Prius Personal Log  #1046

December 11, 2020  -  December 15, 2020

Last Updated:  Sun. 2/21/2021

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12-15-2020

Prototypes.  Sometimes, you need to interject some critical thought into a discussion... because it doesn't happen without a push:  Seeing a prototype turn mule for promoting the new battery type and sharing that real-world data is priceless... and somewhat crippling to the promote-well-in-advance-of-rollout we get from other automakers.  We see lots of hype from GM about the upcoming Hummer EV, which was nothing but a computer-generated concept to basically distract from shortcomings with Bolt.  We get a crazy amount of excitement from Tesla with CyberTruck, which is gross overkill from what people actually need and doesn't target the affordable market.  How is any of that helpful?  Remember, Toyota's mission is to actually change the status quo (reach mainstream consumers), not to appease enthusiasts.

12-15-2020

Trolling Callout.  Sometimes, you just need to take them on head on: "If Toyota remains informed on decisions made last decade, why are they making SUV's and CUV's.  Toyota's decisions have been made for ideological reasons and not based on their audience.  Market research by AAA and other automotive industry experts clearly show huge demand for BEV's."  I had to read that several times, then hunt down recent posts from the same person on the same thread to confirm intent.  It was obvious.  So, I fired back with:  That's a truly bizarre claim, since those are not mutually exclusive topics.  In fact, the situation is quite the opposite.  Being a SUV or CUV makes offering it as a BEV easier, since a raised floor is normal part of its design.  That provides an easy means of adding battery.  We are seeing that play out in the real-world too, because demand for SUV's and CUV's as BEV is quite strong.  We can clearly see that from both Tesla & Nissan pursuing that audience.  RAV4 being a top-seller for Toyota also confirms that.  Of course, you're not really understanding that data.  The research targets those with particular interests, not the market as a whole.  It's just like the nonsense we heard from diesel enthusiasts.  They focused solely on those who had fuel-efficiency as their top priority, disregarding other purchase decision factors.  That meant only paying attention to a very select audience with a limited inventory, which skewed the measure of demand.  But then again, your reply completely ignored what I actually posted (a pattern I have frequently noticed) and just went on about something else entirely... hoping I would take the bait.  Instead, I called you out.

12-14-2020

No Real Need.  It doesn't work.  No matter what evidence you present, all they see is their own distraction.  It's to the point of absurdity at times.  You can't believe the extent they go to in the effort to avoid facing reality.  They keep pushing their narrative instead: "Because there's no real need for two technologies.  At least in the passenger car segment.  It will split everything (like investments)."  I just shake my head in disbelief.  Use your brain.  Look at the engineering itself.  Stop obsessing with an ideal.  Ugh.  This was my reply:  There is quite a bit of technology overlap. BEV and FCEV share motor, controller, battery and software components.  Heck, even the heat-pump is the same.  Just because one has a plug for energy and the other an on-board converter doesn't make them profoundly different.  In fact, their propulsion systems provide power to the wheels the same way, with electricity.  A giant manufacturer isn't limited to just passenger vehicles either.  There is much business that takes place outside that segment.  Being able to leverage one to benefit the other is a gain, not a split.  In this case, the fuel-cells being proven by Mirai will later be used in commercial & industrial segments.  So whether or not you see a need from a consumer perspective, it is there.

12-14-2020

Excuses.  This is another one of those, gotta love it comments: "The excuses are disgraceful!"  They focus so hard on knocking Toyota that they completely miss what's going on elsewhere.  I returned the volley of nonsense with:  Notice how other automakers stall after rolling out their initial offering?  Toyota won't have that problem.  They are pushing their entire fleet forward by phasing out traditional vehicles and replacing them with hybrids... which enables them to quickly shift to PHEV on a massive scale... which makes the next step to BEV an easy one.  That's how you overcome Innovator's Dilemma.  The next step is far more difficult than it seems.  Toyota watched the disastrous problems GM has had with exactly that and is working hard to avoid the same trap.  That's not an excuse, it's called learning from history.

12-14-2020

Not Paying Attention.  The narrative is getting old, but the message about how little people actually notice thing is not.  For example: "Toyota's failure to get beyond 'there has to be an engine in there somewhere' thinking will hurt them."  It's like when I found out, after several years after arguing with a few particular Volt antagonists, that they really didn't have any understanding of how Toyota's hybrid system actually worked.  Their actions were based on incorrect assumptions.  That was remarkable to discover.  I suspect that same type of ignorance is even more prevalent now.  So, I end up having to reply with posts like this:  Not paying attention is a common problem, one that feeds hype and spin.  It's easy to overlook all the internal pieces of the puzzle being assembled, only noticing the edges.  In other words, unless there's a finished product many just assume no progress is being made.  Reality of this situation is that Toyota has diligently been working on the components necessary, leaving platform available for tweaks in the final stage. That should be obvious, but for some reason everyone seems to be blind to it.  Look at the Prime vehicles. Prius Prime delivered a full EV driving experience, every aspect of electrification necessary for a BEV.  Advancing upon that real-world experience, Toyota has delivered RAV4 Prime.  Yet, focus is on the gas engine.  Lexus UX300e provides another piece of the puzzle. It confirms more preparation is taking place to ensure Toyota has all those components it needs well refined before rolling out anything to the masses, especially with regard to cost & reliability.  In other words, rather than seeking the spotlight like other legacy automakers, they are quietly doing what needs to be done.  Whatever hype or spin comes about from basic press releases is the work of impatient enthusiasts.

12-13-2020

To My Surprise.  Someone else saw that same misinformation and felt the same need to reply.  This is how his comment started: "Since this is PriusChat, you should at least learn a bit about how the Synergy Drive works..."  I was delighted to read that, so much so, I posted this in return:  Very nice write-up.  I typed my reply, quite annoyed by his constant badgering, then walked away without posting to enjoy a nice evening with my wife.  Coming back afterward to find your thoughtful remarks added to sense we all need to be constructive.  That was much appreciated.  Thanks!  On a topic like this, we all need to be aware of the bigger picture.  There are forces from every direction attempting to undermine progress, especially when it tips heavily in favor of a legacy automaker who really studied the situation and worked hard to ignore the rhetoric.  I try to do the same.  But if misinformation is posted, it needs to be called out at some point.

12-13-2020

Just Plain Wrong.  There's a troll who thrives on the threads with constructive discussion.  Some of his nonsense is pretty bad, but this was really surprised me: "On the highway, nearly every hybrid is going to have the engine on 100% of the time.  Hybrids that get better than a conventional cars on the highway do so by having an engine that trades power for efficiency."  That is just plain wrong, an obvious attempt to mislead.  I punched back with:  There's no excuse.  Participating here for 15 years, yet having no idea how Toyota's hybrid system (by far, the most abundant) actually works...  Take an engine, any type of engine, connect a power-split-device with 2 motors.  Use the smaller motor to collect waste energy, since an excess is available while cruising on the highway compared to city driving.  Convert that energy from mechanical power to electricity stored in a battery.  Later, use that electricity to supplement energy from the engine by throttling way down or stopping combustion entirely.  In short, no tradeoff necessary.  True, one that does will result in even better efficiency.  It isn't required... but you should have already known that.

12-12-2020

Constructive Discussion.  It's not easy to come by.  But on the thread in the big Prius forum about PHEV propaganda, I got this: "Crystal balls aren't easy to come by."  It was in reply to the irritation from so many people taking reports at face value and not even bothering to look for other sources.  In this case, it was the opposite.  We got an opportunity to exchange constructive information.  I really like those discussions.  Hopefully, this will keep it going:  Really?  We've known for years Toyota will be advancing plug-in hybrid tech & design.  Looking closely, we can already see steps being taken to make that happen.  Crystal balls can be found.  The most obvious comes from those who chose to complain & whine about how Prius Prime carried its battery without ever bothering to study the rest of the fleet.  If they had, they would have discovered the C-HR platform is really Prius with a raised floor.  Looking further, we see that the new Corolla Cross is basically just a Corolla with a different body... one that could also be raised.  Ever look close at how RAV4 hybrid became RAV4 Prime?  Toyota just raised the floor to squeeze in batteries.  Turns out, the same treatment happened with Lexus UX300e.  It doesn't take a crystal ball to see how Corolla Cross (or some variant sharing that platform) could become the next plug-in hybrid.

12-12-2020

Wrong.  Gotta love when someone on a general wide-audience blog just declares a technology a failure at the starting line.  Since subsidies are in play and early-adopters are pretty much the only participants, anything happening now in a race would basically just be warm-up laps.  So when I saw this, I was quite amused: "Wrong.  Batteries, cycled daily, are very much economically attractive even now, and efficient."  I'm not sure why some people are so oblivious to the concept of time & size.  They really don't understand the scale.  Upon seeing something implemented in their small corner of the world, they assume it exists everywhere else the same way.  That lack of perspective awareness is really a problem.  Responses vary:  Nice, declaring a loser before the race has even begun...  Reality is, no one has any clue how the economic factors will play out.  The oil industry has a lot to lose, but also a lot to invest with.  Opportunities green hydrogen present are a compelling exit option from the world of petroleum products.  That makes it very attractive.  A location along the highway which provides hydrogen for direct use by the trucking industry and indirect use for supplementing the superchargers there make a lot of sense.  Don't be naïve to think they won't go down without a fight.

12-12-2020 Know Your Audience.  Reading this today was wonderful: "Why are you always using this phrase and using it incorrectly?  You used it in one of my comments months ago and I've seen you use it elsewhere as well.  Just saying it doesn't make true."  After several paragraphs of supposedly supportive numbers, he ended with: "Car companies tie performance with higher price for a reason.  They know their audience."  That was my invitation to climb up on the soapbox, which I proudly did to share my observations:

Not anymore.

The automotive industry is going through the same paradigm-shift the computer industry did.  As the market became so saturated with diverse choices, that focus of "performance" being a priority fell. In fact, it dropped to the point where it really isn't much of a selling point anymore.

GM learned this the hard way with Volt.  Focus on performance did nothing beyond attracting conquest sales.  Their own audience... loyal GM customers looking to replace their old Chevy with a new Chevy... simply didn't care.  The great performance was not enough to overcome other shortcomings.

Toyota knows this well. Prius Prime offers smoooooooooth acceleration with nothing but a soft whirring sound.  It's the Pandora's box they have been warning the industry about. When an ordinary priced vehicle can match what had been a luxury selling-point, change is coming.

Tesla is already dealing with the shift.  Why bother with a Model S when you get can get the same from Model 3?  People are focusing more on range now instead of performance.

The situation gets worse as you look forward.  Think about how well an even lower priced BEV will perform.  The large battery-pack will provide so much power, it simply won't be a draw when competing against other BEV in the same class.  Instead, shoppers will focus on other aspects of design.

Toyota has acknowledged that change and is already working to support the shift.  Those who deny it is coming are in for quite a surprise.  Just look at how different the computer industry is now compared to what it had been.

12-11-2020

Never-Ending Battle.  We have seen the same old nonsense for 20 years now.  It's rhetoric you can't ever really kill.  In this case, it is the basic approach of simply pushing outdated data that wasn't ever representative of the true situation.  That's is confusing & distorted enough to make most people just assume it is relevant.  In other words, they believe the person posting it wouldn't intentionally spread misleading information.  Sadly, it isn't just antagonists who do that.  We are currently dealing with a publication who exploited the same gullible nature of readers.  That's how propaganda comes about.  The rhetoric is fed to grow to a scale where it takes on an existence of its own, when you can no longer trace origins are truly be certain or relevance.  That's why some of us try to jump on the situation as soon as we confirm what's being attempted.  It's hard though.  Convincing others that is the case is quite a challenge.  They tend to be bewildered that you would question something seemingly authoritative.  You end up having to present evidence many times, pointing out the lack of detail or cherry-picked fact.  In this case, it should be a simple matter.  I doubt it will be, but keep trying:  Knowing new PHEV choices are on the way, yet pushing a study as if it represents a complete & mature market, is the problem.  It's a never-ending battle having to deal with misrepresentation like that.  People will sight the outdated study for years... especially if it is extremely vague... which is exactly what we got.  This is how you undermine.  We've seen it many times in the past.

12-11-2020

Shared Concern.  It was nice to get a constructive reply right away.  Sadly, those are quite rare.  He joined in to share some of the same concerns.  I went on to add:  The purpose of studies like that are supposed to be to collect data and present it for consideration of how mandates should be set.  That's how you get solutions that are realistic to achieve.  Setting criteria that isn't based on real-world feasibility doesn't make sense.  We have very important goals that must be reached.  That requires critical thinking.  To witness keyboard-warriors proclaim PHEV failed without even so much as questioning why that study didn't disclose detail and why only one study was all they needed to draw a conclusion is really troubling.

12-11-2020

Proper Measure.  The very next post to follow mine came from an antagonist, a well known troll who disputes what you say for the sake of stirring discussion.  Playing devil's advocate is one thing, but to turn a blind-eye to evidence provided and just find a means to contradict is another.  So, I ignored his post as waited for something constructive instead.  I got it: "But if others are just trying to 'game' the system, the studies make sense along with changes."  That came from someone who always strives to be constructive.  I was happy to reply to that:  Unfortunately, there has been only 1 study and it was presented as comprehensive.  We didn't find out until recently just how misrepresentative it actually was.  This was basically propaganda, selective data used to draw an all-encompassing conclusion... which now feeds anti-PHEV rhetoric.   Treating all designs as if they were the same is a blatant attempt to undermine.  It's just like what saw in the past for hybrids, but now for plug-in hybrids.  Think of how absurd it is to set criteria, then fail everyone even before giving them a chance to try to meet it.  To actually be constructive, PHEV offerings should be rated in several categories and that information be fully disclosed.  Better choices will get the support they deserve.  Later when a mandate is set, those who pushed to achieve that criteria specified will get rewarded.  Gaming doesn't work if you meter properly.  This isn't rocket science.  Measuring the amount of kWh the vehicle takes in via the plug tells the real story of how that vehicle was used.  In fact, this is already the method some electricity providers use to determine how to calculate discounts.

 

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