Prius Personal Log  #933

April 7, 2019  -  April 11, 2019

Last Updated:  Sun. 5/12/2019

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4-11-2019

Understanding Purpose.  This could be promising: "Without specifically designing and picking winners it allows a diversity of solutions to be tried..."  It shows an effort to recognize need.  The problem is, it doesn't serve as any type of encouragement.  Incentivizing a goal requirements stating some type of desired outcome.  How do you know who wins?  For that matter, is it a pass/fail situation or will the result be graded?  There are consequences of being vague.  We have witnessed missed opportunity and wasted resources.  That's why I propose some type of next step.  Now that introduction has been achieved (the first round of tax-credits), what should the next step deliver?  Some type of threshold should be defined.  Leaving it open-ended is like telling someone to "make it better" without explaining what you had in mind.  What do you hope will be accomplished?  Needless to say, I get quite frustrated with the lack of critical thinking.  Maybe this will be helpful:  That's great for stage 1, but offers no suggestion or justification for stage 2.  GM never rolled out their plug-in hybrid technology to anything beyond Volt.  Their approach died, no successor.  Missed opportunity is what the next round of tax-credits should address; otherwise, there's more waste appealing to niche interest.  Remember, the goal is to find a way to reach beyond just early-adopters.

4-11-2019

No Cap.  In the middle of my attempt to invoke some critical thinking, a well known troll jumped into the topic and posted: "There shouldn't be a cap.  Just a set date on when the incentive starts declining for everyone."  It was only a matter of time before that happened.  Those mindless, vague suggestions only serve to stir trouble.  It is especially bad when the individual knows the reasons why such a generalized approach is a bad idea.  But that is how he provokes posts and fulfills his need for attention.  That's unfortunate.  Oh well, at least it gives me a chance to slip in a little background information:  Turn a blind-eye to what has already played out and just allow the exploit of tax-credits to continue.  Ugh.  We all witnessed GM miss opportunity after opportunity.  Rather than using the knowledge & experience they gained from subsidy aided sales of Volt by rolling out that technology to vehicle types & styles their own loyal customers would prefer, it was wasted on appealing to enthusiasts.  That lack of effort to actually change what legacy automakers sell should not be encouraged and you know it.

4-11-2019

Progress?  I'm not sure how well that went.  This was the response after a number of short exchanges: "Define ordinary."  Not recognizing how early-adopters differ from ordinary consumers is troubling.  You'd think that would be obvious, especially when there's a tax-credit involved.  My guess is some people never really give the process of purchasing a vehicle much thought.  So, you have to start at the beginning and see how productive some exchanges are.  Perhaps I'll make some progress with this:  That also is basic economics.  It's whatever represents a majority of customers.  In this case, that's people who go to the dealership of their favorite brand and simply just shop around.  They have a general idea what they would like and want if from the source they've grown to trust.  Looking at inventory & sales numbers, it's easy to see the outcome.  Whatever plug-in is offered should target that same pattern.  This is why each automaker was given the discretion of how their tax-credit allocation could be used.

4-11-2019

Stage Two.  At least I'm getting some kind of dialog: "So would a car that hundreds of thousands pre-order without seeing it qualify as having appeal?  What is your criteria?"  It's really unfortunate though that after so many years, all that comes from this topic is a generic question.  Never really giving the topic any thought is no surprise.  Many make assumptions without bothering to consider anything beyond a basic anecdotal observation... hence the advice to know your audience.  Somewhat annoyed, while at the same time a little encouraged, I posted a lead into my stage-two suggestion:  This is basic economics, the 101 first-day intro stuff.  Toyota sells over 10 million vehicles annually.  Those subsidized sales of "hundreds of thousands" only equates to less the 4% of their production alone.  Worldwide, the total comes to almost 60 million.  That perspective clearly shows us the initial sales are only low-hanging fruit... especially when you try to consider what they would have been without tax-credits through legacy channels.

4-11-2019

Round Two.  Talk of an extension of the tax-credit for plug-in vehicles is heating up.  There have been several, but this newest one seems to be drawing more attention than the others.  It's not because there's anything impression about the proposal.  It's simply the only one with one Republican and one Democrat.  That's all.  No committee.  No well thought out plan.  Nothing more than just a suggestion to extend from a representative of each side.  With such a weak approach, it's no surprise the rhetoric has stirred.  We almost immediately fell into that same old nonsense again.  I sounded off about it, which should be no surprise:  It's the response that's flawed.  Discussing the point of tax-credits is far more effective than name calling.  Each automaker was given an allocation to come up with a means of making their product reach a state that where subsidies were no longer needed.  Extending poorly written legislation isn't a good idea.  Requirements to be eligible for the tax-credit should be addressed.  In the past, they were exploited because the goal was so vague.  Why would we want to renew that?  Eligibility for the additional quantity shouldn't just be based on participation alone.  There should be qualification spelled out.  In other competitions you must qualify.  That next level of subsidies should be earned.  Reward those that push hard to actually reach ordinary consumers.

4-10-2019

Growing Trouble.  Watching the greenwash grow worse is troubling.  His simple-minded view of the world, clearly expressed in his abundant very short posts, resembles that of a troll now.  It was just annoying in the past, making constructive posts difficult to find.  You know, just innocently diluting content and taking attention away from those who usually don't participate much.  Anywho, today it was this: "I would prefer to see one total number of credits, and first come first serve, instead of wasting 200,000 each on mfgs that don't care, or may show up some time in the future."  That was frustrating to read, but understandable how someone could take that stance.  The sentence that followed, concluding his statement, was not: "But this is better than nothing."  When some posts that often, yet claims to not know of any alternative, it's the sign of not even trying.  He's just there to give himself some sense of purpose.  Really annoyed, I fired back with:  Advocating for a rush to market, rather than show support for taking time to do it right...  Ugh.  It's really unfortunate that narrative of "faster is better" has penetrated our society so much, most people don't even realize there is a worthy alternative available.  Other markets are aware; sadly, we still haven't learned that yet.  Think about the example no can deny anymore, Volt.  That turned out to be a huge waste.  Why invest so much toward plug-in hybrid technology only to abandon it entirely midway through its second generation?  GM didn't care enough to implement what they originally pursued, with the aid of that subsidy money, on a platform their own customers would be interested in.  Punishing automakers who avoid rhetoric and take some time to rollout something with wider appeal and greater potential in the future is quite backward.  Allowing that to go unchallenged is a terrible next step.  Your preference has been called out.  What do you now suggest instead?

4-10-2019

New Tax-Credits.  Efforts continue for some type of renewal.  I don't see how something so vague, counter to the rollback efforts of this administration, could ever stand a chance of getting approval... or even recognition.  There are some who keep trying.  In the meantime, I keep pushing for improvement.  New tax-credits should come with improved requirements, as I stated today:  It's the response that's flawed.  Discussing the point of tax-credits is far more effective than name calling.  Each automaker was given an allocation to come up with a means of making their product reach a state that where subsidies were no longer needed.  Extending poorly written legislation isn't a good idea.  Requirements to be eligible for the tax-credit should be addressed. In the past, they were exploited because the goal was so vague.  Why would we want to renew that?  Eligibility for the additional quantity shouldn't just be based on participation alone.  There should be qualification spelled out. In other competitions you must qualify.  That next level of subsidies should be earned.  Reward those that push hard to actually reach ordinary consumers.

4-09-2019

Online Death.  All posting activity for that old daily blog halted a week and a half ago.  It was quite abrupt.  The only posters left were the antagonists looking for trouble to stir.  I watched as a lurker, wondering what they would come up with undeterred.  Without an audience though, that was going nowhere.  Topics weren't about Volt anymore anyway.  It was just random content at random intervals.  A new discussion finally popped up, it was about GM's fate with the tax-credit cut looming and supposed promises of what was to come.  My post to that has been in a "waiting for moderation" status ever since.  Clearly, the website is advancing its prolonged death.  Online entities like this can persist for a long time though, even with the homepage feed being abandoned over a year ago and now the blogging no longer allowing posts.  There's a small forum there that never really caught on.  The old-school format of daily blogging with an anonymous avatar and no accountability beyond just a few days, this death was a long time coming.  Reputable websites wishing to retain any type of integrity stopping allowing such activity awhile ago.  This one simply lived on because it was an inexpensive branch of a much larger parent entity that would just repost the same content.  Becoming a source for fake news was what convinced many to leave on their own.  They didn't want to be associated with greenwashing that's so obvious to recognize now.  Back in its day though, most didn't have a clue they were contributing to an effort to mislead.  They became enablers and didn't even realize the greenwash endorsement they were contributing to.  I'm sure glad that ugly chapter in emission & efficiency history is finally over.  What a relief!

4-08-2019

Uncaring Attitude.  From time to time, you'll encounter someone who outright lies.  In this case, it was so untrue, that quote isn't worth including.  They aren't worth that.  I will post my response to the desperation to undermine:  Greenwash at it's best, just making stuff up that can easily be disproven.  Ugh.  As for protecting Toyota, against what?  All this early-adopter bickering is simply an effort to divert attention away from the struggle to advance beyond the subsidy-dependent stage.  The supposedly "vastly superior" Volt wasn't able achieve any type of volume sales, the obvious necessity for growth beyond being stuck in a niche.  Hope that speed & power would appeal to the masses failed.  So what, move on.  Focus on another priority instead.  The obvious is that target GM set all those years ago, back when Volt was first being developed... a price "nicely under $30,000".  Attacking Toyota for having focused on price from the start is pretty bad, but to mislead about the other development Toyota is also pursuing at the same time reveals an effort to undermine.  Notice how most here are fiercely against Mirai but absolutely refuse to acknowledge the 152 horsepower EV drive it provides?  That's because they fear the same setup could be delivered in a future electric-only model of Prius.  Think about what that sales scorecard really tells us about the uphill battle legacy automakers still face.  Shooting the messenger is an act of denial.

4-08-2019

The "Behind" Narrative.  We haven't even emerged from the early-adopter yet and we are still far from a tipping point.  So, the attitude toward Toyota doesn't hold much merit.  Pointing that out is... well, pointless.  All you get in return is: "The idea that they can "leap" into BEV is foolish."  They see the current narrative of being "behind" isn't working, so there's a re-emergence of the leap-frog mentality again.  Rather than focusing on mainstream buyers, it's always that attitude of more.  Faster, further, and fiercer is that same old push we got from enthusiasts long before the emission & efficiency revolution began.  Simply offering something modest & affordable is so unacceptable, all you get is a maniacal response.  Returning your attempt at constructive discussion with such callus disdain is quite telling.  Some people just plain don't care.  That's why it can be best to keep replies to that short & revealing, as I did today:  Prius Prime already delivers a massive amount of real-world data, clearly showing how to best squeeze out speed (84 mph) and power from a smaller battery-pack.  Mirai already delivers a delivers a massive amount of real-world data, clearly showing how to best squeeze an EV drive from a 113 kW (152 hp) electric traction-motor.

4-08-2019

Damage.  It is interesting how some double-standards never get challenged.  Whether there is a true similarity or not, the choice to disregard without consideration is obvious.  For example: "When they finally produce an EV, I will remember the damage to the BEV transition and avoid buying or leasing their vehicles."  This is where knowing your audience pays off.  First, it is basically pointless arguing with someone who's poorly informed.  Second, understand that anything they argue in third-person will likely not come to fruition anyway.  It's that old idiom of "garbage in, garbage out".  If what they are claiming has weak or no evidence supporting it, odds are quite good their prediction will be inaccurate.  We've seen that outcome far too many times now.  Noticing that pattern is easy.  I don't even have to provide an analogy anymore.  I have the real-thing to sight as an example now:  So all the "range anxiety" campaigning from GM, their anti-EV efforts to promote Volt didn't cause damage?  Realistically, GM caused so much harm to the plug-in hybrid market, you have to question the impact it had to EV.  Think about the confusing & contradictory messages they sent.  Now consider how there has been basically zero influence on mainstream consumers.  Those ordinary showroom shoppers that most legacy automakers depend upon for business sustaining profit won't know of this history playing out now.  For that matter, they have an expectation of continuous improvement anyway.  Look at the studies about consumer awareness.  They overwhelming confirm the point-in-time advertisements are limited scope and have a very small influence on future sales.  There are much bigger issues... like bankruptcies & safety... that people pay attention to.

4-07-2019

Disappointment.  Whenever an argument goes bad or the poster gets called out for misleading, the response ultimately becomes a pivot.  We've seen the antagonist change the subject to hydrogen and fuel-cells.  It's happened so many times, it's basically pointless.  The act of trying to divert attention has become even more obvious with the debate of tax-credits becoming so intense.  You know they are desperate when they attempt to treat them as the same.  They have virtually nothing in common.  The timeline & objectives are so different, it makes no sense in any type of comparison.  But being objective is not how online exchanges work.  They hit hard & fast, hoping for reward from being quick & clever... rather than thinking things out and providing detail to support the claim.  Oh well, that's how it goes.  Fortunately, the lack of critical thinking on their part ultimately catches them in the end.  We saw that with the extremely drawn out "vastly superior" hype for Volt.  We'll see more of the same from others later.  Some people never learn.  I try to provide guidance though, sharing wisdom with the hope some will take it into consideration:  Fuel-Cell will co-exist with EV, a reality that some simply refuse to accept.  With both, there are applications which it makes sense and applications it does not.  Starting with personal vehicles is the easiest and most flexible way to evolve the technology, in addition to having a wider source of real-world data to collect from.  It wouldn't be as effective starting with commercial vehicles.  Just look at Tesla, who also started with personal vehicles.  In the meantime, refinements to electric drive benefit both in the long-term.  Heck, we have even seen the tech trickle down to Prius already.  Basically, the reason there's so much resentment toward Toyota is a combined lack of patience and the mentality that one solution must fit all.  It's a recipe for disappointment.

 

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