Prius Personal Log  #778

November 27, 2016  -  December 1, 2016

Last Updated: Sat. 12/10/2016

    page #777         page #779        BOOK         INDEX         go to bottom     

 

12-01-2016

Deflection.  You try to have a constructive discussion.  As soon as something is stated that resembles the success formula Toyota has had, they switch the subject over to either Prius or fuel-cells.  They attempt to deflect a valid point by changing the subject.  It's so juvenile; yet, is happens all the time.  Heck, we even saw that with the presidential debates.  When has good even come from attempt to avoid dealing with a problem?  I don't even bother anymore.  I just state a relevant fact to end the claim and restate the original post.  It this case, it was that Toyota is doing nothing to improve efficiency of their larger vehicles... which was an obvious deflection of the "silence" response.  I posted:  Deflection doesn't work anymore.  Toyota offers a 4WD hybrid with a 5,000-pound towing-capacity (Highlander), an AWD compact SUV hybrid (RAV4), and a plug-in hybrid with full EV driving (Prime).  RAV4 hybrid has been selling well and the potential for it to offer a plug using the same approach as Prime is very real.  Again, why is GM not saying anything about any type of efficiency offering for Equinox?

12-01-2016

Silence.  It was wonderful to see something constructive emerge: "GM's silence speaks volumes."  Of course, there was little chance of it leading to much useful discussion.  Online comments tend to fall apart quickly.  We'll see if this results in anything:  21,600 Equinox were sold last month.  Not hearing anything whatsoever from GM about offering a more efficient choice makes you wonder, especially with GM's history of favoring tech for the larger vehicles.  Remember Two-Mode?  Not only was that developed for making their SUVs more efficient, it resulted in prototypes of plug-in models.  How come we haven’t heard a peep since?  What happened?  Why was that effort halted?

12-01-2016

Suddenly.  As expected, that opinion article claiming a massive loss for each Bolt sold stirred quite the uproar.  That nonsensical daily blog had it's spin on the situation: "Why is Toyota suddenly jumping in with both feet?  So they can lose $9k on every sale?  Doubtful."  That was such a lame attempt to take the spotlight off GM, I had to really think about how to respond... since you typically only get a single chance, then the spin overwhelms your original message.  My choice was:  Toyota is waiting until the next product cycle.  That's not suddenly.  Ford, Nissan, Honda, and Hyundai are all waiting too.  Heck, even Tesla is 2 years out still.  Cost is very much an issue still.  That's why GM is proceeding cautiously with Bolt volume and holding back on Volt.  Once the tax-credits expire, it becomes an even bigger issue.  This is also why Prime will offer full EV abilities but keeps capacity to realistic minimum.  More can be provided later, like with a mid-cycle update.  The key is focusing on everything else in the meantime.  In other words, offering a plug-in hybrid while waiting for the EV with a large capacity to become cost-competitive... which is why an article like this came about for Bolt.  Compared to the profitable vehicles, losing even a small amount of money from each EV sale means a lot being available simply isn't going to happen... yet.

11-30-2016

$9,000 Loss.  An opinion article was published today, claiming that GM will see a $9,000 loss from each Bolt sold.  Whether that is true or not, it does raise the concern of profitability.  If there is enough evidence to support such a large amount belief, odds are quite good the best-case scenario is only a razor-thin profit... which means a very serious challenge when the tax-credits expire.  This is how I jumped into the discussion on the big Prius forum about the article:  The point is that GM continues to follow the same approach... deliver something unprofitable with the hope of cost dropping fast enough to catapult the technology from niche to mainstream in only a few years.  With Volt, that failed on a colossal scale.  So, we should ask what makes Bolt different.  How will it avoid the same pitfalls?  The approach Toyota has taken is pretty much the opposite extreme... offer a vehicle with specs that won't compromise profitability.  That naturally leaves enthusiasts wanting more and provides antagonists lots material to undermine with, but it doesn't sacrifice the opportunity for high-volume sales.  In other words, how will GM proceed with so few tax-credits available for Volt & Bolt, knowing how important it is to reach mainstream consumers?

11-30-2016

No Plug.  Eeek!  No electricity available.  Oh, the horrors.  It's not really that bad.  The topic does come up on a regular basis though.  Being able to contribute with very recent real-world data is great.  This evening, I had an opportunity to share such an experience:  I'm quite curious how Prime will do here without plugging in.  Hopefully, I won't have to wait too much longer to find out.  This evening, it was a run out to go Christmas tree shopping... shortly after getting home and not having any electricity available.  42 miles of driving, mostly highway, with the temperature only 36°F out resulted in a pleasing 49 MPG average.  Back when it was warmer (2 months ago), my 172-mile drive home from up north came to 58 MPG.  That was especially impressive for no plug results.  So, there's definitely much to look forward to.  Here where the heater is absolutely essential, efficiency from the engine even when you have plugged it will be nice.  It will be very exciting to witness my Prius PHV performance records being easily shattered by Prime.  We take a number of very long drives over the holidays to visit family.

11-29-2016 Rain.  This was refreshing to see: "Are there any issues with plugging in when it is raining?"  I was happy to reply to that too:  Yes... you get very wet.  :)  Unlocking the public charger really does prevent a quick & dry experience.  It's no big deal though.  I've done it countless times over the years.  What's more of an issue is unplugging after getting a few inches of snow.  The act of brushing off the snow prior to removal gets a bit messy.  I've found myself a number of times blowing, to avoid too much staying behind the door.  What's interesting is how well design the actual socket it.  The specs were very clearly thought out.  Plugging in rain & snow works just fine.
11-28-2016

Blatant Attempts.  The response to my wild spin reply was an outright lie, a blatant attempt to greenwash: "Prius Prime is mostly gasoline burner when more than half of its miles are powered by gasoline rather than electricity."  I couldn't believe it.  He had posted statistics from other plug-in vehicles, claiming they applied to Prime.  We're back to that "not the same" problem.  That happens when you attempt to fit everything into a single category.  It's how his obvious stereotyping came about.  He's been fighting for so long, he's lost perspective.  Dealing with the change Prime brings is something he clearly isn't prepared for.  I wonder how well I am.  This is how I responded:  Such blatant attempts to mislead.  Without any real-world data at all, you just declare "half" and label THE results.  Stop wasting our time.  Readers of this aren't that gullible.  They'll see how shorter drives will easily be 100% electric and that longer ones will still be over 50% which is both arbitrary and vague.  The keen observer will also notice the effort to avoid actual quantities, choosing to use relative measure knowing it can distort impressions and contribute to assumptions.

11-28-2016

Wild Spin.  I have no idea how to deal with someone who thinks I'm in fighting against efficiency technologies.  It's quite bizarre to encounter someone so close-minded or paranoid of change.  Shakeup to the status quo is becoming apparent, but I certainly didn't expect anything like this: "No, intentionally spinning the story to favor a mostly gasoline burner is just tactic that often a fossil fuel supporter would do."  That is so twisted, wild spin isn't enough to describe it.  My thought is to begin with a question, followed by pointing out how to view the situation:  What is a "mostly gas burner"?  Vague labels with arbitrary levels don't help anyone.  That's why there are rating systems and quantitative measures.  You get a grade, not a pass/fail.

11-28-2016

Rant on Owners.  Whoa!  One of the long-time residents, those intense daily posters who think they own that particular forum, jumped on me screaming stereotype today.  I wondered how long that would take on the new website.  He was pretty angry too.  Ironically, he was a cookie-cutter absolutist.  All electricity is good.  All gasoline is bad.  That type of purist attitude is quite familiar.  In this case, it was an example provided by the exclusion of EV miles.  As far as he was concerned, they don't matter.  All that matter is how much gas you use... which is what we've heard for years from Volt enthusiasts.  They just omit KWH usage, only stating GALLONS.  I wasn't willing to watch that nonsense continue:  Because it's electricity, it doesn't matter how much is consumed.  Wow!  That is an absolutely terrible attitude.  Wasting a renewable resource is still  waste, especially when it is far from abundant.  We need to strive for the most efficient use of electricity.  Some EV systems are less efficient than others.  Intentionally excluding that data is just plain wrong.

11-28-2016

Shareholders.  What do you think upon reading this: "It took this long for Toyota to see the light, I wonder what the shareholders in the future will think of the CEO's performance during these last few years."  Since sales of Toyota vehicles have been quite strong, it seemed absurd to express such a stance.  That success has allowed for investment in hybrids, plug-in hybrids, fuel-cells, and now electric-only vehicles.  Where's the problem?  What's the concern?  I knew what he was getting at, since the context of the discussion was about leadership.  That belief is the most EV range how you identify the leader.  Such a gross-oversimplification is a very real problem.  Volt enthusiasts still suffer from such short-sightedness.  Oh well.  All you can do is point out the other factors of importance, as I attempted:  Shareholders invested in the company's long-term well-being don't fall for the "leader" trophy distraction.  They want strong business returns, which don't focus on racing to be first.  Toyota understands the wisdom of targeting the masses by offering a well-balanced choice, rather than stretching for a maximum.  The future is about competing with traditional vehicles directly.  So, none of the petty plug-in bickering will matter anyway.  Shareholders are well aware of what sells profitably in high-volume without tax-credits.  They understand the true competition.

11-28-2016

Hybrid Trucks.  I knew responding to this would stir trouble: "Toyota would save more fuel by hybridizing large vehicles instead of building more Nissan leaf type cars. Pickup trucks, minivans, etc."  There's a blindness in certain groups.  There's a mix of poorly informed with those who choose to see only certain things.  That makes big-picture type discussions nearly impossible.  So, when you point out something counter to their belief or stance, they often lash out with anger... which is clear confirmation of the message having been received... which is why I post stuff like this:  Toyota has continued to advance their large vehicle efforts, rather than abandon them as GM and Ford.  Highlander hybrid offers 5,000-pound towing capacity with 4WD, delivering a 28 MPG combined rating. That's a large vehicle.  It's available today.  Their smaller hybrid, RAV4, been selling remarkably well since it's debut early this year.  Think about how easy it would be to add a plug option, following the design approach used for Prius Prime.  Note that the AC plug option from Toyota has been available in Japan for a few years.  It can deliver 1,500 watts.

11-27-2016

Leadership.  For many people means breaking new ground.  They take the definition literally and never give it any other thought.  So, stumbling across this was expected: "[Toyota is] a leader in the hybrid market and a follower in the electric vehicle market."  It makes sense from their perspective.  Prius clearly delivers the highest MPG and there is no EV offered.  The idea that about technology being more than just the concept of "bigger is better" isn't ever considered... to the point of bewilderment.  Being ahead in the race is only a matter of being further away.  That concept of affordability isn't part of their mindset.  It comes from having been raised in an obsessive & competitive environment.  Things like being practical is for the weak.  Ugh, again.  Anywho, I'm curious if this new audience on a new green website will be any more receptive to there being more than one way of being a leader.  Curious, I posted:  Leadership is getting ordinary people to change.  We still very much see EV owners as niche buyers.  They don't represent people from the mainstream.  Those ordinary people have yet to be enticed by plug-in options.  Reaching the masses is far more difficult than appealing to early adopters.  Taking a look at the market, you'll see that much of the low-hanging fruit has been picked.  Leaders will be determined by whomever is able to attract new interest and grow sales.

11-27-2016

That Attitude.  It's back!  I wonder how much and how often we'll see this: "Volt is superior to Prius."  It's return was a bit of a surprise.  With so many of the antagonists having shifted support from Volt to Bolt, that really wasn't expected.  But then again, the rollout of Bolt as revealed the interior is a bit more "economy vehicle" than had been anticipated.  Having it turn out to be less of a Tesla competitor as hoped means attempting to revive Volt.  What a mess.  Oh well.  At least I am well prepared to deal with it.  This time around, they have far less greenwashing material to work with.  This is how I decided to reply:  I remember that complacent attitude from back in 2012.  Reality came crashing down afterward, when the struggle to grow monthly sales beyond 1,700 became undeniable.  The next-generation of Volt was to overcome obstacles, allowing it to achieve the mainstream minimum (for sustaining profitable business) of 5,000 sales per month.  That hasn't worked out either.  Prime exhibits potential to reach a much larger market, so the superiority cry is no surprise.  Rather than work toward something for the masses, there's an effort is to brag about speed & power.  Ugh.

11-27-2016 Looking Forward.  Getting beyond the basics is difficult.  Many have been blinded by something in the past.  This is an effort to open the minds of those who hadn't given much thought to the bigger picture:

The belief of hydrogen not being able to co-exist with EVs and hybrids not being a path to full electric-only drive is successful greenwashing.  People have been taking advantage of those assumptions and exploiting the opportunity to mislead about Toyota.

As for the claim of easily adding level-2 charging, you are sadly misinformed.  We have many neighborhoods without the infrastructure readily available, requiring new wiring at significant expense.  We have apartments & condominiums that simply won't provide support at all.

This is why starting at level-1 will have far greater of a reach.  5.5 hours with an ordinary 120-volt circuit they already have available is realistic for a much, much larger audience.  You can take advantage of level-2, but not being required for a full-recharge during off-peak hours isn't necessary.  The outlet & time is likely there already for a wide variety of potential customers.

We'll see expansion to larger capacities increase as support ramps up.  Currently, there is a great deal of discussion taking place with electricity providers.  They are struggling with approach still.  My local plug-in owners group has detailed discussions on a regular of their progress.  Once those providers throw their support into the mainstream to stir customer interest, battery technology advancements (like that of this article) would have been proven out.

Think about what Prius Prime will do with respect to provoking owners to upgrade from level-1 to level-2.  That's a far easier endeavor that convincing someone considering the transition directly from traditional vehicle to electric-only.

Also, don't forget about he desire for more amps.  How much will that level-2 charger be setup for?  Will the base draw of 16-amps really be enough?  What about 30 or 40?  What will owners be willing to invest in?  Have many will their current supply be able to provide?

 

back to home page       go to top