Personal Log #935
April 17, 2019 - April 21, 2019
Last Updated: Sun. 5/12/2019
page #934 page #936 BOOK INDEX
Label Arguments. I was pleased to see that the forum isn't able to fuel the fire of labels. A few tried to renew efforts to push "EREV" as an indication of superiority, but it all fell on deaf ears. Things like "top speed" and "certain threshold" were used to no avail. The even more generic "extending the range" reference made no difference. Ultimately, the attempts to stir ended with: "Describing the difference between a EREV and a PHEV seems pointless." That was all nice to see. But what I found most informative was this statement: "But this is NOT how the Volt works." When you encounter that on a Volt forum, odds are quite good they know even less about the supposed competition. I ran into that a lot over time... hence all the videos. They served as proof the label arguments were questionable. They'd attack me claiming I'm bias. I'd reply back pointing that making it personal doesn't change the fact that their information in wrong. Ultimately, it always came down to Volt enthusiasts trying to portray me as anti-GM, when in reality I was just against the approach. It made them absolutely crazy that I would endorse parts of the design stating a new configuration could appeal to a wide-array of GM customers. The idea of diversification messed up their vague definition of EREV. That label wouldn't mean as much spread onto a second model of Volt and an Equinox that could also use both gas & electricity. Most learned from their mistakes and moved on. The few that remain have lost their audience. Remember asking: "Who is the market for Volt?" They didn't understand who EREV appealed to. Know you audience.
Continued Attacks. I read through a forum thread
about the now completely dead daily blog. Comments posted there
included a variety of thoughts. Most have simply moved on, not caring
about it no longer allowing posts, despite new articles being published.
What I found intriguing were the attempts to stir rhetoric. It was
obviously a venue attempts to cultivate attack approach... because sure
enough, one of the individuals there jumped on the chance to try out his
material on the big Prius forum today: "What's your new ride going to
be? Probably not an EV, because Toyota is now poo-pooing that idea.
(probably because they are so far behind the ball on that tech...)"
His choice of where and how made that interesting. It was on an
innocent thread where people were posting comments about what they owned
prior to purchasing a Prius. I decided to go all out in response.
My post was as follows, complete with a nice photo of each of my Prius
selected from my album:
That rhetoric is becoming shallow & desperate. We all know Toyota has chosen to avoid the tax-credit game, deciding instead to focus on delivery of choices capable of reaching a very wide audience in a manner not disruptive to their true customers, the dealers. That's why claims of enthusiasts don't matter. They simply feed innovator's dilemma, making the challenge of profitable high-volume sales more difficult. Not only do I applaud that sensible business approach, I also support it.
My first Prius was a Classic model, among the initial rollout here in the United States way back in September 2000.
I traded it in to be among the first to get the next generation, the Iconic model. It was a pioneer package too, so I could easily identify it (in addition to the very unique dent I put on it). And sure enough, I saw it in a parking lot a few months ago, after all these years!
That was the Prius I owned for the longest duration. I had it 118K miles for 5.5 years. It got traded to again be among the first to get a next-gen upgrade. This one, like the others, demonstrated a strong commitment to refining the technology.
That 2010 model got replaced less than 3 years later with a mid-cycle update, the first offering here to include a plug. Since I had driven a prototype of for a few days years before, it was solid assurance that Toyota was striving to deliver a product for the masses.
That first Prius PHV was a great opportunity for Toyota to explore the market, choosing to rollout mid-cycle to limited regions. Seeing how effective that approach was at avoiding the tax-credit game, Toyota continued with the limited rollout. I jumped on board yet again.
This latest Prius confirms Toyota is striving for that wide appeal target. The technology in Prime is an adaptation to the hybrid system allowing it to enjoy the battery-pack with a full EV driving experience, one that China will be seeing as a Corolla PHV. China will also be seeing Toyota first EV offering, a new model of CH-R. Meanwhile, watch how Toyota is quietly road-testing their 152hp full-electric system in Mirai. Wouldn't that make a nice battery-only setup for a next-gen model of Prius? I need something to set my sights on for another upgrade opportunity.
Dishonesty & Misdirection. That's the description rising to the topic of that report about our president's activity coming from his own party. Sound familiar? That's exactly what I dealt with on a regular basis coming from the Volt enthusiasts. It's what set them apart from being true supporters. They'd think anything of saying whatever they thought sounded convincing. That's how I got so detailed with my blogs & video. Their acts to deceive were relentless. They simply didn't care. It was all about feeding hope with hype. Stunning is how I can best describe my thoughts of how blindly optimistic they became. With only a vague press-release, they would spin an incredible wave of false expectation. It was so obvious too. Without any supporting material, they'd make too-good-too-be-claims. It was on a regular basis too... to the point where people would lose touch with reality. The narrative took over, becoming what would be perceived as normal... a con job on an enormous scale. They know at some point the dishonesty & misdirection will eventually catch up with them. That doesn't matter, since their want is to do as much damage along the way as possible. It's an effort to undermine, to keep the status quo from actually changing. Seeing parallels between business & politics is saddening, but not at all a surprise. Power corrupts. That's why I give so much respect for Toyota not giving in to the temptation. They remain true to their values of focus on the mainstream. They build reliable, affordable products that are also responsible.
Posting Comments, resistance. I should have expected a gross over-reaction to my post. There's a sense of panic about how comments will be changing, one stirring fear... Recognition of the situation's magnitude should have clued me into the nature tendency for FUD to be used. Responding with Fear, Uncertainty, or Doubt is extremely common. Rather than rationalize or trust, they revert to instinct. Ugh. Anyone, in this case in was in the fear of suppression. To the individual I responded, there was a belief that adding controls will create limitations. It's easy to see how that assumption comes about, but it simply isn't true. I know this well already simply from having observed the same thing already play out elsewhere. It's not even pattern recognition this time. It's a repeat of the same issue. I kept reply to that on the shorter side: Empowering people by giving them a means of discussion participation with expanded abilities is quite the opposite of limiting freedom of speech. Notice how people can currently hide behind just label? Putting a control in place to prevent that lack of accountability is a benefit to everyone. Notice how websites unwilling to require some type of identity have disappeared over time? They lacked integrity by allowing an anything-goes policy and they lost their audience as a result.
Posting Comments, perspective. I was quite happy to join into the discussion topic addressing the way comments will be posted. That website was really struggling for awhile there, not having a good idea how to objectively promote both EV and PHEV for both start-up and legacy automakers. The idea of diversity is compelling. Actually achieving it is quite a struggle though. Fighting to retain the status quo comes from some you would hope would be more open minded. Discovering they really didn't care about the greater good is disheartening... and also a difficult barrier to overcome. I added some perspective with a post of my own: Understand that this next step is necessary as the reach of plug-in offerings grow beside the obvious enthusiast group currently active here. Though many don't see the group-think that's rather blatant from the perspective of someone who just happened to stumble across this site, but it's there and a very real problem to address. Continued improvement efforts like this, are a clear attempt to ensure integrity of postings. Over the years, I have watched the pattern of attacks meant to enforce a narrative. Wanting to witness it for yourself, watch what happens when affordability (discussion of vehicle pricing without tax-credits available) with regard to high-volume and profitability is brought up. You'll see the usual bunch of individuals promote their rhetoric of power & range attempt to undermine those who simply want everyday plug-in... nothing special... just basic electric travel for their daily driving. I welcome this step they are taking to overcome rhetoric and provide a most useful tool for discussion participation. Features like ignore & notify will be improvements many will really appreciate.
Posting Comments, change. It will be changing on the website that has become the authority on all things plug-in. It was starting to become a troll creator, where points-of-view could thrive as propaganda. Moderators were well aware of the growing problem. The owner electing to change the posting format, but remain within the rheum of blogging. That obviously didn't work. People could still hide their identity and easily cover their tracks along the way. As a result, topics would die quickly and construction follow-up remain hopeless. Change was needed, something significant enough to sour the milk. And sure enough, right after today's announcements we got some goodbyes. It was always quite clear that enthusiasts were diligently working to retain the status quo. Fighting efforts to grow beyond the initial rollout stage (early-adopter, which was identified by subsidized sales) became increasingly more difficult... because they stopped caring about being constructive. More and more activity recognized as trolling emerged. Thankfully, they drew the line. In few days, yet another resource online will attempt to establish a voice of integrity by pushing out those who were just enjoying a moment in time at the cost of others.
Prius Taxi. We got a taxi from Times Square to JFK for our flight home yesterday. What a crazy experience... in a Prius V cab. The cab trip my wife had in Rome a number of years ago is no longer her favorite cab story to share. This driver was all over the place. If anyone ever questions the driving dynamics of that car, just express an interest in wanting to get to the airport quickly! The weaving through traffic was remarkable. I would not have been thrilled about seeing him approach in my mirror or watching him merge into the lane opening I wanted. Whoa! It sure was a testament to how well the lower gear-ratio for the bigger Prius combined with the power of an electric-motor can really make a difference for providing small boosts of thrust. What a contrast to the next taxi we got a few hours later. It was a guy with an Iconic model. His Prius had a little over 209K miles on it and had been working great as a cab. Since it was his vehicle, rather than a commercial service as before, the driving & conversation was quite different. He was intrigued that we were both Prius owners and had never heard of the plug-in model. So, we indulged upon arriving at home. I actually showed him my wife's Prime, demonstrating how it was plugged it. That blew his mind. It was an incredible confirmation of how even a well-informed owner who uses his Prius to earn a living, knew virtually nothing of the technology. He simply trusted Toyota's reputation for affordable, reliable, and responsible transportation choices. btw, while in New York City, we saw quite a few Camry & RAV4 hybrids used for taxi service too. It's obviously an excellent choice for that type of driving.
Central Park. I got to spend some quality time with my wife today. We took a stroll through Central Park. What an amazing part of a truly unique urban environment. It's quite beautiful. We really, really lucked out with weather too. There was a light rain in the morning, which provided a nice sense of exclusiveness. Most people weren't out wandering around. We got to enjoy the sections & trails mostly alone. Early spring made it even more inviting. Anywho, it provides a great opportunity to reflect. The clouds parted. We saw others come out. In fact, after a nice lunch at a local restaurant, there were lots of people to share that great setting with. By the time we got to the other end, crossing somewhat in a diagonal manner, we got to see where the nice location was to watch a sunset on the massive building from that tranquil jungle of trees. To my surprise, right there at the southeast corner was a long line of plug-in vehicles, plugged in. They had setup chargers for city vehicles along the roadway. It was a sweet sight... in a quite unexpected location. There was about a dozen vehicle there... all with charge-ports on the wrong side, requiring the cord to stick out into the street. Fortunately, Prius Prime has its access on the passenger side... but I digress.
Recent? This was a delight to read: "...and that's where the market has headed recently" Most people don't pay close attention to the automotive industry. In fact, even when they make a purchase, it only represents a tiny research effort. There's no extensive study or on-going monitor. The typical mainstream consumer is just an ordinary person who wanders into a dealer and starts looking. They do some basic looking at specifications and do some simple calculations. That's it. There's no big picture. There's no waiting. There's only a consideration of immediate impact... usually in the form of, can I afford gas & payments? Hope that consideration for environmental or politic impact is a futile expectation. It doesn't happen. That's why we have had a endless growth of vehicle size & power for decades. It's not recent in any regard. So reading about someone commenting with regard to the shrinking sedan market is maddening... though, quite understandable. Know your audience. Don't get on them about not being attentive. Don't make them feel bad in any regard. However, do let them off the hook either. Ignorance is not an excuse. Make sure you convey a clear message of the true situation, especially when you confirm they really didn't notice what has been happening over all those years: That's the history I'm referring to. Some of saw the "recent" trend begin back in 1994, then a massive push into the mainstream back in 2004. What is happening now is that has become the norm, with everything else now an exception or holdback.
What Data? It's quite vindicating when you see something like this posted: "Sure, it's cheaper to build a car that only attempts to cool by hot air, but the industry's history already shows..." I know what the real-world data shows. You can manipulate the message of history by cherry-picking, to present a false narrative. But when looking at the bigger picture and taking realistic goals into account, the story changes. This is especially easy to confirm when dealing with data that becomes outdated quickly. I know that. They know that. The hope is to not be called out on it. This is why I ask for detail... and rarely ever get any. Not getting it is an implied confirm that they really didn't have anything of substance to make their claim with. This time, I asked: Shows what? Where is there data with newer chemistry and forced A/C cooling? Think about how primitive the chargers themselves were back then too. You couldn't sustain a 7.2 kW draw, but that is now becoming realistic.
Air Cooled. Final efforts from antagonists don't seem to be making any difference. I'm watching their influence fade. Much of that comes from a new chorus of interest, people who were never part of that past rhetoric speaking out with messages of their own to share: "Toyota said in the past they use batteries in the Prime designed specifically for heat..." When they make the same information conveyed in the past part of their own statement of fact, it really makes a difference. Antagonists attacking me relentlessly as a scapegoat makes no difference when someone else passes on the same message. There's where knowing your audience makes a difference. Breaking the problem of group-think only takes a few individuals to stop listening. I'm happy to contribute to that, by providing other detail for them to consider: Better chemistry & design is the preferred approach. Necessity of liquid cooling is a complexity & cost that doesn't make sense beyond early-adopter sales. Remember, the sales pitch for EV is simplicity. Avoiding coolant, piping, a radiator, and maintenance is a vital step toward ending the reign of traditional vehicles.