Personal Log #811
May 24, 2017 - May 27, 2017
Last Updated: Sun. 6/11/2017
page #810 page #812 BOOK INDEX
Why 199.9 MPG? That's a good question. It was stated as a comment this way in a post: "Why Toyota changed to MPG reading on the car to max out at 199.9 is beyond me (even though it goes up to 999.9 MPG you just can't see it)." We, that's people here in this United States, have been greenwashed into believing the larger the number, the better it is. In reality, efficiency consumption doesn't actually work that way. The results are non-linear... in other words, misleading. This is why most of the rest of the world doesn't use that type of measure; instead, results are stated in terms of distance/fuel units. When outcome of a drive is stated in those terms, you know exactly how much fuel was actually used. As telling as MPG may seem, incremental gains in efficiency aren't actually as telling. 1 MPG improvement on the lower end, when the vehicle only gets 30 MPG, is far more of a gain compared to a vehicle already getting 100 MPG. The math is simple too; unfortunately, most people don't bother. 1/30th is much more than 1/100th. Now compare 1/200th to 1/999th. That's 0.005 gallon compared to 0.001 gallon. The difference is tiny when you look back at the 30 MPG, which calculates to 0.033 gallon. It's a shame so many people fall for the greenwash. Success of that effort to misleading was so effective, the EPA's attempt to introduce distance/fuel unit of measure is still barely getting any attention. Thankfully, EV efficiency is measured in terms of miles/kWh. The hope is to avoid the same MPG from the start, not allowing the deception any chance of spreading to electric-only vehicles. We do still have to address the problem with plug-in hybrids. Here's how I stated Toyota's decision: Study of the market revealed an issue with diminishing returns. Customer understanding of the system overall showed little value reporting numbers higher than 200 MPG. Most people have no clue how the electricity & gas interplay. That's why Toyota only shows one electric motor on the display, even though there are actually two.
Mounting Chargers. The units themselves are heavy & robust. Seeing how thick the cord was, placement for the charger took extra consideration. I had already called an electrician to get an estimate scheduled. For maximum flexibility, as well as saving some money, the plan was to do the mounting myself. I came up with a method of hanging oddly shaped items that weighed a lot in the garage already. It involved a 2-foot metal bracket, allowing the ability to drill into studs directly while still offering the ability to adjust placement. That's how the bike-rack was hung from the wall. It was proven an effective approach. There were slots every inch. I could bolt anything needed to attach anywhere it was needed. In this case, that was perfect for the aluminum hanger on the back of the 240-volt charging unit. That was really important, since location of the thick cords was a very big deal. Length of the one for the 14-50 outlets we'd be having install were only 12 inches. I wanted to maximum the reach & convenience of the other too. You'd be surprised how short 24 feet can be. Thank goodness I waited. Years ago, 16 feet was considered long. Thankfully, aftermarket builders have been able to offer more for less such a short span of time. And fortunate for us, our garage has a 200-amp service-box near by, close and without obstruction. In fact, both will be surprisingly easy to accommodate. That's something I looked for when we were house hunting, knowing years later that location would be a nice benefit years later when adding chargers. Some builders still don't take such a need into consideration. Having to drill through floors & walls isn't something many homeowners want to deal with. Anywho, I got both mounted today. The placement worked out great. We'll both be able to plug in without tripping over cords or having to spend much for the convenience.
Average Buyer. Sometimes, you get a response that actually shares your observations: "For the average car buyer, this argument has just never gathered much steam. Up front cost is first and foremost in the mind of the typical buyer…" Hanging out on hostile venues means that won't happen often. So, I was happy to see that. It's too bad the perspective of enthusiasts is so selective. They don't notice the average buyer. All they see is the expertise they share. Oh well. They are happy. They just don't understand why others wouldn't be too. I try to explain: That's why references to engineering have also fallen on deaf ears. It doesn't matter how favorable those other numbers are. They simply aren't interested in any presentation beyond up front cost. Heck, that’s even the reason why there has always been a push for point-of-sale rebates rather than filing for a tax-credit for your purchase a year later. That up front payment is what sells the high-volume vehicles. Like it or not (and clearly some don't, hence the "nicely under $30,000" issues), that's the way it is.
Chargers & Meters. The 7-year anniversary of having upgraded from my Iconic Prius was to arrive with high expectations. Not only would that potentially be the same day my wife could have her Prime arrive at the dealer, it was also when her first aftermarket accessory for it would be delivered... the fancy floormats. We were also expected delivery of upgrades. For the 2 plug-in vehicles to be parked in our garage, we'd be getting high-speed chargers. Since those aren't necessary, I never bothered for my Prius PHV. Waiting for a newer charger model offering more power than necessary and Wi-Fi connectively, all for a price lower than in recent years was good reason. The delay would result in both of us upgrading at the same time. Today was that day. 2 boxes arrived at our doorstep. Each could draw 40 amps of electricity at a rate of 10 kW. That's far more than what Prime will utilize, but forward-compatibility is nice and friends visiting with newer recharge systems someday would be able to recharge while parked in the driveway. The other delivery today was 2 meter-boxes. Both would get have a Time-Of-Use meter to control pricing for the 240-volt connection they'd each have a dedicated line for. This is a new approach for my service provider. That co-op hadn't dealt with the request for 2 in the same garage before. That's interesting situation, which shouldn't be a big deal... since they already know I'll be helping to promote what they offer, my reputation for leading was already common knowledge. In fact, I had already chatted with that main contact about my plans back at a plug-in owners group a few months ago. Little did either of us know I'd be requesting those services so soon afterward.
Terrible, continued. We've had a series of posts claiming he isn't "bashing" Prime, yet it continues to anyway. Bashing is stating a negative stance without providing anything constructive. That absence of any type of detail is the problem. What are we supposed to do when nothing is shared to respond to? With Volt, I point out aspects like price and time with specific values. That clearly declares expectations. Heck, even those complaining about acceleration-speed state the desired measure. For that matter, we get that all the time for EV distance too. This was the latest from him, wondering why some people are so defensive: "The *Prime Boys Club* all hate me. Maybe it's because I expressed an opinion that the car is overpriced." At least criteria was included this time, but still... no value. Ugh. I posted this in return: Nope. It came from making such a vague generalization. We see a lot of cherry-picking and data omission. But to not include anything at all, there was no way to respond to a complete absence of information. To get useful feedback, provide some type of detail to work with. Also, keep in mind that being "defensive" turns after being provoked repeatedly. It's an invitation to play offense, armed with a wealth of real-world experiences to share.
Obsolescence. I'm on the offensive now. There's
no reason to tolerate antagonism anymore. Enough real-world data is
now available to fight back. Claims of being not he defense don't work
when you are calling the shots. This is what caused me to pull the
trigger today: "The rapid pace of development makes obsolescence a
factor in declining EV values. Remember, the first LEAF and Volt
appeared just 6 years ago. At 235 miles the Bolt’s range represents a
more than 160% improvement over an original LEAF’s 70 miles..." I
took the time to put Volt enthusiasts in their place, along side other
plug-in hybrid supporters. No more of the "vastly superior"
nonsense. They need to learn to focus on goals. It felt good to
In other words, obsolescence is defined as those vehicles unable to co-exist with EV offerings. We'll see other priorities playing a strong role in the next few years. That will weed out the choices which struggle to be competitive without tax-credits... making them obsolete.
Hypocrites. I really get a kick out of how some people back themselves into a corner. When Toyota ceased rollout expansion of Prius PHV due to the trouble it observed GM having with Volt, the spin turned ugly. I knew real-world data collection in the markets already reached was more than enough to properly determine what the next generation design should deliver. Knowing requirements is vital. Setting goals confirms that consumer interests are being pursued. The ending of Prius PHV indicated to me that Toyota had indeed taken that step. Antagonists went nuts though, exploiting the opportunity to mislead. Quite a number of their claims are now a regretable chapter in history. Reminding them of what they stated calls them out as hypocrites, knowing there's not a thing they can say to recover from such an wrong assumption. They didn't want to accept what had been learned. Fortunately, that feeling of having made such an obvious mistake actually passes. Phew! Looking forward is possible if you give them a sense of hope. In the most recent example, it's stating the impressive technology used by Toyota in Prime will benefit the entire industry... rather than pointing out the shortcomings of others. I kept it simple with, but included a reminder of the past: The more important matter is to consider all those posts that claimed Toyota wasn't investing in EV advancement only to now discover they've delivered the automotive industry's most efficient electric heating solution.
More Diesel Trouble. What an unexpected turn of events. A class-action lawsuit was filed today, claiming GM also cheated on diesel emissions. The scope of this is over 705,000 trucks. Supposedly, the diesel Duramax offering from 2011 to 2016 exceeded regulation levels too. These aren't smaller cars either, like Jetta. These are giants, guzzlers even when using diesel. That potentially could result in a fine from the EPA greater than that for VW. It will be interesting to find out what our government agencies do. CARB will obviously get involved at some point. It depends upon the data. GM's response has been flat out denial. You can imagine how defensive they'll be to protect high-profit vehicles like that, even if they didn't do anything wrong. VW lost their case when the actual software coding revealed intentional deception. If the same is found with GM, there doesn't seem to be any way to save diesel. Their abandonment of Two-Mode was always highly suspicious. Refining that gas hybrid to deliver greater efficiency than diesel made sense. Seeing that Toyota continued to push with Highlander hybrid's efficiency and towing-capacity should have provided incentive, especially since large SUVs continue to be so popular. Oh well. We'll find out how this next chapter in diesel trouble plays out soon enough.
Great News? I questioned this claim:
"Great news that PHEVs already outsell gas hybrids in CA. That's the
real reason Mr. Toyoda is scared of EVs." The attempt to change
what was actually said to instead project a sense of fear isn't something
I'm willing to tolerate. Antagonists did that years ago with what
Toyota had stated about lithium batteries. The automaker said cost was
the issue. Rhetoric changed that to fear by claiming Toyota was afraid
of fire risk. It was greenwashing, just like this attempt today.
So, I fired back:
That's called anecdotal reasoning. It is actually that gas prices are very low and plug-in hybrid choices are growing. There's also the reality of first-year surge combined with the rapid approach of tax-credit expiration. That's also a distortion of what was actually stated. The comment was "boring and expensive", not scared. It was for good reason too.
Notice how GM is keeping quiet about Bolt sales expectations? They is uncertainty about the market. Staying quiet about it is their choice, especially since a compact wagon doesn't target their own customer base of SUV and Truck buyers. Ford has been almost completely out of the picture too. What about them?
The true situation is the industry is approaching a tipping point. Notice how Volt doesn't have an audience anymore? If you want to drive as much EV as possible, just buy an EV. Why sacrifice EV range for the sake of having an HV system you try hard to avoid ever using?
Prime is the first of the affordable plug-in hybrids offering a clear path away from both traditional vehicles and hybrids without a plug. Its MSRP for the base model is so low, the tax-credit isn't even required to reasonably justify the purchase.
None of the current EV offerings can hold their own without the $7,500 subsidy. In a few years, that situation will hopefully change. That's what Toyota is planning to capitalize on, as are other automakers. In the meantime, there is battery-production and charging-infrastructure to focus on.
First Data Photo. Lots of data collection taking place. Organization for sharing isn't exactly coming along smoothly. Eventually, I will get caught up. This initial ownership experience is always a challenge. It certainly is fun though. There's lots to discover. Toyota upgrades are always quite comprehensive. That means lots of anecdotal observation, looking for patterns until you recognize something to further research. That's where the photos come in handy. You can look back later to confirm what you think you found. I'm only on my first. Much to go still. It's a start. Each of the previous 4 Prius have been rewarding to document... while doing everything else still. Wish me luck.