Prius Personal Log  #859

February 25, 2018  -  February 28, 2018

Last Updated: Mon. 4/02/2018

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2-28-2018

Facing Reality.  It has been over 3 weeks since the last daily blog topic was posted.  The same thread has been used for final thoughts.  It should be obvious that the enthusiasts are at a complete loss.  They have no idea what to do with their only venue now dead.  No where else is there a place for them to conceal their identity or hide posts they don't like.  It's the end of 11 years of bliss.  They could say & do whatever was wanted to keep their artificial dream alive.  It wasn't real though.  Business need would eventually catch up, revealing their tiny niche as a hopeless cause.  Sadly, it didn't have to be that way.  Potential for a constructive outcome was within reach.  They just didn't want to make compromises.  Trading off capacity for affordability or power for efficiency was unacceptable.  Fight any type of opposition.  It was a self-distructive choice; yet, that is what they fiercely protected.  A bitter end is what they are dealing with now.  Facing reality like this is interesting to observe.  It reminds me of diesel's death.  It was abrupt & undeniable.  There simply isn't anything to fight for anymore, nothing to defend.  Surrender isn't necessary.  New battles may emerge from new foes later, but this war is over.  All is lost.  The absurd obsession with EREV nonsense served no purpose.  It was a ever-changing set of goals without mutual agreement.  People got frustrated with the confusion that caused, then left.  Without an objective, why bother?  They didn't understand audience.  Who were they targeting.  For that matter, who did they represent.  I pointed out how that lack of clear message would be their downfall.  There's no possible way to grow sales without addressing those basics.  They didn't.  Now, the consequences are obvious.  So, they lash out to save their pride.  I just fired back, to get the last shot out:  This transition from early-adopter to mainstream-consumer was inevitably going to painful.  So, calling "troll" from pointing out the status quo stir was anticipated and prepared for.  No group of enthusiasts will welcome it, since that change requires acceptance of traits they don't find appealing.  Going from standout to ordinary makes it a harsh reality to accept.  Blame me all you want for highlighting this new chapter in plug-in hybrid history.  Glad I could serve as a scapegoat.  It provided excellent candid feedback I couldn't acquire from any other source.

2-27-2018

Playing Nice.  When a paradigm shift begins, that unstoppable threat to the status quo stirs quite a bit of emotion.  The reaction is to find a scapegoat, someone to blame for that inevitable outcome.  I have been watching that slowly play out with Volt.  That's why I always played nice.  You can't ban someone who is polite and stays on topic, even if the facts posted stir some anger.  Change happens.  It's the natural course for any product.  You know the early-adopters will have little in common with mainstream-consumers.  Hope is that whatever trait responsible for sales initially will continue to be of interest to that harder to reach audience.  That's why I pushed so hard for a definition of EREV.  Being so vague and having changed several times over the years, it was no longer a selling point... because even among enthusiasts, they had no idea what it actually represented.  Is that vehicle also an EREV or what makes it different?  No concise answer spelled doom.  But those without a business background have no idea that such a distinction is even necessary.. hence getting labeled as a "troll".  Even though you are trying to help, they interpret those actions to clarify as an attempt to expose a vulnerability.  Technically, that is true too.  The act of pointing out the lack of an easy-to-understand definition is exposing a vulnerability.  The difference is providing the definition solves the problem.  The enthusiasts absolutely refused... without any idea of the consequences of such inaction.  They only see you as not playing nice.  They want group-think as their guide, not someone who stirs emotion.  Ironically, stirring emotion is exactly what you want.  That's how a coach prepares a team for competition.  You win by understanding strengths & weaknesses, then build excitement by getting everyone to work as a team to take advantage of that knowledge.

2-27-2018

Selling Points.  Ultimately, that's what the research should lead you to.  After identifying goals about what needs to be sold, you then need to figure out how to sell it.  Pushing for what the enthusiasts deem of value, beyond just faster & further was very important.  Proper representation depends upon getting lots of accurate feedback... which is why I went directly to the source... especially since that audience was absolutely clueless about how business works.  It's amazing how simplistic they always believed the situation was.  They'd say "If GM would only advertise Volt, sales..." over and over again.  That was so idiotic.  Promotion is one of the few things an enthusiast can actually have a great deal of influence over.  Just look at the commercials Tesla owners filmed to spread the word themselves.  Consider how much owners of Prius have done over the decades.  Neither automakers needs to advertise when you have that many endorsements from owners.  Yet, those supposedly supporting GM never got off their butts to do anything.  It was so odd to see them do nothing but complain and attack the messenger.  Interestingly, my efforts to find out what they would endorse didn't lead to any type of revelation.  There really isn't anything to focus on outside of EV range.  Taking a close look at Malibu & Cruze, you see why GM so heavily advertises them.  They have many nice amenities and are really fast.  Comparing electric-only driving distance to Prime is the only thing Volt has going for it; otherwise, you just purchase a Chevy car... which is exactly what loyal GM customers have been doing.  Selling Volt is extremely difficult.  There's so little to stand out, showroom shoppers simply aren't interested.

2-26-2018

Repeating History.  It's bizarre how some people are so blinded by the idea of success that they refuse to acknowledge patterns of mistakes.  What I've witnessed lately is a deep hatred from having made that error in the past.  They blame something, then never look back... ever.  There isn't any recognition of repeated actions.  That contributes to a history which becomes more and more distorted over time.  My confirmation of those events are these blogs.  Having documented each as they unfolded in great detail, it's simple to recognize that past accurately.  Important tidbits of information easily overlooked or forgotten are right there for the reminding.  There is no stone left unturned when you read back through those days as they played out, when I was frustrated and wanted a record of what happened.  Having a resource like that is really nice.  It's quite uncommon though.  So, you often get accused of lying.  Anywho, their interpretation of what happened long ago becomes so misleading, they don't notice anything.  It's all dismissed as an effort to undermine, blaming you rather than ever taking the time to wonder if they contribute to the problem.  In this case, I was digging deeply to find out if the cycle would be restarting again.  Because if it does, there will be significant losses.  There's no need to cooperate with someone hell-bent on harming you... even if it ends costing them.  They were warned, after all.  The choice is between pursuing an upgrade proactively or just sitting back and reacting to whatever happens.  Oddly, the decision to just hope for the been and accept the consequences is what they are going with... again!

2-26-2018

Final Replies:  EXPECTATIONS.  They don't have a clue which direction to take, which is why a fate from inaction is now playing out...  The purpose of this site changed from exclusively supporting the plug-in hybrid Volt to discussing daily topics about anything related to electric propulsion & support.  A big part of it was the shift from "range anxiety", which was very much an anti-EV approach, to embracing the EV.  That's what actually ruined this site.  The expectation had been set that vehicles like Leaf and Model S were the competition.  When that didn't work out, attention shifted to Prius instead.  Mixing of messages like that and no longer having any clear purpose caused a number of regulars to leave.  Some more simply left when their lease expired, since they were only conquests with no loyalty to GM.  Indication of lost purpose became clear when topics about Volt dwindled.  As time progressed following the struggle with gen-2 rollout, the parent site started to mirror daily blogs.  The topic would be posted there first, then repeated here after a day or two.  Blaming the change exclusively on me doesn't hold merit.  I was the one pointing out the change and attempting to start-up the next chapter.  Expectations were changed by others.

2-26-2018

Final Replies:  PARTNERSHIPS.  The idea of cooperation is repulsive to them, as if it is an admission to failure...  Reading through the posts in this thread, that pattern of superiority becomes easy to see.  Volt offers more range and more power, so that makes it better... period.  Any reference to other consumer purchase priorities or to the importance of either automaker or dealer business is just shunned off as an effort to promote Toyota.  It such a desperate act, pretending GM should have no concerns for anything other than range or power.  Reality is, we see Hyundai and Nissan and Honda and Chrysler and Mitsubishi and Toyota and Ford all striving to deliver on those priorities deemed unimportant in the name of pride.  Who cares if GM isn't recognized as leader anymore. The goal is to build a strong team.  Like it or not, the success of plug-in vehicles requires cooperation.  That means sucking it up and working to establish partnerships.

2-26-2018

Final Replies:  STATING GOALS.  It was obvious the enthusiasts had trouble to come, since they couldn't even say what their intentions were...  That's been the source of the problem since day 1.  GM intensions would have sounded realistic, if it wasn't for the aggressive self-imposed deadline.  How in the world could so much be delivered in such a short amount of time?  Turns out, it couldn't... and a few people here got burned really bad by that, holding a grudge and looking for a scapegoat.  Gen-2 would be the solution to that.  After all, sales were low enough with gen-1 that a significant number of tax-credits would still be available then.  Unfortunately, GM followed the suggestions of enthusiasts of Volt rather than supporters.  That difference meant catering to a small niche, rather than adapting the technology for a larger audience.  That ended up being a horrible mistake.  Gen-2 sales ended up dropping, rather than sparking a plug-in revolution.  Now we see the nemesis rising, Prius plug-in.  Even with distribution to only have the country the first year, sales still bet Volt... which is what made things turn very ugly here.  Volt losing the spotlight was unacceptable, especially with other automakers like Honda & Chrysler showing so much potential too.

2-26-2018

Final Replies:  SIGNS OF TROUBLE.  The ever-changing story from just this one particular automaker was always a sign for concern...  GM changed its mind about hybrids after its financial situation became a concern.  There was a substantial investment in development of the technology.  That brought about the focus on making SUVs more efficient, the biggest potential return on such move forward.  Two-Mode was born as a result.  It would be the Prius killer, a technology that could be spread throughout the fleet to make everything cleaner and more efficient.  Great!  Only problem was… the technology was expensive and it didn't work well.  Power was reduced to make the vehicle more efficient & cleaner.  It showed less potential than what Ford & Toyota were both pursuing.  So, focus shifted to adding a plug.  Bankruptcy interfered with that, but Volt emerged as the ultimate launch of GM's first battery-centric vehicle for the masses.

2-26-2018

Final Replies:  STOP GAP.  I had no idea just how relevant this would be after so many years later...  A nasty campaign was launched by GM when the gen-2 Prius rolled out.  The final year of gen-1 Prius had become profitable and the sales of this new generation had already hit mainstream level, despite no tax-credit being offered.  The rise of the SUV with the promotion of being "good for the economy" made the attacks on small vehicles that were clean & efficient especially vigorous.  People feared change and they no had a symbol to focus their feelings on.  It got pretty nasty, but not as childish as the attacks now.  It was a blatant effort to greenwash.  Media sources would publish information that was just plain not true.  In fact, this is how the diesel scandal came about.  Being dishonest was not an issue.  It was all about saving the status quo.  Sound familiar?

2-26-2018

Final Replies:  ELECTRICITY USE.  I fired off a series of replies, as the ship was sinking into the abyss...  EV1 was an exciting offering from GM.  It was a full electric vehicle, which made remarkable use of battery technology of the time.  Small & Expensive didn't even matter then.  It worked and showed potential.  PNGV was to deliver the family-sized vehicle with the power & affordability that EV1 didn't.  So, complimentary offerings were a great idea.  Different propulsion technologies would co-exist just fine.  Problem was, electricity was very dirty back then.  With coal being the dominate source, it was actually worse for a air to use that for propulsion then some type of hybrid… especially with Prius having earned a SULEV rating from CARB.  The belief though was that would get cleaned up over time, due to the growth of the solar & wind industry.  So, no concern... until GM pulled the plug on the program.

2-26-2018

Purpose.  Lack of it was why that now dead daily blog was attacked so often.  The enthusiasts remaining used it as a venue for posting greenwash material.  My attempts to inject constructive discussion and get the topic back onto that original message of promotion never worked.  They'd just get angry at whomever was taking advantage of the ability to post anonymously, then take out their frustrations on me.  I became the scapegoat.  They'd blame me so often for their sorrows, the fact that I wasn' responsible for what they were blaming me of didn't matter.  I had supposedly done what they came to despise.  It was a odd situation.  Since the only real data they had was the dropping sales of Volt and the modiacre efficiency, focus on performance alone was quite a stretch.  I never cared about faster & further either.  They knew my push for diversification... offering a second model of Volt, then later a SUV variant... only made things worse.  The act of addressing the obvious need to expand production meant addressing shortcomings.  That was painfully difficult for them and painlessly simple for me.  It's the reason why they worked so hard to always keep the Toyota rhetoric focused on Prius.  Consideration of Camry hybrid wrecked virtually all of their arguments.  That larger, faster, and more powerful system delivers incredible efficiency and stands great potential for plug augmentation.  Honda's newest offering, the plug-in hybrid Clarity, makes that all too clear.  That effort to portray Toyota as a laggard have fallen apart, exposing GM as having that very problem as a result.  Each attempt to label me as hypocritical only exposed them of that guilt too.  Without any choice remaining but to become a team player, they chose to lose instead.  Why state a purpose only to draw attention to the problems you are facing?  So, they didn't.

2-25-2018

Short-Sighted.  Reading through the long series of posts over the past 3 weeks, the pattern became easy to see.  When you only live in the here & now, seeing anything else becomes nearly impossible.  You make up excuses to justify your stance.  It doesn't matter what's presented at that point.  You've made up your mind that the decision made was the best one and nothing else matters.  Whether or not somone points out a disasterious situation building doesn't matter.  Everything is just fine.  I hadn't expected the upcoming tax-credit phaseout to create such determination to save pride.  Rather than Volt enthusiasts moving on to Bolt like the supporters, they are standing their ground.  All bets are placed on faster & further finally winning over the masses.  No logic about other priorities matter.  They see that as the only solution possible.  It's like the recent hope of winning the SuperBowl by having one of the best thrower in the league.  That only works if all plays are somehow tied to throwing.  If not, your doomed.  They don't see that though, since all games leading to that point have been wins.  The catch is, with Volt sales, all were to early-adopters drawn to the opportunity conquest presents.  With a $7,500 tax-credit or extremely low lease payments, why not?  Trouble is, ordinary consumers don't think that way.  The low prices won't be available for too much longer either.  Losing at some point is evitable.  But they don't see that far.  The short-sighted nature of their perspective based solely on small victories is a terrible guage for the larger win.  Sales on a much larger scale aren't realistic.

 

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