Prius Personal Log  #1010

June 4, 2020  -  June 7, 2020

Last Updated:  Sun. 7/19/2020

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6-07-2020 Labels & Change.  I immediately followed that previous post with a secondary response, intentionally isolating topics so replies could be associated better.  This came from that same original post: "As the years and the mileage builds up on the world's growing fleet of EV, people will realize that it doesn't matter how reliable and durable you make your ICE vehicle you will never be able to compete with an EV which has 1% of the drive train components..."  It was teach-moment I wanted to capitalize on:

That's a red herring, as well as a confusing use of the "EV" label, since your very next sentence refers to both "BEV" and "PHEV".

The terminology of "EV" has become the means of identifying any drive-system powered by plug-supplied electricity.  The reason for this evolution in labeling came about because that was the pattern which emerged from ordinary consumers.  Upon seeing the plug, they recognize the electric-only ability of the vehicle.  No teaching required.  It is the next natural step forward in electrification beyond hybrids.  In fact, that is why the "self-charging" advertisements came about, to reinforce that distinction.

Put another way, there is no difference between the "EV" from a BEV like Bolt or Leaf as there is from a "PHEV" like RAV4 Prime and Prius Prime.  All of them operate entirely with electricity originating from a plug.  True, the Primes also have an on-board electricity source.  But that has nothing to do with electric-only propulsion.

Mainstream buyers see the approach as getting "EV" miles, plus a generator when needed.  Lack of confidence in the public charging infrastructure just barely in its infancy is what make PHEV appeals.  They see the potential.  They want the ability.  They recognize the best-of-both-worlds approach.

It is all about showroom shoppers now.  We are no longer in the early-adopter stage, which heavily depended upon subsidies.  This is the time when convincing dealers to carry something with a plug... anything with a plug... becomes absolutely vital.  Building their confidence is how the status quo finally changes; otherwise, it nothing but an audience of enthusiasts still.

6-07-2020 Analogy Oversight.  I thought the discussion of RAV4 Prime on the EV blog had run its course.  Clearly, not: "Toyota seem like a company still trying to perfect the VHS tape player in a world of DVDs."  That was interesting to read.  He was way off, but someone likely to be receptive to constructive feedback.  We'll see:

Huh?  RAV4 Prime is stirring very strong interest already, just from the potential alone.  It's that approach always imagined from GM and Ford, which is why there is the "behind" narrative.  That opportunity will be missed by them.  Some don't want that type of attention.  Most of the miles driven will be EV, so where does the worry come from? That aspect of propulsion is becoming established already.  Toyota is reputation building and gaining experience (reliable and durable) even before their dedicated platform is rolled out.

In other words, that analogy doesn't work at all.  Reality is, what you are getting is a combo-device from Toyota. It will play both VHS and DVD.  They are proving it is possible to nicely package everything conveniently and it a cost-effective manner.

The analogy goes further.  To own a BEV right now is just like owning a DVD player back in the late 90's.  What you could do with the technology was still very limited.  You could see the potential, as movie choices expanded and television quality improved, but most of that wouldn't come until a generation or two later.

That is why the combo-device is so important at this stage.  Consumers want flexibility and dealers are in no way ready to stop offering VHS.  It is not a world of DVD yet.

6-06-2020 Narratives.  There was a newer participants that joined into the attacks.  He posted an advertisement from the UK from back in 2017.  I was amused.  It was propaganda material without substance.  Those are quite effective to respond to, since you can very easily identify intent.  The antagonist almost inevitably reveals to much, because they get frustrated with you and have nothing useful to debate with.  That was all they had.  So, I jumped in:

Gross generalizations like that are confirmation that the situation not being taken seriously, as is the cherry-picking of that advertisement.  The point is far too many enthusiasts have turned a blind-eye to legacy automakers by praising token offerings.  In other words, they got taken.  No change is happening at dealerships.

It was so obvious to outside observers too.  GM was the king of vague & ambiguous press releases for that purpose.  They would announce something to stir excitement, which fed the meritless hype.  There was little actual substance; yet, they were showered with accolades.  What GM did with Volt did nothing to affect the status quo.

In fact, anyone looking back at what happened from 2010 to 2020 will see Volt and Bolt were used to distract attention, allowing more large guzzlers to be rolled out under the illusion of being the green automaker... and the enablers gobbled it up.  Think about how happy that made the stockholders.  Think about what needs to be done now.

You can continue to attack the automaker clearly making progress in changing the status quo, showing genuine change happening at dealerships with core consumers.  GM could have introduced a SUV using technology from Volt.  In fact, that was the promise back in the days of Two-Mode... the predecessor to Voltec.  They didn't.  Turns out, Toyota is doing exactly that with RAV4.  You get your fast & powerful vehicle on your preferred platform, with a plug.

No showroom shopper is going to care about rhetoric from the past.  They will see that offering and start asking questions about cost & operation.  Narratives here will be meaningless.  Know your audience.

6-06-2020 Real Change.  Reading through that topic featuring RAV4 Prime was telling.  A majority of posts were attacks.  So, I started a new thread within providing my observations of that:

It is interesting to witness the panic.  That narrative about Toyota somehow being behind and being against plugging in doesn't work anymore.  They see that GM has fallen, their supposed leadership didn't bring about anything to actually lead with.  Volt was nothing but an engineering proving platform, not the mainstream technology as hoped.  Tesla did indeed deliver an incredible new choice, but only for early-adopters.  Spread it that technology to the reach of ordinary consumers is proving to be quite a challenge.

So, it comes back to Toyota, the legacy automaker demonstrating a very real potential for high-volume, profitable sales to their own showroom shoppers.  RAV4 itself is an extremely popular choices, with the target of 20% sustained sales hybrid quite realistic.  That sets the stage nicely for rollout of a plug-in hybrid... exactly what those promoting plugs should be excited about.

Instead, they are finding themselves backed into a corner for having pushed the idea of BEV purity, rather than focusing on a means of reaches the masses.  Getting people to convert over to daily recharging hasn't been a priority.  Focus has been wasted on getting rid of the ICE... which has revealed itself to be far more complicated than they want to acknowledge.

So, we now watch them attempt to find a scapegoat with the hope of diverting attention away from their struggle.  Well, too bad. Toyota continued to refine their technology to a point where it has a great deal of potential to transform their entire fleet in a manner than dealers will embrace... which is how you properly measure progress.  That's real change.

6-05-2020

Closure.  The antagonist comeback was that he was only pointing out the words said in the podcast, hoping to convey a message that was not a shared sentiment.  His desperation was obvious though.  The comments were about Prius Prime.  He was pretending they also applied to RAV4 Prime in his original post.  But in the response I got back, he changed it to RAV4 hybrid.  You have to read through his history to find out he has absolutely no clue how Toyota's PHEV design actually operates.  The pattern of incorrect assumptions become is to identify after awhile.  Another thing I learned from that was his deep hate for hydrogen fuel-cells.  So the motive of doing things to undermine Toyota are documented too... if you take the time to investigate.  I did.  I also posted this with a note that he would be put on ignore, so it was pointless to reply in return.  This was the closure I ended with:  I'm not the one making vague claims of danger.  I'm the one requesting detail, asking for an explanation, substance to provide merit.  I have many years of real-world data to share.  Your opportunity to debate about the early-adopter stage is over.  RAV4 Prime brings about a reach out to a new audience.  It is now about how to appeal to ordinary consumers shopping the showroom floor.

6-05-2020

Spinning Narratives.  The response I got to my previous post was just more of the "behind" nonsense.  Supposedly, Toyota still hasn't even caught up to what GM delivered in 2010.  Yet, none of that criteria to make such a judgment was shared.  Based upon what?  I know it is a focus on enthusiasts still, measuring progress upon their assessment, rather than what is actually happening at dealerships.  Enthusiasts claim the paradigm shift is well underway.  Ordinary consumers see it as a niche for enthusiasts.  That disconnect is fascinating... and ironic.  They claim Toyota is shooting itself in the foot, when in reality it is the reverse.  We saw it with Volt.  The more they pushed for features they desired, the further the design drifted from mainstream priorities.  They encouraged the self-destructive approach.  Ugh.  Anywho, I replied to today's nonsense with:  Claims of "as far as" without any substance are quite telling.  No detail.  No merit.  Those outside the "EV market" find that very easy to see.  Toyota is about to deliver a larger, faster, more capable system on a highly desirable platform, without having a dependency on liquid cooling.  That push for improvement beyond the approach in 2010 isn't anything you can debate either, since it would be with the wrong audience.  Showroom shopper couldn't care less.  They will come in looking for a RAV4, having heard good things about the hybrid.  They'll discover there is a model offering a plug.  Overnight charging with an ordinary 120-volt outlet will provide them with a full battery each morning.  That's it, easy sale, an excellent example of KISS.  As for attempting to portray Toyota's choice as "shot itself in the foot", who are you trying to convince?  Even before sales have begun, there is already worry of RAV4 Prime being a very high demand product.  That is exactly the position any automaker would love to be in.

6-05-2020 Questions.  This assertion lacked any supporting material: "While most everyone else is working on EV and their battery making facilities, Toyota continues to support old tech."  Stuff like that is nothing but a feed to enablers, just pushing the rhetoric along.  Without any substance, there was no point.  Without any detail, it was clearly not objective.  Seeing that obvious push away from constructive discussion, my comeback was to ask questions:

Toyota's delivery of the industry's top-efficient heat-pump and extremely efficient electric-motor is what?

Toyota's effort to push an extremely long warranty (15 years or 1,000,000 km) for their first EV is what?

Toyota striving to rollout a PHEV with full EV driving for 42 miles on their most popular platform is what?

6-05-2020

Rhetoric.  The anti-Toyota sentiment is really struggling.  A podcast featuring RAV4 Prime stirred the antagonists to an extreme today.  They are lashing out now, allowing their desperation to expose their intent.  It's what happens when one get backed into a corner.  There are no options left other than posting as much craziness as possible, hoping something will take hold.  You'd never catch a troll being so obvious.  I found it very telling, a nice status confirmation.  This is what I posted in response to one of the more desperate claims:  That's just another FUD post we have to deal with.  There is an "EV Auto" mode available for anyone who feels additional boost from the gas-engine, if called upon.  It is an override of the default EV mode.  Amusingly, when you try it, the system pretty much always stays in electric-only operation.  The reason why is simple, real-world rarely calls upon more than the 68 kW max draw available.  After 3 full years of ownership, with a daily commute including highway merges, it is easy to dismiss the anti-Toyota sentiment.  So what if an enthusiast isn't impressed?  They are not the target audience.  Toyota has been striving to deliver a product their core consumer will be interested in with little to no sales effort.  This is because their dealers are who must find the design appealing.  If they do, they will want that in their inventory... which is how market share is increased... not the ramblings of who attempt spread disappointment rhetoric to feed a narrative claiming "slow" and "dangerous" and "behind".

6-04-2020 Wander Off The Street.  There are some trapped in the past, still viewing the market from an "EV" perspective, where the technology was still just a subsidized niche.  Getting through to them is quite a challenge.  Many don't have a clue how the business itself works.  Seeing the vehicle from only an engineering perspective just plain does not work.  This is why I documented the disaster called Volt for its entire development, rollout and collapse.  It was doomed from the start, due to the business aspect being so neglected.  Enthusiasts don't care about that, as we continue to be told: "Anyone who purchases a PHEV for private transportation (i.e. not a fleet buy) is committing to electric operation.  Folks are not going to wander off the street into a dealer and "just happen" to pick up a PHEV.  Anyone buying one has a specific purpose in mind."  That single-mindedness attitude is what I labeled as the trophy-mentality.  They focus so much on the prize, they forget what the actual purpose was.  Reminders don't help either.  Yet, I continue to post them:

The lesson learned from GM's experience with Volt was: KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE.  Clearly, those here... as active enthusiasts... need a reminder.  They are most definitely not the audience.  For that matter, the industry is moving beyond the early-adopter stage.  Targeting ordinary consumers is the goal now.  That means taking an entirely different approach to reach them.

Toyota already has an effective sales model for that.  They have proven shoppers coming in for a closer look at hybrids, thinking they may consider a Prius, discover there was a plug-in model available and ended up buying it.  Now that RAV4 is a top-seller and the hybrid model has become a popular choice, the suggestion of an upgrade to the plug-in model is very easy for a salesperson.  Heck, all they have to do is point out that's the fastest of the packages available.  The plug is a very nice benefit, but not an essential.

In other words, if the design isn't appealing enough to entice a mainstream buyer without the plug being primary focus, that technology is doomed.  This is exactly why GM abandoned Voltec.  It was a niche that sacrificed too many ordinary purchase priorities.  And rather than spreading the technology to a better platform, one far easier to sell... like Equinox... they attempted to force shoppers to change their purchase priorities. That was a fatal mistake.

Remember, the point is to end production of traditional models by replacing them with hybrid and plug-in choices.  That is for the entire fleet of passenger vehicles, everything the dealer carries for regular inventory.  Put another way, you are very wrong about the "wander off the street" experience.  Know your audience.

 

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