Personal Log #856
February 8, 2018 - February 12, 2018
Last Updated: Mon. 4/02/2018
page #855 page #857 BOOK INDEX
Priorities. The final, foolhardy messages attempting to obscure Volt's downfall are now being posted. It's an end more painful than the sudden, abrupt stop, we witnessed with diesel. Quite literally overnight, the impedement to green advancement vanished. It was dead. With this, it's like they are beating a dead horse. Rather than focus on the clear winners in the next stage of ending the reign of traditional vehicles, they are trying to hold onto the memory of victories from long ago. Bringing up the past... looking backward instead of forward... is an obvious sign of denial. The job now is to promote realistic challengers. Prius Prime is the clear leader. It is the only affordable offering capable of standing out among a showroom floor filled with strong sellers. Oddly, that means the regular model of Prius will be cannibalized in the process. But that's progress. For those who have an outlet available, it's a very reasonable consideration. It holds enough potential to possible sway those considering a Corolla or Camry too. That's why GM's approach of simply offering as much EV as possible made no difference. Someone shopping for a traditional vehicle couldn't care less about getting a maximum return. They just want a simple transisition to electric. Only needing an ordinary 120-volt outlet and not having any concern whatsoever about the engine starting is really, really important. It's a basic approach that won't intimidate. This is the same thing Hyundai & Kia are hoping to aggressively pursue. That's an opportunity GM never showed any interest in... which Volt enthusiasts have learned in a very painful way. They refused to recognize what mainstream shoppers really want, what they consider priorities. Toyota carefully studied this, taking it very seriously. I pointed that out on a regular basis, as I did yet again today: Know your audience. Understanding their priorities is key to drawing their interest. They seek a well-balanced choice, not one making sacrifices to go faster & further.
Retroactive Credit. Surprise! We can claim more of a tax-credit on our 2017 return than expected. That was something I had just accepted as an opportunity missed, when it expired the end of 2016. We weren't ready for the idea of running new conduit & wire, then purchasing 240-volt chargers. Heck, my wife wasn't even going to consider replacement of her car until 2018. But things fell into place with several upgrades all within a few month's time. We got a remarkable amount done in the first half of last year and it is now going to quite literally pay off. In addition to having enough tax-liability to claim $4,502 for each of our Prime purchases, we can also claim several hundred for the charging setup we invested in for our home. The amount can be up to a maximum of $1,000. It's a 30% reimbursement. I'll have to dig out our receipts to see how much we quality for. It was expensive, since we didn't skimp. 2 cans. 2 meters. 2 conduit lines. 2 sets of wiring. 2 breakers. 2 outlets. 2 chargers. Sweet! Strangely though, there are a few supporters scratching their heads wondering how rewarding those of us who took the risk will benefit from a retroactive credit. Don't they think we'll put that money to good use? It equates to free recharging elsewhere, funding to promote public charging-stations by patronizing them without concern of having to pay. Why not? It's exciting to help promote. A bit irked, I pushed back their pushback with: Don't be so quick to dismiss. Retroactive is how you encourage early-adopters to share what they learned. That gesture of acknowledgement is very powerful.
Wishful Thinking. Drawing conclusions with little to
no data was common in the past. Now, some just declare victory without
any supporting facts. They just plain don't care. They call your
observations wishful thinking. Anything to stop the progress of
Toyota. It's really sad... and fortunately, very easy to rebut...
Here's actual achieved results in 2017 outside of North America:
191,600 sales of C-HR hybrid.
130,900 sales of Yaris hybrid.
58,500 sales of Corolla hybrid.
That show very real growth potential when those are rolled out in this market. No wishful thinking required.
Here's more actual achieved results, Toyota's worldwide annual sales totals:
1.22 million = 2012
1.28 million = 2013
1.27 million = 2014
1.20 million = 2015
1.40 million = 2016
1.52 million = 2017
The data tells a very different story. There is clearly no decline as claimed, only a dip as gen-4 Prius availability approached with undeniable market growth following.
Big Oil Fear. The poorly informed tend to look for conspiracy. Not understanding complex problems results in that jumping to conclusions like that. If you are not for what they are endorsing, you must be against it. In reality, situations are rarely that extremely. Often, they true stance is somewhere in the middle. That doesn't work well for online commentary. So, personal attacks result. Today, it was my apparent support for the oil cartel. That couldn't be further from the truth. But with such rundamentary knowledge of how hybrids work, that tends to make sense. If you aren't in favor of EV here & now for everyone, you must be an opponent. Ugh. That kind of thoughless, knee-jerk response is what Volt rhetoric shoveled for years... which turned into a monumental fiasco. Anywho, I responded to that nonsense with: Assumption based on limited & anecdotal evidence is incorrect. In fact, you couldn't be more wrong. My effort is to push for plug-in hybrids as quickly as possible. That elimination of traditional vehicles will result charging infrastructure setup at the same time. Jumping straight to EV is totally unrealistic. No part of production or sales is ready yet for that scale. Comprehensive evidence of that is plentiful. That belief that revolution is necessary is a fundamental mistake. There's no reason to present the situation as a fight when you know an evolutionary step can be quickly achieved and set the stage for that paradigm-shift.
Smug. Now that Volt is dead, the inevitable new set of enthusiasts has emerged. It's bizarre how clueless they are. Knowledge of how Prime works is based upon nothing but a rudamentory understanding of hybrids... which wouldn't be so bad, if they had some type of business background. That complete absence of knowing how any of the automotive fundamentals actually work make any type of argument futile. When you bring up the concept of mass-appeal, there's nothing but an arrogant reply in return. It's the same thing every time too. Toyota is late. That is so horribly vague, there's no point. Late for what? Who cares of early adopters have nothing to purchase. Rarely will a vehicle targeted at them ever appeal to the masses anyway. Mainstream shoppers have very, very different priorities... the lesson Volt enthusiasts learned the hard way. Ordinary consumers couldn't care less about a vehicle that isn't affordable. It's difficult to believe anyone could be so blind. You'd think that would be obvious. Clearly, it is not. History is repeating the cycle again. Those guible people who don't bother to actually research are beginning to post snide remarks. You can see that same smug coming back again. Ugh.
Ugly. When all else fails, call the vehicle ugly. Antagonists are busy now. They see the rise of Prime and are trying everything they can possibly do to undermine the name of Prius. Their panic reaction is a sure sign of mainstream advancement. Nothing is working. The real-world data speaks for itself. Plug-In hybrid acceptance is seen as a natural step forward, not a dramatic paradigm-shift as the "EV only" purists are trying to push. Their one-size-fits-all rhetoric is having quite a bit of trouble catching on... a problem we don't see with the plug-in hybrids. So, they attack the look of Prius, the one without a plug, with the hope it will somehow sour appeal for Prime too. It's not working either. Just like in the past, attempts to impede are eventually overcome. Having lots of video to share already is helping speed that process along. Yeah! In the meantime, we have to respond to the nonsense being posted: Toyota made Prius the standout hybrid it was always characterized to be, providing a market offering for those wanted exactly that. So what if you don't like it? The market isn't a one-size-fits-all situation anyway. Camry hybrid... RAV4 hybrid... C-HR hybrid... Corolla hybrid... those are the hybrids Toyota is focusing growth on now... along with the rollout of plug-in options. Look at how competitive Prius Prime is with traditional vehicles. You can get a solid 100 MPG vehicle, delivering lots of EV driving, with lots of features for a MSRP of $27,100.
Leadership & Late. Wow! It's happening again. Remember the attitude from Two-Mode supporters? They attacked Toyota & Prius relentlessly. In the end, it was another case of "over promise, under deliver". GM's reputation had been reaffirmed in a dramatic way. That's why I was so amazed that the gen-1 Volt enthusiasts would so blindly follow in those same tracks, repeating the very same mistakes. Sure enough, it was the same outcome too. That failure didn't deter gen-2 Volt from repeating that history, yet again. Wow! Now, we are seeing it emerge from elsewhere. Claims of Toyota falling far behind and losing any sense of leadership keep coming up. None have any substance though. All are based on nothing but the fact that other automakers have ambiguously committed to EV delivery. No over promise this time. In fact, no goal is ever actually stated. It's all so vague, there's no accountability whatsoever. Victory could be declared on anything. It's the worse I've ever seen. People are so desperate for good news from their particular automaker, the only recourse currently available is to attack Toyota's success by portraying it as a failure to advance. Only Volt enthusiats did that in the past. But now that they are gone, others are feeling the same pressure. No surprise there. I just pointed out some facts: Affordability isn't leadership criteria? Including carbon-fiber & aero-glass isn't? The new vapor-injected heat-pump isn't? Delivering great kWh/mi efficiency isn't? There's a belief that larger battery-packs is the measure of progress. Those who believe that are in for a rude awakening when it comes to mass-market appeal. Mainstream consumers have very different priorities from the early adopters here. Take a look at the 51,000 sales of Prime last year around the world for a perspective of what's really important. Reaching ordinary consumers with such a well-balanced profitable vehicle is the game changer... the same goal all the other automakers are striving for. Think about the wide variety of hybrids Toyota now offers and how many of them now use lithium battery-packs. That claim of being "late" doesn't have merit
Prius Decline. Between the challenge of Nissan & Tesla production ramp-up and the struggle GM is having, there's no big players to provide news for right now. So, there's retrospectives being published... many with errors & spin. Looking back is never good. So much detail is overlooked, forgotten, or omitted, the objectivity is lost. It doesn't matter though. The point of those articles is to hold onto the regular readers by giving them something to participant in. The resulting comments are all over the place as a result. So, it's a winning formula... especially if you want to spread misconceptions. Unfortunately, this lull cannot be avoided. News about mainstream offerings isn't exciting anyway. That dooms Prius Prime to ridicule. We certainly are seeing a number of snide remarks too. The antagonists don't want the message of a natural transition from hybrid to plug-in hybrid to catch on. That low impact approach is very difficult to to combat. Look at how hard Hyundai is working to offer something compariable to Toyota. It takes a serious investment.... a reality others aren't willing to accept, hence all the attempts to spin a story of Prius decline. I replied to today's spin with: Worldwide rollout all in the same year meant limited inventory available. 51,000 were sold though, despite people like us in the center of the US not having any to speak of. That shows potential, helping to confirm Toyota choice to focus on a well balanced offerings (lots of features, yet very affordable) is a good approach.
Video: Charge-Mode in Winter. Hybrids achieve high efficiency by seeking out opportunity. That gain can be boosted even further the choice of how & when is carefully considered & control. Charge-Mode provides that benefit... if used wisely. Gas engines waste quite a bit of energy. A source of that waste comes from not carrying much load. The combustion process is most efficient when the engine is being utilized more, closer to its full potential. Charge-mode allows you to take advantage of that. In this example, I active Charge-Mode on 3 different occasions. This running of the engine more than needed results in electricity being generated to recharge the battery... which I take advantage of afterward. Watch before & after I get on the highway. Also watch as I cruise along the back country road as I get close to the end of my commute home. Since this demonstration took place in the winter, I also took advantage of the other wasted energy from the gas engine: heat. When I shut off Charge-Mode, the system switches back to EV mode. So, rather than using electricity to provide heat while driving with the engine off, the cabin warming is provided by heated engine coolant. Used wisely, there can be an overall MPG benefit. When on long trips, like vacation when there is no charging available at the destination, I will take advantage of Charge-Mode to supply electricity for later when going out in the evening for dinner or getting coffee the next morning... using EV to avoid engine warm-up. Notice the results on this drive. That's quite impressive. 49 MPG overall, despite the cold. There is 1 mile of electricity still available for EV at the end too: Charge-Mode in Winter
Temperature Adjustment. I am approaching my first-year anniversary for Prime ownership. That means I will have had a full year to study the system, to observe the changes from each season. It's time to begin thinking about all the stuff that needs to be documented for the User-Guide. There's quite a bit for this generation of Prius. Simple things go a long way too. You'd be amazed at some of the complaints that come about from owners who assume. They aren't rewarded like the ones who enjoy exploring. A good example of this came today from: "I dont think the Prius Prime has temperature adjustment buttons on the steering wheel..." That comment came about from a complaint an owner had about the placement of the dedicated buttons for temperature on the dashboard. He somehow keeps slipping, accidently pushing the button below it that starts the engine for "power" defrost mode. It never crossed his mind that it would be an option on the screen... despite all the promotion of having buttons on the steering-wheel, to prevent having to reach over to push something on the dashboard. Ugh. Needless to say, there is. In fact, there's an entire section that allows you to make creature-comfort adjustments simply by moving your thumb. That's good stuff to put in the new document!
Not Interested. The end has come. Exactly as expected, year-2 of gen-2 for Volt was so bad, even the daily hypocrites have fallen silent. It was much easier when there was uncertainty. But now with the year-3 underway and the problem such a high MSRP looming, they have given up. There is literally nothing left to spin. I hadn't expected such an obvious cease of the rhetoric. It just died abruptly. I'm not interested in starting anything new with that group. The negative feedback was priceless back when they had blind hope. But there's value in any of their enablement anymore. That group-think doesn't provide any value when the next step is actually being taken. It was a great insight to learning about audience. That's done. Time to move on. So, I chimed in to be part of the acknowledgement of finality with: Too little, too slowly was the pointing out of opportunity being missed. It simply never made any sense wasting good tech like that, especially with so many sharing words of praise for the potential. GM management wasn't interested in reaching out to the larger market.