Personal Log  #842

November 12, 2017  -  November 18, 2017

Last Updated: Sun. 1/28/2018

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Too Late.  A few days later, I am now playing offense: "Remember that discussion covered price-points, confirming $30K was the proper target for when the tax-credit expired."  He tried to spin the situation as if was brand new, never having been addressed before.  It's a common tactic.  You are basically just pressing a reset button, taking the discussion back to the starting point... rather than address the points that had already been brought up.  We see this routinely in politics.  People know they have limited cards to use, so they forcing only the games to be played which show them favorable.  It's like choosing which game will be played after the dealing.  That's not even cheating.  It's a way of winning by betting on the horse after the race has been run.  That's manipulation.  Anywho, he sounded off with: "No. You just made that up now."  It's not even worth looking up posts of the past, though I was tempted to point out the hypocritical move.  Instead, I posted:  Discussions of price-point have been brought up on a regular basis.  Rather than just negative voting, try actually reading what's posted.  Of course, it doesn't matter anymore.  Too late is now a reality for Volt.  The price for Honda's plug-in hybrid was just announced.  $80 more for a vehicle with vastly superior seating is a no-brainer. It makes you wonder what GM's position on Volt really was.  Could price have been reduced to make it competitive?  Or was Volt basically just abandoned in favor of Bolt?


Magic.  Here's yet another "same dance, but different song" situation: "You can't hide the battery cost, there's no magic wand that Toyota waves to eliminate the cost of the EV drivetrain."  That's the no-free-lunch argument.  Rather than acknowledging worth, they eliminate any possibly of success through outright dismissal.  Seeing no value in change is key.  Pretend there isn't anything to gain in return.  If magic isn't used, there's no reason to consider it realistic.  That's the kind of nonsense I have to deal with.  Day in, day out, it's the same stance being taken.  No magic beans, no gold egg.  Ugh, yet again.  I responded to that waste-of-time with:  That has never been necessary for any hybrid or any plug-in.  For the past 20 years, the goal has always been to offset cost.  You can spend more upfront on the vehicle because it will save you money in fuel & maintenance later.  That still holds true today.  It is a matter of how much is that worth?  People do put value on reduction of emissions & consumption.  Switching from oil to electricity has clear, easy to understand benefits.


Too Bad.  It didn't go over well.  To that, I thought "too bad" and posted this follow up:  Nicely under $30,000.  The business reasons why that goal was set by GM for Volt were sound.  Enough sustainable demand would be needed prior to tax-credit expiration to ensure strong sales (5,000 per month minimum) could be profitable.  Your obvious disregard for that yesterday, spinning posts as an endorsement for Toyota, didn't hold up.  Nissan & Hyundai also share that same goal.  The importance of price was repeated by others several times in that thread.  GM must deliver something nicely under $30,000 without tax-credits.  Too bad if you don't like that.  Too bad if you feel it dilutes the market.  Too bad if it makes the vehicle ordinary.  You've know for years that diversity was essential for growth... hence the too little, too slowly.  An affordable choice must be offered.


In Your Head.  The denial is so extreme, it boggles the mind that you'd ever have to deal with such nonsense.  Yet, there it is, post after post.  That was claimed to be "in my head" though.  None of the rhetoric exists according to them.  All of the spin is just an illusion, not any basis in reality.  Ugh.  Fortunately, it is easy enough to provide proof to the contrary:  Avoiding detail and evading goals is what you do, not me.  GM needed to achieve sales at a minimum of 60,000 per year (5,000 per month) prior to tax-credit phaseout for Volt to become a sustainable & profitable vehicle.  That failed to happen with gen-1.  This is what the "too little, too slowly" concern was all about.  Excuses were given.  Delay was accepted.  Gen-2 rolled out.  Sales were even worse.  They have been successively dropping, rather than achieving growth as needed.  Spin whatever you want.  Blame whomever you want.  It doesn't matter.  The result is support has moved to Bolt instead.


Video:  Accident Delay.  It is interesting to hear someone cry "troll" even though the posts are on topic and clear attempts to stick to business goals.  Meanwhile, I have to deal rhetoric chants and blatantly false information with no data to actually back any of it up.  Fortunately, I now have video conveying real-world data to help counter the greenwash efforts.  I can remind them of the goal to promote widespread adoption of affordable plug-in choices while pushing their nonsense out of the way.  Sharing of owner experiences is very powerful.  In my case, I do that by filming drives.  This one was intended to just be more test footage, but the unexpected circumstance of getting trapped in an accident delay made it as keeper.  It was an opportunity to be in stop & slow traffic with the electric heater (vapor-injected heat-pump) running, just like I'll be doing in the winter... but not actually having to deal with the mess fresh snow makes.  Fortunately, the congestion experience wasn't too bad.  The lighting during sunset made for interesting video to work with.  And of course, there was still enough electricity available to stay warm and drive entirely in EV mode.  Watch what I saw, in 4K resolution...  Accident Delay


Video:  Cold Morning.  The thought was that conditions would be much colder here in Minnesota later, so simply giving the new 4K camera a basic shakeout before would be good practice... so I didn't bother to clean the windshield or setup any anti-glare material.   Little did I know how great the clouds would look on that blustery cold day at 10X speed.  I pre-conditioned the Prime just before leaving and had the heater set at 65 ECO with driver priority.  So, this drive gives you a pretty good idea of what an ordinary commute is like when temperature drop below freezing, but conditions are still tolerable.  Watch the various gauges as I drive.  Note the speed, the traffic, and the conditions while enjoying my first 4K footage of the Prime.  See it here...  Cold Morning Commute


Really?  The dramatic change having taken place seems to have gone unnoticed.  It's so extreme; yet, there's no acknowledgement or even a sense of awareness.  The hypocritical nature of such contradictory behavior seems good reason not to bother even addressing it.  They won't hear the message anyway.  That would be enablement though.  You don't want to provide a silent vote of acceptance.  So, pushback is required.  Point out the change, drawing attention to it anyway you can:  The group *WAS* strong opposed to EV.  That fact is written in stone with the words: RANGE ANXIETY.  Remember that campaign and all the pushing against Tesla & Nissan?  Seeing Volt abandoned in favor of Bolt is quite paradigm shift.  We could see this coming.  Volt owners would go to extremes to avoid using any gas.  Simply making the battery-pack larger eliminates the need for such a system.  That's why there was so much upset when BMW ended up delivering what GM originally intended.


It Happened.  Hints in the past became a full blown declaration: "Volt has been replaced by Bolt."  Exactly as what had been feared about the past repeating happened again.  GM rolled out diesel and made a mess of the market, almost killing it entirely.  GM did the same thing again with plug-in hybrids.  They messed up so bad, their sales struggle just about destroyed the possibility of any other automaker successfully rolling out their own.  It was nasty.  For 7 years, nothing could be said about anything from Toyota without a direct comparison to GM.  That wouldn't have been a problem if Volt actually sold in high-volume.  It didn't though.  Interest never grew beyond niche.  That meant a mainstream offering like Prius PHV was doomed to have to deal with Volt fallout.  It would be held back by hype.  The idea of "better" soured potential.  That's the trademark "over promise, under deliver" problem GM still has yet to overcome!  They mess up everyone in the process.  Fortunately, they move on from failure rather quickly.  Remember how the Two-Mode disaster was quickly pushed aside in favor of Volt?  We now have the same thing happening with Bolt... which is what I stated would happen when the name was first revealed.  The confusion would make the transition easy.  I joined in to help the process along:  Do you think GM will actually send that message of intent?  Lack of clarity has been a fundamental issue since even before Volt was rolled out.  It would be nice for all involved to understand purpose & goals.

11-12-2017 Past & Future.  Closure gets weird.  Witnessing the end of such a troublesome failure can make it even stranger.  You sometimes end up with distorted history and strange perspectives.  Oddly, it wasn't that way this time.  It was nothing but a spin attempt to make the first Volt appear to have been a complete success and Prius a terrible failure: "What's your, I mean Toyota's, excuse for the Prius Plug-in vs Gen 1 Volt?"  That's just plain old damage control, nothing special.  Things are sounding like it is indeed over.  So, I jumped in with:

Toyota designed gen-1 Prius PHV to deliver a significant MPG boost to the hybrid system.  Exactly what they intended is what what they rolled out.  The message to consumers was obvious too.

GM stated intentions for gen-1 Volt to deliver series-hybrid operation, a full electric experience without ever using direct-drive for propulsion.  That most definitely is *NOT* what they rolled out.  People had no clue what in was and still to this day are uncertain of purpose and how it operates.

Neither had the potential for high-volume profitable sales.  So, looking back doesn't serve much purpose.  However...

Toyota had the good sense to restrict availability to just 15 states, so real-world data could continue to be collected without influence to the rest of the national market.  Consequently, they don't need to re-educate the untouched locations.  Gen-2 would be the first, a design modified specifically for mainstream buyers based upon real-world data findings.  They took the time to analyze the market.  Measure twice, cut once.

GM simply dove in head first, using their precious limited supply of tax-credits and muddling up their own customer base.  Gen-1 was a disaster with respect to market acceptance.  Too expensive.  Too small.  GM shoppers simply weren't interested.  Many buyers ended up being those lured from other automakers by incredible lease offers.  Why not take advantage of such low payments for a vehicle you only had to commit 3 years to?  Gen-2 improved range & power while delivering a modest price reduction... no where near enough to stir demand.  GM shoppers still aren't interested.

2018 brings about new plug-in hybrid choices from other automakers, in addition to triggering the tax-credit phaseout for GM.  Along with so much emphasis now being focused on Bolt instead, demand for Volt will continue to drop.  Will the idea of a plug-in hybrid from GM just fade away as a result?


Too Late.  The rhetoric that Toyota is hopelessly behind and will never catch up is an act of pure desperation, since statements like this aren't followed by any reasons why: "By the time they realize EVs are the future, it will be too late for Toyota."  They just chant that mantra over and over and over.  Lack of anything to support the claim should be a red flag.  Unfortunately, the internet is filled with enablers.  They want to believe it, so they validate by agreeing.  Those enablers do a great deal of damage.  It's really unfortunate.  But then again, the support of true supporters can fall victim to being naive enough to believe that doesn't ever happen.  It's makes for a seemingly hopeless situation... hence the success at conveying a "too late" message.  You see no obvious reason to question the claim and reputable data is difficult to find.  I try to share the knowledge.  Though, it is challenging.  Today it was:  Using the identifier of "PHEV fan" but not actually understanding how a Plugin-Hybrid-Electric-Vehicle actually works is rather ironic, especially when making comment about Prime.  That offering from Toyota provides a full electric drive experience.  Everything operates using electricity.  The smaller battery-pack is all that really sets it apart.  That combustion-engine is not necessary.  There's 2 electric-motors for propulsion and a heat-pump for warming & cooling the cabin.  A claim of "too late" doesn't make any sense.  Too late for what?  Toyota will have invested heavily in high-volume production of battery-cells, traction-motors, controllers, and heat-pumps.  Isn't that exactly what you need to build an EV?  Nothing is missing.  What is the supposed problem?  Think about the economy-of-scale benefit.  Think about the massive build up of easy-upgrade customers.  Think about the reputation for abandoning tradition vehicles across the fleet.


Quick.  The antagonist posts were shift & plentiful.  None actually addressed the "quick" reality though.  As if overnight, with no resistance at all, the automakers will magically shift over to EV offering.  No challenges, issues, or concerns from dealer or consumer.  It is obvious.  It is painless.  It is about to happen.  Ugh.  What it really is can be stated with one word: "unrealistic".  It's like when a politician promises quick restoration after a natural disaster.  Again, ugh.  Oh well.  All you can do is provide "I told you so" information, since they won't bother to listen to reason until it's too late:  Why don't believe in a phased approach?  That has been overwhelmingly successful in the past.  Are you really expecting the other automakers to drop all traditional vehicles and go straight to BEV as quickly and on the same scale as Toyota with hybrids?  Our infrastructure can handle a rapid next step from hybrid to plug-in hybrid, which would dramatically reduce emissions & consumption.  How will BEV be handled?  Think about where & how people park at home.  Setting that up for overnight charging to support large battery-packs for 10's of millions of vehicles quickly is not realistic.  In other words, emergence of a wave of anti-PHEV sentiment is going to faced a harsh reality.  What is the true goal for the next decade... dramatic improvement or elimination?  I don't see legacy automakers stepping up to high-volume, multi-model BEV offerings that quickly and the thought of allowing new non-hybrids to continue to populate our roads is very upsetting.

11-12-2017 Serious Change.  The message from Toyota is beginning to emerge as a significant investment in hybrids... without anything being said about electric-only vehicles.  It's the typical short-sightedness combined with a big dose of forgetfulness.  Toyota already stated plans to move away from traditional vehicles with an "all hybrid" plan.  We have also heard about the EV intentions.  But since those are focused on 2020, there's that absurd panic to deal with in the meantime.  It's the same old spin that started when PHV was halted and we heard nothing about Prime.  Looking back at long-term strategy that had been shared didn't happen.  People just jumped to conclusions based on only the information available to them at that very moment.  Ugh.  I tried to provide the voice of reality:

- Camry
- Avalon
- RAV4
- Highlander
- Corolla
- C-HR

All are vehicles we recognize as common choices here in the United States.  All are offered as hybrids somewhere in the world. Other models not known here, like Estima (small AWD minivan), are available to other markets as hybrids too.

The point is that Toyota is striving to end production of traditional vehicles by pushing all those non-trucks into the hybrid category. The next step of adding a plug for the masses will come easy then, with the majority of vehicles on the lot already having a battery-pack.

None of the other non-luxury legacy automakers are pushing for such change.  Only Toyota is looking to alter a large portion of their fleet in the not-too-distant future.  That grand-scale thinking should not be so easily dismissed.

Think of the message it sends to both customers & dealers.  That is serious commitment to change, not a token or uncertain effort as we see from others.  It's an effort to reach beyond the barriers all automakers must face to end their own traditional production.


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