Personal Log  #830

September 4, 2017  -  September 8, 2017

Last Updated: Sat. 10/21/2017

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Goals Reminder.  The attitude from some faster & further pushers goes beyond smug.  They clearly don't understand accounting and don't care about economics.  To them, it's all about marketing.  If you have a good product, people will pay anything the business asks for them to acquire it.  All that's supposedly required is lots of advertising.  That's so poorly informed of how things actually work, most of the effort expended to explain their incorrect perception is a waste.  They aren't interested in learning.  It's a decide beside on feeling disaster.  Rather proactively educate, they react to feeling.  Ugh.  You'd think they'd at least recognize goal.  Unfortunately, not even a simple message of purpose resonates.  So, I continuously remind:  Replacement of traditional vehicles is the goal.  GM is carefully avoiding electrification of their SUV models so cannibalizing doesn't happen.  How does that achieve the goal?  LOL all you want to distract from the importance of that low MSRP.  No one taking the situation seriously will be laughing.


Falling Into The Trap.  One of the highly respected regular posters on the EV blog did today.  He unknowingly got sucked into a semantics argument.  Forgetting about purpose and get hung up on definition & labels is a trap that's very easy to fall into.  In this case, it was in a series of posts about what "Full EV" actually means.  An antagonist kept posting over and over again how the electric-motor power output must be more than the gas-engine for the full-hybrid to be said to have full electric-only driving abilities.  That makes no sense whatsoever... if you take a moment to actually think about what was claimed.  Why would that make any difference?  I can drive my Prime on the highway at 80 mph with the heater running and not use a drop of gas.  How is that not "full" in any respect?  What makes it incomplete?  Not being full means something is missing.  Nothing else is needed.  You get everything you need for that drive exclusively from electricity.  Ugh.  It's too bad he fell victim to that effort to undermine.  Remember how they used to call it AER (All Electric Range) instead?  That shift to something new is the changing of definition & labels.  Hide the past by talking about the present in a different way.  A clear sign of undermining.  I tried the best I could to respectfully point out his oversight:  Full EV means you can drive under all conditions using electricity... hot, cold, fast, slow, whatever.  The fact that some systems deliver more power from the electric-motor than the gas-engine is simply a configuration difference to target a different audience.  It has absolutely nothing to do with the EV itself.


Narratives.  That's the latest way of looking at forced perspectives.  References to "spin" are using a term of the past now.  It's all about telling a story, rather than actually acknowledging all the facts available.  So basically, it's the same dance but to a different song: "I would expect there to be 200+ mile versions of the Clarity EV and Prius in the works, for example, which we'll only see on the market once the companies feel they don't have a choice."  Portraying reactive steps rather than proactive is much easier.  That view of looking back is always easier.  True vision means seeing what others don't yet... which often means dealing with a lot of FUD.  That fear, uncertainty, and doubt can be intentional too, spread by those attempting to prevent the status quo from changing.  With respect to the problematic stance of Volt, that means undermining offerings with greater potential for mass appeal.... hence the recent posts I've been responding to.  In this case, it was:  That narrative requires the reader to ignore vital facts... Prius already delivers high-volume production lithium cells and Prime already delivers full EV drive.  Just because fewer cells are used now to make the smaller battery-packs doesn't mean the rest of the business need to support more later hasn't already been delivered.


Changing Definitions.  This was very much expected: "Big ICE + Small Motor(s) = PHEV (Prius Prime).  Big Motor(s) + Small ICE = EREV (Volt)"  Each time a shortcoming is exposed for GM or an advantage discovered for Toyota, there are attacks from Volt enthusiasts.  It's so predictable.  They simply change the definition of EREV, which has been more of a marketing term rather than an actual identifier... until recently.  The EPA actually provided a formal definition which enraged Volt enthusiasts... hence the increased sense of desperation on their part.  The lashing out in this direction makes sense.  Since actual material points fall apart, like sticker-price, they attempt to divert attention to immaterial points instead.  The lack of merit doesn't deter either.  They just keep at it.  Oh well.  I just keep pointing out what they are up to:  Changing definitions is just another way of moving goal-posts.  We all see the desperate effort to mislead about EV drive Prime delivers.  Owners are enjoying their all-electric experience and no amount of labeling will change it.  The engine stays off for their entire drive.


Get What?  The reveal of Nissan... more like the confirm of what had already been leaked... has really stirred the antagonist posting.  The enthusiast of Volt last out at Prime, using it as a scapegoat for their trouble.  Ugh.  It's annoying, but does offer a nice opportunity to promote what Toyota actually gets:  Prius Prime delivers full EV drive.  Camry, RAV4, and CH-R hybrids are all Prime-ready platforms.  They are clearly pushing their base forward, an undeniable effort to move away from traditional vehicles.  Saying they "don't get it" makes no sense.  Get what?


Leadership.  They still don't get it.  Now that the shift to electrification is looked upon as inevitable, the discussion audience is considerably larger.  The enthusiasts of Volt who obstructed for so many years are just voices in a crowd.  Their influences is considerably less.  Reducing the faster & further belief they pushed is wonderful.  All those arguments with them worked out favorably too.  I have refined my approach:  Leadership is getting ordinary people to change.  Toyota has worked hard not to waste tax-credits on conquest sales; instead, focus has been drawing in their own loyal customers as plug-in buyers.  The base Prime comes with unexpected features, like Dynamic Radar Cruise and Pre-Collision Braking.  Yet, the sticker price is only $27,100.  That's clearly an effort to attract their own showroom shoppers.  Early adopters are low-hanging fruit.  What happens when that market is saturated and the tax-credits are used up?  Toyota has already addressed that with such a low MSRP.  Their effort to address that more challenging audience is clear and had already been delivered.  Toyota understands the vital nature of remaining profitable, despite the obvious paradigm shift to plugging in.  They aren't rolling out niche offerings to win awards & praise.  They are working to appeal to their own buyers.  That's leadership.  Think about what happens next year when GM triggers phaseout.  The struggle for Volt to appeal to GM owners looking to replace their own GM vehicle will become even more of a challenge.  How will plug-in growth be achieved?


Random Thoughts.  An article was published with this title: "Toyota Prius Prime Could Take Chevrolet Volt’s Plug-in Hybrid Sales Leader Crown".  That will obviously stir trouble.  Sales are the ultimate measure of progress.  With the tax-credit phaseout to be triggered the middle of next year for Volt, there's a lot of pressure coming from Toyota & Nissan.  Both offering lower MSRP is a clear point of contention.  That faster & further approach clearly isn't working.  Enthusiasts are getting desperate, which means I need to get ahead of their undermining efforts.  With this article, I was the first to post a comment.  It was just a series of random thoughts, enough to draw interest and avoid the obvious traps.  Fortunately, they have become quite predictable.  I know what to focus on as a result:  EV mode works great cruising home at 70 mph.  I have even passed others at 80 mph without any trouble.  The test-drive experience, low sticker-price, and reliability reputation makes it an easy sell for curious shoppers.  8,100 miles so far on my Prime, of which 1,700 were a trip to Wyoming from Minnesota and back.  That 80 mph travel with no opportunity to recharge was surprisingly efficient though (upper 40’s and low 50’s).  Overall average so far is 114 MPG and still climbing every day.  I’ve had 2 tanks with about 2,000 miles between fillups.  I'm looking forward to winter, when I can take advantage of the pre-conditioning and find out how well the vapor-injected heat-pump and battery-warmer work.


It Matters.  I certainly got a kick out of this today: "It most definitely matters!!"  Those were always the words uttered when a Prius owner achieves the next level of efficiency awareness.  It's amazing how empowered we become upon discovery of how much those seemingly simple displays actually tell us.  You really don't know what you're missing until you start looking.  The selection of data values to observe is quite plentiful now.  Prius has a variety of choices you can configure the 2 small screens for.  They all present real-world driving data in easy-to-follow formats.  You find yourself poking through them, clicking the buttons to scroll from one to the next to see what else is available.  Anywho, there's an obvious passion that develops upon discovering just how much power is at your fingertips.  This is why Prius owners end up getting that generic stereotype of being rather obsessive.  It gives that impression from those who are unaware just how easy it is to see that information.  Imagine if more people knew about that simplicity.


Bizarre Twist.  It's bizarre to hear some owners asking for exactly what the previous generation owners complained about.  Remember the, literally, thousands of times we heard the request for the engine to stay off under all circumstances?  To know hear the opposite is bizarre.  Yet, that's exactly what's happening.  A handful of new Prime owners made the suggestion that the engine should start when the pedal is mashed to the floor.  That is in fact what the upcoming Honda Clarity will do.  Why?  If you want extra power, just switch to EV-Auto mode.  That's exactly what it is for.  If you use the default of EV mode, you're instructing the system to provide propulsion using only electricity.  This twist of want is likely the result of not paying close enough attention.  After all, not understanding what the buttons do was a common problem among reviewers.  They either guessed incorrectly or didn't even know the option was possible.  Oh well.  You have to start somewhere and each new generation does bring twists.  This particular one wasn't anticipated though.  How bizarre.

9-06-2017 Comparison Tool.  I did indeed find that interesting: "This is interesting, apparently Chevy has a comparison tool for their cars against other competitors. Including the Volt vs. the Prime..."  The webpage link he provided revealed a highly bias list of features... compiled in a fashion to clearly favor Volt.  Some obvious omissions were very difficult to claim they had been innocently overlooked.  It was blatant marketing spin.  To confirm how gullible some people are is disturbing... but understandable.  I'm still amazed how some people don't recognize how they are fed specific facts to led them to draw incorrect conclusions.  There really is a sucker born every minute.  Oh well.  I'll just keep providing the missing information with the hope they'll become better informed, as I did today in response to seeing that so-called comparison:

Whoa!  Talking about cherry picking.  Notice how the standard Prime safety features weren't included:

- Dynamic Radar Cruise
- Pre-Collision Braking
- Lane-Departure Detect with Assist
- Automatic High-Beams

Also, notice how the efficiency ratings are all missing too:

- MPGe
- kWh/mi


Gen-2 Leaf.  This evening was the long-awaited reveal.  $29,990 will be the base price, exactly as expected.  Range is expected to be rated at about 150 miles.  That's really going to stir the perception of 200 miles being required.  That was the target years ago, prior to the goal posts being moved.  It represents a solid 100 miles of EV travel under basically any circumstance.  The fact that claims are now that more is needed is just part of the faster & further rhetoric.  More importantly, Nissan did an excellent job of "normalizing" the look.  That basis of merit put on aspects without actual measure are much more difficult to battle.  Quantitative arguments endlessly go back & forth.  Aestechic appeal doesn't have any basis of measure... so antagonists focus on that a lot.  Fortunately, with this next-generation offering for Leaf, that won't matter as much.  People will focus on the MSRP being much more in line with what people are willing to pay for a traditional vehicle anyway.  So, even without a tax-credit available anymore, it will be competitive.  That concern of being able to appeal to showroom shoppers has clearly been addressed.  Yeah!

9-04-2017 Delivery Plan.  Feeling the end of Volt rapidly approach as the reveal from Nissan will soon arrive is strange.  We all know the technology itself isn't a dead end, but the vehicle it was put into clearly doesn't appeal to GM's own shoppers and the end of the tax-credit will only make the bad situation with sales even worse.  Fortunately, there is now some recognition of the problem.  That's far better than the terrible denial of the past.  It sure is nice not having to deal with the constant attacks for raising awareness of the problem.  Who would have thought getting acknowledgement would be such a problem?  Of course, they do say acceptance can be the most difficult stage.  This looks like progress to me: "My brother said he'd buy one…if it was an SUV. And there you go. People want a EREV or EV SUV or truck. GM will get there, but they sure are taking their sweet time."  I was happy to chime in to that, hoping they are all done arguing.  After all, much will change tomorrow when we hear about Nissan's delivery plan...

It is with mixed feelings about getting vindication for the "too little, too slowly" concern.

The hope was finding an ally in the pursuit of electrification.  People warned that GM would undermine battery efforts though, just like they did with diesel back in the 70's.  Offering a product that their own customers didn't like would impede the entire market.  And sure enough, that is exactly what happened.

It's really unfortunate GM abandoned Two-Mode.  A next-generation offering would have reinforced commitment to electrification, as well as demonstrated what upgrades can deliver.  Fortunately, we now have few automakers stepping up to overcome the barrier created by GM.

Volt was overkill, engineered without affordability as a priority.  That made it an expensive car too small to appeal to GM's own customers.  Those loyal buyers interested in another GM vehicle to replace their aging GM vehicle simply purchased another GM traditional choice instead.  So much opportunity missed.  What a waste of tax-credits.

GM really needs to step up to the plate and commit.  None of this rollout of Cadillac & Buick low-volume nonsense.  They need to address their primary buyers by announcing a solid delivery plan for an Equinox or Trax with a plug.


Anti-GM.  Lack of commitment on GM's part is causing enthusiasts to spin excuses.  The most obvious is to blame reputation: "The fact that people are still buying Nissan Leafs in decent numbers definitely shows an anti-GM bias in the market."  That's definitely not the case.  It's those killer discounts to clear out gen-1 inventory prior to the big reveal of gen-2 are what's playing a major role in sales recently.  The reluctance to address actual quantity is how to confirm the true situation.  Enthusiasts are still playing the percentage game, rather than looking at full market counts.  Oh well.  They know they are in trouble and they know most of their efforts are futile at this point.  It's basically a matter of pride now.  Thankfully, that should fade away rather quickly.  Expectations from Nissan are quite high, from an automaker who doesn't over promise.  I sounded off to that spin with:  GM is well known and well liked for SUVs.  The fact that GM has not endorsed any type of green technology for SUVs sends a message that Volt & Bolt aren't primary products.  It's a consequence the lack of advertising... which everyone here complains about... reinforces.  Think about how GM thrives on promoting future offerings.  We get announcements years in advance.  Many have been unrealistic, hence the "over promise, under deliver" reputation.  GM kept Volt a small car.  GM made Bolt a compact.  GM chose diesel for Equinox.  These are all recent decisions which send a message of uncertainty.  Where's the commitment to their core product, a SUV with a plug?


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