Personal Log  #788

January 15, 2017  -  January 21, 2017

Last Updated: Sun. 3/12/2017

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New Venue, obstruct.  I wasn't surprised to read this: "12.2 seconds is slow enough to obstruct traffic."  I knew exactly what to post in return too:  What traffic?  You're implying maximum acceleration is needed, without any context or example whatsoever.  You've been greenwashed to believe faster is necessary.  Driving a Prius PHV for 88K miles, I know quite well that is definitely not the case.  I don't have to drop the pedal to the floor when merging onto highways.  I have already test-driven a Prius Prime (while enduring the long delivery wait for mine) too. It effortlessly merged onto the 70 mph highway into to traffic in EV mode just fine, even with the electric-heater running.  The claim of obstruction is without merit.  Wanting more power to be a leader, rather than just going along with the flow of traffic, is fine.  There is plenty of real-world experience proving there is not a need for it though.


New Venue, shame.  This didn't come from a crazed antagonist attempt to justify Volt, it was just car enthusiasts without much understanding of mainstream priorities or how Prius Prime actually works: "It's a shame the PRIME's electric motors are so small. Buyers will need to learn how to put it in hybrid mode before entering highways..."  It took careful consideration of how to actually respond.  With so many different approaches available, I chose to reply with:  The assumptions many make online never cease to dumbfound me.  You'd think they wouldn't knee-jerk react to numbers.  Yet, we see it all the time.  Thankfully, the test-drive experience reveals the true situation.  That's the audience Toyota is targeting, those who give it a try, not those who just read enthusiast publications.  The current Prius PHV offers 38 kW (51 hp) in EV mode.  I've merged onto the highway quite a number of times without the engine starting with mine.  Prius Prime bumps up the EV power to 68 kW (91 hp).  So, it's very clear ordinary driving is easily covered.  Spreading of a misconception about a "learn how" owner necessity ends here & now. EV-AUTO MODE is what those reading this need to learn about.  That's a feature Prime offers in between EV and HV modes, when you want to favor EV as much as possible but need extra power in rare circumstances.  In other words, that shame above is without merit.  Please don't make assumptions.  Upgrades offer improvements.  Learn about them.


New Venue, fanbois.  After years of just barely hanging on, that daily blog for Volt has been all but abandoned.  Bolt ended up killing it.  There's simply nothing of interest related to Volt to draw attention anymore.  The valuable accidental-reveals from arguments against Toyota have become highly unlikely now too.  It's a resource that ran its course.  So, the fanbois have moved on.  I'm finding the same names elsewhere.  The catch is, those other venues are only new to them.  They are well established... by those who took the "too little, too slowly" concern seriously.  That makes rhetoric much more difficult to spread.  I obviously like that a lot.  Far less nonsense to deal with is wonderful.  They squandered their time, defending a niche with excuses rather than working to establish something for the masses.  I hold a great deal of resentment for their push against mainstream offerings.  Now, I have more allies who feel the same way.  This is going to be fun!


Rogue & Niro.  First reviews have emerged.  Both are new entries into the SUV hybrid market.  Rogue is Nissan's attempt.  With 330,000 purchased in the United States in 2016, there is definite potential to explore.   The success of the RAV4 hybrid debut, which Toyota sold 45,070 of last year, further reinforces the reason to try.  Setting expect is a challenge though.  What will buyers want?  It looks like a decent effort to compete.  Kia's upcoming Niro takes a different approach at dealing with the same problem.  It appears to be just a crossover wagon, not an actual SUV.  The different is no AWD option.  That would make it just like Toyota's upcoming C-HR hybrid instead.  Whatever the case, it is still an endorsement for traditional vehicle replacement.  After all these years of proving battery & motor technology is robust enough, this next step at affordability and packaging to appeal makes sense.  (Next is to begin to dominate auto shows.)  We are clearly making progress... at least with the technology.  We are about to regress politically.  That's really unfortunate.  To know the new administration is strongly opposed to change is terribly disappointing.  To all those who voted for that backward thinker, I hope you can overcome pride quickly.  We going to need your help to get out of this self-inflicted disaster.


Excuses Again.  Witnessing history repeat is fascinating.  You are astonished to see mistakes be repeated.  Who would not bother to study the past?  Not learning from previous attempts is just plain stupid.  Yet, that's what I see.  What would you call such carelessness?  It grows from innocent comments, like: "With over twice the EV range and Hold mode, a Volt doesn't need a charge-mode to drag down its highway fuel economy. But if desired, Mountain mode can be used to provide 20 miles of EV to a depleted Volt battery."  The omission of real-world data should raise concern.  That's what got GM to change their stance.  Initial impressions did not match reality.  Look at the claimed necessities for a 5th seat and 0-60 speeds.  Both have stirred major issue, despite real-world data.  That realization suddenly makes dealing with the rhetoric far more complicated.  The feature is nothing but a software alteration.  No cost is involved.  What does it mean to  give drivers a choice?  Excuses to justify no offering it is a very good indication there's a shortcoming being avoided... which is exactly what we saw in the past.  I put it this way:  Sounds just like the same weak excuses Volt enthusiasts used years ago to justify the lack of a HOLD mode.  GM ended up delivering that with a mid-cycle upgrade.  The trip I took just last weekend, from Minnesota to Wyoming with stops in between, would most definitely benefited from having a CHARGE mode.  My routine trips up north would benefit too.  There is plenty of driving around once you reach your destination that could be EV instead.  Using some gas while cruising along the highway to provide that is a good balance of resources... which is what being a hybrid is all about.


Welcome.  What do you do when you encounter a die-hard GM supporter who just joined the big Prius forum and posted this: "That'd be pretty frustrating if I was a Gen 1 PiP owner looking to upgrade to a Gen 2."  Being such a staunch Volt enthusiast and having purchase a Bolt out-of-state, I figured the best approach to his obvious provoke was to welcome him, as well as point out his position:  Hello.  I see that you just joined this forum.  Welcome.  Having been a very active participant on the Volt website and now owning a Bolt, you know very well the importance of audience.  How many times did I ask "Who is the market for Volt?"  The upgrade from gen-1 to gen-2 is a big one, providing lots of enhancements.  Owners will get lots of EV driving from Prime.  They aren't looking for purity though.  The engine will start-up from time to time, just like with Volt.  Notice how you forgot to mention the time/distance criteria for Volt?  The point is, you get outstanding MPG from Prime.  So what if the engine runs.  Seeing MPG well above that for even the regular Prius is the point.  You get lots of EV for an affordable price.

1-19-2017 Enthusiast Publications.  How do you respond to commentary about an article written by a performance favoring resource?  They've been publishing reviews for enthusiasts for decades.  Their reputation is built upon the study of design to deliver speed & handling.  Acceleration reports are their life-blood.  They drive vehicles hard to report findings for you to satisfy curiosity... not for the purchase of a family hauler.  Your desire for "sport" is fulfilled, not wallet protection.  That's fine for enthusiasts, but in no way representative of mainstream interest.  That made the recent article comparing Volt to Prime a source of quandary.  I ended up posting:

A fundamental problem with this article is the source it came from.  Dating all the way back to 1999, nothing published from a performance magazine about Prius ever made sense.  It's a mainstream vehicle, not something for enthusiasts.  Yet, they still write about it, since that draws attention to them.  So, we keep getting new articles.

Right from the start, it was problematic.  With a mainstream perspective, you want to compare base models... since that's what those buyers will first consider for purchase.  Ordinary showroom shoppers consider what packages to step up to based upon what they find from that entry-level offering.  Comparing the Premier model to Advanced clues us in to the intended audience, one clearly different from mainstream buyers.

The true reveal of intent was the terrible representation of efficiency.  Why the exclusion of efficiency ratings?  Omitting that, yet including detail of acceleration observations is an blatant indication of what they prefer, which is clearly different from someone interested in what the plug actually delivers.  Simply specifying EV capacity doesn't really tell much.  Perhaps they don't understand what those values mean.

54 MPG combined rating for Prime verses 42 MPG combined rating for Volt should be obvious.  Why was such obvious efficiency information excluded?

133 MPGe for Prime verses 106 MPGe for Volt won't be understand by ordinary consumers.  Shouldn't the job of journalists be to explain what that means, rather than avoid mention of those ratings?

25 kWh/100 miles rating for Prime verses 31 kWh/100 miles rating for Volt tells us the true story.  Yet, that wasn't included in the article either.  It reveals to us how much less efficient of an electric vehicle Volt really is.  Prime shines in this regard.  Why only a 6 (out of 10) for efficiency then?  It simply makes no sense giving Volt a 10 once you discover that detail.  Volt is a guzzler of electricity in comparison.

Needless to say, the article caters to a "performance" audience, which misleads about the purpose of Prime.


Distractions.  This was an interesting question: "Is it just me, or does anyone else feel like autonomous driving is a distraction from alternative fuels?"  With both the Detroit auto show and CES reaching for automotive industry attention, it does make you wonder.  Remember all the V2G hype a few years ago?  Did you even remember that stands for vehicle-to-grid.  Supposedly, the next big thing was having battery-packs for plug-in vehicles serve as a storage medium for supplying power.  The charge would be used for other electric devices elsewhere, rather than propulsion of that vehicle.  It seemed bizarre.  Why would you want to use of cycle of the battery's life for that?  There are inherit losses with conversion too.  At least with autonomous driving, it has something to do with driving.  Why is taking away the experience of driving so important though?  The reasons for "fun to drive" make no sense whatsoever if you aren't in control anymore.  The feel of power & handling is completely eliminated then.  Who will want to buy that?  It goes against everything marketing has focused on over the past few decades.  You'd wouldn't experience any of that with a computer driving the vehicle instead.  In fact, the more you think about it, the more bizarre the idea becomes.  Why?


Weekend Getaway.  I was excited to read this: "Sometimes I go on trips of 1500 to 3000 miles with no ability to charge.  A Prime is going to obliterate a Volt for that, and not just in efficiency but also in space and comfort."  That excitement came from having mine own recent experience to share:  I just got back from a 1,600 mile long-week escape... which was hoped to be in a new Prius Prime.  But with no sign of that yet, it was with the Prius PHV... which performed wonderfully.  Efficiency at 80 mph (we crossed South Dakota) was remarkable, even at the freezing temperatures.  Knowing Prime is even more efficient due to the engine's improved thermal efficiency and the fact that it can recharge on-the-fly for no-plug EV later will most definitely be a big plus over Volt.  The raised floor will be a complete non-issue too.  The seats are down for our convenience, leaving lots of room in back to shuffle stuff while on the road.  So, I'm very much looking forward to the next trip.  In the meantime, there's new photos for me to share.  We got stuck in Wyoming due to an ice storm in Minnesota.  Finding ourselves very close to Devil's Tower on a federal holiday was a golden opportunity.  We had the place almost entirely to ourselves.  With a light coating of snow, a cloudless blue sky, and a windless warm day, it was a remarkable experience.  I went nuts with the camera.


Short-Term.  The limited mindset of short-term thinking never ceases to amaze me: "I suggest that the Prime is mainly for traditional Toyota buyers who might otherwise trade in their Prii for Volts or Bolts.  Toyo has noted what gets traded in most often for the Volt..."  He then went on to reinforce that spin with claims of desperation to stop those losses.  Even if that was true, what difference would it make toward the clearly stated mission of traditional vehicle replacement?  Toyota's effort to appeal to the masses is undeniable.  That's far more than losing a few immediate sales to a just a small group of people.  Ugh.  Oh well.  Thinking that way is futile... which would make my reply that way as well.  I wanted to say my piece anyway:  Quoting outdated data is misleading, but leaving out vital information is what tells the real story.  True, Prius was indeed the most traded.  But that was way back when gen-1 Volt was still new.  There wasn't any other choice available.  GM took advantage of that be offering very enticing lease deals.  Who wouldn't trade in their old Prius for a dirt-cheap Volt they could part with after 3 years?  In other words, GM took the risk, but lost out in the end.  Those "most traded" people simply moved on after lease expired to other automakers; many were drawn to Tesla.  Heck, we've even seen some of the most loyal Volt supporters declare a loyalty shift over to Bolt instead due to that desire for more EV.  The purpose of building up owner to grow the market from within (attract GM's own customers) didn't happen  Traditional buyers weren't interested.  That brings us to a question of purpose.  If Prime retains Toyota showroom shoppers, what does gen-2 Volt do for GM?  Hybrid owners cannot be the only target.  Conquest & Cannibal sales are short-term only.


Lease Cheat.  I wondered what the situation truly was.  The sales spike of Volt in December seemed to be more than just a rush to take advantage of claiming tax-credit money right away, rather than having to wait an additional year.  Even if GM had planned for that, it still struck me as odd.  I had contemplated the possibility of the new administration canceling the tax-credit too.  It didn't strike me as likely though, since the president-elect had recently put an emphasis on American automakers.  Why hurt GM like that... especially when you want to avoid drawing attention to solutions not favorable to the oil & coal industry.  Then I stumbled across this: "The Volt hadcsome very aggressive lewse incentives in December.  You kay not gsve been aware of this."  So oddly written really caught my eye, knowing it came from a source normally not so clumsy with the keyboard.  Why?  Hmm.  Anywho, that's quite plausible.  GM has used lease incentives to stimulate numbers in the past.  That very effectively coveys a false impression of strong demand.  In reality, you get just short-term sales that harm long-term business.  Look at the ineffectiveness the leases for gen-1 Volt were.  How will gen-2 be any different?


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