Prius Personal Log  #1022

July 28, 2020  -  July 31, 2020

Last Updated:  Tues. 10/13/2020

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Carrying Forward.  New attacks were quite predictable.  RAV4 Prime pretty much destroys each of the favorite argument points against Prius Prime and positions the technology as serious threat.  It's proof that Toyota isn't behind at all.  In fact, it is evidence to the contrary.  Being able to carry forward what they learn from PHEV offerings very much benefits what they will offer for BEV choices.  That's absolutely vital, a step many automakers are having to do all at once... since they don't have any plug-hybrid path to follow.  Jumping straight to BEV also means missing out on a big chunk of the market.  PHEV will thrive for years, simply because the infrastructure isn't available yet for those who will be high-speed charger dependent.  Needless to say, I expect a lot more of this time of spin now that RAV4 Prime delivers have begun: "PHEVs are only a crutch, they do not really count in the transition since they won't be there when the transition is done."  This is my response to that nonsense today:  Looking inside, the propulsion system in a PHEV is the same as a BEV.  They share EV-drive & cabin-comfort components.  Both hardware & software can be intermixed.  Basically, the difference with electric-only operation is BEV offers a larger battery-pack.  It's bizarre that you don't understand how the motors, controllers, cells, charger, as well as the programmer, have so much in common.  Or maybe you do know and you are purposefully spreading a false narrative, hoping people won't take the time to research.  With that "too little and too late" conclusion in your post, claiming Toyota likely won't even survive, it appears the latter.  Keep in mind, the rollout of UX300e proves your platform claim false already.  PHEV will very much be there, as the technology carries forward.  In fact, the expertise gained now from production & support is helping the process along.  Toyota is building a reputation for BEV reliability even before many BEV are delivered.

7-30-2020 Old Tech.  Those hoping to undermine progress try really hard to come up with new angle of deception: "Profit today, bankrupt tomorrow... Transition today, prosperous tomorrow..."  Undermining is their goal.  By any means possible is acceptable.  They just need to confuse & intimidate.  Ugh.  I fired back with:

Those two outcomes are not mutually exclusive!  In fact, that's a basic principle of economics... striking balance between the two.

The goal with any good business is to invest the right amount of profit into the future.  Finding that can be a challenge, but it most definitely is not the polarized perspective you portray.  We are witnessing that play out well right this very moment too.  Today was the first day of RAV4 Prime deliveries in the United States.  It is very much a transitional vehicle; yet, it is also profitable... especially with the markups some dealers are getting away with.

Many here thought it was foolish for Toyota to limit initial distribution, without being able to explain what flooding the market would achieve.  A starting allocation of 5,000 for the second half of 2020 in the United States will both begin transition and provide profit.  Other markets will also get their allocation, resulting in the same outcome.  It is a balance of today & tomorrow.  You could argue quantity, but that won't change the principle.

Sales of RAV4 Prime deliver a full EV driving experience today in addition to proving the technology for a BEV tomorrow.  It makes no difference whether the vehicle also includes a gas engine.  Plug-Supplied electricity to propel the vehicle and warm/cool the cabin is the goal, delivered today as a long-term solution for tomorrow.

Put another way, you are getting called out for spinning an "old tech" narrative which is proving to be nothing but a desperate final effort to distract from the progress playing out right now.  You know all too well the significant role RAV4 Prime will play toward getting ordinary consumers to choose a plug-in for their next purchase.  It will set the stage for Toyota's upcoming BEV models, some of which may end up featuring a solid-state battery.


Blind Hope.  The purpose of new technologies in electrification has been to provide a means of phasing out traditional offerings.  Those dirty guzzlers must be replaced, period.  That's why this comment posted today was asking for a serious knock of sensibility... since it clearly lacked any critical thinking: "I so hope that GM doesn't blow this.  But I am starting to assume that they will blow it.  C'mon GM, prove me wrong."  That's what you call blind hope, the same old nonsense we have seen too many times in the past.  I responded with:  Two-Mode (hybrid) = fail.  Volt (plug-in hybrid) = fail.  Bolt (full electric) = fail.  None of those major efforts went anywhere, despite 15 years of promises.  The pattern is so obvious, it takes a great deal of denial to still not accept the problem....  1,000 Horsepower.  0-60 in 3 seconds.  11,500 lb-ft torque.  Will that be the next major gimmick?  GM is focusing heavily on it.  How can such a beast possible help their dealers, their customers, their stockholders?  You don't change the bottom-line by focusing on enthusiast praise.  Yet we see the repeat of it, yet again.  Cadillac Lyric introducing a new scalable architecture sounds great, but how is that any different from what VW or Toyota are also pursuing?  We have already seen expensive choices in that past go nowhere.  Remember ELR?  Remember CT6?  How is this going to actually reach mainstream models, something capable of sustainable high-volume sales that are profitable for GM branded offerings?  In other words, what makes this different from countless ambiguous press-releases of the past?  Seriously.  It's the same old game being played again.  Learn from history.

7-30-2020 No Interest.  They have nothing already.  Antagonists running out of argument points so soon is a good sign.  Usually, there's some type of reason to exploit.  This time around, none of traits they hoped to twist into a weakness are working.  There's simply too much compelling about RAV4 Prime... enough to drown out their rhetoric.  Remember the "Who?" question.  That was about audience, asking the troublemakers who they are attempting to appeal to.  They had very few interested in listening to their nonsense in the past.  Heck, even some of the most staunch posters simply gave up after awhile.  That abandon-ship made status obvious.  This time, it is even easier... their voice cannot be heard... which makes a claim of "no interest" ironic in several regards.  I was happy to draw attention to that too:

Claiming no interest requires turning a blind-eye to what is happening with Toyota's product-line.  They are pushing their entire fleet forward, giving their dealers an easy means of embracing electrification.  Letting go of traditional guzzlers is very simple when you have a high-demand hybrid that is effortless to sell... and a plug-hybrid that is drawing lots of attention.

Think about how well positioned RAV4 is to lead the way for building reputation in the eyes of ordinary consumers.  Prius will continue to push the technology, but it's that appeal to mainstream shoppers that equates to the significant change... that bottom dollar keeping the profit flowing.

Anyone can find a "no interest" quote from the past, especially when the full context is not included.  Only those looking to promote propaganda will actually take the bait though.  The rest of us see how well refined the EV operation is of the Prime vehicles.  It's that chicken/egg situation.  Toyota is far more interested in nailing down incredible reliability before stepping up to the spotlight with a BEV here in this mixed-message market.

Consider how much of a struggle the United States is having now... no standard for high-speed charging... no policy on climate change... no push to switch to renewable energy... and a lot of support for oil & coal still.  It's sad, but works out well for quietly advancing tech in the meantime, preparing for an all-out shift... quite the opposite approach of other legacy automakers.


Innovate.  I wonder how long this classic spin will persist: "They see their pre-existing technology (hybrids and fuel cell) as being the answer and have a difficult time flushing those investments down the toilet and going to the new thing (BEV)."  Even if you are completely clueless about the past, the goal of replacing old technology with new is easy to identify.  The means will remain a mystery, but the outcome obvious.  GM introduced a plug-in vehicle a decade ago and nothing became of it.  Look around.  What changed?  Pickups got larger and SUV choices became more abundant.  None of that can be debated.  Looking forward, how is an ordinary consumer going to observe & interpret?  The key to understanding that is to recognize how it happened with hybrids.  Notice the pattern?  It was subtle.  It came about from curiosity.  It was mainstream focused.  None of that is what enthusiasts can relate to.  This is why all the praise & accolades for Volt meant nothing with regard to innovation an ordinary consumer would embrace.  It was out of their reach, just a technology looked upon as a hobby interest or something politically pushed.  A good analogy is how cell-data became a norm.  People had phones they were happy with already.  But a little at a time, they began to notice advantages the new tech had to offer.  That's innovation, when you compel someone to consider an upgrade that truly offers a benefit.  This is why I found that "toilet" comment so amusing.  Those enthusiasts believing that are trying to sell an idea, not a benefit.  Failing to explain the differences of technologies along with the benefit (or lack of) is their failing.  You don't entice consumers by dismissal.  I replied to that with:  Innovator's Dilemma is what GM did, following the path of enthusiasts to refine a niche rather than focus on a wider product for ordinary consumers.  Toyota clearly didn't do that.  Volt was a dead-end, nothing followed due to it being such a specialized design.  RAV4 Prime is a blatant contradiction, an obvious successor to Prius Prime (and Corolla PHV).  As for pre-existing technology, that doesn't make an sense.  Explain how the EV drive system from a PHEV cannot be shared with a BEV.


Being Ready.  The narrative most often sighted is that PHEV had their place in the past, but now is the time for BEV.  In a way, that's true.  From the "EV market" perspective, the participants really do see it that way.  But that is just a tiny fraction of the automotive market as a whole.  Enthusiasts are early-adopters, they seek the latest & greatest.  They has no interest in a mature product, something proven a good buy from years of documented reliability.  If it isn't pushing new levels, they feel it is a waste of time.  That's how I knew Volt would fall into the trap... by recognizing that audience.  Downplay is an obvious clue: "While some continue to push PHEV's, most of the market has moved on.  They know they are already behind and offering a platform that adds cost and complexity only dilutes resources."  That attempt to dismiss by claiming its time has passed is common.  Their belief isn't viewed that way by the masses though.  That audience expects years of a technology to be verified as worthy by others before they will consider it ready for their consideration.  It is the way consumers think.  This is why a business managed like Toyota can successfully plan so far ahead.  They don't succumb to enthusiasts.  Patience is a virtue with great rewards... especially if you are able to discretely advance the technology.  That hidden nature is what allows some rhetoric to thrive.  True supporters just do their best to keep it from getting out of hand.  It's not all bad in the end anyway.  The stuff that slips through the cracks tends to provide negative publicity.  That type of attention can be beneficial.  If nothing else, it gives me the opportunity to provide some exposition:  Quite the opposite, we're seeing rapid growth throughout the industry and it is a sharing of resources.  EV propulsion in a PHEV is no different than that in a BEV.  Both provide the same full electric-only driving, from battery-pack to wheel.  The only difference is a PHEV offers a secondary means of power for after the plug-supplied electricity is depleted.  As for a "behind" claim, notice how not a single post on this discussion has been able to provide any substance to support it?  There is simply no merit for alleging the position.  Those attempting that undermining hope you won't figure out that the hardware & software is heavily shared.


Rush.  The insults keep coming.  And still, they have nothing.  This one really stood out: "15 minutes, plus 5 years."  It failed to even stir any rhetoric.  So, I couldn't resist being the only response:  Ironically, such an attempt to insult falls flat. It takes that long for most new technologies anyway, if not longer.  Look at VW from the time of dieselgate to delivery of a BEV.  Even with enormous pressure, it still took 5 years.  GM didn't have the force or desire to deliver and Volt just floundered, even with the extra time for rollout of a second-generation.  Yet, that technology struggled to spread.  Toyota, on the other hand, has diversified their PHEV tech by spreading it from Prius to both Corolla and RAV4 in less time.  So, it spinning a belief that faster is realistic or it is even beneficial to rush really doesn't match up with how the business can operate in a profitable & sustainable manner.  There simply isn't an example showing how a faster outcome can or should happen.


Obsolete.  That's the favorite word to use as an insult for Toyota.  It lacks supporting substance.  It fails to provide any perspective.  It is absent of any context.  There's simply nothing to give people a sense of what is the latest & greatest.  The hope is you'll dismiss based on assumption... which is how you know they really don't have anything to argue with.  I see that over and over and over again.  Vague references and a refusal to provide any detail confirms it.  This is what I look for.  It has worked for the past 20 years.  They claim superiority without merit.  What I get a kick out of is how effective they believe that is.  It's like a child trying to conceal something from their parent.  The act is so obvious to detect; yet, it happens again and again despite that.  This was my response to the latest attempt to deceive:  Latest hardware obsolete?  Toyota has a PHEV (RAV4 Prime), a FCV (Mirai), and a BEV (Lexus UX300e) all delivering full electric-only propulsion.  They all confirm that statement is meritless.  Heck, even claiming the EV system delivered for each is outdated is a rather desperate.  Think about how easy it is to swap in a battery-pack with next-gen chemistry.  Also, consider how well refined Toyota's software already is.


Solid-State Plans.  Anytime Toyota stands out for being different, it gets attacked.  That's expected. What isn't expected is how obvious the desperate to impair is.  The arguments are so weak, it's almost not worth responding, since it takes so little to confirm shortcomings & mistakes being posted.  The catch is, a few of those posts include outright lies.  Allowing those to be spread can be detrimental.  So, there's always a need to address undermining efforts.  Progress being made with solid-state batteries is the topic at hand.  Toyota, as a major sponsor of this summer's Olympics games, had been planning to reveal prototypes of their upcoming BEV models using those batteries.  But with that pandemic, that great venue for such a reveal has been delayed for a year.  The market will be different by then, so how to share that introduction is a challenge.  A decision was made to just release an announcement to the press for now... which is how the stir from antagonists erupted.  I jumped in with some background & perspective:  When Prius PHV distribution was limited and then production halted, timing of a next-gen design being finalized coincided rather well.  People raised the same type of rhetoric back then as we are seeing here now.  They ended up being very wrong.  Prius Prime carried the technology forward, advancing it another generation... bringing cost down while refining motor/controller/charger production & software.  That's how Toyota does business.  It's continuous improvement with little regard for enthusiast criticism.  Whether or not they have a "solid" plan makes no difference.  Their effort to phaseout traditional vehicles continues, which is going very well.  That makes the step to BEV easier than other legacy automakers... putting them ahead, not behind.


Slow Down.  I wonder how often this narrative will be attempted: "And let's keep in mind that it is in Toyota's interest to slow down the EV transition..."  Who exactly is going to believe that?  Anyone not paying attention will see Toyota vehicles are adding plugs.  They won't understand how the plug works or how that electricity is used.  They will just see a cord feeding power to the vehicle.  That's a binary perspective.  Either it has a plug or it doesn't.  Mainstream consumers don't know detail related to any aspect of electrification.  In fact, that was a major contributor to messaging for Volt being so confused.  This is why KISS is so important for conveying information to users of any sort of technology.  Anywho, that's just a side note.  The reply I provided just pointed out the disconnect from a business perspective:  Quite the opposite... and you are far outnumbered by this statement.  PHEV encourage the move to BEV purchases.  Toyota is setting the stage for that.  They'll hook some loyal customers and get them to replace their PHEV or add a BEV to the household.  It's all about transitioning the entire fleet, not just seeking some gain in the short-term.  Posts focusing on just the short-term and narrow audiences are not constructive.  The rhetoric of "behind" may be exciting for enthusiasts to talk about, but those who count (dealers filling inventory and consumers purchasing it) couldn't care less.  In other words, the "slow down EV" has no substance with regard to the BEV market.  Remember, a PHEV delivers the full EV driving experience.  It too is all-electric technology, sharing many of the same system components as a BEV.  So whatever narrative is spread about image doesn't match the reality of production.


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