Prius Personal Log #860
March 1, 2018 - March 5, 2018
Last Updated: Mon. 4/02/2018
page #859 page #861 BOOK INDEX
Learning. There was an antagonists clearly quite upset by my final reply: "Maybe you should stop by fueleconomy.gov and get a little learnin' yourself." Knowing how rude & insulting he has been in the past, my reply showed how well prepared I am for a fight: I learned a long time ago how some post using vague & outdated links for the sake of misleading. Again, what have you done to promote Volt? Seriously. Salespeople really do need that knowledge sharing from owners. This is what I shared yesterday... Early Spring - Charge Mode ...to help people better understand charge-mode. Just think of how useful that would be when stopping at a dealer for a test-drive only to find the battery isn't charged. You just go for a drive in charge-mode, then switch it to EV on the way back. No plug necessary to experience the electric-only driving. Go on, keep belittling Prius, or finally step up to start promoting plug-in vehicles.
Yet, Again. Watching history repeat is a source of intrigue. The enthusiast never seem to get it, as this confirms: "This just shows that Prius/Toyota PHEV buyers don't really care about EV performance or EV range, they are still mostly gas heads who thinks in terms of MPG. And market sales shows." Balance doesn't make sense to them. This is why the problem of innovator's dilemma is so hard to overcome. They figure since EV performance and EV range was a strong selling point initially, that it will continue to be as the audience grows. Finding out that's not the case is costly mistake. Ordinary consumers will pay for a feature if it is affordable. That's why there are package options. Some choose them, others don't. Offering only a maximum is like only trying to sell a vehicle fully loaded. It's simply not worth it for everyone, especially those who just happen to stumble across the vehicle while wandering around at the dealer. That chance discovery will get dismissed at an instant if it raises the sticker-price too much. This is why Prime is hated so much by certain individuals. Having such a low MSRP compared to Volt gives it a significant advantage. It's a far more compelling choice to someone with thoughts of perhaps buying a Corolla or Camry. Annoyed, I shot back with: Same old rhetoric... GM enthusiast doesn't like mainstream shopper priorities. GM enthusiast insults the vehicle most appealing to that audience. Trading efficiency & features for the sake of fulfilling an expensive want simply isn't worth it... and the sales are now beginning to show it. We saw this nonsense repeated over and over throughout Prius history. It was ugly. It was slow. It was a market leader.
Last August. Remember how different things were back then? Bolt was brining its first year to a close. Taking the market by storm, showing GM superiority to Tesla, didn't happen. In fact, Bolt was nearly dead on arrival outside of the early-adopter market. Ordinary consumers have not shown any interest at all. It's nothing but a curiousity. That "someday perhaps" is the common response. There simply wasn't and still hasn't been a movement toward acceptance by the masses. A big part of that seems to be the complete absense of any charging infrastructure. People don't show any desire for a car that may leave them stranded. In other words, we're back to why Volt was promoted so much. Only thing is, the demand for Volt is pretty much non-existant. Total disinterest is a very real problem. That's why the article from back in August with this title drew attention again: "Why Does Anyone Buy a Toyota Prius Prime?" With inventories so low and clearance time in full swing, Prime was basically an unknown still. That's changing, as this recent comment posted for that article represents: "Well, as of February 2018 sales showed a big jump on Prius Prime sales, and Volt sales are way down. I was so surprised as I had also considered the Prime a much inferior product. I 'm not the only one, seems like every review from the many magazines and other sources agree the Volt is a much better product. I guess the only explanation is the belief in Toyota brand regardless of the product." Antagonists of Toyota still cannot comprehend how a well-balance offering is more appealing than one which favors performance. That terrible mindset of GM's product being "vastly superior" remains a big problem. They just plain do not understand the ordinary consumer. You know, the kind who wants an affordable, comfortable, reliable vehicle to get from place to place with. Not being willing to pay a premium for more range & power baffles them. They cannot relate to the mainstream perspective. That boggles my mind. How can such ignorange persist? Anywho, I replied back to that with this: Know your audience. From an enthusiast perspective, the assessment of "inferior" is easy to justify. But from an ordinary consumer perspective, that same set of criteria is considered overkill. Why pay a premium for a vehicle that is less efficient in both EV & HV modes and offers fewer features?
Video: Early Spring - Charge-Mode in Winter. Charge-Mode can boost overall efficiency, if used wisely. For example, you recharge the battery while on the highway so you can later avoid an engine warm-up for city driving long after it cooled down. I have done this while on vacation, when there isn't a place to plug-in where we stop overnight. This video demonstrates how that could be done, condensed into a single drive for the sake of filming simplicity. In this case, we stopped at a craft shop along the highway while on the drive home. I engaged charge-mode after getting back on the highway, then shut it off shortly before getting off the highway. Using this feature while cruising takes advantage of engine efficiency while traveling at a sustained rate. The charging itself takes place at a rate faster than what you get when plugged in to recharge. Like with a regular hybrid, the gas engine is used to generate electricity. But with Prius Prime, you have greater flexibility about when & how that energy stored in the battery is to be used later. Watch the wealth of detail available on the video. Note that the temperature outside is still cold, so MPG is lower than in warmer months. That's because air is more dense and winter-formula fuel is less efficient. Nonetheless, results are impressive anyway... Early Spring - Charge-Mode in Winter
Energy Storage. Anytime something very positive comes up for Toyota, the antagonists bring up fuel-cell vehicles. All they see is the lower efficiency of hydrogen conversion. That narrow-mindedness prevents any type of constructive exchange. They draw the line, then attack. It's sad. They don't bother to look at the bigger picture. It is always an assumption that large quanitities of electricity will always be readily available and very inexpensive. They are quite wrong. Making it worse, they don't recognize the importance of diversity. It's a one-size-fits-all situation as far as they are concerned. The idea of co-existing technologies is unacceptable. The concept of mutual benefit eludes them. That's sad... and quite a barrier to overcome. I keep trying though: How else will massive amounts of electricy be made available for rapid transfer to commercial vehicles? Do you honestly think the grid can supply it or having local banks of batteries on site? In other words, you clearly haven't the bigger picture yet. That's typical for those making "fool cell" remarks.
Video: Early Spring - From Work. My commute home, captured with the new app, gives you a lot of real-world to watch & consider. Seeing the actual kW value from the electric motor is quite informative. You get to see the actual battery state-of-charge value, compared directly to the percentage shown on the dashboard representing the usable capacity. (There is always a buffer saved at the top & bottom for battery longevity.) You can see motor & battery temperature, in addition to the the coolant temperature for the engine. There's an indicator to inform you when the friction brakes are engaged, so you can tell when just it switch from regenerating electricity. Notice the improved lighting for the dashboard capture too. The quality of filming continues to improve each time I drive. It's very rewarding to be able to share detail like this now. My original drives from all those years ago sure are crude in comparison... Early Spring - From Work
Final Replies: TRAINING. This post was the ultimate goal, leading up some shaming. All those claims over all those years of being helpless were outright lies... and they can no longer evade that truth. From the very beginning, they had the power to influence. Rather than being reactive, a proactive approach should have been taken. That's what the whole fiasco around EV1 taught us. That lesson of having a voice louder than the propaganda of a single automaker was clearly not learned. Their problem from the start was the refusal to create a partnership. GM was superior than others and their smug attitude was all that was needed. They believed they had a "vastly superior" product to promote, so there was no need to ensure mainstream buyers understood what that actually meant. The nonsense of "EREV" made that all too clear. It's meaning was uncertain. Different enthusiasts interpretted different ways. It was a fundamental flaw in their approach. No cooperation from within or without. GM support was conflicted. Plug-In support was conflicted. It was a disaster. As enthusiasts, they made that worse by not taking any initiative. There was nothing to show for all their years of posting. I collected priceless findings from my years of research, participating in hostile venues for the sake of getting direct & unfiltered feedback. They remained clueless, asking why I was there on a regular basis. I found it ironic how they'd dismiss my replies and having nothing of their own to reveal. It was nothing but fanboy spin to defend & offend. Constructive efforts never emerged. What a waste. There was so much potential, so much missed opportunity. Oh well. It's not like I didn't tell them over and over and over again... as I did today, one last time: How many of you here have stopped by your local dealer and offered training, demos, or even printed material? Poorly informed sales staff is within your power to change. That situation is missed opportunity. You all complain about the lack of promotion, yet do nothing about it.
Final Replies: SALES GROWTH. That state of panic has subsided. It's
over and they know it. The fanboy venue is dead. It now serves
as a monument of the naive. They fell into the very trap they denied
could ever exist. No matter how much the pattern of repeating history
was pointed out, they didn't care. It was an impossibility. That
could never happen. Yet, it did. no matter how much their
beloved vehicle fulfilled their desires, it simply never appealed to the
wider audience... and sales undisputability confirmed it. Not only
hadn't growth been achieve, the sales of Volt are now rapidly declining.
There's no potential to build upon either. The market clearly isn't
interested in an expensive compact hatchback. GM shoppers want SUV
choices. The doom they steered toward must finally be acknowledged.
I was happy to provide a summary of the situation:
Doing everything possible to avoid dealing with sales growth has been the theme of this daily blog for a very, very long time. Spinning stories to evade the lack of progress problem has been an intense effort for enthusiasts. But with stability, it was manageable.
Sales leading up to gen-2 rollout were flat. We saw monthly returns between 1,600 and 1,700 quite consistently. That value was well below the need, offering no guarantee of profitability or even sustainability once the tax-credit expired. The rollout of gen-2 didn't change that situation.
2 years later, we are now witnessing monthly sales drop below 1,000 with no expectation of improvement. Less expensive (lower MSRP) choices from other automakers are now entering the market and GM shoppers simply aren't interesting in the purchase of a compact hatchback.
Enthusiasts here did an embarrassing minimum to promote the great technology they had. Volt barely had any presence outside of the blogging world. We now see plug-in owners groups emerging to fill in that missed opportunity, where Volt is barely a participant. There are virtually no Volt owner resources still. We see videos, applications, lots of how-to sharing for other vehicles. Why not for Volt, especially after so many years?
The answer should be obvious. There was such an obsession with range & power that the other aspects of appeal were neglected, dismissed as unnecessary for sales growth.
Enthusiasts were wrong, very wrong. But rather than make an effort to change that, taking advantage of the evolving market pause, they continue to squander time by avoiding what needs to be done.
Video: Early Spring - To Work. New application. Lots more data to share. Using the latest update from "Hybrid Assistant" has allowed me to capture a lot more information in a single window on my phone while driving. Combined with the window & dashboard cameras, there's quite a bit of real-world data for you to see. Watch this wealth of knowledge for both your education & entertainment. It's just my daily commute to work. But using the technology for a clean & efficient drive leads to an entirely different situation when dealing with that traffic... Early Spring - To Work
New Video Opportunity. I have been testing out the latest updates from a phone-app being updated to support Prime. It already does a great job showing Prius data. Like the phone-app I used in the past with the PHV model, it has PID codes to read information you wouldn't normally see. This is the stuff that really teaches you about the hybrid system. It's that deep understanding which empowers. When you can actually see values with a technical connection, it can really open up a new world of appreciation. There's a lot required to make a system clean & efficient, without becoming too expensive. I will soon be filming some drives. Using the ability to capture video on the screen of the phone itself, rather than a translate or transfer, the quality should be outstanding. I will be able to display battery level (the actual value, not the usuable representation), along with the power output, and battery & motor temperatures. There's even an illustration that shows you when regenerative braking switches to friction. It's really exciting to have such a resource available. I'm very thankful to the development team who shared it with us. Their work to is really appreciated.
Sales Results. Count of Prime purchases is climbing.
It's being recognized as a top-selling choice already. The potential
is obvious... hence the flurrly ofattacks. That's annoying, but it
doesn't matter. I'll just keep filming videos in the meantime.
That collection of real-world material is priceless... and well ahead of
need this time. Having experienced generational upgrades before,
knowing the significance of this one and preparing for its huge potential is
vital. I'm scrambling to research & document as much as possible.
It's quite a challenge, with so much other stuff to participate in too.
My life is filled with friends & family and a thriving career... hence the
positive attititude and such a hopeful outlook. Being on the precipice
of this new chapter in plug-in history makes it even more exciting.
There's a lot to look forward to. So, no need to dwell on the
present... even though it too is so positive. Looking further out,
understanding the potential, I posted this about last month's Prime sales:
Doesn't matter. The middle of the country has nothing to sell yet. No supply
means distorted demand impressions. The coasts are all that got 2017
models. The 2018 are only now being delivered. So, once Spring
arrives, we'll get a better representation of actual demand.
Final Replies: LAST WORD. Watching the blog finally die, long after it should have been sunset, is odd. All those years ago, I fought to make their forums the focus. It was a unused part of the website. People preferred the daily blog. It was nothing but a brief exchange of thoughts, refreshed every day. There was nothing that persisted... other than the daily reset. It was a maddening existance, a source of greenwash rhetoric. They fell deep into group-think, transforming the hope of it being a valuable resource into just a gathering place for fanboys. It got so bad, they could make up whatever narrative they wanted... since there was no accountability. No logon was required. You could post as whomever you wanted and history was never tracked. And if you didn't like what was posted, the comment could be hidden. They selected to read only what they wanted, dismissing anything that didn't cast a favorable light. All these years later, as things are coming to an end, they chose to make it bitter: "You are driving traffic away! I post GM and EV news but you don't!" That obviously wasn't true. Their dishonesty & hostility is what actually drove away most of the traffic. All the bait-dropping by the enablers made it especially nasty, knowing they were attempt to spin whomever responded to it as a troll. Always being polite and working hard to stay on topic, that attempt to place stigma didn't work. The definition of that label simply didn't apply. I was the one staying true to purpose of the blog. They abused. They harrassed. They didn't care. It had become a venue for chest-pounding. I simply replied to that nonsense with: It's not me. I post about GM products and GM shoppers. Someone else always jumps in to inject a comment about Toyota, drawing focus away from GM. That pattern is easy to recognize.