Prius Personal Log  #810

May 19, 2017  -  May 23, 2017

Last Updated: Sun. 6/11/2017

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5-23-2017

Last Diesels.  It's rather bizarre to hear about attempts to sell the last remaining diesel cars from VW.  Their vehicles with TDI were sold with the "fun to drive" trait as the primary purchase incentive, followed by great efficiency.  That aspect of performance has been lost, due to the pollution-control measures needed to be taken for reducing emissions.  That leaves MPG as the big appeal.  33 is terrible though.  Yet, that's what the automatic delivers.  The value is derived from 40 highway and 29 city.  Neither of which is impressive either.  Prius unquestionably delivers better.  The manual transmission only increases the combined to 34 MPG.  Such a tiny bump for the requirement of having to shift yourself is a joke.  I see 54 MPG combined without any effort whatsoever, not even plugging in.  Thank goodness the nightmare of diesel deception is finally coming to an end.  No more new diesels will be sold in the United States after those last 2015 models are gone.

5-23-2017

Fake News.  We're not seeing that as often for Prius now.  It certainly hasn't went away though.  Today, it was an article about "massive failure" of the latest generation.  As expected, I was annoyed.  There was no data whatsoever.  All we got was a series of comparison adjectives... faster, nicer, biggest ...along with vague measures... big, more, better.  That complete absence of detail is how the misleading continues.  Those sources attract readers who aren't interested in facts, they just want validation.  It's the same nonsense many of the blog comments do.  People just latch on to what they want to follow and ignore anything that reveals contradiction or hypocrisy.  Antagonists do that too.  Think about how effective that was in the previous election.  Was unbiased news sought out or were some just following a feed automatically providing "you might like" content?  It's a dangerous trap to fall into that many had no idea could happen.  Being naive is dangerous and there are those who intentionally exploit weaknesses of that nature.  Watch for it.  That type of activity is common.  It's a similar problem to those who enable.  They don't even realize their own participation serves as validation & support. Oops!

5-23-2017

Whoa!  There's a photo of me taking a photo of my Blue Magnetism with a sunset in Wyoming as a backdrop speaks for itself.  In fact, I didn't need to say anything.  My sister-in-law on the other hand screamed out: "Don't move, I'm getting my camera!"  I didn't realize how amazing the entire scene looked from the on-looker perspective.  I'm quite thankful to her for capturing such a unique photo moment.  It be added to my homepage, eventually.  There's quite a collection of photos growing.  Lots to learn & document.  So little time.

5-22-2017

Warm-Up Misunderstanding.  We are now getting deep into new ownership, where fundamentals are getting asked about.  It's like starting all over again.  I really feel like we are reliving the Classic rollout.  That same sense of discovery & potential is easy to recognize.  Examples are plentiful, like: "As soon as the EV range hit 0.0, I could feel the ICE go on -- it did not stay in EV range pulling from the hybrid buffer of the battery. The green EV MODE light immediately went off and the ICE came on right away."  Statements just like that is what I thrived on all those years ago.  There was a group of us who handled the teaching moments.  We'd provide information to empower, seeing that not doing anything would contribute to the growth of misconceptions.  Those who found value in what was shared became the next teachers.  It was quite nice watching them take over like that.  Anywho, it's happening again.  My contribution today was:  That is a misunderstanding of how warm-up takes place.  With an aftermarket gauge, you'll see that RPM of the engine is held back by using HV capacity.  The battery is used as a buffer to keep emissions lower until waste heat for cleansing is available.  Once warm-up is complete, that HV capacity is restored by the engine running to recharge as part of the usual hybrid operation.

5-22-2017

Ford CEO.  Very little has happened in the past few years from Ford.  Remember the MPG scandal?  There was a huge marketing campaign giving the impression C-Max was larger and more efficient than Prius V (the large wagon model).  Neither was true.  People didn't actually bother to compare though.  We just got advertisement after advertisement.  It was a "halo effect" approach that ended up resulting in sales of the vehicle itself... until it was discovered that MPG had been misstated.  Oops!  That resulted in a sales drop and payments to owners who had be misled.  No only was the hybrid hurt, the misleading included the plug-in offerings.  Neither Energi vehicle actually delivered as many EV miles as the rating claimed.  Oops, again!  Making matters worse was the complete disinterest in selling Focus EV, which ironically wasn't a problem with Toyota attackers.  Those supporting plug-in vehicles weren't happy though.  Producing so few made the purchase of one nearly impossible.  Complaints about no inventory were common.  Anywho, all that contributed to disappointment among my colleagues.  From the point of view for stockholders, the entire market has been shrinking.  Pushing the status quo with Pickups & SUVs has become a sign of worry... so much so, the CEO is leaving.  We don't know if he quit or got asked.  Whatever the case, this has become a sign of hope.  With electrification a new source of opportunity in the saturated guzzler market, we needed some good news.

5-21-2017

VW Diesels.  Approval of fixes for the larger TDI vehicles and sales of the fixed 2015 inventory have stirred interest lately.  VW diesels are the last of the dieselgate legacy.  That intentional deception across the industry has really left an impression.  Why bother?  The MPG from plug-in hybrids is so much better, what's the point?  Emissions are obviously cleaner too.  It simply makes no sense.  How will people be drawn to such an outdated & crude technology.  The fuel itself is more expensive here as well.  It's nice to finally see the status quo broken.  Oddly, GM is still planning to push both Equinox and Cruze hatchback with diesel as an option.  Thankfully, VW is focusing on plug offerings instead.  They are investing in charging infrastructure... in the form of environmental damage payments, but that still counts as movement in the right direction.  They are embracing the mandated change too.  So, after all that nonsense hybrids owners had to deal with, at least things finally worked out.  What a waste though.  Imagined if none of the "clean diesel" deception had never taken place.  Defeat in an honorable manner would have been interesting.  Sadly, we know that the opposition almost always prefers to go down fighting instead.

5-20-2017

Wrong Vehicle.  How do you point out buyer's remorse to an owner who doesn't realize yet they will end up having it?  This statement pops up surprisingly often: "Most people that drive PHEVs would prefer to drive them in EV mode for 100% of the time."  I routinely here from Volt owners gloating about how little gas they use, going 6 months or more without having to refill.  Some of whom make that statement simply didn't have any other choice available.  So, they bought a Volt.  Why not when combined with the great incentives?  The major price slash and generous lease discounts made that decision easy... back then.  Now, things are rapidly changing.  Prius Prime is more efficient in both EV and HV operation.  It's also better loaded, even on the affordable base model.  But it you still cringe from the idea of using gas, why not consider the choice of only having a plug?  It's a fundamental question that abruptly ends arguments, as I witnessed firsthand upon posting this:  That extreme would be an indication of having purchased the wrong type of vehicle.  It makes no sense paying so much for an engine and hybrid system, then trying to avoid ever using it.  What a waste.  Just buy an EV instead.

5-20-2017

Terrible.  I was baffled by the lack of substance in the reply I got.  It was just a ramble that Toyota could have developed more.  There was literally nothing to work with.  The claim was void of any merit.  Yet, I responded anyway.  This gave me ample opportunity to point out actual deliverables:  Development of what?  The lack of any detail whatsoever indicates it is not "absolutely fair" to make that "falling behind" claim.  Vague doesn't cut it.  All the components for EV propulsion are entering high-volume production.  Prime is being rolled out to Japan, Europe, and the United States all at once.  I'm tired of the statements without any supporting information.  Ignoring other innovation isn't fair either.  Why aren't you giving Toyota credit for embracing carbon-fiber, by delivering a hatch for Prime made from it rather than metal?  Why aren't you giving Toyota credit for advancing curved glass technology, by delivering a dual-wave window for Prime to improve aerodynamics and introduce some style rather than just settle for plain?

5-20-2017

Investments.  Some are so blinded by Toyota's fuel-cell investment, they simply assume EV offering could have been better off had the money not been split like that.  It's a sad statement of our society.  That one-size-fits-all view is so prominent, people are aware of the fact that they are not seeing outside the box.  It's yet another example of not seeing the forest beyond the tree immediately in the foreground.  Ugh.  I fired back with:  What are you claiming Toyota hasn't invested in?  The chemistry & design required to propel Prime at 135 km/h (84 mph) without air-cooling was a serious investment.  They found a way to make it cost-effective by augmenting the hybrid system too.  So what if they invest profit into product diversification.  That's ultimately more important that paying large dividends.  And it's not like the electrical system in fuel-cell vehicles doesn't share some technology with plug-in vehicles.  Optimization of motor production & efficiency is a benefit to both.  Higher efficiency of Heater & A/C operation is a benefit to both.  Lower cost and higher density of batteries is a benefit to both.  Again, claims of falling behind simply don't have merit.  The technology advancements are obvious.  Toyota is clearly striving to deliver a profitable plug-in for the masses.

5-20-2017

Behind.  The antagonist strategy is now becoming an effort to build the impression that Toyota is far behind.  They avoid detail, just leaving you to the assumption that battery-size is the only thing that matters.  It's quite annoying... to not have a way of countering the obvious greenwashing.  Their desperation is telling though.  Coming up with an effective means to deal with it seems to be going well.  Here's what I posted on that today:  Those who claim Toyota is "behind" are not taking cost, efficiency, or scale into consideration.  Notice how GM's offerings are so expensive that they will be faced with a major challenge to overcome when their tax-credits expire next year?  Notice how both Nissan & Ford have held off ramping up production for that very reason?  Toyota is taking the leadership route that's slower, attempting to attract a much larger audience by offering a well balanced design.  The obsession with faster & further is incomplete.  It is only leadership to the first & second milestone in a long race.  If the price is too high, its wasteful with the use of electricity, or only a small number are available, sales will be low.  The ultimate goal of change won't be achieved until the shift away from traditional vehicles becomes the dominant sight on roads in ordinary traffic.  Expect to be reminded of those other needs every time someone claims being behind.

5-20-2017 Distortions & Leadership.  Yesterday's desperate effort to mislead about Toyota's goals & approach started with this: "Contrary to popular belief, Toyota is not a technology leader.  U.S. car companies created hybrids before Toyota under the "Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles" program which started in 1993.  For example, the GM Precept was a diesel hybrid that got 80 MPG.  So Toyota basically copied U.S. hybrid technology for the Prius."  I was really surprised by such a dishonest statement.  So much of that isn't true, I wasn't sure where to start.  So, I waited until this morning to confront it with a fresh mind: 
 
It's distortions of history like that which keep me intrigued.
 
Toyota's exclusion from the PNGV program, which working prototypes weren't even scheduled for demonstration until 2000, led to an industry shock in October 1997.  It was then that Toyota revealed Prius, stating it was already production ready and that sales would begin in December... just 2 months later.
 
Detroit got sucker punched.  Those supposed 80 MPG cars were still just nothing but crude prototypes in 2000.  There was nothing to copy.  The anti-hybrid campaigning then began as a result of the expansion of sales from Japan to the United States.
 
Many years later, after the fallout of EV1, Two-Mode, and BAS had left GM with a reputation for disinterest in high-efficiency vehicles, there was the reveal of a new design effort for a vehicle to be called "Volt".  It was then that problems got out of hand.  Enthusiasts completely disregarded any of that past history, claiming GM was being innovative.
 
In reality, GM had extensive battery, motor, and controller experience at that point.  That had already produced & supported all that.  They even had a heavy promoted fuel-cell development program.  Yet, the enthusiasts of Volt insisted their vehicle didn't leverage any of that prior knowledge... which is quite bizarre.  Why wouldn't you?
 
Needless to say, it didn't work out anyway and the attempts to distort history continued... but now we know why.  Toyota never loss sight of affordability.  Keeping cost low was always a top priority... the very problem GM continues to struggle with.

In other words, Toyota is leading in the correct direction.

5-19-2017

Audience.  This was especially amusing to read: "Toyota is doomed."  That came in response to an article pointing out Toyota's CEO comments about the upcoming paradigm-shift.  It's something people without a business background just plain don't understand.  Seen from only an engineering stance, they don't see the importance of balance... the fundamental barrier some Volt enthusiasts still haven't learned to overcome.  Oh well.  All I can do is treat it as a teaching opportunity:  Know your audience.  How much are you looking forward to GM finally delivering a plug-in for its own customer base?  Buyers of SUVs are going to continue to guzzler.  Neither Volt, nor Bolt, appeal to them.  With Toyota, we can see how the Prime approach naturally just transforms their product-line... one which is well known as being boring... yet sell in massive numbers anyway.  It's very easy to see how realistic adding a plug to the RAV4 hybrid will be.  They are preparing for that transition by offering non-appliance appeal in the meantime.  Prime is loaded with conveniences and creature comforts, along with a collection of safety features.  Yet, it is already affordable enough to survive the loss of tax-credits.  Toyota knows its audience.

5-19-2017

Denial.  The extent a few individuals will go to undermine never cease to amaze me.  A complaint was raised by a Volt owner who also owns an Iconic Prius.  His claim is that hybrid system is terribly dangerous.  Yet, all these years later (it's a 2007), he still drives it.  That doesn't make any sense.  Of course, his reply to mine was rather ironic: "Your answer makes no sense."  I pointed out how worries of traction-control issues with bad tires was overcome long ago, with the rollout of gen-3 Prius in 2009.  He just plain did not want to accept that answer.  I know that he's kept the Prius due to the credibility it supposedly brings to his argument and by the money he's saving from such high reliability.  I was frustrated by the obvious effort to mislead.  This is how I chose to deal with it:  That's because you don't want it to.  I could just as easily say GM gave Volt mountain-mode because battery was needed to supplement an underpowered engine.  We know it was really to give owners greater flexibility… just like Toyota has done with the many extras for Prime owners.  For example, a charge-mode is available. It's not necessary, but particular situations offer a benefit.

5-19-2017

Style.  Attacks on Toyota taking a risk by helping lead the way out of the bland styling rut automakers have fallen into continue.  Ironically, it's with a surprisingly smug attitude: "Hey, where's the Prime on that list?  LOL"  And you guessed it, that came from a Volt owner proud about being vastly superior.  Ugh.  I swung back with:  Many people want a "blend in" vehicle.  That's why GM leaned heavily toward a Honda influence for gen-2 Volt.  It clearly resembles the previous generation Civic, which was a very popular design.  Ironically, the new Civic went in the opposite direction, taking a "stand out" appearance... which is proving to be popular.  Prime's look abandons the expectation of what Prius should look like, with all the LED lights in front and aggressive grille.  The curve of the lights & glass is back is obvious break-away from the "plain" we see everywhere else.  In other words, some people define "best" as a good fit for what's on the road currently.  Others prefer something that won't look old in a few years and take their chance on what could end up being a trend setter.  After all, the status-quo is really getting outdated at this point.  Looking at the dual-wave in person, you quickly discover there's more opportunity to styling than just what the industry has stuck with in the past.

 

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