Personal Log  #758

August 21, 2016  -  August 27, 2016

Last Updated: Sun. 10/02/2016

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475,000 Buyback?  What more can be asked now?  The disaster for VW referred to the world as "dieselgate" has moved beyond any sign of hope.  No engineering solution proposed has been good enough.  There are far too many problems.  It's costly and will negatively impact performance.  To make matters worse, the gen-4 Prius is starting to attract TDI owners.  I read of my first report, where the words "fun to drive" were used.  Toyota was wise to put emphasis on handling dynamics for this generational upgrade.  Of course, when efficiency exceeds 55 MPG, why wouldn't you?  That's better than what any diesel can deliver in real-world driving.  Heck, even best-case scenario struggles to deliver that.  The hybrid technology is so well proven, there's no competing anymore.  Of course, those who were responsible for the cheat already knew that... hence the deception.  Now, it's the owners coming to that same conclusion.  As a result, it looks more and more like VW could end up buying back all of their diesels in violation of emission standards.  That's 475,000 vehicles here in the United States.

8-27-2016 Get Over It.  I finally let him have it.  With only 1 person left fighting efforts to unite, the time had come.  Make it personal.  Make it obvious.  So, I did:

I've read through previous posts on this and other threads.  A pattern has emerged.  Examples of using me as a distraction & scapegoat are abundant.  Seeing that got me curious as to why.  What has been the motivation for that behavior?

The claim of me being against of all things GM is easy to disprove.  My only thing against Volt is its portrayal as a mainstream contender.  It's not, period.  The seating in the back is impractical.  That lack of headroom, 1.6 inches more in Prius, makes it clear what stirs your resentment.  The high cost for 53-miles of EV capacity with liquid cooling presents major affordability challenges for Volt.  Seeing Toyota rollout a system offering 22 miles EV capacity with to-the-floor acceleration makes anger understandable.  But since I have praised Volt for its reliability and very nice performance (power, speed, handling), there isn't good reason for the "anti" label.  I'm being used as a source for venting.

Next, we look to Bolt for confirmation.  The only negative I have said about it is questioning the low production expectations.  Why only 30,000? Of course, I have repeatedly pointed out that emphasis on Bolt popularity would hurt Volt.  Only a fixed amount of tax-credits are available.  Since gen-2 Volt has not stirred much market interest and 200-mile EV choices have, it makes sense allowing Volt to remain a niche.  You obviously don't like that.

Eureka!  You lash out at me whenever Volt loses attention in favor of Bolt.  That explains the irrational posts about things like changing the name.  It all makes sense now.  You've been anti-EV for so long, seeing Bolt draw strong interest goes entirely against what you've been promoting for years.  And even worse, it actually endorses what I've been promoting.  A double whammy!  That explains it.  Excitement for Bolt takes away from what you've been working so hard to achieve with Volt.

Sorry, but you're going to have to find a way to get over it.  I'm part of the group struggling to grow the market for plugging in and ending the dominance of traditional vehicles.  That means having to cooperate, crossing automaker lines and being forthright about audience.  So what if Volt remains a niche? Bolt will stir EV buyer excitement and the plug-in version of Malibu hybrid will demonstrate PHEV potential.  That's all for GM shoppers, capturing their interest on the showroom floor.

Toyota, Nissan, Ford, Honda, Chrysler, etc. all have their own shoppers.  Either those supporters can tough it out on their own or reach out to other automaker supporters for help.  Uniting makes far more sense.  Stop with the attack nonsense.  Get realistic.  It's time to address the real problems.


Go Away!  I got that classic "head in the sand" response.  Pretending there isn't a problem doesn't make it go away.  Some people take a long time to learn that lesson.  Some never do.  I wanted to know more, to find out what I am truly dealing with a this point.  So, I posted:  Do a search on this topic.  Notice the other websites that come up?  Whether or not I'm the one providing the information you don't want to hear doesn't matter.  Others are already doing it.  This almost sounds like you've got something against Bolt… which tends to make sense, knowing how much resentment there has been toward EV offerings in the past.  Bolt has a nicer back seat than Volt too.  The tall interior is a major appeal factor and the 200-mile capacity easily overcomes range anxiety.  Whatever the case, it boils down to the same problem again.  Other vehicles sharing the showroom floor are stealing away sales from Volt.  That has nothing whatsoever to do with Toyota.  That is entirely GM's own production-line being competitive for its own customers.  Remember, the goal is to promote plug-in offerings for those mainstream buyers.  It doesn't matter what GM vehicle accomplishes that.  The point is to phase out traditional vehicle sales.  It may very well be Bolt that achieves the low-cost, high-volume market for GM customers.


Why?  The level of emotion rose dramatically.  Why did he begin to show such desperation on such a benign topic?  Who cares if the name changes?  The attachment should be to the goal, not any particular labeling.  But then again, we hear semantic arguments all the time.  They accomplish nothing.  Yet, they happen.  Most are a dead giveaway of a fundamental problem having been uncovered.  That would seem to be the case with this too.  I poked to find out:  Hollywood changes names.  A few of our favorite movies were called something else all through production.  You watch the behind-the-scenes footage and will discover during the shooting it was called something else.  The same thing happens with other industries, like with software.  Why are you blowing this so far out of proportion?  Geez!  It's as bad as those who threw a fit when the gen-1 Volt was revealed and it looked nothing like the original concept.  People got over that, which was a collection of actual changes.  This is nothing but a name.  As for the attempt to compare to Toyota, that falls apart quickly.  You know all too well the plug-in Prius will be referred to as just Prime, which is a different name entirely.


Holding On.  That one particular person who absolutely refused to move forward is still causing trouble.  He's desperately holding on to the past.  I wonder why.  Hmm?  Obviously, things are going well for gen-2 Volt.  But why not embrace the plug-in support-group we're assembling?  He aimed and fired back with: "Apparently you don't like "constructive" criticism of Toyota, but it's the only way forward to the future.  They can't operate with blinders on."  I was ready for it, as this states:  You're doing everything you possibly can to put up blinders.  Everyone sees the effort being expended to avoid answering the simple "next" questions.  Stop with the gen-1 rhetoric already.  Geez!  You are literally the only one still hanging on to that past.  Gen-2 presents new issues, due to the new goal of needing to grow sales and survive without tax-credits.  The rest of us are addressing how to deal with that.  We see the plug-in choices as the assortment to overcome the barriers traditional vehicles face.  Why in the world are you still trying to prove GM is better than Toyota?  It doesn't even make any sense. Losing sales to Malibu & Cruze is the problem for Volt.  Do you really want that to be the case for Bolt too?  It's hard to believe in the later half of 2016 we still have to deal with such denial.  The showroom floor is where battles are being lost.  Stop creating new ones here, fighting the very people trying to expand the plug-in market.


Naming Problem.  An entirely new topic emerged today.  I wonder if this would get attention prior to rollout.  I've encountered the problem of "Bolt" sounding like "Volt" a number of times now.  Turns out, others have too.  That antagonist with a blatant hate for Prius got all riled up about it.  Why?  It seemed rather odd to attack Toyota.  Yet, there it was.  Even though the variety of Prius hybrids all operate the same way, he got all bent out of shape about package numbers and not being able to tell the difference between the c and v models.  Who care?  The all have an engine, two motors, power-split device, and no plug.  Heck, even the battery sizes are roughly the same.  What is there to mix up?  The category is clear.  That most definitely is not the case with Bolt & Volt.  Yet, there was an attack attempt anyway.  I blasted back with:  Since they all the Prius models operate the same way, there is no need for clarification.  Heck, even adding the words "plug-in" worked just fine.  No understanding issue.  For example, the words "plug-in Prius" have been used without any trouble at all over the past 5 years.  With Bolt & Volt, even in the plug-in owners group we are already having problems.  GM really set themselves up for trouble with this one.  Ugh.  Toyota added "Prime" in their labeling, knowing that "Prius Prime" would get referred to with the short name of just "Prime".  That has already become a common reference too.  That marketing forethought will allow them to associate it elsewhere later.  For example, "RAV4 Prime" will clearly identify it as the "plug-in hybrid" model.  No confusion with either the hybrid or the traditional model will happen as a result.  GM seriously needs to reconsider the naming.  Bolt is to different to allow it to get mixed up with Volt on a regular basis.


Next Steps.  Taking the situation seriously is a challenge... but less so now.  At least I get to ask questions without fierce pushback anymore.  That's progress, as this tries to convey:  With hope for plug-in choices to thrive, it requires a serious look at the competition.  It's not other hybrids.  It's not other automakers.  It's vehicles sharing the same showroom floor.  What is GM's plan?  Seriously.  As was pointed out, gen-2 Volt is struggling even with help.  Malibu hybrid is just barely squeaking by.  How should expectations for growth be set for either of them?  Will Bolt hit the ground running or should we give it some time to settle?  What's realistic for 2017?  The plan for Toyota is clear.  1.4 Million hybrids is the sales projection for this year.  Gen-4 Prius will take hold. RAV4 should remain strong.  Prius Prime could stir mainstream interest.  C-HR debuts next year.  The potential for growth is realistic.  Seriously, how will the challenges be addressed?  Traditional vehicles cannot be allowed to continue stealing away sales opportunities.  What are the next steps?


The End?  That was his prediction: "Unless there's a big increase in the price of fuel, when the tax-credit disappears, Volt sales will tumble."  Not being able to get anything constructive from enthusiasts is what brought about his provoke.  I poked about the end, just not in such a terse manner:  The simple rebuttal to that is for someone to suggest a plan, how GM should respond when the subsidy money really does fade away?  We see Toyota ramping up lithium production, by selling all the but base model (trim package two, not the eco variant) Prius with that type of battery already.  It will help them reach economy-of-scale lower costs from the high volume.  We also see them positioning RAV4 hybrid to take advantage of the small SUV craze, being able to offer a plug-in model when the market is ready.  GM could very well do something similar.  The catch is, they cannot wait.  If Bolt truly is to be a Tesla competitor, it must become widely available quickly.  That means bringing about the end of tax-credits for Volt sooner.  In other words, we're going to see all the gen-2 offerings from every automaker face a very real cost issue mid-cycle.  The significance of this should not be understated.


More To Mention.  Others joined in to point out other benefits, like solar roof, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic warning, and lane-keep-assist.  Naturally, I had more to contribute:  Along with a much nicer heater, auto-detect venting, dynamic cruise, pedestrian safety, LED head & tail lights, drive-mode recharging, and higher MPGe.  In Japan, there's also the option of CHAdeMO charging and a 1500-watt inverter.  The dual-wave window in back is nice cosmetic stand-out with aero-dynamic vendor as well.


New Plug-In.  This was interesting to read: "My commitment to sustainability is now tested by Toyota's lack of commitment to having any EV or PHEV available at all.  How disappointing."  It was from someone who's been arguing against Toyota's approach for years, showing favor for Volt instead.  So, seeing a post that his ended up purchasing a Volt didn't surprise me.  It seemed inevitable.  It wasn't pleased with his stance though, making generalizations all this time, then abruptly spinning it to really be about his specific purchase.  I didn't buy that for a second.  I gave me good reason to post this too:  For some perspective...  Prius Prime is just 3 months away and it will be rolled out worldwide all at once.  Toyota is also planning a production of 60,000 the first year.  How is that lacking?  To add to that, all but the base model of Prius now uses lithium batteries.  That most definitely is a commitment to advancing plug-in opportunities.  It's a major effort to reduce cost and improve production.  Want more?  Look at the CHAdeMO option being offered in Japan.  It bumps the current recharge rate from 2.2 to 6.6 kWh.  Knowing that, there's simply no way to say they are working toward that sustainability.  How about this too?  We'll be getting a vapor-injected heat-pump for winter cabin-warming.  It will offer a top-industry efficiency for EV travel.  There clearly is commitment.  The advancements being delivered are undeniable.  Sorry, but your disappointment doesn't add up.  You wanted a Volt.  We've known that for a long time.  We can thank you for contributing toward the effort to improve personal travel, but we cannot accept the claim of lack of commitment though.  Enjoy your new plug-in.

8-21-2016 Taking The Time.  Wow!  This rant certainly caught my attention: "I've driven the Gen 4 and wasn't impressed.  It's bigger, bulkier and has the same problem - it runs the engine all the time even when driving slow just to warm it up and warm the water up to heat the cabin!  I've written Toyota many times on this.  The same phenomena causes one to get in the low 20's for mileage when driving 1-2 miles on short trips daily when it’s moderate to cool outside.  There's plenty of battery power and I turn OFF the cabin heat, yet it still runs the engine constantly - shame on you Toyota."  Rather than simply providing some insight, I took the rare approach of making it personal with hopes for the best:

Shame on you for complaining without researching.  Sorry, but sometimes it's best to confront directly.  In fact, that's how a few of our best advocates have emerged... from a misunderstanding based on incomplete information.  So, it's worth taking the time.

In this case, you make no reference whatsoever to the reason for the warm-up process.  It's to reduce emissions by getting the engine up to optimal operating temperature as quickly as possible.  The supposed waste of gas you witness is actually the cleanest way of achieving that.  Traditional vehicles attempt the same thing, but they cannot deliver as well lacking an electric motor which provides a buffer.

You also made no reference whatsoever to battery recharging or longevity.  Do you really expect great overall efficiency and a pack that never needs replacing with the suggested operation of not warming up?  A cold engine not only operates in an inefficient and dirty manner, it also has to endure greater wear.  Toyota has went to extremes to optimize that process.

You have made no reference to the rest of the market either.  Toyota offers the best hybrid system available.  It's most efficient, most clean, and most affordable.  That's just among no-plug offerings too.  The upcoming Prius Prime not only resolves all of your complains, it should also score the highest efficiency rating (estimated at 120 MPGe).

You can consider yourself schooled, no worries about having been unaware of some information either.  Making it personal sometimes really is effective.  Just take the time now to study what's being posted for your benefit.   Notice how others are also taking the time to make sure you have a thorough understanding of design & intent too.  We all end up better off by exchanges like this.

What do you think now?


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