Personal Log  #724

January 3, 2016  -  January 8, 2016

Last Updated: Tues. 6/27/2017

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Fear.  That's what pushed those final die-hard enthusiasts to the brink, lashing out at anything they could.  Having something to blame was what they were desperate for.  It's very easy to see looking back.  No mention of the true threat... BMW's i3.  That's the design they had been promoting all along.  Problem is, that's not what got delivered.  Volt fell short.  Trying to bring i3 down has proven impossible.  Having lost countless battles fighting Leaf made that quite clear the effort was futile.  The i3 only has one weakness they could exploit... the gas tank capacity.  A little bit of research reveals a shocking reality though.  That limitation is strictly a matter of battery-capacity.  To qualify as a proper EREV (as per CARB qualification for "white" stickers), the total amount of available gas cannot exceed travel range to that of the EV capacity.  Electricity range must be greater.  Any type of improvement of energy-density or cost-reduction allows the quantity of gas to be increased.  That's inevitable.  Better lithium technology is a hot research & development market.  A ton of money is being spent to achieve exactly that.  It's why i3 isn't mentioned anymore.  Pretend it doesn't exist.  Make sure people only focus on Prius.  Of course, there's a problem with that too.  Hyundai's promotion of the upcoming Ioniq is threatening to eclipse GM's hybrid technology by going after Prius.  Who's going to notice the Malibu with 2 other players stealing the spotlight?  No detail whatsoever is being used to defend Volt anymore as a result.  Real-World data is absent now.   Too much showing shortcomings is a very real problem.  That sales thread provided a great example of how efficiency data has vanished.  It's simply not talked about now.  That's a fundamental difference from the past.  i3 abruptly ended those debates.  Hyundai will be joining in along with Mitsubishi later this year, adding to the choice of plug-in hybrids offered.  There will be a next-gen Prius PHV as well.  How do you sell a product supposedly "vastly superior" without anything to actually support the claim?  Fear caused those enthusiasts to lose track of goals, to get distracted by wants which didn't contribute to progress.  They got incredibly defensive... rather than just joining in the team trying to help change along.  It's too bad.  That type of persistence could have been a valuable asset.  There's a lot of pressure against the clean & efficient tech market.  We need them to help make things happen.  Not giving up is a strength.  Holding on to an implementation proven unable is counter-productive.  Take what was learned and apply it to the next offering.  It's flabbergasting how tightly into a corner some people can back themselves.  Move on already!


Moving On.  We've got other problems to deal with.  The latest is Ioniq promotion.  Accuracy is lacking.  Much of it has come in the form of outdated information about Prius being used to make Hyundai's upcoming offering more appealing.  Naturally, there's some vagueness contributing to the problem.  But in this particular case today, the issue to refute was obvious.  I posted the following in response to what was supposedly a rival introduction...  It's frustrating to see how an upcoming new hybrid is compared to an older generation with the claim of competing rival.  We've all known for months that Toyota is switching all but one of the Prius packages from NiMH to Lithium batteries.  Yet, this was posted anyway: "The newcomer also uses a modern lithium ion polymer battery as opposed to the older Nickel-Metal Hydride unit preferred by Toyota."  It's bad enough we still have to endure attacks from disenchanted Volt supporters.  But coming from a supposed automotive expert professionally writing an article, there's no excuse.  That type of misinformation feeds greenwashing efforts.  We've seen it countless times in the past.  An article like that will get quoted as an authoritative source over and over.  People will blindly believe those claims too, accepting them at face-value without bothering to do any research of their own.  That's really unfortunate.  In other words, we need to speak out.  Making sure misleading "facts" aren't spread is a big deal.


Desperate, denial.  The experience of failing is difficult to accept.  From those with the most to lose, we get denial.  The pattern is very easy to recognize.  They just move the goal-posts and claim mission accomplished.  It's rather sad.  That's what the blogs are for though.  You can look back to see what was actually claimed and hoped for.  The disconnect is obvious.  With this particular experience, it was best summed up with: "Gen1 plug-ins have crushed Gen1 hybrids."  All along... years prior to rollout... Volt would crush Prius.  Over and over and over again, we'd here how sales would be far greater.  When that didn't happen with gen-1, they simply shifted focus over to gen-2.  When it became evident sales wouldn't even be close, focus shifted back... but rather the entire category, instead of just individual models.  Whatever the cause, the comparison is a blatant attempt to alter circumstances.  Way back when hybrids were introduced, there weren't any tax-credit or HOV incentives.  Instead, there was a teeny-tiny tax-deduction and a massive effort to greenwash.  Remember the early 2000's?  Climate-Change was a joke, were encouraged to guzzle, and very few cared about smog-related emissions.  Now, every automaker is scrambling to deliver something and battery-technology is well-proven.  In the end, it doesn't matter.  We know what happened and what was said.  Those in denial just plain don't care.  They'll do what it take to save face and be convinced they were right all along.  Just make sure they don't ever look back and actually read old posts documenting history as it happened, not the way they claim to remember it.  Ugh.


Desperate, leadership.  It's interesting to witness an ending and a beginning.  Bolt is taking the stage.  Hyundai is working hard to get it.  Toyota will begin deliveries of the new Prius shortly.  Things really are moving on.  A handful just plain cannot with that though.  To them, I posted:  Leadership is getting ordinary people to change.  For 5 years, many here dismissed priorities and simply focused solely on engineering achievement.  They assumed the impressive power & handling traits along with a $7,500 tax-credit would be enough to entice.  Consumers didn't respond well to that though.  Yet, the accountability of automaker need was dismissed.  Becoming a self-sustaining vehicle (high-volume, profitable sales) remained out of reach.  Thankfully, the necessity of diversification is finally being addressed by GM… which seems to be going well. Unfortunately, it leaves the die-hard enthusiasts in an uncomfortable position.  They will appear to be supporting a double-standard or be labeled as hypocritical for embracing that change… hence lashing out at a scapegoat.  That's annoying, but not the end of the world.  The required adjustments to achieve change are being made.  True leadership is taking place… whether they want to accept it or not.


Desperate, scapegoat.  The ultimate is a summary, where the troller (disguised as a faithful group member) makes claims about what you did over the years.  It's quite obvious they are painting a picture of deception.  The references are clearing from others.  Lurkers won't realize that though.  Veterans of the group won't care.  They simply want someone personified as the cause of their peril.  It's surprisingly vindicating.  Their desperation is so obvious.  There's no point in arguing.  All you want is the confirm.  I find it very amusing.  They just make stuff.  Looking back through my blogs, I can see exactly what was actually said.  It doesn't match what they claim, not even close.  Today, it was the desertion of Volt in favor of Bolt.  GM is joining the very effort it had once fought intensely against.  The reveal of production detail pushed the few (only a handful left) to the brink.  We saw that play out.  I drew it to a conclusion with:  What was hoped for, what was said, and what actually came to be is well documented.  It's not the never-ending spin we have to put up with here.  What happens here is good confirmation though... of what worked and is still being waited for.  The rhetoric simply doesn't hold up.  Vague claims online don't accomplish anything.  We see difference being made by watching the road, parking lots, driveways, and garages.  Those are the vehicles of change.


Desperate, step up.  I've seen the pattern repeat so many times, it boggles the mind that the same old desperate tricks would be attempted.  We see the cycle.  Doing nothing to prevent it from starting up again is nuts.  Yet, most participants online don't take that extra step.  They settle for winning a battle rather than drawing the war to a close.  Even with the wisdom of seeing the forest, most are unwilling to speak out beyond the moment.  That big picture is lost.  Some pointless trolling post will get a bite.  A newbie will unknowingly fall for the invitation to become supportive of a greenwashing effort.  It's misleading with recognition.  The victims are clueless to what they contribute.  Anywho, I simply put it this way:  It will drag on for years of someone doesn't step up.  After all, a growing problem in forums & blogs is enablers... those who don't speak up.  The direct approach is quick and leaves no doubt.


Desperate, no data.  It has been quite remarkable over the past few months.  We've witnessed both VW diesel and GM's Volt fall apart.  The grand plans are no more.  Those automakers are moving on.  We're staging the final battle.  A friend of mine posted this: "Bring us data - we don't need sheet metal art or bluster words.  We need engineering metrics, facts and data.  If you don't have them, be calms and wait until they are available.  But don't prove you don't know anything by posting nonsense speculation.  At least don't embarrass yourselves like VW.  Better to be quiet and thought the fool than to post and remove all doubt."  He's tired of the nonsense and sees no sense having to endure it anymore.  I jumped in with:  Great words of wisdom.  Sadly, we've seen this nonsense far too long.  "SHOW ME THE DATA" dates all the way back to 2004, when the gen-2 was new and got routinely attacked with claims that didn't have any merit. T he real-world detail clearly revealed greenwashing efforts.  Post were kept vague to avoid getting caught.  The rollout of Two-Mode and sales that followed were a disaster.  Cause was obvious.  Expectations were based on speculation, not actual facts.  Real-World data brought hope to a sudden death.  Volt is even more of a mess.  It was as if nothing had been learned from Two-Mode.  In fact, when gen-1 expectations fell apart, focus was shifted over to gen-2 instead.  Repeating the same mistakes, yet again!  With Hyundai's rollout of Ioniq, we're seeing the same careless hype emerge out of factless claims.  They feed the speculation, becoming part of the problem.


Obsolete?  I questioned why that label was given, pointing out RAV4 was just due for a generational update.  This was the reply: "Are you saying there is a PHEV SUV in the pipe for Toyota? Toyota is all Fuel Cell, hater of plugin... at least that is what they are telling the public."  Sometimes, it's difficult to see the perspective from someone with only a tiny bit of information.  They focus in on something trivial, not seeing what was actually at play.  Knowing how to respond to the can be a challenge.  I chose:  Overlooking the obvious... that RAV4 is due for an update anyway... shows how effective the greenwashing campaigns have been.  Toyota got labeled as an "all Fuel Cell, hater of plugin" by those greenwashers.  Their most common technique was to post information out of context.  Simply limiting perspective is an easy way to mislead.  For example, when the first-gen PHV model production came to an end, they claimed the entire PHV program had been ceased, that support for plugging in had been abandoned.  They were relentless too, continuing to make that assertion without any data to actually support it.  The fact that Toyota didn't want to get stuck with inventory that would have to be marked down when the next-gen Prius was revealed was outright dismissed.  They just kept on with greenwashing efforts.  Another example is Toyota's effort to diversify.  We all know that EV won't work for everyone.  We also know that the oil industry will wag a massive campaign against them.  To portray Toyota as a fuel-cell only supporter, the greenwashers did everything they could to suppress plug-in endorsements by changing the topic to fuel-cells.  That desperation to mislead about intent was amazing.  They were relentless.  We've seen quite a bit of that in the past too.  But there's no need to look back any further than 2015.  Some have went to great extremes to build up false impressions... so effective, overlooking the obvious becomes common.  In this case, we know Toyota is expanding hybrid offerings to every passenger model vehicle they produce by 2020.  The hope of eventually being able to provide a package-option choice with a plug should be obvious.  Gen-2 PHV is helping pave the way, just like the original Prius did for expansion to other models over a decade ago.


Sales Perspective.  With the second-generation of Volt so new, there's obviously going to be peaked interest.  Purchases would be strong simply due to that.  But leaving out any mention of the tax-credit and posting this as the opening line in a sales perspective article is quite misleading: "Chevrolet is back in the saddle again with a relatively healthy 2,114 Volt sales in December."  In fact, some may call that greenwashing.  I expect the typical spin to come from my post about that:  The last-minute rush to purchase before year's end was expected.  Buying before the start of 2016 means you can collect the $7,500 tax-credit with 2015 filings; otherwise, you have to wait until 2017.  Avoiding delay of an additional year is good incentive to buy right away.  That "back in the saddle" assessment requires waiting for January results, especially since we all know the reveal of Bolt will have a direct impact to Volt interest.  The minimum milestone for mainstream vehicles in this market is 60,000 annual (5,000 per month).  A quick look at GM sales for December of popular cars show that is easily exceeded...  Equinox 21,827.  Cruze 16,849.  Malibu 12,155.  Impala 9,060.  Sonic 7,293.  Camaro 5,366.  What are sales expectations?


1,602 Miles.  That round-trip sure was interesting.  The stretch through eastern Wyoming and the entire length of South Dakota was with the adaptive-cruise set at 80 mph.  With so little traffic this time of year and the road hazard free (no ice or snow and little traffic), it was smooth sailing.  Of course, even at that rate of travel, it still took 16 hours to get home.  Once in Minnesota, the speed-limit does slow down to 70 mph, but that really doesn't equate to much.  Stops for food & gas are a welcome break from the almost turnless journey anyway.  To our amazement, despite winter cold and going so fast, the average for that whole long weekend getaway came to 42 MPG.  With only a single battery-pack charge the whole time, you'd think the plug wouldn't have made any difference.  From an efficiency point-of-view, it really didn't.  But from an enjoyment perspective, you bet.  We drove through a park elaborately decorated with massive animated holiday-light displays.  Being able to drive all of that using only electricity sure worked out well.  Anywho, I had a good time and the purpose of the Prius was fulfilled.  We were delivering a baby crib.  The large cargo area made that easy.  The radar to slow down the Prius when it approached a vehicle going slower on the highway was great.


Too High, Too Fast.  This is a very real problem: "Over the last year I’ve been trying to decide what I would do once my Volt lease was up.  Buying it as a used car was out of the question for two reasons.  The residual was way too high (at $27,628) and electric-car technology is changing too fast."  What would you do?  Leases aren't anywhere near as generous nowadays either.  Years back, low lease prices were used to draw in buyers who would otherwise just dismiss Volt as a possibility.  Since then, MSRP price has come down and the used market is saturated with lease returns.  As a result, those once considered "conquest" sales are becoming lost customers.  They just move on to something else.  Enthusiasts absolutely refused to acknowledge this was a possible outcome.  How do you sell an outdated early-model plug-in vehicle?  What do you buy as a replacement?  It's an ugly situation saying "I told you so" to doesn't help you even feel better.  We tried to point out the recklessness of those leases.  Oh well.  It's an everyone loses situation.  That's why I'm glad Toyota limited both gen-1 of Prius and gen-1 of Prius PHV to small audiences.  Heck, for the first 2.5 years, the only way to get a Prius was online order.  Talking about not having any showroom presence.  That was useful with the real-world data-gathering though.  It kept the used models in check to.  PHV has been limited as well.  That problem of "too high, too fast" is and interesting retrospective on the "too little, too slowly" concern.  That's why clarity of purpose is vital.  It's unfortunate there are still efforts to keep intent vague.  Some lessons are never learned.


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