what pays the bills.  Remember the massive amount of money GM got from the government and didn't pay back?  Remember how much Ford struggled to pay back their government loans?  Remember how painful it was to fill the tank when gas was $4 per gallon?  How much longer can automakers be remain dependent on large guzzlers for a majority of their profit?

8-18-2015

Argument Points, size disregard.  That's the most obvious sign of intent.  We saw that at the very beginning here, back in early 2000.  Honda Insight was a 2-seat hatchback.  Prius was a sedan with 4 seats and leg & head room larger than many of the midsize cars of the generation being replaced, plus it had a surprisingly large trunk due to the extra height.  Yet, people constantly compared the two as if they were equals.  Insight was primarily made of aluminum too, making it impossibly to be sold at a competition & profitable cost.  Sound somewhat familiar?  Volt is clearly smaller and profit is clearly a challenge (tax-credit dependency), yet the same thing happens.  Arguing online makes points like that easy to overlook.  Thankfully, the test-drive experience makes it blatant.  An enthusiasts places size as a non-issue.  A mainstream buyer considers that among the higher priorities when choosing what to purchase.

 

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