Personal Log #863
March 17, 2018 - March 23, 2018
Last Updated: Mon. 4/02/2018
page #862 page #864 BOOK INDEX
Getting Worse. That same message of disinterest keeps getting repeated: "GM has been hedging its bets with the Volt and Bolt, but are not willing to lead the industry by putting EV tech throughout their product range." I pushed and pushed for diversity. It started simple, by just suggesting a second model of Volt. The enthusiasts absolutely freaked out. Fearing the worse, they sighted claims of trying to kill Volt entirely by diluting the design with a second model offering a smaller battery-pack. They were so insecure, that just plain was unacceptable. Nothing convinced them of sincere intent. Mistrust of the supposed competition blinded them to the actual enemy. Opening their minds to other automaker supporters for the sake of promoting plug-in vehicles as a whole was impossible. GM was vastly superior, period. The were blinded by hate of the past, preventing them from achieving a new future. They dug their own grave. That's why I blogged so much about that past, as it was unfolding. I knew that present would someday become an unfortunate part of their history, by their own choosing. And sure enough, each worsening post is confirming that foresight.
Collapse. The restart of that old blog with a new set of writers and a uncertain purpose is bringing out all kinds of upset: "I guess if GM doesn't want to sell to me in the future (I own a Volt and a Bolt) then Tesla or a foreign company can have my next purchase. Nice going, GM." I can't imagine how much of a wake-up call it is reading that on a venue I don't participate. It's my message of missed opportunity conveyed by others. They enthusiasts did everything they possibly could to shut me up, claiming what I said was meaningless. Now, new voices are sounding off with the very same sentiment. Engineering expertise was wasted. Being years ahead only stands true if progress continues. Ironically, the accusation of resting on laurels about Toyota turned out to be the case for GM instead. I knew it would. The corporate approach hadn't changed. Management was still focusing on easy profit... which trapped Volt as a niche. Enthusiasts denied that could ever happening, choosing to be carelessly optimistic. That hope has been crushed. We are now witnessing the collapse.
Max Defrost. Apparently, the power argument for EV mode has fallen apart. Antagonists can't claim the danger now that more people are learning what "EV-Auto" mode actually is. Their attempts to spread that misconception are failing, so another is attempted. They are always watching for new exploit opporunities. In this case, its is trying to mislead people about how defrost in Prime works. The physical dedicated button on the dashboard is the MAX button to make the maximum defrost mode enage. The hope is you'll assume that's the only defrost available, since it forces the gas engine to start. The regular defrost does not. That's why it is located in with all the other electric-only options. Featuring it on the screen among the climate-control settings does make it easier to overlook. Antagonists hope you won't discover that. It's why they get so angry and lash out when I bring that to the attention of everyone reading the discussion. Then of course, I get accussed of lying or not understanding. It's quite pathetic how desperate some have become. Being so dishonest without any care is quite a stance to take. You really don't expect that. But they'll do anything to misrepresent Prime. Being deceptive to lead them to believe the engine must run to keep the windshield clear when it is cold or damp out is now something I'm seeing more and more of... especially now that it is getting to warm out to need that electric-only feature. That goodness I filmed a bunch of EV video during the Winter.
Profit & Generalizations. There's on particular PHV owner who frequents the big Prius forum with such vague posts, they become a source of misconception concern. He has no intent to mislead, but doesn't recongize his contributions can be harmful. At some point, they won't be considered innocent mistakes. Pointing out the issue can only happen so often before acknowledgement cannot be avoided. Until then, it is dealing with stuff like this: "I would say the same goes for all plug-ins." Drawing conclusions without sighting detail or reason is never a good idea. State why. Don't just make a claim. Ugh. Anywho, I hit back with: That's a generalization based on what? We know for a fact that Toyota's battery choice for the initial offering of Prime gave cost-containment high priority. They specifically told us that the packaging decision was to keep it affordable. So, even though it could be small, expecting profit is realistic. That is key to sales. Toyota would like to achieve high-volume with this generation. First year sales of 51,000 put them on the right track for that. In short, not all plug-ins.
Tax-Credit Worry. We're seeing growth in the concern for tax-credits expiring late this year. For GM supporters, that emotion comes in the form of worry. They are all too aware that GM squandered opportunity, focusing far too much on conquest. Sacrificing actual change for the sake of publicity is already looking like it will be a costly mistake. Volt was a flop. The technology from it carried over nicely to Bolt, but that too has been a flop. Remember how GM was going to squash Tesla? Rolling out over a year sooner than Model 3, we were supposed to see Bolt dominate demand. Supply was to be stretched to the limit, with wait-lists confirming the legacy automaker's ability to compete with the well respected EV leader. Instead, the anticipation for Leaf put a huge damper on the market. Ordinary consumers wanted that offering from Nissan. Early Adopters would get their want fulfilled by Tesla. GM simply fell by the wayside. After all, who wanted a great performance, long-range EV in the form of a compact wagon? It was a bizarre mismatch offering. No investment in infrastructure (no high-speed charging network of any sort), combined with the MSRP destined to struggle when the tax-credit phaseout begins is a big problem for Bolt. Dealing with that basically means abandoning Volt in the process. GM's message of what solves "range anxiety" is a very nasty issue. They polarized their own solution. Oops! Anywho, rather than figure out how to overcome that, some choose to divert attention instead. They find insults to Toyota pleasing. By calling the automaker a "laggard", they hope to cast a holo worthy of praise for GM, enough to get tax-credits extended. I asked: What is the goal of the tax-credit? You can't just label some automakers with "laggard" but not state what that actually means. We want quality, not quantity. Simply cramming a large battery-pack into an inefficient system isn't much for progress. Guzzling electricity isn't the kind of advancement to endorse. Wasting fuel of any sort is still waste... especially if you are waiting for that vehicle to finish using the charger. Making the motors, inverters, chargers, and heaters use less electricity is advancement not recognized by the misguided method of determining worth we currently employ. Why continue an approach that doesn't properly recognize engineering achievement?
38 Minutes Later. What an amazing sense of timing. 6 weeks after the mysterious silence of that blogging site, something from the owner was finally posted. Knowing for the past 2 years things were falling apart for Volt, it was obvious new daily topics would be a challenge. There simply wasn't anything good to post. Gen-2 was a disappointment. Engineering expertise had been wasted. We all saw the potential gen-1 failed to deliver, but there was always a lingering confidence the upgrade would correct previous executive choices. Don't blame those who designed it. Blame the decisions behind the design. In other words, management screwed up... twice. There was simply no way to spin a positive about it either. The reason why was simple. Gen-1 supposedly had a purpose of proving the technology. (We know that isn't true, but that's the narrative enthusiasts pushed.) Gen-2 would be the version that resulted in high-volume sales that were both sustainable & profitable. That obviously didn't happen; instead, the main writer of those topics had a nightmare to deal with. 6 weeks ago, it came to an end. Nothing was published. The final thread just kept going... day after day... week after week... until 38 minutes ago. A new post emerged right after I said my goodbye. (Hmm. Was that just a coincidence?) The site owner stated new articles by new writers were to come. That's it. Nothing else. No purpose stated. Audience unknown. Just a break in the silence.
Goodbye. I thought this was a good way to wrap things up: Telling yourself what you like to feel better doesn't change the situation. GM has the potential, but has rested on its laurels not actually taking that step. Volt tech must be adapted & spread. Twisting that to make it be about Toyota was the efforts of others, not me. My goal has always been to get GM to offer something appealing to its own loyal shoppers, not conquest buyers. Remember, all that emphasis on sustainable & profitable high-volume sales?
Anti-GM. It is quite remarkable how some people get
so frustrated, they don't perceive anything but hate. It's like people
struggling with a problem. Any advice you provide is taken as
criticism, with the intend to make them feel bad about their situation.
No matter what you say, they never hear anything positive. They search
so hard for a negative motive, as if you are setting them up for failure by
undermining any opportunity they may have, that trust is gone. They
choose to never take a chance. Ironically, it's that closemindedness
which causes them to miss opportunity. Anywho, I got this today:
"You have an irrational hatred of General Motors, and this site,
particularly." I posted a reply, knowing it will just get
negative voted until hidden anyway. Nonetheless, it is my own
opportunity to reply:
Quite the opposite, I support GM. You want so bad for me to be anti-GM, but that isn’t the case. I recognize the engineering and see the potential. It's the terrible configuration of Volt which I keep drawing attention to that irritates the heck out of you. Missing opportunity after opportunity for GM to get on the right track makes it even worse.
We've seen the market reject Volt due to its packaging & price. You know all too well that a second model with a smaller battery-pack... which I pushed... would have been what swayed favor enough to entice GM shoppers. But that never happened. GM focused even more on SUV offerings.
Trax emerged as a popular choice as a result. That seems the best candidate now for the technology in Volt to finally migrate to. Too bad if the High Priust was right about what the next steps should be for GM.
And yes, I know you'll spin it to say that's what is coming in the next 18 months anyway. But I'll just point out that the "too little, too slowly" concern fits the situation nicely. Waiting until a 2020 model, after the tax-credit has run out, is not at all what anyone had hoped for.
Remember, my goal for coming here all those years ago was to seek out allies. Toyota had designed a system to exploit battery tech, once it finally became affordable for the masses. Automakers like Nissan & Hyundai are joining in. GM should be part of that. Their own goal of "nicely under $30,000" is still quite relevant... whether I'm here to point it out or not.
Meaningless. Back on that now almost completely defunct blog, there's some of their own parting thoughts being posted. Naturally, I get called out with efforts to discredit: "Personally, I stopped reading his meaningless posts..." From an fanboy perspective, what I post is indeed meaningless. They couldn't care less about sales. It was always just having something to be proud of, something to brag about, something to make them feel better than others. In fact, I remember the one particular individual still holding a grudge bragging about how Volt would deliver 60 MPG after depletion. He had no evidence whatsover to support that. In fact, everything known about the "series" type hybrid stated the opposite. Volt would be less efficient than Prius when in HV mode. He was proven wrong in an embarrassing manner too, by his own peers. So, you could imagine how much he feared I'd remind everyone of that. I didn't though. I just kept reminding everyone about purpose... even if they continue to find it meaningless: Enthusiasts have been shunning business-need since the automotive age began. Dislike for the necessity of a vehicle to deliver high-volume profitable sales is not compatible with their wants. Posting about range & power is much more exciting than accountability. That's why anything related to being held accountable is negative voted until the content is hidden. This group established the precedent, declaring Volt "vastly superior". Yet, the sales that were to come about as a result never materialized. That's why I post asking what the goal should be now and will continue to until GM finally offers something for its own showroom shoppers capable of competing directly with its own traditional vehicles.
Misleading. The new attacks on new venues continues: "Everything I read everywhere, including the Toyota Manual, and multiple reviews all indicate if you floor it, prime will start the gas engine." That's an outright lie. There's quite a bit of promotional material where Toyota explicitly states the "pedal to the floor" is all electric. My response was followed by attacks on me personally, blatant attempts to avoid having to actually provide any proof of his claim. I finally ended up posting: That is false information, being spread by people not bothering to confirm sources. The engine does *NOT * start when you floor it in EV mode. What do you need as confirmation of that? I have already shared video showing the 68 kW draw (pedal to the floor) with 0 RPM for the engine. This is the type of real-world data we'd like to collect for each of the automaker offerings. Reviews & Hearsay with incorrect information are still far too common.
True EV. Attacks elsewhere are having trouble. They emerge, but the audience isn't receptive. The antagonists weren't aware of just how much of a fanboy site their blogging venue had become. Using me as a scapegoat blinded them to what was actually happening. They'd forget both friend & foe. There had been a diverse group of posters. That participation is what caused it to thrive. That all fell apart over time, mostly due to the lack of any clear message... except EV purity... which ironically, is what ended up tearing it apart. Looking back at post from long ago, you can see a strong endorsement for what Bolt became. They really didn't want Volt. After all that, it was a lesson hard learned about stating goals. Nonetheless, there are still a few unwilling to recognize that conflicted past or what it means for the future. I took the offensive on today's spin attempt on one of the new venues: The reality of being a "true EREV" is just marketing. That claimed "full" power is actually and extra boost to an already quite capable of all aspects of driving. It is unnecessary, a want. I have to deal with that spin from Volt enthusiasts routinely. They claim the engine in Prime is necessary, but can't ever support the claim with real-world data. Meanwhile, I keep publishing video after video confirming their FUD nonsense. Notice in the following example how the engine never starts the entire time plug-supplied electricity is available. The power & speed demands are handled just fine entirely with just the 2 electric motors... Early Spring - Engine Warm-Up
Final Post. It really is coming to an end, 6 weeks later: Spin is the most compelling part of the blog. Participants here did not believe in balance. So, regardless of what was stated, it would end up being interpreted as an absolute. This final exchange was a nice example of that. What was the most informative was how business-need was never taken seriously. Thinking great engineering would be enough was futile. Yet, the idea of tradeoff for the sake of appealing to a wider audience was always dismissed. As for the attempt to find a scapegoat to explain dwindling Volt interest, give it up. When those impressive lease deals expired, former owners moved on. Early-Adopters fulfilled their role and mainstream consumers weren't interested. So at the end of all of this, there is still no plug-in hybrid for GM's own loyal customers. That long awaited Trax or Equinox with Volt technology will happen someday, but the hope being years ahead of other automakers didn't work out.
Video: Early Spring - Engine Warm-Up. Near the end of the drive, you'll see the purpose of this video. It's to demonstrate a full warm-up cycle of the engine. Leading up to that is a climb out of the river valley at highway speed, passing someone on the highway, an opportunity to drive at 80 mph, and hard-acceleration from a stop. All that drained the battery quicker than usual, but it worked nice for a well-rounded EV drive sample. On the display, notice the "usable" capacity of the battery-pack dropping to 0%. On the readout from the phone-app, actual capacity drops to 13%. At that point, the cold engine finally starts. Watching coolant temperature for the engine closely, you'll see it climb to fully-warmed threshold. At that point, the engine shuts off and driving without resumes. The engine will start again when more power is needed or the HV capacity for electric-only is used up. The engine will shut off later, automatically when conditions are right. This is how such high HV efficiency (driving without plug-supplied electricity) is achieved. Carefully study detail provided by the phone-app. There's a lot to discover about how the system in Prius Prime operates... Early Spring - Engine Warm-Up