Prius Personal Log #826
August 10, 2017 - August 17, 2017
Last Updated: Sat. 10/21/2017
page #825 page #827 BOOK INDEX
If anything whatsoever was updated for Prius post-purchase, for any reason at all, their
was a huge outcry... There was an intense effort to create a stigma
for "recall" work. Treating it as an upgrade was unheard of.
The vehicle was supposed to be perfect at the point of sale.
Improvement was looked upon as apologist spin. What a pain, especially
now with such hypocrisy playing out with gen-2 Volt recalls. There
have been 3 recently. Recall #16185 was" "Replace fuse and
reprogram Hybrid Powertrain Control Module". Recall #17058 was: "Reprogram
Drive Motor Power Inverter Module". Recall
#17197 was "Inspect Evaporative Emission Pipe. Installed Protector".
Remember the claims we were all going to die from Prius? Ugh.
It's really unfortunate how they change their tune when the shoe is on the
So Vague. What do you do with a Prime supporter that is a very frequent forum poster, but had higher expectations and won't actually purchase one as a result? He's always so vague and has the one-size-fits-all perspective. Today, his comment was: "Toyota is being forced into plug-ins." I found that particularly annoying due to the complete absence of detail. What does that actually mean? On the surface, it sounds like it has merit. But that's the basis of rhetoric. When you take a close look, there isn't anything there to support the claim. That is the case with this too. No substance is frustrating. So, I shot back with: That is so vague, it could mean anything. Try again with some detail, any sort of specific will do... like time, volume, cost, capacity... Then, think about how those comments apply to all legacy automakers. I see the continued push from Toyota in the form of electrification, not EV range as most. What's the point if you don't have an efficient & affordable collection of components. It should be obvious with Prime's design under the hood. The ramp-up of lithium production for both Prius & Prime/PHV is not so obvious, be just as vital. How will expansion to other vehicles, Camry & RAV4, happen without the production & reputation of the needed components well established first?
Choice. The push now is for enthusiasts to make a choice. Since the original rollout of Volt went horribly wrong, they have refused to take a stance. In fact, that's what makes them an "enthusiast" rather than a "supporter". That decision in the past to just observe and forgive GM for mistakes is no longer acceptable. They have exhausted that position, which as proven ineffective. That's why claims like this are no longer going to be tolerated: "I don't see Volt being summarily discontinued because of an Equinox diesel offering." The perspective spin and lack of any type of commitment on their parts is very much a problem. They have become anti-plug by the simple act of holding it back. Impeding advancement with a "good enough, let's wait & see" attitude is terrible. We waited for gen-2. Now what are we waiting for? Asking questions like this is well timed. With so much polarization of sides in the political world, you can no longer sit on the sidelines. You must make a choice. Put up or shut up. I stated the situation this way: Too little, too slowly doesn't mean discontinue. It means not enough. Remaining a niche offering fails at the goal of replacing traditional vehicles. There's no way for you to spin sales count falling well short of mainstream competition upon start of the 8th year, especially with so much of an industry endorsement for electrification now. The reality that GM is dragging its feet... which ironically, is exactly what Toyota was said to have done... is a problem you have to face. The choice is to excuse & enable or push for a next step. Which is it? Choose.
Characterization. The outcome of getting caught having made a mistake or overlooked something vital is to spin the situation. Done often enough, the spin itself becomes spin: "Characterization as abandonment instead of improvement is yet another cheap troll shot." The catch this time though was that every noticed what happened. Spin only works if someone goes along with it. Being totally alone means defeat. It's over. I get to sum up the situation: I get the "broken record" characterization for staying true to goals. We have now heard both that experience with motor & battery prior to Volt apply to the development effort for Voltec and do not. What does that make the contradictory timeline you posted? Realistically, it doesn't matter anymore. As of this discussion topic, the timeline has expired anyway. Year-2 of Gen-2 is when the critical decisions get made. 7 years after rollout, GM has chosen to promote diesel instead. Cruze diesel will be joined by Equinox diesel. Eventually, another technology that takes advantage of GM's now even more expansive experience with motor & battery will be rolled out and characterized as new. The reason why is simple… not to be associated with failures of the past. Odds are, it will be successful… but will resemble what's being offered by other automakers... due to goals. They never change. Replacing traditional vehicles with clean & efficient choices is essential for the business.
Changing Stories. A few keep trying: "Those technologies mentioned were not
abandoned, they were improved into the Volt/Bolt tech we have today."
One attempt too many. He backed himself up to a cliff and actually
stepped off. That's far worse than being cornered. There's
nothing to do when you get caught spinning a situatin and end up
contradicting yourself. Over and over and over again, I pointed out
GM's past motor & battery rollouts. They dismissed them when
acknowledgement would reveal a mistake being repeated. But when the
mistake is the rollout itself, there's a very real problem. You cannot
ignore it. So, they try to embrace the very thing they had shunned.
You can't do that. The internet makes it very easy to prove you are
being hypocritical. In this particular case though, it isn't just
check, it's check-mate. Neither story works. Both cast GM in a
bad light. Whether endeavors prior to Volt count or not, the fact that
Volt itself is 7 years old means time is up. This isn't a final.
It's graduation. All the grades for each class have been tally.
GPA shows the difference between "A" students and those would will struggle
to get by. I found it redeeming for it to now be over. No more
having to deal with a bully. What was learned, and what was not, will
be obvious to others. I brought not having to deal with changing
stories anymore this way: All those years of supporting the claim that Voltec was new and we
needed to be patient and wait… Now what I've been saying all along is the
story? In that case, why is it taking so long? What is GM waiting for? Too little, too slowly...
What Next? It's like watching an accident in the making. You know the outcome will be a mess, even if there's a last minute course change: "Everyone is actively killing off diesel and GM is making new ones. Why?" I knew this would stir the pot. But it didn't matter. The pot was about to boil over anyway: GM has an extensive history of trying out a new technology, then abandoning it later... EV1, BAS, and Two-Mode. This is why the "too little, too slowly" concern was expressed over and over again. There was good reason to worry that Voltec would not be expanded upon... just like those other abandonments. Much emotion was expressed in regard to that concern, with personal attacks on the messenger and reassurances this very thing would never happen. Enthusiasts here could not see beyond the impressive engineering. They'd remind me over and over again how well Volt performed, every time business issues were brought up. Now those enthusiasts are seeing the same thing and questions of dismay emerge. Rather than a step forward with electrification, which reduces oil-dependency as well as emissions, we see a step backward to fill in the gap other automakers left with their step forward. Instead of an Equinox using Voltec, customers instead get the choice of diesel. So, what happens next?
Electric Bill. I'm still waiting for it. Turns out, the prior month isn't represented in the bill I just got. Tallied electricity consumption is for the month before that. I didn't realize there was a lag. I never occurred to me to look that close at the statement. I simply noted which day meter values would be read. For this new setup with the 2 sub-meters, I was expected 7 values to be noted. There's the 1 for regular electricity consumption throughout the house itself, then there's the breakdown of 3 billing categories used by the chargers for the 2 Prime. From the middle of the day is a cost of 11.68 to 13.08 cents per kWh. That variances is a warm verses cold season pricing difference. It spans from 8 AM to 4 PM. The killer cost comes from peak demand. During that 4 PM to 9 PM span, the cost per kWh is 41.444 cents. That much higher pricing is a deterrent to help minimize usage during that time. The late-night hours are the best for recharging. It gives your battery-pack a chance to cold soak, which is important for longevity. That wait is rewarded with a cost of 6.74 per kWh. It goes from 9 PM to 8 AM and also covers the entire weekend (all 48 hours). This isn't what the typical household will encounter for billing. My association is one of the leaders in the market. They take pride in not requiring customers to install entirely separate systems for charging... which can provide even better discounts, but includes a monthly fee. For me, it's just the one-time setup, then a cost-reduction of roughly half price. The meters are really nice too. They just cycle through each billing category, displaying the kWh tally. On the next electric bill, it should be nicely broken down to show the charges for charging from each. I can't wait! How often do you hear someone make a comment like that about getting a bill in the mail?
Know Your Audience. Nothing has emerged from the ashes. We've watched the same old rhetoric being given another chance. There's desperate hope that something will be different this time, that failure in the past won't repeat. No change of audience is a fatal oversight. Enthusiasts attempting to appeal to mainstream buyers didn't work in the past. Why would it work now? That mass market of ordinary car buyers simply are not interested in what excites an enthusiast. I especially liked this comment: "This, coming from you, on a GM-Volt website?" That perspective comes about when you are trapped so deep into a group-think issue that you've lost touch with expectations. That's usually referred to as not seeing the forest. Focus is so tight on a single tree, all the others are forgotten. It's a fatal mistake. Crucial clues go unnoticed. All you can do is wonder. Comment outright dismissed on the sole basis of being an outsider is lost opportunity. It's easy to confirm too. If nothing constructive is given in return, they are ignoring what isn't liked. Bad news is a challenge to accept. Refusing to accept is harmful. Fallout will come. There are consequences from not dealing with a problem. It won't just go away on its own. Ugh. Oh well. It's not like I don't keep trying to point out that audience still unknown to them: Being one of the few who recognized early on that Volt wasn't targeting GM's own shoppers and getting pushback for raising attention why, I wonder what that comment is intended to mean. Bolt is in a similar situation. As nice as it may be, those looking to replace their old GM vehicle with a new one simply won't be interested and there is little potential for profitable high-volume. The popularity of Equinox should make that obvious. Think about why loyal GM customers are paying a premium so they can guzzle cheap gas. What draws them to it? Notice how well even Trax is selling. Why is that?
Nothing Offered. Things are getting ugly as the market takes a step forward. Not all will advance. Some will even drop out of the race. New entries will join. It's very much a time of change. A few don't want to recognize it though: "If there are more/better plug-in SUV, CUV, and Trucks, vs. just plain hybrid versions, then they will quickly surpass hybrids." That look toward the hypothetical is a sign of trouble. We should be refining design at this point, not just considering the possibility of offering something. Ugh. Needless to say, that quote came from a die-hard GM defender, who refuses to listen to any type of attempt to be constructive... hence reverting back to "IF" considerations. Dealing with fallout is simply too much for him to handle... which is how you step forward... acknowledging an issue, then trying a different approach. Oh well. It's not like I don't keep trying to provide insight: Cost is the issue. Cost has always been the issue. That's why GM abandoned hybrid SUV production. There was simply no way to deliver something with a profit even remotely competitive against traditional counterparts. Remember Two-Mode? The plug-in prototype was grabbing media attention before reveal of the Volt concept. Difference was that SUV with a plug would retain parallel hybrid abilities and Volt would be a series hybrid. None of that worked out though. Cost continued to be the reason why. It was simply too expensive... and still is. Upcoming phaseout of tax-credits will make the situation worse. Needed growth has not happened. Loss of the $7,500 subsidy will make competing with those traditional counterparts much more difficult. Of course, the reality that GM doesn't offer any type of electricity-focused SUV pretty much makes it all a moot point.
Production & Sales Worldwide. Today's discussion topic on the daily blog was a question asking if Prime would outsell Volt this year. I quickly got labeled as a troll for posting this: "26,867 Prime have been sold worldwide between January & June of 2017. That puts Toyota on target with a production build capacity approaching 60,000 for the year." Taking into consideration any type of distribution outside of this market was looked upon as an effort to disrupt the status quo, therefore inviting attack. I see limitation of scope as a clear effort to undermine. We've hear a lot about "narratives" lately with political issues. They attempt to paint a picture based upon selective data, rather than taking all information into consideration. This is very much the same thing. For Toyota to strive to reach a wide variety of markets all within the first year requires quite a bit of work. Actually delivering a production quantity greatly exceeding that of the supposed competition is worthy of attention, not omission or dismissal. This is quite hypocritical too. Volt enthusiasts demanded exactly that when gen-1 was first rolled out. Refusing to accept the same for Prime is just plain wrong. There's no way to even spin it as a double-standard either. Production costs are driven down by volume. Where those sales take place doesn't matter. The economy-of-scale benefit happens regardless of location. Worldwide is great for shifting the paradigm too. Stir as much interest as quickly as possible.
Charge-Mode Video, part 2. There was follow-up to what I
originally posted. This was in the form of a comment reply to myself.
I wanted it to stand out and to give people the opportunity to respond
directly to it, should they find that point compelling. My point was
to stress that this wasn't a blanket endorsement by any means. Only
certain circumstances would yield a benefit. Others could result in an
efficiency penalty. Knowing the specifics is how to stir discussion
and begin the understanding. It's an on-going process. You pick
up more as each example is shared and analyzed. Having provided detail
is a good first step. Hopefully, people will take the time to watch
the video entirely and take time to think about the detail in comments
posted. Here's more to ponder:
Additionally, do not overlook this important comment, which influences consideration of use: NO PLACE TO PLUG IN
When you are out on vacation, there can indeed be a benefit from having some EV available. Rather than going through the warm-up cycle, you can avoid HV entirely. Under some circumstances, that will result in higher overall efficiency. For example, going out in the morning for breakfast. The engine is cold and you only need it for a brief time. EV could easily cover that real-world circumstance.
Also, there was the concluding comment about briefly
recharging: NOT THE ENTIRE 80%