Prius Personal Log  #790

January 26, 2017  -  January 29, 2017

Last Updated: Sun. 3/12/2017

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1-29-2017 Revising.  Every time a milestone is missing, there's a revision.  The resulting spin can be quite compelling to read too.  Desperation stirs imagination... but not always.  Sometimes, the person just twists the situation around and accuses you of what they are guilty of: "your revisionist history is showing".  That comment today didn't stir much though.  These blogs contains quotes of the past, documenting the stance they had taken back then... clearly confirming they are the ones revising.  I simply responded with some facts to mull over:

I am looking forward to your revised definition of EREV.

Remember how it started, while Volt was still being developed?  Back then, the expectation was for the system to be a series hybrid.  That meant the gas-engine never directly powered the wheels; instead, it was only used for generating electricity.  When that was revealed to not be the case, the definition of EREV was changed to fit what Volt would actually deliver.

Then when C-Max Energi came about, it sent the Volt community into a state of panic.  Another plug-in hybrid had fulfilled the same requirement criteria.  They got over it though, since Ford was a domestic automaker.  But when Prius PHV came along later, renewed panic resulted in a new definition.  To be EREV, there was now an arbitrary electric speed & power minimum to deliver... values obviously derived to exclude Toyota's offering and obscure the goal of boosting MPG.

Now, here comes Prius Prime.  It fulfills that requirement of more speed & power without any doubt. 84 mph with to-the-floor EV acceleration, along with a very efficient low-temperature electric heater, prevent any debate about satisfying the EREV definition.  So, I await revised criteria.

Need I point out that BMW's i3 actually does fulfill the original definition?  The gas-engine is nothing but a tiny generator.  There is no mechanical connection whatsoever the drive-shaft.  There are only wires. And with so much larger of a battery-capacity (97 miles verses Volt's 53 miles), need for the gas-engine is significantly reduced.

In other words, we need to start looking at plug-in hybrids for what they deliver.  It's those end results that count, not how they are achieved.  That's how we win the fight against traditional vehicles, which is especially important knowing GM is about to push diesel for Equinox.


Not Seeing The Point.  It's really a matter of not wanting to see it: "When is the Prius gonna die already?  Sheesh, it was great in it's time, but Toyota just can't let go of ICE.  Granted, they make a huge amount off the brand recognition alone, but now with a 240 mile Bolt, I don't see the point??"  That's the same type of person who simply dismisses the rest of the market, pretending the vehicles purchased today won't be on the road a decade from now still.  All they actually see is what they want, reassuring themselves that if the most possible battery capacity is selling, even in extremely low quantity with the help of subsidies, their work is done.  Care about reaching the masses just plain isn't there.  It's that engineer-only perspective.  If the technology is there, people should be buying it.  Things like affordability are totally disregarded or claimed unimportant or justified by total cost of ownership.  It's really unfortunate we have to deal with such attitude.  That is reality though.  So, we do:  $27,100 MSRP and overnight recharge with existing ordinary 120-volt household outlets is the point.  Toyota wants to reach mainstream consumers right away.  Bolt doesn't come even remotely close to fulfilling that criteria.  It depends heavily upon the tax-credit subsidy and expects owners to upgrade their garage.  Those are business & consumer expenses Prius Prime doesn't require.  As for letting go of the ICE, are you implying Volt should be abandoned in favor of Bolt?  If not, what is the point of Volt?

1-29-2017 Whoa!  Things are getting quite out of hand.  One particular Volt enthusiast very angry with Toyota is attempting to push the fake news theme way further than I have ever witnessed.  Rather than post misleading or alternative facts, he's trying to portray the situation as if there is no such thing as Prius Prime.  Pretending it doesn't even exist is so desperate, I don't quite know how to react.  That's denial to an extreme.  Here's my attempt at trying to deal with it:

Pretending Toyota isn't in the process of rolling a new plug-in is truly bizarre.  It meets the EREV criteria Volt enthusiasts have held dear for years.  So, origin of that denial is easy to understand.  But why would you keep chanting "too late" without anything actually having been missed yet?

Consumers are only now learning of plug-in vehicles and very few mainstream shoppers have actually begun considering the purchase of one.  Prius Prime is an affordable choice they'll stumble upon.  With a MSRP of $27,100 and a full electric driving experience for 25 miles, we can see the beginning of the market for ordinary consumers taking shape.  It's the first to break out beyond being a niche.

Claiming "too late" and ignoring new choices can be detrimental.  People will notice that behavior and question motive.  Keep in mind, GM was once so opposed to EVs that they filed a marketing trademark for "range anxiety".  Change does happen.  It is ok to accept.

1-29-2017 Electric Improvements.  There was an article today posted about the Fusion Energi, the plug-in hybrid sedan offered by Ford.  The writer reported it taking 6.6 hours for the 19-mile rated 7.6 kWh battery-pack to recharge.  That's interesting to read.  It only takes 5.5 hours for the 25-mile rated 8.8 kWh battery-pack in Prius Prime.  The speed improvement from a gen-1 offering to a gen-2 years later is good news for any of those who will be plugging in at home into an ordinary 120-volt household outlet.  I suspect many won't bother with a level-2 charger.  Why spend the money for a 240-volt system when what you have already will work just fine for overnight recharging?  Improvements like that are great.  There's another good electric improvement to highlight though.  The EPA continues to tweak rating information.  Detail was limited back in November.  But now with new vehicles being tested, like Hyundai Ioniq, the rating values are being reviewed... and revised, if necessary.  Turns out when looking up the Ford information, I discovered the Prius Prime value had been updated:

35 kWh/100 mi = 97 MPGe = 2017 Ford Fusion Energi
35 kWh/100 mi = 98 MPGe = 2015 Chevy Volt
31 kWh/100 mi = 106 MPGe = 2017 Chevy Volt
30 kWh/100 mi = 114 MPGe = 2016 Nissan Leaf
30 kWh/100 mi = 116 MPGe = 2016 VW e-Golf
29 kWh/100 mi = 111 MPGe = 2017 BMW i3 PHEV
28 kWh/100 mi = 119 MPGe = 2017 Chevy Bolt
27 kWh/100 mi = 124 MPGe = 2017 BMW i3 EV
25 kWh/100 mi = 133 MPGe = 2017 Toyota Prius Prime

1-28-2017 Too Late For What?  The concern is very easy to see now.  Like with both the downfall of Two-Mode and gen-1 Volt, the situation becomes clear as the 2-year mark approaches.  Rather than making excuses though, there are attempts to somehow claim Toyota failed.  The obvious question is: what?  Stating goals was always the problem.  Enthusiasts would evade accountability... and have been for many, many years.  Continuing that has become extremely difficult though, hence the approach change... they repel... I strike right where they are most vulnerable.  Changing the status quo is my goal.  They are stuck in a rut and don't want to admit it.  This was my provoke:

"Too Little, Too Slowly" was the concern expressed as part of the bankruptcy recovery.  The response to that was assurance that Volt would target the mainstream and become an ordinary part of the product-line, an improvement loyal GM buyers will choose instead.  Gen-1 ended up falling well short of that.  We were told to be patient, the next-gen would overcome sales obstacles. Gen-2 ended up falling short too.  We were told to continue to be patient.

That's changing now.  The response is switching to "Too Little, Too Late" expressed about the supposed competition.  That's clearly an attempt to draw attention elsewhere, to conceal the true on-going problem of "Over Promise, Under Deliver".  That was the very problem GM was dealing with prior to the bankruptcy.  Evidence is building to reveal something significant must change.

More and more, it's becoming undeniable that GM delivered a "sport" car rather than something intended to result in an improvement in the product-line.  Bolt is what Volt should have been.  GM delivered that long-awaited roomy interior to a different vehicle.  Volt didn't get the much requested upgrade.

The explains why the idea of Equinox with Voltec results in so much deflection.  Evidence is growing that people will be happy to trade EV range of a compact car for a plug-in SUV instead.  In fact, that is why Bolt isn't a SUV.  It's not even a FWD crossover.  It's a wagon, so it won't clash with GM's upcoming reset.

No matter what the spin or the number of deflect attempts, that reality of Volt unsuccessfully drawing sales of loyal GM customers cannot be avoided.  GM sees how Toyota, Mitsubishi, Hyundai, and Nissan are all preparing to deliver plug-in hybrid SUVs.  We even got a hint recently that Ford may be working on that too.  Voltec was claimed to be a "game changer".  What happened to that GM leadership we told to expect?


Critical Decision Time.  My ranting has begun.  It's time to push for change.  Hearing that we must endure more of the same isn't acceptable, especially with the rapidly growing problems coming from the new administration.  There's an obvious effort to undermine progress.  Controversial oil projects are getting clearance to proceed and work is being done to dismantle environmental protection acts.  I came out swinging today:  Seeing Volt almost vanish entirely from discussions, now that Bolt is available, has stirred curiosity.  But it was avoidance of the topic of Equinox that keeps me coming back, especially with so much favor for the Chrysler's plug-in Pacifica recently.  Avoidance of the topic of Two-Mode prior to Volt rollout remained a nagging theme.  Why was that history an issue?  Despite such obvious parallels, there was a fierce effort to evade references pointing that out. Volt was the successor after all.  How come acknowledgement of that was such a problem?  Then it hit me: GM's preference for SUVs over cars.  The reason for gen-2 Volt remaining a compact car with rear-seating size complaints not having been addressed was the clue.  There's more room in a SUV.  Any hint of GM planning to offer Equinox with Voltec would have an immediate negative impact on Volt sales.  No wonder even the mere mention of showroom shopping stirred such anger.  It really was the true source of concern.  Volt's biggest threat is GM wanting to sell SUVs instead.  Equinox is already a best-seller.  Adding the plug-in system to it would make a major draw... enough to raise concern from die-hard Volt enthusiasts.  There's a very real fear of cutting losses.  The plug-in market is volatile and compact cars are not popular.  The hope of gen-2 Volt reaching a sustainable sales level, enough to overcome tax-credit expiration, is far from certain.  Watch how things play out.  A critical decision time is approaching.


Desperate Deflection.  It's getting really bad: "How much longer do we have to deal with *too little too late* from Toyota?"  The news of Equinox getting a diesel upgrade rather than Voltec has infuriated the last of the enthusiasts.  Everyone else has given up and moved on.  That's why we see so much attention being paid to Bolt.  Discussion of Volt is just a distance memory now.  Sales settling at a rate well below sustainability is a very real concern.  It's too expensive to survive without tax-credit subsidizing, money GM would prefer to use for Bolt instead.  So, getting that desperate deflection, I asked about Equinox diesel:  Why is GM endorsing such a dirty & inefficient technology?  It simply makes no sense, especially so long after having rolled out Volt.  The expectation has been that their popular selling compact SUV would finally get a Voltec system; instead, it gets diesel.  No amount of spin will make that competitive with a plug-in hybrid.  GM's weak attempt to supposedly compete is being called out.  Say whatever you want about Toyota.  They already offer a compact SUV with AWD that has a hybrid system, which continues to sell very well.  We know the hybrid design can accommodate a larger battery & plug too.  GM doesn't have either.  That's why you have to deal with it.  How much longer must we wait?


Nissan Rogue Hybrid.  Some details have been released.  It will come with a 4-cylinder 2.0 liter gas-engine and a 30 kW electric-motor.  Resulting 176 horsepower is lower than the 194 from the RAV4 hybrid, which has a larger engine (2.5 liter) and more powerful front electric-motor (104 kW).  The Toyota also has a rear electric-motor (50 kW).  Nothing was mentioned about towing for the Nissan.  We know that Toyota's is 1,750 pounds.  Resulting efficiency from the AWD model is 33 MPG, which is 1 MPG higher.  Rogue price is expected to be similar; however, RAV4 comes with pre-collision braking, adaptive cruise, automatic high-beams, and lane-departure alert with steering assist standard.  In other words, it will likely be a nice choice for Nissan customers but a challenge to compete with Toyota.  Seeing Nissan make this move is reassuring.  Nothing but EV offerings could make the future difficult.  A mix with hybrid balances out the product-line.  Not everyone has access to a plug.

1-26-2017 Blind Eye.  There has been a ramping of of rhetoric lately: "What has Toyota done? Nothing other than a hydrogen fool cell science project."  The reason is simple, the competition is coming.  Toyota is deploying Prius Prime to dealers under the must-hold program.  They are forced to retain a demo-model for 6 months.  After that, it can be sold.  Until then, there is a guarantee customers will have something to look at and test drive.  That was a very effective rollout technique we saw with the Classic model.  It was a painful process though.  You'd have to endure the long delivery wait after placing your order.  I did that back then and I'm doing it again now.  That time seems to drag on forever.  But during the Winter here in Minnesota, it's easier.  I can wait until Spring emerges.  Photos & Video will be much easier then.  Anywho, this was my punch back:

Sounds like an alternate reality.  By year end, Toyota would have introduced and rolled out in that same time:

- C-HR hybrid
- RAV4 hybrid
- Corolla hybrid
- Prius v
- Prius c
- Prius PHV
- Prius Prime

There were also these next-gen upgrades to long-available hybrid offerings:

- Prius
- Camry hybrid
- Highlander hybrid

In addition to new vehicles & upgrades, the production of dual-wave glass (for better aerodynamics) and low-cost carbon-fiber (for weight reduction) has also been put in place.

The attempt to evade answering the on-topic question about diesel and instead attempting to divert attention to hydrogen is quite telling.  The claim that Toyota hasn't done anything is a flat out denial, which makes your reply quite ironic: "Who's turning a blind eye?"


What Happened?  Emotion is stirring.  Consequences of Volt failing to target GM's own showroom shoppers is increasingly becoming a problem.  That realization of conquest not paying the bills really hurts.  It's not a victory if loyal customers don't change.  Yet, this gets asked anyway: "Why can't it be conquest sales of mainstream (non-plugin) vehicles from competitors?"  That clear denial of the situation is deflection, attempting to justify an outcome that didn't achieve the goals that were set.  I'm getting really tired of the fight to keep the status quo.  Change is necessary.  Find a way to deal with it.  Stop making excuses.  Look at how much Prius Prime differs from gen-3 Prius.  Both were configured to appeal to the masses.  Both faced major challenges to fulfill requirements of a difficult market.  Volt didn't do that.  Production cost is far too high.  That much EV range was not needed.  That much power was not needed.  Improved efficiency & seating was.  To make matters worse, we're seeing an acceptance of diesel... despite the VW cheating scandal having seriously damaged appeal for diesel.  In dismay, I posted:  Continuing to turn a blind eye to all the popular cars & SUVs that GM produces is just plain terrible.  What a horrible attitude.  That is totally unacceptable… especially after so many years of plug-in promises.  Remember all the hope for Voltec to be spread to other vehicles?  What happened?  Why are Cruze & Equinox getting diesel instead?


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