Personal Log  #839

October 26, 2017  -  October 30, 2017

Last Updated: Sun. 1/28/2018

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FULL!!!  It was a sweet sight today.  For the first time ever, I got to see all 6 charging stations used at the ramp where I park for work.  2 Prime, 2 Leaf, 1 Volt and 1 e-Golf were all plugged in.  That's great.  Someday though, I won't have a place to recharge.  Gasp!  Imagine that as a problem.  It will help support the plans for offering more plug-in spots in the future.  We have to start somewhere.  The population of vehicles able to take advantage of the opportunity is painfully small still.  You spot a handful of them on the road each time you go for a drive.  That gives the impression of progress... until you realize just how many guzzlers were also seen.  It goes to prove how early in the transition to electrification we are still.  There's a long way to go still.  Any claim of "late" is totally inaccurate, an obvious attempt to not take the situation seriously.  Traditional vehicles totally overwhelm still.   6 plug-in vehicle seems great... until you realize just how much non-plug-in vehicle fits on the 8 levels of parking there.


For Example.  The Volt enthusiast didn't like reading this at all: "A sale is a sale, but automakers historically dislike it when one product in the portfolio cannibalizes demand from another, because it can erode profit margins and frustrate marketers and production planners."  All along, I kept pointing out how conquest sales were a terrible means of advancing a technology.  True, it proves worth, but there's no long-term gain if you all you do is attract non-loyal customers.  They just take advantage of low lease-rates and tax-credits, then move on to the next bargain.  There's no interest in purchasing another GM product.  We've seen that play out too.  They don't become loyal supporters.  In fact, many couldn't care less.  It's a waste.  I called it out as squandering subsidies, an obvious missed opportunity.  Now, we see Bolt taking interest away from Volt almost entirely.  Are any of those sales attracting loyal GM customers?  This is how I stated it today, upon providing that example article link confirming what I had been saying all along:  My supposed bashing was about GM's continued terrible business decisions.  At times, there can be a reference to Toyota's formula for success, but focus is still very much on GM.  After a decade of claiming high-volume sales and 7 years of attempts falling well short, what do you expect?  GM executives admitted the Volt's biggest hurdle for many of its seven years on the market was an inability by the automaker and its dealers to effectively convey how the technology worked.

10-29-2017 Runaway!  I found this hysterically amusing: ">>>> EVERYONE PREPARE TO ABANDON THREAD <<<<"  The hypocrisy has become so bad, all they can do is runaway now.  There is literally nothing left to say that won't be called out as contradictory with past statements.  History has exposed their mistakes and they don't want to be reminded.  I remind them anyway: 

Ironically, there is no "everyone" here to direct that statement to anymore.  This explains the extreme measures taken to keep what remains going.  Notice how there aren't any topics about Volt now on this Volt blog?  Virtually all focus has shifted to Bolt, the very antithesis of Volt.

Remember all the "range anxiety" propaganda?  It was the solution to fear of running out of electricity and becoming stranded.  Volt was far too complicated though, making it unable to compete with the traditional vehicles it was intended to replace.  Bolt is quite simplistic in comparison... still too expensive, but better for long-term investment.

This is why when discussions are entirely about GM, some Volt enthusiast will ultimately end up shifting attention to Toyota... the automaker who actually figured out how to deliver an affordable plug-in hybrid.  Resentment of having succeeded reminds us of the original definition of trump: to outrank or defeat someone or something, often in a highly public way.

Moving to Bolt is a welcome improvement.  Ever since the concept reveal of Volt, far too much emphasis was placed on making a statement... rather than actually changing the market.  At least with this attempt to deliver something offering a plug, there is focus on a larger audience. The cramped rear seating for Volt never made any sense and was made worse with gen-2.

Sadly, the typical GM customer still won't be interested.  Bolt does nothing to appeal to SUV buyers, the dominant market for GM.  Those shoppers have literally nothing green to choose from still.  Equinox & Trax are only available as traditional vehicles.  No plug.  No hybrid.  Nothing.  That lack of electrification progress continues to be the concern.


Heat Power Usage.  We're getting questions now that reflect more than just basic interest: "Any sense of how much power the seat and steering-wheel heaters use?"  That's how we get newbies to stay in discussions.  They wonder & ask.  We do our best to figure out how to get answers.  Early on like this, there isn't much to work with still.  At least I had this to contribute, related to the use of the heater to pre-condition the car for you prior to driving:  Nothing for seat or steering, but I measured one full cycle of remote climate on MAX HEAT.  It uses 0.37 kWh.


Not Paying Attention?  You have to ask yourself that after reading this: "I suspect that TOYOTA will join the push for pure EVs rather than much further development of the Hybrid concept, though almost certainly they'll keep PRIUS going for at least another generation."  It could also be that people posting comments like that have no engineering background.  It's easy to see how assumptions could be made about design.  You'd think that motor & battery would be recognized as transferrable.  Perhaps not.  But with Prius and Prius Prime co-existing, you'd think they'd recognize the situation.  I pointed out:  They already have.  Prime is a full EV in every respect.  Efficiency, Power, Heating, Cooling, Charging...  Now they are heading down the path of lowering cost and increasing capacity on a larger scale.  Solid-State battery technology is the solution they're investing heavily in.  That level of EV advancement is what the entire industry yearns for.  None have anything resembling such a paradigm shift... yet.  In the meantime, continued improvement with the EV technology deployed in Prime and Mirai helps advance the overall electrification effort.


Claiming Superiority.  That Volt enthusiast so desperate to undermine Prime, we're getting stuff like this: "GM is too far ahead of consumer comprehension of Voltec Superiority, as you fully well know."  I remember dealing with posts like that when there was little data to back up the unrealistic expectations.  But now that those events have come to past and we now have proof, it's rather bizarre to still be seeing them.  Oh well, again.  I followed through with:  That claim of superiority has proven meaningless, since it didn't result in needed sales.  In other words, the extra work GM did attempting to hit a homerun didn't result in a homerun.  All they did was get a runner on base.  That's it.  As for your on-going attempts to somehow make this about Toyota and Prius, stockholders couldn't care less and neither could Volt supporters.  Both hoped for high-volume profitable sales... which didn't happen after 7 years of trying and unsold inventory is now piling up.  To make matters worse, that $7,500 tax-credit GM relied so heavily upon will trigger phaseout next year.  With sales of Volt well below mainstream level and slowly dropping, achieving the significant growth that's needed looks quite unrealistic.  This is why most interest from enthusiasts and attention from GM has shifted over to Bolt instead.


Outright Lies.  Having a president who says anything he wants, then doubles down when it is proven untrue, it's no surprise people online feel comfortable posting outright lies.  Despite knowing that, I was flabbergasted seeing this today: "If you search for Volts online, you will find only black ones!  Does this tell you anything?"  It's so easy to disprove, why would anyone take such desperate measures?  Oh well.  I let him have it:  Yes, it tells me you can say anything you want on the internet.  That doesn't make it true though.  Using search, I found 5,933 Volts available for sale.  All were new.  All were not black.  2,713 of them were last year's model.  That tells me GM is in a world of hurt.  Having that many still in stock the last week of October is a very real problem.  Over supply is a costly mistake for an automaker.  Dealers get upset with that much old inventory to still sell when shipments of the new continue to fill precious limited lot space.  Here's the color counts I found...  Beige (6)  Black (1,165)  Blue (651)  Brown (1)  Gray (1,222)   Green (89)  Red (379)  Silver (724)  White (1,515)  Other (181).


Winter Conditions.  82°F back in June, the 7.5 mile drive to the coffeeshop took 19% capacity.  34°F a few minutes ago, that same 7.5 mile drive to the coffeeshop took 29% capacity.  Increased resistance from outside air, reduced efficiency from the battery, combined with the electric-heater set to 65°F in ECO revealed the harsh effects of Winter.  For me, that means my 19 miles of commute each way should remain in EV.  The catch is that drive-time can be dramatically longer in on snowy days.  Fortunately, those don't actually happen often.  It's mostly just continuous sub-freezing temperatures for many weeks in a row.  Obviously on those days when it dips down near 0°F and  below, running the engine will be a welcome addition to heat provision.  Regardless of Winter conditions, the resulting MPG will be outstanding.  Also having the benefit of pre-conditioning the interior using electricity directly from the grid will be a very nice bonus.


Still Not Getting It.  That problem Bolt owner is drawing a lot of attention now.  A comparison was made to me, sighting the narrative that all my posts were only about blind loyalty to Toyota and Prius.  That portrayal of exclusivity was a diversionary tactic to draw attention to the problems I was pointing out about GM... and the sensible suggestions I was providing.  Knowing that and not wanted to bite that bait, but wanting to join the discussion, I chose this to respond to: "Just like john1701a, --- is illogical and irrational in his Tesla bashing and partisan boasting."  Until that point, I had remained silent.  The invitation from being specifically called out was too good to resist:  I was correct about GM's approach.  The concern about "too little, too slowly" that I echoed from the bankruptcy recovery plan was right on the money.  Volt struggled for 7 years and 2 generations without achieving the goal of high-volume profitable sales.  The promise of a plug-in SUV never happened.  Hope for diversification has faded away.  GM delivered an expensive system in a small package that was neither an efficient EV nor an efficient HV.  It was the worst of 3 worlds. But since it performed so well in terms of power, supposedly that factor alone would be how sales growth was to be achieved.  That failed and enthusiasts have moved on to Bolt.  Nothing about that is illogical or irrational.  Pointing out the opportunities GM continues to miss is not bashing, it's constructive.  Just think if one of those suggestions had been followed.  Rather than Volt becoming a forgotten chapter in the early years of plug-in history, the potential could have been exploited.  Instead, the problem of "range anxiety" now has a different solution.


Freezing Point.  It's 32°F here in Minnesota now.  We've been getting very wet snow here all day.  Just a few minutes ago, I was at the grocery store giving the remote-climate feature a test for the first time using the "Max Heat" setting.  Plugged in, I wanted to see how much electricity could be used to recharge the battery-pack with that much demand from the heat-pump.  Knowing that max uses far more electricity than just at setting of 65°F with ECO, having to wait so long for this test was a big deal.  Way back in 2010 when Toyota provided me with a prototype plug-in Prius to play with, it was August and the decision had been to not include a heat-pump.  Anywho, in the 12 minutes I was away from the car, the charger provide 0.64 kWh of electricity (at a steady rate of 3.16 kW).  That resulted in only an estimated 1.3 miles of electricity being added to EV range, but the interior of the Prime was toasty.  Sweet!  And yes, interior heating takes quite a bit more electricity than cooling.  Fortunately, we get a high-efficiency heater... a vapor-injected heat-pump, which better than both the regular type of heat-pump and quite a bit better than the resistance type.


Dropping Temperatures.  It has begun.  Snow fell today.  That was the first for the cold season.  Temperatures for the morning commute had been in the low 50's.  Yesterday, after driving 19.7 miles in EV with the electric-heat set to 65, there were 10.8 miles of estimated EV remaining.  That was 36% of the overall EV capacity available.  It represents a clear impact to overall range; however, that reduction from the dropping temperatures clearly isn't so much that it would cause range below 25 miles.  Delivering that distance in all be extreme cold conditions says a lot for the approach.  Keeping the design affordable by trading off battery-pack fit clearly didn't mean sacrifice to overall efficiency.  Yeah!


Troll Attacks.  Enablers like to call you out as a "troll" when you post anything that doesn't support their narrative.  It's really annoying; however, the emergence of "enabler" as the term to identify their activity is redeeming.  They can't just cry wolf anymore.  That rebuttal label is quite effective.  I dealt with today's related situation this way, saving the label for later:  To be a troll, posts are off-topic and have the intent of stirring emotional response.  Quite a number of Volt enthusiasts attempted trolling with me.  Most of their bait was entirely wasted. I kept my broken-record approach staying on-topic and polite with posts about goals.  It made them crazy.  That's called irony.  Their own posts stirred emotion in them, not the person they were provoking.  Anywho, one of the die-hard Volt enthusiasts abandoned Volt in favor of Bolt.  The hypocrisy of being so anti-EV, then buying one.  Ugh.  Despite his focus now entirely on electric-only driving, he's been attacking Tesla supporters.  It's really caused quite a bit of anger... even within the Volt forum.  A thread was started to point out his activity and it went on for 52 posts before getting locked.  It a case of just wanting to fight, without any interest in a common cause.  That's why I had so much trouble.  The idea of cooperation was never acceptable.


New History.  We get a lot of history rewrite attempts.  But now things are changing.  The upcoming plug-in hybrids open new questions.  Today's came about from this: "60 hp electric motor? Sounds like it'll behave more like the first-gen plug-in prius where the engine really is necessary for almost every trip unless you plan on holding up traffic."  I stated, then asked:  Prius PHV didn't actually work like that.  Basic merges onto the highway didn't trigger the engine.  Though, it wouldn't have mattered anyway, since the design was for it to optimize blending, not to act as an EV.  Prime Prime has a different purpose.  It was indeed designed to act like an EV, so you can drop the pedal and do an high-demand merge without need for the engine.  You can switch to EV-Auto mode for additional power, but owners say that pretty much never triggers the engine.  The new clutch that allows both electric-motors to provide enough power.  With my Prime, I'm always in EV mode.  The only time I ever switch to HV is for saving EV when on long highway trips.  (Of course, I have taken advantage of Charge-Mode a few times on trips.)  I'm just about to 10,000 miles and a need for EV-Auto still hasn't come up yet.  Something to keep in mind about new plug-in hybrid market entries is heating.  There are a variety of electric heaters, some more efficient than others.  That obviously impacts the range available for EV driving.   When an electric heater is drawing load from the battery, will that cause the engine to start sooner?  So, this begs the question... does Kia even have an electric-heating option?


Gen-2 Leaf.  Since early September in Japan & Europe, there have been 9,000 orders & sales.  That's a great start, very encouraging.  It will be exciting to see what happens here in the United States.  Production isn't even expected to begin until early next year.  That's a little later than expected, but no surprise.  Toyota took a multi-market approach with Prime for first-year rollout too.  That resulted in understandable, though annoying, delay.  Hitting a wide variety of customers right away makes planning for production ramp-up more accurate.  That challenge can be risky, since profit-margins are razor thin still.  Getting a better idea of true demand really helps, especially when you know supply will be thin for quite awhile.  However it plays out, this serves as the rude awakening GM enthusiasts have needed.  With all of their promises being proven false hope, we can finally get down to addressing what the business truly needs.  Their want obsession has caused far too much delay.  Nissan deserves a kudos for the push forward.  The rutt Volt got stuck in was getting rather ugly.


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