Personal Log  #821

July 12, 2017  -  July 16, 2017

Last Updated: Sat. 10/21/2017

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7-16-2017 Market Saturation.  There's a desperation at play now.  It's intense.  The antagonists are lashing out with their final attack.  All they have left is to focus on visual.  No other argument has any substance.  At least with emotion, there's a sense of having something.  It falls apart when you actually consider detail.  But with these in the attack messages, who could resist replying: "extremely ugly, felt nauseated, ugly car, insulting our tastes, I feel sorry, get a barf bag".  With an invitation like that, I certainly couldn't:

When you have nothing of substance left to argue with, go for emotional appeal.

The writing has been on the wall for several years now.  The plain, ordinary, basic look is everywhere.  Market saturation of anything is a warning sign for business.  Sustaining sales becomes an increasingly difficult problem.  Switching to a standout look is inevitable.

Honda was quick to jump onto the change with noticeable acceptance.  The trend is now becoming apparent with Toyota.  The big names here... GM and Ford ...have yet to respond.  They will find themselves scrambling to catch up as a result.

The choice to make gen-2 Volt look even more like a traditional sedan was a bizarre move.  That decision targeted it at traditional buyers... which seemed sensible when it was designed.  But the upcoming shift was overlooked and traditional buyers didn't show interest.  Needed growth didn't result.

C-HR is Toyota's effort to reach buyers who are seeking a choice that doesn't look ordinary.  It's built upon their new lower-cost architecture too.  The platform itself is based upon Prius.  So yes, there is a hybrid option (in Europe currently) and could become a plug-in.

Enjoy your market-saturated look while you can.  History shows us change is coming.


Understanding Statistics.  Yet another attempt to change the topic was made: "Note that over 80% of the U.S. population can install a charger where they live. Specifically, 60.3% live in single family detached structures..."  That's how the post began.  A variety of statistics and encouragement followed.  No detail was included though.  That's a warning sign.  Statistics can be used to mislead.  I pushed the new subject, but made sure tie the original topic back into the mix:  Note that 100% of the population could purchase a hybrid.  See the problem with those assessments?  Neither takes into account the desire to do so.  That's why there are tax-credits offered.  The subsidy stimulates market interest in new markets.  It only focuses on the low-hanging fruit.  In other words, mostly just those who can easily install a charger will bite.  What happens after the tax-credit is no longer available is the key.  We have no clue how the loss of subsidy will impact Model 3.  Selling 400,000 certainly would be impressive.  It would also be enough to become an established automaker (convenient sales & service network). There will be competition by then though, with quite a variety of choices.  Point is, we are looking at potential, without any solid indication of what the market will actually do.  Just because an outlet could be available doesn't mean the owner has a convenient way of plugging into it.  Matters complicate quickly when the expense of new wiring comes into play too.  How many of those 60.3% could accommodate recharging 2 vehicles at the same time?


Growth Needed.  That's the point.  With gen-1 and gen-2 of Volt, there has been a reckless use of the tax-credit.  Enthusiasts state price as if that discount will always be available.  They absolutely refuse to deal with the reality of it going away as having any impact to sales.  That's a fatal mistake.  Sales aren't that good anyway.  Growth is desperately needed and the extra $7,500 of help isn't achieving it.  There is a serious reason for concern.  Sales have been flat and well below what they must be for sustainable business.  Still remaining a niche is not what anyone had hoped for after so many years.  Meeting goals is vital.  Mainstream volume (5,000 per month) is required, at a minimum, for it to be a realistic high-volume traditional vehicle replacement.  I reminded those antagonists:  Those who have been carelessly taking the subsidy for granted, hoping costs will drop enough to offset the loss just in the nick of time, are in for a rude awakening.  The phaseout period will draw attention to how much lower sales still are compared to what they should be for profitable, sustainable business.  Tesla is providing some guidance to the legacy automakers about how much is involved with such major chance.  Too bad if the necessary steps for them are not as exciting.  That's part of being common.  Think about what needs to be done to achieve on-going high-volume sales without government incentives.  The effort to evade discussion of growth is reason to be very concerned.  It's a sign that tax-credit dependency is still a big problem for some.

7-15-2017 Pointless Naming.  An obvious sign of desperation is attempts to change the topic of discussion.  Several have been made recently on the thread addressing the issue of what happens when tax-credit expire.  This particular attempt was worthy of response: "GM had switched from "EREV" to "EVRE" (electric vehicle with range extension) to stress that it's an EV first."  The reason for posting something is it provides an opportunity to supply detail.  Vague claims are pointless, especially when it deal with nothing but a name.  My response was:

BMW showed the world what a range-extender actually is.  Their use of a very small engine in i3 used for the sole purpose of generating electricity is what they delivered.  GM's approach with Volt is a plug-in hybrid... which isn't a bad thing.

Consider what Toyota delivered for Prime.  Even without the ability to recharge at home or a large battery-pack, there is still opportunity for the design to thrive.

CHAdeMO is an option currently available for Prime in Japan.  With that, you can recharge 80% of the 8.8 kWh battery-pack in just 20 minutes.  Speculation is that the United States will get that option later in the form of CCS (which appears to be the CHAdeMO successor).

CHARGE-MODE is a standard feature in all Prime offerings.  At 66 mph (outside temperature of 64°F and a light crosswind), I observed an 80% recharge in 38 minutes.  Distance covered during that was 40 miles.  Efficiency reported on the display was 37.8 MPG.

For Prime owners who will be limited to only opportunity charging with 240-volt stations available at stores, coffee-shops, restaurants, and parks, 100% recharges at 3.6 kW takes 2 hours. With only 1 hour of recharging time, 62% of can be delivered.

In other words, it is pointless to dwell on naming convention.  What the vehicle itself actually delivers will be the basis of purchase decisions.


Designed Around.  Ever notice how some often-stated claims don't actually have any substance?  Simply asking for a little clarification ends up stirring emotion rather than detail.  That's a sign of rhetoric, where the person either has no clue what they are talking about or they are intentionally attempting to mislead.  Either can be a major obstacle.  Both are quite bad.  For example: "Toyota could've championed a Prius with a plug for the masses that was designed around a battery pack vs. what they did which was vice versa."  What the heck was he actually talking about?  There has been a lot of bewilderment around GM's choice to have an intrusive tunnel for the battery in Volt yet having avoided that entirely with Bolt.  That's why I have been asked about goals. What are they?  That's also why I responded to that vague statement with:  EV efficiency.  HV efficiency.  Heater efficiency.  A/C efficiency.  All are battery-centric designed.  As a result, the system is competitive with traditional vehicles and is not tax-credit dependent.  Simply delivering a larger battery to compensate for efficiency shortcomings has never been a good plan.  Notice how offering larger hasn't resulted in expected sales growth?  Toyota delivered a plug for the masses prior to the paradigm-shift about to begin when phaseouts are triggered.  Having that already in place puts them ahead of the other legacy automakers.


EV Ratio.  What a nice discovery.  I wondered what Toyota ultimately decided to do to convey overall electric efficiency.  Since there isn't a measure of kWh anymore, some type of simplified approach must have been used.  I didn't dig to find out though, since I wanted my discover process to mimic what an ordinary owner would experience.  It's too easy to just jump ahead to the answer.  A few quick searches through the manuals is all it would take.  But I want to write my own, again.  Another user-guide could be quite helpful.  That requires patience.  You must make observations.  Discover what's important based on questions asked and comments posted.  Reaction from others is priceless.  That tells you far more than any documentation.  So, I waited.  Today, it was revealed.  I hadn't realized the EV Ratio value wasn't just for the immediate drive (the one that resets each time you startup the car).  It has a value for each of the separate odometers.  Sweet!  Though sadly, I had already reset the "A" odometer as my tank meter.  The "B" odometer still had lifetime data collected.  It stated 59% for EV Ratio.  Cool.  I was quite curious how much plug-supplied electricity went toward those miles.  Of course, the HV miles are not included, regardless of whether they include EV driving.  There's the question of climate-control tracking too.  Hmm?  Anywho, it's nice having such a simple means of providing a general idea of plug benefit.


Not The Same.  When things go back to basics, you've got your confirm of a reset having happened.  Abandoning failed objectives in favor of a simple goal is exactly what you want.  Of course, they'll never admit what has happened, nor will they declare any targets of any sort.  It's still progress though.  Notice the fundamental being asked: "Isn't that what Toyo-duh did when it added a credible plug-in to the Prius hybrid line?"  That's far better than any rhetoric of the past.  It's fulfillment of the goal I had for all those posts too... to finally step back to consider the big picture.  Phew!  My response to what had grown to a hostile attack on his part was this simple message:  Not at all.  The progression to a larger battery with a plug is so obvious of a next step, that has been a natural expectation of many.  Toyota's effort to offer a low MSRP, to completely avoid tax-credit dependency, is what makes them different from GM.

7-13-2017 Pressure.  It has been building up for awhile.  Each posting of monthly sales results would trigger quite a bit of anger.  The growing intensity signaled change was coming.  Sure enough, it came too.  Rather than just a few days of exchanges, then it blowing over.  This continued.  Indication of an end approaching is quite a relief.  They were getting quite desperate.  How many times can you ask about goals and get nothing instead of the usual red herrings?  My guess is they grew tired of month after month of disappointment and finally decided to give up.  That's when you post a reminder summary... with the hope that stirring burns out the remaining ashes:

Volt was designed to alleviate the concern of range-anxiety.

Bolt was designed to alleviate the concern of range-anxiety.

See the problem?  The purpose of the 2 are at direct odds with each other.  Rather than offering choice, GM ended up confusing the market.  They compete rather than compliment.  Remember how GM used to compete with itself prior to the bankruptcy?  Resources were spread thin as a result of the variety of GM dealers competing with each other rather than other automakers.

That's why knowing the goal for GM now is so important.

The situation for Bolt is about to get ugly too.  Both Tesla & Nissan will be putting an enormous amount of pressure on GM in new market of gen-2 EV offerings.  Fallout will be a loss of attention to Volt.  Notice how it is almost non-existent in the news already?  Ironically, the effort to suppress this concern by hiding posts with negative votes will end up making the situation worse.

Purpose of a Volt with a smaller battery-pack would have been obvious to potential customers.  Those here were strongly opposed to that idea.  Now, it's about to come back to haunt them.

Realistically, the best next step would be to make the goal to deliver a short-range plug-in hybrid SUV.  Offering Trax with a 25-30 mile EV range seems to be the approach with the greatest potential.  Equinox is too large & expensive of a base to build upon so late in the game, especially now that the traditional version is such a huge seller.  That level of self-competition with such a high premium isn't a good idea.

Don't forget about BMW, VW, or Hyundai in the either.  There's also Ford, Chrysler, and Toyota that will be adding to the pressure.

What should GM's goal be?


Get Over It!  I got attacked right away, prior to the rebut post.  This particular individual hates the fact that I was correct about the market and absolutely refuses to look forward.  Somehow, he thinks spite will make things better.  Ugh.  It's really sad when losing a battle prevents the continuation with the war.  You win some.  You lose some.  Who cares.  As long as the ultimate goal is achieved, all will be fine.  Needless to say, he doesn't see it that way.  So, I fired back:  Get over it already.  There is much work to do still and tax-credits are almost all used up.  Personal attacks are an undisputable sign of desperation and they contribute nothing to progress.  Scapegoats are just an excuse.  Face the reality of traditional vehicles posing far more of a challenge to overcome than you had anticipated.  Real-World data is the best way to take that next step.  With a 38-mile commute (recharge at work) and a 1,700-mile vacation (much was at 80 mph without recharging), I've driven just under 88 hours with my Prime.  The resulting EV ratio is 58%.  The average for those 6,208 miles is 96.4 MPG.  In other words, Toyota delivered a 100 MPG for $27,100.  What should GM's goal be?


Prius Attacks.  Turning personal is inevitable.  They start with attack Toyota first though, then lash out a Prius.  It's quite lame.  Somehow, it makes antagonists feel better.  For everyone else, they see desperation.  Ironically, one of those antagonist actually posted something to that very affect, supporting exactly what I wanted to point out: "Desperation is the first sign of a losing battle."  That was handy to have put aside for use later... in this case, now:  Saving that post from the forum yesterday is proving helpful already.  "Ugly" is not what people were saying at the plug-in presentation on Saturday, in the lot where my Prime was parked next to a gen-2 Volt.  That isn't' what they expressed. No amount of posting here will drown out their compliments of the new look.  Claims otherwise are a sign of denial, if not desperation.  "Slow" is becoming increasingly difficult to spin.  Like the attempts to make people believe the gas-engine will start upon heavy acceleration, it just obvious misleading… desperation.  I merge onto the highway and pass people in EV mode.  It works fine.  It is clearly not slow.  You are losing.  Fortunately, that loss doesn’t represent failure.  It just means the attempt to replace traditional vehicles with Voltec in Volt didn't work.  The technology itself has proven successful, just not in a compact car attempting to deliver too much.  It just needs to be reconfigured. The long discussed "lite" version would be more affordable.  The often mentioned SUV would better target GM shoppers.  Too bad if GM lost this particular battle.  That's no reason to give up entirely with posts of desperation.  Remember, the war is traditional vehicle replacement.


Top Plug-In Hybrid Sales.  The website moderator published this blog topic, knowing it would stir quite a bit of posted activity.  Right away, the trolls emerged too: "So to jump from 0 to 200,000 sold per year in 8 years is quite an accomplishment..."  The expectation as an elf is for me to immediately squash that attempt to mislead with solid fact corrections and a jab... to stir even more posting.  So, I did:  No, not even close.  227,800 Prius alone were sold in 5.4 years *WITHOUT* any tax-credit help.  There wasn't a $7,500 subsidy back then.  The only thing available in those days was a $2,000 deduction, which worked out to roughly $350 as a credit for most taxpayers.  The first actual credit started on January 1, 2006...well after the 200,000 milestone had already been reached.  And that's just Prius, not an entire industry added together like the supposed "accomplishment" celebrates.  Volt was too little, too slowly.  Watch how things change when offerings of the first affordable plug-in hybrids are finally available in dealer lots. Prime’s base MSRP of $27,100 is nicely under $30,000.


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