Personal Log  #873

May 12, 2018  -  May 18, 2018

Last Updated:  Fri. 7/20/2018

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Early-Adopter Spin.  Not all posts that I deal with come from antagonists.  Some are just poorly informed.  Sadly, that doesn't happen much anymore.  I wonder why.  Hmm?  Finding out there is less confusion about how plug-in hybrids work would be great.  That's the impression I have got so far from our plug-in owner's group presentations.  Time will time.  In the meantime, I still have to deal with crap like this: "Most hybrids do give range anxiety, at least plug-in hybrids.  Imagine the horror when the range ends and…*gasp* ...the ICE kicks in.  I’m not kidding, it’s the main annoyance of the PHEV owners I've met, not enough electric range."  As expected, another Volt enthusiast was sounding off with again.  The narrow-minded perspective is what got that group into trouble.  A few obviously still haven't learned that "know your audience" lesson yet.  That self-inflicated problem cost them dearly.  Ugh.  Oh well, all you can do is point out the problem:  That is the message early-adopters have sent, a problem they created.  For ordinary plug-in hybrid owners, they experience remarkable efficiency and simply don't get worked up when the engine starts.  In my Prime, the tank reads almost totally full, despite 400 miles since the last fill-up.

5-18-2018 Refreshed Attacks.  Another one of the misplaced Volt enthusiasts returned to posting rhetoric on the big Prius forum.  I wondered if he would behave this time.  Years back, it was blatant misleading.  He would post false information about how the plug-in Prius operated, spreading those lies where ever he could.  His posts on the member-only forum for Volt were especially deceptive.  Feeding greenwash is something I don't tolerate.  So, I have been keeping a close eye.  Today, he started up again: "A similar PHEV could have done this 'commute' without..."  But now being in the role of playing offense, I took advantage of the table having turned by calling out his attempt to spin... an obvious attack in his own subtle way , which I have become all too familiar with:

I am well aware of your history with Volt and your perspective for Prius... with the hope you wouldn't stir that pointless pot again.  That similar PHEV is so far beyond affordability & profitably, my question to you is:  How does that make any difference to ordinary consumers?

The point of that video I just filmed & shared was to answer that question.  It clearly shows there is no need for more range & power.  Sure, more is nice to have, but is by no means required to significantly reduce emissions & consumption.

GM simply isn't interested in selling an expensive small hatchback, period.  That's why I asked the "Who is the market for Volt?" question hundreds of times over the past decade.  It never made any sense.  There was no target audience within the base of loyal GM customers.  They clearly desire Pickups & SUVs instead.  That's why Volt sales were limited to just conquest buyers taking advantage of early-adopter discounts.

200 MPG for an ordinary commute is what will a major draw for Prius Prime.  It's hybrid that offers so much EV driving, use of the engine is a complete non-issue.  Efficiency is outstanding regardless of how you drive.  Emissions are too, since that plug-supplied electricity is used as much as possible.  All that from an affordable package that will appeal to dealers is a winning design that will draw interest from the masses.  It is clearly a mainstream vehicle from automaker to ordinary consumer.


Unexpected Share.  The interface for Facebook can be clumsy at times.  There is a lot there and its easy to overlook or to simply forget about.  That happened today with the share of that newest video.  I was on a group dedicated to Prius Prime, but didn't realize a post while viewing that content wouldn't default to the group.  It goes to public instead.  That explains why the post was there for a moment of confirmation, then vanished.  Where did it go?  A little late, I got a like from a friend not in that group.  Huh?  Oh well.  It's good to target a wider audience from time to time and the content of this video was a nice wide-audience topic... though future-oriented from their perspective.  Turns out, I stirred interest of a developer for the phone-app.   So, my link got shared with an even more people I wouldn't normally reach out to.  That was an unexpected outcome.  Here's what I actually posted in addition to a link to the video itself:  How often are you asked the question: "How far can it go?"  Having a commute on video to share is nice.  This is what I experienced on my commute... 37 miles total.  What's most interesting is when the engine shuts back off following the warm-up cycle.  MPG stays above the 199.9 readout maximum (for the 2017 model) and a mile of EV is generated, despite the HV driving.  btw, that display on the right is an app on my phone connected to the Prime ODB-II port via Bluetooth.


Video:  Full Commute, No Recharge.  31.1 miles of EV (electric-only driving) for this commute to & from work on a beautiful Spring day.  That speaks for itself.  It wasn't the best efficiency I have seen.  That comes with Summer driving, when another 2.5 miles of EV can be observed from the same drive.  The difference is temperature; a little warmer is the ideal for efficiency.  Nonetheless, you can clearly see how easy that was to achieve, despite the impact of speed & traffic.  It clearly shows the official "25 mile" rated capacity is understated, even for the standard testing criteria.  Watch the cluster of aftermarket gauge information on the right.  That shows detail you don't see from the dashboard instruments.  Knowing what actual values are from the battery-pack provides insight to how the system actually operates.  You get a better understanding of why this design is so dynamic.  Lastly, note the results at the end of the drive. See how running the engine with the best load for maximum efficiency results in some EV range being generated...  Full Commute, No Recharge (31 miles of EV)


Label Rhetoric.  Exactly as anticipated, this well known Volt enthusiast lashed out.  With so few remaining, that was easy to predict.  They have been misplaced.  Death of their daily blog disbanded that shared voice they took advantage of to push rheotoric.  The most glaring of their efforts was "EREV" marketing.  It was a label used to isolate Volt as a standout among the plug-in hybrid offerings to come.  Only problem was, each reveal of a new offerings caused their definition to change.  They would get called out routinely on their contradictory posts... which I was happy to point out.  Their own history had come back to haunt them.  Choosing to focus on labels, rather than actual results, has a way of harming those who use them to deceive.  Anywho, once again, I called it out:  Your rant serves no purpose.  The 20 years of hybrid history overwhelming confirm that labels make no difference.  People will simply coin a new one to replace the old.  A simple look at how clueless consumers are about specifications should make that point obvious.  Real-World data is the solution.  Focus on that is the only meaningful step forward.  Otherwise, it's really just marketing spin.


Fancy Label.  Despite so much fallout with Volt, there are a handfall still trying to push the superiority status: "Apart from i3 Rex and Volt, all the PHEVs on the market are much closer to a regular hybrid, indeed any regular ICE, than to a typical BEV in this respect.  If PHEV was restricted to only be the range-extended kind..."  Accepting the fact that there is now a variety of plug-in hybrids to serve a variety of audiences is too much.  They want to hold onto the early-adopter phase, where those owners were a very specific buyer willing to overlook shortcomings of mainstream appeal.  That's why there is so much resentment toward Prime.  Toyota delivered a model of Prius able to overcome those barriers.  It's really unfortunate these few individuals screamed the mantra of niche so loudly that GM followed their misguided advice. Ironically, they argued intensely about not having an influence over GM's decisions.  They were wrong, very wrong.  Big oops!  My reply to the greenwash effort kept focus on real-world results, diverting this attempt to make labels more important:  328 miles on this tank so far and it still reads full.  Those results from my Prime are not closer to hybrid, period.  The marketing of "range-extended" clearly doesn't equate to much when looking at real-world data.  Remember the goal is to deliver vehicles which significantly reduce emissions & consumption.  To actually achieve that, they much be able to compete directly with traditional vehicles... not just be an offering with a fancy label.


Future Audience.  I have wanted to blog about this topic for quite some time.  But with such an evolving market, its becoming a non-issue.  The crazy efforts by Volt enthusiasts to undermine Prius are now just a part of history few will actually believe.  Those that were part of it will downplay & deny.  It's how history repeats.  Troublemakers disappear and evidences of their misgivings vanish.  They were wrong and don't want anyone to find out.  Just like all the attacks we had to endure from diesel supporters.  What happened to all the lies they spread?  For that matter, what happened to their victims?  Think of the colateral damage too.  Anywho, that look backward is very important when you look forward.  You don't what this next audience to fall into the same trap as in the past.; however, this future will be quite different in terms of technology.  There is nothing to prove anymore with respect to speed or power or even cost.  There is an opporutnity to spread FUD about reliability though.  Antagonists will do everything they possibly can to exploit that too... everything.  Don't let your guard down.  Remember that real-world data is the most difficult challenge they face.  Enough of it will drown out their rhetoric.  That's what we want this future audience to focus on.  We tell them about the simplicity of plugging in to recharge.  It's so easy, the habit becomes second nature.  It's like shutting the garage door after coming home.  You just do it without thought.  That is how basic the benefit of recharging will become.  You'll just do it and reap the benefits without though.  Convey that message.  Don't feed the trolls.


Mi/kWh.  It is quite refreshing to have an informed & constructive discussion.  Today, that came about from this comment: "The past several daily mi/kWh readout have been between 5.0 and 5.2"  Most owners don't have an idea what that means.  In fact, I'm willing to bet they haven't even noticed that value yet on their collection of data readout screens.  In the past, this was a source of hatred from some Volt enthusiasts.  Remember how they would treat electricity as if it was free & unlimited?  Simply reducing gas consumption is not enough.  Wasting electricity is not acceptable either.  This value depicts the reality of that situation, revealing a story of some designs being better than others.  And of course, it confirms Toyota delivered a more efficient electrical system than GM.  Prime uses less electricity than Volt to travel the same distance.  They hated when I would point that out... since it cancelled out all arguments when considering the reality that Prime could later get an upgrade to deliver a range increase... less battery needed to travel the same distance.  I kept that knowledge to myself this time, keeping the response simple:  I have taken a lot of flack over the years from some when pointing out how not all EV is equal.  There are a few plug-in vehicles that guzzle electricity in comparison.  This is proof of that... and confirmation of how efficient of a system Toyota delivered.


Distorted History.  There's a strong desire to parallel the progress of Tesla to that of what Toyota did with Prius.  That doesn't make sense if you have knowledge of what actually happened.  Most people don't though.  So, their own narrative typically goes unchallenged.  This time, I stepped up to fill in the information they were missing:  Looking back at Prius history long afterward often returns a very distorted interpretation of what actually occurred.  Most common of errors is to assume the first model-year sold in the United States was a full year.  In reality, sales began the last week of August 2000. So, all reports of demand are incorrect due to misrepresentation of time.  Confusing matters more was the fact that Prius could only be obtained 2 ways back then.  Either you placed an order online and waited 6 to 9 months for delivery or you got really lucky and were able to purchase a demo-model.  Keep in mind that inventory on dealer's lots did not become available until May 2002.  So, all reports of demand are incorrect due to misrepresentation of supply.  Complicating the situation even beyond that mess is the fact that Toyota only allocated specific quotas for each year of sales.  That meant demand could never be accurately gauged during that entire generation.  In other words, if you weren't blogging about those events as they played out (like I did), you may not have an accurate understanding of what really happened.  There is much detail people are not aware of.


The Bigger Picture.  To my surprise, the next stir attempt and belittling of Prius Prime came from someone in Europe: "Now it's just a washed up ICE-converted PHEV with too little range and a little too late."  That presented yet another opportunity to post more information about the bigger picture... as well as hint at how GM is being dismissed as a serious player, by not even mentioning them:  From a mainstream perspective here in the United States, there is literally nothing to support such a claim.  Tax-Credit dependency is the most obvious reason why.  Another reason is how tiny sales actually are still even with them. Infrastructure is only in its infancy too.  Prius Prime is first of the truly affordable plug-in hybrid choices, with many more on the way.  Next year, Toyota will rollout the plug-in hybrid Corolla for the market in China.  We will likely get something to follow shortly after that... either a mid-cycle update for Prius itself or one of the other hybrids introducing a plug.  Think about what our SUV-obsessed market here would do for a RAV4 hybrid with a PHEV option.  As for the market in Europe, your own obsession with Tesla doesn't really reflect the efforts of automakers there.  We'll see a variety of types of offerings from VW and BMW.  Renault will likely continue to follow parent-company Nissan in the pursuit of affordability too... just like Toyota intends with its first mainstream EV.  Mitsubishi has been selling well there and has made a good initial splash here.  Don't forget about Hyuandi/Kia or Honda either.  In other words, it is far too premature to draw any conclusions yet.  Things are only just getting started.


Ignored.  That problem of GM not getting attention anymore is getting worse.  This trolling effort to drop bait for the opportunity to inject Volt into the discussion fell apart: "The Prime has around 25 miles of AER if you drive it gently."  I wasn't about to let that well known antagonist get away with his attempt to redirect focus either:  The effort to undermine Toyota by misrepresenting Prime is becoming more telling as more of those driving gently report numbers close to 40.  You know I have shared video showing it reaches 30 without any effort.  Even the math confirms more than just 25 miles.  EV-capacity is from 83% to 12% of the 8.8 kWh battery-pack.  That gives you 6.25 kWh of usable electricity.  So, even with just a standard consumption-rate of 4.7 miles/kWh, you effortlessly exceed 25 miles by 4.  My own personal daily drives currently deliver efficiency over 5 miles/kWh, which easily puts me above the 30-mile range.  It doesn't matter anyway.  For the plug-in presentation we had at the community-center last week, all I needed to tell people the odometer showed 268 miles since filling up and the tank still indicated full.  No amount of EV-range misrepresentation can outweigh results like that.


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