Personal Log  #671

June 4, 2014  -  June 12, 2014

Last Updated: Weds. 9/10/2014

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Naive & Undermining, part 2.  This was my response:  When someone wanting to undermine gets caught and there are no more unknowing enablers available, posts turn to shooting the messenger.   We've seen it countless times before. Those who didn't realize they were contributing to making the discussion counter-productive end up in a flood of mixed emotion.  They had no idea what was happening as it was playing out.  It all seemed so innocent.  The rise was subtle.  Later, they look back an realize it was an good example of being naive.  There's an effort to stir the pot, to sour the thread, causing participants to go elsewhere... because that thread had taken such a turn.  It becomes obvious if you follow forum activity as a whole over time.  You can see the push-out pattern after awhile.  But in that particular discussion, motive goes essentially unnoticed.  Direct confrontation becomes a necessity as some point.  Bringing up goals is an effective way of flushing out purpose, exposing intent.  They evade by changing the topic, often in the form of an empty compliment.  We saw that here when bringing up big picture strategy.  Toyota has one, it's diverse & profitable.  GM is still grabbing at straws, leaving us clueless what comes next.  That's an uncomfortable position to be in.  There is some good that comes out of these exchanges.  You were unaware of how Prius operated, acknowledged the misunderstanding, then moved on.  It worked out well.  Lurkers likely really appreciated the detail that it took for that to happen too.  We ended up with a gain, despite the effort to undermine.  Participate on some other forums.  They get downright hostile at times and will outright lie to protect their interests.  It's really sad.  We tend to be quite civil here in comparison.


Naive & Undermining, part 1.  There are times when patience & tolerance really pay off.  Over the past few days, on the big Prius forum, we've been dealing with a blatant Volt troll.  He has no audience anymore.  The daily blog is dead and the big GM forum couldn't care less anymore.  So, we end up with some of that fallout.  The situation isn't always understood though.  This was the conclusion expressed from one active participant: "I had higher hopes for this forum than for some threads to degenerate into name-calling sessions."  He got sucked in, a victim without any awareness of the problem.  I was intrigued.  He took a fierce stance at one point, arguing intensely with me about how Prius worked.  He was just plain wrong, not even close.  But it was easy to see how his assumptions came about.  Providing a video of the gauges showing operation as I drove along with an explanation of the components involved quickly changed his tuned.  He happily retracted his erroneous claim.  It was a nice, productive exchange... a wonderful result considering how heated it had become.  Experiencing that, it's no surprise he was a bit baffled how that degeneration followed.


Interesting Times.  With Volt fading away into memory, an unfortunate chapter in history supporters want everyone to forget, we see forum & blog activity changing.  We're all quite curious what happens next.  Volt had stirred so much interest and resulted in so much disappointment, it's hard to imagine what 2015 will bring.  Consumer reaction is very difficult to predict.  Purchases are even more of a challenge.  Basically, there's just plain no way to know.  That's why sticking to principle is so important.  That's boring though.  Toyota gets ridiculed on a regular basis for holding true to keeping Prius practical & affordable.  Enthusiasts find that far too much of a sacrifice, since they thrive on power & handling beyond what's actually needed.  Mainstream consumers don't notice the effort, since there's little to draw attention.  Fortunately, the masses place being practical & affordable high on their purchase priority list.  The catch is, the vehicle must also be well proven.  Being reliable is vital.  The importance of that cannot be stressed enough.  That's why Volt is now in such an awkward position.  The next generation will hold little in resemblance.  People will see the changes as an improved approach, cancelling out credibility of the current.  After all, the forum & blog activity is making an effort quite evident to distance old & new.  The first Volt had so many shortcomings, the less it can be related to the next plug-in hybrid the better... which is why these are interesting times.  Remember Two-Mode?  Most people don't.


Losing Market Share.  Always be suspicious when a published article doesn't actually include any numbers.  All the one today provided was a vague graph, a claim that hybrid cars were losing market share, and this as the closing sentence: "But the systems are expensive because of their complexity and costly batteries, and their highest costs are often passed on to buyers."  The article was brief.  The intent was to mislead & undermine.  That was easy to prove too.  All I needed to do was verify the supposed facts.  I looked up the actual numbers.  The scope of the article was overall sales for the United States over the past few years.  For 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013, the counts were:  11,588,783;  12,734,356;  14,439,684;  15,531,609.   The upward trend of those totals is easy to see.  The same is (for the most part) the case for hybrids:  274,763;  268,807;  434,498;  495,685.  That's undeniable growth  Even if there was some misleading through statistics, that's a difficult argument no matter how you spin things.  But it turns out, even the percentages themselves disproved the claim.  2.4%,  2.1%,  3.0%,  3.2%.  So no matter how you look at it, hybrids clearly aren't losing market share.  There's a clear gain... and that's with even bothering to add in the hybrids with plugs, which have been growing too.  The desperation of some continues to be easy to stumble across.  No matter how slow change comes, there will always be some who deny & resist.


Launch Spin.  Try as we might, information like this continues to fall on deaf ears: "PiP was supposed to launch with Gen3..."  What do you do though?  Those wanting to undermine will keep making up their own version of history.  We keep trying to share what actually happened.  Hopefully, some lurkers will be compelled to find out more:  That information has been provided a number of times now.  It hasn't done any good.  The history just keeps getting spun and the belittlingly continues.  Like I said, at least that serves as a gauge.  Away from that nonsense, I'm enjoying my PiP.  Today, it was a round-trip through the heart of rush-hour congestion territory.  It was 19.5 miles each way.  We escaped the meeting just prior to afternoon rush kicking it.  Since I wasn't alone, I took advantage of the carpool lane.  Rarely ever having reason to be in that area of the cities during that day of the time, why not try it?  Long story short, there was a little bit of stop & slow followed by a nice highway cruise.  Having started the trip with only 1.3 miles of EV available, it was almost entirely hybrid operation.  I was delighted with the results... 60 MPG on the way there and 61 MPG on the way back.  So for those who sincerely aren't aware of the potential the system offers, that's a nice real-world sample of what's possible even with very little plug-supplied electricity available.  For those who continue to spin, mislead, and downplay, they can kiss my gas.  As for the delay of PiP rollout, it should be clear why.  The battery-cost & greenwashing should make that quite obvious.  There are other barriers too.  People simply have no background or basis of comparison available for making the purchase decision.  That education takes time.  Just look at how many assumptions continue to come out of the initial rollout states.  To make matters more difficult, we even have some EV supporters working against acceptance, despite the fact that Prius can have a major influence on the advancement of plug-in batteries.  Toyota really did their homework to deliver a system able to reach the masses.  So what if we have to deal with a few sour grapes.  Owners are pleased with their choice.  They didn't have to sacrifice seating or room for large cargo.  They still get fantastic efficiency even when the battery is depleted.  They purchased a reliable hybrid with a plug.  It's a winning formula for high-volume profitable sales.  That upsets a few individuals, which is why we have to deal with their on-going banter.


Senseless Waste.  I had some painting to do outside.  It was a beautiful sunny day, there was only a calm breeze and the temperature was 70°F.  That made the activity of my neighbor (actually 2 houses down), truly bizarre.  Why in the world was she sitting in her idling diesel car talking on the phone?  The clatter of the engine was annoying to me, all that distance away.  I couldn't imagine what that sounded like over the phone.  Already in her driveway, why the heck not shut off the engine?  For that matter, why stay in the car on such a spectacular day?  I was truly baffled... initially.  25 minutes later, I was well beyond annoyed.  What a senseless waste!  Who in their right mind would ever do such a thing?  Diesel is currently $3.89 per gallon here.  Why consume it when you don't need to?  Why intentionally pollute like that?  It was very disappointing.  That totally explains why her son would let his truck warm-up for 30 minutes (and sometimes longer) during the cold season.  What a terrible influence on the younger generation.  Now, I feel disgusted recalling the event.  When the conversation ended, she hung up the phone, shut off the car, then went inside her house.  Why would anyone do that?


Shortest Drive.  I drove the Prius out of the garage to provide an area for setting up the bikes.  When done, I drove it back in.  A single car length is the shortest distance I've ever driven in one day.  That's not enough to log.  Our journey on the bikes was though.  It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon.  We rode just shy of 30 miles.  Spring is in full swing now.  It won't be long before the comfort will turn into cooking sun.  Then, it will be kayaking... which require the use of a Prius.  I'm looking forward to take.  It sure is nice being able to throw kayaks on top or head out to a distant trail with bikes on back.  But for today, that didn't happen.  Travel was entirely human-powered... which I really enjoyed... though, I cannot recharge with electricity.  For me, it requires pizza.


Change.  The recent discussion on the big Prius forum sure has been interesting lately.  This what I interjected into it today:  The so-called "hate" for Volt came about in large part due to misdirection.  If you stated anything about the need for diversification or cost-reduction or not meeting their own sales goals, it was interpreted as an endorsement for Prius.  Look up the old threads on forums & blogs other than here.  The ones devoted to GM products were overwhelmingly anti-Prius.  A thread would get created and discussion about Volt would ensue.  When civil and constructive, very little interest stirred.  Someone would inevitably interject some comment about Prius to ignite it.  That increased posts dramatically.  Hosts thrived on that kind of attention.  It was unfortunate.  I'd watch it happen time and time again, staying silent until the fire built up to an intolerable level.  Then when I finally chimed it, I'd get blamed as a Prius owner for starting the mess, though it was easy to confirm I hadn't.  And even when I didn't actually say anything about Prius, they would imply that's what I meant.  Watching the denial was remarkable.  Volt was suffering as a result of competition from within, yet enthusiasts would direct focus on Prius instead.  They didn't care that GM's own production was squeezing the life out of Volt.  The care was on bragging rights... which is why attempting to have a constructive discussion comparing the regular Prius to the plug-in model is so inviting to Volt enthusiasts.  Fortunately, we have recently seen some Volt supporters turn on the enthusiasts.  They see the business need is not being fulfilled by engineering praise.  They want the next generation to actually be competitive.  Are they also included in the hate?  I've tried to point out the difference and the change with mixed reception.  Change is difficult.  This thread clearly shows it.


Joining the Debate.  Seeing issues as either/or is a big problem.  That's why blending has been such a difficult approach to get some to embrace.  Debates of substance are difficult under those conditions.  Conclusions get draw quickly without considering all the possibilities.  I finally joined in today.  Some feel Toyota has abandoned the idea of plugging in, based upon the recent Lexus promotions.  Relating television commercials and printed advertisements for selling current inventory to overall corporate strategy is stretch.  Yet, that's what some are doing.  They also see the situation now as never changing.  Either it is this or it is not.  Ugh.  Oh well.  Maybe my contribution to it will shed some light:  "Plug Not Required" has been the message from Toyota for well over a decade.  It sounds like those who claim "plug-in bashing" still aren't acknowledging the difference between a hybrid and a battery-only vehicle... which is no surprise, since we've already had to deal with quite a bit of intentional misrepresentation for Prius PHV.  They go well out of their way to force EV comparisons on a vehicle designed to take advantage of having more than a single power source available.  Ask yourself this... How is this any different than pointing out limitations of engine-only vehicles?  The over-reaction has been quite a surprise.  Some think Toyota has abandoned the idea of plugging in all together, just because they adjusted their schedule in accordance to the initial market reaction.  Taking the time to refine the plug-in model while at the same time continue to push market penetration of hybrids should be recognized as logical step forward; instead, some see it as a failure.  I look around and see almost no support for plugging in.  The idea gets shot down within seconds, effortlessly dismissed.  It's sad and quite disappointing, but at least Toyota has an approach designed to easily take advantage of increased electricity use... without dependency.  People can bash that approach.  But reality is, that's required to retain profitable high-volume sales.  It's a business after all.


More Data Collected.  Continuing to post observations will go a long way toward keeping the rhetoric we are doing now from getting so out of hand ever again.  Others will chime in with their own data, once they have an idea of what to look for... which is surprisingly easy with a Bluetooth adaptor and a Android phone.  Too bad we weren't so well armed years ago.  Oh well.  We did what we could and have built upon it.  Being part of such an effort is rewarding too.  Newbies find the inner workings fascinating with that type of visual helping to explain the design.  Anywho:  I plugged in this afternoon at work.  The Prius was already warm from having taken it for lunch, with the windows open to enjoy the fresh air.  It sat windows shut in the parking lot as the surface-temperature climbed to 90°F while recharging.  That was quite a bit warmer than my previous data collecting.  I was excited about the opportunity that presented.  The air-temperature was 86°F, just at the tolerable limit for driving without A/C use.  I lowered all the windows and headed home.  The temperature of the battery-pack stayed within the comfort-zone, despite being warmer outside.  It peaked for EV at 100.2°F, which was right as the plug-supplied capacity ran out.  While warming up in HV, the Prius was required to climb a hill at 55 mph.  That pushed it to 101.5°F before dropping back down and staying down.  I'd consider that a worthwhile sample for warm-weather driving.  Any hotter and most of us would simply turn on the A/C instead, which drops the temperature of the intake-air quite a bit.


Real-World Data.  Having it readily available is power.  There's no way to stop the nonsense.  The greenwashers will do everything they can to keep you from drawing conclusions.  And without that real-world data, there isn't really much you can do.  They'll just keep spinning whatever you post, twisting to the point of confusion.  That's why I'm taking advantage of the weather finally turning nice to collect.  Here's the latest contribution to the on-going effort:  It's quickly becoming obvious that the claims of liquid-cooling is necessary for battery longevity were acts of desperation to undermine.  Today it was 79°F on the drive home.  The 12 consecutive miles of EV driving I did never pushed battery temperature above 100°F, without anything but open windows to provide cooling.  The electric A/C is available and will be used when it gets hotter out while driving.  That will make the air available for cooling even cooler.  So, there's nothing they can argue.  The A/C could even run as part of the recharging process.  Toyota didn't find that necessary though.  The chemistry chosen is proving worthy without the need for liquid.  By the way, I can turn it on remotely from my phone now using Entune.  It does a very nice job of cooling the interior. 10 minutes of running consumes roughly 0.2 kWh of electricity.


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