Prius Personal Log #828
August 28, 2017 - September 1, 2017
Last Updated: Sat. 10/21/2017
page #827 page #829 BOOK INDEX
Dragging. The spin when it comes to tax-credit expiration is that those automakers with a lot still available weren't trying hard. The very idea of a certain automaker having wasted them is impossible. If something was offered for sale, that's all that matters... to enthusiasts. Those who believe in quality over quantity see it very differently. The concept of waiting until you've got a viable product for the masses doesn't make any sense... to enthusiasts. It's all desperation, an act of pride. Excuse after excuse comes from not having delivered a design capable of competing directly with traditional vehicles. Needless to say, there is very real concern about the subsidies running out. This was the spin today: "I doubt that congress will leave American car companies at a disadvantage to the foreign companies who have been dragging their feet on EVs (like Toyota)." I was amused. How much do they think the government should provide? Think about how much money was lost bailing out GM. Who's actually paying and what are they paying for? If new credit funding was allocated, shouldn't the criteria for eligibility be re-evaluated? After all, the current availability is based upon understanding of implementation for 2008 and without any clear guidelines. It was nothing but a basic acknowledgement of battery-capacity. What if the eligibility was based upon MPGe instead. Less efficient use of electricity would get rewarded with less money. After all, it makes no sense promoting a guzzler of a different fuel. Waste is waste. I sounded off about the situation with: Dragging? Toyota's first nationwide plug-in rollout is affordable without tax-credit help. GM is still very dependent on subsides and hasn’t expanded to their primary market yet (no SUV), despite 7 years and 2 generations. In other words, the measure of progress is based upon how well the technology actually replace.
Misinformation. The intentional spreading of it is what kept me coming back to the daily blog for Volt. They'd just spread lies. A few would post the misinformation and the rest would be supportive, enabling the greenwash material to be validated through acceptance. When you're the only one pointing out the error, it makes you look like a troublemaker... countering the information everyone else has accepted as fact. That happened endlessly. I remember the "6-mile" range claim going on for years. It was an outright dishonest attempt to mislead. Some just plain did not care though. Ultimately, I squashed their efforts by filming my drives to prove they were wrong... very wrong. When that happens, they move on to the next lie. The latest is a type of range claim: "A car that won't get 10 miles of electric range in Winter?" With so much real-world data from other plug-in vehicles showing the less efficient vehicles losing roughly one-third of their capacity to heating, the claim of double that from a more advanced design is absurd. Yet, they try it anyway. Sadly, I have to endure the greenwash for awhile. It's quite warm here still. Taking advantage of cabin pre-conditioning and the battery-warmer, combined with the vapor-injected heat-pump, I expect far less impact... which I will film and share as soon as the data can be collected. In the meantime, I have to just put up with their rhetoric: Spreading misinformation about any plug-in is helpful to our effort of promoting electric driving how? That claim about Prime is uncalled for, totally inappropriate. We here know that is false.
Look Forward. The feeling of contradiction and
double-standards is building. The next-generation of Leaf will push
the market out of the status quo. It was stuck in a rutt. Sales
were flat for Volt, the vehicle which was supposed to lead the way... rather
than struggle to survive. I had to endure quite a bit of hate for
having to deal with the backlash of pointing out facts and providing
clarifications for the obvious efforts to undermine. Prius plug-in had
been made the target, since it aimed squarely at the audience GM was never
able to appeal to... and consequently gave up trying. That sense of
abandonment has made me the scapegoat for their anger & disappointment.
Look forward is the only suggestion I have available, with a reminder of
goals. Those enthusiasts get far too hung up on specific
configurations and let pride prevent them from taking the next step.
They don't want to acknowledge what went wrong and simply move on.
Dwelling on failure can be a serious setback, rather than the advancement
advantage is can be. You learn from mistakes. What is that so
difficult to accept? Hmm. Oh well. I'm asking what's next
with the hope someone will look forward:
Anyone have any idea what GM's strategy is for Volt will be?
Knowing the tax-credit phaseout will be triggered mid-2018, the struggling
sales will become even more difficult.
Think of the variety of new plug offerings other automakers will be
promoting. Volt's opportunity to stand alone is gone. A clear message to
consumers is essential, something blatantly absent so far.
Don't forget, the purpose of Volt was to alleviate "range
anxiety" concerns. Bolt very effectively does the same thing.
Obsolete. That word is carelessly used. People don't really know what it means. The reference is actually an indication of trouble. From today: "GM will be obsolete if they don't follow the trends which includes EVs and PHEVs. So will Toyota." In the software industry, a more concise term is deprecated. You know it will be discontinued at some point, but use in the meantime is acceptable if you are making accommodation for replacement in the meantime. That end of support is clear though. We don't have that in this case. It's all quite muddled for the automotive industry. I jumped into that discussion: Obsolete already applies. That's why all automakers are already shifting. How is what's at issue. Toyota is rolling out plug-ready hybrids. 52 MPG rated Camry ends all those pointless arguments about Prius size, power, and looks. RAV4 has been selling really well as a hybrid. The expectation is for GM to do something like that too, rather than pursue diesel. It's as if Malibu hybrid doesn't exist.
The Real Problem. This was an noteworthy comment: "When the big 3 get lazy on product development they tend to lose market share to the import brands." That isn't the actual situation playing out; nonetheless, it is a reasonable theory. I would give GM credit for pushing plug-in technology. It's not in the direction of need, but following a want is still a type of advancement. With climate-change and oil-dependency such monumental problems, not addressing them directly is a very real problem. They haven't been. High profit-margins from large vehicles has been too great of a temptation to resist. People here crave size & power. It's really unfortunate marketing has exploited that. Clean & Efficient becomes a challenging sell as a result. The fact that those clean & efficient vehicles return a much small profit in return makes them unappealing to build & sell. What incentive is there for dealers to carry them? Sales of dirty & wasteful vehicles are very easy. I replied to that comment with: It's a matter of disinterest. GM doesn't want to undermine its own product. SUV sales are highly profitable as guzzlers. Adding a plug brings that cash-view to an abrupt end.
Leadership. Calling them clueless doesn't seem accurate, since they dismiss what I say. It's more a matter of denial: "GM has more plug-in models than any other manufacturer. Why would we expect GM to follow Toyota when GM is leading?" That's like judging a book by its cover. The thing may look appealing, but the actual substance is lacking... or absent. In this circumstance, we see several automakers moving to offer SUV models electrified in some fashion. With GM, there's nothing at all. Enthusiasts pretend all is well though. No big deal. That's amazing. To leave such a huge problem unaddressed. Ugh. Oh well. All you can do is continue pointing out the problem: Dodging the issue of SUV doesn't make it go away. Equinox is a major profit-making vehicle for GM. We were shown a plug-in prototype SUV that was to be delivered in 2009. Instead of finally delivering, GM is rolling out diesel instead. Those here fiercely insisted that Voltec would be diversified much faster than HSD. That didn't happen. The start of year-3 for gen-2 shows disinterest, where focus is shifting from PHEV to BEV with a heavy dependence on tax-credits still. Remember, each automaker has their own distinct audience. For GM, they are primarily SUV buyers. Neither Bolt nor Volt targets them. Leadership comes from getting ordinary people to change. What is GM doing that mainstream consumers... their own showroom shoppers, not early adopters ...have responded to?
Commute To Home - Video. I filmed my drive home too. It was a fairly typical Summer commute. Bridge construction was finally completed, but a stoplight wasn't working. So, I ended up dealing with some stop & slow traffic anyway. Oh well. Prius thrives with that. Prime abilities kick in when I hit the highway. Merging onto the highway, then climbing out of the river valley is effortless. There's plenty of electric-only power for that. It was a beautiful sunny day. Traffic was normal. The number of lights that were red was too. That 18.4 miles of driving used 61% of the battery-capacity available. That left me with an estimated 13.4 miles of EV still available. I've seen values like that all throughout the warm season. Choosing to not recharge at work, I witnessed a total of 33.6 miles driving that same route before the engine started. So, there's no question whatsoever about the 25-mile rating. That is effortlessly exceeded with real-world driving. It's too bad our official testing process can't portray a more accurate expectation. Oh well. It doesn't really matter. The resulting efficiency average just says 199.9 MPG anyway. That maximum is all you get. It's really all you need too. At that point, gas consumption has been so significantly reduced, you can say "mission accomplished". Here's a link to that video... Prius Prime - Commute To Home
Avoidance. I like when they invite me to post about what's coming: "Where is Toyota’s Prius Prime additional models or EV?" Despite the obvious change of topic, it works out nice: Divert attention away from GM by inviting me to discuss Toyota. That's rather desperate. But since you did that... My post was about the value of education & support being a serious overlook. Toyota is directly addressing that by establishing a variety of Prime choices. They started with Prius to demonstrate the technology itself, while at the same time rolling out RAV4 hybrid, an all new Camry hybrid, and C-HR hybrid... each of which could offer a plug-in model. Toyota is also investing in the next-generation battery (solid-state lithium). They are laying the foundation for an easier transition for both dealer & consumer to embrace the plug-in choices. That variety of hatchback, sedan, SUV and CUV covers each of the major passenger (non-pickup) categories. Each has affordability as a primary goal. GM is avoiding SUV entirely, despite it being their primary sales product. Your list avoids that too.
Disappointment. It means a lot when someone else makes this comment in response to your post about having a reason for concern: "I'm disappointed that GM hasn't brought out a whole bunch of Voltec based cars, SUVs and truck Plugins." I was assured by those providing negative votes we'd have many to choose from by now, that there was no reason for concern. They were wrong, very wrong. All those assurances that "too little, too slowly" wasn't in any way applicable to the situation. GM was doing just fine. Despite literally no sales growth as a result of the advancement of time, greater market acceptance, and the generational upgrade, all was just fine. 7 years later, there's no reason whatsoever left. No excuse. No circumstance. It's over. Opportunity was missed. How that transformed from hostile denial to genuine disappoint is a bit of a mystery for those not looking forward. For those well aware of what will happen next week... it's obvious.
Education & Support. I was intrigued where this claim would take the discussion: "Can't rely on tax credits forever. Those who have invested from the beginning will reap the benefits of being ahead with lower costs for electrification/batteries/etc." Knowing that the price of Volt won't magically fall when phaseout is triggered, what will be relied on instead. If GM was holding out and actual production cost is much lower, they'd need to ramp up sales considerably to make a price cut matter. No growth defeats the entire purpose. Something must be done quickly. For Toyota, the situation is quite different. That's why they are focusing on education & support instead. With far more time & credits still available, growth can be given much more attention without any consequence. I diverted attention back to GM though. Those enthusiasts really don't care anyway. But at least having focus on their own favor is better for continued discussion: Depends upon what those investments contributed to. We certainly haven't seen dealer-support resulting from GM's effort with Volt. After 7 years of sales and 2 generations, they continue to exhibit disinterest. In other words, investment should not be only in the design & production of physical components. The value of education & support has been a serious overlook.
Bugs & Automatic-Wipers. We made an interesting discovery today. When doing long-distance travel during the buggy season, make sure to shut off the automatic-wiper feature. That lesson was learned the hard way today. As the cruise down the highway progressed, the impact splatters from each bug grew in count. Not a big deal if that is only what happens. Unfortunately, it wasn't. A squished bug triggered the wipers. That resulted in a horrible series of smudges across the windshield. What a mess! You cannot conveniently clean that off either. Spray from the wipers doesn't work well at highway speeds. You really don't have much choice but to stop at some point. Looking around smears can get annoying after awhile. Fortunately, we had been planning to anyway. So, a quick wiping with the car no longer in motion cleaned most of it off. I got the rest with a squeegee.
Left Behind. Now that tax-credit expiration is rapidly approaching, the inevitable spin to defend poor choices has emerged: "They get to cherry pick all the best technology, designs and efforts from Tesla/GM/Nissan and build essentially a Gen II EV will little risk and have most of their tax credits left in place." Spinning that situation of being "left behind" overlooks the advantages we've been told about for years. Scrambling to catch up doesn't actually work if the market is still just a niche. In other words, high-volume production is not a factor of generation as implied. Telling them that is pointless though. So many have that mentality of more being better, it's obvious they don't have an understanding of economics. For the business to thrive, there must be some on-going profit return. That comes from those vehicles they couldn't care less about. The ordinary "blah" vehicles they shun are absolutely essential. It's like never eating vegetables. You may enjoy the meal, but the behavior will lead to wellness problems. The focus entirely on the exciting sales, not realizing how important the other sales actually are. That's why that "left behind" perspective is such a problem; yet, they don't see it. And with phaseout being triggered within the next year, losing the help subsidy money provided will really hurt. Ironically, they'll find out at the last minute their own choice was cherry picked. Like a well-balanced meal, a well-balance vehicle will have a become outcome.