Personal Log #862
March 6, 2018 - March 17, 2018
Last Updated: Mon. 4/02/2018
page #861 page #863 BOOK INDEX
Parting Advice. Not much has changed. The advice now isn't really any different from how it all started: This is the opportunity. Don't let that slip by. Seize it. Seeing the other automakers jumping on board, making announcements of their intention to deliver SUV choices with a plug, is what those who participated here waited for. We all know how difficult the transition is... especially for GM. Volt floundered. So what? It's ironic, but that has passed. A new chapter has begun. Knowing that Ford is going all out, that barrier has been replaced with anticipation. We're are witnessing a paradigm-shift with the entire industry. This is when the intent from GM should be solidified. Mistakes of the past can be avoided this time around. Clearly state what ordinary consumers, not early adopters, will purchase. That means no subsidies and competing directly with traditional SUVs. Support GM by focusing on audience, their own loyal shoppers.
All Talk, No Action. As expected, there was upset from me calling out those who don't ever do anything other than post rhetoric. No one is supposed to notice their pattern of enthusiast propaganda. They try to pretend to be constructive, but most posts are without any substance. For example: "Anyone who asks, I'll gladly state the pros and cons of the Volt." Naturally, when asked, nothing is ever provided. Unwilling to play the game anymore, I stick to the painful realities. It's amazing how much effort is put forth to spin, distract, and attack. What a waste. None of that actually helps advance them forward. You have to share & educate. Simply stopping by a dealer to show them a few things about the car from an owner's perspective is a powerful means of stirring interest. Without that, what incentive is there to even bother? Expecting excitement from a vehicle that requires answering a lot of questions and only getting a modest commission in return isn't realistic. You have to give them something they can easily entice the customer with. You can also go directly to customers. There's this thing called the internet, where people go to for more than just blog & forum information. My sharing of videos on YouTube has drawn interest from a very diverse audience. There's no reason they couldn't do the same. Anywho, I stated a con, knowing that message would get through and cause even more upset... perhaps enough to provoke some action, finally: PRODUCTION COST is too high to make it competitive with other GM vehicles.
Smug. How else would you describe a cherry-picked sampling followed by a comment like this: "Put those numbers in your Prime and Smoke It." That's a true sign of defeat. It never ceases to amaze me how constructive discussion attempts end up breaking down to childish name calling. That's why I never got banned from that daily blog for Volt. I kept the things active with my counter-posts and was always polite doing it. For that matter, I kept the discussion on-topic too. The enthusiasts hated me for that. I thrived on their feedback. It was an incredible source for opposing perspective. True, they suffered from group-think. But at least what they believed was candidly stated. No holding back is what made that particular venue so valuable. They'd use their best material. Then when it was exhausted, they'd turn to insults. That's how I knew there was nothing left. Anywho, that happened today. He was very upset with the efficiency rating and had nothing constructive to counter it with.
Personal Attacks. When you don't like the message,
you shot the messanger:
"Who feels like pulling up John's post from before where Prius PHV was the
answer and GM missed with only a 4 seater? Not me :) Then
if I mention my Volt uses much less gas than his Prime in MN, he pivots to
ICE MPG as he racks useless miles driving around in an effort to justify his
stats." Having witnessed so much and and having watched so much
history rewritten, I'm surprised they'd bother. Knowing none of it
works. Why? There is literally nothing left to gain. For
that matter, there's nothing to defend. It's all gone. A soapbox
still remains for posting though:
That history is what reveals the problem with those who participated here. Way back then, I raised concern about "trophy mentality". It started with that "230 MPG" campaign. There was such an extreme fixation on that single attribute of the vehicle, red flags emerged about the willingness to accept balance. And sure enough, vital aspects of mass-market sales were simply abandoned. That reply... all these years later... still confirm it.
Calling the attention to point out other aspects, like HV efficiency or base MSRP, make those with that problem cry "pivot" trying to avoid acknowledgement of being well balanced. As for making a claim about driving around to justify stats, who do expect to believe that? It's clearly not true and there isn't even anything to support that. Seeing the "vastly superior" attitude still taken, rather than doing something to help GM customers actually get plug-in hybrid choice, is sad.
Mocking Toyota and Prius doesn't change anything. It probably doesn't even make you feel better, since you know more plug-in hybrid choices are on the way from Toyota. You also know that Honda Clarity will be stealing away sales from Volt, as Chrysler Pacifica has begun to do. There's the enigma of Hyundai Ioniq too.
GM needs a something that can be sold in high-volume for a profit, not a trophy. Finally adapting the tech in Volt for use in a SUV, like Trax or Equinox, is the solution we wait for. Ford announced intentions to deliver their own plug-in hybrid SUV. Kia Niro and Mitsubishi Outlander already have.
Unwanted Attention. It needed to be said: The blind obsession with capacity will continue on, in some other venue but with better controls. That has always been and will continue to be the point. It's really unfortunate. Wasting electricity is still waste, even if it is clean. Think about the context of that discussion topic. Why would you want an electricity guzzler hogging the charger? The mantra of "less is better" really comes through in this example... which is what makes Prime a better system than Volt. Reality is, Prime will get an upgraded battery-pack at some point... perhaps a mid-cycle update. Without doing anything other than swap the pack, it will appeal to an even wider audience. That is the point of improved energy-density. The added capacity would allow for greater kW draw too, resulting in a power increase. Added capacity wouldn't help Volt. Added power wouldn't either. In other words, GM's choice to compensate both EV and HV efficiency shortcomings of Volt by just adding capacity is becoming easier to notice. In this case, we have ChargePoint drawing attention to it.
Clueless. The problem of Volt being in the way is quickly fading. Rather than always getting a "better" mention whenever Toyota's design is highlighted in a published article, it's now just a footnote with a growing negative slant. In other words, GM had its chance, but nothing became of it. So, we are getting a refreshed look at Prius history and future potential. was intrigued what the Volt forum had to say about the article, with the hopes of taking it to the blog for feedback. Sure enough, there were posts. None addressed actual efficiency of design. They all focused entirely on battery-capacity. The attitude of more being better is so prevalent, they don't even recognize other approaches as a solultion. It's so stupid, I can't help but to shake my head. Using less electricity in the first place should be a priority. They obviously don't see it that way. Carrying around that extra weight and requiring more time at the charger is a non-issue, as far as they are concerned. That's sad. I just happened to have a post to reply to with that very denial too: Turns out, those on the forum still don't understand. 31 kWh/100mi = Volt. 25 kWh/100mi = Prime. The offering from Toyota is clearly more efficient than GM... specifically it consumes less electricity to travel the same distance.
Focus on SUV. Ford finally got into the game. Remember the last time they did that? All the attacks on Toyota from GM enthusiasts fell apart. A new, much more influentional, enemy emerging meant a harsh & abrupt end. This marks the first page for a new chapter in plug-in history. The one with emphasis on affordable EV rollout is over already! Now, there is suddenly a turn of interest back to hybrids... specifically, choices in SUV form. Ford is basically abandoning their "car" advancements. Interest in truck platforms is so intense, they simply aren't going to bother anymore. A bunch of unibody designs are on the way. The bulk coming from SUV choices is what their audience wants. But rather than pretend that isn't the case... as GM did, they are declaring intentions for focus on that. In fact, they even stated this will pass Toyota's efforts. No detail was provide. It didn't matter, since that put GM in a spectator position. Not even acknowledging GM as competition is quite an offensive manuever for Ford. Of course, anyone paying attention could have seen the pressure building. Volt now on its 8th year of sales and no SUV using that same technology even annouced is very disappointing. There's no way to spin anything positive about that... which Ford is well aware of. Interesting, eh?
Spin. Spin. Spin. The hate that comes from being on the losing side of a long fought war is difficult to overcome. That's why you give the losers an opportunity to vent. They need to get it out of their system. It's why I haven't abandoned that Volt blog entirely. Using me as a scapegoat is a means of unloading that stress. Winning some battles gave them a false belief of an ultimate victory. GM wasn't interested in that war. So, I could see their efforts were futile. I was also quite curious what they were holding on to. What was the point? What did they hope to achieve? What did they actually lose? Regardless of those answers, it is necessary to make sure this chapter comes to a close. Pushing even harder for closure by shouting a little can be quite effective. That's often how beating-a-dead-horse threads get shaken up to arrive at a conclusion, to end the spin. So, I gave it a try here: GM'S OWN LOYAL CUSTOMERS, SHOWROOM SHOPPERS LOOKING FOR A GM VEHICLE TO REPLACE THEIR OLD GM VEHICLE, HAVE BEEN ABANDONED. They are stuck choosing traditional guzzlers and you just plain don't care. Thanks for the confirmation. It wraps up the chapter on the fall of Volt nicely. Just imagine if GM had focused internally, rather than wasting time & money on conquest.
Target Market. Coming from a new plug-in website, I was especially intrigued: "Feel free to build a list of main street auto vendors more aggressive on EVs than GM." That group of regular comment posters include strong support for Nissan & Tesla. So, the scope of that particular comment was what I wanted to push to find out more about. My guess is this's just another post without substance. They focus so intently on the here & now, addressing the wider audience isn't even a consideration. Many just blow off the idea of that next audience as years away, something to be addressed by the next-gen rollouts. That's why Prime isn't taken seriously. They see no reason to strive for appeal to ordinary consumers yet. I beg to differ. If the design doesn't stand a chance of appealing to my Mom, it is took limited. She's a great example of the indifference far too common in our market. That audience has absolutely no idea how their vehicle works, they just want something affordable, reliable, safe, and comfortable. That's why I get so annoyed with the performance obsession from enthusiasts. They are so blind to mainstream buyers, it's virtually worthless to ever argue. Regardless, I still keep trying: Changing the entire fleet or just pushing a showcase model? There's a big difference. The latter only focuses on low, hanging fruit (early adopters). Reaching the masses (ordinary consumers) is far more difficult. In other words, the term "aggressive" doesn't identify target market.
Supply & Demand, part 2. Wanting to just how different GM's approach was with Volt, I replied to my own comment. Keep in mind that GM had hoped to achieve minimum mainstream sales volume (60,000 annual) by the end of year-2. That was first-generation expectations GM set. Enthusiasts watched the nightmare of missed goals unfold, resulting in a shift of those same expectations to the end of year-2 for the second-generation. That point in time was just reached. The goal was missed to such an extreme, they are angry at anyone drawing attention to it. Selling only roughly 1,000 monthly is far short of the 5,000 expectation they set... the precedent they pushed heavily. Falling so far short, despite such a large tax-credit, is why the blog ultimately died. Support was abandoned. That failure was good reason to try something else. My question has been what? Specifically, I'd like to knw why the attacks on Prime continue. Will they be pushing the EREV approach in some revived form (change the definition, yet again) or just switch over to their former enemy, endorsing the EV instead of pushing a "range anxiety" alternative. I really wanted feedback before that final thread on the blog vanishes. So, I added: Prius PHV was a mid-cycle release to only 15 states. So, it was inevitable that it would be perceived as a compliance car anyway. Fortunately, the research Toyota hoped to gather from that effort paid off. They were able to get a clear understanding of where the market was and where it was likely to go.
Supply & Demand, part 1. This was interesting to read & respond to: "GM doesn't talk numbers because it was badly burned after its then-CEO predicted production and sales numbers for the Volt in 2011 and 2012 that it didn't come remotely close to meeting. And, quite frankly, given all the cynicism and pushback by EV enthusiasts (your comment is arguably a typical example), what would be the upside to the company of doing so?" The comment/suggestion/question was from a perspective of removing all accountability, rather than working to make the setting of expectations more realistic. Those the words of someone fearful of continued losses. No surprise, coming from a stauch GM supporter. So, he didn't take well to my request for detail... rather than just accepting the ambiguous announcement without any actual thought or consideration. Needless to say, I fired back: The downside is the announcement is taken as an empty promise. Setting realistic expectations should be the initiative. That's how you avoid cynicism & pushback. Remember how Toyota set an expectation of 13,000 sales in the United States for Prius PHV's first year? That wasn't a high number like GM's plan for Volt, which may have disappointed some supporters, but it certainly was realistic. The final tally ended up 12,750. It provided an upside of proving that Toyota was taking a serious approach the market, showing they were accurately interpreting demand and doing their best to match supply. Remember, over or under production is costly to both the automaker and the dealer.
When It Began. The death of that daily blog has
allowed my thinking time to shift back over to the big Prius forum.
True, I learn more about the market by participating on those diverse &
hostile venues, but returning to friendly territory is a welcome break.
Today, I was summoned to provide some comments about the past. Turns
out, I've become a bit of a historian with all my efforts to document.
That's cool. Anywho, this particular feedback was in respond to
dealing with those opposing anything disruptive to the status quo:
I still remember that first time witnessing a freak out. My mere mention of a hybrid sent that SUV owner into a state of panic, as if she had been confronted by death itself. Rumors of these new green vehicles had caught her attention and created such a deep fear of losing her SUV, the encounter with me triggered an intense emotional reaction. Her faced turned red and she started screaming about having to give up that vehicle she loved so much. It was surreal. It was 17 years ago.
The crazy large SUVs hadn't been introduced yet. Gas was less $1 per gallon. The term "climate change" hadn't even been coined yet. We were just blissfully consuming oil with little concern for carbon or smog emissions. Think about how much has happened since then.
Proving an automotive-grade battery could be robust enough to last the lifetime of a vehicle was still a monumental challenge. Most people didn't even believe they could deliver enough power to propel the vehicle to be safe on roads. Most people also thought that hybrids needed to be plugged in to recharge. It was a very different time.
When Prius began to shock the world, greenwash attempts emerged in abundance. Many were exploits of misconceptions. Those hoping to undermine steps forward pushed assumptions in the wrong direction, leading you to incorrect conclusions. As time proceeded, the deceptions got more vindictive. Eventually, things became desperate. Rather than just omit vital information to mislead, some turned to dishonesty. They would just outright lie. They just plain did not care. They weren't ready for their world to change.
The most effective tool I have found to combat those efforts to retain the status quo was video loaded with lots of data. It's extremely difficult to distort reality with such detail information readily available. The footage reinforces Prius reputation while at the same time exposes claims of supposed superior technologies as meritless. Just ask the antagonist to show you their data.
Long story short, there are people who will work to impede progress any way they can.