Prius Personal Log  #1033

September 20, 2020  -  September 26, 2020

Last Updated:  Tues. 10/13/2020

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Ironic.  There are a few who still don't get it: "Blaming the commercial failure of the Volt on Voltec, which was and still is actually superior to other PHEV tech, is not a valid argument."  They argue for a trait that has proven not to be beneficial.  In their mind, more is better, period.  That's a very hard lesson to learn, apparently.  Making something the very best it can be by favoring just one aspect of its design should be an obvious approach flaw.  You don't place everything you have on a single roll of the dice.  You know... betting the farm.  Ugh.  I find it incredibly ironic that the same mistake keeps getting made over and over again.  Repetition should be a warning sign.  They don't look for a pattern though.  They just dismiss.  So, I point it out:  It has been validated.  All those proclamations of "vastly superior" proved to be the problem.  It was overkill, an imbalance enthusiasts absolutely refused to accept.  They became enablers, encouraging terrible decisions by executives.  That's a hard lesson learned by those who believed in Volt.

9-26-2020 Repeating Lies.  When there is some element of truth, arguments are difficult.  Many of those I encounter don't follow detail, nor do they have much of an attention span.  That makes them especially vulnerable to repetition of lies.  It's what I dealt with for years from Volt enthusiasts.  They literally just repeated a made up fact over and over and over again, until it finally became part of a narrative.  This is what that evolved into: "Plug-in hybrids burn gas, and most of them are programmed to turn on the gas at a sneeze, and they typically don't get close to their pure EV mpg numbers.  They're better than ICE alone, but not by much.  Also, there's the clear market signal, that because they're also performance under-tuned, they don't sell."  That looks all too familiar... except now, I can point out what didn't work:

Turning a blind-eye to the reality that every technology evolves, including PHEV, makes people question your motive.  Think about the message you send by generalizing like that.  We all know there will be winners & losers in the same category. But we are only enthusiasts.

Consider the opposite end, the PHEV that was heavily promoted as a EREV.  It ultimately failed to grow beyond its niche market.  GM gave up on Volt.  That didn't mean all opportunity for PHEV was over.  In fact, the stir among more ordinary consumers is growing.  RAV4 Prime operates as an EV too, but it doesn't have to try so hard.  That's the key.  Keeping the engine from starting is just a basic behavior.

Whether or not the PHEV with less powerful motors also draw interest doesn't matter.  The category is new to mainstream shoppers.  They will never know what didn't end up becoming a high-volume offering.  Their knowledge won't expand much beyond what they discover on the dealer's lot years from now, when they finally take a look at plug-in choices.


Taking Attention Away.  The plug-in hybrid is becoming a threat to purist.  The only believe in BEV, so anything that portrays PHEV in a bad way is great undermining material to exploit.  For example: "Because PHEVs are oil's last hope, there is no way PHEV costs less in maintenance than ICE, Consumer Report is obviously biased."  Notice how that completely take attention away from them.  The idea of PHEV helping promote BEV interest isn't possible in their world.  It's a one-size-fits-all situation as far as they are concerned.  Anything with an engine is bad, period.  So, you find someone else to take the blame for your desire to impede.  Building a barrier without getting detected is key.  That's why I call individuals out from time to time.  In this case, I did that in a subtle way, by directing a question back to the originator:  The plug-in hybrid carries an engine that gets used minimally, running dramatically less than a traditional vehicle.  And in the case of a Toyota brand, it doesn't even have a serpentine belt or steering fluid.  It obviously doesn't use the friction brakes anywhere near as much.  Why wouldn't it cost less?


Complete Nonsense.  There wasn't anything sensible about this: "Both are crap.  Would reduce smog more if they are stronger in EV mode with more EV range and more EV power."  It was yet another attack, attempting to place all PHEV into a single category.  Antagonists absolutely hate that I keep singling out RAV4 Prime.  That's a foe they have no idea how to counter.  It was easy to take down Prius.  After 2 decades of trying, there was quite a collection of talking-points to divert & confuse.  But with such a new plug-in hybrid, so different and fulfilling a number of their claimed shortcomings of the past, they are at a complete loss.  It is a larger, faster, more powerful PHEV... which is exactly what they never thought would become a reality.  So now that it has, they are at a loss about how to undermine the progress taking place.  That makes the situation especially fulfilling.  They have nothing to rebut with.  That made this point quite redeeming:  Since the engine never starts, claims of a need for "stronger EV mode" are nothing senseless rhetoric.  How would you make electric-only driving reduce smog more?  In other words, I'm calling out your desperate effort to under PHEV by attempting to put the variety of different offerings all into a single category.

9-23-2020 Predictions.  Stuff like this is always vindicating to look back upon later: "I predict that Toyota will not survive the transition to BEV only."  Hearing tales of inevitable doom are quite amusing, especially when they are presented in such an incredibly vague manner.  Of course, it doesn't matter in this case.  The antagonists have lost the battle and can see loss of the war is looking realistic.  There's simply nothing to argue anymore.  Here's why:  The transition is already well underway.  RAV4, Prius, and Corolla as PHEV already are joined by the UX300e and C-HR offerings in China as BEV models.  The EV drive, controller, charger, battery and software used for the PHEV are shared with their BEV.

Good Enough.  I found this interesting, especially when posted on the Model Y (BEV) verses RAV4 Prime (PHEV) discussion thread: "It is my belief that in this place the "good" is the enemy of "good enough" and at this point PHEVs just aren't good enough in the fight against climate change."  This is what I had to say about that:  Rapidly converting the most of Toyota's passenger fleet from ICE to PHEV is quite realistic.  That would provide a profound reduction of carbon emissions, which you have failed to recognize.  Far too often, enthusiasts are willing to turn a blind-eye to the rest of what the automaker produces.  They sing praise for a token offering and attack the automaker quietly updating their platforms in preparation for an opportunity to shift.  It all depends upon battery chemistry & process.  Investing heavily in something that could soon be outdated isn't being addressed.  Enthusiasts just keep insisting that more is better, period.  That's quite reckless and definitely not a good investment approach.  Remember, the Toyota PHEV is a fully electric vehicle.  Everything needed to produce a BEV is present.  That means the investment Toyota is making now directly benefits future offerings.  In other words, the "good enough" you speak of is misplaced.


Allocation.  It's the story of haste, exactly the attitude we saw with Volt playing out again.  History really does repeat.  It's the same thing again.  Toyota has lost it way.  Blame is now being place on leadership: "Has the Toyota CEO lost his marbles?"  That's yet another attempt to shift focus from detail of approach to accusing someone of wrong doing.  That never ceases to amaze me how they think personal attacks accomplish anything.  I watch for it.  This is what confirms nothing of substance is available for argument.  Absence of material means nothing to focus on.  They try though.  Today's effort was to spin a narrative about allocation.  Supposedly, the only way to success is a high-volume availability immediately following rollout.  That doesn't even make sense with a product that's physically large, represent a purchase for the long-term, and is very expensive.  Who actually rushes for that?  The answer is, only early-adopters.  Mainstream consumers watch & wait instead.  Toyota knows their audience.  That means taking their time.  It's a well proven approach with no pressing reason to change.  Why alter something when predictability is an asset?  It's a simple formula for success.  I pointed it out with what should be obvious, but clearly is not:  Long-Term investment can be harmed by rushing.  Not ramping up until the initial markets have provided feedback is valuable information you would be sacrificing for the sake of satisfying enthusiasts.  That doesn't make sense.


Compliance.  Will the rhetoric ever end?  Of course not.  We just keep getting an endless stream of stuff like this: "There won't be a ramp up.  That's the role of a compliance car, to shut up the "greens", and nothing else."  I like documenting what was said, so looking back later there's an accurate depiction of the attitude at the time.  There's just outright dismissal that any other outcome is possible.  Then when their claim falls apart, they deny ever haven't said that.  But why wait until then, when you can jump on the chance to mess up their fake news right away.  Just look for an omission which contradicts.  Such evidence is usually avoided at great lengths.  So when you find it, make sure it gets the attention deserved.  That's why I really liked posting this in reply to today's nonsense:  The flaw in your logic is Toyota offers 2 supposed compliance vehicles.  That is evidence of long-term investment and moving slower with those is to the automakers advantage.  Of course, when you research, you'll find that the PHEV model count is actually... Prius, RAV4 and Corolla.  Simply pushing a single offering is how you know they were only doing the minimum, which clearly this is not.


Great, However.  This is an argument gone bad: "Toyota Prius did more than anything, make me hate the idea of electric/hybrid cars.  How freaking ugly can you get?  Tesla showed you could have sexy styling and amazing performance.  Too bad about the cost."  I had no motivation to post a reply.  In just a few sentences, their own line of reasoning was derailed.  Without having to point out the reality that much has changed since Prius, that the RAV4 hybrid is incredibly popular now... selling strong and has very little in common with those origins.  So what if the start was unappealing; technology evolves.  New choices emerge too.  But if they are not cost-competitive, they aren't viable alternatives.  So, there is no threat to Toyota from Tesla in that regard.  That's great, however...

9-22-2020 Attacks.  Wow!  This was so far beyond desperate, I was at a loss for words: "Silly and pointless article.  PHEV is not a fully electric car."  What possible follow-up could that person provide?  There's nothing of substance to support such a wild claim.  Who was this directed to anyway?  The audience reading his comment isn't take dumb.  It doesn't take critical thinking to question "fully electric" when EV range discussed so frequently.  In fact, that topic is so common, the AER (All Electric Range) term is no longer used.  The label applies so broadly now, there's nothing to make it special anymore.  Back when Volt had no other competition, they would fault the acronym.  Now, it's dead... as is the EREV label.  The PHEV from Toyota operated exactly like a BEV.  I pointed out why with the following:

What do you think defines a fully electric car?

  no gas = 84 mph
  no gas = pedal-to-the-floor acceleration
  no gas = cabin heating
  no gas = cabin cooling

Both RAV4 Prime and Prius Prime fit that criteria.  Both are PHEV.

9-21-2020 Schooled.  Some good came out of that long discussion thread about PHEV owners supposedly never plugging in.  It was this quote I could draw attention to: "I think you're ignoring the elephant in the report.  They're not getting plugged in.  The incentives are inefficient at achieving the goal of reduced emissions because of this.  To achieve greater efficiency from incentives, cut off PHEVs, and incentivize BEVs only.  The shocker in the report is that they're not getting plugged in."  New opportunity emerges when you have a new audience.  Watch for it.  Here's how I responded:

And you are unaware of how some incentives have *ALREADY* changed.

Some electricity providers have established metering, where your EVSE (or a dedicated external meter) reports charging data and you get rewarded accordingly.

I have been doing that for over 3 years now.  My power co-op knows exactly how many kWh of electricity I have pumped into my vehicle.  That allows me to save money each time I plug in using that connection... a very easy to understand and easy to collect incentive.  My bill shows the savings too, broken down into categories... showing during what pricing-category electricity was draw for the month and how much, listed separately for both my car and my wife's.

Our EVSE also has the same ability.  A quick look on the app shows my car has drawn a lifetime total of 4,551 kWh and my wife's 3,261 kWh.

In other words, this was a teaching moment. You just learned that rather than cutting off what appears to be bad, an alternate solution may be available.  Always look for a not-so-obvious win. In this newly emerging market, there are new opportunities.

To further push the point, think about how that incentive encourages PHEV owners to upgrade their home immediately, rather than waiting until they finally purchase a BEV years later.  This can be retroactive too, not just for new owners.  In fact, that is what our local plug-in owner's group is focusing on.  We want to encourage EVSE installs at home for any vehicle with a plug.

That's the shocker you should take away from this report.

Other ways to incentivize are available.


Waste of Time.  People draw a conclusion, then how onto it for a very long time: "I still feel like hybrids in general are a waste of time and added complexity, especially for automotive techs."  That's a major problem with evolving technology.  The person who stops their research will never observe change.  Think about how much hybrids have evolved over the past 2 decades... and even more importantly, how dealers are finally now responding.  I point out what was likely overlooked this way:  Hybrids in general is not a useful perspective.  By eliminating the transmission and making all the support components electric (no belts or fluids), Toyota hybrids have resulted in reduced complexity over their traditional counterparts.  And since most of their consumer fleet now offers a hybrid model, technical support has become common.  That makes the next step, including a plug, an easy one.  It's basically just the addition of battery-capacity and a one-way clutch.  No big deal.


Still No Detail.  It's troubling how many people posting online in response to the supposed study are claiming the data shows plug-in hybrids are no better than regular hybrids.  That's no data.  They look at the numbers printed and believe that's all the more you need to understand the situation.  That's lack of critical thinking tells much about what I have been dealing with.  They don't recognize what information is missing.  I keep trying to explain the situation though... which I know, is pointless... nonetheless, someone needs to raise awareness of attempt to mislead.  Sadly, here in the United States, out culture have abandoned logic in favor of emotion... to an extreme.  Such tradeoffs have consequences.  They still don't see it:  That is only the briefing, a summary.  There is nothing available about that study showing any data, the detail.  Just a vague reference to "PHEV" doesn't really tell us anything.  Again, it's like lumping together random old & new BEV saying that's what represents the entire category.  We have no clue what they actually studied.


Banning.  When you don't like something, you make it go away rather than actually just dealing with the situation... right?  Sadly, that approach is far too common.  I routinely encounter this "Plug in hybrids should be banned." from those complaining that only "true EVs" should be entitled to use public chargers.  That's a load of rubbish, of course.  Any use of electricity, especially opportunity recharging, should be encouraged.  If you have a situation that would take advantage of that on-the-fly charge, then why not?  Turns out, some BEV still insist upon playing the "desperate to get home" card.  Where the heck is this supposed charging station?  I have noticed these types of posts never make mention of being part of a highway corridor, where that very much could be the case.  They just gloss over that telling tidbit to imply that is likely to happen everywhere, even deep in some suburb where most of these discussions focus.  At the local location like that, you are likely to only have level-2 available, rather than high-speed DC.  So, the intended use should be obvious.  They are for patrons while they are at the business purchasing something... not just passing through on a road trip.  So, I asked:  Banned from what?  If someone is parked to shop at a store, what difference does the vehicle make while they are shopping.  Think about who's paying for the charging-station and why they installed it.


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