Personal Log #883
July 15, 2018 - July 20, 2018
Last Updated: Fri. 7/20/2018
page #882 page #884 BOOK INDEX
EV Owner Rhetoric. Some of them can be really bad,
especially when it comes to EV purity. Arguments of range can get
rather bad at times too. Worse is from certain Tesla owners, since
some particular individuals add on an anti-legacy twist. That dislike
for traditional dealers makes them underminers. They spread their own
discontent to the rest of the market, setting a precedent of acceptable
badmouthing, claiming an unwillingness to accept change. I'm unwilling
to put up with that, as was the case today:
Sounds like someone is spreading FUD based on outdated rhetoric. It isn't as complex of a sales process as you portray.
Go to a Toyota dealer and watch the delivery bay. Notice how many RAV4 are hybrid models are driven out by new owners? Those frequent sales don't require anything special. The addition of a plug is a natural next step. Potential customers already instinctively understand the benefit of electricity from the wall. They already know it will green boost the driving experience. This is why Toyota emphasized hybrids not needing a plug in the past. They were setting the stage for this next step by making the difference stand out.
A simple test-drive is all it takes to sell that feature. You feel the electric power. They tell you recharging only takes a standard household outlet. You ask how much.
That claim of "because they see them as difficult to explain and/or takes too long to explain" doesn't even come into play.
Continued Attacks. That daily blog for Volt has been mostly dead for over 6 months now. There are a few die-hards attempting to revive it... especially since trolling elsewhere hasn't been successful. There arean't enablers on other venues and the attacks on me don't work. I can't be provoked after so many years of dealing with the nonsense. Even on the diverse green website where commenters are clearly bias toward EV and look down upon efforts to reach mainstream consumers haven't shown any interest. GM blew it. Their tax-credits are about to trigger phaseout and the tech from Volt still hasn't been deployed to a vehicle GM shopper actually want. So, finding a receptive audience for more of the old spin, rhetoric, and belittling is proving futile. "Here's hoping we get some new articles" is the sentiment repeated over and over again on the blog, to no avail. After months of silence, I finally broke it with: What is there to publish about Volt on a regular basis now? The parent website has been a great resource for green articles. It simply makes no sense replicating that same content here.
Spreading FUD, part 2.
He threw the topic of EV support from Lexus (and Toyota) right back at me with:
"I hate putting you in the odd position of having to defend them as they
No defense necessary. We can all see that prices are still too high and production limits too real. That will change, but it is very much a primetime issue currently.
The problem is, you're falling for the rhetoric. Those hoping to undermine Toyota are doing everything they can to draw attention away from the component investment & refinement that's happening right now. Toyota is readying the fleet for plug augmentation, positioning everything they need prior to the onslaught of demand.
Haven't you noticed that the supposedly leader doesn't actually have a plan to electrification? We are witnessing GM flounder around aimlessly. Volt has been a disaster and Bolt is anything but the Tesla fighting it was promoted to be. GM customers don't want a compact hatchback or small wagon anyway. They want larger vehicles. Notice how Toyota is queuing them up? Camry, RAV4, Avalon, Highlander, C-HR, and that Prius CUV mule. Each of those hybrids could easily be Primed. For that matter, we will be watching that happen to Corolla hybrid next year.
I'm just doing what I can to refocus attention back on the need to adapt the either fleet... hence, primetime. Any automaker can rollout limited quantity.
Spreading FUD, part 1. How much time can pass before your information becomes FUD? There's a point to which repeated posts of the same thing will create conditions to stir Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt. Even if the data was correct for that old market, there's no guarantee of relevance years later. I pointed that out after encountering this: "the other 'myth' spread by FUD mongers". It came from someone whom I respect, but most definitely don't agree with. He's been carrying a grudge for years about the topic of Lexus's stance toward EV support. Having that same issue posted as a concern after so much has changed deserves a reconsider. After those same circumstances still at play now? I asked that question this way: When do we draw the line and start calling the spread of outdated information FUD? Your grudge against Lexus is nearing that point. Remember how anti-EV the sentiment was from GM just a few years ago? A lot has changed since then. Don't become one of those sharing content out-of-context.
Babbling Idiot. Watching one particular troublemaker completely lose it has been quite fascinating. I've witnessed others cornered after years of fighting, then abruptly finding themselves at a complete loss. But this particular one is on the edge of being delusional. He reminds me a lot of our president. He lies. He insults. He harms. With actions so blatantly uncaring, it will only be a matter of time before he finds himself quite alone. No one wants to associate with anyone so reckless. It's got to the point where he sounds like a babbling idiot. His entire reply to one post was just "Bahahaha!" The rest is nothing but cliche now. You wouldn't think a person would become so witless. But then again, maybe he always was. In the past, that would have been easier to conceal. There were plenty of distractions available. None remain. Hope has been crushed. Volt has died without passing the technology over to a viable high-volume vehicle. Years of promise without substance caught up to him, resulting in only one course of action... abandon ship. But rather than disappear like so many other troublemakers of the past, he became a hypocrite by supporting the very thing he had fought against for years. But rather than go from anti-EV to pro-EV but remain loyal to GM, they switched to Tesla. Endorsing the very thing they had mocked makes you really think about why they argued for all those years. What was the point? I thought I'd never find out, since they were silent afterward. Apparently, this one particular individual is going to proudly pretend none of that past ever happened and make an ass of himself in the process, going out of his way to draw attention. How bizarre. Of course, we do have a president doing the very same thing.
Audience. Escaping from the mindless mantra of purity, I returned to the Prius forum for a bit and was happy to respond to: "So enlighten me to see how I fit into this intended audience...what or to whom was the Prime made for?" I really enjoy chatting with people who geniunely don't know and would sincerely like to find out. This is what I had to share about that: Simple, families grow up. Mom & Dad go from needing routine transport for children to using the back for occasional travel with adults. Having nicer seats with an armrest & cupholders makes far more sense than squeezing in a third person, for that new audience. You want a larger setting area, you buy a larger vehicle... hence all the other hybrids, some of which will offer a plug. Next year, it will be Corolla hybrid in some markets.
Pollution. Every now and then, something other than EV purist perspective slips out of the group which has become disturbingly bias. In this case, it was a focus on actual impact to pollution, rather than the vague "electricity is better under all circumstances" rhetoric. I was happy to join in with: 2,300 miles from the most recent tank with my Prime. 85% of that was EV driving. Measure at the pump calculated to 250 MPG. It represents a remarkable reduction of air-pollution, despite having a gas engine. A key to this approach is the battery-pack is relatively small. That supports simplistic recharging, a huge benefit to those without high-amp connections to b plug into. It also addresses current production constraints and lack of public chargers. Reaching large numbers of consumers as quickly as possible is very important, since vehicles will remain in service for a decade.
Analogies. They can be useful. In this case, it was a fresh attack on Lexus... since the attacks on Toyota haven't resulted in anything... and I was looking for a new way to present information: Don't any of you play poker? We know Toyota/Lexus is holding a good hand. Just because they don't have a "plan" doesn't mean they don't intend to play. Notice how others push, but it ends up just being a bluff? Look at the technology already deployed in Prius Prime. They have delivered an affordable system that returns incredible EV efficiency. Who cares if the range is currently short? Adding more cell-stacks is trivial compared to cost-reduction and operational improvements. High-Volt production of those components and refinement of related software & controllers is well underway. Have any of you actually looked at the hybrid system being delivered in the 2019 RAV4 hybrid? Think about the power potential with that configuration in something like a Prius CUV (the rumored replacement for the current Prius wagon). This group thrives on announcements from token & future efforts, yet they express deep disappointment & upset for industry advancements that aren't obvious. Shouldn't we expect more from those here? Why is there so much praise for range & speed at the expense of not giving substantive attention to design?
Apologist. Witnessing failure play out well beyond anything the best damage-control efforts can repair has been interesting. I get accussed of being an apologist, supposedly a more insulting term than fanboy, but fails as the supply of constructive reply continues: There is no where near enough inventory to draw conclusions with yet. Within a 500-mile radius of Chicago, only 310 Prime are available. It is a global product with low priority in the Midwest of US. The entire first year of production was impaired by the new technology Toyota introduced with Prime. Carbon-Fiber for the hatch isn't what you'd expect from an affordable ($27K base) vehicle. Yet, that's what got delivered. Toyota worked with BMW to get expertise on how to produce such a complicated piece of the vehicle with that strong, lightweight material... an obvious effort to improve efficiency. Dual-Wave glass is something you'll not find on any other high-volume intent vehicle. The distortion-free bend funnels air over the vehicle to improve aerodynamic drag. It's complex chemistry & manufacturing is more technology advancement... an obvious effort to improve efficiency.
Why? It's over... he knows it too. Even the attempts to derail discussion just plain don't work for him anymore: It's not random. You know precisely why. For years, I kept asking the same question over and over and over again: "Who is the market for Volt?" That reason is obvious now. GM neglected mainstream consumers, focusing exclusively on enthusiasts. Their goal was conquest sales… which the consequences of are quite obvious… no loyalty. Even the die-hard pushers have not only abandoned Volt, they have abandoned GM entirely. In fact, you did that too, choosing to purchase a Tesla Model 3 rather than Chevy Bolt EV. Toyota is working hard to appeal to their own customers, to retain loyalty established from their current owners. That's why those products never appealed to you and it never mattered. This is why I post over and over and over again: "Know your audience."
Discovering Motive. The ultimate goal of any seemingly pointless battle is to discover motive. You keep pushing. Eventually, something should shake out. Being attentive. That's what I did with this antagonist, to find out what truly was the source of his own push. Over the past few days, I wondered if anything other than some nice summaries would come about. Being forced to think through the immediate situation in context of the big picture is always useful... especially when the person stirring trouble is so vague. You get post after post with nothing but rhetoric. It's the same old nonsense too. He calls you on changing goals, but never actually states the before & after. That is intentional, to force incorrect assumptions. It's a common misconception tactic. You just confuse the audience by randomly stating things. No one bothers to verify dates or context. Online comments have become a haven for enabler support. They just go along with the narrative, never questioning. Anywho, I finally got what I was looking for. Way back, it was the simplicity of NPNS. That "No Plug, No Sale" mantra became quite popular, but was doomed to fail due to the lack of anything specific. What was having a plug supposed to achieve? No quantitative measure meant anything with a plug would be far superior to anything without. They learned that lesson the hard way... which got him to up the ante by focusing on range & power values. That failed too, when it become obvious that traits of Volt were being emulated by Prius Prime. Just copying them would have been acceptable. Delivering improvement was not... which got him to the problem I'm dealing with now... no engine. He's become an EV purist. That would be a problem if he was honest about it. The catch is, his history of being Anti-EV in favor of Volt is extensive. For years, EREV was far superior. Then abruptly, he took the hypocritical path and not only switched to EV... he also turned on GM itself. That loyalty shift is especially bitter... and he knows I could call him on that betrayal at any moment. Choosing to purchase a Tesla Model 3 rather than a GM Bolt isn't viewed favorably upon by his peers. Concealing that is his motive. Lashing out at Toyota is how he hopes to conceal what happened. I find that intriguing.
True Competition. Attempts to stir rhetoric elsewhere continue. Volt's struggle for survival is becoming obvious. That dependency on tax-credit money for the sake of maintaining poor sales is becoming overwhelmed by the need for growth. Knowing that all the subsidy did was keep it from vanishing entirely, the very idea of it somehow appealing to a wider audience with a high price-tag is laughable. Yet, that's the message being conveyed anyway. Hope comes from the belief that Prius Prime is the competition, not other GM vehicles. So, when the Toyota tax-credit also expires, it will struggle the same way. Problem is, that's not what the numbers show. Even with basically no inventory available in the Midwest still, sales for Prius Prime are better than Volt anyway. It's a distraction from dealing with the truth. I keep providing reminders of that: $34,095 = MSRP base Volt. $27,300 = MSRP base Prius Prime. It is very easy to see how the GM necessitates the $7,500 to be feasible… and that's before pointing out the base Toyota comes with more safety features standard. But it doesn't matter. Those vehicles are not competing against each other anyway. Reality is, Volt must compete with other GM vehicles at the dealership. Traditional offerings are the problem, which is why the lower the MSRP the better. Toyota takes this situation seriously, striving to deliver a choice truly competitive with other vehicles sharing the same showroom floor.
Desperate. We are down to just the basic
pshycological defenses at this point. I just get replies of dismissal
and reflection. It's quite remarkable to witness how clueless some
people can be. He is basically just fighting himself now. I'm
watching the spin, with each opportunity to respond a chance to provide more
exposition. So, I do:
Spin of the "too little, too slowly" concern is an obvious attempt to prevent analysis of Toyota's timing to the tax-credit mistake GM made.
200,000 sales is the basis of measure for the first phase of rollout. Each automaker was given that limit for tax-credit availability. Upon reaching it, phaseout will be triggered. 1 quarter (3 months) of sales will continue at the 100% value. The following 2 quarters, it will be reduced to 50% but will not be restricted by a quantity limit. Following that, there will be 2 quarters also without limit but at 25%. Purpose of the tax-credit is to establish enough demand for the vehicle or technology to sustain high-volume profitable sales.
GM is expected to trigger phaseout at year-end. Demand is no where near the level it needs to be. Volt sales never drew GM customer interest; instead, they remained almost exclusively conquest purchases from elsewhere. Abrupt switch to Bolt didn't result in necessary demand either. That generous $7,500 per vehicle would have ended up doing very little to actually change the status quo.
Toyota carefully observed the market and quickly recognized benefit of saving tax-credits later, when they had a strong base to build upon. This is why the RAV4 hybrid was rolled out in the meantime, which has become a top-seller in the US hybrid market. Camry hybrid was recently rolled out for that same reason. Both will be able to take advantage of the plug-in technology available in Prius Prime. Having both well established prior to triggering tax-credit phaseout positions Toyota well for taking advantage of that period which follows without limit.
In short, GM demonstrated how easily tax-credits could
be wasted. They focused on enthusiasts praise, rather than being
attentive to mainstream priorities. Upon phaseout, they still don't
have a choice appealing to their own loyal showroom shoppers. Toyota
won't be missing that opportunity.