Personal Log #866
April 3, 2018 - April 6, 2018
Last Updated: Tues. 4/10/2018
page #865 page #867 BOOK INDEX
Already, observations. It didn't take too long after that to confirm the problem was conclusions were being draw on nothing but anecdotal observations. No substance behind the claims made confidence for eliminating doubt solid. That belief of Prime being just an after-thought matched up with what the Volt enthusiasts believed. They didn't understand what had actually been delivered either. Their assumptions had also been based upon design from long ago. That's what happens when you don't actually read what's posted, when you brainlessly negative vote information to hide it. This is where that label of "deplorable" originated. You can't just turn a blind-eye to what displeases you. Pretending there isn't an issue doesn't make it go away. Yet, those die-hard GM supporters did exactly that. Volt was "vastly superior", as they exclaimed over and over with the hope that you'd never question how that was achieved. More range & power was all you needed to know. That fact that Toyota strived to deliver something affordable was meaningless, as far as they were concerned. That's how why we encounter such naive beliefs elsewhere now. Fortunately, that reality if tax-credit dependency is making itself known even without much effort now. The venue for breeding antagonists is dead. Now, it's just an effort for Prime supporters to get word about about what Toyota has already done. Squashing misconceptions isn't easy, but success with others of the past ultimately happened. We just need to keep repeating detail of the design. I'll continue to provide that information with video. Another is on the way.
Already, thanks. Sure enough, he really didn't understand. My patience... and apparently just the right amount of push... managed to draw attention to his mistake without causing embarrasement. So, he didn't take offense. Instead, I got a thank you. Phew! It's always a risk. You don't want to create a new enemy, especially when you know how long a grudge can be held. Some of those Volt enthusiasts remainded angry at me for years. But I had to do something. Whether you are trying to stir a misconception or you are just an enabler of it, that's very real damage to the market. Potential is lost when incorrect information is spread. In this case, he was wrong about how Prime operates. I pushed to find out why. My reward for doing it judicially was finding out how to approach future encounters like this. It's how misconceptions are squashed. You must find a way to overcome them. It takes effort and sometimes things take a turn for the worse. In this case though, it worked out nice.
Already, uninformed. Turns out, he really didn't have
any idea what he was talking about. He assumptions were that the
design was a heck, the same as the aftermarket upgrades we saw a decade ago.
It makes me wonder if the Volt antagonists were really just too stupid to
realize they made the same mistake. Being clueless for at the
beginning of a discussion is one thing, but holding onto that false
narrative for years is entirely different. So, I went for
Interesting. You genuinely don't know what a Prime is. Those assumptions are incorrect. I'll have to re-evaluate my approach. That description of what Toyota's plug-in hybrid system is perceived to be is quite different from what they actually delivered.
Prime uses a PSD (power split device) designed to offer much higher RPM and is connected to a secondary PSD in place of a reduction-gear. Combining that with a one-way clutch allows it to deliver an EV experience at all speeds, without sacrificing electric-only efficiency.
That is very, very different from the hack years ago that aftermarket providers offered. Their design simply added battery-capacity, without allowing more power & speed like Prime does.
Prime also offering high-speed DC recharging. In Japan, the CHAdeMO option is available. Prime also uses an electric heat-pump for cabin warming, a more efficient option that what some EVs employ.
In other words, Toyota was able to deliver a redesign without you noticing. That's how a paradigm-shift takes place, when it is so subtle, the change gets overlooked.
Already, why? Nope, still unknown. However, it
did appear that his measure of progress wasn't technical. It seemed
more just a generic assessment based on whether or not the vehicle had an
engine still. This is what summed up his soapbox sermon: "Then why does Toyota NOT have a pure EV out to
compete with Tesla?" I climbed up after he was done:
First, you failed to acknowledge that oversight. Again, you cannot disagree with a fact. Prime delivers EV driving. Period.
Second, the answer to your question is another fact. Toyota has a very different consumer base than Tesla. Their consumers purchasing Corolla, Camry, and RAV4 couldn't care less about a $35,000 vehicle. They simply don't want to spend that much.
Know your audience.
Third, we will be getting more plug-in choices from Toyota in the next 2 to 3 years. In the meantime, they will continue to rollout TNGA and use Prime to educate dealers, salespeople, and consumers.
Keep in mind, legacy changes are far more difficult than the low-hanging fruit Tesla has been enjoying. It's all about producing millions of vehicles per year, not just appealing to eager early adopters.
Already, disagree. The response was dismissal. But was this an attack? I still couldn't determine intent: "I disagree. A plug in hybrid is very different than a pure EV. The battery parameters as well as the electronics have to redesigned." My hope was the poster was simply naive about the design, making incorrect assumptions: You cannot disagree with a fact. I can pull out onto the highway and maintain a cruise at 80 mph, even with the heater running... never using any gas. It's all electric. Those behaviors of Prime are like a pure EV, period. Assuming the hybrid system wasn't designed to do that is your mistake. You overlooked the redesign that already took place.
Already, competency. Was this an attack or someone woefully uninformed: "Toyota needs to focus on batteries and battery technology IF they want to complete. In terms of business this is what would be considered a lack of a core competency." It is still very difficult to tell on that general audience venue. Unlike the daily blog for Volt when you knew they just wanted to belittle Toyota, intent is far from certain here. So, I jumped into the discussion with: Prime already delivers a full EV driving experience. You can go up to 84 mph, complete with electric heating & cooling. Camry delivers a more powerful motor. RAV delivers all-wheel drive. That core is clearly being addressed already.
Just In Case. The double-standard from an antagonist now disenfranchised: "It really feels like GM wants to have enough experience that if a rival suddenly starts building an EV in large numbers and starts to take market share from GM, then GM will build a car that people really want." Seeing the same of Toyota is impossible for them, even though we see that effort being pushed even harder. Knowledge of how Toyota architectured powertrains based on TNGA and is pushing hard to get that deployed throughout the fleet, it should be obvious. That lowers cost across the board and refreshes virtually all of the high-volume offerings. Combined with the experienced being gained from Prime/PHV advancement, there shouldn't be any conclusion draw other than it be preparation to start building large numbers. Yet, that is what we are dealing wtith still. Their stance is remarkable; however, it is not surprising. They've always had the choice of what to accept. Seeing this attitude shift is confirmation of that. Rather than actually achieve mainstream sales as long promised, they are preparing to do so. That is a recognition of problem they had previously denied. Claiming a just-in-case approach means affirming there was a need to better understand audience after all... since what was delivered clearly didn't appeal to those consumers... those shoppers at GM dealers.
Competition. Rewritting of history usually takes place when the person disliking that reality chooses to misrepresent it with an alternative of their own. They seem somewhat credible by twisting facts and omitting vital detail. In this case though, it was just flat out dismissal: "The original Prius never had any real competition..." That complete absense of any effort at all to even try was good reason to punch back hard without any interest in rebuttal... which I was delighted to do: That's a load of garbage. Competition against Prius was intense. There's was what became dieselgate, efforts to mislead about Prius by promoting diesel through dishonest means, on one side. On the other, there was GM with it's anti-hybrid campaign pushing Hummer with the backing of a $10,000 tax-credit. Nothing in support of battery or motor propulsion had been proven yet either.
Losing Money. I was delighted to see this called out: "They sell it at a loss..." That nasty antagonist constantly trying to mislead about Toyota continues with his mertiless claims. Others are taking notice: "Do you have evidence as to your assertions or are you just blowing smoke as to Toyota?" Knowing how dishonest he has been in the past, it's obvious he doesn't have any evidence. It's nothing but a desperate act of repeating the same claim over and over again until it is accepted as the truth. When people continue to hear the same message, they tend to not question it. That's how you normalize an extreme. It works with dishonesty too. That's all it really takes to mislead when the venue is loaded with enablers. Of course, all it takes is a few to question credibility of the statement itself. You can talk about that antagonist in the third-person for extra emphasis. I did too: After being asked countless times over the past few months, he obviously has no evidence. In fact, he hasn't even bothered to provide any reasoning as to why you'd even doubt profit. Toyota produced and sold 51,000 Prime worldwide last year. Most of the inner working are the same as the regular model of Prius. Basically, just swap batteries and add a clutch & charger.
Cannibal. They keep trying. When one topic
fails to stir interest, they try another. Now, it's the attempt to
portray Toyota's transition from hybrid to plug-in hybrid as an accidental
oversight... which makes sense to them, since the claim of Bolt replacing
Volt is the narrative they are now telling. That doesn't make any
sense though. Why would GM simultaneously develop gen-2 Volt and their
gen-2 EV at the same time? That's a huge waste of resources, one that
cannot be addressed without being hypocritical. So, they try to divert
attention. Ugh. It would actually make sense if that next-gen
Voltec had been on a platform GM's own customers would be interested in...
like a small SUV. It wasn't though. The same conquest audience
had been targeted instead. Again, what a waste. At least Bolt
offered a tall rear-seating area.... like a small SUV. Anywho, it
should be easy to see how Toyota will be able to offer a Prime model of
Camry and RAV4. Both are strong hybrid contenders with lots of
potential for supporting a plug. That's progress, not cannibalism.
Oh well. They can relish in their ficticious victory. I'll keep
asking why their claims don't support what we are actually seeing: Planned progression is not "cannibal", since offering a plug
is the next logical step. That's quite a contrast to GM, where Bolt
is the antithesis of Volt. Remember all the "range anxiety" promotion?
Slow & Small. It didn't work. That line of argument failed to reach beyond that of early adopters. Yet, some enthusiasts keep trying: "The slow as molasses and small battery factors have been my major issues with the PP. Wish Toyota would get more serious about PHEVs/EVs." I wonder how much longer that will continue. There is no audience left for that anymore. The active dicussion venues have very different priorities. History is on the side of mainstream consumers too. It's very easy to dismissed efforts which failed to reach them, especially after so many years of trying. I fired back at that nonsense with: Toyota is much more serious than the spin using "slow & small" as an excuse. Unlike GM, they took COST very seriously, building a flexible platform that could offer a PRICE low enough to compete directly with the true competition... traditional vehicles ...even without a tax-credit. Of course, anyone paying attention knows that size & power was never the key to success for Prius anyway.
Perception. It's a powerful element. Used for undermining, it can tell a story of struggle & loss. Used for promoting, it can convey a sense of hope. What ulimately gains attention is the presentation of detail. For example: "For how well Toyota generally designs things, adding a battery here seems like a total after thought. I need to be able to throw a bike or dog crate in back there." In this case, that doesn't even need to be numeric measure. Numbers aren't always necessary. Sometimes, all you have to do is present more facts. For the reply to this, I just supplied more information by sighting what others can easily observe... if they take the time. Give it a try by simply posting what hasn't been discussed. Remember, perception can be altered by excluding detail. See: That's just online spin. They don't want you to recognize the possibility of an upgrade for this current generation. We know with certainty the approach was cost-savings, to provide a robust battery sooner that it would take for the next round of chemistry updates to be delivered. Like with several other plug-ins, it is realistic to rollout an improvement mid-cycle. As for throwing in a bike, you can. There's plenty of room. And for dog crates, a medium would fit fine in the area where the seats fold down. You need bigger, you buy the bigger Prius or RAV4 when it is later offered with a plug. Heck, the C-HR could work too. In other words, there's no reason to portray this first offering as an end-all-be-all solution.
Overdue. The end is being ratified by former enthusiasts: "GM definitely needs a Volt-based PHEV in the lineup. Either replacing the Volt outright or offered along side. Chevy Trax, Equinox sales numbers were the best they've ever been last month. Even taking a small slice of those sales with a CUV/SUV Voltec vehicle would immediately launch it to the top of the EV sales board." Their disappointment is obvious. That nasty Prius owner who kept sounding off concerns about time wasted and opportunity missed has been overwhelmingly vindicated. It's really unfortunate they fought the wrong battles. Losing the war as a result hurts. I don't feel bad. The hell they put me through... and I ended up being correct. All along, I kept saying diversity is was necessary. They feared that would dilute the message, impeding any progress that could be made. Talking about learning the hard way. There is still a glimmer of hope. All is not entirely lost. Though, it is a new war they must fight now. The early-adopter audience is gone. This new audience consisting of mainstream consumers is far more difficult to sway... especially when there won't be a tax-credit available. There are major challenges to still overcome as a result of past mistakes. Oh well. All I can do at this point is agree with their sentiment: Yup. Offering something in CUV/SUV format will draw upon a large potential market. The idea that there's a market for a compact hatchback still, especially with the upcoming tax-credit phaseout, is futile. Everyone who wanted one got one. There's nothing left to prove for the technology. With the obvious demand for Outlander and seeing the potential with Niro, it is time for GM to focus on mainstream shoppers. A larger vehicle is overdue.
Sales. As expected, the fade away of the Winter duldrums has resulted in a climb for all. Prius Prime did especially well, despite the fact that inventory is almost exculsively limited to remaining 2017 models in the half of the country rollout reached last year. Soon, we should be seeing new inventory elsewhere. That means the potential goes up significantly... while we see the enigma known as Volt. What GM intends to do next is a complete mystery. We just got word that sales results will only be posted quarterly now, rather than monthly. That's quite a change for an automaker which thrived on those numbers, feeding the stockholders with hopes of profit dividends. But with Volt only selling at the volume it sustained back when gen-1 was struggling, there's little hope for gen-2. All those improvements didn't led to the much needed growth, prior to tax-credit phaseout. We all know the situation will become far worse when that generous subsidy vanishes. The guess is Volt will too. After all, GM other message today was that Sonic production will end and Impala is likely to be phased out too. The preference of GM to only sell Pickups & SUVs is rather blatant now. That puts Bolt in a very awkward position. It also puts Toyota in a interesting situation. They can exploit that American desire by pushing the hybrid RAV4 even more. That sets the stage quite nicely for a Prime model. Anywho, we see the Prius with the plug doing well with a very encouraging outlook. 2,922 for the month of March was great. The 4,128 for RAV4 was impressive too. (4,064 for the regular model Prius.) But what really stands out is the non-hybrid model of RAV with 34,937. It's an incredible volume, especially with Camry drawing 35,264 at the same time. 31,392 for Corolla is nothing to overlook either. It puts some perspective on the challenge still faced for mainstream acceptance of anything other than traditional choices.