Personal Log #794
February 17, 2017 - February 19, 2017
Last Updated: Sun. 3/12/2017
page #793 page #795 BOOK INDEX
Misleading Titles. I'm really getting tired of the nonsense. Recently, I've stumbled across several articles where the content didn't actually match the title. If all you do is just read the title and opening paragraph, you wouldn't realize the information to follow doesn't actually support the claim being made. It's a problem we see online routinely with forum posts. That other content confirms whatever point they take the time to make, but isn't what the title suggests. For those simply looking for validation of their feelings, they tend to just gloss over what's published or don't even bother to proceed beyond the introduction. It's really unfortunate such greenwashing exists. I run into articles like that far too often. The hope is that people won't check facts, that they'll accept what's there at face value. Sad.
Moderator Intervention. That daily blog for Volt didn't have any. In fact, you weren't even required to register. It was open posting. That's how things became so chaotic. The website I have transferred to is quite different: "We do not permit direct personal insults, profanity, off-topic posts, gratuitous political commentary, or denial of climate science in our comments." That policy isn't taken lightly either. They frequently sweep through discussion threads and enforce those rules. The posts are changed to a notice stating they have been altered by moderators to remove the inappropriate content. Individuals abusing that will get publicly called out too, given this warning: "If you cannot abide by the rules, please don't comment at all. Repeated violations will get you banned, blacklisted, and reported as an abusive commenter. Thank you in advance for helping us keep comments on our site on topic, civil, respectful, family-friendly, and fact-based." The few antagonists who followed me are struggling with this new reality. Their attacks are not tolerated. This website is not filled with enablers. Participants want constructive discussion, not cheerleading. It's quite a wake-up call for those just wanting to stir trouble and express superiority. I'm delighted to see such a reversal of circumstances.
Cheap Crap. It was only a matter of time before the insulting & belittling began. One particular individual responded to several posts on the same thread all with a common theme, attempting to label Prime as: "cheap crap". The words of desperation I found most revealing were: "With that amount of power and that amount of space you can hardly get out of the garage with the driver alone." When they don't even try to post something sensible, you know the message has got through. They see weaknesses in their own argument. The response is simply lashing out. Reaching that point is a vindication, a milestone indicating points posted were valid. If they weren't, they'd be addressed. Reverting to childish name-calling says it all. There are always a few who really struggle with the acceptance of change. It's unfortunate we have to deal with that. But then again, this behavior shows us change is happening. Each step forward has included the need to deal with this nonsense. That's part of the process. We are clearly making progress.
It's Over, Already! The new attacks are Toyota are quite amusing. It's confirmation of worry about their latest rollout, in this case... Prius Prime. The desperation is quite telling. Sighting extremes and drawing conclusions so early is a dead giveaway. This morning, it was: "They ceded the EV market." How could I resist? Not responding to that is impossible. Resistance is futile. So, I jumped into that mess: Claiming it's all over already, despite still just being in the initial rollout stage (dependency on tax-credit subsidies), doesn't make any sense. Who exactly did the cede to? Who are you trying to convince of this? For that matter, who do you think the EV market is? By the way, I find the constant attempts to discredit Toyota by sighting fuel-cell diversity absolutely hysterical. GM just announced a major effort to invest in updating their fuel-cell technology. Honda & Nissan have been heavy investors for awhile now. Toyota is not alone. Those others also recognize that one solution does not fit all.
Catching On. That wasteful "more is better"
perspective immediately surfaced. It's a terrible precedent to set.
The seemingly simplest of things become a problem if you don't think them
through. For example, a vehicle that consumes more electricity to
travel the same distance will take long to recharge, since it needs more
battery. Do you really want to have to wait longer for that? Do
you really want to make someone wanting to use the charger after you are
done to wait longer too? I expressed the growing lack-of-awareness
problem this way:
Notice how some use much less electricity than others to travel the same distance?
35 kWh/100 mi = 97 MPGe = 2017 Ford Fusion Energi
35 kWh/100 mi = 98 MPGe = 2015 Chevy Volt (gen-1)
31 kWh/100 mi = 106 MPGe = 2017 Chevy Volt (gen-2)
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
Those outcomes are the direct result of design choices. Engineers are typically instructed to favor power over efficiency. Sound familiar?
That same problem in the gas world also exists with electricity consumption. Sadly, virtually no attention is given to the topic though In fact, a design is often mocked if it doesn't provide lots of power.
Notice how the KWH/MILE measure is almost never discussed?
What Is Your Point? I climbed up onto the soapbox last night, without any reason to. That surprised & bewildered some. I was asked what the point was of what I had posted. Providing a big-picture summary out of the blue like that is a bit odd to do. But then again, I was attacked for being a petroleum industry supporter for not embracing the purity of electric-only vehicles. Showing favor for a plug-in hybrid is unacceptable for some. Their absolute is all they care about. That's really unfortunate, as well as difficult to deal with. The idea of endorsing battery advancement in the form of smaller packs and lower power recharging doesn't make sense to them? They don't realize most of the world is unwilling to take one massive step all at once. Some are intimidated. Some simply don't have the money. Some don't have anywhere to plug in. Some just don't have that far to drive. In other words, we are back to the "Who?" question... which you've heard countless times now: Understanding audience is vital. If you don't, discussion value is lost. In other words, progress isn't possible.
Barriers. Over a decade and a half of dealing with
thorns has taught me how to navigate through the briar patch. Being
able to avoid attack has been key. From time to time though, I have
actually been able to proactively deal with the desperate attempts to bring
Prius down. Like when in the briar patch, you need to know what to
look for and what path works best for each particular situation.
Seeing the same thing happening with this new wider audience on the green
website (no more daily blog for Volt), I'm well prepared right from the
start. So, I'm pointing out problems, rather than waiting to react...
I'm seeing 2 patterns emerge from discussion topics involving Prius Prime:
- Some truly believe the competition is other plug-in vehicles.
- Some couldn't care less about kWh consumption or production cost.
That first is truly unfortunate. But not seeing the forest is nothing new. They focus on their one tree and forget about everything else. Reality is, we haven't left the early adopter phase left. Those purchasing plug-in vehicles are the low-hanging-fruit, the easy sales. They are enthusiasts taking advantage of the tax-credit opportunity. True, they are helping out, but they don't represent mainstream buyers... the true competition, traditional vehicles.
The second is the ugly reality of blind hope. So much attention is set on proving the technology from an engineering perspective that other important aspects are disregarded. In this case, we see the belief that leadership comes from pushing EV range limits. Efforts to make the technology affordable aren't recognized. In fact, some is even shunned & belittled. The other problem is electricity consumption. Try pointing out KWH/MILE ratings. Watch the anger merge from someone finding out their EV is a guzzler in comparison.
Watch for confirmation of the patterns I have observed. For us to progress to further market penetration, we have to acknowledge our own barriers.
Battery Density. At first glance, this gives the impression of being constructive: "With a continual gain in battery energy density, you can just skip the hybrid." It falls apart though, when you look for detail... since there isn't any. Vague comments like that are posted all the time. No timeline. No scale. No target. No audience. Nothing. Heck, even what "hybrid" actually refers to is uncertain. In this circumstance, it was reasonable to assume the reference was to the plug-in type. Generalizations are basically worthless. When "waste" is highlighted as a concern, that waste of our time is a big deal. What did that phrase actually mean? Anywho, I posted this in return: That makes sense, long-term for many, but that certainly isn't the case for this generation of offerings. The option simply isn't realistic yet. Choices are extremely limited. Supply is almost non-existent. Production cost is too high. And the high-power recharge infrastructure isn't there. The realities of dealer disinterest and not having a plug available at home are very real barriers to overcome too. Battery technology is only a small part of the equation. In other words, being a worthy design is far from enough. The market for traditional guzzlers still holds strong consumer interest. Reaching those ordinary consumers means taking the hybrid approach.
Too Bad. I've been participating a lot on the blogging site for EVs lately. Like with Volt years ago, a few see Prius as a threat. They push the same perspective too... lack of purity. With PHV, that had no merit. It didn't make any sense, since the purpose of the plug was to boost MPG, not to offer an EV driving experience. Comparing the two fundamentally different approaches as if they were the same was rather desperate. That's why I participated there so much... to point that out. Struggling sales is what ended up keeping the posts lively though. Technical arguments did eventually fade. Much of that came from posting video which made it overwhelmingly clear certain individuals were outright lying about how Prius PHV actually worked. I wonder if the same will be needed again, here on the new venue. Here's my effort to find out, directly confronting an individual desperate to mislead about how the new plug-in Prius operates: Prime provides an all-electric drive for the first 25 miles of travel. There's no way to spin it. That is a short-range EV, period. You plug it in and get another 25 miles of EV. You don't, the gas engine will provide power instead. With an entire system totally electric... traction-motor... battery-pack... heater... air-conditioner... inverter... charger... and controllers... there is no merit to claims of falling behind or lacking EV experience. Too bad if you don't like the approach. Refinements to design and improvements to production are several generations along now. Steps to offer a variety of affordable plug-in choices are well underway.
Called Out. The fighting
has escalated: "They still haven't realized just how much work needs to
be put into the effort to march forward." There's been a defiant
stance taken, making generalizations without any bother to provide specifics
on subsequent posts. In other words, there's a sense of new rhetoric
growing in response to the potential some see from Toyota's newest offering.
It's the same old downplay from the past; they attempt to misrepresent.
Making it seem as though the technology is only an upgrade, rather than at a
competitive state, is key. Most everything else with a plug is stuck
in the "too expensive" stage. So, you can imagine how much
animosity is stirred from the base price of Prime. $27,100 for a MSRP
is low enough to derail any argument of affordability... so much so, there
isn't even reason to mention the $4,502 tax-credit that's also available.
The potential is obvious. That means focus on stomping out undermining
attempts to greenwash about the technology itself are a priority.
Adding in a little bit of a personal jab works too, to ensure the message
gets to intended: Prius Prime has a top
electric-only speed of 84 mph. It offers the industry's most efficient
electric cabin warmer, a vapor-injected heat-pump. It also has electric
steering and electric A/C. There's no tie to the gas engine. It's there to
take over after depletion, providing both propulsion power and the ability
to recharge the pack without plugging in. Prius Prime is an EV with
a small battery-pack. The next step up for power & size will be taking
advantage of the hybrid system in RAV4, adding more battery-capacity for EV
driving. All necessary work is already done. That attempt to
disparage has been called out. You are clearly in denial of recent
Next Big Thing. I found this new spin interesting: "They have clung to the hybrid for dear life for too long now and the industry has moved to the next big thing..." That was spoken like a truly believer in only looking forward, never bothering to consider what's on their sides or behind. Being so blinded by the hope of roads filled exclusively by EV choices that they dismiss everything else is a very big problem. Seeing Hyundai, Chrysler, Honda, Ford, and GM rollout new hybrids doesn't happen. They find a scapegoat for their frustration to be vented upon. In this case, it is Toyota. The 25-mile range delivered by Prius Prime is too confusing to deal with. A pure EV driving experienced delivered by a non-EV wasn't a problem when it was just the small & expensive Volt. It was a niche, nothing to worry about. Ordinary consumers wouldn't be interested. That's not the case with Prime though. We can see the potential. We see that opportunity about to be exploited, not squandered as GM had done. Toyota is ramping up for the next big thing... which is not EV. We'll see lots of success from the EV market. But the lack of infrastructure is still a very real problem. Prime can totally recharge overnight with nothing but an ordinary household outlet. Heck, you can even use an extension-cord for the charger. You can be out really late and have to leave early for work the next day without worry. It only takes 5.5 hours. No added expense. No special instructions. Just plug it in. Owning an EV isn't that simple for many. Driving range and recharge convenience present barriers... for the foreseeable future. It will change eventually, but throughout this current generation (the next 5 years) we face challenges. Just education alone could take that entire duration. Major expenses, like a new vehicle purchase, are very difficult to pattern break. It's far too easy to just upgrade to the newer model of what you are already driving. That's why the simplicity of Prime presents a very realistic next step for a large number of consumers. That's the next big thing.
Clueless. That was the conclusion I came to. The series of posts responding to my lithium information were nothing but a collection of off-topic rants. Some rambling is understandable, since not everyone posts well. Communication skills vary. But when the comprehension is totally absent, not even an attempt to figure out the situation, you can tell they simply don't have a clue. For example: "What are you talking about with the batteries? You think Toyota has some magic with lithium ion batteries? Their batteries don't mean much in the scheme of things." Reading something like that is a good sign of when not to bother. They won't have any idea what you're talking about. So, I just ended it with: Prius Prime offers full EV driving until the battery-pack is depleted. Adding more cells increases EV range. How does that not mean much?