Prius Personal Log #1002
April 12, 2020 - April 16, 2020
Last Updated: Sun. 7/19/2020
page #1001 page #1003 BOOK INDEX
Setting Traps. Our president is a selfish troll. That's quite obvious. What isn't is why some so loyally follow him. It's fascinating to see such blind trust play out on that scale. I saw that same behavior with the fierce defense of GM. That didn't make sense either. Wild promises that couldn't possibly be fulfilled were supported. It got to the point of absurdity. People didn't die though. True, they would slowly be destroying the environment, limited resources, and our children's future, but the outcome was challenging to prove. This is blatant; yet, it is backed anyway. So, he feels comfortable setting traps to make an example of his opponents. Sound familiar? I went through that same nonsense. The similarities are remarkable. Such a vivid past makes recognition of the pattern undeniable. He believes any victory is a victory, even if won by dishonest or disingenuous means. Such a wreckless regard for integrity never senses to amaze me. It's like witnessing a caricature come to life. Interacting with that results in some of those traps catching the person who set them. It's those psychological aspects of narcissism preventing the world around them from being perceived correctly. Learning how to deal with that is quite a challenge... as our society is now just becoming aware of. It eventually gets easier to address, but the consequences are just as real no matter how well you prepare.
Concerned. Sometimes, you run into someone with no knowledge of the situation or background to follow progression of need: "If Toyota was concerned about the Osborne Effect, they would not be releasing a PHEV version of their BEST selling models..." That would have been something just fine to let pass, if it wasn't the sentences that followed conclusion drawing of the claim plug-in hybrids don't have any opportunity. Generalizations like that are annoying in the first place. But when you are on the precipice already, looking forward to the journey down on the other side, it's almost farcical. There is concern where there shouldn't be. You prepare for years for such an opportunity. That's the point of all of this. Ugh! With some dismay, I posted: That reveals a misunderstanding of how the PHEV is actually designed. For Toyota, it is basically just the addition of a one-way clutch and larger battery-pack to the hybrid model... so simple, supplying more can be reasonably accommodated... a clear effort to avoid the Osborne Effect. To further provide evidence of Toyota setting the stage, look to production of RAV4 hybrid. It is being ramped up in Toyota's being plant in North America, the one in Kentucky which prior to this had favored Camry. Seeing that volume switch to RAV4 is an undeniable step preparing for an onslaught of increased demand ahead of time. As for your attempt to compare a high-volume legacy automaker to a success much lower volume new automaker, that doesn't make any sense. They are fundamentally different. In fact, their business models have almost nothing in common. With your comparison to GM or Ford, they don't have demand for a sedan. Know your audience. This is about offering a plug-in hybrid SUV.
Critical Thinking. It still doesn't happen. All we get is generic dribble: "I would think that a Volt powertrain would be enough power for a '1/4' ton pickup, especially with a bit larger battery." How is that representative of thought? After an entire decade of hearing about the game-changing technology and watching it struggle to advance... and fail, what doubt remains? It's not like they couldn't see Toyota spreading hybrid technology across the fleet. Or are some really that blind? From a perspective of making sustainable profit, I know many are. They see great engineering and shut off the brain. Believing the "if you build it, they will buy it" mantra is business suicide. Being that naive is... well, an enthusiast... being optimistic beyond logic. I let the poster know that too: The reason GM didn't follow through with Voltec wasn't a technical issue. It was the Osborne Effect. That reality of such a "vastly superior" product would have been a paradigm-shift their business model couldn't handle. This is why topics... like a rumored F150 PHEV with 10-mile EV range... are getting so much attention. That approach offers a path forward without major disruption to dealer/consumer behavior or expectations. It is a natural next step forward. In fact, this is exactly why Toyota has transformed their fleet to offer a wide array of hybrid choices. With such variety validating the technology, seeing an upgrade to include a plug won't upset the fragile business balance. Think about it. There is a RAV4 Prime and a NX450+ PHEV on the way. Both target core Toyota & Lexus shoppers... offering power, speed, and range in a SUV platform... without asking much from the dealer. It will simply be a model upgrade choice to carry, like a package option. Not a big risk for anyone involved. The delicate reality of sustainable profit will be supported, rather than interrupted.
Lexus NX450+ The reveal of a Prime model from Lexus happened today. That was unexpected, due to the stay-at-home orders. You don't really expect much nowadays until the economy gets going again. We're all waiting out the required time, hoping the worst of it is over. It's obviously not, but at least there's optimism... which I think this is what Toyota intended to contribute to. There are some things worth waiting for... as Prime taught us, many times. An interesting aspect of the reveal was to learn a little bit more about the upcoming RAV4 version of this same tech. Although not official, we have known about the 17.8 kWh battery pack capacity (of which 16 kWh is usable) since late last year. That was an accidental publish which was quickly retracted. What we haven't known about is price. Heck, there hasn't even been a rumor. There has been speculation though. Targeting a "nicely under $40,000" price would make it highly desirable, a nice balance of price & performance for such a large & versatile vehicle. That magic number appears to be $36,500. It provides a basis for luxury equivalent pricing, which is enough to hold us over for now. After all, other new vehicles are on the way too. I had to remind the hypocrites of UX300e. They were claiming this PHEV proves Toyota has no interest in BEV. Providing a contradictory reminder of their obvious omission felt quite vindicating. I even threw in basic specs for good measure... 54.3 kWh battery-pack. 150 kW of power. 0-62 mph in 7.5 seconds.
Propaganda. After dealing with those "20 Reasons Not To Buy" this comes across my feed "20 Downsides Of Electric Vehicles Drivers Often Overlook". It was nothing but an echo of the same propaganda from that other article. They just sorted & adjusted the content, repurposing it for reaching a different audience. Those same lies were repeated. Stuff like the batteries cannot be recycled is frustrating to read. It is blatant dishonesty. But coming from a society which has come to accept & dismiss at face value, it's no surprise. Loss of critical thinking has consequences... as we are learning a painful lesson about right now. Eventually, a snake-oil salesman will get caught. I watched that play out in slow-motion with the enthusiasts. One by one, they would finally either get exposed or realize things had fallen out of favor. The result each time was to flee. I watched countless individuals abandon ship when it came to the shortcomings of Volt... countless familiar names lost to history, which I'll never forget. They were so much of a problem, constantly fighting for a cause that didn't make sense. What they were endorsing had no path forward. It was nothing but hype to make you feel good. That lack of substance is exactly what we're seeing now with the presidency. He's telling people what they want to hear, not what is actually happening. That desperate need to retain the spotlight results in a frantic effort to rewrite history. This is exactly why my blogs are so extensive. I documented the what, when, and why is what they said. It serves as proof of how things got so bad and provides a means of detecting the repetition... because we all know the same old propaganda will be spread again later. Ugh.
Operating Costs. It is such a disappointment when
websites intended to help promote electrification fall short on the same
thing, again and again. How many times must electricity amount be
brought up before it is finally addressed? Fortunately, there are more
of us pushing for that now. Today, I was joined with: "MSRP per
mile of range doesn't account for operating costs such as energy
consumption..." Seeing that was great. Of course, it's
difficult to know if that will make any difference. I have been
bringing up the topic for years now. I didn't let this opportunity
slip by either: That statement is key to gauging motive of those who
claim to be green. You can validate by simply bringing up the
KWH/100MI rating. Guzzling electricity is not what we should be
turning a blind-eye toward. Yet, the topic is virtually never addressed.
Each time I try, someone attempts to divert attention elsewhere or make up
some excuse. In fact, this is from a comment I posted back in January 2017
about that very topic...
35 kWh/100 mi = 97 MPGe = 2017 Ford Fusion Energi
35 kWh/100 mi = 98 MPGe = 2015 Chevy Volt
31 kWh/100 mi = 106 MPGe = 2017 Chevy Volt
30 kWh/100 mi = 114 MPGe = 2016 Nissan Leaf
30 kWh/100 mi = 116 MPGe = 2016 VW e-Golf
29 kWh/100 mi = 111 MPGe = 2017 BMW i3 PHEV
28 kWh/100 mi = 119 MPGe = 2017 Chevy Bolt
27 kWh/100 mi = 124 MPGe = 2017 BMW i3 EV
25 kWh/100 mi = 133 MPGe = 2017 Toyota Prius Prime
Naturally, the response was to attack me for that effort, rather than acknowledge the concern being raised.
Hummer EV. Speaking of false hope, the promotion of the upcoming Hummer EV blows the mind. Next month, GM will reveal some detail, stirring excitement for a Fall 2021 rollout. The latest hype comes from a filing last week of a trademark for the new logo. Sound familiar? That is very much like the "range anxiety" excitement that came about for Volt. It's a showmanship type move to rouse excitement, not anything to actually bring about meaningful change. There's a sucker born every minute too, gobbling up the hype to build it into hope: "Again, offsetting the fuel consumption of these 10mpg beasts will do more for the environment than switching an hybrid owner to a BEV." Obviously, I had much to say about that: That offset sounds plausible, if you don't take into account the market for it. The potential for sales of a 1,000 horsepower system generating 11,500 pound-feet of torque and 0-60 acceleration in 3.0 seconds is tiny. This is a niche vehicle, period. Ironically, those pushing the narrative of GM discontinuing their Voltec system to avoid wasting investment money in a platform that people won't buy have been painfully silent on this bitter reality. It's the same history repeating itself, yet again. GM craves the spotlight, neglecting their core product as a result. There's no balance. It's Volt all over again, but this time they aren't even trying to pass off the technology as a family vehicle. And yes, I noticed how you attempted to skip the category of PHEV entirely. Reality is, a pickup with a "paltry" capacity of only 10 miles of EV range will do far more for the environment.
False Hope. Its spread is a very real problem. How does one combat an idea? There is nothing to physically battle. The impossibility of victory becomes apparent very quickly... as is the reality that whomever is repeating it won't ever stop. I have witnessed that so many times with my support efforts, its an endless fight. All you have to do is just keep saying something, especially if there is a hint of truth in its origin. The most common of these is to point out the results of a survey. How old it is, how small or limited of a sampled it was, or how relevant it applies to the topic makes no difference. Antagonists will just keep bringing it up as it is somehow proves their point. The purpose is to appeal to your emotion. If it feels right, it must be. That kind of manipulation is the old snake-oil bit. People fall for, simply by not bothering to check facts. Critical thinking is a lost art. The wisdom of something sounding too good to be true being enough to raise concern is just a memory from long ago. I see too many clinging on the hope without any substance to support it. Those meritless claims are something to cautiously watch for. In times like these, it is very easy to encounter someone trying to manipulate you for their own benefit.
$1.29 Per Gallon. It sounds like there will finally be substantial cuts from oil producers. They were pumping so much beyond demand, it was putting the world in a position for serious problems. The supply isn't being used. In fact, consumption has dropped so dramatically we are hearing reports of air over major population centers clearing to extremes that haven't been witnessed in the lifetimes of many. Imagine being able to see a mountain range from where you live for the very first time. That must be an incredible experience. What's bizarre though is how cheap gas has become. That would normally be cause for celebration. I don't hear any of that though; instead, it is concern for loss of jobs and possibly parts of the industry falling apart. Certain operations are unsustainable when little to no profit is being made. In fact, holding on to excess inventory can be costly. Oil is so abundant, the realization that "peak" doesn't mean supply on downturn is becoming apparent. It is really what some of us have been screaming about for years... actually, well over a decade. What the term "peak" actually represents is the permanent loss of stability. When you can no longer depend upon the strong, on-going source of revenue, things start to get ugly. It progressively gets worse, but all the excuses coming from apologists obscure the warnings. They say everything will be fine and return to normal, despite the lack of merit to support such claims. This here, right now, is the turning point. Too cheap is a very real problem. Investors feeling uncomfortable tips the balance. Difficult decisions will need to be made. If not, losses become even easier to notice. Like it or not, permanent change is coming. There will be a new norm. It will be fascinating to witness how that comes about.
Per-Mile. What a contrast from the past. I have allies now. That's what I wanted all along. There were some who absolutely refused to believe a person owning a different automaker's vehicle could share the same goal. Ugh. Thankfully, their voices have a harder time stirring attention nowadays, due to stuff like this: "I think range is important and price of car is important. However, I do not see why msrp/range is a useful metric." It's easy to just dismiss that when I post. But when someone relatively unknown does, the enthusiasts is at a loss. I was more than happy to join in to point that out too: It is only useful to enthusiasts. Try presenting the same info to a showroom shopper. They'll walk away in dismay, surprised that you'd even bother to appeal to them with such a statistic. Know your audience. The ordinary wants to know how much the price they are willing to pay will provide in return. That's why GM targeted Volt for "nicely under $30,000". It was a compact hatchback and that's how much people typically budgeted for with that category of vehicle. That practice of delivering for a print-point is a very well established market approach... and has been extremely successful... which was a big reason why Volt failed to such extreme. It was too expensive, plain & simple. Belief that more range makes a vehicle better is futile. As you pointed out in previous posts, range increase provides a diminishing return. So, the idea of "Per Mile Of Range" pricing doesn't reflect the reality of what a mainstream consumer is actually looking for.
Change. You can see some of the antagonist stance beginning to slip. My guess is the combination of a saturated market, ending of tax-credits, and the collapse of the oil industry has crumbled the foundation of argument far more than anyone wants to admit. Remember how GM fell apart? There was so much damage-control going on near the end that direction had been completely lost. They had no idea what the next step should be. That's exactly where some of the BEV enthusiasts are now. They have been so obsessed with pushing range further and further they no longer have any clue how much is enough or what to do when it has been achieved. That's why the rumor of a F150 as a PHEV on the way has them perplexed. Knowing a BEV would be so expensive direct competition with a traditional model would be impossible, they have nothing to promote. Hybrids offering a modest amount of capacity have always presented a glimmer of hope though. They don't like that at all... especially since that hope is becoming realistic. There's echoes of that too: "Toyota will get this right with the new Tundra. They have the worlds best hybrid systems and I believe they will build a full size pickup with a gas hybrid that has class leading mileage." Discovering the supposed laggard has a feasible means of advancing forward is beyond upsetting. Most people are challenged with facing the prospect of being on the wrong side of history. They don't know how to acknowledge having overlooked something. I do my best to get out in front of that, pointing out facts often to prevent such a predicament. Used as a teaching moment, it's easier for them to accept... defeat. But that's what change is all about. Today's example went as follows: Evidence of that is becoming difficult to deny. Toyota is inching its way closer and closer. 2020 Highlander hybrid delivering 35 MPG with AWD and a 3,500-lb towing capacity makes that quite apparent. In fact, knowing that helps to explain Ford's move forward with a PHEV model of F150.