Prius Personal Log  #878

June 10, 2018  -  June 18, 2018

Last Updated:  Fri. 7/20/2018

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Reputation.  This is the stage which reputation is being established.  That's why rhetoric from enthusiasts really doesn't make much (if any) of a difference.  Know your audience.  In the case of electrification, we want to see all vehicles embrace battery & motor technology.  Heck, even fuel-cell vehicles will use both.  That's why when there is a battery-related fire or some motor-power misrepresentation it;s a potential source for undermining... since we know there is much to be lost by those who don't study the market carefully.  Remember how poor of a job GM did with Volt?  It started as an expensive technology, emerging from the Two-Mode disaster, then never recovered.  What a waste.  GM had a chance to establish a reputation for striving to deliver an affordable choice.  Notice how Nissan took the opposite approach?  Being able to overcome that price barrier for reaching mainstream consumers was vital... and was taken quite seriously.  So what if range was shorter as a result?  We all know EV capacity increases over time anyway.  21st Century consumers have come to expect performance increases from their affordable devices.  But if the purchase is too expensive to begin with, it remains a niche.  Notice how many people upgrade their phone every other generation or so?  When a business depends upon repeat sales, that's what you need to focus on.  Think about how many parents hand down their older vehicle to a child.  That repetition is key.  Notice how Toyota has captured the Prius market?  Upgrades most definitely follow that success formula.


Playing Offense, debate.  It became obvious all that person wanted to do was debate.  He simply didn't care about the topic of discussion or even being constructive.  He only posted to win an argument.  Some are driven by that erge to compete.  The reality that this was intended to be a constructive discussion didn't matter.  He simply kept posting facts to favor his true agenda.  It's easy to fall into the trap, both to bite the bait or to become the one trolling.  A topic like EV advancement has a number of desirable engineering draws.  Unfortunately, that means focus on the ideal, something worthy of striving for long-term... which means having to disregard when happens in the meantime.  Ironically, that can often equate to losing the very future you desire... since sacrificing the short-term can have dire conseuquences.  He didn't care though.  Post after post was a provoke to debate.  I ended it by responding with purpose & goal statements:  Purpose = To significantly reduce emissions & consumption in a reliable & cost-effective manner.  Goal = To achieve sustainable high-volume profitable sales prior to tax-credit subsidies expiring.


Playing Offense, goals.  Remember arguments of the past?  Those efforts to win at any cost were amazing.  It seems difficult to imagine anyone so desperate... until you encounter it again.  Why do they fight so hard for a pointless victory?  When there is nothing to gain, what compels a person to debate so relentlessly?  I can think of countless incentives some have fought to hold the status quo, all with the goal of undermining Prius.  But when it comes to EV support, there's an absolute.  It's counter-productive to wait for purity.  Yet, we hear arguments for it all the time.  This is the outcome of Volt having failed to market "range anxiety" effectively.  Acceptance of that loss is what we have to deal with now.  I see it routinely, each time there is a new thread where plug-in hybrids get praise.  I always direct the discussion to goals, rather than biting their troll bait.  Toyota alone will sell 10,000,000 (yes, 10 million) vehicles this year.  Think about all the automakers worldwide.  How many new guzzlers are being put on the road and how long will they remain in service?  Today, it was a blatant effort to pretend what happens in the meantime doesn't matter.  I punched back with:  Stating only LONG term goals is the problem.  Stating an end-game with disregard for phases required to achieve, that is an avoidable communication issue.  You need to state SHORT term goals too.  Results of that will be arguing with a lot of people who agree with you, but see issues with steps being skipped... because you neglected to mention them.  Notice how I had to push to get you to finally do that?  In other words, don't force people to make assumptions.  Provide detail next time.


Playing Offense, thanks.  That post about differences did indeed result in a positive outcome.  I got a "Thanks, I didn't know that." about the click-point feature.  How do you spread knowledge of new behaviors?  There are things completely unique to hybrids.  Back when the Planetary-CVE was new, people used to frequently complain about the under-powered acceleration... until we pointed out to actually pay attention to the speedometer, not the feeling conveyed to your butt through the seat.  That absence of gears shifting gave the impression of an engine struggling.  Without noticing what a gauge was telling you about the true situation, it's easy to assume incorrectly.  After all, you are also hearing the drone of a Atkinson-Miller pumping cycle... which sounds different from the common Otto.  That mishearing solidifies your misunderstanding.  What happens under the hood using new technology requires a bit of study.  Some ask questions.  Some get the information pushed on them by those like me hoping to prevent the spread of misconceptions.  Thankfully, posts like that do get a thank you for the effort.


Playing Offense, enemies.  There are times when you just have to pounce: "I'm not your enemy, I'm giving you facts. Hybrids are transitional cars. The longer we drive them the slower the transition to green cars is."  That was the start of a reply that ended with: "I'm saying the moment you put gas in a car it's not green."  It's that type of absolute close-mindedness that creates trouble.  Life is not that simple.  You cannot just take a situation to an extreme and disregard all else.  Ugh.  This is why the change from defense to offense is needed at times, like today:  No, you are replacing a fact with an absolute.  You can't outright dismiss the "fossil fuels would be significantly reduced" statement in your reply.  I have driven over 1,500 miles on a little over a half tank of gas in my Prime since the last refill.  That's roughly 300 MPG.  Treating that as disappointing since "You're putting a heat engine in a vehicle that supports fossil fuel." is just plain wrong.  You still have to plug in to achieve those results.  That means the owner makes that behavior a routine part of their driving experience.  That also means they upgrade their infrastructure at home to accommodate the need. Both are vital to promote electric-only vehicles.  Getting that to happen now accelerates adoption.  Think out how likely it will be that their next vehicle purchase will be an EV, especially if the plug-in hybrid becomes a great hand-me-down for a child.  Think about how likely it will be for the owner of the first plug-in hybrid in the household to propose upgrading the garage with a level-2 charger so a second plug-in vehicle can be purchased.  Think about how much of an enemy you will become if you don't think carefully about how you respond to this post.  Plug-In hybrids provide a means of accelerating electrification.  They are very green and promote plugging in.


Playing Offense, differences.  It's really annoying when you point out similarities & differences and the person clearly doesn't actually read what you posted: "Most people like to have the "differences" including that feature, pointed out when they are shopping for a car."  So, I tried again... since I'm playing offense now, taking the initiative rather than waiting to counter.  That means hitting them with a follow-up with just enough info to stimulate discussion:  You seemed to have missed the fact that the poster attempted to single out Volt as the only plug-in hybrid with that feature, making it appear to be a difference.  When you drop the pedal to the floor in Prime, the engine remains off.  The ICE does not start... hence no difference.  Honda Clarity offers electric-only acceleration too, if you don't push the pedal past the click-point.  Again, the ICE does not start.  A plug-in hybrid that actually is different is Chrysler Pacifica.  You don't have direct control of when the engine will run.  When a kW draw threshold is exceeded, the ICE will indeed start.  This also how the previous PHV model of Prius operated.  Again, differences matters.  Don't gloss over detail.


Battery-Pack Replacement.  Today was both interesting and a non-event.  That good friend of mine with the Prius needing battery-pack replacement brought his car into a dealer for serious consideration of doing exactly that.  It was a location clear across down, requiring a drive past several other dealers to get their.  This particular Toyota location has been carrying Prime for a few months now and was the one that offered a lower quote for the same job.  So, despite the possibility of the engine revving harder from the intermitent assistance from the pack, he drove out there.  It wasn't a big deal.  He got there just fine for the appointment.  I eagerly await a report of what the mechanics find from their analysis.  I bet they are too.  It isn't everyday an opportunity to look at such an aged battery (the pack has 213,000 miles on it from 14 years of use).


32 Amps.  Choosing how much capacity to setup our chargers for in the garage was quite a debate.  The chargers themselves can deliver a rate of 10 kW.  That translates to a steady flow of 40 Amps to the car, which means you need a dedicated 50-Amp circuit (since a 20% buffer is required for safety).  Running a heavier gauge wire and using higher amp breakers would be no big deal.  But even the fastest charging vehicle currently top out at 6.6 kW, which is twice that of the 3.3 kW we get from Prime.  At best, the target for a high-speed at-home standard has been thought to be 7.7 kW.  So, more is just overkill.  After all, if you do the math, it reveals there isn't a need.  6.6 kW for 8 hours would give you roughly 50 kWh of electricity.  (Keep in mind, charging slows as capacity reaches full.)  At an efficiency level of 4.5 kW/mi, you'd get 225 miles of EV range.  That's plenty for an overnight recharge.  Turns out, Tesla agrees.  That is what their latest at-home EVSE offers.  Yes, their charger that comes standard with Model 3 and now Model S draws a sustained rate of 32 Amps.  That means my choice to endorse the choice of a 40-Amp circuit is dead on with what a major industry player has endorsed.  Sweet.  I wanted a realistic recommendation for people setting up their garages to be able to accomodate the charging of 2 vehicles overnight and didn't want them to spend more than what would truly be necessary, even when planning ahead for a future vehicle.


Death of Diesel.  It's coming.  We have seen niche offerings of diesel variants vanish.  Cost is simply too high for so little in return.  The first of the big names to end the offering of a popular gas vehicle is a sign of the next wave of change.  That is what brings about paradigm shift.  Kia announced their Soul in Europe would become EV only next year.  That's really big news.  Discontinuing a tradational choice is a really big deal.  It would be like Toyota switching C-HR to only be a hybrid here.  That is quite realistic, especially when you know that an EV model will be offered next year in China.  This is why the effort to push Camry & RAV4 hybrids into the mainstream is so important.  They deliver much cleaner emissions and higher efficiency than diesel, as well as pave the way for greater electrification.  Remember, there are plans for Corolla PHEV next year.  Sadly, we won't see it here.  But knowing the another hybrid to plug-in hybrid variant is realistic for such a well-known vehicle is the final death blow to diesel.  There is no reason to bother with it for non-commercial use.  Of course, we are now seeing EV buses emerge into the market.  The school district next to where I live has one already.


Blind-Spot Warning.  That flashing light on the side-mirror indicates a vehicle has been detected in that blind-spot for that side.  It will continue flashing until your turn-signal is cancelled.  Then, it just turns to a solid light to indicate the presence of something.  That's all the more thought I had given to that feature until today.  It was elegantly simple.  What else could there be?  I found out today.  Rather than taking the advice of that warning, I pushed into the lane.  It was tight pass, but that vehicle was going quite a bit slower.  So, there wasn't any danger.  The car only respond to detection criteria though.  It's unaware of your intentions or the surrounding conditions.  That means you continue to get a warning... but it gets bumped to the next level.  The LKA (Lane Keep Assist) kicked in.  I felt steering-wheel resistance grow.  It was a subtle way of making sure I knew what I was doing.  Feeling it push back like that was sweet.  I hadn't thought about the feature being used for more than keeping you from straying out of your lane unintentionally.


Tariff Consequences.  We are witnessing the beginning of a nightmare.  It starts with anger.  This administration is hell-bent on superiority, regardless of cost.  Feeling taken advantage of is an excuse for lashing out.  The mindset of isolationism being necessary for national security means turning on allies, forcing them to take a side against you.  It's a global market.  That type of childish bullying is futile.  You need trade partners... which requires balance through an effort to achieve mutal benefit.  You don't just spite anyone who attempts to compete by improving their process, even if the means are not appropriate... because there are consequences of ill intent.  This administration is so blinded by the letter of the law, they are clueless about what it means to deliver an act of kindness.  Money isn't everything.  You build trust through understanding & cooperation.  We are going to watch industry struggle now.  Tariffs have penalties.  Complex products, like vehicles for personal transport, require a great number of parts & materials from around the world.  Consumers will end up paying more as a result of tariffs, regardles of where the product is assembled.  We are in a world of hurt already and this adminstration is striving to make that situation worse.  It's hard to believe some people can be so poorly educated about how world economics actually work.


Compliance.  You gotta like this: "I still want to see the COMPLIANCE automakers get their incentives taken away."  The person who posted that believes "compliance" is the act of delivering something following the leaders.  Whether or not the product to follow is superior doesn't matter.  They couldn't care less if those later offerings learned from the mistakes the initial offerings made.  They simply want the first to be rewarded and the later to be punished.  Taking time to study the market and deliver a product capable of high-volume profitable sales means nothing to an enthusiast... hence the label.  A supporter understands the difference.  Using the subsidy wisely seems a waste to the enthusiast, who pushes a rush to market.  Fix it later, rather than make it right from the start.  Success of Prius has always involved patience.  The mid-cycle rollout of Prius PHV to just limited areas was proof that Toyota was making an effort to ensure they truly knew their audience.  In fact, it wouldn't surprise me at all to see a mid-cycle update with Prime as confirmation of being attentive to the market.  Why should incentives be taken away for that?  Annoyed, I posted:  We watched GM do that with Volt, a vehicle clearly not targeted at its own loyal buyers.  GM's heavy focus on the SUV market made it quite obvious a small hatchback delivered at niche volume without any real promotion (excluded from nearly all their product-line commercials) was not going anywhere.  And sure enough, sales have fumbled 7.5 years... resulting only in conquest.  The status quo of their own showroom shoppers didn't change.  That certainly sounds like gaming the system for compliance.


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