Personal Log  #766

October 2, 2016  -  October 6, 2016

Last Updated: Sat. 12/10/2016

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0-60, rushing.  Realistically, they'll never be happy.  A great example of why comes from the intersection near my home.  People fly around the curve and simply don't care if the light is red.  They rush to it anyway.  So, they want you to rush too.  They don't care about waiting once they get there.  They don't care that even if it turned green then, they'd still get through in time.  It's that mindset of more being better, of want clouding judgment of need.  I watch them do it to me.  I watch them do it to others.  I can see the frustration.  It accomplishes nothing.  Insisting that faster acceleration is required, even though they don't need it is similar.  They never bother actually checking.  They live with assumptions and get assertive when questioned about them.  From their perspective, they think you're out of your mind.  They fact that they are the aggressor driving too fast never crosses their mind.  Whether the more is speed or size or power, there's a point-of-view of "not enough".  So, no matter what you say, they just dismiss it.  Marketing has exploited this weakness, selling countless millions of vehicles we don't need.  They've learned how easily we succumb to want.  Ugh.


0-60, got ugly.  That didn't take long.  One of the very frequent posters sounded off, attempting to dismiss by sighting an extreme.  That's a familiar tactic and never a good sign.  I was annoyed, but took advantage of the opportunity to point out:  That example of an extreme didn't include an actual time.  The omission is a red-flag.  Most people don't have any clue how long it takes to accelerate onto a highway.  That makes distorting expectations very easy.  If you know you have an extreme to deal with.  You just toggle over to HV mode or leave it in EV-Auto.  The other problem is all the other examples omitted.  Most everyday driving will easily be accommodated by the EV that's available.  You'll be able to do all of your travel in the suburbs, runs along rural highways, and high-speed cruising on interstates.  Avoiding detail by not bothering to include any data for us to make decisions on our own with tells the real story.  Watch how long it really takes for an ordinary highway merge.  It takes far longer than the vague claims imply.


0-60, who?  I sensed things quickly falling apart.  The participation in that type of posting only lasts for 1 day... but the thread discussion lives on for years.  So, you have to be rather to the point when addressing potential problems.  I certainly did today:  What you think doesn't matter. You're not the one taking a test-drive or making the purchase.  Marketing has convinced you that maximum power is required for everyday driving.  It's clearly not.  The EV power will easily cover a majority of our needs and many of our wants.  You want more, buy a more powerful electric drive.  This is no different than those insisting a 6-cylinder engine is required, when really a 4-cylinder engine is just fine.


0-06, examples.  The push for detail begins.  That will reveal intent.  Constructive posts will provide realistic examples.  Rhetoric will sight an extreme.  I'll punt by taking the initiative in response to this: "If I have a 20 mile commute to work, and half of it is highway at 70mph; does that mean half of my commute I have to use gasoline because the acceleration can't keep up with traffic?"  That gives the impression of an open mind really wanting to know.  We'll see what kind of reply I get to this:  Absolutely not.  I'll be providing proof in the next few months with mine too, filming my commute to work with my new Prime as I do now with the PHV.  The commute from garage to ramp (with charger) is 18.6 miles.  There's a chunk that is on a 70 mph highway.  I know I'll be able to merge right into traffic and cruise along with it effortlessly in EV.  Watching the gauges now, it's pretty easy to see the extra power will cover that entirely drive in EV, no big deal.  At work, there are 6 chargers available. The ramp has a massive 85 kWh solar-array too.  So, being able to recharge there will allow my entire commute to be EV.  The pre-warming feature and the vapor-injected heat-pump, along with the heated steering-wheel and seats, sure will make the electric experience in winter nice too.


0-60, so far.  I'm posting on a venue that serves a wide audience.  So far, I'm just one of the crowd.  The regulars there will either support or antagonize.  It only a matter of time.  They don't like change.  The first clue is when they call you out wondering what your purpose is, but never say anything about their own.  Not stating goals is a dead giveaway of trouble to come.  Anywho, I going to walk that fine line initially:  The assumption of believing 0-60 is the measure of all power available is what appears to be the issue.  You point out passing.  That has absolutely nothing to do with accelerating from a dead stop.  Power returned is very different when the vehicle is already in motion.  With the case of EV driving, you've got an electric motor that more responsive than a gas engine and only need it for a short burst.  Put it this way, unless you have actually tried it, what basis of judgment are you using?  Just one number does not tell the whole story.


0-60, again.  There are very few who will remember details of the Classic Prius rollout, especially the rhetoric.  Those who opposed hybrids looked to exposed design aspects that could be perceived as weaknesses.  That's how want verses need entered into the story.  The only possible reception problem they could come up with back then was electric-power was slow.  It was a misconception they could push.  So, they did.  Well, the emergence of Prime has started a new chapter.  They are looking for exploitation opportunities again.  And sure enough, they homed in on the 0 to 60 acceleration speed.  Ugh.  The same old undermining efforts have returned.  My first post (of many, I'm sure) on the topic was:  People making the "too slow" comment never mention how long it actually takes to accelerate, they just assume not enough.  Do they only envision a short ramp where you start from a dead stop, up hill, and have to get up to traffic going 60 within seconds?  I certainly don't encounter that situation.  I merge onto the highway in EV mode with my 2012 Prius PHV on a regular basis.  Faster from Prime will be a nice perk, but clearly not necessary for ordinary run-of-the-mill driving.  Of course, if you have much driving to do on the highway, you'll want to turn on the engine anyway.  EV range gets gobbled up quick when traveling at 70 mph or faster.  That's where the outstanding MPG from HV mode comes in really handy.  Most owners will likely just use the "EV Auto" mode.  That will favor EV as much as possible, only turning on the engine briefly when maximum power is truly necessary.


Why?  How?  These questions must be asked:  4th generation brings about change.  The formula of the past simply won't be as effective.  A modified approach was required.  The styling of gen-4 Prius was inevitable.  People are burnt out on "normal" looking cars at this point.  Evidence of that is the LED accent lighting popping up everywhere.  That's an easy design modification will obvious results.  People are draw to the standout, unique nature of what they provide.  There isn't much functional benefit, but that doesn't matter.  It's like the raised floor in the back of Prime for the larger battery-pack.  There's a counter-intuitive nature of pride it addresses.  People want to feel like they are contributing to a better future.  The reduced storage space is an on-going reminder of their contribution.  That isn't logical.  Emotional appeal is what the automotive industry thrives on though.  We may find that Toyota retains that approach, taking advantage of it later to offer more EV capacity rather than making the battery smaller.  Also, how do you make it clear to the market that the new Prius isn't just another upgrade.  That upgraded suspension will make it self known during the test-drives.  So, the focus must be on getting customers to take notice enough to give it a try.  Why shouldn't a green car be a little bit sporty?  Shaking the stereotype of "eco-box" isn't easy.  Look no further than Corolla & Camry.  How does Toyota sell so many of those?


September Sales.  Having monthly results posted within hours of the pricing for Prius Prime was an interesting twist.  It immediately interjected some reality into the situation.  I posted this addressing Volt supporters: 

The showroom floor experience is a topic of importance that never seems to get any attention online.  There are still far too many distractions.

For example, discussions end up focusing on worthless points instead, like 0-60 acceleration speed.  Unfortunately, most people don't have proper perspective on, since they don't know what they really require.  They simply haven't paid close enough attention.  Rarely is there a ever an actual need to request full power in the time quoted.  Highway entrance-ramp metering only takes place when traffic isn't moving a full speed, so you don't need it then.  And when it's not metered, the vehicle is already in motion; so 0 mph is meaningless.  It's a greenwashing trap many people fall into.  Sadly, there are salespeople who take advantage of that for an easy commission.

Other worthless points, like the price of gas, end up making the sales effort a major challenge.  People move on to traditional choices far too easily.  Just ask how they'll plug in at home.  That gets so overwhelming so fast, most don't even bother.

Looking specifically at GM's situation, what should happen?  We have seen emphasis on Bolt so heavy recently, it's as if Volt doesn't exist anymore.  There simply isn't any mention anymore.  Limited quantity of tax-credits is a major contributor toward that.  The greater the push with Bolt to get into the mainstream, the less there will be available for Volt.

Strategy has always been to push price into mainstream reach.  For the 200-mile EV offerings, that's a generation away still.  For the plug-in hybrids, it must happen in the very near future.  Suggested many times for GM's next step is to rollout a Voltec version of Equinox.  After all, GM prefers selling trucks & SUVs anyway.  Cars are secondary... hence lack of support from dealers & salespeople.

There's the quiet giant in the room too.  Toyota rolled out the new Prius last year with lithium batteries as their primary offering.  Ramping up that production without much attention has went very well.  We can see a reflection of that success with the low price of Prius Prime revealed yesterday.  That's a clear effort to reach ordinary consumers, sharing the same goal GM has had with Volt.  So... what does that now mean for Volt?


Spin Already.  I wondered how long it would take to get the perspective of change: "I think the rear seating in the prime looks classy..and a big improvement."  It's truly amazing how much people fight for the status quo.  The majority like things as is, even if there's nothing to be gained from holding back.  That's understandable... to a point.  How long can it stay that way?  How does a shift to improve gain acceptance?  Since when do seats in back have to remain utilitarian?  Why not making the sitting experience in back better?  I sounded off to that with:  We need more comments like that... since the anti-Prime spin has already begun.  I have seen a few Volt owners attempting to paint a picture of "cheap" for Prime by using the low MSRP as their reasoning.  Toyota may have foreseen that, hoping a few upscale features would offset such efforts.  At the same time, it's a good move for greater diversification.  They have to grow the market somehow.  Why not offer something unusually nice for the price?  What starts out as a luxury option tends to eventually become affordable for the masses anyway.  Shaking up the industry by doing that unexpectedly soon seems a rather smart move.  After all, that is how Prius started out.  Think about how ahead of its time that original hybrid was.


Prime Pricing.  The embargo finally ended.  After weeks of waiting, the time had come.  Minutes later I was posting:  Yeah!  Price did indeed end up aggressive, as Toyota has been working really hard to deliver and we had hoped for.  We've been waiting for that official 25-mile rating for awhile too.  Knowing Toyota so well, doing the calculations, and approximating based on other markets made it a strong case of getting more than 22.  After all, we often got more from the 11-mile estimate from PHV.  Thanks for the info and the updates.


Playing Offense.  That time to tell certain people the way things are with a rather terse approach has returned:  The entire discussion has been about Prius Prime and its influence on the market... not your "traditional vehicles don't matter" nonsense.  I've been waiting to find out what meritless spin you'd post upon learning Toyota reached the goals GM still hasn't.  Your complete disregard for ordinary buyers, those who shop the showroom floor, is a recipe for disaster.  They'll see the 25 miles of EV for $27k.  They'll see the step-up interior from the regular Prius.  They'll recognize the outstanding hybrid efficiency & reliability.  Who do you think you are fooling by trying to belittle what Toyota has delivered.  Do you really believe that will somehow help GM, that ignoring their own goals will make it better?  Hasn't anything been learned from offerings that failed to result in mainstream sales?  Go ahead.  Dig your hole even deeper.  The rest of us will celebrate this progress.  The step forward taken today by Prius Prime into the market of ordinary consumers is a big one.

10-02-2016 Being Vague & Double Standards.  That's what it ended up coming down to.  No surprise.  After all, an opponent rarely ever admits defeat.  That type of behavior helps with the transition.  It gives them a sense of having given the last word, as if they are in agreement.  That was the case with: "It has been for some time.  And we are glad Toyota is finally trying to join the movement.  They just need to step up their efforts… big time."  Of course, I couldn't let that go... because I don't want to see the cycle repeat again:

Step up?  Big time?

Those don't tell us anything either.  Posts entirely void of anything quantitative aren't constructive.  No direction.  No goal.  Nothing to measure along the way.  More & Faster is meaningless.  This is why Volt suffered over the years.  When milestones were missed, support became wishy-washy to defend reputation by using vague adjectives.

Toyota has always held true.  So what if antagonists painted a misleading picture and those pointing that out were labeled as trolls.  Ordinary consumers would never know and the goal would still be reached.

In this case, the effort has been to find a way of replacing traditional vehicles with a cleaner, more efficient choice.  The same target price was set as GM too, nicely under $30,000.  We'll find out the results of that tomorrow.  Capacity of the battery would be adjusted accordingly for each generation.  They started with 4.4 kWh.  For the next, the goal was to double that. 8.8 kWh is indeed what was delivered.  The speed/power upper-limit was originally set to 100 km/h (62 mph).  This time, it was raised to meet all driving circumstances, 135 km/h (84 mph).

Notice how easily measurable all those values are?  They even state how many. In the past, it was a certain amount by a specific year... back when HSD was limited to just a few choices.  Now, they have stated a quantity for a specific model & generation.  In this case, they wish to sell 1 million Prime worldwide.

The concise nature of all that means easy evaluation of progress.  Notice how sales were just blown off as not important in prior posts on this thread?  It's because Volt fell well short of expectations and they were making an effort to avoid acknowledgement of that.  Prime will be held to a higher standard.  We know what "step up" and "big time" actually means... whether you specify it or not... because Volt will be expected to do the same.


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