Personal Log #870
April 24, 2018 - April 27, 2018
Last Updated: Sat. 5/12/2018
page #869 page #871 BOOK INDEX
Undermining Efforts. That daily blog for Volt is
quite dead now. There is one troublemaker who followed me that is very
frustrated by his inability to stir insult for Toyota & Prius. There
is another who was very anti-forum who is now reluctantly trying to
transition from what that blog had offered to thread posting. You can
tell he's frustrated too, since after an entire decade of it being available
he has posted only 113 messages there. That level of activity took
less than a week on the blog. Anywho, the reason for the blog's death
is now quite obvious. It did nothing to discourage inappropriate
behavior. Retaining a message posting approach from so long ago
allowed their terrible conduct to thrive. They exploited it while
other venues worked to prevent that with minor interface upgrades.
That only works for so long, before even the small improvements elsewhere
really add up... drawing participants to it... who abandon the old as a
result. That's why the daily blog kept losing so many regular posters
until there was no one left expect the most currupt. A popular plug-in
support site I now frequent is one that just happened to get a major upgrade
recently. Some of the long-time users there have expressed immense
gratitude for it too. My favorite new upgrade there is the voting.
Rather than that terrible blog which allowed spoofing (you could vote
multiple times by simply connecting from another IP address) and concealing
activity with total, it shows the plus & minus votes seperately. You
can't ever hide a post by voting it down to a count of -10 negative either.
That fundamentally undermines the antagonist's ability to undermine.
Software improves to preserve integrity. The fact that the other site
never upgraded speaks volumes to its intent. It makes the efforts of
fanboy activity much more of a challenge now. Of course, with Volt
being overwhelmed by better choices, they really don't stand a chance at
Repeating Questions. That new forum is really proving to be a struggle for my old foe. Nothing works to stir arguments. It's a new venue with a new audience and a new interface. That means none of the old tricks are working well. I know this because he has reverted to the same technique I see elsewhere in the same situation. The antagonist just repeats the same questions over and over and over again. If they cannot redirect focus, that at least keeps you from making any progress... or so they think. In this case, it was: "Who's goal? Who defines niche?" The catch is, you have to take their trolling bait. If you don't bite, they just simply get left behind. No one appears to care either. He doesn't have any enablers here. That old daily blog was loaded with support who wanted to see me fail. That isn't the case at this new location, where a far more diverse group of people participate. It's quite a difference from what a Volt fanboy site offers. So, I don't have to even show any interest. I just post something relevant to the topic at hand and move on. Today, in response to his questions, I simply kept to my one-sentence approach with: GM and Ford are dropping cars because their sales are too low for them to sustain a profitable level.
Limited. Spin about automaker intent often emerges
when there's a popular discussion topic and the participants are poorly
informed. They'll just guess based on anecdotal evidence readily
available, rather than take the time to actually research the topic.
Antagonists exploit this inherent online forum weakness by providing their
own narrative. Unfortunately, both types of commentary cause harm.
They undermine true motives by misrepresenting them. That happens
frequently when it comes to Toyota. Problems typically emerge from
people not having a world view of production. They base progress
solely on their own local observations instead. So, on a regular basis
I share "big picture" data. Today, it was in response to a claim of
limited availabilty for Prius Prime: 51,000 were produced last year, introducing several new
& upgraded technologies. Distributing that to Japan, Europe, and
US/Canada all within a single year was quite an accomplishment, especially
with a design targeting such a low MSRP. The cutoffs with model-year
conmplicated matters. You don't want to ship outgoing inventory to brand new
markets. 2018 is already bringing about change. Here in the middle of
the US (specifically Minnesota), we are finally getting to see them offered.
Silly Argument. The only tactic remaining to deal
with the problems enthusiasts now face is downplay. They have nothing
else to work with now that real-world data is plentiful and readily
available. That's why I worked so hard to deliver so many driving
videos, especially during the extremes of Winter. It's very difficult
to mislead about design when evidence contradicting undermining claims is
just a click away. You can debunk quite a bit by referring to
real-world detail like that. So, the troublemakers turn to efforts to
de-emphasize. This is what I got as a result of referring to actual
sales: "Why you
cling to silly arguments is beyond me..." When you provide
counts, they don't have any type of rebuttal. Numbers are especially
helpful to explain the bigger picture. They immediate draw attention
to any attempt mislead through omission. In fact, selective fact
sharing is really becoming a focus now that the phaseout of some tax-credits
is about to be triggered. Less than 6 months is left if any type of
meaning production is delivered. If not, little progress will be made
simply due to inavailability. Either way, we see that 2018 is turning
out to be a very pivital year. I put the situation in context of
plug-in sales as a whole, forcing a look on a larger scope: 329,196 sales of
Corolla in the United States last year alone. Focusing solely in
initial purchases is intention cherry-picking, a narrative I refuse to
support. We all must consider the bigger picture. Think about how quickly
the 200,000 tax-credits will be used up. That's a total per automaker. The
small quantity remaining won't even remotely cover a single vehicle's
product-cycle (generation). It's a business with the expectation of
sustainable high-volume profitable sales. Calling that a "silly
argument" is evidence of not taking the situation seriously.
Compliance. This was an interesting comment to make today: "Speaking of compliance, Volt Gen 2 got 2 credits since it had AER over 50 miles, but this year it gets about 1 credit." That tiny morsal of data is a gold nugget with respect to intent. Most people have absolutely no clue about CARB credits. They have no idea that automakers will produce a limited number of green vehicles for the sake of collecting the pollution exemptions they provide. As a whole, you can offset dirty vehicles with cleaner ones. It's overall impact to the environment that's considered, not just individual vehicles. In the states that follow this practice, you'll commonly find a greater selection of plug-in vehicles. In other states, selection can often be limited or non-existent. This is why the potential for Prius Prime is so much higher. That inventory is expected nationwide, simply because it that plug-in model is such an easy step above Prius... making it easier to sell, even when there is no CARB credit incentive available in that state. Volt is far more difficult. It has nothing to leverage. It is a small hatchback at a place where almost all the other vehicles are either Pickups or SUVs. Now that we know there's less of an incentive for the automaker to produce them, inventory is very likely to be reduced. Why bother selling something so expensive, offerning so little (if any) profit, when it only returns half the green credits now?
Audience. It comes up again and again. Today, it was yet another attempt from that Volt enthusiast turned antagonist. He is now without a venue to spew his proganda. So, he keeps attemnpting to stir trouble elsewhere. I am so glad that daily blog finally died. Who would have ever imagine a resource for so much hate would emerge... and then be so difficult to bring to an end. Yet, it happened. Fortunately, I documented its entire lifecycle in extreme detail. Those who participated there made a fundamental mistake of not understanding who the customers were. If you don't have thorough knowledge of purpose, you're doomed to fail. They did. I keep reminding those involved why: Know your audience. Current EV owners are not representative of ordinary consumers. They are early-adopters, which have very different priorities from mainstream buyers. Assuming they are the same is a mistake known as "innovator's dilemma". This is when audience changes as a new product attempts to grow sales, but the aspects of appeal are different from that of the original audience. The results is a struggle to draw new interest. In this case, the assumption is being made that EV range is of the highest importance for purchase criteria. A great recent example of this mistake is with Volt. GM assumed increasing battery capacity would result in significant sales growth; instead, it made no difference. Mainstream buyers place a much greater emphasis on purchase price. This is why Corolla PHEV holds a much greater potential for high-volume sales. It will be affordably priced, able to compete directly with its traditional counterpart even without a tax-credit.
Incorrect. There's a sense of panic growing. You can tell when statements like this emerge: "...these cars based on Prius template, the motors are puny and engines come on frequently during routine driving, which really negates the whole EV experience." They make incredible vague comments, hoping to they will be accepted without opposition. More and more experiences are being shared online about how nice the electric-only driving Prime provides really is. Suburb driving is EV in every respect. You can step down hard on the pedal and get a surprising amount of power, more than you'd get from a gas engine when trying to avoid high RPMs. That's why so many people with powerful guzzlers don't actually accelerate hard. They don't like the revving. I see it on a regular basis, as I whiz by in smooth silence. All you have to do is take a test-drive with a fully charged battery-pack. This is why antagonists hoping to undermine focus so heavily on highway operation. They don't want you to consider what the EV experience is on suburb roads. My EV driving on the 70 mph highway is great, since my daily commute is within range. Accleration from the ramps is never a problem either. But arguing that with just words is a challenge. This is why I've been filming a wide variety of driving situations. Today, I shared this in response to the attempt to mislead & misrepresent: No, that is quite incorrect. Prius Prime has a one-way clutch which combines both electric-motors for increased power to deliver a full EV driving experience up to 84 mph. Notice that at no time during this recent commute I filmed did the engine start, despite driving on the 70 mph highway with the heater running... Early Spring, Winter Returned Again, that assumption is not how the system actually works. Watch the gauges. It can pull up to 68 kW from the battery-pack. That's more than enough power for everyday driving entirely in EV.
Corolla Prime. It was announced today, for the market in China next year. Of course, there it will be known as Corolla PHV. That's a devastating blow for the antagonists attacking Toyota with their "too little, too slowly" spin. The endorsement they provided for Volt was based upon its ability to be adopted quickly by other vehicles, spread throughout the fleet much faster than what we saw with the tech for Prius. No only has GM been slower, it now looks like it may not happen for several years to come. The expectation now is that GM will abandon Volt entirely in favor of a plug-in hybrid SUV instead. Watching Toyota pass by at so much faster of a rollout pace is the ultimate humiliation... for those who value pride so highly. Think about what GM will need to do to make that eventual offering affordable. Range certainly won't be 53 miles for so much heavier of a vehicle. They don't like that at all... so posts avoid discussion of it. I'm happy to point out the reality of the situation: Affordable as a priority is still beyond the grasp of some here, who instead continue to focus on factors that haven't drawn mainstream attention. Sales have clearly confirmed lack of interest. $27,100 base MSRP for Prius Prime is overwhelming proof that Toyota has developed a plug-in hybrid system to compete directly with traditional vehicles... quite unlike those who endorse trade-offs requiring subsidy dependence. Seeing that tech offered in the body of a Corolla completely eliminates rhetoric of involving aesthetic appeal, as well as show a commitment to ending the reign of guzzlers. Just imagine the rest of the passenger fleet offering a PHEV model... Camry, RAV4, and C-HR are already available in hybrid models. Adding a plug is the next logical step. Let's not overlook just how much of an improvement to emissions & efficiency a smaller battery-pack can provide, especially when it can easily be recharged overnight using nothing but a 120-volt outlet. It's all about finding a way to get ordinary consumers to purchase, who have very different purchase priorities than early-adopters.
The Time Has Come. We always wondered if Detriot would ever just give up and abandon cars all together. Rather than conceal their desire to only sell Pickups & SUVs by providing token offering of cars, they just outright said we're not going to even bother. Today is was headlines like this causing quite a stir online: "Ford to stop selling every car in North America but the Mustang and Focus" It's actually even worse than that first appears. The vehicle called "Focus" won't really be a car anymore. It will become a CUV, kind of what Toyota did with C-HR using the Prius platform... only Ford won't offer the car version anymore. Their entire product-line will be guzzlers... since Mustang obviously isn't an efficient car. True, those larger vehicles do make plug-augmentation quite a bit easier, but the cost & efficiency in return isn't anywhere near as good as what a car can deliver. Ford doesn't care anymore though. Neither does GM. Why waste so much money on something no one in their employ is interested in? After all, we can just drill our way out of this environmental disaster that is just hippie propaganda. It's all a hoax. There's no shortage of oil and no damage could ever be caused by pipelines. Climate change is just political spin too, right? Wow! It's amazing to think things could have become so bad. This explains why Toyota continues to invest in production facilities here in the United States. When people say "Buy American", you'll scratch your head wondering what the point of that actually means. Is it to purchase an extremely efficient Japanese hybrid car built in Kentucky, Tennessee, or Alabama? Or is it to purchase a Japanese hybrid SUV built in Texas? Needless to say, there is much change taking place. The time has come where lines are blurred to such a degree, much of the old propaganda is losing effectiveness to the point of becoming a moot point.
Planning Ahead. I really liked reading this in that now quite long discussion thread about autonomous driving: "My guess is that Toyota's doing things behind the scenes, but doesn't feel the need to spell out their 5-year plan to develop autonomous vehicles at this point." I was happy to jump in to provide some perspective on the matter: No guessing necessary. Toyota is just repeating their own success model. Prius delivered 100 km/h (62.1 mph) propulsion using only electricity way back in late 2003, an obvious upgrade over the previous generation. Unfortunately, battery-tech was far too primitive still for them to take advantage of the design. So, they kept refining it in the meantime. Several upgrades later, we got Prime. The cost & capacity started to become realistic enough to begin to capitalize upon that opportunity. So what if the current design "only" delivers 25 miles of range. The system is loaded with EV optimizations already. Who else in the industry has delivered such an efficient heat-pump? That 25 kWh/100mi efficiency rating is quite impressive too.
Autonomous. Someone took the time to spell out Toyota's approach to autonomous driving by pointing out details of how they are focusing on safety first. When you augment what people are already doing as part of the driving experience, it's a lot more difficult to notice. You don't do anything differently; yet, the outcome is greatly improved... should an accident situation arise and the system activates avoidance technology. Having that already in place positions an automaker well for future enhancements, like not having to hold the steering-wheel while cruising on the highway. A few accidents recently where technology & driver shortcomings resulted in a lot of unwanted attention are likely just the first of many. It will take several generations for the technology to become robust enough to meet the expectations of the masses. In the meantime, note this list of features Toyota has already delivered and continues to refine: Cameras, Radar, Sonar, Navigation, DRCC, LKA.