Personal Log #972
October 18, 2019 - October 22, 2019
Last Updated: Mon. 2/10/2020
page #971 page #973 BOOK INDEX
Digging. Here's more of that same, tired rhetoric: "PHEVs are OLD tech and arguing different doesn't serve you." It's interesting how some people will choose to fight plug-in vehicles that don't achieve their threshold of acceptance. Why? If it's affordable and does its part to promote, what's the problem? In other words, abandonment the "No Plug, No Sale" propaganda is underway. We're back to the mature perspective again. The obsess with new, disregarding tech that no longer stands out. It's the early-adopter perspective. They give the impression they'll do all they can to promote what they embrace, but in reality they move on as soon as it loses its edge. That disinterest for anything beyond initial rollout can be fatal to some products. The plug-in vehicle in particular needs the voice of experience. Sharing of stories producing real-world is priceless. Those researching a purchase will find results relevant to them compelling. The catch is, much of what an enthusiast shares isn't what a mainstream consumer would ever find familiar. That's why my videos attempt to point out what they would observe first-hand on their own, with some extra detail to help explain why they may find it interesting. In short, it is in no way OLD to them. As for the enthusiasts, here's how I told him what really matters: Prius PHEV, Corolla PHEV, and the upcoming RAV4 PHEV all use electric-motors, battery-packs, plug-in chargers, electric cooling & heating, and controllers/software to deliver an EV driving experience. Watching you dig deeper and deeper into your effort to mislead about how that tech plays a role in Toyota's future is serving me well. Keep digging!
Worst. I really get a kick out of reading these posts: "Currently, Toyota makes the vast bulk of its income on ICEVs. PHEVs were a bridge technology that is long past its prime. It combines the worst of both technologies." The reason I like that is it provides evidence the antagonist really doesn't understand how the system is designed or operates. They literally just accept the rhetoric from others about it being a poor choice and never use any critical thinking to consider any detail. It's just the passing along of hearsay. I have learned to deal with it: Claims of "behind" require a forced engineering-only perspective. In other words, that intentional disregard for business is the basis upon which the "laggard" narrative is formed. Put another way, it's an effort to distract from the bigger picture. Reality is, Toyota has been focusing heavily on transforming their dealers... the true customers of the product they produce. If dealers are unwilling to let go of traditional inventory, no green technology will success. Seeing Toyota's push for RAV4 hybrid and the stage that sets for the RAV4 plug-in hybrid debunks any "future" argument. It is proving an extremely effective means of breaking the status quo. This is why bridge technologies are so important. Consumers cannot purchase what dealers don't carry. Being able to deliver a choice for quick & easy transition to both HV & EV is a best of both worlds situation.
Uncompromising. Some don't ever give up: "The fact that my Volt can get me to work and back 112 km on EV only and makes your argument null and void. Sorry, but Prime will lose against my Volt with my foot only halfway down. Volt gives uncompromising performance in any circumstances." That typical chest-pounding to avoid recognition of problems is a very predictable outcome. It is one of those play-to-the-audience maneuvers. That gets you an applause, but doesn't actually accomplish anything. I really can't believe that childish behavior persisted for so long. So my work to remain ignorant is a bizarre waste. Though, that is the problem with change. Some people just plain don't want to. Pretending a niche vehicle will appeal to everyone is an act of denial easy to call out; yet, they do it anyway. Oh well. It was time for another brief reply: Attempting to dismiss cost by touting "uncompromising performance" is exactly the problem, a major factor that contributed to Volt's demise. That enthusiast perspective (putting the importance of range & power over everything else, especially price) is a disconnect with mainstream buyers.
Troll! No surprise, the attempt to call me out by
exclaiming "troll" happened. That's inevitable. It's
what happens when they simply want a venue for validating each other, rather
than actually considering the situation and doing something about it
collectively. I kept my acknowledgement of the desperate act to get me
to stop focusing on business brief: The warning was that GM wouldn't spread Volt technology
prior to tax-credit expiration, missing out on the opportunity as a
result... and that's exactly what happened.
Attacks. Speaking of fighting antagonists, there's an endless supply of the rhetoric they spew. Fortunately, I recognize the patterns and now have refined what & how to reply. Some of their quotes aren't even worth repeating. It's the same old substantless nonsense. Avoiding facts is the dead giveaway they aren't even trying. That was what today turned into. He got tired of my posts, attempting to downplay them as rambling. That's the expectation when you post something business related. Economics, Advertising, and Market are all topics that don't hold the interest of those who thrive on range & power. My response this time to that was: If you don't want to hear "ramblings" about business approach for the transition from ICE to BEV, please use the ignore feature. Understanding impact to automaker, dealer, and consumer is important to some, so stopping the share of that information will not happen. As for that next 5 years statement, it leaves out some vital detail.
We Got Specs! Toyota just provided some specs on their upcoming e-TNGA platform. That's their EV program under development. Battery capacity will range from 50 to 100 kWh. That puts them in the just-under-200 to the somewhere-in-the-300s range for distance, spread across the variety of vehicles. Things are going to get interesting. Of course, I fully expect this reveal of information to be completely forgotten. Online posting about Toyota is mostly rhetoric. Getting actual news providing some specs for the upcoming EVs they are working on isn't exciting if you depend upon lack of detail. Having a poorly informed audience is how the antagonists thrive. Oh well. I now have a bit more to add to the arsenal. More weaponry is on the way too. A little bit more than a month from now the LA auto show will begin. That should be interesting.
Agreement. Not everyone from that old argumentative time is angry now: "I don't always agree with you, but I think the RAV4 PHEV is going to be a huge hit. GM has somehow managed to create a huge gap in their portfolio by not having…" That use of the word "somehow" just buried within the comment was one of those ugh moments. How could that in any way have been unexpected? I pushed diversification for years. Oh well. It happened. Focus on what should come next is more important now more than ever. You think that will finally happen... asking sarcastically... Here's how I replied: It's more basic than that, a problem hiding in plain view. GM is obsessed with powerful vehicles. Worry about the "trophy mentality" came immediately following the reveal of Volt based upon how Two-Mode was falling apart. It was quite obvious power had been traded for actually being green. In other words, it was a matter of want winning out over need. Volt was doomed long before rollout even began. There was a glimmer of hope when gen-1 sales began to really struggle, when even the big price reduction did nothing to improve the situation. Hope of a second model, one configured for the masses, would actually come to fruition. Instead, enthusiasts chimed in and created a terrible enabler situation... encouraging GM to go even further down that range & power path. It not only sealed the fate of gen-2, it also created barriers for diversification. Meanwhile, the rhetoric grew to downplay Toyota's effort to do exactly that, diversify. Their plug-in upgrade was a simple matter of adding to their existing hybrid system. It was a profitable path to a wide variety of offerings. We see that happening too. Both Prius & Corolla hybrids now offer a plug. RAV4 hybrid is on the way to taking that next step too. In addition to that, we see a serious ramping up of RAV4 hybrid production, an undeniable setting of the stage for high-volume. I listening to all of those attempting to belittle Toyota with "laggard" and "behind" slander. They'd do everything they could to endorse the problem with a legacy automaker attempting to top-down rollout new technology to a market clearly not open to change. It has been confirmed a terrible decision. How could such a giant avoid the Osborne Effect with so much economic, political, and environmental problems stacked against it? Stepping back to look beyond the green factors, there's the simple matter of survival. GM followed profit when it was financially in trouble. We're seeing the same thing happen again.
Very Angry. Taking out their frustration on me is
nothing new. This one was especially noteworthy though: "SO
WHAT?!?!..THEY CAN AFFORD IT!!!! YOU DONT GET IT NO MATTER WHAT...SO STFU
ALREADY!!!!" It was in defense of GM, who clearly lost a lot from
so poorly managing Volt. Making excuses has become a momentous effort
now. There's nothing left. All the damage-control reasons have
been exhausted. It's over. So, they turn to Bolt for rescue.
That isn't going well either though: "The ONLY problem I see here with BOLT (VOLT too but its
no more) is that its a COMPACT car size..." It was the use of the
word "only" that got my attention. I couldn't resist
That rant above and this are history repeating. Clearly, that is not the ONLY problem. As the lesson from Two-Mode taught GM, the problem of pricing is far too big to ignore. That's why when Volt was first revealed, a target price of "nicely under $30,000" was set. That was what Volt would need to be for sales to be both sustainable & profitable. With an aggressive timeline of 2010 for initial rollout and using up tax-credits prior to first generation completion, it was a reasonable goal.
Failing to see (or choosing not to), the trap of innovator's dilemma became the fate of Volt. Rather than capitalizing on the opportunity to adapt the technology, GM focused on feedback from their early-adopters. Trouble was, they were enthusiasts who didn't share the same priorities as ordinary consumers. That doomed Volt to fail. And it did. Production has ended without any successor. There is no plug-in hybrid available at the dealer for a loyal GM customer to purchase. That technology GM invested in has simply been abandoned. A green choice for the masses is still not delivered.
For a reality check, look at what Toyota has done. With roughly 90,000 tax-credits still available, the push to green the fleet is well underway. Camry, Corolla, Avalon, RAV4, Highlander are all common vehicles offered as hybrids able to compete directly with their traditional counterpart. Meanwhile, a mid-cycle update has been rolled out to Prius Prime, giving it the potential for nationwide sales no dependent upon tax-credits. Next month, the reveal of a plug-in model of RAV4 hybrid will take place. Combined with the revamp of the Kentucky plant to produce RAV4 hybrids, they are setting the stage for step forward with a potential for 500,000 per year. It is the very preparation GM never bothered to pursue. There was no effort to diversify.
Say want you want. That history is already written for GM. Whether the next chapter will have a better outcome depends upon those mistakes of the past being acknowledged and acted upon. If not, they could very well be repeated. Claiming the ONLY problem was being compact sized should raise concern. That is most definitely not the case.
Backward. I added this to my reply after posting: "btw, You have a backward.. Biggest means they have the most to lose." That really stirred some anger... of which, I'm not going to post. Quoting that doesn't serve any purpose. Point being, it was exactly what he didn't want others to know. Was he aware of that himself? I have no idea. But that word of such exposure is a painful reality he obviously didn't want to address. GM rambling on for years about how Two-Mode was going to revolutionize the industry. It was a constant impediment to Toyota that ended up being a colossal waste. Volt emerged out of those ashes, the non-truck implementation of the same technology. Despite going from prototype to production with a plug and being optimized for that platform, it was also a remarkable waste. Nothing became of the technology. Even the second-generation Volt (technically gen-3 Two-Mode) struggled to survive. GM still had no real interest in finally delivering a plug-in hybrid SUV, despite the prototype Saturn Vue SUV using Two-Mode with a plug having been promoted for availability an entire decade ago. No progress is what? Sounds to me like a massive loss of opportunity.
Nonsense. It is always interesting to read stuff like this: "GM is the biggest US auto company so they afford to do things their way. Low end cars are not going to be over-engineered like the Cadillac or Corvette. Their EVs are NOT cheap because they are NOT low end cars ok?! Your innovator's trap is utter nonsense." That's utter nonsense. GM is a big business with stockholders & dealers expecting them to deliver sustainable profit. The strike taking place right now should make it overwhelmingly obvious there is an expectation from their own production workers as well. For that matter, what about the obligation to suppliers? The very idea that not having to deliver upon expectations is absurd... hence the "over promise, under deliver" problem GM can never seem to shake. My interest comes from witnessing how deep the denial goes. Not wanting to face reality on such a scale is extraordinary. Yet, I see it all the time. In response, I keep pointing out the consequences of such denial: Volt is a great example of innovator's dilemma. It was intended to be a mainstream product... and your own response confirms it failed to achieve that. Not a Cadillac. Not a Corvette. It was expensive and only appealed to a niche... hence production ending. The nonsense is claiming that top-down approach was a better choice than bottom-up. We see a lot of potential with the latter, because there's still ample tax-credits remaining. GM's are used up. No plug-in hybrid SUV yet... and no effective means of delivering anymore... hence the dilemma.
Regret? I know there was frustration, anger,
disappointment, and dismay from this particular individual over the years.
Not sure about regret though. That vehicle, for that matter a
technology, he had defended so fiercely over the years was now dead.
Much of his actions turned to shooting the messenger. He didn't like
my pointing out of facts. Trying to get me banned didn't work.
Trying to make me feel unwelcome didn't work. Heck, even trying to
befriend me didn't work. I stuck to facts and he didn't like it.
So, seeing this today got me curious: "After the way they treated
Volt..." Speaking out about GM was not his forte. That
change was clearly bitterment at work. Regret? Not sure.
Perhaps I'll find out in response to what I posted:
Now it is understood why focus shouldn't have been on the engineering. All those "too little, too slowly" warnings, starting before Volt was rolled out, were genuine concern about the "over promise, under deliver" history repeating again. GM played that game already with Two-Mode. Those excited about the potential Volt offered turned a blind-eye to the realities of business, what had already become a disastrous effort to break away from the clutches of traditional guzzlers.
When gen-1 of Volt failed to attract interest beyond the realm of early-adopter sales, raised concern resulted in push-back from hope built upon ambiguous releases by GM. Sound familiar? That is what's happening again. Passionate enthusiasts will feed claims without merit. It's a wasteful cycle. So much opportunity ends up being missed.
As for the legacy dealership being a major stumbling block, that's a "know your audience" problem. Those wanting to promote the technology often don't recognize they are who has the greatest impact to automakers, not consumers. As much as supporters work to educate & excite people about what plug-in vehicles have to offer, it makes no difference when they cannot be easily purchased. True progress means getting inventory to change.
With so much history of delivery disappointment, we really need to focus on what actually changes the status quo. You want to make a difference with potential buyers, focus on getting their homes upgraded. That preparation for multiple vehicles in a household to all recharge overnight is what will sway dealers to stock more plug-in vehicles. Knowing their sales can be quick & easy makes all the difference.
In other words, it's time to look beyond the petty arguments of power & range.