Personal Log  #882

July 9, 2018  -  July 15, 2018

Last Updated:  Fri. 7/20/2018

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Obstruction.  There are some who never give up.  Fortunately, they are few and far between.  I've been attacked by countless many hoping engineering alone would be enough to overcome business challenges.  Not understanding economics will give the impression that victory could happen.  But in reality, that lack of balance makes it impossible.  Only short-term gain can be achieved from delivering an imcomplete solution.  They never learn that lesson though.  Belief that "worth" will overcome shortcomings is futile.  That's why the obsession with range & power must come to an end... either by acknowledgement or by collapse.  The effort to obstruct makes the latter more likely of an outcome.  It never ceases to amaze me how much some people will fight to the bitter end, refusing to surrender.  That sense of honor (selfish pride in this case) means I will need to back off.  And I plan to, after confirmation on this new venue.  Since Volt is just now one of many, instead of a spotlight vehicle, it may just fizzle on its own anyway.  I jumped onto the GM website this morning... curious to find how Volt and Bolt were now being promoted.  It was shocking to see how difficult it was to even find mention of them.  Truck and SUV links are everywhere.  The link to find an electric category wasn't obvious.  There are subtle barriers everywhere, each adding to the obstruction effort.  Remember ages ago when there were simple undermine posts?  It's far more complex subterfuge now... with the goal of retaining the status quo.  Ugh.

7-14-2018 Approach.  There is only one why to success as far as the antagonists are concerned.  No other method of advancement will work.  Progress must be obvious.  Any type of unseen infrastructure or foundational improvement is pointless, viewed upon as waste.  Ugh.  Dealing with people who have no business background makes you wonder if it is worth it.  Supposedly, there are lurkers who learn from quietly reading posts without ever participating.  So, even just sharing wisdon with a few can be success.  Progress isn't easy... as my continued efforts to deal with blatant trolling shows:

Toyota's approach is bottom-up, very effective for mainstream change.  Not being top-down, equating to disappointment among enthusiasts, isn't a concern.

Toyota's advancement in that regard was to deliver the most efficient means of electrically heating the cabin available, a vapor-injected heat-pump.  That means you don't consume as much electricity for keeping warm, allowing more for EV driving.

Toyota has also delivered a remarkably efficient EV drive rated at 25 kWh/100mi.  That means not having to carry as much battery to travel the same distance as less efficient plug-in vehicles. That also means spending less time & money for recharging.

In this discussion topic, we learned how well thought out the battery-pack actually is.  Arrangement of the stacks clearly delivers a robust approach with affordability in mind.  Absence of the need for liquid cooling offers a clear weight, complexity, and maintenance advantage.

We all see how Toyota is preparing the hybrid fleet to receive those same upgrades.  You obviously don't like that.  And with the Volt blog now dead, we have to hear whining about it here.  Do you really think this audience cares?


Market Barrier.  The problem from the very beginning what GM set out to create a barrier and enthusiasts did everything in their power to reinforce it.  Volt was flaunted as "vastly superior" with the absolute that nothing else would be acceptable.  That fell apart on a regular basis, as other automakers matched or exceeded the criteria set forth.  We see that happen in reaction to Ford, BMW, and Toyota.  When Mitsubishi & Honda joined in, they simply accepted defeat rather than having to move the goal-posts yet again.  After all, knowing Hyundai, VW, and Nissan were all on the same course, it made sense to abandon plug-in hybrid hope all together.  That's how Bolt took precedence.  Enthusiasts have all but given up at this point.  It certainly wasn't that way in the past though.  Everything was measured against Volt... which would have been just fine, if it was a viable product.  Being only an expensive niche, it was doomed.  Unfortunately, few cared.  Mention of Volt would draw readers & comments.  That's good business, even if the object of praise was a token effort funded by subsidies.  Only those focused on economic well-being have interest in long-term outcome.  It was a live-in-the-now problem.  Thankfully, that is rapidly changing.  Reality of tax-credit expiration is drawing a lot of attention to the uncompetitive MSRP.  Fighting for sales from traditional vehicles takes far more than just empty congratulations.


Understanding Rhetoric.  Dealing with the nonsense contiuned:  Promises are interesting.  They are usually vague and there's no accountability.  Much is often implied, which in turn becomes promotion material from enthusiasts without anything to actually support the resulting beliefs.  The *substance without action* problem is getting bigger too; an automaker will rollout a vehicle but not provide any plan for a next step.  It really does come down to pricing.  That's why there are some enthusiasts in a state of panic now.  With tax-credit phaseout looming, sales that are currently challenging will become significantly more difficult.  Achieving growth requires far more than just the low-hanging-fruit efforts we are seeing at the moment.  Notice how those who claim "winning" go out of their way to call it the "EV market" rather than address the automotive market as a whole?  That avoidance of mainstream consumers tells the real story.


2019 Thoughts.  The quiet provides reason to wonder... to speculate... to hope.  I provided this to a chain of posts in that regard on the big Prius forum about Prime;  It is reasonable to expect a mid-cycle update of some sort.   Cost continues to be the primary influence. Toyota quite clearly stated delivering a robust, affordable pack was more important that the physical space it required for the first large-scale offering.  We've seen Toyota working on a continuous-improvement approach.  Upgrades will come when it makes sense.  Keep in mind that Corolla PHV and C-HR EV are debuting next year.  That rumored Prius CUV could make an appearance too.  So, it's not like there's any rest for the engineers.


Blind Hate.  As expected, the attacks continue.  I don't give in.  I push back:  That narrative of loyalty doesn't work.  I say positive things about Hyundai, BMW, Honda, Nissan and Tesla on a regular basis.  All offer more range.  Competition isn't other automakers anyway.  The goal posted over and over and over again is to appeal to showroom shoppers, those loyal customers who couldn't care less what other automakers offer.  They just want an affordable choice.  This is why Corolla, C-HR, Camry, and RAV4 were all brought up in the discussion about Toyota.  When there's a discussion about GM, the post mentions Trax, Equinox, Traverse, and the upcoming new Blazer.  Each automaker must transition to something offering a plug.  That means their entire fleet.  Competition is from within the showroom floor.


Path Forward.  Attacks continue.  Ugh.  Being so desperate, you'll say anything, is really sad.  Yet, I'm still seeing it.  But rather than go for that trolling bait, I keep on posting things to keep lurkers thinking.  The stuff that keeps them silently following threads to learn more is a very effective means of supplying educational material.  They simply desire to learn more... which I am grateful to provide:  Once upon a time, some unknown person made some vague statement.  Even if there was any substance to that in the past, how would it still be relevant?  We clearly see the intent now for plug-in options across Toyota's fleet of hybrids. In fact, both Corolla and C-HR will make their debut with a plug next year.  Following that is the expectation for RAV4.  That makes thought about Camry joining later quite realistic.  It's a path to electrification their customers (that means both consumers & dealers) can easily take.  In other words, the twist of Prius not being important is in an odd way true if you look forward enough.  We need to see the rest of the fleet join in.  This is why GM has done such a horrible job with their supposed "vastly superior" technology.  Two-Mode didn't diversify.  Volt didn't diversify.  Bolt is struggling.  There is no path forward still, after all these years.


Coolant Cost.  I made an interesting discovery today.  It's an omission I should have picked up on years ago, especially since diesel supporters would do the same thing.  They'd exclude routine maintenance mention.  It's easy to do if that chore is something unique to the design.  For diesel, it was the fluid using to cleanse emissions.  A chemical called "urea" was required to be replenished on a regular basis.  There was a tank in the trunk that would hold it.  EPA regulations forced metering to ensure the system was not bypassed... which would save the owner money, but allow dirty emissions as a consequence.  This complexity & expense is something supporters wanted to keep very quiet.  The same thing is obviously true of my stumble across today.  Turns out, that fluid used for cooling the battery-pack in Volt much routinely be replaced.  90,000 miles is the required regular interval; sooner is suggested for hot climates.  It take 12 quarts of coolant.  The price is roughly $5 per quart.  Then you must add labor and a disposal fee.  I suspect there is a filter requiring repacement as well.  This is a service you obviously can only have performed at a GM dealer, since it is totally unique to Volt... though, Bolt may employ a similar fluid & process too.  The point is, owners never mention it.  Think about where the drain-value and fill-port locations could be.  I don't expect that to be easily accessible.  In the post I made the discovery from, that person stated it is "messy" work.  Knowing all that explains why we don't ever hear about it, even in posts stating total ownership costs.  Omitting that information is an attempt to mislead... which needs to be called out.


Rhetoric.  Here's more:  Rhetoric related to the progress Toyota has made with plug-in support has been going on for years.  They take a bottom-up approach, the complete opposite of GM, so misunderstanding is common from those unfamiliar with that business & economic perspective.  In 2015, when Toyota ended production of Prius PHV, the antagonists immediately started to push a narrative of having given up.  The spin was Toyota had called it quits and would focus exclusively on hydrogen fuel-cells.  It was utter nonsense, proven blatant greenwash when the next-generation was revealed in 2016.  It simply made no sense to proceed with gen-1 rollout knowing that gen-2 would deliver major improvements at a lower cost.  Looking back, it is now easier to see the efforts to undermine.  Design of this battery-pack makes it clear that Toyota placed pricing as a very high priority, doing everything they could to deliver robust operation without requiring heavy expense.  Effective cooling without the need of a liquid is a complexity Toyota was able to avoid.  Forced air is proving a good choice.


Misrepresentation.  I don't want to include the provoke quote anymore, not at this stage.  Spreading rhetoric is counter-productive.  You want examples, there are lots in past blogs.  Now, we shift attention entirely over to the response:  Hoping that misrepresentation of what actually happened will be receptive to the new audience here?  Prius PHV was rolled out 6 years ago, not 8, to only 15 states as a mid-cycle upgrade to gen-3 Prius.  It was a test platform to measure the market prior to a large ramp-up & deploy.  Toyota determined cost was too high to appeal to mainstream buyers, so they kept inventory limited... then later stopped production all together.  Since Prime was already nearing final design, the approach made a lot of sense.  Toyota could continue to collect valuable real-world data without influencing those untouched 35 states and the existing dealers could clear out existing inventory entirely.  It would preserve the tax-credits for that next-generation Prius plug-in and allow every location to start fresh.  The results clearly confirm that was a wise approach too.  We see how well rollout sales have been and this video shows us how much Toyota learned from that low-volume beginning.


Waiting.  Every time there is something about Prius Prime published which points out a strength about the design, antagonists emerge.  They started with the usual misrepresentations, move on to spreading lies, then turn to personal attacks.  Their behavior is so predictable it would be agonizing... if it wasn't for the fact that their time is up.  Expiration of tax-credits represents the end of this initial stage... early adoption.  Without those subsidies, appealing to non-enthusiasts becomes far greater of a challenge.  Toyota is positioned to deal with that loss.  GM is not, the automaker many of the antagonists endorse.  With Volt & Bolt squandering the last of those precious dollars, there is nothing to focus on.  What comes next from GM?  Not having a viable product for their own loyal customers yet, watching conquest sales use up what's remaining is more steps in the wrong directly... and they know it, all too well now.  I have been one of the loud voices expressing concern about this very situation for years.  Now, I only have to wait days.  A few days after the initial post, I start filling the comment area with facts to dispute the wild claims.  They have no idea how to deal with that, especially after their audience of enablers have moved on.  The only readers at that point are typically those studying the market, people searching for constructive detail... which is what I try hard to supply.


Pride or Hate.  After years of having to deal with belittle turned dishonesty, it sure feels good never having given in.  Whether it was pride or hate, the antagonists simply wouldn't give up.  When facts were not in their favor, they'd turn to personal attacks.  I didn't respond with anything that could be used against me.  They'd troll.  I wouldn't bait.  Each provoke made me carefully think & research to find a constructive reply.  They hated me for that.  I was supposed to provide them with material to call me out as someone just blindly loyal to Toyota; instead, I was a constant supply of debunking material.  Never having waivered from purpose is what irritated them most, as today reaffirmed: "Cherry-pick stats all you want, and keep moving the goalposts as well.  Fact is, Toyota is in last place when it comes to plugins, no matter how you try to spin it."  Continued to repeat the same message of business success has been key.  That goal never budged, not even a little.  If the choice wasn't affordable and easy to accept, there's no way the masses will turn toward it.  I'd often test myself by asking if that would interest Mom, who is quite representative of ordinary consumers.  That's not what I post with respect to purpose though.  It is often something just like this:  Same goal as from the very beginning.  Each automaker is expected to reach sustainable & profitable high-volume sales prior to tax-credit expiration.  The approach Toyota took to deliver a robust battery-pack that's also low-cost makes their offering affordable even without subsidy money.


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