Personal Log  #857

February 13, 2018  -  February 17, 2018

Last Updated: Mon. 4/02/2018

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2-17-2018 Bitter Ending.  The frustration related to that final nail in the coffin of the long dying daily blog for Volt has been interesting to witness.  Those left know that what I had promoted was right all along for the larger market.  Their carefully worded replies couldn't conceal the disingenuous plug-in offering from GM.  It was a niche and they have known it for a very long time.  That's why I was so relentless asking: "Who is the market for Volt?"  Nothing was ever delivered for the wide audience.  Hope without anything supportive would eventually give out.  This 2-week span of no new topic to discuss has done that.  Even their personal attacks fell apart: "And BTW, you're not actually considered part of this group."  After so many years of arguing, there was nothing left.  Even the lies fell apart.  After posting 2 links to videos I had to rebut with real-world deatil, it was this summary to bring it all to a bitter ending...

Why would I want that?  This group was established based on the belief that the following would be delivered by late 2010:

- 40 mile EV range
- 50 MPG depleted efficiency
- priced nicely under $30,000

Conflict arose right away, when constructive discussion came up asking how that could possibly be achieved.  Toyota had been pursuing the plug since late 2003, when they rolled out the gen-2 Prius able to deliver a top EV speed of 100 km/h (62.1 mph).  Back then, it was clear that energy-density was far too low and battery-cost far too high to exploit that aspect of the hybrid system's design.

In late 2007, they repeated the statement of battery-cost being too high still.  This group took the "not ready" part of that out of context, making it seem as though Toyota was actually against lithium batteries.  It was a clear effort to misrepresent, yet many here became enablers to promote that message of deception.  Calling it out is when my presence took a very unwelcome turn.

From that point on, the misleading about Prius really ramped up.  Later when the first Toyota plug-in offering was rolled out, the lies about goals and how it actually worked really got intense.  The ambiguous reference to "electric-only" rating was taken advantage of.  The hard-acceleration test during the EPA measurement cycle was at the 6-mile mark.  Many here worked to make people believe no battery-capacity remained at that point, attempting to conceal the 5 miles still available.

Despite countless reputable websites calling out that attempt to misrepresent, some continued the subterfuge anyway.  In fact, someone did in this very thread.  Allowing lies like that to persist is why this venue fell apart. People of integrity (true Volt supporters) moved on, leaving the dishonest enthusiasts behind.

Now, we see the potential for Toyota to actually deliver what GM set out to deliver becoming a reality:

- 25 mile EV range
- 54 MPG depleted efficiency
- priced starting at $27,100

That system is designed to accept a larger-capacity battery in the future too, without requiring generational changes.  A simple mid-cycle upgrade could deliver increased EV range... should cost drop enough and energy-density increase enough.

Remember, the goal is to replace traditional vehicles by offering a choice compelling to loyal shoppers... those on the dealer's showroom floor.  That potential to draw new interest to a plug-in is key.  It requires a MSRP that's competitive in a vehicle loaded well to appeal to ordinary consumers.

In other words, I don't agree with what this group has promoted.  So, I am grateful not to be thought of as part of it.


Perception.  Speaking of looking back and attempting to rewrite history, I found it necessary to point out how that actually happens today on the big Prius forum:  Anyone else notice the effort to make a vehicle styled to stand out vehicle has been given a stigma by using the "polarizing" label?  People unknowingly pick up on the term and pass it along.  That's how you effectively undermine a product.  Those excited about it not being like everything else on the road is the trait that antagonists attack... relentlessly, using the label so often in a negative context that it eventually becomes a core part of the narrative they wish to portray.  That effort to impede does indeed work too.  We have seen this quite a number of times with Prius history.  We have also seen the reverse.  Remember the SUV back in the mid 90's?  Those wanting them to become a daily commute vehicle gave it the "car" label.  That seemed absurd at first to be calling a vehicle with heavy-duty suspension, aggressive tread tires, and 4-wheel drive something you'd drive everyday to work a "car".  Yet, the term caught on to become the norm anyway.  Long story short, ask yourself why "polarizing" seems an appropriate fit.  Do you really want a vehicle that looks like everyone else's, plain and about to become outdated?


Uncaring.  The desperation is building to remarkable levels: "2012 Toyota, feeling the pressure, attempts a plug-in hybrid, but only gives an EV range of 6 miles, or 11 blended."  He's trying to rewrite history and using lies to distort it.  That is supposedly how you cover your tracks.  I wonder how effective he expects this final effort to be.  A few searches is all it takes to reveal Toyota's interest in plug-in hybrid augmentation back in 2009.  As devoted supporters, we knew that gen-2 design supported 100 km/h driving with just electricity.  Unfortunately, battery technology of the time fell far short of market expectations.  So, Toyota focusing on refining design while waiting for those advancements in the world of rechargable batteries to take place.  After all, the phone & computer efforts were pushing hard for cost-reduction and energy-improvement.  He doesn't care about what actually happened though.  The intentional misleading confirms it.  With so much information readily available proving those 11 miles were not blended, it's hard to believe he would think people are naive or gullible enough to just accept what he posts.  Treating people like idoits is not how you earn their support or respect.  He keeps lying anyway.  This was the latest example.  What I find most baffling though is trying to figure out what purpose looking backward serves.  What does it serve when the present is such a disaster anyway?  Apparently, pride clouds logical thought.  He believes changing perception of the past somehow makes the current situation better.  Ugh.


Didn't Care.  The use of insults & profanity always amazed me.  How do they expect anything good to come from that?  It's not the slightest bit constructive.  But when there is literally nothing left to gain, convincing yourself you went down with a fight is important to those dominated by pride.  Honor is not earned from surrender and there concept of compromise is considered a sign of weakness.  Ugh.  What a waste.  Fortunately, I was able to stay true through all that rhetoric.  Seeing the nonsense spin into efforts to inflict harm is not anything I ever want to be associated with.  that's why I keep repeating my own purpose over and over: To achieve & sustain high-volume profitable sales has always been the goal.  What sets this group apart from all the other Volt supporters is that wasn't taken seriously.  Instead of actually embracing what needed to be done, those here kept exclaiming the faster & further mantra… which has overwhelmingly been proven a terrible decision.  That approach failed to achieve the goal and shows no prospect anymore.  As other automakers have confirmed, a balance of price & performance is the better choice.


Criticism.  Seeing recognition & acknowledgement that I wasn't actually the problem has been pleasing.  A few have turned on their own with the hope of something constructive emerging:  "Take some constructive criticism for a change.  You are a contributing factor for why I no longer post and have moved on from this site.  While you may not agree with the OP, name calling and profanity should not be necessary to make your point.  Why would someone want to have to spend their life moderating what you post and reminding you of basis civil discourse."  I climbed up on that same soapbox when they were finished:  The goal was and will continue to be getting GM to offer something profitable for the masses.  All those posts stating "too little, too slowly" were genuine concern that GM was missing out on opportunity to deliver something appealing its own shoppers prior to the tax-credit expiring.  I was one of those who stuck around because I wanted Voltec to diversify quickly.  Who cares if some of that GM success would transform from conquest to following the footsteps of Toyota.  The other automakers are pursuing that path to profitability too.  GM screwed up.  So what?  We're still in the early stages anyway.  True, no more gloating superiority for Volt, but that's no reason to give up. Join the rest who want plug-ins to succeed.  We can't end the reign of traditional vehicles alone.  All the automakers must send the same message now.


It's Over.  Watching things crumble to dust provides a sense of wonder.  Nothing is left.  There isn't anything to fight for anymore.  It's all gone.  I put it this way:  Model 3 deliveries have begun here.  Leaf gen-2 arrivals will soon become a reality.  Clarity, Pacifica, and Outlander sightings now happen.  Prius has moved on to embrace the plug.  We expect new offerings from Hyundai & Kia.  It's over.


No Fate.  They are victims of their own choices.  I continued to point that out too:  This site turned fanboy.  As sales for Volt got worse and gains for other plug-in hybrids became obvious, rhetoric grew.  Any post pointing that promises were clearly not delivered was unwelcome.  It turned into an effort to defend reputation at all cost.  There was no more objectivity, no effort to progress forward.  To complicate matters, GM has pretty much abandoned Volt in favor of Bolt anyway.  Now well into year-8 of sales for Volt and still no mainstream offering, what hope is there?  We've seen this history playout already.  Two-Mode suffered a similar fate. Fanboys eventually just gave up.  What purpose does this site now serve?


Love.  I'm not giving them any chance to recover.  It's over.  Done.  They have been called out for being hypocritical.  Volt was to be the icon of the future.  No worry about finding a place to recharge.  You could enjoy electric-only driving without ever any concern.  They declared EV offerings a terrible approach, a market doomed to failure.  Now, they find their own arguments a contradiction.  Looking back, its easy to see how often they promoted purity of no gas the goal.  Finding out Volt could not fulfill that promise as well as Bolt is the ultimate in examples of irony.  They defeated themselves, beating the farm on the very thing they disliked.  Oops!  They own favor of avoiding use of the engine proved it wasn't really necessary for their audience.  My reason for asking the "Who?" question is obvious now.  I recognized the conflict and was attempting to politely nudge them back on course; instead, they accelerated in the wrong direction.  It was quite rewarding to post this summary of the situation and ask the course-correction question:  Remember how anti-EV this group had been?  All that "range-anxiety" promotion has faded away as Bolt took the spotlight.  Where does that leave Volt approach for GM?


Change.  The turn of events recently has been remarkable.  Watching things fall apart for Volt is not how I anticipated the end to come.  Ironically, that daily blog for Volt was a cheerleading website... and cheerleading was exactly what I posted late last night.  They weren't happy.  I thought it was best to share the love, considering what today is supposed to represent.  After so much hate, closure of any sort is a true step forward.  Good or Bad, it doesn't matter.  The time to move on has come.  So much opportunity has been wasted.  Choosing to fight fellow plug-in supporters rather than focus on goals was too difficult to accept.  Pride is very difficult to overcome.  GM screwed up.  Who cares?  You fall down.  You get back up and try something else.  Continuing to try again with the same thing isn't wise.  Volt failed twice.  Neither gen-1, nor gen-2, was able to capture the market.  Sales are shrinking, rather than achieving the growth promised for so long.  Just think of what could have been if that second model with a smaller battery-pack had actually been offered.  The lower cost would have been quite a tradeoff.  So what if range would have been reduced.  The resulting weight reduction would have delivered higher efficiency and less need for power.  Enthusiasts were unwilling to compromise though.  Now, they see the consequences of their choice to retain the status quo.  Fighting change was unwise.


Playing Offense.  I went on the attack this evening:  To those who turned a blind-eye on the management problems related to both the EV1 and the Two-Mode rollouts, choosing to focus exclusively on engineering instead, you've learned a very painful lesson.  Volt failed to attract GM's own loyal shoppers, a problem that will be greatly compounded when the tax-credit expires.  Now, we watch attention shifting over to the struggle Bolt is having with the very same problem.  Those shopping for a GM vehicle couldn't care less about a compact wagon.  They want to purchase a SUV.  Where is that choice?  GM revealed the Saturn Vue plug-in SUV back in early 2008.  What's taking so long?  We need to ask what should happen next.  No more efforts to change the topic.  Those attempts to focus attention elsewhere were childish acts to avoid dealing with the problem at hand.  What should GM do?  Management must decide how to move forward.  Supporters can help with that.  The time to take a stance is long overdue.  Blindly trusting they'll make the right decision will allow the history of mistakes to repeat again.  State goals.  Be concise.  Stand firm.


Goodbye Messages.  It has been interesting to read post after post about the death of Volt's biggest promotion source.  This was the sign-off from a long-time participant today: "GM knows what to do (like supporting this website and promoting electric cars) but just cannot bring itself to do what is right."  That was followed by a goodbye. 7.5 years after rollout began, with the obvious rise of "anemic" offerings from other automakers, there is literally no hope remaining.  They exhausted every possible excuse and insulted every possible source of conflict.  The rhetoric was amazing.  When you evade & deny for that long, such an outcome is inevitable.  They didn't want to accept the growing evidence of trouble.  That meant the problem would never be dealt with.  Rather than address shortcomings, the choice was to avoid mention of them.  So when I brought them up for constructive discussion, it was always a shoot-the-messenger response.  To think that a select group of people would become such staunch enablers.  They were the very thing they hated most: fanboys.  Coming to realize their error after defeat is the ultimate vindication for me.  They wanted a fight to the death, but never imagined actually losing... and would never, ever consider surrender.  Ironically, all I was ever looking for was an ally.  There is no way to win the war against traditional vehicles without friends supporting other automakers.  Clearly, that won't come from GM owners.  Their numbers will be far too few; instead, I'll be looking toward those choosing plug-in hybrids from Hyundai & Kia.  Perhaps we'll see high-volume sales from Honda, Chrysler, and Mitsubishi too.  What Volt couldn't accomplish, they have the potential.  That serious concern of "too little, too slowly" has been confirmed.  We got yet another "over promise, under deliver" from GM.  Volt demonstrated the opportunity for its technology to be exploited, but that step was never taken.  The initial offering is fading away into memory without any successor.  All those tax-credits were wasted on conquest.  The expectation of that generous subsidy being used to establish a base of loyal buyers wasn't pursued.  The ultimate question of "Who is the market for Volt?" has been answered.  It was a niche GM did not want to transform to a mass-market offering.  Goodbye.


Late & Laggards.  The desperate efforts to save some pride from Volt's demise has been interesting to witness.  So many people are now writing obituaries, those posts of rhetoric simply fall on deaf ears.  No one cares anymore.  Commenters have better things to spend their time on.  GM squandered, missing opportunity after opportunity.  It has been a disaster of epic proportions.  Seeing such a grand experiment fail on such a colossal scale is remarkable.  Everyone in the early-adopter crowd know Volt well.  It was nice car... to lease.  Few actually owned one though.  They didn't want to take the long-term risk and saw no reason not to take advantage of such appealing lease offers.  This is the statistic they did their best to suppress.  That's why conquest continued to get so much attention.  To address the problem of retention meant asking for a fight.  So many went elsewhere when their Volt's lease expired, the remaining group of enthusiasts became frighteningly small.  That's how a knew the goodbye was real.  Those still left starting naming off big names of the past, people who moved on and were rarely ever heard from again with respect to Volt.  They now own other plug-in vehicles.  Heck, one of them even became such a huge Bolt supporter, he recently got banned from the Volt forum.  That's when you know it's over.  Anywho, the few left keep trying to start a narrative of Toyota being "late" and often resort to "laggard" name calling.  It's so childish.  Nothing is ever provided to support their claim.  They are just desperate to get attention off of Volt.  All those obituaries are difficult to deal with.  What's even more of a problem though is the acknowledgement of true innovation... and many are happy to point out the lack of it from GM by just offering the most battery-capacity, rather than actually developing more advanced tech.  I was happy to join in that discussion today with:  More credit is given to having more battery, even if the vehicle guzzles electricity.  It has been the braindead mantra of bigger being better.  Actual innovation has been pushed aside.  That's why the effort to deliver a battery chemistry & design that doesn't require liquid-cooling treated as a shortcoming, despite it being an obvious step forward.  This is also the reason why the use of heat-pump, carbon-fiber, and aero-glass are all looked down upon.  Technology advancements and cost reductions are not considered innovation.  That's a very real problem.


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