Prius Personal Log  #1029

August 29, 2020  -  September 3, 2020

Last Updated:  Tues. 10/13/2020

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9-03-2020

Gen-5 Wish List.  This was an interesting new topic started on the big Prius forum today.  I was quite curious where the discussion would take up.  He innocently asked the question: "What's on your wish list for Gen 5?"  It was followed by a perfectly reasonable list of upgrade hopes & suggestions.  The thing is, with such an evolving market, incremental improvements are typically not enough after several generations.  The upgrade must provide a substantial upgrade at some point.  I am saying that should be gen-5 with the case for Prius.  Circumstances require something big.  Timing would be fantastic.  How could Toyota make Prius stand out again after so much with regard to hybrid offerings has happened?  They are standard across all the usual vehicles on the dealer's lot now.  Some traditional models have been phased out and the PHEV models growing.  Prius being the first of the hybrids to no longer offer a model without a plug completely makes sense, especially with how mature the battery tech will be in about 2 years.  That will be the next pull forward of the entire fleet, Prius leading the way again.  My jump into the topic was with:  The market for a non-plug Prius is coming to a close.  It's mission to spread hybrid technology throughout the fleet can be given a status of accomplished.  Drawing upon that success to make Prius only available with a plug should be seen as the obvious next step.

9-03-2020

More Attacks.  Apparently, today was the day: "Toyota has trashed their reputation by the RAV4 is a ploy to say that they are doing something.  The lack of supply is part of the plan, not a stumbling block to overcome."  The meritless attempts to undermine sure remind me of when Prius PHV was discontinued.  With no word of what Toyota would do next, antagonists just started spinning their own stories.  It was a great opportunity for them to back into a corner.  They had nothing to support their wild claims... most of which showed signs of desperation when Prius Prime was finally revealed.  That complete absence of substance was obvious... and well worth waiting for.  Same thing appears to be playing out again.  Witnessing it is quite interesting too.  There are a few who just decided Toyota crossed a line.  Such an arbitrary turn is telling.  I put it this way:  Lack of patience is the problem, not supply.  What's up with the narrative that RAV4 must be delivered in high-volume immediately?  Toyota never rushes and couldn't care less about what enthusiasts spin for expectations.  They have rolled out the PHEV model of RAV4 worldwide, while continuing to deliver upgraded & new models of hybrid.  For those aware of Toyota's approach and with the new partnership just finalized with Panasonic in April, they will see past the supposed trashing of reputation and see the bigger picture.  Think about reputation and the need to educate consumers.  Rushing provides no benefit in that regard.

9-03-2020

Got Nothing.  Response to my progress reply was a rant about timing and self-charging, concluded by: "Toyota stinks, EV-wise, and in their irresponsible wastage of resources on FCEVs."  The expectation was a load of pointless diatribe, but that took the cake.  I was quite amused.  This is how I fired back:  2012 PHEV gen-1 = 4.4 kWh;  2017 PHEV gen-2 = 8.8 kWh;  2020 PHEV gen-3 = 18.1 kWh.  Spin whatever beginnings you want.  Attempt to change focus.  It won't change the rate of progress listed.  That technology will be spread across a wide variety of choices, which is the point of the post.  What I find most telling though is how you carefully avoided explaining what "EV-wise" actually means.  No mention of RAV4 Prime's ability to drive at 84 mph with the heater running, using only electricity.  No mention of UX300e's 10-year, 1-million km warranty for its battery-pack.  What exactly was wasted?  Sounds like just another complaint about not following the very same path Tesla took.

9-03-2020

Progress.  Stirring of the pot came today in the form of detail released for the upcoming PHEV model of Jeep Wrangler.  We ended up getting this comment: "While it's great to see this product, I can't help but imagine that if legacy automakers had their way, they would have dragged incremental developments like this on for decades.  Thankfully, Tesla came along to save us from countless years of "progress" rolling out at a snails pace."  I was amused by the usual undermining.  Same old nonsense we got from Volt enthusiasts.  They would post their "vastly superior" claims in any article of a constructive nature that didn't feature their precious.  Ugh.  It's really sad how they cannot welcome others to the team.  It's always a smug jab.  I ended up replying with:  That narrative is reinforced if you refuse to acknowledge spread of the technology.  Look at how neither GM nor Nissan did anything to actually change their status quo. Their token offerings didn't end up making a difference on their dealers lots.  In other words, sales inventory pretty much remained the same. Toyota, on the other hand, has spread their hybrid technology across almost the entire fleet... to the point of 2 models only being available as hybrids now.  So what if the range started at 12, then increased to 25, then increased to 42. It didn't take decades either.  It took 8 years.

9-02-2020

Indirect Death.  We are seeing parallels emerge.  Being able to link vehicle emissions to breathing problems is nearly impossible; yet, the evidence of pollution contributing to complications like asthma are overwhelming.  Whether you can pinpoint cause or not, the outcome of death is undeniable.  So even if all direct links are argued away, the result is the same.  No amount of reasoning will change that.  It makes you think of the pandemic issues.  If resources in the hospital are consumed by Covid-19 patients, how many are dying for other reasons but that death could have otherwise been prevented?  How much waste is there fighting green solutions?  Think of what could have been achieved if those resources were used to promote instead.  Just 1 week away from my 20th anniversary of Prius ownership, it is a valuable perspective to consider.  We could be doing far more than we actually are.  There are consequences of not taking all factors into account.

9-01-2020

Misconceptions.  The time has come.  I finally have an audience for a Prime User-Guide and have collected enough research material to make it worthwhile.  Getting beyond the early-adopter stage certainly took a long time with this generation.  Provoking me to begin the assembly of the document was a video posted by a Toyota mechanic with the intent to provide tips for new Prius Prime and RAV4 Prime owners.  There were several items which could have been presented better.  But since they didn't provide incorrect or information that was terribly misleading, I wasn't worried about them.  No one is perfect.  He did a decent job.  One specific item did need to be addressed though.  He spent several minutes discussing how it was best to avoid "full" recharges, not aware that isn't actually possible.  In other words, he was telling people about how lithium battery chemistry works in general.  The fact that the system won't ever let you charge to that level clearly wasn't known to him.  So, he was passing along bad advice.  I made the following on the video directly to him, and included the comment about my comment on the big Prius forum discussing it...  I found it troubling that he was propagating a misconception with his claims of "full" recharge and ended up posting: FULL charge is prevented automatically. When it shows 100% on the display, actual state-of-charge for the battery-pack is 84%. That upper limit is a buffer within the software for longevity. Owners don't need to do anything special when recharging daily.

9-01-2020

Sickening.  Our president is a terrible person.  The more you look for problems, the more you find.  Today's discovery was especially sickening.  I had an invitation to pass along that information too, in response to: "Gas is on way out currently."  That comment was the first sentence in a very long post that completely missed the point, going on about various charging costs and resulting emissions.  Having an incorrect premise tends to invalidate the rest.  I replied to it with:  Are you really that naive?  The current administration has been pushing hard to open up new oil drilling sites.  The latest effort was today.  They removed many of the usual steps required for new locations within national forests.  Eliminating requirement for public notice & comment prior to approval is just plain evil.  We don't need more oil; yet, there's continued pressure for more.  Gas won't be on the way out with stuff like this happening, since it will ensure guzzling remains dirt cheap.

8-31-2020

Pandemic Confirm.  Just like I have seen with the hybrid audience, people are poorly informed.  So many assumptions and so little opportunity to address them.  You have 10 seconds.  Go!  1... 2... 3...  Then they go on to something else.  Conclusion draw.  Their fate sealed.  It's truly amazing how some simply don't bother.  They just plain don't care.  Why?  My guess is they aren't even aware that more information is available.  They just accept the "It is what it is." mantra.  Ugh.  Recognizing the pattern and watching it play out is fascinating.  You really wouldn't expect so much to be so predictable.  It is though.  As I have pointed out with past disasters... Two-Mode... Volt-1... Volt-2... Bolt.  That same automaker continued to poorly informed, never making an effort to figure out what went wrong with previous efforts.  Each project failed predictably too.  Oh well.  It isn't like there are some of us trying to share experiences & observations.  And now with this confirm of how vulnerable people in general are to influences they don't understand, there's even more reason to keep pushing.

8-30-2020

How?  We are back to the "know your audience" emphasis.  That necessity of pointing out how the hybrid system actually works can't be stressed enough.  People completely new to the technology will make incorrect assumptions if you don't provide exposition from time to time.  Other times, they have the sense to ask questions: "When the battery has no more charge left (and using auto hv/ev mode), does the gas engine directly power the wheels?  Or does the gas engine charge the battery then the electric motor power the wheels?"  That was a great example of trying to learn about the unknown.  It's a fundamental to help understanding the rest of what happens.  Thinking through what really takes place as a result of plugging in and later when electricity is used up is what elevates us beyond rhetoric.  I kept my reply short & sweet:  The hybrid system is a FULL type (series-parallel), which means it can both generate & consume electricity at the same time.  This is achieved using a power-split device and 2 motors working in conjunction with the engine.  This flexibility allows it to rapidly seek out efficiency opportunities.

8-30-2020

Replacement Batteries.  I found this especially annoying: "When hybrids like the Toyota Prius were new, everyone "knew" that they were a bad buy.  Eventually a battery would need replacement..."  It was the opening for an article highlighting how aftermarket battery replacement has grown for Leaf.  With a BEV quite capable of many more years of operation, but impeded by a pack design not well thought out with regard to heat, there is a market for owners looking to renew their vehicle.  After all, with a new battery which offers greater capacity, the vehicle can actually become better than it was at the time of purchase.  That's an interesting twist... one the writer hoped to exploit by misrepresenting the past.  Distorting history is quite common.  But it is often because the person was poorly informed or their detail got mixed up.  In this case, it seemed a rather blatant attempt to promote through dishonesty.  After all, we should be holding journalists to higher standards.  Allowing them to mislead contributes to the problem.  So, I called her out, but in a manner that would hopefully stir some constructive feedback:  That was never true.  People suspected replacing the pack was inevitable, but Toyota proved otherwise... which is a major contributor to the successful spread of the tech throughout the fleet.  There are indeed high miles/years replacements, but those are far from common.  Most simply get driven to the ground with the original.  So with a BEV like Leaf, the question comes to the same circumstance.  How many miles/years does an owner go before making the choice to replace?

8-30-2020

Crickets Chirping.  The promise of a business portfolio featuring "20 EVs by 2023" for GM really isn't stirring much excitement.  In fact, we got this comment in an article today about GM supposedly getting serious now: "Since I am an extremely charming person I would put it this way: GM should get off its a$$ right now and fast."  That, of course, came from someone new.  Literally everyone who had fought me in the past is gone.  They all gave up when the "over promise, under deliver" problem could no longer be defended.  It has been the Volt enthusiast's worse nightmare recently.  RAV4 Prime is what they had always hoped from.  Toyota had done exactly what I pointed out was necessary... and it is paying off well.  So much wasted opportunity is difficult to deny.  GM squandered tax-credits for conquest, rather than addressing what actually needed to be done.  Many see that now.  So, comments like that are becoming common.  I wonder who the audience is now.  There aren't enthusiasts to stir ambiguous statements into hype anymore.  So, asking questions is still just as pointless.  But, it must be done.  That's how critical thinking requires:  TOO LITTLE, TOO SLOWLY was a concern expressed by the task force overseeing GM's bankruptcy recovery plan.  They saw the corporate culture as a major barrier to technology in Volt actually being used to advance the business.  I shared that same sentiment many times over the past decade (Google shows 167 posts) and got attacked every single time, claiming I had something against GM success.  It's amazing how those blindly endorsing Volt absolutely refused to acknowledge challenges engineering faces when it comes to executive decisions.  Keep in mind, Volt never targeted GM's own core customers.  Loyal owners who wanted to replace their aged SUV with a new one had no green choice, Volt technology was never spread to want their shoppers wanted most.  Instead, GM abandoned PHEV in favor of BEV.  Nothing has become of that either... 4 years later... still waiting.  So, what has changed?  Is there anything different now to show this isn't more of the same?

8-30-2020

Compromise.  The attacks on Toyota continue.  I find more and more, the benefit from looking through the commenters posting history.  That provides an intent perspective often not revealed in a quote.  For example: "The skateboard design is a bit more than the original RAV4EV, its a complete no compromise EV design from the ground up."  That seems relatively clear... until you find previous posts that day were loaded with claims of Toyota having wasted billions of dollars on hydrogen development efforts.  It still never ceases to amaze me how some believe an automaker must only produce passenger vehicles, that their technology cannot be used for anything else... especially when so much of what was developed can be shared.  Ugh.  Needless to say, I was quite curious if I could manage to actually get some type of detail from this person.  So, I posted:  When a term or concept is pushed without explanation of what makes it superior, that's called rhetoric.  It can also reveal the lack of understanding audience.  If people were interested in designs with no compromise, the SUV would not have becoming a daily commute vehicle.  They are absolutely horrible in terms of handling & efficiency compared to a car.  Yet, that is what now dominates our landscape.  What I find most telling though is the effort some go through to divert attention, rather than provide detail.  Rollout of Lexus UX300e continues.  When you look at its platform, battery-pack cells are laid out across the floor of the vehicle.  How is that not a "skateboard" design?  A compare to the newest BEV offering, the VW ID.3, doesn't reveal major chassis differences.  The design simply finds a means of providing some weight reduction and some more room for battery.  So as others have also requested, tell us what "compromise" makes so much of a supposed difference.

8-29-2020

Hydrogen Fuel.  In that discussion about solid-state batteries, the topic of hydrogen obviously emerged.  It is a misunderstood energy carrier.  The most overlooked aspect of it is how it will play a role in the storage of green energy.  When the wind blows and the sun shines resulting in electricity that cannot be consumed right away, large banks of batteries won't be the only solution.  In fact, this is when the efficiency equation gets a little screwy.  That excess electricity can be put to good use then.  Anywho, the discussion came down to this: "Hydrogen future is not dead."  Several had already attacked Toyota, pointlessly.  It's all rhetoric now.  There's no one to sway among the active participants.  The silent lurkers are another story.  We can continue to provide information to them constructively.  So, I joined in with:  Hydrogen will co-exist with BEV.  It is interesting to watch purists panic from the belief that hydrogen somehow threatens BEV progress.  Pushing a narrative of one-solution simply doesn't make sense.  Our power needs are diverse.  So, the claim of wasted investment is really a failure to consider the bigger picture.  There are massive efforts for industrial use we simply don't see from an automotive perspective... which is rather naive, since shipping (boats, trains, trucks) of completed vehicles and their parts to build require a shift away from diesel.  The expected replacement fuel for that is hydrogen.  So whether or not we feed our own personal vehicles with it is a moot point.  There obviously will be commercial use of hydrogen in fleet vehicles, for business & government.  That is why several major automakers are still advancing their fuel-cell offerings.  After all, the technology of electric-propulsion is interchangeable.  Many hardware & software components in FCEV are shared with BEV.

 

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