Prius Personal Log  #871

April 28, 2018  -  May 5, 2018

Last Updated:  Sat. 5/12/2018

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Threatened.  Ranting from that "facts" guy continued.  His territory was being invaded.  Looking back, I remember his harsh lashing out from me posting real-world data about my Prime.  He accused me of working for the petroleum industry.  I was bringing about a change to the status quo he had enjoyed for years.  I know this, since I checked.  With over 30,000 posts isolated to just one particular posting service, it was obvious.  I could tell his ill intent simply by the nature of the immediate comments.  Past comments are all blocked by using a special feature which allows you to hide activity.  That in itself is a red flag.  But then when you use searching tools to look for what isn't readily available, you find a lot of blatant greenwashing.  That fact that he recently changed his id to include "volt" explains his position.  It goes without saying how I got called a "GM hater" by speaking praise of new choices... like Leaf gen-2, Clarity, and of course Prime.  Attempts to shut me up by making it personal and diverting the topic don't work either.  He begins his misleading unprompted, posting negative comments right away.   Then when someone posting someting to threaten his control... like real-world data to contradict his claims... it's an all out attack.  The same old desperate tactics don't work as well though... when you utilize more effect means of conveying information, like my very detailed 4K videos.  It's quite pathetic how someone would fight change like that; however, it is also quite an endorsement for Prius Prime.  That particular topic really stirs the anger.


Undermining Combat.  You know you've made progress when attempts to exploit new characteristics of operation as an undermining topic are abandoned.  When that happens, it can be subtle.  Watch for it.  That type of weakness helps to confirm new participants have ill intent, rather than just being poorly informed.  This was a clue I picked up on when that happened today: "It cannot complete the EPA test cycles under electric power only..."  That switch to a focus on EPA testing was important, since it really didn't relate to the discussion of design.  Even so, you still want to make sure you effort to confirm activity isn't perceived as an attack.  That combat should be avoided until you know with strong confidence posts are with the hope to undermine.  Stay observant.  You'll notice patterns after awhile.  I probed the discussion to find out this way:  You are clearly mixed up information about generations.  That was the case for the previous (2012-2015) but most definitely is not for the current (2017-).  It was the hard-acceleration segment of the EPA measure that had triggered the engine to start in the original model.  Toyota has since enhanced the design to allow you to accelerate all the way to 84 mph with the pedal to the floor entirely using only electricity.


Facts.  It is ironic that rebuts to claims of "facts" are evaded with fierce efforts to prevent detail from being posted.  That behavior was quite obvious today.  It really got stirred up by this: "Gas is still stronger than electric motors in all generations of Prius... facts remain that when power demand is high or highest performance required, gas engine will be the main power provider."  That's an exploit of a fact which really doesn't have any impact to the outcome.  Influence of design can often be misunderstood when comments are vague enough to sound convincing.  In this case, the antagonist is hoping no one will ever research the claim.  Online misleading is effective due to the readers not questioning what they read.  They just accept what's claimed as truth with integrity.  That naive & gullilble nature is a common problem.  I combat that exploit on a regular basis.  In this case, I did some research using the collection of detailed video filmed over the past year with my Prime.  That provides a wealth of information to fight back with.  This time, I undercovered this valuable tidbit of real-world data and posted:  Facts are a means of deception.  They can be used to mislead by implying importance to trivial or extreme circumstances.  Detail reveals the true story.  In this case, you're make a huge deal out of less than a 7 horsepower difference.  73 kW output is max when the gas engine is used during hard acceleration and 68 kW for the electric. Neither will last more than a few seconds and max is rarely ever called for.  Much ado about nothing.


31.9 Miles.  You know Spring has finally arrived when EV range estimates after a full recharge exceed 30 miles.  This afternoon, following the charge at work, the value on the dashboard revealed a very pleasing estimate of 31.9 miles.  I seem to be getting that full amount for suburb driving too.  When cruising on the highway at 65 and 70 mph, the resulting EV distance drops close to 25 miles... which is what the EPA rating states as their measure for their variety of testing conditions.  YMMV is important to remember.  (Your Mileage May Vary).  More can easily be achieved if you place less demand on the system.  The same is the case for pushing the system more; results will be less.  It's a matter of being aware what the values are designed to inform you of.  They are not expectations, as so many assume by looking at nothing but the large numbers on the window-sticker.  It's amazing how many people don't bother to actually read the fine-print.  And that's just the problem with estimates.  Consider how few ever bother to do any research themselves.  Marketing revolves around the reality that most consumers have absolutely no idea what actually happens when they step on the "go" pedal.  That's why we see such heightened aware from Prius drivers.  Having that wealth of real-world data presented to you with such simplicity each and every time you drive, along with a history to look back upon later, is quite empowering.  You begin to understand the inner workings of the system without even trying.  Patterns are recognized after awhile.  That repetition of reults is key to opening a new world of understanding.  It starts with the most basic elements.  In this case, an estimate of EV distance available.


Distraction.  Successful undermining requires the participation of an unsuspecting reader.  They get sucked into the discussion through intrigue, wanting to find out more: "Why do you care which system has more power?"  Asking that was exactly what the antagonist hoped from.  He stirred interest with his off-topic comment.  Think about this situation.  He was attempting to disparage Toyota's success with Avalon hybrid by posting about a perceived weakness of the design when augmented with a plug.  Supposedly, offering more power from the gas-engine rather than the electric-motor disqualifies the technology from any real consideration going forward.  It's an exploit of a meaningless point.  It's like arguing about battery-pack size.  What difference does it actually make if you aren't using the entire capacity anyway?  If you do, how often comes into play.  Watch for requests of detail related to actual operation being deflected.  To effectively undermine, comments much remain vague... at best.  The preference is to change the topic entirely.  All it takes is a few red-flags to reveal true intent.  I pointed that out this way in response to that particular "Why?" question today:  It's a distraction technique used to draw attention away from the goals achieved. Cost, efficiency, and emissions are very important, but result forgotten when arguing semantics.


Pride.  When trolling gets really bad, that technique of pushing the antagonist away by posting nothing but a single concise sentence isn't enough.  You step up your game by posting about them, instead of making direct contact.  Talk about their activity, pointing out how the intent is to mislead, doesn't really have any effective response available.  They are getting called out, exactly what the troublemaker tries to avoid.  They do everything possible to draw attention to you personally, hoping that will distract from what they are up to.  I've been dealing with that spin for far too long to let it contribute to a backlash; instead, I take advantage of the opportunity.  Their sense of pride will often cause them so much frustration, they'll end up revealing something they didn't want me to know.  Lately, I've been using those discoveries to create driving videos.  Inspiration about what to specifically film results from those confrontations.  In this case, the troll was attempting to undermine a thread featuring a recent review of Avalon hybrid.  I fought back with:  You know Toyota is really on to something when a Volt enthusiast works so hard to misrepresent the technology.  In this case, we see yet another hybrid with potential for plug augmentation.  Prius already has it.  Corolla hybrid will be getting it next year.  C-HR hybrid is expected to follow.  With the success of Honda's Clarity, we can easily see Camry hybrid.  Then of course, there's RAV4 hybrid.  It doesn't take too much imagination for one to wonder about Avalon hybrid.  Again, to augment the hybrid system, it's basically just a matter of adding that one-way clutch for more electric-only power, along with the larger battery-pack and a plug.


Horrible.  The attacks keep coming: "I don't get the Prime sales.  It's truly a horrible car..."  You know Toyota has a winner when the onslaught of undermining is an endless effort.  They fear that any loss of momentum for a struggling vehicle... like Volt... will result in huge market loss.  The catch is, Volt never had any mainstream market in the first place.  It was nothing but conquest sales... which is quite odd, since the enthusiasts touted that fact routinely.  What a bizarre world when a lost-cause embraces the very element causing them the most trouble.  But then again, it makes sense that an enthusiast would focus on something that gives them a great deal of attention.  That's why they absolutely hated when I requested goals to be stated.  Drawing attention to purpose wrecks their empty celebrations.  Anywho, quite annoyed by such desperate efforts to impeded progress (the penetration of plug-in hybrid sales into the mainstream market), I punched back with:  Spoken like a true enthusiast, out of touch with mainstream consumers.  Reality is, the bulk of automaker sales aren’t exciting.  Focus is on attributes like affordability & reliability along with a variety of creature comforts.  That's what Prime delivers, as well as a full EV driving experience.  So what if it doesn't perform like more expensive plug-in choices.


FUD.  Gotta like seeing this still: "Has to be the on-going concern that the Prius Prime plug-in is just being bought for the HOV lanes where Z number of owners do not even bother plugging it in."  Who does he expect to believe that garbage?  With such a small battery-pack and blending being a fundamental for the first-generation plug-in Prius, that type of misleading was much easier.  People didn't understand the technology and all they knew of was Volt.  But now with the flood of choices and the obvious upgrade, it's much harder.  Yet, they try to keep the greenwash going anyway.  Efficiency is outstanding from the 25 to 30 miles of EV you get from the battery-pack in those HOV prividelge states.  So, I just call out for data to back the claim.  There's a lot more Prime.  That makes ignoring the request a problem.  This is how I responded to today's FUD nonsense, in this case the "U"ncertainty attempt:  FUD being spread by others about supposedly never plugging in shouldn't be re-posted here without supporting evidence.  Now that the weather has warmed up here (Minnesota) I'm seeing 25 miles of EV on the highway and close to 30 in the burbs.  A little warmer, I'll be back to low 30's. In other words, there's a very large gain to be had from a seemingly small battery-pack.


CAFE Standards.  The talk of regulation is heating up again.  The horribly short-sighted and uncaring adminstration we are dealing with now is busy at work trying to undo progress.  The latest is the draft of an EPA memo proposing a freeze if economy improvement requirements.  Remember how the CAFE standards were set to incrementally raise the MPG overall for fleet measure?  The current was expected to increase soon.  Now, they are hoping to hold it there until 2026.  What incentive is there to even try anymore?  Oil dependency and the quality of our air certainly hasn't been a motivator.  We obviously don't see interest in facing climate-change contributions either.  It's really sad.  They just plain don't care.  We are witnessing a shift from being leaders to followers.  How is one supposedly to deal with such complacency?  I jumped into today's discussion on the topic with:  From concern about "too little, too slowly" to it now just being "if ".  That's a terrible sign.  Remember how both Ford and GM used to offer SUV hybrids, but then stopped?  Why did they abandon their effort to improve efficiency & emissions in larger vehicles?  In other words, what will be the incentive to restart that effort again?  What will they end up delivering?  All those questions bring us back to the original concern.  Neither automaker strived to advance or spread their technology.  We witnessed full product-cycles run their course without anything following to attract a large audience.  CAFE standards were not taken seriously.


Vehicle Color.  On a very regular basis, I get unprompted compliments about the color of my Prime.  Heck, I even got one up north (in truck country) from a pickup owner who was quite impressed to discover the vehicle that caught his eye was a Prius.  He went out of his way to tell me how nice it was to see the look having improved much with the latest version.  Finding out from me that it was also a plug-in really stirred interest.  That smart approach to drawing attention seems so basic.  You compliment style with color.  Oddly, most automaker offerings lately don't.  The look on roads now is blah.  There are a ton of black, white, gray and silver vehicles now.  What happened?  How did we end up in such a drab phase?  Why have the choices turned so plain?  Is it the reality that focus on SUV offerings has rendered visual appeal a low priority?  After all, if you park a bunch of white SUVs next to each other, they all look remarkably similar.  It's quite bizarre how change like this can come about.


Advertised MPG.  It's difficult to know how to respond to a question like this: "Why am I not getting advertised mpg?"  That couldn't be any more vague?  What advertisement is the owner referring to?  What is a television commercial, something from a dealer in print, or a comment from a salesperson?  To what value are they referring?  For that matter, how much is the MPG off by anyway?  Then you have to wonder how much they actually researched their purchase.  Perhaps all the information actually came from a review instead.  Needless to say, void of any detail makes providing an answer nearly impossible.  To make matters worse, the owner may simply be disenfranchised for some other reason and they are looking for a venue to vent.  It's quite a mystery when a post pops up with a complaint of that nature.  Heck, they may actually be getting outstanding MPG but just not interpretting it correctly.  For example, not noticing the overall average and focusing solely on the low while acclerating will give a false impression.  Anywho, this is how I chose to respond:  Start by reading what the advertised information actually tells you.  There's far more than just what the big values.  Expectations are a range that will fluctuate based on driving conditions. As others point out there are quite a number of influencing factors to be aware of.  You'll witness MPG go up & down as you become more observant.  That data shown while you drive can really teach a lot about efficiency.


Predictive Efficient Drive.  This doesn't get talked about much.  It simply works so well, you don't even think about it.  The automation is so seemless, it's like when the engine shuts of while in HV mode.  That feature is so easy to overlook, comments like this come about: "...I will say that the Prius and Prius Prime have similarly inconsequential regeneration levels when letting go of the accelerator."  You forget about things that you don't have to interact with.  You ever think about gears in an automatic transmission?  How is this any different?  In a sense, it's just downshifting.  But rather than the energy being wasted, as a traditional vehicle does, that opportunity is taken advantage of to send some of it back to the battery... even though you never actually stepped on the brake.  It's smaller improvements like that, the refinements others don't offer, which sets Toyota a cut above.  They deliver a system that seeks out those otherwise missed chances to squeeze out even higher efficiency.  I responded to that comment with:  Predictive Efficient Drive hasn't been mentioned.  Rather than needing to decelerate yourself, Prime does it for you.  The system logs the most frequent 1,000 locations you routinely decelerate for, then automatically provides initial braking using regeneration when approaching them.  In other words, the "inconsequential" statement above is false for models with that feature.


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