Prius Personal Log #823
July 22, 2017 - July 29, 2017
Last Updated: Sat. 10/21/2017
page #822 page #824 BOOK INDEX
Recognizing Change. The belief that hiding facts
somehow makes the situation better: "We will just keep pressing the down-vote
button." After 10 such votes, the message disappears.
That's so idiotic, I'm in dismay. It is the literal online equivalent
of sticking your head in the sand. The belief is that if you can't see
the problem, somehow it isn't a problem anymore. Ugh. This is
how I dealt with that absurdity in today's nonsense:
With Tesla & Nissan pushing GM from the EV direction and Toyota pushing GM from the PHEV direction, you'll find there is no group of deniers to down-vote anymore. That past of blind hope is now an ugly chapter in history they want to distance themselves from. GM screwed up. The choice now is to pretend that didn't happen or finally embrace change.
Look at all the PHEV choices coming to market. None shared the configuration of Volt. People don't want a compact hatchback with that size battery. The vehicle is too small and the price too large. Let it go. This isn't the death of plug-in hybrids for GM. This is just a reset. The original configuration failed to obtain mainstream sales.
The next offering from GM will likely break the ideals Volt enthusiasts held dear. Well too bad. They are not the intended audience. GM will be shifting focus away from conquest buyers and over to their own showroom shoppers. Instead of trophies, they will be working to deliver commissions for salespeople. Ordinary purchases has become the goal.
It is truly amazing how the mismatch of priorities carried on for so long. Fortunately, the group of enablers continued to shrink. Now, there are only a handful remaining. Remember all those voices of the past who are long gone, who have let go and moved on? Give yourself credit from remaining strong & true, but also be sensible enough to recognize the need for change.
Reset Button. The end of Volt as we know has left
some in dismay: "Why are you still commenting here?" Or is it
really just an impression they wish to portray? Having endured their
relentless attacks only to be redeemed in the end would leave a person that
way. He gave his all for something he truly believed it. Though
misguided and poorly informed, he really did think consumers would find Volt
compelling. Not understanding either the market or the audience set
him up for trouble... which is exactly what I became to him. Oh well.
Maybe he'll walk away from this defeat having learned from mistakes.
After all, anyone that persistent has demonstrated a strength you want in
allies. Friendships can emerge from fundamental misunderstandings.
After all, a shared experience is something to cherish. Think about
game playing. Just because one loss happened doesn't mean they will
have the same outcome. Press the reset button, then try again:
For an entire decade, Volt enthusiasts attempted to convince people that Volt was a vehicle for the masses. They even went as far as saying mainstream volume would be realistic by the end of year-2. When that didn't happen, we were assured year-2 of the next generation would achieve that milestone instead.
Whether you consider those reasons stated as sound assessment with strong merit or they were just desperate excuses didn't matter. Patience was required regardless. So, we all waited. Now with the end of year-2 gen-2 coming to a close, it is undeniably clear things went horribly wrong. The tax-credit will soon be used up and sales are still at the low level they had been prior to the upgrade.
That presents the Volt enthusiasts with a choice. Their want failed. That means taking a serious look at need now instead. Will the do that or will it be more holding firm to talking points? There is opportunity. After all, virtually none of the mainstream buyers have actually shopped for a plug-in vehicle yet.
We know for a fact GM shoppers couldn't care less about a compact hatchback. This market is obsessed with taller vehicles... to the point where even the raised cargo floor in Prime is seen as advantageous, since it prevents the need to bend down and lift to remove contents. Like it or not, that's the way it is.
Taking the same battery-pack and same propulsion system in Volt and placing it into a compact SUV body makes a whole lot of sense. The power & capacity are clearly overkill for the little car but would be a nice fit for the larger vehicle. Customers would be much more likely to pay a premium for that, since it is in the body style they prefer.
It's really unfortunate certain individuals here fought so hard to push change in a direction the status quo would not accept. They absolutely refused to read the writing on the wall. But now that so many voices are saying the same thing, it is time to decide. Press the reset button or make more excuses.
Renewed Attacks. OMG! Did it really have to come to this: Listening to this group exclaim "vastly superior" and boast about how much faster GM would be at rolling out technology has earned me the opportunity to point out missed goals and ask questions. Why is the first CUV/SUV using Voltec still 5 years away? That is a reasonable question to ask, especially in a thread loaded with FUD and red herrings attempting to paint a rosy picture for GM. Reading an op-ed this morning about GM electric vehicles, the writer highlights the very thing I've been saying for years. Volt didn't target GM's own customers, who prefer larger vehicles. Finding out it will take 15 years from of development to finally reach that required target audience is good reason to comment here. Too little, too slowly was a legitmate concern. Delivery expectations were indeed missed. Profitable high-volume sales continue to remain uncertain. Not having a form-factor shopping want is a major contributor to that problem. In other words, it's your turn to listen now.
Business Approach. There is a certain pleasure from reading stuff
like: "We are all waiting for the day your posts fade away." Coming
from such a hypocritical source, the irony leaves me scratching my head
sometimes. What is he thinking? Anywho, I responded with: Being correct about GM's flawed approach means you will be
hearing the message for a very long time still, even without more posts.
Who is the market for Volt? That question got asked scores of times for
good reason… which is now overwhelmingly obvious. Back then, there were lots
of excuses for the mismatch though. GM built a compact hatchback, a vehicle
GM's own customers simply were never interested in. Too little, too
slowly. That was the concern expressed over and over and over again to
get across the point that a minimum production volume must be achieved for
the vehicle to be sustainable. Again, there were lots of excuses for the
delay. There was no merit for all the boasting either. One size fits all.
Raising awareness about the importance of diversity was an endless &
thankless effort to get GM back on track. 2 suggestions were repeatedly
made. Making a "lite" version of Volt would have put GM ahead of the
industry that is now working to flood the market with choices just like
that. Making a SUV which reused the technology already in Volt would have
aligned price & demand. Ironically. The fade won’t happen in a
desirable fashion. Success means becoming common. Becoming common means no
longer having the spotlight. When a technology is accepted by the masses,
that thing that made it special changes. In other words, rather than fade
away, you'll see reminders everywhere & often about the business approach
Grid Operation. Having the opportunity to experiment & observe has been scarce. There's lots to learn still and I want to enjoy Summer at the same time. So, doing things like comparing operation of chargers while drawing electricity from the grid simply hasn't been a priority. I did get to give it a try recently. The curiosity was how much electricity for remote running of A/C could be from the plug rather than the battery. Could all of it be supplied that way, some, or none? This was my brief observation posted, with hopefully detail to follow in the not-too-distance future: Just tried the test on a second charger. With my charger at home (JuiceBox 40 Pro), the grid draw took place while the A/C was running. With the ChargePoint station at work, the grid draw didn't begin until after the A/C had finished. In both cases, I started with full battery-pack. The difference I noticed was 3.6 kW verses 3.1 kW. (Home provides more power.) Anyone know what the A/C draw on max is?
Signs of Change. This observation confirmed it: "Lots of new commentators..." It's a repeat of the pattern I have observed several times in the past. The fact that others are now seeing it too is informative. Ironically, that particular message came from an antagonist in response to a new commenter. He's finding himself quite alone now. So many troublemakers of the past have simply vanished with no sign of why. Of course, I know why. If you've been reading the blogs, you know too. Yet another chapter has closed and a new one beginning. This is when new characters and new plot is introduced. Right now, it's happening. Sweet! This was my one-sentence reply to that post: When common voices of the past fade into the background, replaced by new ones, it is confirmation of the next step forward.
Consequences: Interest for SUVs. Sitting higher up has, by far, been the biggest reason for SUV purchases. Getting in & out is easier. It's that simple... now. In the past, they were marketed as safer. When that was revealed as false, we saw the reasoning shift. Combined with cheap gas and a complacency for oil & emissions, those high-profit vehicles have been the focus for many. Unfortunately, that has led to market-saturation... hence some of the challenges emerging now. Smaller and more efficient choices, in tall design vehicles, appear to be the solution.
Consequences: Voltec's Future. Volt never made any sense. Denying it was anything other than a niche was horribly counter-productive. So much opportunity was missed as a result. GM customers simply weren't interested in a compact car with limited leg & head room in the back seats. Strong demand has been on the form-factor SUVs deliver. Despite obvious efficiency sacrifice, there was a clear preference for tall vehicle bodies. Fortunately, the excessive battery & power capacity of Volt can be carried over effectively to a SUV, making it a more balanced offering that's actually competitive... something GM's own shoppers will be drawn to.
Consequences: So, what comes next? Looking at Volt, it should be indisputable that it does not match the purchase priorities of GM's own loyal customers. Those shopping dealer showroom floors overwhelmingly prefer a SUV of some sort. Equinox has become a top-seller. The smaller Trax is gaining popularity. Looking a the production plant situation. 9 are severely under capacity and 8 are severely over capacity. Writing is on the wall that change is necessary. Build plans will need to change.
Consequences: Caught totally unprepared. What a mess. Despite countless warnings of this coming, there is upset. Rejection of the importance of business objectives was a self-destructive choice. The original sales goal of 60,000 annual (5,000 monthly) was set for good reason. It was a minimum for sustainability. Recognized as a "mainstream" level for other technologies, there was no valid reason for refusal to accept it. Yet, that's exactly what happened and now the consequences must be dealt with... after the fact. What a terrible waste of time.
Consequences: What should GM's goal be? I started asking that recently, many, many times. It was a strategy to point out what was coming soon. Enthusiasts obviously couldn't see it. I could. The pattern was very easy to recognize. Stating a goal is how you get beyond personal conflict. Focusing on an objective makes taking that next step easier. Rather than do it though, there were attacks from antagonists and a lot of enabler reaction. Sure enough, the bottom fell out. Disappointing news did indeed come.
Consequences: Shoot the messenger. That is no longer possible. Having a scapegoat was a sign of trouble routinely disregarded. It was easier than making excuses. You place blame for stirring the status quo, which ironically was the goal anyway, by just dismissing what was posted as an attempt to undermine. Seeing the effort as outside assistance to help overcome challenges of legacy barriers were instead labeled as "troll" posts... even though they were actually on topic, which by definition is not what a troll does.
Consequences: Yesterday's revelation. As with other failed attempts to overcome the status quo, a day of reckoning arrived. Predictably, it was at the conclusion of the second year of sales. That's exactly what happened with both Two-Mode and the first generation Volt. It is inevitable. The future must be addressed before unwanted speculation emerges. Volt faces a struggle just to maintain sales. With the upcoming phaseout of tax-credits, the hope for growth to mainstream levels was futile.
Consequences: Significant cost reduction. It became the theme for gen-2 Volt. Rather than seriously consider diversification in the form of offering a variety of battery & power choices (search for "Volt lite" discussions), all focus was placed on the next-generation design bringing down cost so significantly, there would no longer be any concern about being competitive with traditional vehicles, even without the benefit of a tax-credit.
Consequences: Too Little, Too Slowly. That had been the biggest concern from the start. Regardless of what happened with rollout of the technology initially, it needed to be adapted & adopted quickly. We were assured that was no big deal... by enthusiasts. They proclaimed GM's rollout & diversification would "leap frog" what we saw with Prius and its spread of HSD to a Sedan, Minivan, and SUV. Assurances came in the form of "vastly superior" chanting... over and over and over and over again.
Consequences: Who is the market for Volt? That question is what came
about as a result. It was a deliberate effort to draw attention to the
self-destructive behavior taking place. Fanboi cries were becoming the voice
of potential buyers, even though it was clear they were not the audience
required for achieving high-volume profitable sales. GM fell into that
trap, choosing to cater to cries rather than listen to the whispers of their
own loyal customers.
Consequences. This particular quote really sent me off on the role of play offense: "Heed these warnings GM, or suffer the economic consequences of your one track (advertising) mindedness." Wow! Talking about a revelation far too late!! I posted this and the following log entries to give that group in denial a serious wake-up call: That's what Volt enthusiasts did for an entire decade. They kept pushing faster & further... over and over and over and over again... an endless stream of Volt being better because it delivers more. That was so blatant of a fanboi obsession, it was obvious their priorities would be a very real problem. An absence of balance is reason for serious concern.