Personal Log  #831

September 9, 2017  -  September 13, 2017

Last Updated: Sat. 10/21/2017

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Undermining Efforts.  Ugh.  It's really annoying to have to deal with rhetoric like this: "Does the battery have a thermal management system?"  It seems reasonable.  But it reality, it's a greenwash campaign where some intentionally undermine and others simply spread the misconception without even realizing what they are partaking in.  All I can do is play along, but interject some information with the hope of it making some notice what's going on.  Sadly, the idea of narratives influencing decisions isn't as wide spread as you would think.  There are people who truly don't realize that's even possible.  Being naive is dangerous... and we've seen fallout as a result far too many times.  Perhaps this though, we can intercept early:  The more informative question is what kind is provided for cooling, since there has been quite a bit of confusion between the ACTIVE and PASSIVE types.  Nissan chose PASSIVE, which basically means the heat is not dispersed by any forced removal.  Toyota chose ACTIVE, which was achieved by pushing cooled air from the cabin through the battery-pack casing.  That's a very big difference.  Lots of people assume they are the same though, since neither uses a liquid.


47 Miles EV.  Honda Clarity will be offered as a plug-in hybrid, in addition to EV and Fuel-Cell models.  Range has been officially estimated at 47 miles.  You can imagine the stir that has caused with Volt enthusiasts.  Ugh.  I like how it paves the way for a Camry plug-in.  Think of what a Prime model would draw for interest?  Honda's efficiency rating for hybrid operation is 42 MPG combined.  The newest generation Camry hybrid delivers 52 MPG.  With a smaller battery-pack, it could be more affordably priced than the expected base of $35,000 for the Clarity.  Note how Toyota strived to deliver a system able to compete directly with its own showroom floor offerings?  It's unclear how Honda will actually market this new choice.  The expectation is that Clarity plug-in hybrid will become a high-volume seller.  That seems reasonable.  But then again, there's Hyundai attempting to undercut everyone else on price.  Clarity is a full-size vehicle, not cramped like Volt.  That lack of compromise is obvious.  I'm intrigued.  47 miles of EV is easier to justify with that larger interior, especially when power isn't sacrificed.  However, there isn't a to-the-floor approach like with Prime.  That will actually start the engine.  Hmm?  This is a head-scratcher.  We'll find out next year when sales begin.


Worldwide Sales.  The total count for the year as of July for Prius Prime (known as Prius PHV everywhere but in the United States) was 31,856.  That official count is hard to get, since sources aren't readily available.  I was able to find the August numbers for here and Japan.  They were 1,820 and 1,870 respectively.  We also have the September value for here, which was 1,899.  What that tells us is there's a trend of at least 3,600 per month which is likely to continue.  That means, without any growth or even finding out what the counts are from Europe or Canada, we can still reasonably expect a total of 50,000 sales worldwide for the year.  This is why we are seeing signs of panic now.  That's quite a debut.  Potential for much more once the initial rollout concludes is strong.  I wish more than just 1 or 2 available per dealer around here doesn't drag on.  Unfortunately, being in the middle of the country means waiting longer.  But then again, that doesn't tend to be an impediment of any sort.  People await real-world data from the first Winter anyway... and I am well prepared to provide it.  That cold season is on the way.  My cameras are ready.  Meanwhile, a slow but steady growth of sales while we wait would be nice.


Stuck.  The fate of Volt is obvious at this point.  GM's own customers are not interested and neither is GM itself.  So much attention has shifted over to Bolt, there really isn't anything to say about plug-in hybrid expectations.  There simply aren't any anymore.  Those nasty enthusiasts who feared mainstream acceptance would never come are feeling the sting of being wrong now.  They know the tech won't actually die.  GM will obvious give in at some point, finally offering a plug for a vehicle the "Who?" will want to buy.  Catch is, it won't be vastly superior.  It will just be another player on the team... exactly what I wanted all along.  We should all be in this together.  So what if fulfilling the need isn't exciting.  Most mainstream vehicles aren't.  I knew that from the start.  They were in denial.  To sum of the lengthy voyage they took to reach the same destination I was at many years ago, I posted:  Sales have always been the ultimate means of measuring progress.  Conquest was the first stage, where the new technology is subsidized and often attracts buyers from outside the normal customer base.  Cannibalization is what follows.  That's when the new technology attracts loyal buyers, convincing them to upgrade rather than replace.  Volt is stuck in the first.  The faster & further approach simply isn't working anymore.  Prime clearly targets that second stage instead.  It delivers a wide variety of purchase priorities appealing to mainstream consumers.  Reaction to today's post about sales clearly confirm that.  Negative votes won't conceal that inconvenient truth.


Hate.  The irrational behavior of some still in denial about having lost such an extensive battle was summed up with a final insult: " arrogant, smug, self-righteous jerk."  It was truly remarkable to read that.  After having read so many posts about how great Volt would be, it was beyond hypocritical.  That's exactly how they sounded.  Having so many pages of their own quotes documented in these blogs is vindicating.  I have an extensive log of exactly how they behaved.  The hate was truly remarkable... something to not be forgotten.  Learning from such profound errors is progress.  When their hope began to crumble, the response was to lash out at a scapegoat.  That's sad.  I responded to that ironic situation with:  Years of "vastly superior" spin from those here set the precedent for pushing facts and reminding of goals like that.  The double-standard has been truly remarkable.  It's your choice whether or not to make it personal.  The faster & further marketing didn't work out.  Time has come to move on.  Focus back on the original price & volume targets is essential.

9-11-2017 Meritless.  Those last few remaining Volt enthusiasts trying to push vastly superior status over Prime sure are getting desperate.  The claims being made are without any merit.  They just say whatever the heck they want and don't even bother to provide any detail whatsoever.  Today, it started with: "Toyota is far behind comparing technologies..."  My response was a simple list with a half-dozen items.  That stirred quite a bit of lashing out.  The extreme anger was obvious.  So, I came up with the following list and posted it.  Unfortunately, the fourth category didn't even occur to me until long after.  But rather than post that "innovation" design, I figured it may work out better to save that for later.  I'll put it hear though.  It's ok on the blog to reveal that I'm still holding a wildcard:

Prime technical advantages:

  –  EV is more efficient
  –  HV is more efficient
  –  Heater is more efficient
  –  Price is more affordable
  –  Dual-Wave glass
  –  Carbon-Fiber hatch
  –  Charge Mode

Prime standard safety features:

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

Prime advanced tech options:

  –  Predictive Efficient Drive
  –  Sonar Parking Assist
  –  Rear-Cross Traffic Alert
  –  Blind-Spot Monitor
  –  Vehicle Proximity Notify
  –  Rain-Sensing Variable Wiper
  –  Active Grille Shutter
  –  Color Heads-Up Display
  –  11.6-inch Touch-Display
  –  Charging Cable Lock
  –  Heated Steering-Wheel

Prime innovation design:

  –  Directed Heating & Cooling

9-10-2017 Fuel-Cell Rants.  Another common antagonism technique is to go off on fuel-cell.  The antagonist will rant about how wasteful it has been for Toyota to invest, spinning it as a futile endeavor.  Facts prove otherwise.  Often, they are unwilling to acknowledge them though.  So, when their rants get obnoxious and become too much of a distraction, I fight back.  Today, it was:

FCEV = Fuel-Cell Electric Vehicle

Advancement in the electrical system is progress for an vehicle using electricity for propulsion & comfort.  That dual benefit is so often overlooked by those against fuel-cell development, it's difficult to take what their lack-of-investment claims of investment seriously.

Hyundai, Honda, Daimler, Mercedes, BMW, and GM are all actively pursuing FCEV work too.  How come they don't get the same negative criticism as Toyota?  It's not like Toyota hasn't invested heavily in lithium use.  Both the regular Prius and the Prime have lithium battery-packs.

The heating system for the cabin in Prime is the automotive industries most efficient electric heat-pump, the first of which to take advantage of vapor injection.  How come that mutual benefit is so easily dismissed?

Good business includes diversification.  Pushing for a single solution simply does not make sense.  Yet, that's what many argue for.  It's so short-sighted and quite risky.  The market needs variety.  Think of how profoundly different each vehicle on the road is used.  One size does not fit all.


What's The Problem?  The rhetoric claiming time has run out, making it too late for some automakers to recover is a load of garbage.  It's just more desperate attempts to keep up a good image.  This isn't even damage-control anymore.  It's plain old recognition of how much the market still has not accepted plugging in.  There isn't anything beyond early-adopter buyers still.  That's easy to prove too.  None of the automakers have used up their tax-credits yet.  That means true competition with traditional vehicles has yet to begin.  That subsidy is somewhat of a liability at this point.  Dependence on it for too long makes that push to the next stage (high-volume production) even harder.  Demand simply isn't there yet.  Establishing the technology is still the stage we are stuck on.  Dealers remain reluctant.  Charger use isn't agreed upon.  Configurations remain confusing.  Prices are all over the place.  Basically, it equate to lack of clear purpose.  What the heck are those plug-in vehicles attempting to accomplish?  You'd be surprised how difficult that question actually is to answer.  Anywho, I got fed up with the spin today and jumped on the most obvious antagonist:  What legacy automaker is actually committing to high-volume production right away?  Notice how GM is curiously silent about increases, despite Volt and Bolt?  Nissan is making a valiant effort.  Kudos!  Hyundai stands potential in a few years.  The same can be said for Honda.  With Ford, who knows.  VW and BMW have plans in the works, but are also years away.  In the meantime, Toyota continues to refine their hardware & software with Prime, awaiting the opportunity to exploit the next-gen battery and building plug-in reputation in the meantime.  So... what's the problem?

9-10-2017 Antagonist Attacks.  It's quite refreshing when a post like this emerges from the chaos of antagonist attacks: "What hybrid vehicles does Toyota have? Is it just the Prius, Camry and Corolla? Or do they have some others? I would think any serious intentions to move to EV would start by making all the vehicles hybrid."  That provided an opportunity to get the discussion about Toyota's intentions back on track:

30,593 hybrid RAV4.  11,099 hybrid Highlander.  5,338 hybrid RX 400/450.  Those are all the hybrid SUV models those attempting to undermine & belittle Toyota carefully avoid every drawing any attention to.  Notice how GM offers nothing in the SUV category, which is their most popular type of vehicle.

Notice how well those Toyota numbers from Jan-Aug 2017 sales look here in the United States.  In the European market, CH-R is already available as a hybrid.  Avalon is another hybrid which is available here.  Corolla hybrid is elsewhere.  That delivers a strong message of reaching their goal offering hybrid models of all their passenger vehicles by 2020.

Keep in mind how impressive the Toyota hybrid technology has advanced.  The 2018 Camry delivers an EPA rating of 52 MPG.  That's incredible for a large sedan.  We've seen how easily they are able to adapt their system to offer a plug too, without costing a major premium.

This is why we've seen so many desperate attacks on Prime lately.  Antagonists are doing everything they can to impede the momentum building, since their preferred automaker simply has no way to compete... specifically GM.  Thankfully, we are seeing efforts by Hyundai, Nissan, Ford, and Honda pushing forward with plug-in hybrids of their own.  It's really unfortunate GM hasn't expanded their Volt technology into another Chevy vehicle.


Audience.  Making the discussion about themselves is a common undermining technique.  It's all about limiting scope.  In fact, that's why the antagonists cherry pick.  Looking at the big picture reveals weakness.  So, they attempt to avoid that any way they can.  I don't put up with that nonsense and certainly didn't today:  Audience is who the vehicle was designed for, not who's making comment about it.  It doesn't matter anyway.  Your actions to defend GM, despite the fact that they are avoiding their own customers rather than targeting them as Toyota has, speaks for itself.  In other words, GM can only avoid delivering some type of electrified SUV for so long.  Meanwhile, there's both RAV4 and C-HR that are plug-ready and Highlander which could ultimately join in too.  The efforts to undermine Prime by claiming it is insufficient are weak & desperate... something this audience won't tolerate.  Anything that promotes mass acceptance (affordable pricing and not unnecessarily powerful) of plugging in should be acceptable.  Put another way, what will mainstream consumers replace their traditional vehicle with?


Guzzling Reminder.  The faster & further mindset is a truly desperate perspective at this point.  With 7 years of not being able to attract mainstream buyers, you'd think that level of failure would be a sign of needing to try something else instead.  Unfortunately, that's not the case.  In fact, the consumption of electricity for the sake of improved acceleration is still very much a draw... which reveals the current market is still just for early adopters.  The ordinary consumer wants something at a fair price.  They are unwilling to pay a premium.  That's the difference between mainstream & enthusiast buyers.  The fact that even with a generous $7,500 tax-credit sales growth has not been achieved is the only other sign needed for trouble ahead.  So, there really isn't much of a point of reminding people that guzzling electricity can be a problem too.  I did anyway:  Notice how the obsession with power diverts attention away from what's actually important?  Using electricity to be green is the goal, not to switch guzzling habits from gas to electricity.  Some EV systems are very inefficient.  Supporters attempt to justify that waste by focusing on want, hoping that desire will make it acceptable.


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