I’ve been involved in electric vehicles, peripherally, since 1999 when I was part of a team doing battery instrument for the HEV Challenge done by Argonne National Labs. What was apparent back then was that while electric vehicles are find and nice, pure electrics are beset by short range, lack of charging stations, and weight. Hybrids are the answer – and brisk sales of the Prius and other hybrids shows that’s where the market is going.
But what’s under-appreciated, I think, is that EV and hybrid market is fickle. The Volt’s range (battery only) is 25-50 mile -35 is the range number most often quoted. An equivalent Toyota plug-in hybrid it rated for only 14.3 miles in the all electric mode.
But when you do the research (and hybrid people are big on this) in the blended operation mode, the Prius claims 95 MPG while the Volt shows 93 MPG. You can price them out, and see how they compare. When I looked, a base Volt was going for around $37,850 while the base Prius plug-in was going for $31,860′ish.
If you snoop around the Kelly Blue Book site what pops out is that the Volt is that the going price of a Volt is at a discount to dealer invoice when I looked, where the Prius was going at a premium to invoice. Speaks volumes.
Part of this – IMHO – is that Detroit’s branding is nowhere near as strong as Toyota’s. One could argue that Toyota’s management has been less “make the number this quarter” than GM (lately: government motors). But I’d bet that if you were to ask 25-of your friends “Why automaker has the better reputation for quality?” Toyota would win hands down. GM has simply got a history of cars that lagged the best of Asia. Kaizen didn’t get to Detroit in time to prevent reputation damage.
The American people are heavily branded… so when the story came out on Fox yesterday that the “Plant that got $150M in taxpayer money to make Volt batteries furloughs workers” I was sad to hear it.
But as a potential electric buyer, even Toyota may get its comeuppance: The new Tesla Motors base Model S – a pure eclectic – is due out shortly and the $50,000 base model sports 160-mile range at 55 MPH while the Model S Signature version (big battery pack) will be in the 300-mile all-electric range.
More to my liking is that even with the small battery pack, the Model S churns out O-60 times around 6.5 seconds. That’s down in the Porsche Boxter range.
Even though the Prius is a big deal (I don’t think I could pry my little sister’s out of here hands at any price – she’s on her second now) Toyota better keep an eye over their shoulders.
Tesla’s coming after the upper end of the market, just like the Lexus-Toyota brand did. And unlike GM, their management isn’t saddled with what I think we could safely call a “reputation hangover.”
Reader’s Writes: On Futuring
Since we’re on the topic of technologies pushing the envelope, here’s a note from reader Lynn:
The piece concerning the pope elevating St Hidegard to “Doctor of the Church” is quite fascinating, and the resemblance to Cliff’s “coastal event” is obvious.
However, this reminds me of something that bothers me about Cliff’s treatment of this topic. I’ve listened to most of Cliff’s WuJo rants, and was surprised when he cited Courtney Brown’s Farsight experiment as confirmation of his webbot prediction regarding a future global coastal event. I had taken the time previously to watch several of Courtney’s videos regarding Farsight, and I specifically recall him stating that remote viewing is not a reliable method of predicting the future.
The problem is that there appear to be multiple parallel timelines to consider. In the Farsight experiment, some minority percentage of viewers foresaw serious catastrophic damage to coastal areas in June of 2013, and the rest saw only minor disruption or none at all in the same target cities.
Why should we automatically adopt the most dire scenario as gospel?
I realize that Cliff has his own explanation that dismisses multiple timelines, but I believe that this issue calls into question the credibility of his webbot predictions.
The Jungian concept of pulling information about the near-term future from the collective unconscious is fascinating, but does the verbal imagery translate to accurate predictions? Could we not just as well be tapping into the unrealized fears of the collective unconscious? And of course, which timeline are we looking at?
Sometimes you get lucky, as when the fall of General Zia in Pakistan was foretold. But I suppose in some timeline, he’s still in power! ”
The I-Ching inbox is hard at work this morning – because I spend some serious research time yesterday on my different approach than the web bot approach to futuring – which is name ULTRA2020 for now.
In the username manual for that, I got into a discussion of how word meanings are constructed and there are at least a half-dozen noun definitions for a simple word like “flood” and a similar number of object-verb cases and nearly a handful of non-object verb cases.
What makes ULTRA2020 so interesting is that I’ve come up with a novel way to possibly improve the accuracy of future forecasting a bit by addressing part of this issue of multiple possible futures.
But in studying this “how the future works” what’s come into focus for me is that the future has a very large element of “if this continue as they are today” to it…which gets to the global mass consciousness. So I have no reason to doubt the veracity of Clif’s work (or RV’ers, either).
As one of my colleagues said the other day “I’m an Occam’s Razor kind of guy” and that really fits this futuring stuff. Because while it would be interesting to ascribe all kind of extraterrestrial interventions and the Adjustment Bureau to why the future only arrives as forecast some small power of the time may be incredibly simple. It may be that people just change their minds all the time and this, in turn, changes the future.
I guess deep down I only give Patrick Geryl’s outlook a 15% probability of coming true….because there are so many possible mind-changing points along the way. Similarly, while Clif’s work results in greater than chance developments, it’s not perfect, but I’m not sure that’s due to any error on his part, in code, a tweak of lexicon…or whatever.
It may just be that as people wake up and change their mind billions of times per day that the future drifts around because of this factor all by itself. And Lynn’s Jungian point is exactly right: As our fears drift around on a daily basis, so to, we set the future adrift because we haven’t got a leader at any level who has mobilized humanity toward a single major goal.
When you look at things like the Pyramids….or John Kennedy’s call to put men on the moon – those were fear-busters. As the number of people who are living aimlessly increases, then the driftiness of the future increases. And that means what? That forecasts will “come true” less often.
Compounding the issue, is that there are multiple persuasion blocks – think of them as competing belief systems. One block is bent on killing infidels and setting up global governance under its religion. Another block is more or less only worried about money. Still other groups are trying to build nationhood and evolve self-sufficiency and independence. (I’d put Brazil in this block, for example.)
And tossed in there are personality/cult leaders – a wide range of populists turned socialists (or t’other way around, like Hugo).
By the time we stir gently and sleep on the details overnight, it’s amazing that any forecasting technologies work at all. But they do…however the dynamics of the future on the prison planet are constantly in motion because if you step back and consider global mass consciousness, something really becomes apparent:
This is a planet with multiple personality disorder – a kind of global Sybil. Once, long ago, the variance in personalities, religions, beliefs, and so forth was an admirable thing: It allowed people to adapt differently to differing conditions.
But here’s the thought to keep you busy through lunchtime: With the advent of communications technology a mere hundred years (roughly since radio fired up in the 1909-1916 period) have we really recognized that the world is overall in an MPD/DID state?
Anngwyn St. Just of the Arizona Center for Social Trauma moves in this direction in Trauma: Time, Space and Fractals.
Which is where we get to the heart of Lynn’s question “Why should we automatically adopt the most dire scenario as gospel?”
We may have no choice but to do so. As long as the number of aware/awake global thinkers is a small portion of population, some of those other “multiple personalities” are just outright dangerous.
Since humans are hard-wired into survivalism at the DNA level, keeping the dark side of global personality disorder clearly in focus provides the only path open for the global patient to heal itself.
Whether we can do that? Time will tell…and lots of mind-changing will occur along the way. Can the healthy minds subdue the often overwhelming voices of the multiple global personalities – each also acting our survival instincts which include conquest, subjugation and through control?
A read of the daily news is inconclusive. But a study which says one third of adults under 30 have no religious affiliation argues that the wide-open internet is a kind of global gestalt. So the old-liners will want to get it back in the box…can’t run global MPD/DID on the peeps if they go self-curing.
Write when you break even…
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Broader View of the Bots – Part 2
Reslicing 2013 In our discussion
Wednesday, we looked at a number of issues that pop up regarding this “predicting future” stuff including bias of interpreter, lack of previous templates for events and so forth. All of which is terribly interesting, and all, but still leaves us with an ugly prepping problem: What’s the right thing to prep for? Damned difficult problem. But that’s why I’ve been up since 3 AM thinking about today, when a more rational person would have the good sense to just roll over and go back to sleep. First, a few news items to get the old noggin rolling. Then we’ll look again at what’s coming…if anything….in 2013.
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Safer Computing: Getting Your Cookies Off
It has been a while since I roared the praises of the Maxa Cookie Manager which you can download and install for a free test drive by clicking here.
To upgrade from the demo to full working is still less than $30 (During their Spring Sale) and one heck of a bargain at that, if I do say so.
“Live on $10,000″ A Year
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