Prius Personal Log  #800

March 21, 2017  -  March 28, 2017

Last Updated: Sun. 5/21/2017

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3-28-2017

Failure.  Acceptance is a very difficult stage.  Coming from an enthusiast source, this helps: "They spent 7 years saying no. Then given a chance to do something they flopped….and they have no one to blame but themselves."  But it doesn't really address the problem... since that was actually a comment about the Republicans in Congress, not Volt enthusiasts.  The realization of the same situation applying to them hasn't sunk in yet.  I did find that comment from their daily blog encouraging though.  This is how I responded:  Will pointing out the irony result in anything constructive?  How long did we hear Voltec could be the "game changer", that we only need wait for gen-2 for the technology to take off?  The unfortunate reality of painfully slow growth and obvious dependency on tax-credit subsidies must finally be dealt with.  That attempt failed.  Do you try another or pretend all is fine?  It happened.  Time to move on.  Seeing that Prius Prime and Ioniq PHEV poised to take on the mainstream market means the suggestion for GM to introduce a competitively affordable configuration of Voltec for Equinox couldn't be more urgent.  That supposed leadership is slipping away as missed opportunity.  Who cares what the EV market is doing.  That's a different audience anyway.  Though, sales of Bolt are eating away at the limited amount of tax-credits available to GM. Something significant must happen this year.  On the way is a plug-in hybrid SUV from Nissan, Kia, and Mitsubishi.  We could end up seeing the debut of a CH-R or RAV4 plug-in hybrid from Toyota next year too.  Shoot the messenger if you want.  That isn't who to blame though.

3-28-2017

Climate Attack.  Contrary to actual data, we're hearing a lot of claims that green regulations are killing jobs.  It doesn't make any sense.  Improvements to the coal & oil industry extraction & refining process have been eliminating jobs for years.  Sounds more like blame is being placed as a scapegoat.  We know for a fact there has been a huge increase in solar & wind product production and installation from increased demand.  That creates jobs.  Both are renewable resources too, so there's much more potential for on-going employment than the finite amount of fossil fuels available.  The renewable industry is only in the early stages too, nothing like the market saturation already causing a growth dilemma for fossil fuels.  That's what makes the measures being taken now to rollback regulations such a historic event.  You don't even have to take impact to the climate into account.  The job aspect alone doesn't make any sense.  Why would you just abandon such technological steps forward, allowing other nations to capitalize on the opportunity?  It's a losing situation no matter how you look at it, a financial screw up for both short & long term.  The only people seemingly pleased about the rollback promises are uninformed voters.  Ugh.

3-28-2017

Fake News.  The article was off to an abrasive start with this opening snippet: "...found it to be competent at maximizing MPG, but not much else."  I wondered what driving data would be actually provided.  Turns out, there was none.  They just said it was "boring" and "terrible" and "disappointed".  Nothing related to observed fuel-efficiency was mentioned.  For that matter, nothing was about electric-only driving either.  Their wasn't even any indication it was ever plugged in.  In fact, this mention seemed to confirm it: "...can be charged through a plug port located on the driver's side fender of the car".  That's wrong.  The port is on the passenger side.  What really got me though was: "MSRP as tested: $36,305".  How could that be?  The highest priced model is $33,100.  It was yet another source of fake news I had stumbled across.  Grrr!

3-27-2017

New Photos.  While I wait for my Prime, there's some website stuff to wrap up.  A few miscellaneous photos could be shared... before I lose track of them.  The expectation is a flood of new opportunity will come with Prime ownership in the first few weeks and I'll be extremely busy trying to document all the little tidbits learned along the way.  That initial experience is difficult.  There's so much to keep track of that you want to remember for documenting later.  Using the camera to save as much as possible is an effective means of leaving notes to myself.  Unfortunately, it means sorting through literally thousands of files afterward.  Oh well.  Bring it on.  I certainly do enjoy that work.  It's a very rewarding discovery process.  In the meantime, enjoy the final few new photos before them become old...  photo album 204

3-27-2017

Better?  I know I won't get an answer to the question.  Coming from a website dedicated to early-adopters of plug-in vehicles, there's a bias so deep for more EV range, no one there considers less a good thing.  It's always more, more, more.  I suspect that will change relatively soon.  But with only first-generation vehicle owners participating, that's a tough obstacle to overcome.  With the feeling range-anxiety creates such daunting barriers to widespread acceptance, the issue of affordability simply doesn't get attention.  Brushing cost-reduction off as an issue to deal with later continues to be the theme.  That's why leadership from Toyota in that regard is shrugged off as unimportant.  They cannot see far enough ahead to realize the lack of balance is sending them off course.  If it cannot even draw high-volume sales with generous tax-credits, how in the world will it compete with traditional vehicles?  The disregard for mainstream priorities is a very real problem... and early adopters continue to be unwilling to deal with it.  Oh well.  That's where I come in.  Less EV range isn't exciting for them, but when you see the reaction of ordinary consumers, that demands a rethink.  25 miles is a lot to them.  For a minimal cost, they get to plug in too... and still get to enjoy EV driving, as well as outstanding overall efficiency.  This is how I asked that group:  What does "better" mean?  GM's low priority to eventually deliver something directly competitive with traditional vehicles is difficult to deny.  Yet, that's exactly what Toyota has already rolled out.  Again, what will happen when the tax-credits run out?  That will happen in this product-cycle.  The MSRP for Prime can withstand that loss.  That's not realistic for Volt with its much higher price.  Remember, the goal is significant sales growth.

3-26-2017

No Agreement.  Collapse of the effort to repeal the Affordable-Care-Act came about from the same fundamental problem Volt suffered.  You wouldn't expect such basic mistakes to be made.  Yet, that's exactly what happened... they couldn't agree on goals.  Replace with what?  How many times did I ask that of the enthusiasts.  They just kept saying "vastly superior" over and over again.  It was so idiotic.  All they cared about was some aspect being indisputably better.  Whether or not the vehicle as a whole stood any chance of actually competing simply didn't matter.  They just wanted a victory to declare.  Pride blinded them.  The same thing happened with our new administration.  Not delivering something helpful to the masses wasn't a concern... and they got called out on it.  We're seeing the same thing play out with Volt now.  The technology isn't progressing.  Not having a clear direction on next steps has been the problem and continues to be.  What the heck should GM be trying to accomplish?  Notice how enthusiasts & supporters have virtually nothing in common?  They cannot agree on goals.  Heck, they don't even have a clear overall purpose.  Mixed messages of the past got worse.  They didn't try for any type of unity.  It's a chaotic mess now.  Oops!

3-25-2017

Midwest Rollout.  Looking up inventory online, I see 9 Prime listed for sale locally.  Finally!  That doesn't mean any have actually been delivered though.  It simply indicates at some point that particular VIN will be offered for purchase.  None are the Blue Magnetism that I have been patiently waiting for.  No one has mentioned any sightings either.  I suspect mine will be among the first.  It's scheduled for next Friday through the following Tuesday.  So... potentially... a week from now, I could be driving a new plug-in.  Unlike the excuses still coming from some GM enthusiasts, I expect Toyota demand to be obvious in just a few months.  We see that growth in the limited states currently with supply to sell.  Spread across the country is all it will take for the spark to turn into fire.  There are supporters waiting for people like me to enable them to take the next steps.  Some on-going detailed driving reports along with a small collection of videos should do the trick.  They'll be able to join in to that mix in the months that follow.  Prius Prime is priced for that market potential to be realistic.  That horrible "vastly superior" attitude won't be part of this.  There's simply no need.  Toyota designed an affordable choice providing both electric & hybrid efficiency which speaks for itself.  Now, it's just a matter deliveries beginning.

3-25-2017

Looking Back.  Much like the the current administration, boasting doesn't match reality.  Attempts to spin struggling sales for both Volt & Bolt went nowhere this week.  Enthusiasts had nothing solid to work with.  All the low-hanging fruit has been picked & eaten.  Thank goodness that nonsense is over.  GM's effort to win customers based on nothing but engineering proved a terrible plan.   All we're hearing now is the same old chant: "Give it a chance."  Neglect of what happens on the showroom floor has significant consequences.  That sounds just like the problem with all those empty political promises.  Lack of substance is a dead giveaway there will be problems to come.  Yet, some people blindly hope for the best anyway.  I look upon the failure of gen-2 Volt to achieve the large market growth promised as undeniable evidence of struggle... and a pattern.  We were told the same thing about gen-1 Volt.  We were told the same thing about Volt's predecessor (Two-Mode).  We are being told about Volt's successor (Bolt).  How much waiting is required?  With so much hype, why aren't the claimed potential buyers stepping up?  The answer is simple... there's far more to a plug-in than just engineering.  Important business requirements were dismissed greenwashing attempts to distract & discredit.  Those who were so naive are now paying the price.  We can finally move on to constructive efforts.  Yeah!  I'm so glad that's over.

3-24-2017

Diesel Fallout.  What a mess.  As anticipated, the required updates to those VW diesels violating emission requirements are causing problems for some owners.  It should have been obvious that vehicle variances would mean the proposed fixed wouldn't behave well in all conditions for all owners.  Think about how different each driver's needs are, how different road conditions, speeds, and distances can be.  It's hard to know how many are actually having trouble, especially since the internet tends to exaggerate problems.  However, there is some merit to claims of burn-offs happening more often.  This is when the revs high to produce an excess level of heat so the emissions held in the trap can be released.  They need to be burned before purging.  The event had been extremely rare, in the past.  Now, it seems to happen on a very regular basis.  Did VW plan that, but not inform owners?  There are reports of stalls and rough idling now too.  The expectation of the system now being sluggish & underpowered has been confirmed too.  Are you ready to be following one of those TDI vehicles, waiting for a puff of smoke out of the tailpipe?  Think about the MPG penalty from those updates.  Even if there are not any operational issues for some, there is still that to deal with.

3-23-2017

Video:  Coffee After Dinner.  Having just upgraded to a better OBD-II reader in preparation for getting my Prius Prime, one last recording with the Prius PHV was needed.  I could tell the evening would bring a nice sunset.  So I saved the last third of the capacity, then plugged in upon getting home from work.  That left just enough time to fully recharge while eating dinner.  My drive would be to the new coffee shop and back.  The engine would be partially warmed. It would reflect exactly what I encounter while running errands at night. I'd had enough electricity to get there, then switch over to the hybrid system during the return trip.  That's exactly what happened too.  You can see both what I see on the dashboard while driving, as well as detailed information from gauges that aren't usually available.  Using that aftermarket device, I was able to capture values, then later convert them to frames of video which could be added to the camera footage.  15.3 miles for the entire drive. 9.9 miles of EV (electric-only), despite the temperature being very close to freezing.  154 MPG was the average for the drive.  Looking at the dashboard, you can also see my overall average for the day...  Coffee After Dinner

3-22-2017

Delivery Preparation.  There isn't much I can actually do beyond wait.  I ordered aftermarket floormats and a receiver-hitch.  One arrived, the other will soon.  I'll be ready for a bike trip as soon as the weather warms here (Minnesota).  I'll be among the first in the country to do that too.  I managed to get an order request in prior to the manufacturer even revealing availability.  It's nice being able to work with providers directly.  They are quite receptive to those wanting to help get word out about their new product.  That means even more initial photos than anticipated.  Of course, I've been preparing for delivery for a very long time now.  I'm definitely good to go.  Keep those opportunities coming!  I have a beautiful new location scoped out.  It's some land just outside the extremes of the suburbs, a massive new park created to retain the wild setting yet be readily accessible.  Development will surround it decades from now, making it a premiere location to escape to.  It already offers an impressive pavilion just off of a large spread out parking area... with 2 charging-stations.  Paths are not paved yet.  The trails going around the lake and through the country are only dirt so far, but you can see the effort to make them become nice paths for walking & biking.  The private road that twists through hills will be a great setting to play with the new Prime.  I really lucked out with this, prepped beyond expectations.  Who would of thought something so nice would emerge just before getting my new plug-in... and it only be 6.9 miles from home!

3-21-2017

Missing the Point.  Some people completely lose perspective, forgetting what the original effort was trying to achieve: "Why race towards losing the tax credit by hawking Volt as if it were a Cruze or Corolla?"  How can the intent to replace traditional vehicles with affordable high-efficiency choices be overlooked so easily?  That comes from making excuses for shortcomings.  Volt was plagued with a listed of goals not achieved upon gen-1 rollout.  The upgrade was supposed to address them, fulfilling expectations later than hoped, but nonetheless achieved.  That clearly didn't happen with gen-2 either... which is why it is mentioned so often in these blogs.  Making sure those same mistakes are repeated is vital.  So far, we're seeing excellent recognition of need from Toyota.  It's too bad they don't.  Oh well.  I can only restate requirements so much.  Fortunately, I can also add some perspective:  That is the point of the tax credit.  Its purpose is to help draw mainstream buyers to the technology.  Only rewarding enthusiasts is a sign of trouble, a reason for concern.  Automakers need to build up momentum so the loss of subsides won't matter.  Establishing popularity among the masses prior to reaching the 200,000 limit is how to do that.  Remember, there is a phaseout period.  That is limited to time, not quantity. An automaker could capitalize on the opportunity... if demand has already been created.

3-21-2017

Tough Decisions.  Slow sales for Bolt and dealer discounts ranging from $2,000 to $5,000 has supporters wondering what's going on.  This particular comment  about the situation really stood out: "Perhaps GM is suffering from the "big truck and SUV company" image from EV buyers?"  As you could imagine, I didn't hesitate for a moment to post:  Asking "Who is the market for Volt?" scores of times eventually resulted in that same thought.  It should have been obvious right from the start.  Knowing your audience is a fundamental not to be taken lightly.  Enthusiasts did though.  Consequences of that neglect are reflected in sales struggle for gen-2.  This is why the push for spreading of Voltec to Equinox should have happened years ago.  Unfortunately, the Osborne effect has become double-edged as a result of the delay.  Any announcement now would have a negative impact on both Volt and Bolt sales.  To make matters worse, the excitement for Tesla is growing as GM's rollout progresses far slower than anyone had hoped.  The first Model 3 sales to regular customers will begin the same time Bolt finally becomes available to a large portion of the country.  On the plug-in hybrid side, we are seeing both Toyota & Hyundai pushing low-priced choices, putting Volt in an uncompetitive position.  Negative vote this dose of reality.  You know it won't do any good.  GM faces tough decisions.  Are they going after conquest sales or trying to attract their own showroom shoppers?  Who?

3-21-2017

Growing Demand.  We are already seeing a shift of discussions to Prius Prime.  The strange discounts for Bolt and the flat sales of Volt are making that easy.  It's nice actually having constructive posts to respond to.  What a change.  This is how I joined into the flurry of replies:  Dealer interest is a major factor, one often disregarded as important in the past.  Now, it's finally getting proper attention.  They'll contribute heavily to demand growth.  Being easy to sell is key.  People see Prime, notice the plug and the sticker-price, then go for a test drive.  The Prius reputation for being green, efficient, and reliable is already well known.  Nothing else to tell the customer.  That's it.  Sold.  The salesperson could matter-of-fact mention plugging in overnight to an ordinary outlet.  There literally isn't anything else needing attention.  Toyota nailed the KISS approach.

 

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