Prius Personal Log #906
December 9, 2018 - December 12, 2018
Last Updated: Tues. 12/18/2018
page #905 page #907 BOOK INDEX
Closure, Group Think. One of the most common problems online is that of venue... hence the "know your audience" advice. Are you on a website that is open to diverse participation or one which caters to specific opinion? That daily blog most definitely was the latter. It attracted enthusiasts and drove away those who didn't agree. From within, most members don't see that. If you watch other websites, you'll discover they typically don't participate anyway else. The issue that comes about from that limited scope is often referred to as "group think". Everywhere there tends to agree with everyone else. They make anyone who stirs a difference unwelcome. For example: "That number has been brought up countless times BY YOU. No one else…" That response about the mainstream minimum I have been pointing out about the realities of business get labeled as my own opinion, even though I just pointing them out. That count was most definitely not of my origin. I'm simply the messenger passing along that information. But since no one there ever encounters that detail from any source other than me, they draw that incorrect conclusion. I kept my reply to that brief: Through the lens of just this blog, that impression of only me is valid. Elsewhere on other green sites, the view & expectation of sales is quite different. Know your audience.
Closure, Vague. Seeing desperation is perplexity. What do you do at that point? When the person is no longer making any rational points, when all they are doing is spewing rhetoric, how should your response be formulated? I chose to draw attention to their absence of substance. Merit is earned by presenting data for readers to draw their own conclusions with. They can see you are making an attempt to avoid a narrative by providing detail for analysis. Simply claiming Toyota is "behind" but not explaining why is an act of the desperate. They hope others will take the statement at face value... because they have nothing to actually argue with. Vague is their tool. It happens again and again and again. I recognize the pattern all too well. In this case those, I welcome it. Confirmation of the exchanges now being regarded as closure is great. Volt's demise was foreseen. GM clearly didn't want to do anything with the technology. What a waste. Oh well. It's not like the warning signs were hidden. Ugh. Here's my continued shoveling of soil on the coffin: Again with the vague, a blatant attempt to mislead by excluding detail. Looking at that actual detail, none of the legacy automakers are producing anything more than token quantities. They face the same issue, cost. Profit is not realistic when competing against traditional vehicles yet… hence GM whining about having squandered their tax-credits and now needing more. 60,000 annual (mainstream minimum you will never here the end of) is specified for that very reason. It's a line in the sand indicating roughly what automakers target for supplier contracts and the setting of dealer supply expectations. You can't make sustainable profit selling on niche counts.
Closure, Online Discovery. The online fighting with enthusiasts turned antagonist took an interesting twist today. My research revealed a key detail everyone else has simply just glossed over. That's quite common. Rhetoric is usually so vague, there's nothing of any substance to actually consider. That's how the loss of critical thinking became such a problem. If there's nothing to discuss in the first place, you don't stand any chance of constructive posts to follow. It all falls apart when enablers simply congratulate attackers on their clever spin. I notice the pattern after awhile though, which makes seeing beyond hype & greenwash easier. You look for subtle clues. Lack of any interest in detail made be curious what there could be to avoid. Sure enough, when I started to dig, I actually found something. In this case, it was the on-going effort to discredit Toyota by claiming they were wasting effort on fuel-cell vehicles. That's easy to see as untrue when you recognize market diversity... location and commercial use are significant differences where hydrogen could be practical, especially when you consider an automaker branching out beyond just selling vehicles. There's a massive potential business for stand-alone power, you know... generators. Anywho, on vehicles themselves there's diversification opportunity too. In this case, reuse of the propulsion source. I put it this way: You're forgetting the full electric drive already used for Mirai. That synchronous AC motor delivers 152 horsepower and 247 lb-ft of torque.
Closure, Forward Thinking. The irony with some of the enthusiast dealing is intriguing: "Forward-thinking companies are willing to plant a seed which will grow into profit in future years." They sometimes convey the very message you have been spreading without recognizing it applies to them. That was the very thing I was telling them about Volt for years. GM seeded, then didn't do anything. They rested on their laurels, exactly what they claimed Toyota had done. Progress with Toyota never ceased. Camry hybrid was an amazing advancement with the hybrid system and soon RAV4 will take it even further. The larger vehicles offering more power while still delivering a significant efficiency gain is progress. When you have need to use a gas-engine, it should use as little fuel as possible and be as clean as possible. How is that not forward thinking? Profit will grow later when that established platform is taken advantage of by increasing battery-capacity and adding a plug. That's exactly what Toyota is doing by electrifying the fleet with a variety of hybrids. Their production & sales of vehicles utilizing those motors & controllers is what they will build upon... growth from the seeds being planted now.
Closure, Prime. The spin to make downplay of Toyota's correct assessment of the market is ramping up. Having taken a stance on the expectation of rapid price drops, to the level of battery being directly competitive with gasoline, was absurd. How could the technology advance so quickly that the market itself would be able to embrace change on that scale? Anyone studying consumer & retailer behavior knows that's unrealistic. Rapid adoption simply never made sense in this place of cheap gas and little environmental concern. That's what Toyota's references try to draw attention to. There are many aspects to a technology being competitive. I stated the situation this way, this time: You must first learn what "prime" refers to, as the mentions above help to point out. BEV most definitely is not ready for competing directly with traditional vehicles. Disregarding all the technological hurdles related to misconceptions and lack of enough real-world data yet, there's the reality of cost. Even with the $7,500 discount, pricing is far too high. Why would anyone consider a compact hatchback with a cramped rear and a MSRP starting at $33,520 when you can get a larger interior compact SUV with a MSRP starting at $21,300? That's the pricing difference between Volt and Trax, both Chevy vehicles. Trying to convince anyone that paying the extra $12,000 is worth it would be a fool's errand. There is obviously a great deal of potential, following a few more battery generations. But that is not the situation yet. They are not ready. VW's assertion of their upcoming gas-engine being their last makes sense, validating exactly what Toyota has been saying for quite awhile now. Too bad if you don't like the reality of automotive business, that profit is a stronger motivator than helping make the world a better place. That's the reality we must find a way to deal with... like trying to get electrified vehicles into the mainstream as quickly as possible. Having a small battery-pack now is far better than waiting for "someday" to finally arrive.
Closure, Ouch. It burns and they it especially stings
that I'm the one deliver that news of failure. It didn't have to be
that way. The outcome could have been a series of adjustments instead,
course corrections to target properly. Pride got in the way though.
It prevented them from being open-minded. They chose to hold true to
their original goals, even though they were growing less and less viable.
The outcome of high-volume profitable sales from Volt were futile. It
was too expensive and did not appeal to a wide audience. It was a
niche with a major subsidy about to expire. That inevitable doom was
reason to attack me personally, as a scapegoat to help relieve the pain.
All I can do is respond with a reflective "ouch".
So, that's exactly what I'm doing:
Toyota is rolling out a plug-ready platform that directly targets the changing market. That's the affordable, high-volume approach GM should have also taken. Instead, all GM customers have to choose from is a diesel model of Equinox, nothing green in the SUV category. Heck, the smaller Trax doesn't even deliver 30 MPG.
Being profitable is a something this group of enthusiasts clearly does not understand. Fortunately, MotorTrend gets it:
"Toyota's new hybrid SUV is powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder unit producing 176 hp and 163 lb-ft of torque. That engine is mated to an electric motor sending 118 hp and 149 lb-ft of torque to the front wheels and 54 hp and 89 lb-ft to the rear wheels for a combined system output of 219 hp, more than the last-gen hybrid's 194 hp and the 2019 non-hybrid's 203 hp."
"Although the new RAV4 Hybrid makes more power, it also saves more gas. Toyota estimates the 2019 model will deliver 41/37 mpg in city/highway; that's much better than the 2018 model, which got 34/30."
That's an amazing platform to build upon for a plug offering later. Just like the upgrade from Prius to Prius Prime, it's just a simple process. Swapping in a larger battery-pack and adding a one-way clutch is all it takes.
So what if it isn't a full EV for awhile still? The market clearly isn't ready for that anyway. Even with the generous tax-credits, demand simply isn't there yet. It will be. But by then, Toyota will have a large base of plug-in hybrid owners looking to go full EV. Delivering a large vehicle with power that customers want, but without a huge price. That's key, a lesson GM still hasn't learned... despite finding that out firsthand with Two-Mode all those years ago.
Closure, Long Overdue. I knew all along the attitude of those enthusiasts would bring about their own doom. With my BS degree having a minor in business, I was well aware of the common mistake people make when judging the market... because I made them too, taught to see beyond assumption by professors. Some of those exercises were really fun too, especially the team projects lasting several weeks. One in particular was fascinating. We had to compete against several other teams, making decisions about how much to spend on a variety of resources... the same type of decisions executives routinely have to make. You choose budgets for research, production, marketing, distribution, support, investment, etc. Then the professor would run software to collect & impact each team based on economic decisions he sets for that cycle. It was an intense game of analysis & prediction. You had to really be observant to strike the right balance. Anywho, stuff like that in college taught me what to look for. 20 years of closely watching the automotive market gave me the experience to properly understand how this outcome with Volt would come about. I share much of that though. I try to avoid self-promoting. I do though point out the mistakes of others with candor: Conquest sales are only good if it grows market, adding to sales from loyal customers. GM did not achieve that; instead, it was a flurry of pricing bargains combined with tax-credits. That's an unsustainable approach. High-Volume profitable sales are required to compete with the true competition, other vehicles sharing the showroom floor. The next step of integrating Volt's tech into something like an Equinox is long overdue.
Closure, Foolish. It has been attack after attack. The writing on the tombstone has made a few so irrational, they'll say anything: "...because you make no attempts to educate yourself about reality." That particular quote stood out. I provided a lengthy analysis packed with detail. He attempted to dismiss it with a vague reply. My nightmare of dealing with illogical banter coming to an end means a start of accepting failure for them. I get my closure by pointing out the foolish choices: That's how you are going for closure, claiming I'm the one that's uninformed? Well, here's a dose of reality you're especially not going to like then. It's from Autoweek's article titled: "What killed the Chevrolet Volt?" The statement in their final point says it best: "Finally, we can cite the demise of sedans as a popular segment during the Volt's two generations, especially the second one, and the concurrent and rapid growth in the popularity of crossovers and SUVs of all sizes. Simply put, the Volt was not a crossover, but it should have been." That fact is how my question of "Who is the market for Volt?" came about, long before any of the enthusiasts here changed their tune and endorsed some points I had been saying. They read the writing in the wall, coming to understand why dealers were so resistant to selling Volt. You foolishly focused only on the engineering aspect of the vehicle, choosing to dismiss the obvious trend away from small car offerings. That's why you get so angry with me now about RAV4 hybrid and do everything possible to belittle & discredit Toyota for recognizing that trend and responding accordingly. GM failed to. There should have been an Equinox with Voltec years ago. In fact, that's what gen-2 Volt (which we all know is actually gen-3 Two-Mode) should have been rolled out as. The answer to the "Who?" question was clearly not GM's own customers... who undeniably prefer SUV choices. Now, GM is scrambling to make up for missed opportunity and complaining about the tax-credits they squandered on conquest. That's reality.
Closure, Economics. The nature of that previous post seems to have stirred things in a poignant manner. That was the hope. For someone to have so passionately fought for EREV, then to have abruptly abandoned ship in favor of EV, there's a reasonable aspect of regret to watch out for. This is where I come in as a scapegoat. The enthusiast who lost everything will seek out a source to blame, rather than accept the outcome he created for himself. In this case, it came across as: "Same old broken record from..." I was in turn delighted to response with yet another reminder of priorities: Economics is your enemy, not me. Refusing to accept the reality, that GM is a for-profit business which will be compelled to follow money rather than technology, is your problem. I'm simply just a reminder of it. RAV4 hybrid happens to be an excellent example of that reality. It is projected to be 20 to 25% of sales (which is extra impressive when there's an expectation for it to be a top-seller for the brand), due to its low premium for a high return. So what if it doesn't offer a plug yet. The next version likely will and it will be affordable by reusing the same platform. The design inherently already supports the upgrade. Swapping in a 12 kWh pack and adding one-way clutch is all it takes. That EV drive is what scares the heck out of you, as the childish name-calling clearly shows. You know it puts GM in a difficult position. While Toyota is building reputation and a customer base to offer plug-in upgrades to, GM is stuck selling SUVs that don't even get 30 MPG. Too bad if you hate getting the reminders of business reality.
Closure, Reality. That painfully long, drawn out online battle is coming to an end. Antagonist posts have become nothing but mindless rhetoric: "...because you make no attempts to educate yourself about reality." Seeing that with literally nothing in reference was the closure I was looking for. Post after post from me with detail showing the research I did to educate was outright dismissed by an act of looking away. He chose to ignore those posts. That's bizarre. Everyone can see what I shared. How could he expect anyone to pretend that never happened? It's in plain sight for all to read, right there in the discussion thread. Ugh. Oh well, that's his choice. Mine was to post this: That's how you are going for closure, claiming I'm the one that's uninformed? Well, here's a dose of reality you're especially not going to like then. It's from Autoweek's article titled "What killed the Chevrolet Volt?" The statement in their final point says it best: "Finally, we can cite the demise of sedans as a popular segment during the Volt's two generations, especially the second one, and the concurrent and rapid growth in the popularity of crossovers and SUVs of all sizes. Simply put, the Volt was not a crossover, but it should have been." That fact is how my question of "Who is the market for Volt?" came about, long before any of the enthusiasts here changed their tune and endorsed some points I had been saying. They read the writing in the wall, coming to understand why dealers were so resistant to selling Volt. You foolishly focused only on the engineering aspect of the vehicle, choosing to dismiss the obvious trend away from small car offerings. That's why you get so angry with me now about RAV4 hybrid and do everything possible to belittle & discredit Toyota for recognizing that trend and responding accordingly. GM failed to. There should have been an Equinox with Voltec years ago. In fact, that's what gen-2 Volt (which we all know is actually gen-3 Two-Mode) should have been rolled out as. The answer to the "Who?" question was clearly not GM's own customers... who undeniably prefer SUV choices. Now, GM is scrambling to make up for missed opportunity and complaining about the tax-credits they squandered on conquest. That's reality.