Prius Personal Log  #761

September 10, 2016  -  September 15, 2016

Last Updated: Sun. 10/02/2016

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9-15-2016

Too Late, part 2.  This is what I ended up posting in response:  Toyota is now producing a massive number of lithium battery cells.  All models of Prius but the base have transitioned to them.  The propulsion system offers to-the-floor EV acceleration, complete with electric heating & cooling.  So what if the capacity of the battery is currently too small for your liking.  It's still uses all the components needed for electric-only travel.  Pretending that isn't the case by not calling it a "range extender" doesn't change anything.  Think about the production costs dropping due to that high-volume.  So what if it is spread out among the masses?  It's still genuine change.  What are the claimed limitations of the technology?  This is turning into truly desperate spin.  Claims of failure don't have merit.  Consider this; have a fully charged Prius Prime and Volt drive 22 miles.  What differences would there be other than one having a depleted battery-pack and the other with 31 miles remaining?  The answer is simple, none.  Both delivering a full EV experience means what?  The entire drive would be powered by plug-supplied electricity.  That certainly doesn't validate the "milking it" claim.

9-15-2016

Too Late, part 1.  I read a post from the only other troublemaker remaining.  By the time I had posted a reply, he had already retracted the following statement: "Toyota is milking HSD.  They've found themselves in a very curious position where - like the silicon chip in personal electronics, there will be a point where returns on investment of time and research become smaller and smaller.  We already see the limitations of HSD compared to the Volt, which is still making very large gains in electric range and MPG on the gas range extender.  No Prius has a range extender.  Every Prius uses the gas engine as primary propulsion - plug or no plug."  Too late.  I had already included it in my submission.  So, I'm keeping a copy of it here as well as the one within my post online.  I found it ironic how he was pointing out diminishing returns now, as if it was entirely new.  I've been posting about them in response to him for years.  Anyhow, his spin was to make it seem like Toyota isn't about to deliver a capable technology.  It's the same old downplay, avoiding actual quantities... just like our favorite antagonist.  I got a kick out of that.  No one is willing to consider detail.  They know Prius Prime is quite capable of delivering impressive EV performance.  They'll see impressive numbers soon enough, ones so good they won't be able to escape from them.  Those with short commutes or long ones who have the opportunity to recharge at work (like I do) will be quite happy to share their real-world data.  It's too late in many respects.

9-15-2016

Final Act.  When there's nothing left and shooting the messenger doesn't do any good, you lash out at the perceived enemy: "What has Toyota been doing for all this time?  That's why everyone has been saying too little too late."  At that point, it was obvious nothing constructive could be conveyed anymore.  When pride gets in the way, there's no reasoning.  All is lost.  So, I summed it up the best I could, then pounded that final nail into the coffin.  Chapter closed, as concluded with:  Who?  Even the GM enthusiasts were expecting more from Volt at this point.  That's why so much attention has shifted over to Bolt instead.  As for Toyota, they've switched their premiere hybrid over to using lithium batteries this year.  Their 10,000,000th hybrid will be sold later this year.  Also this year, they introduced a compact SUV hybrid, a Crossover hybrid, and will be rolling out a new plug-in hybrid... which will use the industry's first vapor-injected heat-pump.  In addition, they will be introducing a dual-wave windshield to improve aerodynamics and carbon-fiber to reduce weight.  Most importantly, they've been aggressively working to reduce cost to a level capable of drawing interest from their own loyal traditional vehicle buyers.  As this thread points out, the threshold of acceptance has been reached.  Priorities are now focused on delivering an affordable product well balanced for mass-appeal.  The measure of success is based upon sales... not the most miles... not the most seats... not even the most posts.  The new chapter is only just beginning.

9-15-2016

What Goals?  Totally clueless and not even bothering to actually read what I post, this was added to the flurry of desperate messages:  "To continue to improve in all aspects, reduce costs, expand the market/technology, and educate the customer base."  That's what I got when asking for a goal.  Ugh.  This is all I could manage for a reply, shocked anyone could be so clueless:  That is a mission statement, not a goal.  A goal is a measurable objective, something with a clear quantitative value or milestone to achieve.  That couldn't be any more vague.  Remember the price, power, range, and count values of the past?  Abandoning them is a dead giveaway of trouble.  No wonder the "troll" alarm was sounded.  Geez!  Looking at the threads, the reason for moving the goalposts becomes obvious.  Volt is supposed to be superior, in your mind. Prius Prime has the potential to deliver all 4 of those specific goals... $30,000 price, to-the-floor acceleration, enough EV to cover most commutes, and sales of at least 5,000 per month.  It's too bad you weren't looking for an ally.

9-15-2016

Caught Greenwashing.  Since the very beginning, I've been looking for allies.  It doesn't always work out.  Today's example was among the top... Absolutely desperate at this point, the only antagonist still struggle to save some pride lashed out.  It was pretty sad.  That's a good sign.  Finally ending this chapter is long overdue.  His final act was to declare GM the leader, selling more plug-in vehicles than anyone else.  Ugh.  I was really surprised to see that.  Not only was it that not true, it was also a very easy claim to disprove.  So, I did a few searches, then posted my results:  The bar was set by Toyota for hybrid efficiency and Tesla for EV range.  For GM to set a bar for sales, those sales must actually happen.  Claiming #1 in sales would require ignoring overseas activity, like Nissan in Japan and outside brands like Renault in Europe.  Bolt certainly has the potential.  Kudos to GM for that.  Counts of them on the road will determine status.  The way actual sales are avoided and limiting scope to just the United States is quite telling.  Renault-Nissan alliance EV sales (Leaf & Zoe combined) worldwide surpassed 350,000 total.  In March 2016, worldwide sales of the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV hit the 100,000 mark.  In other words, GM is a strong player.  Stop pushing the #1 claims.  That simply isn’t true and all that does is put down those who want to work as a team to overcome the popularity of traditional vehicles.

9-14-2016

One Day Later.  I don't expect the enthusiasts to like this observation:  Looking around at online comments from various websites, it's as if Volt no longer exists.  Clearly, people have moved on. Longer distances EV has dominates interest.  Seeing GM leave Volt as a niche should be just fine.  After all, there is definitely a place for that in their product-line.  Not everyone wants to drive a Malibu.  As for those Malibu buyers, I suspect the next step for GM will be offering the Malibu hybrid with a plug.

9-13-2016

Now What?  This is was what the thread asked: "What Range is Enough to Allow EV Mass Acceptance?"  This is what I had to say:  Today's announcement marked the end of "range anxiety".  It's gone.  Concern of getting stranded by a dead battery have become a challenge of the past, just a memory now.  It has been overcome and leaves us without any doubt of how the market will advance.  Portraying the EV as a choice for everyday use has become much easier.  Leadership isn't measured by progress forward alone though.  With the acceptable range threshold achieved, much more emphasis will be placed on cost reduction.  That pressure will grow much more intense.  It will force change.  That leaves Volt in an awkward position.  With range substantially smaller,  what will become its selling point?  Keeping a performance & handling focus on Bolt to stage it as a Model 3 competitor leaves Volt with what?  How will it attract buyers?  It has a noticeably smaller seating area in the rear compared to Bolt.  It has a look to make it fit in with other mainstream cars too.  Seriously, what does this mean for Volt, especially with gen-2 still being so new?  I'd sincerely like to know, so my promotion of plug-in vehicles matches expectations of supporters.  How will it fit in with other offerings from other automakers?  Will it be redefined as direct competition to Prius Prime?  If so, that means having to attract mainstream consumers rather than the niche Volt has enjoyed.  Keep in mind that the radical look of the regular Prius is catching on.  Remember how the previous generation really stood out at first, then became the gold-standard for hybrids.  What's not to say the same doesn't happen again?  Prime offers some edge too, with it's own distinct look.  It will also deliver outstanding MPG after battery depletion and is rumored to be aggressively priced.  That's why I'd like to know from those who had been quite dedicated to Volt what they believe GM's next steps should be for it.  Remember, some of us see the competition as traditional vehicles, not other plug-in vehicles.  Your thoughts?

9-13-2016

Size Matters.  This is what I saw coming, years ago.  GM revealed the EPA rating for Bolt today.  It's 238 miles.  That's more than the 215 miles expected from Tesla's Model 3.  Bragging rights are what enthusiasts have thrived on.  They push all else aside for them... which means Volt is now in a very awkward position.  The concern of tax-credit usage has revealed cause for true worry.  Everyone is focusing on Bolt now.  That affordable Chevy EV has caught the attention of plug-in followers.  It will be intriguing to see how the industry responds, especially with Bolt being so much less sport like than Model 3... definitely no "cool" factor.  Will practical really be a winner with this crowd?  What about the masses?  How will they view this newest offering?  Prius Prime was designed with those considerations already.  Toyota has strived to find that "just right" size for the battery, as well as include some cool features.  Remember how well that worked for the regular Prius?  The fact that you couldn't squeeze out long electric-only drives didn't matter.  The available capacity got you through the span of heavy traffic.  That's what mattered.  You got some creature comforts too.  Now, this one with a plug will extend upon that approach.  It won't strive to deliver an all-electric experience 99% of the time, a goal Volt enthusiasts have proclaimed vital... which now doesn't make sense with Bolt available.  To make matters worse, they routinely quoted you'd have to drive over 150 miles for any advantage of the gas engine in Prius to matter... which definitely puts Volt in a difficult position.  They set that precedent, not me.  238 miles is much further than that.  Ironically, the situation has been described as a "game changer".  Turns out, size matters.  The catch is, bigger is not necessarily better.  Finding the balance to achieve mass acceptance is a major challenge, not one to be taken lightly... as history has confirmed.

9-12-2016

Turning Point.  How do you know when the enthusiasts have changed their stance?  Quotes like this make it obvious: "Also, many don’t qualify for the tax credit."  Volt had been aggressively promoted as $7,500 less for everyone.  Any mention of not having enough liability from your taxes paid to get the full amount were replied to with hostility.  All we got for the entire first generation was greenwash promotion that Volt's price was that of Prius.  It was maddening.  I have so many blog references to that nonsense, describing the situation as a source of extreme frustration can't do it justice.  I eventually turned that emotion to a feeling of annoyance.  It became fairly easy to confirm those postings that had no concern for anything beyond an immediate purchase, especially when they were loaded with Prius insults.  The goal of mainstream penetration to achieve sustainable high-volume sales that could deliver a profit was beyond their grasp.  Pride prevented it.  Turns out, if you wait long enough, that sense of pride will dwindle.  They eventually feel they've said their piece, then back down.  That's way provocation isn't counter-productive.  Not only does it reveal clues at times, it also wears them down.  In the meantime, I was able to continuously push the fact that traditional vehicles were the true competition, not other plug-in vehicles.  Well, all that, combined with flat sales, low gas prices, and the reality of tax-credit expiration pushed them to change.  Naturally, it's in the form of downplay.  Nonetheless, that is recognition.  One less greenwashing effort to deal with, a very big one too.  We've hit that turning point.  Yeah!

9-12-2016

Summer Commute Work, video.  I was able to deliver another video.  This was actually the first of those with the new camera from the new location.  Editing in order wasn't necessary.  I'm trying to capture as much as I can, now that I have the personal time available.  That means lots of testing to verify all is working as expected.  Lucky for me, the equipment performed well.  The Prius itself did too.  Here's what I posted, along with the link to see it:  This is my commute to work.  Since it's summer, driving in EV through the suburbs to the highway (9 miles) is pretty easy, even with rolling hills. Just prior to getting onto the 70 MPH highway, I switch over to HV mode.  That saves some of the plug-supplied electricity for later.  I switch back to EV mode as the decent into the river valley approaches.  The rest of the drive is pretty much all with just electricity from there.  The entire drive is 18.5 miles.  A total of 14 miles were registered as EV for this particular trip.  It varies based on traffic, temperature, stoplights, etc. Depleting the battery-pack to the recharge point resulted in a 244 MPG average.  I plug in at work, where chargers powered by solar are available.  So, the commute home is equally rewarding.  Prius PHV - Summer Commute Work

9-11-2016

Not Constructive.  I waited until the following day to respond to this: "Now letting PHEVs with puny electric range (especially the original PiP...what a joke that was allowed the green stickers) receive HOV decals is something that should change.  Make some minimum AER requirement (30 or 50 miles).  The PiP couldn't even go the speed limit in EV mode for crying out loud!  What a joke!"  It came from a well known antagonist.  Rather than focus on strengths of Volt, he demean Prius PHV instead.  Having to deal with the brainless banter is annoying, but nothing new... especially at this point.  I carefully considered my response, choosing to make it personal rather than just post detail:  The goal is reduced emissions & consumption.  A larger battery-pack doesn't necessarily accomplish that.  HOV lanes exist to relieve congestion in areas that commute traffic causes.  Notice the locations?  They are where major interchanges meet and when crosses over bridges. HOV advantage is only effective when traffic is traveling much slow than the speed limit.  In other words, claiming a requirement of faster than 62 MPH is an easy to disprove red herring.  As for the electric range, that heavy commute traffic where the HOV advantage exists is covered.  More doesn't accomplish anything, since it's just open highway otherwise... which PiP delivers unmatched hybrid efficiency.  What's most telling though is the look backward at a bill not yet passed.  That makes no sense.  PiP isn't available for purchase anymore.  So, the entire argument is clearly not constructive.  We want to promote plug-in vehicle purchases.  That means being forthcoming about the market.  Notice how the rear seating for Volt was described in the video?  That was direct & honest.  Here's what you get.  Some people will like it, some won't.  The point is knowing detail upfront to make proper decisions.  In that light, Prius Prime will be available later this year.  It will offer double the battery-capacity and to-the-floor EV drive.  So, no one is laughing at your joke.  We're all in this together.  Don't misrepresent the situations or choices.  You'll continue to get called out when that happens.

9-10-2016

Coffee At Sunset, video.  Here's another documenting experiences with my Prius PHV:  Same coffee shop, different starting location.  I moved and now live closer.  My drive there is within the EV capacity available from the battery-pack.  Capturing that on video could not be resisted.  I waited until a nice summer evening arrived, then headed out just as the sun was reaching the horizon.  It was an 8.9 mile drive.  The bulk of that is along a 55 mph road with rolling hills.  Upon completion of the round trip, an estimated 2.7 miles of EV remained.  That comes in handy if you need to slip out to relax, for some coffee & blogging.  Since grocery, retail, hardware, restaurant, and movies are all within that same distance, taking advantage of plug-supplied electricity has been very easy with my Prius PHV.  Prius PHV - Coffee At Sunset

 

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