Prius Personal Log  #765

September 29, 2016  -  October 1, 2016

Last Updated: Mon. 10/03/2016

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Creating Confusion.  Someone read an article about Prius Prime from 3 months ago and wanted to publish comments about the points made on his website.  So, he searched the internet for some material and did exactly that.  The opening paragraph was a confusing portrayal of Prius PHV so messed up, I had to read the thing several times to figure out what he was attempting to tell.  The article got worse from there.  Clearly not understanding what the EPA window-sticker information states, he went on to complain about how Toyota could only offer "6 miles" for the first generation but was pleased that the second will deliver 22 miles.  That type of misrepresentation is harmful.  It's how misconceptions emerge.  Assumptions are passed along and eventually true fact becomes very difficult to find.  I was annoyed, to say the least.  It's why I've been so hard on the Volt spin.  That's intentional misleading.  This was an effort to be sincere.  He failed miserably.  Readers of his webpage will have no idea that information was wrong.  Retractions & Corrections are rare.  The likelihood of them being read is even more rare.  It's really unfortunate we have to deal with problems like this.

10-01-2016 Final Remarks.  The level of rhetoric has reached a point of amazement.  Some people choose to fight to the bitter end.  The debate practice they unknowingly provide is quite valuable.  So, I persisted.  The time has come though to bring that to an end.  I posted this:

No amount of downvoting, disparaging, and denying will stop what's about to happen... since that has been the source material for promoting it.  The ultimate devil's advocate is someone not yet ready for change.

Toyota will soon reveal pricing for Prime which will confirm their heavy emphasis on cost-reduction.  Being affordable and offering 22 miles of EV will draw in a new audience, one well beyond anything Prius was able to reach.  That high-volume potential (profitable without subsidy dependence) within this generation is key.

GM's priority of pushing battery range has resulted in Bolt.  It's success has already deprived Volt of attention (noticed discussions have almost entirely vanished) and promises to use up a bulk of the remaining tax-credits available.  Since Volt is only compact and sales growth wasn't achieved with gen-2, offering that proven technology on some other platform is the obvious next step.  A vehicle like Equinox stands a much greater chance of appealing to the masses.

In the meantime, Prime will be helping advance the plug-in market.  Its vapor-injected heat-pump is an industry first.  Combined with standard heated-seats and the introduction of a battery-warmer will push acceptance of plugging in even further.  The unmatched MPG following depletion will solidify the place of plug-in hybrids among the new product-lines for automakers.

The idea of Toyota "ditching" the regular Prius evidence of change.  Success of Prime will push other automakers.  An affordable car that easily delivers over 100 MPG averages is what we've been waiting nearly a decade for.  So what if GM's attempt wasn't able to lead those sales.  It's not like they lost the war competing against traditional vehicles.  Bolt is leading a new battle and the technology in Volt can be used elsewhere.

The effort continues.  It's not over.  We need people to help with this next chapter in the history of plug-in vehicles.  Soon, there won't be any value to spin of what's about to happen, since it will.

Prime sales will begin.  Bolt sales will begin.  An announcement from Nissan is expected.  Change is on the way.


58 MPG.  I drove home from Northern Minnesota without using any plug-supplied electricity today.  I wanted to see out what the MPG would be, again.  It would be my last opportunity to witness that.  With the temperature a pleasant Fall warmth.  Why not?  After all, efficiency would be outstanding... by gen-3 terms.  When I upgrade from the Prius PHV to the Prius Prime in about 2 months, that gen-4 hybrid system will deliver even higher MPG.  The drive was what I usually do on long trips like that, toggling the HV/EV button when approaching stops while decelerating from highway speeds.  In this case, that generated & saved  miles worth of EV capacity... which I did use along the drive.  The goal was to make sure the estimated range matched what it did upon filling up with gas that morning, just down the road from where I had stayed the night before.  That is indeed what happened too.  The drive was 172 miles.  The resulting average was a very pleasing 58 MPG.  That's right on par with other trips that didn't use plug-supplied electricity, with top cruising speeds of 70 mph.  It's great having a hybrid so efficient, it stands out even without plugging in.  Anywho, I had to take a photo to document the experience...  photo album 186


Dieselgate Progress.  It's slow, painfully slow.  It's totally worth in though.  Diesel for passenger cars has become a dead topic now.  There is no future for it here.  The nonsense around "clean diesel" has been revealed to be the biggest scam of all time.  The smug owners who dismissed our empirical evidence are long gone.  They were suckered into believing emissions were much cleaner and didn't want to address the reality of on-going improvements to hybrid efficiency.  And now with plug-in hybrids delivered MPG so far beyond anything a diesel could even remotely achieve, it's a worthless endeavor.  Gen-4 Prius was enough to nail that coffin shut anyway.  Prius Prime will make that message so clear, there's no reason to even try... which is why VW dealers have wanted compensation for so much lost business.  652 dealers across the United States were depending upon VW sales.  Not only were diesels not available, the inventory that could be sold became quite a challenge upon the loss of trust.  VW got caught lying to customers.  As a result, it looks like an average of $1.8 million will be paid to each of those dealers.  That comes to a total of $1.21 billion.  The scandal is proving to be extraordinarily expense.  It's too bad the problem wasn't exposed sooner.  Prius owners were furious with the lack of attention. We kept asking how could so much be achieved by doing so little.   Things just didn't add up.

10-01-2016 Due Diligence.  I thoroughly enjoyed reading and responding to this: "Toyota is behind in this regard due to their lack of belief in the plug-in model.  They were still gung-ho about old hybrid technology and didn’t perform due-diligence on plug-ins."  He's been a royal pain in the backside lately.  The vague claims and growing double-standard was more than I wanted to deal with at this stage.  It's over.  Geez!  In just 2 days, things will change.  But there's always one who has to draw things out to the absolute very end.  Oh well.  Monday will be here soon enough.  In the meantime:

Put it this way...  The homework GM turned in was not what the teacher assigned.  Yet, since the work itself was top-notch output and it was completed early, the expectation is to receive an "A" grade anyway. Sorry, but that's not how it works.

Ordinary consumers still haven't received that vehicle that was promised.  The assignment was to deliver a plug-in hybrid that would greatly improve emissions & efficiency at an affordable price.  There were no specifics on how much EV was required.  It just needed to take advantage of plug-supplied electricity, then deliver hybrid MPG when that electricity was used up.

That's exactly what Toyota is planning to rollout within the next 2 months.  The vehicle meets requirements and is right on time.  Not only did they perform due-diligence to ensure the homework turned in was complete, they provided more for extra credit.  What may have appeared to be lack of belief was really the effort to earn an "A+" grade by focusing things that may have seemed unrelated... like high-volume production of lithium batteries for gen-4 Prius.

Too bad if you don't like the idea of sharing the spotlight.  It's going to happen regardless.  GM is already part of the classroom, rather than the standout student that was hoped.

Look at it this way... they are in the class, they are participating in the exciting projects, they are doing good work.  We'll just have to wait some more for the assignment to be completed.


That's It!  I reached the end of my rope and let him have it.  His efforts were responses out of desperation, anything to make Toyota look bad at this point.  He actually gave up trying to attack me.  Clearly, I wasn't going to back down.  That's because I know what's coming.  Intense research and online participation has its rewards.  There wasn't any reason to hold back anymore.  Calling those posts hypocritical wouldn't accomplish anything anyway.  It was time to sight goals and call the play.  So, I did:  We still await that "nicely under $30,000" plug-in from GM.  Remember that promise for late 2010?  In other words, I call your double-standard.

9-30-2016 Smug.  For crying out loud:  "Seems that this day the Toyota fanboys out typed the GM fanboys.  They had to release their frustrations on Toyota's losses and mistakes.  So, for now, GM is still ahead."  The nonsense of being ahead is baffling.  What do they think "ahead" actually means?  Posts have become increasingly vague, to the point of uselessness.  Nothing is being conveyed at this point.  For me, I soldier on.  That means keeping locked on the goal and clearly identifying barriers:

Thank goodness the plug-in owners group I'm part of is working hard against such a pointless mindsets.  They see the goal of mainstream penetration and take it quite seriously.  Delivering the most range or being first simply isn't important.  It's all about getting vehicles to potential customers.

In other words, there's a great deal of effort being focused on the dealer experience.  The frustration of limited inventory and poorly informed salespeople is a major barrier to overcome.  That's why being upfront about design detail is so vital.  Misinformation really sets those efforts back.  That message clearly isn't getting through to this group.

The nonsense here about not even wanting to address showroom shoppers is truly amazing.  So much opportunity is being lost and you simply aren't interested.  Instead, there's just a diversion about supposed losses & mistakes.  Whether there were any or not has absolutely nothing to do with what's happens next.  Gen-1 is not Gen-2.  Why is that so hard to understand?

Prime stands a very real shot of reaching ordinary consumers, growing beyond the market for Prius without a plug.  So what if Volt still hasn't been able to do that.  It's not like GM can't later offer a variant that does.  The posts here hint at a confidence concern, where you fear that won't happen, as if too much has already been spent on Volt and budget will just be shifted over to Bolt instead.

Keep doing what you want.  Focus on being "ahead" for the sake of... ahh... what does that accomplish?


Winter Warming.  The crazy online banter is almost over.  We can finally look toward real-world data gathering.  That collection of driving experiences shared is a powerful weapon.  Squashing misconceptions and the fight against greenwashing is far easier when speculation ends and ownership begins.  I am especially looking forward to the Winter experience.  Living here in Minnesota, that's especially valuable... as well as fun to be part of the discovery process.  The new preheat feature is something I had hoped would be available from Prius PHV.  Electric heating didn't make sense way back in 2012 though.  Far too much EV range was sacrificed for the ability.  So, it wasn't offered.  This time, the battery is big enough and the heat-pump far more efficient.  I'll be able to run it directly while plugged in too.  Yeah!  In addition to that cabin warming feature, the battery-pack and steering-wheel will have warming features.  Hooray!  Each generation becomes increasingly more electric, yet price stays in check.  That's sweet.  Lowering tolerances like that won't be appreciated by many people other than early adopters, those who closely following gen-1 designs.  The gen-2 vehicles, most notably Prius Prime, will just work without there ever being any type of electric concern.  It will just work.  People will use, but not appreciate the technology advancements.  That's how you know it has reached maturity.  Ordinary consumers have little to no engineering background.  Most have no clue how their vehicle actually works.  Those promoting the switch from gas to electricity must be keenly aware of that.  Otherwise, what's advertised will be meaningless.    Functionality of the past won't have any relevance now; so, there's nothing to mention.  I'll simply be telling people it works great in the cold.

9-29-2016 Decisions.  Yet another rant came about.  Each new thread that addresses an unpleasant topic does that.  This is how I summed up what happened today:

The statement of "Toyota is considering ditching the regular hybrid version" is why posts have been about Prime and focus on goals.  Remarks about visual appeal and more being better clearly aren't constructive.  They're just fodder cluttering up the thread.

We know it comes down to low enough production cost to appeal to people outside of the gen-1 market.  They aren't looking for the most of any particular aspect.  They are just looking for a nice balance for a good buy.  They couldn't care less about argument points made here.  For that matter, they don't care about the past either.

I do find it telling that resentment for GM decisions is so often vented in the form of Prius disparaging.  Those who do that clearly don't understand audience, they still have no idea who the market is.  No matter how many times the importance of drawing over GM's customers from their own traditional vehicles to something greener is mentioned, there's still a belief that conquest sales from other automakers are what matter.  Ugh.

Losses on the showroom floor really hurt.  Pushing to prevent that by making a plug standard is seeking otherwise missed opportunity.  Success of winning over Camry & Corolla shoppers with Prime would give good reason to consider the end to Prius without a plug.  Those sales would confirm that next step is a wise one to take.

This isn't rocket science; it's business.  Prius PHV was rolled out mid-cycle in limited quantity to limited areas.  Decisions about what next step to take was made based on observations & feedback from those initial owners.  How much power & range to increase was made based on real-world data and cost reductions possible in the available timeframe.  That's how Prime came about.


Lead or Follow?  That question sums up the enthusiast view of the market.  It's either lead or follow.  Simply being part of something isn't possible.  You win or you lose; nothing in between.  Ugh.  That's why getting through to them about the importance of sales is basically pointless.  They don't hear you.  The idea of being ahead is all that matters.  It's that same old trophy mentality.  Oh well.  Whether they like it or not, sales are how you gauge change.  Many means you have an effective solution.  It's that easy to interpret.  This isn't: "To me it just strengthens the argument that GM is leading and not following."  That was the response to hearing that Toyota may choose to offer a plug exclusively for the 5th generation.  Much can happen in the next 5 to 6 years.  A cost-effective next step is needed by all automakers.  What will the others do?  Toyota's path is much easier to see.  Sales will make that determination, not leadership claims, not winning awards, not declaring superiority or obsolescence.  I put it this way:  Sales are the measure of progress.  Generation 1 (the first chapter in plug-in hybrid history) reached enthusiasts well, but ended with market saturation.  Generation 2 is the chapter where the attempt to appeal to ordinary showroom shoppers takes place.  That's a very different audience.  So far, only gen-2 Volt has been rolled out.  Sales have been flat, despite no other gen-2 offering being available yet.  That's not the type of leadership the industry has been hoping for.  Significant growth is needed for plugging in to be taken seriously.  That means greatly exceeding levels of the past.  Toyota, Hyundai, Chrysler, and Mitsubishi will all be joining within the next year.  The goal is to show that plug-in hybrids are having an impact on traditional vehicle sales.  Achieving that will come from new interest, convincing new customers to purchase.  What difference will leading or following make?


Maturity.  There were some who didn't show any.  We got repeats of the same old rhetoric.  It's hard to believe pride gets so much in the way sometimes.  Dropping bait is the most common response when there's a topic they don't find appealing.  I didn't bite any of that.  The antagonism simply doesn't work anymore.  Responding only gets you labeled as a troll anyway.  Confirmation of the situation simply comes in the form of them trying to lure you.  The more attempts, the more you know they're recognizing what went wrong.  I waited for something constructive to be posted instead.  This was good enough to hopefully stir something constructive in return: "They've stretched it to it's Hybrid Synergy limits.  If this means Prius gets a plug and a bank of lithium ion batteries, HOORAY!  It's about time, Toyota!"  The rest wasn't anything new.  It was quite predictable.  I kept the reply to that particular one short:  That stretch is called reaching maturity.  With both cost & efficiency improved to the point of being directly competitive against traditional vehicles, adding a plug & battery-capacity is the next natural step... which is exactly what will be happening this year.  That's right on time, just as interest for plugging in emerges.  Mainstream buyers simply haven't cared up until now.


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