Personal Log  #926

March 8, 2019  -  March 10, 2019

Last Updated:  Sun. 5/12/2019

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3-10-2019 The Wait.  I continued on with more:

Waiting is the reason that background was shared, to ensure everyone was on the same page when this next chapter begins.

In just a few weeks, the event enthusiasts tried so desperately hard to avoid at all costs will play out.  Tax-Credits for GM will be reduced by 50%.  To distract from that ugly reality of Volt not having any plug-in hybrid successor, GM announced they would expand their EV offering by revealing 2 new models based upon the Bolt design.  The promise was that would happen within the next 18 months.  Our wait is now into the 17th month.  Not a peep from GM still.  Why is this acceptable for GM but not for Toyota?

It's a double-standard that needs to get proper attention.  Engineering by press-release has been a chronic problem that no one seems to take issue with, to the point where that is accepted as legitimate advertising... even though there is no actual product to sell... not so much as the basic detail sometimes.

This is why the "not selling" topic shouldn't be taken at face value, which far too many people do.  We fall into a group-think and lose perspective on progress & goals.

Toyota is very actively producing & selling components vital for EV deployment, in high-volume for a profit.  Refinements to those components and associated software continue on with lots of real-world exposure.  So while they wait for that next-gen battery, no time is wasted in the meantime.  That setting of the stage also includes drawing of interest away from traditional vehicles.  It's a win-win with immediate benefits.


Willing to Wait.  Following the ever changing messages from GM is very difficult for some.  They usually don't pick up on nuisances or the ambiguous approach. You had to pay attention... in the past.  Not anymore though.  EV had been the problem to overcome... which is how Volt came about and was heavily promoted... until it became obvious all the low-hanging fruit had been picked.  Clearly not part of the plan, that entire concept of engine & motor was abandoned in favor of the antithesis... which how we got Bolt.  Lesson learned in this case is you need to recognize an automaker without a well understood purpose.  It was always a follow-the-money approach, which can be a huge gamble.  GM lost.  Toyota is wise enough to hold true to clear goals, which allows them to both be flexible and to diversify.… a business model GM still is unwilling to adopt.  Understanding that fundamental difference is vital.  Sadly, most people don't even recognize it... hence drawing the quoted conclusion.  In short, much can come from having a solid plan and being willing to wait.

3-09-2019 Understanding the Past.  Many don't.  That's why I ask questions often and provide lots of exposition.  It continues.  My question of "Why don't you want to talk about the squandering of tax-credits Volt became?" resulted in the following: "Similar to the E85 capable cars..."  I could see the information that followed related to tax-breaks automakers receive, but couldn't help being quite direct about the outcome:

Is that an ironic reference or were you being facetious?

"LIVE GREEN, GO YELLOW" was GM's first disastrous failure attempting to undermine hybrids.  Remember that E85 marketing campaign?  It was before the Two-Mode, Volt-1, and Volt-2 disasters.  With such a well established "over promise, under deliver" reputation, I'm really surprised how many simply accept the ambiguous statements without any regard to lack of supporting material.  The sharing of lessons learned is an exercise to prevent repetition of it happening yet again.

The wasting of tax-credits, then spinning those who took the time to really think through their decisions as "laggards", is a red-flag that there's enough gullible people for the cycle of misleading to continue.  History repeats for those who are not wise enough to study what happened in the past and work to prevent.

This is an aspect of "know your audience".  When the cycle begins again, you observe who participates.  When that introductory stage concludes, you observe who's being targeted.  For Two-Mode, Volt-1, and Volt-2, there was a clear mismatch between the audience claimed and the actual buyers.  That threw goals into chaos.  Each of those projects fell apart as a result.

For E85, there was no target... since as you say, there was no supply in many locations.  Of course, that's a red-herring. Your reference is from a decade ago.  The industry has moved on to a more realistic approach since then, support for E15.


Effective Greenwash.  The effort to dodge & divert has become so normalized, any act to draw attention to something outside of that "acceptable" behavior is called out.  So when a new thread on the big Prius forum pops up and there's a bigger picture to consider, I usually get an invite as some point.  On the daily blog for Volt, that invite was almost immediate.  They thrived on the conflict, looking forward to those battles.  They lost the war as a result... since I was in for the long-term.  I carefully observed & documented.  That's how you learn.  So, when I got this today, I had to share that: "This thread will not be PC complete till john1701a enters and tries to pivot the negative Toyota conversation towards GM."  It was a conversation about Toyota's long-term strategy.  That made the invite a natural.  I didn't hesitate either:

Those lessons learned are a very, very important part of the discussion, something that shouldn't be ignored.  GM's propaganda has a disastrous history, over and over again confirming the problems "over promise, under deliver" can have on the entire industry.  Their rhetoric causes apprehension & confusion, not to mention wasted opportunity.

Look at this thread.  Notice how many followed the pivot to hydrogen & fuel-cell discussion?  That's effective greenwashing.  Without even realizing how, they got off topic.  That's what GM enthusiasts spread to take the attention off GM mistakes.  They don't want success & failure stories of the past to influence the Toyota narrative.

Why don't you want to talk about the squandering of tax-credits Volt became?  Intentions of that money was to help each automaker along with their effort to electrify their own fleet, to offer something with a plug to compel their own loyal customers to change.  Instead, those sales were wasted on conquest.  Delivering something that only appealed to an outside audience never made any sense.

Feel free to invite me to point out the mistakes GM made anytime.  There's lots of detail to share about how those mistakes came about.  Preventing others from doing the same is a worthwhile effort.


The "Slow" Narrative.  This is what the "behind" narrative has morphed into: "A sale is a sale.  In the medium term, EV sales will displace conventional ICE Hybrids.  Only Toyota and Honda is slow on this and I suspect is their corp. culture.  Japanese work culture is job stability and permanence."  I saw that as painting an incomplete picture of what is actually happening:  You've been greenwashed if you actually believe that.  The current offerings from other big automakers... GM, Ford, Chrysler, VW... are not in meaningful numbers and all have a heavy dependency on tax-credits.  The pusher is Nissan, with a respectable mention to Hyundai/Kia Also, getting clean hybrids (SULEV & PZEV) rated immediately is far more impact to the environment.  So, that claim is just rhetoric.  What's especially bad is how GM continues to be given a free pass, even though they never spread Volt technology to their other vehicles.  Notice how they introduced both Trax & Blazer in their line-up, neither of which is even a hybrid?  Equinox & Cruze both got diesel models recently too.  Why are those actions not being called out?  Why does Toyota constantly get negative press, despite their push for the new 39 MPG hybrid RAV4 rollout?  That is an undeniable move to phaseout traditional choices, which paves a simple path to choosing a plug later.  That first step away from a guzzler is the hardest.


Acceleration Speed.  A short video-clip was posted showing Honda Clarity accelerating in both EV and HV modes.  It started as an objective discussion.  Hoping it would stay that way, I joined in by responding to a query asking how the other PHEV offerings performed:  Prime is a little bit faster in EV and a little bit slower in HV.  With mine, I simply drop the pedal to the floor (since it is so smoooooth and the engine remains off) and don't give it any other thought.  That works fine, even for the from-a-dead-stop corners merging onto a 55 mph road.  On my daily commute, maximum draw (68 kW) isn't required.  So, acceleration hasn't been much of a topic.  I do enjoy the extra torque from stoplights.  That boost from the larger battery-pack is quite obvious compared to the regular model Prius.


Arguably?  It should be no surprise that I found this something to argue:  "Something I've never liked about the current United States EV Federal Tax-Credit is that it operates in a way that arguably rewards those car makers that are EV laggards."  I look forward to posting responses to such statements:  The belief about "rewarding laggards" is another way of stating upset about punishing automakers who squandered their opportunity.  Watch out for that group-think spin.  Here's what was overlooked as a result of such greenwash.  GM should have used their 200,000 for changing their own fleet to attract their own customers, rather than wasting effort on conquest sales.  The unlimited phaseout period could have been a boom for them.  Look at how much was saw Tesla strive to do exactly that, taking full advantage by seriously ramping up production for that time period.  The result is continued opportunity for Tesla and the halting of production for GM.  Imagine if GM had instead used Volt as the demonstrator of their technology by rolling it out in limited numbers, then saved the bulk of their tax-credit allocation for a plug-in hybrid Equinox.  Imagine how effective that use of "reward" would have been.  Even though GM would also be treated as a "laggard" automaker, the money would have been put to good us by helping convert GM's own fleet of guzzlers to being electrified.  In other words, forcing all automakers to follow the same schedule would have encouraged sloppy design and taking shortcuts.  When is rushing to deliver a better choice than spending the time to do it right ever the better choice?


Upcoming Choices.  There have been so many announced recently, spread over the next few years, it's a confusing mess.  Just trying to recall what VW alone has revealed as concept and just for their plans in general, the expectations are unclear.  How many?  For who?  Where?  When?  That in itself is a problem.  Attempting to get detail about any particular upcoming choice is a challenge.  What source to you go to for accurate, up to date information?  We're entering an age that people pay less and less attention now too.  Being overwhelmed to facts that are readily available at any time, you have to wonder people know and how it actually reflects on reality.  This why fake news was able to so successfully influence our culture.  People just accepted it and passed the damaging claims along.  We've lost critical thinking and the slew of recent announcements hasn't helped matters.  They are so vague, it all serves to feed narratives.  Lack of detail is what stirred hype into hope last time we went trough a "revolution" of supposedly new ideas.  History really does repeat itself.  This is all too familiar.  Remember 20 years ago when Prius first rolled out?


Looking Back.  Reading through a discussion from 11 months ago was interesting.  Quite a bit has changed with regard to plug-in vehicles since then.  Think about Model 3 rollout hopes.  Think about Volt discontinuation rumors.  Think about the continued attacks on Toyota.  There was a lot of rhetoric back then, far more than anything even remotely considered trouble now.  In that not-so-distant past, you didn't need any evidence to support your claim.  In fact, it was very easy to dismiss the post of others simply by taking advantage of group-think.  The enthusiast mindset was so focused on an obsession with speed & distance that nothing else mattered.  It's interesting to see how that early-adopter push has fallen apart.  More and more people are turning attention toward the possibility of an EV being in their future only to become disappointed in the price.  Automakers are seeing that.  We are hearing about planned rollouts elsewhere with much smaller battery-packs.  Why pay for all that capacity when you are only looking for an affordable & reliable commute vehicle?  Saving the old guzzler for only the long trips is a heck of a nice tradeoff... especially if you have an old Toyota that still has a number of miles remaining, despite many years of great service already.  What's wrong with keeping your high-mileage vehicle for non-commute use?  That already seems a sensible choice, even if you are only looking back to compare opinions from just last year.

3-08-2019 Longer?  Ugh.  Seeing this from early-adopters is getting annoying: "How much longer can Toyota wait to start bringing EV models to the markets?"  The reason why is simple... no one else is making the same claim.  The mainstream is perfectly content waiting a few years.  They know that in the meantime early-adopters are helping to work out any details that need to be refined.  It's a sensible view that enthusiasts just plain cannot see.  Lack of patience is no surprise.  That's a common problem.  Today, I dealt with it using the following:

That overall environmental impact approach is the same *BIG PICTURE* mindset Toyota has had since back in 2003, when it was first discovered that the gen-2 Prius could deliver electric-only driving speeds up to 100 km/h (62 mph).  I asked the top engineer why a plug wasn't made available.  It wasn't due to the extremely low energy-density of the batteries of that time.  His direct answer was due to how dirty the electricity was.  We would have to patiently wait for cleaner sources.

Think about how much coal we still use for generating power for what we recharge.  Thankfully, I live in a state that has seen explosive growth of local solar farms over the past few years.  Watching small towns build those vast spans of cells over their otherwise modestly used land is amazing.  It's quite a surprise too.  That happens with little to no fanfare.  It just happens.  It's like the ramp I park at for work.  All of a sudden, they are installing a massive solar-array on it's sunny side.

I understand the "How much longer?" anxiety the full EV supporters are dealing with, but I really don't appreciate the barriers they are erecting for ordinary consumers.  My household already has 2 plug-in vehicles, each with their own 40-amp 240-volt charger.  So what if both vehicles only average around 1,000 miles per tank of gas?  That shift to using more and more electricity is already well supported.  We have our infrastructure established and our current plug-in will feed the used market when we upgrade later.

Show some patience and consider the big picture.


EPA Deregulation.  This topic just pops up in the news from time to time.  Today, it was about yet another rollback.  We fought so hard for years to get regulations & restrictions to help guide cleaner and more responsible transportation technology only to have this administration do everything possible to undermine and dismantle.  Thank goodness the diesel debacle played out a number of years ago, back when the situation could be dealt with properly.  There's so much FUD going on now, it's hard to even notice.  People just dismiss without conscience.  The efforts to promote consumption have been so constant, perspective has been lost.  Goal posts were moved back (our expectations) and that was enabled by out society as a whole (our regulations).  It's really sad.


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