Prius Personal Log  #835

October 2, 2017  -  October 5, 2017

Last Updated: Sat. 10/21/2017

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10-05-2017

The Push, waste.  I was accused of wasting their time.  Ironically, the push is to get an opposite outcome... to get them to finally shake the "good enough" attitude.  It's so frustrating to watch the goal-posts get pushed every time monthly results are posted.  Each effort to excuse lack of progress is pointless.  Yet, that's what gets applause anyway.  Praise is given for technical achievement, regardless of whether or not it actually advances mainstream penetration.  Ugh.  Oh well, that's why the push is so important.  I punched back:  Yet, I end up with reams of information as a result.  The feedback here is fantastic!  Replacing traditional vehicles quickly is the goal.  Having to put up with spin & rhetoric is totally worth figuring out how to effectively do that.  What would you like to see happen with Bolt and Volt over the next 12 months?

10-05-2017

The Push, serious.  It continued:  If GM is at all serious about pushing Bolt sales, the tax-credit eligibility tally will hit 200,000 phaseout in the first half of 2018.  If sales are slower, by the end of third quarter.  Either way, this time next year it will be reduced by 50%.  Why squander those precious few tax-credit opportunities on spin with pointless misquoting?  What a waste.  Notice how vague that "all-electric" talk was the other day?  What did that really tell us?  We need a concise message of intent now.

10-05-2017

The Push, message.  Timing is interesting.  Kickoff of the autoshow season usually is.  I continued my push using some of that new information just released:  Speaking of the message GM is sending, notice their eAssist plans for 2018 pickups just announced?  15 kW electric motor.  $1,125 for an upgrade providing what?  123 kW (front) and 50 kW (rear) electric motors from the current generation of Highlander hybrid.  The next generation should deliver a decent upgrade and will be built in the United States.  GM history & experience with Two-Mode should put them on course for delivering much more.  Why is there no push for that?  Why is the eAssist plan considered good enough?

10-05-2017

The Push, diversion.  Hope is that diversion of attention will somehow make the situation better: "Did you happen to notice that the RAV4h outsold the Prius this month?  Dealers steering buyers from 52mpg to a 32mpg?"  I know that isn't the case, having got confirmation of it directly from my local dealer.  People looking to purchase a RAV4 anyway end up seriously considering the hybrid model.  A surprising number of them end up getting one too.  So, the claim of switching from Prius is a stretch, at best.  I pushed back with:  How many of the potential RAV4 hybrid buyers will look at the 52 MPG rating for the sporty new Camry hybrid and give pause?  I could understand GM seeking a balance with Bolt and Volt, offering diversity for their customers.  In fact, that makes a whole lot of sense.  Unfortunately, that isn't the message being conveyed.  Instead, it's abandonment.  Volt is struggling due to lack of attention being given.  Neither GM nor enthusiasts are showing interest anymore.  This time next year, the expectation is for tax-credit to have dropped to $3,750.  How is that going to help Volt, which is stuck with gradually falling sales already? My point is GM and enthusiasts better get their act together quickly.  Come up with a concise marketing message.  Wasting precious time (too little, too slowly) on pointless tit-for-tat arguments is an incredibly poor choice.  Though, ironically, that same behavior actually favors Toyota.  More attention given to its array of complimentary offerings is beneficial.  The day of reckoning has arrived.  How will you proceed?

10-05-2017

The Push, bickering.  Choice of response to my push was: "Did you happen to notice that the RAV4h outsold the Prius this month?  Dealers steering buyers from 52mpg to a 32mpg?"  What do they hope to accomplish with bickering like that?  It doesn't achieve anything.  It does make them feel better though.  I wasn't about to put up with it:  Toyota adapted to the market favor for SUV.  GM still hasn't.  What's your point?  Toyota also upgraded Prius to Prime, another planned adaptation without mid-cycle interruption.  Tit-For-Tat all you want.  The point is progress forward and the enthusiast here fought against the very move GM has made.  That's incredibly hypocritical.  All the "range anxiety" hype, for what?

10-05-2017

The Push, ironic.  Celebration about Bolt says with no regard to what that does for Volt is really getting big.  That hypocritical response amazes me.  They don't care.  As long as there is some type of victory to celebrate.  Ugh.  I started my push on the Volt enthusiasts with:  Isn't it ironic that "too little, too slowly" ended up being competition from within?  Concern about showroom shoppers should have never have been dismissed.  Bolt cannibalizing Volt sales...  So much for "range anxiety".

10-04-2017

Too Late.  Waiting is truly a terrible choice.  Yet, that is the preferred approach: "We'll deal with the post-credit prices when we reach that point."  Over and over again, we have witnessed reaction following something prove to be a great loss.  Remember the dramatic price reduction for Volt when inventory pile-up became a huge problem?  After the initial surge of sales faded, owners were discovering the value of their vehicle had plummeted.  So, on top of having to pay more in the first place, they now had a vehicle worth much less.  Ugh.  Unintended consequences come from not planning ahead.  Being proactive is always the better choice.  How many times has the "rested on their laurels" comment come up lately about Toyota, yet that's exactly what enthusiasts are advocating for GM.  Again, ugh.  Annoyed, I posted:  Waiting to react is too late.  Getting caught mid-cycle without a plan already in place is costly mistake.  Think about how close the GM is to triggering phaseout.  If price can be lowered without serious profit loss, great... no change in price won't help at all though.  Growth needs to be promoted somehow.  Notice the struggle Volt is already having?  Be proactive.  Don't wait.

10-04-2017

Who?  For crying out loud!  He still either didn't understand or didn't want to accept that I could just be motivated by a desire to help.  Why is there such a blindness to anything other than financial gain?  I tried to provide more information:  I wasn't dodging the question either.  I was stunned to find out that this ENTHUSIAST venue showed such little interest in the mass market.  KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE.  Mainstream consumers are much more difficult to reach.  The faster & further is great, but lacks balance.  There are many other issues to address still.

10-04-2017

Other Perspectives.  Pushing the belief that I must work for Toyota is mindboggling: "It's the only way I can wrap my head around someone advocating a sub-par PHEV in an EV enthusiast forum."  You'd think at this point in internet history, the realization that motive beyond being paid exists.  I want to contribute something to make our world a better place.  What a concept!  Ugh.  I finally replied to the nonsense with:  I'm a customer representing ORDINARY CONSUMERS, which is why the enthusiast opinion make little difference.  You can "sub-par" until the cows come home.  It won't make any difference.  Mainstream buyers just plain don't care.  Enjoy your niche.  That's perfectly fine, but is in no way representative of what someone shopping the showroom floor is looking for.

10-04-2017

Poorly.  That new blogging website I have been frequently posting on recently has quite a few of the same problems that Volt blog had: "That's the only way I can imagine someone who frequents this site not understanding how poorly Toyota has done with EVs & PHEVs."  It was the assumption that I worked for Toyota.  How could I possibly have an interest in the well-being of many automakers, with a focus on plugging in instead?  It's absurd that a website supposedly trying to promote EVs would not have an attitude of cooperation.  Unfortunately, we're seeing a quite a bit if bickering based upon battery-capacity.  Everything from charging speed to blocking charger spaces comes up routinely.  The supposed problems with small are quite an issue for them... hence the "poorly" attitude.  They are very much of the "more is better" perspective.  That's sad.  I fired back:  Coming to that conclusion requires a disregard for profit and a dependence on tax-credits.  Anyone can slap in a larger battery-pack for good show.  Making real change though requires an effort to actually target the masses, instead of just trying to please those who frequent this site.  True leadership is often difficult to understand, especially when economics must take precedent to engineering.

10-03-2017

September Sales.  As anticipated, Volt is stuck at a low with 1,453 for the month.  Remember how we saw gen-1 sales between 1,600 and 1,700 for nearly two full years?  The rollout of gen-2 was supposed to usher in a growth boom.  That didn't happen... not even close.  In fact, sales are struggling so much, few have wanted to talk about Volt.  There are too many other plug-in hybrid choices emerging... none from GM though.  We have arrived at a turning point.  There is no denying the paradigm shift taking place.  With sales of Prime at 1,899 for the month, there are encouraging signs of strong growth potential.  My dealer only had a single model in stock.  Others locally are very limited too.  But with such an appealing price and an array of draw factors, discussions are stirring.  That's exciting.  I can't wait until inventory does finally get built up.  In the meantime, we're stuck with focus on GM rather than Toyota.  I'm working to change that though:  Volt needs more than just a price reduction to be competitive.  Remember, there's serious competition on the showroom floor.  The sales numbers for Equinox, Malibu, Cruze, Traverse, and Trax are all harsh reminders of what GM has placed Bolt & Volt against.  Toyota worked really hard to get in front of the entire industry to deliver an affordable plug-in hybrid that also offers a variety of other appeal factors.  This list highlights some of those potential draws to deal with the pressure from all parts of the market.

10-03-2017

Overnight Chaos.  I went to bed having the knowledge that GM's announcement to introduce "at least 20 new all-electric vehicles that will launch by 2023" was already a confusing mess.  It left so much to assumption that even former allies were now foes, simply because their interpretation of what had actually been said was different.  Personally, I wanted to find out what "all-electric" actually means and what the production intent was.  That makes sense and seems reasonable; yet, there was backlash anyway.  The attitude was quite surprising, in fact.  Well, overnight, things went from uncertain to chaos with this: "GM Will Go All Electric, Will Ditch Gas And Diesel".  That was the title of the article.  It opened with this sentence: "General Motors plans to go 100 percent electric, the Detroit automaker announced Monday."  Where did all that come from?  Needless to say, I recognize the pattern.  We've seen this so many times before, there's no surprise anymore.  My blogging has become a chronicle of announcements gone wild.  Ugh.  What's most interesting is not that there's an complete absence of any timeline or volume expectation, it's the fact that GM's plan for the future clearly included fuel-cell vehicles.  That really upsets those who I rubbed the wrong way in the past, saying FCV will co-exist with EV.  The one-solution-for-all has completely fallen apart.  They cannot deal with multiple outcomes.  For me, that's been the foresight all along.  A quick study of real-world driving is all it takes to realize there's a wide variety of need.  Wanting one particular thing simply doesn't work.  Anywho, the uncertainty of what "all-electric" is telling us has really made a mess of things.  There is an element of certainty though.  Later today when September sales get revealed, expect the situation to get worse.  I anticipate a number of Volt enthusiasts looking for a scapegoat, doing whatever they can to feel better about the lack of sales growth.

10-02-2017 Innovator's Dilemma.  Typing up and posting this sure was an intriguing outcome of the crazy chapter that just started in vehicle efficiency history: 

Ironically, some of what innovator's dilemma highlights is why you and I have been clashing.

My focus is entirely about the masses, those mainstream consumers are who the first-generation plug-in offerings were not able to reach.  I couldn't care less what enthusiasts have to say at this stage about the past.  It's all about looking forward to grow the market.  A significant increase of sales quickly is essential.  That requires change.

Those potential buyers have very different purchase priorities.  Some of what had been a compelling draw to early-adopters may have little to no impact for this new audience.  The failure to appeal the same way is harsh reality to deal with.  Unexpected new problems emerge as a result and former strong players end up struggling to adapt.

Think about how welcome a disruptive technology is when it first enters the market.  Those willing to embrace it readily accept change.  That most definitely isn't how you'd describe an ordinary customer shopping for a replacement vehicle.  Somehow, the new technology must be made available in an entirely different manner than it had been introduced.

Are you ready to take on this next stage, willing to accept an approach necessary to rollout on the grand scale with little reward in return?  Successful ubiquitous implementation is a thankless job.  Few will recognize how much was truly accomplished, simply dismissing it as an "obvious" next step... even though you know that is anything but the true situation.

10-02-2017

Changing Definitions.  That is a clear indication of having moved on.  This new chapter in history is odd.  There's outright denial of the past, which is recognizable.  The part that's missing is having a goal.  What the heck is it?  Claims that "all electric" wasn't used differently ends up just being a red herring or a moot point, depending upon who responds.  There are some frequent posters that will end up feeling lost... especially when a supposed newbie like me chimes in on websites they previously had strong control over.  Disruption to the stability they had enjoyed is difficult to accept.  Seemingly simple things like the changing of definitions shake up expectations.  I come from outside with lots of information about how things were viewed and acted upon elsewhere.  Their instinct is to dismiss, assuming my claims are knowledge limited to personal experience... not well researched material collected over the past 17 years.  It's a shake up they are ill prepared for.  The abrupt alteration of posting content is quite a shock.  So... they change definitions to help deal with a new set of circumstances.  Hopefully, most of this won't become yet another episode of moving goal-posts.  Sometimes, their outright dismissal makes moving on easy.  We'll see.

10-02-2017

The End.  Rhetoric ramped up remarkably fast.  Fortunately, most of it was obvious trolling.  Antagonists found their bait didn't work well anymore.  Reaching the masses means fulfilling needs they don't find appealing.  Their focus on want was clearly misplaced.  I'm delighted how much of a mess the situation has become.  Lack of any message on their part makes consumer confusion far less of an issue.  You cannot undermine when there is no direction to mislead.  Put another way, this new twist of having vaguely announced a variety of "all electric" vehicles wrecks the faster & further mantra.  There's no way to push a one-size-fits-all approach when there's variety.  It really is that simple.  Where do you draw the line of acceptability?  I brought the day's nonsense from spin to chapter closing with:  In the end, it boils down to the argument about leadership.  Some firmly believed it was all about breaking new ground, rather than getting ordinary people to change.  Now, they're discovering the ground is already broken and the work to appeal to mainstream consumers is a much bigger effort than they imagined.

 

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