Prius Personal Log  #1041

November 9, 2020  -  November 18, 2020

Last Updated:  Sun. 2/21/2021

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11-18-2020

Ramping Up Efforts.  This was interesting: "While I support good PHEVs, I understand reallocation of limited resources to focus on what is the future strategy.  I see why they decided to focus on BEVs and stop putting resources on PHEV development."  It was in response to an article featuring GM's new effort to supposedly dial up their electrification strategy.  That has no basis in reality, of course.  We know of the promise made and how many shortcomings have resulted.  Nonetheless, there's a sucker born every minute... right?  That sentiment comes from the gullible, those too lazy and poorly informed to verify what they are being told.  We've been a society where we can be told something will happen and take it at face value.  Questioning it is looked upon as an insult, that the act of verification is a sign of distrust.  Ugh.  You try to point out what should be obvious.  Some never see it though.  To them, I say:  Notice the picture in this article?  Limited resources are being focused on that overkill beast, clearly an expensive low-volume offering that will have little to no impact for ordinary GM customers.   It is yet another wasteful niche. GM is again failing to focus on their own core buyers, chasing praise instead of true change.  Think about how much opportunity GM missed not following through with either Two-Mode or Voltec to deliver a plug-in hybrid SUV.  The supposed lead GM had was squandered.  What does this vague "dial up" message actually commit to?

11-17-2020

Defrost.  Same thing this time every year.  A question gets asked, I provide some information:  Electric heating is effective most of the time for removal of condensation from the windshield.  So, just using that option on the screen is a good first step.  Most of the time here in Minnesota, that's all I need.  Pressing that dedicated "defrost" button will fire up the gas engine, since you are instructing the system to also dehumidify.  The purpose of the heat-pump will then change to the role of A/C and warming will come from the heated coolant.  Think of the button as MAX defrost.  It's there for your convenience, but often not necessary.

11-16-2020 Bolt Recall.  There has been 5 fires now.  All 68,677 sold (the 2017-2019 model years) are being recalled due to an issue with the battery-pack being unable to handle 100% capacity.  It's somewhat perplexing that GM would allow that in the first place.  Though... pushing limits for the sake of bragging rights is no surprise.  Owners are being told to reduce their maximum charging limit and park the vehicle outside away from their home until a fix can be applied.  This is exactly why Toyota has not felt rushed to deliver a BEV to market with the criteria demanded by enthusiasts... who simply don't care about the consequences of not taking tradeoffs seriously.  This is probably going to get ugly.  Think about how to prevent the problem.  It would be to lower the threshold to prevent that stress.  It's easily avoidable, if you are willing to accept the resulting loss of range.  How many owners do you think will be tolerant of a permanent reduction?  This is a lawsuit waiting to happen.  There will be fraud or exaggeration claims.  Ugh.
11-16-2020

F-150 XL 4x4 Hybrid.  Ford's dive into the hybrid pickup world is rather sad.  So much anticipation for so little...  It will only have a 35 kW electric-motor.  That's just barely bigger than what was in the Classic Prius (33 kW).  Heck, that's just a little over half of the output we get from Prius Prime (68 kW).  That doesn't make any sense coming from a vehicle that's supposed to be large & powerful.  Of course, the hybrid pickup still delivers 430hp & 570 lb-ft torque.  The result is only 24 MPG.  How is that impressive?  I suspect the design is quite robust, but for a $46,350 starting price it better be.  No mention of expected emissions-rating does raise suspicion of priorities.  It isn't that much of a hybrid, especially 20 years after Ford bragging about being able to deliver a hybrid superior to Toyota... and of course, the remember the C-Max scandal.  Ugh.

11-15-2020

Basic Economics.  Just like what we saw with Volt, an antagonist will find a talking-point based on misleading data and use it to support a narrative.  They'll repeat it for years, never allowing any critical thinking to take place.  That becomes their propaganda method.  Keep pushing a distortion of reality.  This is why I found the following today such a vivid reminder of the past: "PHEVs are a creature of the tax system, giving drivers tax benefits based on their WLTP (petrol) consumption, while their real world consumption is 2-4 times as great.  If this distortion is removed by 2030, there will be no PHEVs sold between 2030 and 2035, even if still legal."  The same old nonsense is being pushed.  Fortunately, I have a lot of experience dealing with it:  Distortion created by cherry-picked data is not a real-world problem.  It's a narrative that will be disproven as that extremely limited sample becomes outdated.  In other words, weak offerings exploiting tax-credits will simply die out as the tax-credits expire.  Those PHEV that survive will do so because they truly deliver EV driving benefits.  Put another way, there are BEV purists who hate the reality that some PHEV are designed to operate exactly the same way as a BEV, with the gas-engine only used as a backup following battery depletion.  Again, when the tax-credits are no longer available.  Only PHEV worthy of directly competing will be those one continued to be produced & sold. It's basic economics.

11-14-2020 Sour The Milk.  What's happening in Europe is getting most of the attention.  That should be obvious why... we have an outgoing president who dismissed climate-change as a hoax and catered to the fossil-fuel industry.  In fact, this is why Toyota really didn't take a stance with CARB regulations.  It was all destined to change, so why bother with the short duration while we had a lunatic in office.  Toyota knew the resulting litigation nightmare was just a waste of everyone's effort.  Sure, people will spin the situation to make it look like Toyota changed its stance with the new administration, but anyone taking the time to research what actually played out will see otherwise.  Anywho, the proposed 2030 ban in the United Kingdom is currently holding the spotlight.  That gives us a chance to practice flushing out issues prior to California and the other compliant states joining into the fray.  My suggestion is simple.  It's not a perspective taken by many though.  In fact, I don't know anyone else with the same idea.  So, I'm just tossing it out there now to see what it flushes up:

The approach is problematic, since it fails to address the actual issue: fossil fuel consumption.  What deterrent is there to change for those who purchase a combustion vehicle prior to the ban?  Any 2029 model-year car or truck would be allowed to guzzle for the decade to follow, without any pressure to discourage use.

This is such a fundamental mistake, it's disturbing.  Why are the decision makers so poorly informed about how to influence a paradigm shift.  You don't just outright ban something.  People will just find a means of getting around the limitation; instead, you SOUR THE MILK.  Give them reason to avoid the upcoming situation.

Warn the entire population that gas taxes will be increased significantly starting in 2030.  That money collected will be used to directly improve infrastructure in a very visible manner.  Just like we learned from the VW settlement.  Have organizations & governments submit applications to get funding from that money.

Just imagine how people would view the value of a traditional vehicle knowing a gas hike was coming, that the price of a gallon would rise significantly based on a predetermined schedule.  It would be strong encouragement prior to the ban to seriously consider the purchase of a plug-in vehicle.

That's how to properly address PHEV choices.  Expensive gas would promote recharging whenever possible.  The approach discourages consumption.  They would favor EV driving to save money, but wouldn't be left option less if they were not able to in every circumstance.

11-13-2020

Hydrogen & Goals.  We are still getting a lot of talking-points with no substance to actually back the claims.  That's quite typical of online debate.  Many just mindlessly regurgitate what they have heard.  There are no empirical references.  There is no consideration of other benefits.  It is nothing but the same old nonsense repeated endlessly.  I keep pushing back, forcing discussion to pause for a moment of critical thought.  It almost never happens, but giving up is not an option.  So, I persist:  As more begin seeing the bigger picture, claims of "inefficient" and "cost effective" lose attention.  Should those traits be a top priority?  Reality is, we need an energy-carrier to hold excess capacity on a massive scale.  Can other options achieve that?  Sure, some will argue batteries are best for storage.  That presents its own set of challenges though.  How long can they be in service?  Where will they be provisioned?  What quantity should be available?  There's the irony of potentially using fuel-cells to offset peak demand at DC fast-chargers too.  Keep in mind what the goals actually are.  Don't forget that every solution has a tradeoff too.  In this case, we want to eliminate the use of fossil-fuels and achieve a carbon-neutral status.  So what if it isn't the more efficient or the least expensive?  Will other options be able to deliver on the scale that's needed?

11-13-2020

New Incentives.  It is interesting to see people post ideas, new to them be quite familiar to those of us fighting the good fight.  For example: "Ideally, we'd incentivize an EV purchase by how much ICE miles it replaced with electric miles per year.  That of course isn't practical to implement at the moment..."  Responding to that was easy.  It's a topic I have been addressing for quite some time, but not having to say much because it echoes efforts underway by others.  One of the electricity providers here is finally getting on-board with a program that's been implemented elsewhere for years.  We have agreement from a variety of sources.  That's a great sign, especially if it is with respect to promoting something green.  We need new incentives to draw in new audiences.  Growth is essential and reaching out beyond the current audience is how you do it.  New interest can take you a long way.  A key ingredient to that is finding a means of providing without anyone noticing the push.  You encourage by making that step an easy one.  This has that potential:  Actually, that is practical.  In fact, implementation is in place for a number of owners already.  It's just a matter of connecting EVSE to a network.  Either the electricity provider (via a dedicated meter) or tracking via the EVSE itself can report usage.  That kWh measure is used for providing time-of-use discounts.  There's no reason a more generous incentive couldn't be provided the same way.

11-11-2020 Reality.  I really enjoyed responding to this: "...he is going to end up at 306 once they finalize Georgia (there's no doubt about this to anyone paying attention to reality).  Incidentally, that’s also the electoral vote total Trump got 4 years ago..."  It was an overlap of worlds, with misinformation mixed it.  Most people don't actually know what truly happened.  An article in the Washington Post provided that detail just last night.  That was rather timely.  I'm quite intrigued how political posting is now allowed in the blogs.  That had been a reason to get banned.  You were considered a troublemaker for injecting politics into automotive discussions.  But now... at least in the short-term... that mindset has changed.  Not only does it promote participation to help struggling publications get attention, it actually opens up new topics.  So, they are giving it a try.  I jumped into that mix with:

He actually only got 304 back in 2016 and it's interesting how this parallel's automotive history.

We witnessed the "realign with reality" situation play out right before our eyes with GM.  Enthusiasts were obsessed with what they wanted the market to be, refusing to acknowledge what it actually was.  Hope was the "performance" would justify a large premium for a vehicle clearly not aimed at GM's own customers... who wanted a SUV with a plug.  That compact hatchback did not have an audience beyond early-adopters and it took a painfully long time for enthusiasts to finally acknowledge it. Know your audience.

That brings us to the Republican party, who is still in deep denial about our dependency on fossil fuels (oil, coal, natural gas) and our problem with emissions (carbon & smog).  Thankfully, we now have a Democratic president-elect willing to proudly address those issues.  He'll get us back in the Paris Climate Accord and find a means of transforming fossil industries.

Looking back at those who pushed Volt, fighting fiercely against the idea of diversification, it's not going to be easy.  It was appalled how much they resisted the move toward spreading the tech to other vehicles.  That seems such an obvious next step now, especially with the success of RAV4 Prime.  But back then, they felt that would dilute their cause.  Their narrative, filled with dishonest & misleading claims, became their reality.

But like the vote count, the count of sales brought that "reality" to an end.  They have since grown silent, waiting for the realignment... something which could have been avoided upon accepting facts sooner, rather than supporting a narrative.

11-10-2020

Setting Fires.  A sign that the war is almost over is when there are no more battles to fight.  That can be identified by looking for posts that actually have substance.  When they resemble nothing but troll activity, just any type of post to provoke a response, you know you are dealing with fires.  The desperate set them with the hope of distracting from victory and causing as much damage as possible while they still have a chance.  After all, why should you get any spoils.  Souring your victory is the goal at that point.  I've seen that with the car stuff many, many times.  The most memorable that comes to mind was with dieselgate.  That moment of recognition brought about retaliation.  A win for hybrids came from within.  Supporters of diesel hadn't expected deceptive acts to have become so desperate.  Sure, they were aware of cherry-picking data to misrepresent.  But for such dishonesty to be so wide-scale and so common, that was an entirely different situation.  It became all too real.  What I find redeeming all these years later is to point out that the deception is actually even bigger than what VW confessed to.  Owners of diesel pickups have been purchasing defeat devices online for years.  I discovered one of my neighbors had one on his.  He was under the impression it was just a software enhancement to improve efficiency.  He was totally unaware that it was actually a work-around to prevent emission cleansing, which results in higher MPG, since the system is skipping an essential step that requires energy to achiever.  Ugh.  Oh well, at least he never set any fires.  Our current president... who at this point, obviously lost the election... is attempting to sabotage & undermine as much as possible before leaving office.

11-09-2020

Research.  Ugh.  The same old "study" nonsense of the past is returning.  Some antagonist latches onto some random study that supports his claim, then milks it to death for years.  There's never any actual data provided or even a link.  You just get a statistic that eventually turns into a talking-point through mindless repetition.  In this case, it is: "Research in Europe indicates that PHEV drivers use the ICE half of the time, and half of the time they drive in EV mode.  This indicates a heavy reliance on the ICE as it is used 50% of the time.  That is why the PHEV models of Toyota are worthless in the all electric future."  The who, where, when and what is lost already.  There's no detail whatsoever, nothing to validate.  Adjectives with a vague reference and a mysterious percentage are provided.  Given the opportunity, it will get worse.  I'm hoping to prevent that with:  That supposed " " has been debunked, called out for being misrepresentative of the emerging market. It was nothing but a small sampling, primarily fleet vehicles, using older configurations.  No where in that data was there anything like RAV4 Prime or the buyers it targets.  You can change your assertion from all to most. You can continue to claim worthless.  It won't matter.  Winning points online among enthusiasts is the wrong audience and the BEV configurations are already rolling out. UX300e and C-HR are benefiting from technology developed & refined in past PHEV & FCEV offerings.  Next will be further advancement when all that is carried to the upcoming dedicated BEV platforms.  Expecting anyone to believe "worthless" when they can clearly see the evolutionary steps is madness.  The benefit of that step-by-step progress is obvious.

 

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