Prius Personal Log  #749

June 11, 2016  -  June 17, 2016

Last Updated: Tues. 6/27/2017

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6-17-2016

Patience.  What else can be said about waiting for Prius Prime:  We hear the same thing every time and others rushing never seem to exhibit any benefit.  I went through this in 2000 then 2003 then 2009 then 2012.  It's how Toyota operates.  Set realistic expectations.  Patience.

6-17-2016

Minnesota.  There are no state incentives.  It's very unlikely to ever have HOV access.  That special privilege isn't something I supported for hybrids or EVs anyway.  The goal of mass acceptance means becoming common.  You certainly don't want lanes on the highway intended for carpooling to be used for that instead.  There's a list of 10 states that offer generous credits of their own to stimulate purchases.  That's better, but we certainly don't have that here.  Instead, we have brutal Winter to deal with.  A vehicle proving its worth in those conditions is rewarding in itself.  I get irritated by some who say that money is needed everywhere.  We're money progressive.  Ethanol was locally researched, locally produced, and locally consumed.  It was all within our power to help reduce oil dependency and we did.  That's just the way we are.  It's too bad that was twisted into something else in other places.  Oh well.  All I can do is tell it like it is:  Here in MN, we haven't ever expected state money.  That's way I come across as pushing harder.  It was always going to be more of a challenge without incentives like that... and we have real winters to deal with too.

6-16-2016

No More.  I climbed up on the soapbox again:  We have problems attracting ordinary consumers.  Dealers are a major contributor to that.  Most simply aren't interested in selling a plug-in vehicle.  Why?  Because it requires a lot of extra effort for very little in return.  The lame automaker excuses and constant bickering about supposed deal-breakers isn't accomplishing anything.  And yes, we're aware that a few individuals do everything they can to prevent conclusions from being draw for the sake of keeping the discussions going.  No more.  Thankfully, the local plug-in owners club here has a very different attitude than some online.  They don't see the claim of 22 miles of EV not being enough.  They see a system fully capable of delivering an EV drive experience.  Then even if the engine fires up afterward, that resulting +100 MPG average in the end is a compelling sales point.  It's very easy to stir interest.  Potential buyers won't care what we say.  They'll be discovering Prius Prime right there are the dealer.  Being able to plug in using the outlet already available in their garage and being able to activate EV drive when they want is all they'll need to settle any uncertain.  No intimidation.  Unmatched hybrid performance, rock solid Toyota reliability, and a few technical goodies... that will appeal to both consumer & dealer.

6-15-2016

The Point.  Not seeing the big picture makes comments like this easy to post: "My disappointment in Toyota over the Prius Prime has nothing to do with the way I want things.  It is because they slacked off, and choose to build a PHEV that competes with the competition of the past."  That comes from over-simplification.  The disbelievers tend to focus solely on the battery-related market, totally disregarding the rest of the vehicles still being produced.  That blindness leads to all kinds of problems.  Mine should be quite obvious.  I don't know how many times the point must be repeated before it finally sinks in:  What part of TRADITIONAL VEHICLES is so difficult to accept?  They are the true competition, not other plug-in choices.  It's blatant denial & dismissal of that which is putting pressure on the adoption of plugging.  Focusing on the wrong thing results in a holding back progress.  It absolutely amazes me how something seemingly so obvious continues to be a problem.

6-15-2016

Desperation.  I wonder how long nonsense like this will continue: "Face it - Toyota just hates plug-ins, and they desperately want to believe they will fail..."  Growing tired of the nonsense, this was my stance:  Falling for greenwash spin requires the necessity to disregard certain facts.  The most obvious is that batteries are still expense.  Why would a top automaker sell a vehicle at a substantial loss?  It just plain doesn't make any sense.  Yet, some truly believe a miracle will happen and competing directly against traditional offerings without tax-credits is realistic.  The other blatant denial is believing electricity is clean & abundant everywhere.  It's a cold, hard fact that we  still have very dirty energy sources thriving.  It's also a hash reality to accept the fact that there are many who don't have plugs available.  Claims that Toyota's approach of offering a modest-sized pluggable battery in a vehicle which seems like more of a hybrid are greenwashing attempts.  You have to ignore the EV acceleration, the EV top speed, the EV heating & cooling system for that to be affective.  Complete disregard of those attributes with an argument of just short EV range borders on desperation.  At least those trying to figure out packaging choice are looking at the approach decision with reasonable assessment.

6-15-2016

Too Bad.  Sometimes, you just get tired of dealing with nonsense like this: "The thing about high fuel economy is that the 2 to 3 mpg the Prime might have..."  Rather than accept the well-balanced approach, it's a constant claim of shortcomings.  In this case, it's the lack of a fifth seat.  Even though it rarely ever gets used, isn't as comfortable, and doesn't offer as much room, there's still the portrayal of it being a major issue.  If it was actually was a major selling-point, that would be a different story.  It's not.  The tradeoff of more comfortable seating as a result not being addressed is the first clue that they aren't being constructive.  Remember all the reasoning from Volt supporters?  Do we really just ignore that?  It's why focus shifted to leg & head room instead.  We accepted and moved on.  Some just plain don't want to.  I ended up following that with this:  That's a long line of reasoning which doesn't explain what we have actually seen.  Think about the sales of RAV4 hybrid.  You'd be much better off with a Prius.  It's futile to get ordinary people to agree with your logic though.  Don't waste your time.  They simply aren't interested.  It amazes me how that is so hard to accept.  That's reality though.  People will find an excuse to justify their choice.  The switch from wagon & minivan to SUV happened.  Like it or not, that's the way it is.  We must endorse technology & approach that brings about change.  Too bad if it isn't the way you want it.

6-15-2016

Insightful.  The attacks from within have begun: "When I first joined PriusChat, I've had insightful discussions with him, but since the release of the plug-ins, he has gotten obtuse and heavy on Toyota support."  It's confirm of change.  With this particular individual, he's a well known antagonist who simply enjoys debate.  So, the expectation of contradicting posts is the norm.  But that was always content related.  Now, focus is shifting to shooting the messenger.  That doesn't happen much on the big Prius forum.  In this case though, there is little conflict.  The purpose of Prius Prime is clear.  He doesn't like clarity.  It prevents endless online exchanges... which I work hard to prevent.  So, frustration with approach to provide concise information for people to use for drawing conclusions rubs him the wrong way.  Acceptance means no one to respond to his tempting provokes.  I replied to his mild attack with:  It's the reverse.  Other automakers have wandered away from the affordability and offering something for the mainstream.  Toyota always held true to that goal.  There are many who don't give any importance to business, focusing solely on engineering instead.  In other words, they see little value in high-volume sales and profitability.  The heavy dependence on tax-credits is an obvious sign of that.

6-12-2016

Expectations.  Well, not all goes as hoped.  There are some who still express bitterness: "All I am saying, is that in 2011/2012, Toyota was expecting PiP to go nationwide as well.  It didn't."  That unending resentment is a pain.  Fortunately, more regular posters are noticing.  The pattern of negatively becomes easier to recognize given enough time.  I poked back at him with:  And you're going to continue "just saying" it for years to come...  That's really unfortunate.  The rest of the story is quite telling.  For those who don't know, Toyota rolled out 3 new models of Prius within just a few months of each other.  Prius v in December 2011.  Prius c in January 2012.  Prius PHV in February 2012.  That was a major undertaking in a very difficult market.  It was a diversification effort in 3 different categories, all at the same time.  Toyota carefully watched the market.  The 2 new hybrids did really well. The plug-in struggled with the rest of the battery-centric offerings.  Deciding to invest more in the rollout of v and c made much more sense.  Let the automakers with the big batteries figure out how to penetrate such a stubborn market.  In the meantime, continue to invest in research & development of the technology.  That worked out well too.  Toyota has lots of tax-credits available to help promote rollout of their latest tech (Prius Prime) and the newest hybrid (RAV4) is proving to be popular.

6-12-2016

Obvious.  There's been a lot of looking back as a result of the EV owner attack.  Thankfully, much of it has actually be worthwhile.  I jumped in with:  It should have been obvious, but clearly wasn't, that Toyota's effort to make the best use of plug-supplied electricity exceeded consumer understanding.  Expectations were stuck on keeping the engine off as long as possible... even if it meant sacrificing efficiency.  So, Toyota made the choice to delay.  Notice what that gets us?  Besides the obvious larger capacity due to continued cost reductions with lithium battery technology, we also get an electric heating system much more efficient than the gen-1 plug-in offerings.  Combine that with the added power from the bigger battery (there's enough power to accelerate to 84 mph using only electricity), you've got a system much easier to sell to those consumers.  Waiting for something better frustrated some.  Others felt let down.  There were even a few who believed the idea of plugging in had been abandoned entirely.  At least we all know why that there was good reason.  Reaching out to consumers beyond just enthusiasts was turning out to be much more difficult than anyone had anticipated... for any vehicle with a plug.

6-12-2016

Introduction.  I was difficult to see whether or not I was actually making any progress: "You really think it's going to be introduced to people that haven't already been introduced to the Volt or Leaf ?"  I kept at it though:  Introduction means very little.  It provides only the most basic information, by no means what's needed to make a purchase decision.  People will hear about them and will stumble across tidbits online.  They may end up doing some searches to find out more.  Just a raising of awareness is no where near enough.  We've already learned that selling "green" doesn't attract many buyers.  Gas prices are low and the mindset is that efficiency & emissions are sufficient.  The reasons for switching over to electricity fall on dear ears.  There simply isn't anything compelling to make most people switch.  Nothing compares to the showroom experience.  Being able to see the vehicle in-person and take a test-drive is priceless.  Many, many Prius purchases were the result of discovery at the dealer.  Prius Prime will take advantage of those opportunities.  Rather than push the "green" aspect, let the technology draw them in.  Sorry if some don't like the approach, but that is reality.  Being realistic means finding a way to accept the situation.  Change doesn't come from forcing an idea.  The consumer must be part of the transition.  Skipping a step by offering only an end-state doesn't work.

6-12-2016

Realistic.  Ugh.  He claimed to be the voice of reason: "No, realistic, realistic, and ever more, realistic!  Shoving this piece of crap on the world is what further reduces common folks from walking the EV path!  I at least have a knowledge of what the real world of EV is..."  That level of smug never ceases to amaze me.  It's the trophy-mentality I warned out all those years ago.  Seeing it emerge over and over again is disheartening, but no surprise.  Being blinded by engineering or simply having no background it business is a common problem.  My post back to this growing problem thread was:  Rather than support a plug-in with the potential of actually reaching ordinary consumers and being cost-competitive in this generation (that means selling at mainstream levels without tax-credit help), you just want to stick with an ideal and hope gas prices go up?  That's not realistic.  It's a careless disregard for the past.  Attracting sales from the showroom floor is far more difficult than simply offering a generous amount of EV capacity.  Look at how GM misunderstood their audience with Volt.  The first-generation struggle with sales... despite shockingly low lease prices, large subsidies, and HOV privileges. It was hoped to be a product for the masses, but was clearly probably is wasn't.  Now, the second-generation seems to have fallen into the same trap.  It's very appealing to enthusiasts but offers little draw for the typical driver.  The "why bother" attitude certainly puts you at odds with history and the current state of the market.  How will "the real world of EV" achieve sustainable high-volume profitable sales in this newest generation now being rolled out?  There continues to be growing pressure from traditional vehicles.  Think about how well the compact SUV hybrids with a plug would do.  It doesn't take much to imagine an Equinox using the Volt system or a Prime version of RAV4.  What EV will be able to affordably be able to compete with that?

6-11-2016

Growth.  The attitude from a certain few goes way beyond smug: "Hi all, been a while since I have checked in, now that I have the Leaf, but here I am!  Maybe I have been detoxed of the Prius Kool Aid, but I did find this thread very interesting, until....! "  That was quite an opening statement.  I was befuddled.  It was a former chat member who came back to the big Prius forum for the sake of attacking.  It was the concluding sentences of the post that really go me riled up: "So I would estimate that the new Prius PHEV would actually have about 23'ish real miles!  That's sad, just sad!  I was at first quite interested, but those EV miles killed it for me!  I bet the price will rival a Volt too, if so, as stated, why bother! "  He clearly was yet another one of those who wanted to gloat about having upgraded to a full EV.  That's the type of person the plug-in owner's group here really worries about.  When you are working to grow the market, then are confronted with someone intentionally belittling the effort to reach out, what do you do?  My choice was direct confrontation:  Clueless?  Uncaring?  Smug?  We have to ask why some EV owners are turning their backs on the mainstream market by being so unsupportive.  How does such an attitude help?  More isn't necessarily better.  Look no further than Volt sales took see that a longer EV range does not equate increased sales.  A smaller pack is what will reach ordinary buyers, attracting showroom shoppers.  That's an appeal problem with EV choices currently.  Ask how will the market grow beyond enthusiasts.  Toyota is attempting to reach those interested in EV driving but unwilling to take a major step yet.  They'll get an extremely clean & efficient choice offering a plug that's capable of directly competing with traditional vehicles.  Think about the challenges faced at dealerships.  Think about inventory, commission, and profit.  Think about the knowledge required.

6-11-2016

Progress.  The response wasn't quite as anticipated, but it wasn't bad either: "Articles have popped up around the web saying Rav4 Hybrid has taken lots of sales from the Prius V. If economy and efficiency is your goal, and you want more room for a family hauler, Prius V makes more sense than Rav4 Hybrid..."  There was an obvious effort to evade with distraction.  Nonetheless, it was something somewhat on topic.  There are some who feel let down by Volt falling away in favor of a vehicle inspired by its technology.  Others welcome it.  I see that advancement as the goal.  Being a software developer, I'm quite accustomed to having some things accepted and other things not.  It's how you find what works and what doesn't.  Don't be afraid of failing.  Volt enthusiasts were and let pride get in the way.  Thankfully, those having lost the most are finally embracing change.  Phew!  I put it this way:  That's called progress.  You find what works, they go with it.  If something is discontinued in the process, that's fine.  Prius Prime will become the plug-in variant of Prius.  RAV4 Prime could do the very same thing… exactly what Volt supporters have been absolutely begging GM to do for years.  Small SUVs are popular.  One offering a substantial improvement over traditional versions, because it is a hybrid system with a plug, is clearly an effort to fulfill those goals.

 

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