Prius Personal Log  #815

June 8, 2017  -  June 13, 2017

Last Updated: Sat. 10/21/2017

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Air Cooling.  There has been an on-going effort to misrepresent Nissan's gen-1 approach with Leaf as an industry-wide standard.  They attempt to portray the choice of using passive cooling with air, rather than active cooling with air, as the same thing.  In other words, Nissan has a sealed system.  That contributed to batteries aging prematurely from getting overly hot.  Toyota didn't do that; instead, it had an open system that forced air through it with fans.  Circulating comfortable A/C cabin temperatures through the pack is a huge difference, one they go to great lengths to evade recognition of.  It's always glossed over in a way to make efforts to reveal detail the work of a troll.  Comments like this is how they attempt to bring that to a close: "Enjoy your ever slowly-degrading Prime battery with its air cooling!"  That oh, so familiar vague & misleading type response.  It's a clear sign of concern.  Bringing up a topic on a regular basis without any actual data to support it is how I know.  The chemistry upgrade Nissan rolled out a few years later ended reports of heat issues.  Trying to get me to stop reporting that is quite difficult.  The plug-in owners group here is very well informed and we address topics like that on a regular basis.  Sharing among that group is easy.  They don't let pride get in the way.  Here's one thing related to that I learned... which got the enthusiasts very upset:  Liquid cooling is beneficial for rapid charging.  That just plain isn't necessary for a smaller battery, like that in Prime. There simply isn't a need to receive electricity from the charger that fast.


Charging At Home.  Our 2 new lines for high-speed charging at home were setup today.  The install was for 2 standard 14-50 outlets to feed 240-volt chargers.  We had 6-guage wires run though new conduit across the ceiling in the garage.  Each had its own individual 40-amp line out of the house's 200-amp service-box.  Each will have it's own time-of-use meter installed in a "can" on the outside of the garage.  That's what will follow today's service, which established the lines themselves.  That contractor will arrange to have the city-inspector come over to approve the work that was done today.  (They also submitted paperwork for the permit and configured the design.)  The result is a sticker showing approval, which allows the power-supplier to come over and swap out the hard-connection with a measuring device.  In our case, we'll be the very first customers of the local CO-OP to have 2 of those meters.  More than one is something many people need yet.  That required some extra work, since the software programming & billing for both must be setup to monitor kWh draw during each of the time-categories.  For us, there are 3 of those categories.  Each has its own pricing.  The one for overnight charging offers a significant discount, hence the effort to install equipment to take advantage of the opportunity.  Also in our case, the service-provider will not be charging a service-fee.  It's just a one-time hardware investment.  I was delighted to find out how well the bracket I had fabricated to hold the chargers & outlets worked.  It's a great looking approach that put both exactly where they needed to be.  Location of the cord for inside & outside garage use, in addition to keeping them safe while still maintaining a strong Wi-Fi connection, was a very big deal.  Think about your garage layout.  How would you achieve maximum return for 2 cars plugging in?  For that matter, wouldn't it be nice to offer a recharge opportunity when friends come over with their plug-in vehicle?  Needless to say, there is reason to celebrate.  Both are now active.  Rather than taking 5.5 hours to recharge, we can do it in just 2 hours.  We can also take advantage of grid power for heating & cooling before leaving the garage.  Think about how great that will be in the dead of Winter, here in Minnesota.  This is very exciting!  Imagine getting into a pre-warmed vehicle in the comfort of your garage on those freaky cold days.  The rapid recharge is obviously nice too.


Recognizing Change.  When a former foe says this, take notice: "Really comes down to cost, range is just one attribute, we have the remember the Prime which has less than half the range of the Volt already is outselling it..."  Why some continue to insist upon one particular path is beyond me.  Thankfully, he saw the light.  Heck, Toyota did too.  Taking notice of market change is how Prius PHV rollout ended up stopping.  The recognized how more could be offered without impacting cost... hence multiple attributes.  The catch is finding balance.  Volt's range is too much, since it pushed price too high.  Prime seems to have hit much closer to the mark.  We'll find out as the year progresses just how close.  I've said all along there are different purchase priorities for mainstream consumers than there are for enthusiasts.  The response was for the enthusiast to quote me out of context, making it seem as though I was in support of only one aspect.  It as an ironic approach, especially when their own favor was the very thing they highlighted.  Accuse your foe of the very thing you are guilty of.  Those days aren't over.  But what was said today does provide an aspect of hope.  Change can be slow & painful for some.  Progress is still progress though.


Executive Ranks.  We hear a lot of rhetoric from the top.  A friend of mine started a thread today suggesting: "Do the job; deliver the product, and; move on."  That's good advice.  With the automakers, it has been an ongoing problem.  I jumped into that with:  That's quite unlike the hype machine we know as GM.  Their ever-changing story, along with many examples of "over promise, under deliver", has staged the market in favor of Toyota's quiet advance.  How Tesla fit into the big picture had been a head-scratcher for mainstream consumers.  There was never any way that amazing vehicle simply referred to as Model S could become mainstream in that form.  We (the well-informed pursuing electrification) knew from the start it was only a stage toward reaching the mass-market goal.  Model 3 is what will bring Tesla a very big step forward.  There are many steps to go still though.  Seemingly simple efforts, like home recharging, end up being rather complicated for more reasons than we care to admit.  That's where I see Toyota contributing heavily to the quest Tesla is on.  With such a wide & diverse market, we need to hit every aspect the consumer will have to deal with.  Toyota can help greatly with the transition from hybrid to plug through Prime.  They have a massive Prius owner base to leverage.  They have also configured Prime in a way that will stir some interest from those wanting a Toyota but were not interested in Prius or any other hybrid.  It other words, Toyota is working on bringing up the base at the same time Tesla is establishing the target.  It's a win-win situation.  We do wonder how other legacy automakers will handle the transition.  GM will run out of tax-credits sometime next year, triggering a phaseout which will result in profit loss.  The current high MSRP and low sales doesn't cast the situation in an appealing light... hence things like that rant.


Only Facts.  The nature of hypocrisy boils down to comments like this: "If they were only facts instead of slams against Volt and GM we'd let it slide."  They certainly don't react that way when the situation is reversed.  Ironically, that's how the slams came about in the first place.  Had only facts been considered, no reason would have emerged for bringing attention to source.  I try to avoid getting the last word in, since giving the perception of defeat is an effective means of concluded pointless arguments.  But in this case, since the facts themselves were disregarded, it was worth it.  They chose messenger, rather than message.  So, I responded.  After all, there was a look of undermining in the past that took advantage of facts not being available.  I posted:  We know that isn't true.  Facts alone get voted down too.  And why not call out GM to prevent repetition of the same mistakes?  That's how progress is made.  You learn and adjust accordingly.  We also know that facts are exploited by the omission of context.  In fact, that's how the videos came about.  Some here would make vague claims.  Showing detail debunked those efforts to mislead.

6-10-2017 Divergence.  The opportunity to discuss big picture issues emerged today.  That came about from a thread with posts about Hyundai.  Having another prominent automaker take a chance at competing directly with Prius is stirring interest... promoting questions of purpose & motive.  Far too often, assumptions are made with respect to automaker intent.  It is nice being able to look at what's really involved.  I obviously have much to say in that respect:

We are about to see a divergence, just like the computer industry went through once upon a time... so long ago, many are unaware of that history.

CPU speed indicated how the computer package was configured in the retail world.  Faster meant more memory and larger hard-drive.  It was elegantly simple, making the sale of them to newbies far less of a challenge.  That worked great.  It helped establish the industry, making their product a household device.  Eventually, the device became personal & portable, taking on traits well beyond the original concept.

The idea of an EV fulfilling all roles of transport was a good means of proving the technology worthy.  That isn't ultimately how to sell it though.  Households with multiple vehicles could easily exploit the abilities of a lower-capacity EV.  Who cares?  All you're running around for errands and short commutes could be done with a vehicle like that.  What if you're retired and don't need to travel long distances?  For that matter, same could be true for a student.

We need to take a serious look at the problem "faster & further" is causing.  That mindset is not helpful when attempting to attract the masses.  Some simply see that as overkill, an expense they are unable or unwilling to accept.  Also, think about how long it would take to fully recharge a large battery for a person who is limited using to a 120-volt outlet.

Take a look at "computers" now.  We see far more than just desktops of the past.  There are notebooks, tablets, and phones.  All have a common purpose.  All provide computing in their own way though.  All get the job done.  Yet, prices & configurations varying tremendously.


PHV to Prime.  There's growing excitement emerging from the prospects of Prime.  It seems obvious that Prime has more to offer, but PHV really wasn't well understood.  So, I am now getting asked questions like this: "Since you driven the previous Prius PHV for so long, how does the driving feel compare do you say?"  That was the first comment posted on that new video I just shared.  It's nice having context already, a thorough background viewers are already aware of.  That made this reply an easy one:  Figuring out how & what to film took awhile, but that gave me a decent chance to play with the system in the meantime.  There's much more EV power available now.  Between the larger battery to supply electricity and the one-way clutch added to allow the second motor to contribute to propulsion, the only needed reply is to suggest a test-drive.  You'll see for yourself how much potential Prime has for interest from ordinary consumers.  The system itself is more efficient.  That final 4.8 miles/kWh result tells us a lot about how refined the design has become.  HV performance is routinely above 60 MPG too.  I love it!  Even the trip my wife and I took across South Dakota at 80 mph was amazing, with the A/C running.  It handles well and is efficient no matter how you drive.


Video - 30 Miles of EV.  I setup the cameras to capture my drive to the further of my favorite coffee shops.  This time, it would be with my new Prius Prime.  A few months ago, that drive was with the Prius PHV it just replaced.  This is a route I'd like to capture throughout a year, to show how well the system handles each of the seasons.  Watch for new videos.  Turns out, the nice summer evening was great for just driving around.  Upon finishing what I intended to share, I realized the situation would be ideal to show how far a Prius Prime can actually go on a single charge in ordinary driving conditions just like that.  So, I did.  At that point, you can see the 15 miles EV traveled and the estimated 16.6 miles of electric-only capacity remaining with the cabin blower on.  That was clearly enough to repeat the trip.  When I returned, 30 miles of EV had been traveled and the estimate showed 0.9 mile remaining.  I continued on, repeating that route again.  At 30.6 miles total, the EV capacity had been totally depleted and the engine started up, switching from EV to HV mode.  That's well above the 25-mile EV rating listed on the window-sticker, achieved without doing anything special at all.  I was simply driving along with traffic on those suburb roads.  Speed ranged from 30 to 55 mph, with a few stops along the way.  Here it is:  Prius Prime - 30 Miles of EV


Price Matters.  There is some deep resentment among a select few Volt enthusiasts, because I kept pushing so hard for an affordable choice.  That meant compromise, agreeing upon a balance of configuration rather than trying to justify an extreme.  Having proven my concern was valid and not simply an attempt to undermine Volt, a few have given in to the idea... finally.  Of course, it isn't without a little remaining animosity: "If John the Prius addict has any leg to stand on (he really doesn’t), it would be his point about Prime showing that price matters."  Being so outspoken about making plug-in choices for the masses is very much a bittersweet situation.  I can contribute a great deal toward the replacement of traditional vehicles, but that requires a partnership rather than superiority.  Agreeing upon goals is how that's done... not getting so tied to principal that change is nearly impossible.  That status quo is very difficult to overcome and their naive assumptions really hampered the effort.  Oh well, too little too slowly is better than nothing ever.  I hit back with, making sure to end with that simple perspective reminder:  Nicely under $30,000.  The reason you associate my efforts to promote affordable plug-in vehicles with Prius is that Toyota was the first to actually deliver.  Don't be pretending I haven't pointed out the need for VOLT LITE countless times in the past.  Eventually, GM will figure out that target which they set is vital for mainstream acceptance.  Perhaps even some here will finally recognize that's what I have been pushing right from the very beginning.  That's why I was never impressed by the desire to go faster & further.  It was always a matter of seeing how much you could deliver for that target... which has always been nicely under $30,000.  And when a model of Volt is rolled out that actually meets that affordability criteria, we can all breathe a sigh of relief… and less polluted air.  200 MPG


New Greenwashing.  Old Techniques.  An article is published from either a poorly informed writer or from a source with the intent to mislead.  It's really difficult to tell the difference sometimes.  If your response is timid or vague, there will be antagonist to exploit it or an innocent reader to spread it.  That too is very difficult to differentiate.  For example: "Many thought the Prius Prime might function like a Volt, but were disappointed to find out it still worked like a traditional hybrid..."  How do you address that with no context or references to work with?  I have encountered that situation countless times in the past.  It never gets any easier.  Those same old techniques carry over to new greenwashing.  Ugh.  I tried my best to deal with that one this way:  Sounds like you are unaware that Prius Prime is an upgrade just recently rolled out, a next-generation successor to the Prius PHV you describe.  The incorrect assumption is understandable.  Early orders of Prime are still being delivered.  It is very, very new.  That older offering used plug-supplied electricity to boost MPG, not to deliver an EV driving experience.  Back when it was introduced, that's what the market wanted.  Preference changed over time, as added battery-capacity became affordable.  Driving for the first 25 to 30 miles is all EV, only electricity. Function is very much like Volt.  The only resemblance to a traditional hybrid is after the battery has been depleted, delivering MPG much higher than Volt.


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