Prius Personal Log  #1023

July 31, 2020  -  Auust 11, 2020

Last Updated:  Tues. 10/13/2020

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8-01-2020

Purity Arguments.  There was an attempt at pushing the EREV nonsense again.  After a decade long of failing to prove that approach worthy, there's nothing left to argue.  Those new to the blogs will try though.  I completely ignored the arbitrary parameters posted though, focusing instead on the explanation provided: "The onboard ICE should specifically be designed to carry the load of long distance road trips - with the EV system carrying all the rest."  It was an invitation to send the same message as in the past, but now in a new way... since the perspective is different now with RAV4 Prime able to reach an entirely new audience.  So, I gave it a shot:  The purpose of a PHEV has always been to provide an affordable means of significantly reducing emissions & consumption, a plug augmentation of the hybrid system... exactly as the name indicates.  Using the gas-engine less by using the electric-motor more is a simple equation.  The key is to do that without great expense.  That purpose is fulfilled without the "road trips" definition you provided.  That's a want, not a need.  It's a distinction vital to the business success.  There's a balance.  Pleasing enthusiasts (satisfying want) often means souring the appeal for ordinary consumers (supporting need).  Not recognizing the difference makes any further discussion futile.  There are innovative ways to overcome some want hurdles.  This very topic actually addresses that.  By having the ability to take advantage of DC fast-charging while shopping, you don't need as big of a battery-pack... which would achieve your greater AER requirement without adding more capacity.

8-01-2020 Rural Support.  I got the opportunity today to add a missing aspect of the fast charging discussion which had been overlooked.  Far too often, topic comments lack depth.  They are typically nothing but an exchange of talking-points.  That basically wastes everyone's time... a common problem with blogs that contributes to narratives.  Being able to repeat the same mindless messages is an enabler for undermining.  I strive to derail those efforts.  This is a great example of that:

Did you notice the lack any rural location mention?  About 60 million people in the United States live in non-metropolitan areas.  They don't get anything from GM's effort.  Why?  A possibility is how much more expensive it likely is to get that higher tier service to provide the faster speed... which is a problem that should sound familiar.  Ever notice where the bulk of slower Internet service is still?

In other words, many won't see high-speed DC fast-charging beyond 50 kW locally for a much longer time than everyone else.  Paying for something you never get to actually ever use doesn't make sense.  After all, lack of infrastructure contributes to an encounter with a Tesla in rural areas being as common as unicorn sightings.

Ironically, the apparent shift of focus for GM to plug-in trucks will make the lack of any investment in rural areas a mixed message.  Are they really supporting a BEV pick-up to be used the same way as regular pick-up?  If so, why no support for them in locations where those vehicles are abundant?

This is why it is so important to keep discussions going beyond just the basics.  The more you dig for information, the more unanswered questions come about... ones that some automakers may already be pursuing an answer to.  Toyota pushing 50 kW charging throughout their fleet as a base feature makes a lot of sense.  You want faster, you have to upgrade to a better package.  Heck, we see that already with RAV4 Prime for L2 charging.  So, it's not much of a stretch to also see a similar approach with DCFC charging.

8-01-2020

Air-Cooled.  There was a second part to that troublemaker's post: "Toyota can do so much better if they tried. Nissan sells a good number of air-cooled LEAFs - at least they admit that the design was a compromise.  You see their upcoming new Ariya EV SUV is thermally controlled.  Why would Toyota mail it in with this Lexus?"  I was more than happy to reply to that as well:  Lastly, your misrepresentation of "air-cooled" is quite telling.  Such a generalization is totally inappropriate, an obvious attempt to undermine.  The system used in Leaf was passive, lacking even a fan to circulate air around the exterior of the pack.  Having heat radiate through the sealed pack without any removal process is nothing at all like what the Lexus BEV uses.  Nissan's absence of any means to exchange or even circulate internal air is what contributed to all the kerfuffle in the past.  The approach Toyota has taken is to use a dedicated A/C path that forces the cooled air throughout the interior of the pack.  That's a profound difference you hoped to conceal.  You also excluded any mention of the 10-year, 1-million-kilometer (621,000-mile) warranty.

8-01-2020 On The Offensive.  I wondered if any troublemaker from that old daily blog for Volt would show up.  It happened, and he launched an attack: "You do realize that Volt was not intended by GM to be a big seller, right?  They didn't even advertise the second generation car!  What does that tell you?  Your point comes off as if Volt was a big failure because GM miscalculated what consumers wanted. GM loses money on each Bolt sold as was the case for Volt.  In turn, they gain ZEV credits and absorb the losses.  You're just here as always, going off the rails defending your beloved Toyota.  This cobbled-together Lexus is just another form of compliance."  Posting what I was responding to in full makes sense in this case, giving as much context as possible for my turn on him... since it's not a defense reply this time: 

You know all too well I was referring to the technology in Volt, aka Voltec.  Countless exchanges in the past were about spreading that across the fleet, to deliver exactly what GM is finally doing with Velite 6 in China... but here, back when Volt first got its big price-reduction due to struggling sales.  That was the more logical step, not gen-2... which ended up fulfilling the Innovator's Dilemma problem.  All throughout those years, I posted about the necessity for GM to diversify.

As for me supposedly defending Toyota, that contradicts this exchange.  Toyota did indeed diversify.  The tech which originated in Prius has since been spread to both Corolla and RAV4.  That was the point all along with GM.  Toyota has even taken it a step further with UX300e.  The battery-pack it uses is exactly 3 times the capacity of RAV4 Prime.  Expertise gained from the PHEV program is carrying over nicely to BEV.

Go ahead, call it a compliance effort.  Gaining ZEV credits and absorbing losses is part of the process. That's how all of the plug-in projects start. It's what happens next that matters... and there's nothing to show that Toyota won't continue spreading their tech.  In fact, this thread is about exactly that.

btw, you are quite incorrect about GM not advertising.  I heard Volt promotions on NPR routinely for years... which is what contributed to my asking of the "Who is the market for Volt?" question for all those years.  Hearing about Volt so often made me wonder who GM was targeting.

And finally, GM did indeed miscalculate.  RAV4 Prime is overwhelming proof that the Equinox with Voltec, so often mentioned by me as the next step GM should have taken, was a huge opportunity missed.  That's confirmation of having understood audience and recognizing what the technology had to offer.

7-31-2020 Game Changing.  The debate continued.  He challenged me with an article published today about an announcement made by GM today.  I have been studying this topic for awhile now.  In fact, I had a counter stashed away from a few weeks ago on this very issue.  So, that source was a handy link to share along with some more information to keep the discussion continuing & constructive:

You missed the point, again.  50 kW is just the starter.  There will be faster choices to follow.  For that matter, how are you drawing the conclusion that it is the maximum to be offered?  The first vehicle from Toyota to support CCS hasn't even been announced yet.  Also, keep in mind that there is a sharing of tech.  Starting at the low end benefits both PHEV and BEV offerings.  It is a way to reach more consumers faster.

That being said, look at VW models of ID3.  Notice how the base comes with 50 kW charging?  Upgrading to faster is a matter of purchasing the option or upgrading to a nicer package.  Toyota adding a feature later, after initial rollout, is nothing new.  So, you're just barking up a tree without achieving anything.  It will naturally happen anyway... just not as fast as you would like.  Remember who Toyota is targeting.  Their market is not like Tesla.  Leveraging their Lexus brand to help the process along makes sense with so much larger of an automaker with such a high quantity of dealers spread across the world.

Lastly, you keep evading the non-vehicle cost issues.  Owners of those chargers will have to pay for a higher tier service to provide faster charging.  Stepping back to look at the assistance GM just announced they'll provide is nice, but for perspective there are 392 metropolitan areas in the United States.  40 is just barely over 10%.  Being the 1 in 10 to get some of the 2,700 chargers and waiting up to 5 years for that isn't exactly game-changing.  End users will still have to pay the $5 to $15 per charging session too.

7-31-2020 When Cornered.  At the point they recognize having lost the argument, with nothing else to point to as a distraction, the move is usually this: "We will have to agree to disagree."  That gives the impression of politely being impartial, rather than admitting defeat.  Reality is, he was refusing to address the issue.  Nothing with regard to chargers made that quite clear.  He didn't provide anything for me to disagree with.  That absence of any point at all is abandonment... no position taken.  You cannot win or lose if you aren't participating.  Of course, he started it all with the "50 kW" belittle.  So, I made my finish count:

There is nothing to disagree with.  Your focus is a future several generations out.  I'm simply talking about the next step, the upcoming generation of offerings.  Of course there were will an ever-improving infrastructure.  You can't just skip steps though.  The business world is not setup for dramatic change.  That's a hard lesson learned in other industries already.  Heck, even the BEV market itself is struggling with that.  Just look at battery-size or charger-type.  Adding charge-speed to the mix should make it clear your vision of the future is accurate, but won't be as soon as you hope... not even close.

Think about the audience.  Both dealer & consumer have many hurdles to overcome to make any type of endorsement for BEV in general.  Expensive support from a third-party for charging is simply too complex for an aggressive calendar.  It will happen, but not quickly.  Pushing beyond necessity is a tough sell.  Why use resources on something that clearly isn't required?  Those nice-to-haves are what Tesla customers are happy to pay a premium for.  That isn't true for Toyota customers though.  So again, there's nothing to disagree with.

Also, consider how Tesla is small automaker with limited choice.  Toyota offers a far greater product-line in both choice & volume, as well as a luxury division.  Resources & Timelines are managed much differently as a result.  That doesn't mean they both won't meet at some point, but it does mean the path taken won't be the same... which, yet again, means there's nothing to disagree with.

7-31-2020

Evading Issues.  The expense part of my comment obviously struck a nerve.  His reaction was to avoid it entirely.  That's a sure sign hitting the bulls eye.  Finding that vital part missing from the big picture is what really messes up antagonists.  Their narratives require a cherry-picked trait, hammering away at it so intensely people forget about everything else.  It builds up a false importance.  They depend upon manipulation of facts like that, misleading you about priorities and balance.  Anywho, I wasn't about to put up with that nonsense:  Dancing around the expense issue doesn't make it go away.  You completely side-stepped the point brought up about chargers, attempting to make the entire reply only about the vehicle.  Faster charging costs more, period.  Charger owners must pay more for the physical equipment in addition to paying for a higher service-tier from the local electricity provider.  That worked fine for Tesla when numbers were limited.  But as the demand grew, the free got changed to a fee.  And there's nothing wrong with paying for faster, that's not what Lexus is currently targeting though.  They are shooting for the middle, using it as a luxury starter while also having it prove out the practical nature of 50kW for much lower priced Toyota models in the future.  After all, we'll likely see a variety of chemistries being offered later.  A pack with solid-state tech won't be cheap, but it will support faster charging better than the current tech.

7-31-2020 Charging Speed.  It is fascinating to see that become the latest overkill.  In the past, it was acceleration & range.  Enthusiasts obsessed with want to such an extreme, they didn't recognize need.  More was better, period.  If you argued against that, you were fighting to resist change.  They couldn't see the difference.  There was no convincing them otherwise.  Data was meaningless.  Ugh.  So naturally, we are getting that with charging-speed now: "And at a blazing 50 kW."  That sarcastic comment came from an individual clearly upset about the progress Toyota was making with their BEV, how its upcoming rollout in Europe is getting attention.  That wrecks the "behind" narrative.  Their arguments have fallen apart, so now they need something new to focus on.  Claiming 50kW is not fast enough is it... more is necessary, supposedly.  This was my response to today's attempt:

50 kW charging is likely to be far more common.  Cost of equipment and the electricity itself are major barriers for faster.  In fact, isn't that why Tesla supercharging is broken into tier-1 and tier-2 choices?  The expense of delivering more electricity at a higher rate must be paid for by someone.  Keep in mind, we're seeing challenges with cord-cooling needed for the high end.  Then there's the simple business reality of quantity.  Offering more charging spots at retail, grocery, coffee, and restaurant destinations makes far more sense.

In other words, know your audience.  How often would this vehicle be used for long-distance travel, where spending a premium for rapid-recharge wouldn't be an issue?  Think about how difficult the justification is for offering a limited number of very expensive chargers.  Neither provider nor consumer are going to be an easy sell for that choice. Having a bank of 50kW chargers is the logical next step, especially with BEV market penetration so tiny still.

For a reality check, consider how much electricity you can actually get from a 50kW charger in just 20 minutes, a typical shopping stop at a store.  At full speed, that could pull in a little over 16 kWh of electricity. With an efficiency rating of 4.0 kWh/mi, that works out to 65 miles for EV travel.  How much do you actually need for just running around the metro & suburbs?

7-31-2020

Repetition.  It is bizarre how some people fail to learn from history.  When I point out the pattern, they just outright dismiss, not even bothering to explain why they think this time is different.  So naturally, I got this to the blind hope post: "So much hyperbole..." followed by "Please spare me the selective criticism on how each vehicle somehow came up short.  At the end of the day all were competent vehicles which offered true advancements to the marketplace..." concluded with "I don't understand people who selectively get bent out of shape by press releases and marketing strategy."  My guess is he really doesn't understand.  He sees engineering success, but has little to no experience with how that impacts business.  I have decades of experience, from both with vehicle technology and my career developing software.  I don't expect my return message to be received well, but at least I tried:  A vehicle making it to market is only the first milestone in a very long journey.  The purpose of each of those technologies was to evolve and be spread across the fleet.  They failed to achieve that. You can argue competency until the cows come home, but it would change failure to alter what is now offered in dealers lots.  Sadly, the status quo remains intact.  Seeing that pattern repeat over and over again should be a warning.  People getting bent out of shape for your refusal to acknowledge the repetition, how ambiguous releases continue to be used to feed hype, is something you'll just have to learn to deal with.

 

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