Prius Personal Log #844
November 24, 2017 - November 28, 2017
Last Updated: Sun. 1/28/2018
page #843 page #845 BOOK INDEX
Legacy Automakers. Online posts are filled with
short-sighted, narrow-view perspectives. They simply don't see beyond
what's happening at the moment. To exacerbate the situation, they lack
the business or engineering background to even try having in-depth
discussions about the matter. It's often a hopeless extreme, where you
stand no chance of getting the message through. I keep trying though:
Tesla is not a legacy automaker. Anyone taking a serious look at the
market as a whole will notice EV sales now are still just low-hanging fruit,
dependent upon early-adopters and tax-credits. Being competitive with
traditional vehicles isn't realistic yet. Innovations, like the potential
solid-state batteries present, should change that. They are a number of
years away though. Convincing ordinary consumers to even consider
the purchase of an EV will remain a challenge even when price drops. Just
finding a way to recharge one EV can expensive. Adding a second EV to that
same garage can introduce problems people here participating in discussions
like this rarely want to address. They pretend adding a 40-amp line is no
big deal, a trivial effort for anyone interested. Think about how
straight-forward of an upgrade path Toyota is establishing for their own
loyal customers who could be interested in an EV later. Prius Prime will
usher in other Prime models. Adding a one-way clutch and larger battery-pack
to the Camry, RAV4, and CH-R hybrids provides an easy to understand benefit,
using an affordable approach. What will other legacy automakers do?
Hypocrites. When the antagonist starts posting repeats of what you posted years ago, but presents it as if they shared that same stance all along, you know things have changed. The attitude of enthusiasts back then was to discredit anyone who shared information that did not support their position. Now, they pretend that history never took place. This is an excellent example of that: "They often mention how a lot of the engineering that went into the EV1 was used for the Volt. Many of the same engineers even. That’s how engineering works. It’s an iterative process." When Volt was rolled out, enthusiasts claimed it was "all new" and nothing from the past efforts (EV1 & Two-Mode) was carried over. This "please be patient" excuse was used repeatedly for years. With that quote, that particular individual used it on a regular basis. I got negative votes routinely from pointing out that very history. He simply didn't care. Those preferring his narrative didn't either. They needed an excuse to justify the "too little, too slowly". Now, they need credibility, so taking the opposite stance is embraced. That's quite hypocritical. I could point out that contradictory posts, but it just plain is not worth it. They don't care. So, I won't. The information will only be shared here. I know what happened. I know they did the same thing to portray Prius progress differently by excluding what they didn't like about that too... like pretending Camry hybrid didn't exist and omitting the fact that PHV wasn't available nationwide. They just cherry-pick what they like to convey the message they like. Addressing the big picture and focusing on goals is simply not acceptable. It's like how they quote price with the tax-credit already subtracted while claiming their is no tax-credit dependency. Fortunately, like always, sales tell the true story. That's why each month-end the excuses ramp up. Fortunately, the upcoming overtake of Volt by Prime will help silence some of the obvious misleading. The rest will come from the hypocrites who now contradict their own statements from the past.
Closing Thoughts. Chrysler Pacifica... Mitsubishi Outlander... Honda Clarity... Toyota Prime... Ford Fusion... Hyundai Ioniq. Each was created with the purpose of targeting their own respective customers. Not any different from how front-wheel drive, fuel-injection, anti-lock brakes, or airbags were introduced, shoppers will simply see it as a new standard. The expectation is that technology will be spread throughout the entire fleet. Not having anything spread in GM, despite 7 years of Volt availability, leaves customers wondering what happened. Isn't GM interested in offering plug-in hybrid choices? Hope has been to replace traditional vehicles and Volt was to champion that effort. Instead, it just fizzled. Why shouldn't we push GM to join the rest of the automakers?
Psychological Issues. We see it daily from our president. The same thing plays out online... WHAT ABOUT... PARROT... REFLECTION... CHANTING. It's all so agonizing to have to deal with. Also facing the reality of dishonestly makes the situation nearly impossible to address. It's nothing but a series of avoidance techniques being used, day in, day out. It never ends. The protectionists just keep pushing the effort to delay & distract. Ugh. I'm looking forward to what Honda (Clarity) and Mitsubishi (Outlander) will bring to the table soon. In January, I suspect we'll hear from Ford (Escape) about their plans. Chrysler (Pacifica) is ramping up production. Hyundai (Ioniq) will be rolling out early next year. All those plug-in hybrids, in addition to Toyota, yet nothing upcoming from GM. All those promises about Volt technology went no where. I wrapped up the 2-week long argumentative thread with a person clearly desperate to protect reputation by posting: GM must still deliver something affordable that their own customers will buy. No amount of spin, distraction, or rhetoric will change that. It must happen. Volt was rolled out with the intent of achieving mainstream sales volume by the end of the second year of availability. Now, beginning the third year of the second generation, we clearly that still will not happen. That justifies asking the questions of what to expect next. What will be that affordable choice and how much longer must GM customers wait?
Vastly Superior. Owners proud of their purchase attack post-early-adopter articles with their vastly superior rhetoric: "The Volt is a much better car and designed to be an EV first (more than double the AE and much better performance/handling), unlike the Prime, which is designed to be a hybrid first." It's becoming a real problem. They troll by posting claims without substance, just a clear effort to retain the status quo. Moving on beyond the early-adopter phase isn't something they are prepared to do. The idea of Prime winning the popular vote through sales is sickening. From a mindset where performance is what matters most, they'll never understand the balance mainstream consumers want. So... my reply is to address their performance claims with detail exposing their attempt to mislead: Volt's supposed "designed to be an EV first" claim doesn't hold much merit... simply based on the fact that it isn't as efficient for electric-only travel. It takes 31 kWh for Volt to travel 100 miles. It takes 25 kWh for Prime to travel 100 miles. Also, how do you explain Prime's vapor-injected heat-pump? That's far more advanced of an electric-heating approach than Volt's resistant type heater. There's the option of CHAdeMO charging available in Prime's domestic market too. Volt doesn't offer any type of high-speed charging option anywhere.
Irony. Watching someone use a term incorrectly over and over again is fascinating. I've seen it some many times now. They don't bother to actually research what's being claimed. It is just assumed. Most recently, it has been: "Innovator's dilemma, can't get out of the past." Using that to establish a narrative of Toyota falling behind is remarkable. Each generation of the hybrid system is clear progress. The new Camry hybrid is amazing. Prime is a great example of the potential to come. There's a growing audience with each step. That is progress forward. GM's supposed leadership isn't actually changing their own base. How is that progress? Notice how many of the RAV4 sales are now the hybrid model? That's clear advancement away from traditional vehicles for Toyota. From GM, there is still nothing... unless you consider the new diesel Equinox progress. Ugh. There is literally nothing clean & efficient for those SUV shoppers still. GM didn't adapt. They got stuck in the trap of catering to their original base, rather than reaching out to the general population. Oh well. It's interesting to watch this history in the making, posting commentary along the way: The ironic use of that term is what keeps me coming back. GM couldn't figure out how to make Volt appeal to an audience other than early adopters. Volt's focus on more power and more capacity isn't what ordinary GM customers were interested in... which is why the first 2 years of sales for gen-2 didn't result in market growth. In fact, the opposite happened. Sales are lower now than they were for gen-1... which is undeniable evidence of innovator's dilemma. The new larger audience wasn't interested in the upgraded offering. GM messed up with gen-2. Focus on making Volt go faster & further was clearly a mistake. That's what early adopters wanted, not mainstream consumers. Focus should have been on making it more affordable and more efficient instead.
Noise. The vague & ambiguous claims never cease: "Umm, have you not been following all the things GM is doing?" There was nothing whatsoever provided to support that. It was nothing but an empty statement. I get so tired of that crap from our president. Baseless messages of disdain are so tiring. What a waste having to deal with such nonsense. I keep up the good fight though: It's what GM is not doing that everyone should take notice of. You in particular are especially vulnerable to distraction. Squirrel! This year, yes... within the next few weeks... Mitsubishi is expected to roll out their plug-in hybrid Outlander. $34,595 for their system with two 60-kW motors and a 2.0 liter engine, delivering 197 combined horsepower. The battery-pack will have a capacity of 12 kWh. Sometime for 2019, a similar type plug-in hybrid is expected from Ford. Knowing that Toyota's RAV4 hybrid has been selling so well, that Nissan just rolled out Rogue hybrid, and that Honda is planning a CR-V hybrid, you have to ask why we haven't heard a peep from GM. You don't though. It's just a bunch of rhetoric claiming "too late", even though GM is the one without any efficiency SUV plans. Think about how simple of a next step it is for Toyota to offer a plug-in model of RAV4 hybrid. For Prius, it was essentially just adding a one-way clutch and a larger battery-pack. The silence from GM is deafening. Is that why you are making so much noise about me?
Lame. The adolescent behavior continued. He simply dismissed the business logic as lame. Ugh. It's been the same since long before even the first generation was just an idea. I was happy to provide a reminder: Being held accountable for "over promise, under deliver" can be called whatever you want. This group fiercely defended the plans to make Volt a mainstream vehicle, selling so well it would become a common choice among GM customers. There's simply no way to summarize the outcome without being given a label of "troll" despite 7 full years of having been confirmed that concerns were indeed justified. That's why everyone else has stop participating. I'm not afraid to ask for lessons learned. That's how the next step stands a better chance to actually succeed. After all, GM's reputation has come from repeating the same mistakes over and over again. Helping callout issues to prevent falling into the same trap yet again is what someone needs to do. Saying that is "lame" certainly isn't constructive. Sales has always been and will continue to be the measure of progress. More traditional vehicles offset by plug-in choices is necessary. Simply growing the consumer base by adding conquest sales dependent upon tax-credit subsidies was an idea that did not lead to traditional replacement. Loyal GM customers replaced their old SUV with a newer model. They simply weren't interested in Volt. They were promised a SUV with a plug. Here's a wake-up call about how long GM customers have been waiting, the opening statements from an article published December 5, 2006: "Last week General Motors (GM) gave a boost to plug-in hybrid vehicles. It announced a new gas-saving technology that could transform transportation and make renewable sources of electricity, such as wind and sun, more feasible. At the Greater Los Angeles Auto Show, the automaker committed to manufacturing versions of its hybrid Saturn Vue SUV with a much larger battery pack that can be charged via an ordinary household socket. The increased size of the battery pack makes it possible to rely more on electric drive than current hybrid vehicles do, thereby saving much more gasoline. The actual rollout date will depend on the development of suitable battery technology, according to GM chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner."
Endless Attacks. It has been fascinating to witness the desperation play out: "You usually mention the PP in your first post no matter what the topic. Even when you don't, you just set a trap hoping someone else will." The fade away of Volt is difficult for him to accept. He needs to feel better by finding something to belittle. It's quite adolescent. I have found it an excellent example of closure, ensuring every possible aspect of fallout has been addressed. Why did this happen? What was learned? How will it be fixed? When should we expect change? Who will be the new leader? I submitted: It has been confirmed that you don't actually read what I post, so no sense in pointing out that's false. Many here drop bait for me, but aren't labeled as trolls since they supposedly support Volt. In reality, they are politely stirring the pot to draw attention to the formula for success Toyota has followed... implicitly implying GM should try something similar so the technology in Volt isn't lost as Volt itself fades from consumer interest. How can the progress of Prime not be brought up in these discussions? Being on target for selling 50,000 the first year of availability is what GM had always dreamed of. No one is saying it's not possible for GM, they are just pointing out gen-2 Volt is not the vehicle to achieve that... especially when the second year of availability is coming to a close. As for calling the business need to replace traditional vehicles with high-volume profitable alternatives a trap, you've lost touch with reality. That is a normal requirement for all automakers. They must advance or die. How they approach the problem is what we address. Toyota is clearly on the right path. GM is at a point where trying something else is necessary.
Volt vs Prime, part 2. I continued the next day with
the rest of the information needed for consideration:
The previous post only addressed internal considerations, those factors of influence only pertaining to the perspective of the automaker and related resources. Stepping back even further, that biggest picture complicates matters to a degree most people don't properly recognize: failure fallout.
Not every attempt will succeed to attract mainstream consumers. The design or approach will get trapped in a problem called "innovator's dilemma". Just because the first-generation of a product strongly appeals to early adopters is no guarantee that the second-generation offering will. It's a easy trap to fall into. The manufacturer will focus too much on traits that made it popular... only to discover the wider audience unwilling to pay a premium for that.
This is exactly the problem gen-2 Volt is struggling with now. GM focused on faster & further. They enhanced the configuration to be even more specialized, rather than shifting emphasis to other appeal factors to make it a more balanced offering. So as well as it works, it's trapped in a niche. Ordinary shoppers just plain are not interested.
This is what some are so hard on Prime, failing to recognize how much Toyota strived to avoid that same trap. That de-emphasis on faster & further allowed resources to be placed on keeping the configuration affordable, while included draws like dynamic-cruise and lane-departure standard. This makes Prime easier for dealers to consider and for salespeople to sell.
It deeply upsets some to watch the true signs of progress play out. When a chapter closes, it reveals some winners and some losers. In this case, it will be the end of the "early adopter" phase, which is clearly marked by the phaseout trigger of tax-credits. The expectation is for this Volt to be too expensive to survive. The next product-cycle may bring about a design that is competitive. But gen-2 as it is now, is an extremely difficult sell.
Prime's much lower sticker-price, combined with the nice variety of features and simple approach, targets it at that harder-to-sway but much wider audience. So, even with the loss of tax-credits, it stands a reasonable chance of attracting a large number of buyers.
Also, don't forget that Toyota is cultivating new potential at the same time. We see the Camry, RAV4, and C-HR hybrids all being positioned to deliver a plug option later.