Personal Log #776
November 19, 2016 - November 24, 2016
Last Updated: Sat. 12/10/2016
page #775 page #777 BOOK INDEX
Vague Claims. As anticipated, we're seeing quite a bit of misleading grow. It's all in the form of relative-compare and statistical-compare. That first is when you compare a choice to another choice without the consideration of actual need. The well informed consumer is aware that marketing to want will convince you to purchase more than what you really require. That's quite wasteful, but extremely effective for emotional appeal. A sucker is born every minute... That's an unfortunate note from history. Centuries later, the gullible nature of people is still getting exploited. So naturally, when you confront someone on it, remind yourself the encounter may become a futile endeavor. Relative compares will always be that way. It's how they've been so successful. The other type is statistical. Rather than quote the actual quantitative measure for specific comparing, the value is stated in a percentage difference. That obscures the numbers by giving the impression of greater change or lesser impact. It's an effective deception method which exploits the principal of diminishing returns. In other words, you can portray something as better by sighting a higher percentage due to it's improvement or gain, rather than stating the a value measured. This type of intentional misleading is quite frustrating to have to continuously deal with; however, providing detail easily debunks their vague attempts.
Volt Smug. I wonder how much this will continue: "I now get 1,000+ mpg on my Volt, and that's driving close to 9,000 miles since August." The superiority attitude is very difficult to deal with. Fortunately, that isn't a stereotype. Most Volt owners are decent. It's only a few who spoil things for the rest. Unfortunately, those are the ones who make their presence well known in online discussions. They drown out posts of others... who end up becoming enablers by not speaking out against such behavior. I approached the discussion by asking a question: How many KWH and GALLONS is that? 26 kWh/100 mi, 133 MPGe, 54 MPG = Prime; 31 kWh/100 mi, 106 MPGe, 42 MPG = Volt. Prime beats Volt in each of the standard efficiency measures. Real-World results obviously differ. In my case, the 19-mile commute will easily be covered by the 25-mile capacity. So, looking at KWH and GALLONS actually consumed is required for better comparison.
Short & Sweet. I particularly liked this question: "Begs the question though, is this a serious contender for sure?" In the spirit of being to the point and not being negative, I replied with this for an answer: That depends upon what contender means. With respect to industry choices, it looks more and more to be the "too little" compared to Prime as compared to Volt being "too much". Toyota strived for a balance, going for a "just right".
Order Status. It's still unknown. The dealer will be looking into the upcoming inventory for the region, hoping that allocation will allow them to find me a Prime with my choice of colors & package. That should happen in about a week. Knowing only a handle have been delivered in the center of the country, I'm not too impatient. I understand that it takes awhile to satisfy the initial demand on both coasts and for transport to the interior to take place. If my configuration isn't the most popular, I could wait even longer. Obviously, I'd like to take ownership prior to the year ending. Otherwise, claiming the tax-credit won't be possible until 2018. That's not a big deal, unless you suddenly find your household is in need of a second plug-in vehicle that same year. The bigger deal is not missing out on cold-weather data and photo opportunities. Here in Minnesota, the extreme lows are only a few weeks away. Combine that with snow & ice, you've got great educational material available. I'm really looking forward to gathering & sharing that... but need to take delivery first. Hopefully, that won't take too long. Wish me luck.
Winter Purchases. It was interesting to read the comments of a Bolt supporter trying to justify the rollout delay with: "But IMHO, the REAL reason is to avoid chilly winter deliveries that create lower range numbers." I didn't accept that for a moment and fired off this in return: Real-World results is what convinces ordinary people the technology is worth consideration. That means showing the vehicle in snowy conditions, dealing with the extremes of winter. No award can compete with the endorsement an owner can provide from sharing stories of their experiences. Avoiding winter rollout delays that benefit. It also leaves people wondering how well the heater works and how effective preconditioning can be. We don't want to give a false impression of expectations either. Also, let's not forget how much grief Toyota has been given for not taking risks. Yet, they are rolling out Prime nationwide right away. Deliveries in New York and Colorado have begun. Neither of those states are warm. Allocation information for the Midwest will available next week. The expectation is extreme cold locations (like Minnesota, which isn't a CARB state) will be getting some. In other words, there's good reason to push GM and not just accept what happens. Getting a few deliveries to those other locations for the owner endorsement benefit is a gain for everyone. Think about how each plug-in offering contributes to squashing misconceptions and preventing greenwash attempts from spreading. I see no reason not to push. That real-world data is needed to help promote. Spring is 5 months from now. Gas will continue to be cheap. The political environment won't be favorable to plugging in. What will you do in the meantime?
Adequate, Typical. I'm not sure how my response to this will be interpreted: "...you'll find this more than adequate acceleration for typical daily driving." It was from a troublemaker Volt owner who ended up abandoning GM after his lease expired, turning to Ford for his next plug-in hybrid. Those experiences with his Energi system resulted in a better understanding of Toyota's intent. He's one of those allies I've always sought out, but had to wait a very long time for the recognize of shared goals. Oh well... better late, than never... if this is taken as hoped: That's all people really need to know. It works fine. Adequate isn't exciting, but then again, you'd have to pay more for higher performance. Prius strives for balance. The 0-60 value is a marketing tool anyway. In actual driving, it is incredibly rare to drop the pedal to the floor from a dead stop and hold it there until reaching 60 mph. Most of the time, you're already moving when the acceleration onto a highway begins and you don't require maximum power. The only circumstance I can think of is turning onto a rural highway from a stop sign. But those are only 55 mph and you'd have total control of when your acceleration would begin, what mode you'd be accelerating in, and how much space you'd allow. So, it most definitely is a predication situation. Put it this way, I accelerate onto the highway in my PHV with no concern of whether or not the engine starts. To my delight, most of the time it doesn't. That means the Prime will easily fulfill the EV acceleration for the typical owner.
Setting Expectations. It can be difficult to set expectations that are realistic, especially for a car, since everyone's driving is so different. Fortunately, I have quite an extensive collection of real-world data available to base those upon. This is how I expressed that today: I've been routinely recharging 2 times per day, since work offers chargers (powered by solar). That has been a great source of real-world data for consideration of how the next plug-in Prius could perform. My results of a simulated 8.8 kWh battery-pack (from having charged the 4.4 kWh twice) have come to 72.2 MPG. That's true lifetime for 84,549 miles, measured at the gas pump. It includes quite a number of trips up north with bikes on back and no opportunity to plug in. I also took 2 trips from Minnesota to Wyoming and back during the winter. That high-speed travel (much of it at 80 mph) really knocked the MPG average down. I suspect Prius Prime will do quite a bit better for me than Prius PHV, simply because the distance to work is within EV range. It's 19 miles. I'll be taking advantage of pre-conditioning with electric-heat directly from the grid. That will be absolutely wonderful in just a few weeks. Daily low temperatures are below freezing now. It won't be too long before the highs really drop. I have always seen the depleted efficiency as a major strength for a plug-in Prius. You get outstanding MPG even after the plug-supplied electricity is used up, as your 100 miles per day results clearly confirm. What other affordable plug-in hybrid could deliver such results?
Who Is The Market? The routine "go away"
response happened again. It's really odd be treated as an outsider but
not fit into the category of troll. Being constructive, while
presenting yourself in a polite manner, goes a long way. There's no
reason to ban someone who stimulates discussion that results in agreement.
Several regulars there share my sentiment. This guy certainly doesn't
though. Even though he owns a Volt and posts daily on that daily blog
(now for Bolt), his unwillingness to accept the progress other automakers
have achieved puts him in the position of being an obstacle.
Interesting, eh? This is how I responded to the go away demand:
Here with our local plug-in owners group, there's a pro-battery outlook. Each owner shares information about pros & cons of their particular plug-in vehicle. We are working hard to get more chargers installed and to support salespeople truly interested in selling plug-in vehicles. Spreading of those details has clearly had a positive effect. We aren't afraid to address issues head on as a result.
Interesting thing is, I see how that approach has influenced you... despite claimed resistance. That transformation from anti-Prius to anti-Toyota did not go unnoticed. You recognize the huge potential available for RAV4 hybrid. Adding a one-way clutch and swapping in a larger battery with a plug would make it a viable competitor against its traditional counterpart. That's easy to see now, especially with sales of the hybrid model so strong.
I'm not going away, especially with the delivery of my Prius Prime coming so soon. It will deliver a full EV driving experience, even when the pedal is dropped to the floor and with the heater running. That's something you claimed would never be possible, that it was a dead-end technology rather than a contributor to plug-in acceptance.
Notice how the all the effort to market "EREV" has been abandoned in favor of "PHEV" promotion instead. That's a great indicator of progress. There's clear confirmation of who the competition really is. It's not other plug-in vehicles, as what had been so widely claimed & accepted. It's traditional vehicles. With gas now down to just $1.89 per gallon, seeing that should be easy.
The goal has been and continues to be the selling of electrified technology to the masses. Continuing to lose sales opportunities on the showroom floor is unacceptable. Know your audience. Who is the market?
Distractions. There have been enough of them lately to keep me preoccupied. Good thing too; the anticipation of Prius Prime delivery is growing intense. It reminds me a lot of my first Prius, back in 2001. Living in Minnesota, deliveries on the coast started before those here. That's what happens when you have to wait from those boat arrivals need to be loaded onto a train for transport to the center of the country. Posts sharing new owner experiences, especially when accompanied by photos, is helpful to steady the excitement. We have something to focus on while enduring out wait. I'll be contributing to it soon. 15 years ago, that worked out great too. That December just happened to be both the second snowiest and second coldest on record. Being able to share photos and my experiences with the Prius in that situation was priceless. I expect the same to happen again with Prime. That vapor-injected heat-pump will get lots of exposure to extreme low temperatures right away. We'll have lots of new material to discuss. I'll be able to share video this time too. There's so much to look forward to. Only a little more patience is needed. Soon.
Charger Use. On one of the plug-in blogs, I ran across this: "These PP's will be clogging up chargers everywhere, just to get a little juice." It was a comment posted about Prius Prime earning the "Best Buy" award from Kelly Blue Book. In the past, there had been worry about EV owners getting stuck without a plug available due to plug-in hybrids using them up. In practice though, we aren't actually seeing that problem. Local travel doesn't absolutely necessitate that. The plugs being used are more of a "thank you for your patronage" type offering. You get the opportunity to drive a few miles more with electricity. They aren't intended for full recharges. People are starting to see that too. I'm quite curious if anyone will end up reply to my response to that. It's been an entire day now. No one has. Oh well, at least those thoughts of the moment are documented here: My local grocery store has chargers. The usual shopping stop there will provide roughly 6 to 8 miles of electricity. A rate of 3.3kW for 20 to 25 minutes is plenty. We have a retail store here with chargers too. How much juice do you need? At a coffeeshop or restaurant, being plugged in for a typical visit of 90 minutes would provide a substantial electricity replenish. The same would be the case for visits to a large shopping mall as well. What situation would cause a clog? In other words, what situation is there that could be a problem? The gut reaction is to say more is better. But in actual practice, we'll likely find that isn't really the case.
Waiting. This lesson not learned continues to be a
problem: "In the meantime, we will all have to be patient and wait."
My hunch about how the unqualified trust comes about is from lack of
information. The person making the comment simply doesn't have enough
background to recognize what's happening. As always, I keep trying to
post reasons why such a stance is a bad one:
Being reactive, rather than proactive, is how we got into this mess.
The push for GM to finally deliver something their own loyal shoppers will actually buy is necessary, now. I was amazed how complacent supporters were of gen-2 intentions for Volt. Things didn't add up. But rather than pushing, they said it was best to just wait. Ugh. We see how poorly that worked out. Bolt doesn't look promising either. There is good technology trapped in a vehicle most GM buyers simply won't be interested in.
Look at what the LA auto show revealed. The draw for plug-in crossovers is a market other automakers hope to capitalize on. It is absolutely nuts that a vehicle selling at a rate of 20K per month isn't being considered for electrification. What's happening to the hope people were expressing for Equinox being offered with a plug?
As for waiting until battery costs to drop, how does that help? The current subsidy of $7,500 is to offset the current higher cost. It provides a means of lowering prices immediately. That allows automakers to establish reputation in the meantime. Affordable without any reliability history will hold back purchases.
What benefit comes from waiting? We are already at a cost far lower than what had been anticipated at this point. It's time to push for something actually able to compete on the showroom floor. There's simply no way Bolt is going to appeal to someone interested in purchasing an Equinox, especially with gas so cheap.
Once Upon A Time, photos. It was a bizarre experience. We needed to stop while on our trip up north. It was along the way, a longer route I had taken many years ago. Unknowingly, it just happened to be across the rural highway from where I had stopped 2 other times over the years... to take photos with the Prius. I was an absolutely beautiful location next to a spectacular lake. Being right off the road like that, I had the golden opportunity to capture that scenic view by parking along side it. The fact that there was a business nearby hidden within the trees was a surprise to me... and the owner. He was shocked to learn I had taken photos there in 2001 and again in 2010. He had me connect to his Wi-Fi to show what the area looked like prior to him being there. It was a surreal experience, rewarding too... since I now have a third set of photos from that area with a third Prius. It was a remarkable happenstance. Needless to say, I'm very happy to share the photos of what I was able to capture on that beautiful and quite unexpected opportunity... photo album 193