Prius Personal Log  #927

March 11, 2019  -  March 17, 2019

Last Updated:  Sun. 5/12/2019

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3-17-2019

Vague, Divert, Dismiss, Restrict.  That troll attack continued.  It's like I had to revise my old greenwash-awareness guide.  Ugh.  Oh well, a refresher for everyone isn't such a bad thing.  What he selected for the source of antagonism was interesting anyway.  So, I punched back:  We all know how this works.  It's usually either post a vague reference or a divert with a red herring.  I'm not the one doing either.  The other tactic commonly used is dismiss the issued being raised.  People complained about Volt-1 head room.  So when GM did nothing about that with Volt-2 (in fact, head room was slightly reduced), the problem was just dropped as no longer a concern.  Head & Leg dimensions have overwhelmingly been the focus of seating size discussion, so that's what the response included.  With respect to "cargo" discussions, you must list the actual height/length/width to address transport capability properly.  Lastly, there's an obvious effort to restrict scope.  If it isn't available here or now, it doesn't exist.  That's just plain wrong.  Toyota's expansion of plug-in offerings by diversifying their "Prime" enhancement is exactly what GM had been pressed to do for years, knew it needed to for business success, but chose not to regardless of the consequences.  Toyota choosing to spread their technology to a variety of choices is a wise move.  So what if Corolla PHV doesn't fit a family of 5 well.  That's what Camry & RAV4 are for.  You want a larger interior, you purchase a larger vehicle.  That is also why Avalon & Highlander are offered as hybrid models.  Toyota is preparing for large-scale electrification.  What's happening here is quite different... vague... divert... dismiss... restrict.

3-16-2019 The Race.  Discussion topics about Toyota falling "behind" have a new "losing" label.  We see various sources attempting to stir online comments, but with mixed success.  Posts like this help to obscure the reference: "I don't think Toyota is losing the BEV race; they’re not entering that race!"  They are an effort to get people to think about the bigger picture.  The nightmare created by Volt enthusiasts about supporting a niche is beginning to raise awareness.  Why did Volt fail?  It's a good start to constructive consideration of what really needs to be done.  I gladly contributed to that: 

The race hasn't even started yet.  What has been done so far that would qualify as mainstream penetration?  Thinking these warm-up laps taking place now (sales subsidized by tax-credits) are what count as efforts to compete directly with traditional vehicles... the actual race... is just early-adopter rhetoric.  How many ordinary consumers are actually that gullible to believe such nonsense?

Media outlets posting such dribble are taking advantage of hype to draw traffic to their publication.  The knowledge of "there's a sucker born every minute" is just as relevant now as it was when back when that phrase was first coined.  Think about how much easier it is to fool people now that anyone can post a comment online.

Look around.  We are surrounded by guzzlers running on cheap gas and outright denial of their impact.  That harsh reality is something "EV Market" spinners don't want you to notice.  They direct focus on just the plug-in offerings to avoid addressing what really matters... change of the status quo.

Legacy automakers have a massive undertaking required to get their own loyal customers to embrace greener choices.  Focus on the low-hanging fruit people are eating right is such a waste.  Whomever wins the warm-up laps doesn't matter. In fact, that competition to follow isn't just a single 500-laps around the track either.  There will be many races.  Consider how many models of vehicle each automaker must implement battery-powered technology in.

3-16-2019

Trolling, part 3.  That same post with the lie also included this: "Where, oh where, can one get a PHEV version of a Camry or Rav4?"  He knew the possibility of getting caught should include something to distract with.  He'll just attempt to avoid the callout by shifting focus.  I wasn't about to let that happen either:  You know all too well Toyota has been focused on getting TNGA-based platforms out to as much of their fleet as possible.  The goal is to convert roughly 80% by the end of 2023.  That's an aggressive pace for such a major undertaking, but the results are enormous... lower cost, improved performance, and reduced emissions.  That's a mammoth goal for a 10-million-per-year output.  What other automaker is pushing that hard to advance what they produce overall?  You also know that Toyota is starting with Corolla PHEV, which is why that was conveniently left off the list.  It's the best selling vehicle worldwide, so it makes sense to choose that.  And since the new Corolla hybrid is only just this month starting wide-scale rollout, expecting a PHEV already is clearly a lack of patience.  Keep in mind, the new RAV4 hybrid is only now just rolling out too.  You aren't taking into account the most important part of Toyota's timing either.   It's affordability. Everything they do is fundamentally planned around delivering something that will appeal to both dealer & buyer.  Both are important customers.  Both what a good price.

3-16-2019

Trolling, part 2.  I was rather surprised that his response was just a load of greenwash, something very easy to disprove: "The new Corolla shrank; it has less passenger and cargo space than the Volt"  Why would anyone make a claim with undisputable evidence available to reveal intent to mislead?  It only took me a few minutes to look up the specs for each, to confirm every one of the dimensions in question were wrong.  He lied, plain & simple.  There's no way around it.  I caught him in the act.  How will others respond to the obvious effort to troll?  Causing trouble brings down the integrity of the forum.  Yet, there is rarely a moderator response when such posts are spread.  Sadly, the proliferation of fake news has become so bad, people may be getting burned out... tired of fighting battles the cannot possibly win, due to the quantity.  Stumbling across efforts to mislead is easy.  You can find them everywhere; nonetheless, I keep fighting them:  2020 Corolla Hybrid: headroom = 38.3/37.1 in; legroom = 42.3/41.4 in; cargo = 13.0 cu-ft​​.  2019 Volt: headroom = 37.8/35.8 in; legroom = 42.1/34.7 in; cargo = 10.6 cu-ft.  Why are you spreading such blatantly false information?

3-15-2019

Trolling, part 1.  There is a well-known antagonist who relentlessly provokes to stir discussion.  He just plain doesn't care about the bigger picture or the longer term.  It's all about getting attention.  He likes to participate.  So, the routine post like this is an expectation: "It's there because the press, market research, and gen1 owners said they wanted a middle seat."  I rarely respond, but today's was rather enticing.  Teaching moments can be useful.  So, I took his bait.  In this case, it was related to Volt and how the lack of a 5th seat applied to Prius Prime.  Pointing out his spin by distorting & misleading the perspective to confuse the topic is something I've had to deal with routinely anyway.  Sadly, it's easy to greenwash simply by being selective about the information being shared, especially if it is just vague comment.  My sharing of what was learned went like this:  Listening to them was a fool's errand... the fundamental mistake "know your audience" draws attention to.  GM played tax-credits and early-adopters ignored signs.  Those wanting to purchase a vehicle for family transport didn't want a compact hatchback anyway.  It should have been obvious the technology would need to be in a larger vehicle.  That is why Camry hybrid, RAV4 hybrid, and Corolla hybrid are all better PHV choices here.  So what happens in Europe, may not be what happens for this market.  In other words, understand who you ask.

3-15-2019

Slowness?  My attention was caught by an article with this title: "Reasons behind the slowness of EVs adoption in US."  Sadly, the thread pointing it out was almost immediately joined by our resident problem poster.  It was the usual banter: "30% of Americans polled will say they would consider an EV in their next purchase."  I was quite annoyed with such lack of substance:  What poll was it?  How people were questioned?  What was the question?  Did those being asked understand what an EV could be?  Were these people who had access to a plug?  And what the heck does "consider" actually mean?  For that matter, when was the poll taken?  That type of vague statement is exactly where "Know your audience" came from.  It originates with a small sampling and a meritless claim, just like that.  Volt enthusiasts spread such rhetoric to the point of creating their own "fake news" source, way back before the term had been coined.  I got mocked for pointing out the power of what turned out to be propaganda.  Those observations shouldn't have been so callously dismissed.  Now, it's a grim reality with widespread collateral damage.  It's the face-value acceptance of comment without detail that feeds group-think.  People endorse the greenwash simply by passing it along without question.  Just look at the outcome of Volt.  Expectations were set that were based on want, not need.  That fundamental disconnect confused the market and prevented progress forward.  It's a trap that's easy to fall into, started by spreading a vague statement.  Now, we wonder the reasons why there's a slowness to adopt EV here.

3-15-2019

"Losing" Spin.  Now that Volt has been dead for an entire month, it's curious to see what will emerge.  I posted this on a topic attempting to keep attention on Toyota:  I find it interesting how much "losing" spin is being published.  It's the standard rhetoric that comes from early-adopters who don't want to look at the big picture or want to distract from it.  The recent news of Toyota investing heavily in hybrid production in the United States is good reason for those desperate to undermine to step up their efforts.  Reality is, the plan for Toyota to offer a wide variety of hybrid choices is a very effective means to not only bring traditional vehicle production to an end, it also sets the stage nicely for high-volume plug-in demand.  Getting a hybrid owner to upgrade to a plug-in hybrid is far easier than convincing someone to go straight to a plug.  Other automakers don't have a transition plan.  Their attempts to introduce something with a plug have been chaotic and with an uncertain message of commitment.

3-14-2019

Local Production.  Toyota just announced plans to begin production of RAV4 hybrid here in the United States, specifically in Kentucky next January.  Capacity will be 100,000 of the RAV4.  Starting this year will be 12,000 of the Lexus ES300h.  Having both hybrids local is great news for everyone.  The increase in employment is an obvious plus.  There's the obvious benefit of not having to ship the final product as far too.  Several other local investments for production were also in the same announcement.  Corolla gets some for the Mississippi plant.  Highlander gets some for the Indiana plant.  There's the hybrid transaxle production in Virginia getting more money.  And engine production in both Alabama & Missouri also get some.  Note that Kentucky had a major investment for Camry & Avalon 2 years ago.  So, long story short, anyone who calls Toyota a foreign automaker really doesn't have any clue what they are talking about.  Toyota has a major presence in the United States.  In fact, their commitment to new investment since 2017 will end up reaching nearly $13 billion in a 5-year span.

3-14-2019

Model Y.  The reveal was quite a let down.  Tesla didn't move forward much.  Everyone expected more.  It's a just hatchback version of Model 3 and won't be available until the end of next year.  It won't be affordable either.  Looks like the lowest priced configuration will be $47,000.  It's not at all what had been hoped for.  The extremely long introduction, which spent quite a bit of time dwelling on Tesla history (about 30 minutes or so), ended up devoted just 4 minutes to Model Y itself.  I expected the opposite, a brief overview of how the automaker got to that point, then a deep dive into what the newest vehicle would have to offer.  There's seemingly so much more that could have been done, I think.  My impression is morphing as I consider the choices available.  It feels like that Y should have been rolled out side-by-side with 3.  The only apparent difference is seating.  What's wrong with that being a choice, like how other automakers deliver packages.  You select the interior you want.  Wouldn't that reduce cost?  Too much variation without obvious benefit is a difficult sell anyway.  Needless to say, this evening's reveal didn't stir much promise.  The anticipation fizzled quickly.

3-13-2019

Apologists.  Now that other automakers are getting attention, as was with this thread about VW, there are GM apologists working hard to protect image: "GM doesn't belong in your post.  GM has been at the forefront with the Chevy Volt, the Chevy Spark EV, Caddy ELR, some other caddy, and the now the Chevy Bolt EV."  More realistically, that's a damage control effort.  Volt may have reached the forefront, but it didn't do anything in that position.  Spark, ELR, and Bolt didn't do anything at all; they just rolled out without any type of industry draw.  GM had potential, but chose to do nothing with it.  I'm making sure that history is not overlooked.  Allowing it to repeat without a fight to share information about what happened in the past isn't something I will tolerate.  The time to take an position of offense has come.  Playing defense made sense in the "fake news" time.  But now that tax-credits are about to expire, the early-adopter stage can finally be seen with some clarity.  Detail is key to moving forward.  It starts though with point out the problem:

GM certainly helped in support of the technology itself, from an engineering standpoint.  But the amount of collateral damage caused from their focus on a small & expensive niche pretty much makes their position a wash.  Volt most definitely was not targeted at mainstream consumers and nothing became of that plug-in technology.  Rather than actually being at the forefront of change, the status quo remained firmly in place.

Try arguing that those tax-credits made a different in their fleet.  Notice all the guzzlers on the showroom floor?  There aren't even hybrid choices.  Why isn't there a SUV based on Volt after all these years?  It's just a wide selection of traditional vehicles still.  GM never diversified.  Volt was the low-hanging fruit that early-adopters feasted upon, then moved on.

Notice how VW is trying to promote a variety of choices right from the start?  Many people don't.  After all, people obsess so much with Prius, they don't even notice the other Toyota hybrid choices available.  Ironically, that tends to be a good thing if the goal truly is to electrify more with each generation.  It's like phasing the variety of past automotive technologies, like the carburetor, power-steering fluid, and incandescent bulbs.

Changing the course of legacy sales requires far more than just token efforts.  Those who judge based on just that aren't making an effort to consider consumers beyond the initial early market.  Ordinary shoppers are considerably more difficult to appeal to... and it certainly won't happen as fast as you'd like.

3-12-2019

Melting!  There's a lot of that happening now... to the point of flooding.  Spring has arrived.  Yeah!  Of course, the chance of getting significant snow still is quite realistic.  That happened last year in April.  What a mess!  We had near blizzard conditions.  In the meantime, I'm able to take advantage of the warm for some outdoor work, including some cleaning of the car interior.  Winter in Minnesota presents challenges at times, fortunately nothing related to the car.  It worked fine even in the extremes.  It looks awful though.  Sprayed with the residue from salt & sand, you can't keep it clean for more than just a single drive.  Oh well.  Pre-Conditioning from the cord sure is nice.  You come out to a warmed vehicle and a full battery that is also warmed.  The thing to look forward to now is watching EV range increase.  With warmer temperatures comes an  increase in efficiency.

3-11-2019 Rule-Of-Thumb.  I keep repeating it:  Rule-Of-Thumb is that a 40-amp line will deliver 200 miles in 8 hours.

That basic formula covers the needs for most multi-car households.  It's fast enough without becoming too expensive.  Taking into account how much the typical service-panel has available for capacity, that idea of a continuous 32-amp draw (7.2 kW rate) of electricity from 2 plug-in vehicles at the same time may actually be pushing it. So, carefully consider plans for the future.

In my household, we installed two 40-amp lines connected each to 100-amp meters for Time-Of-Use discounts.  The dedicated hardware makes tracking usage as simple as looking at the monthly bill.  They break down the tiered pricing for each meter and show the usage in each category.  Also, we choose to use larger-than-needed conduit.  So in the future, we could pull higher gauge wire if there was the desire to beef up a charger.

Lastly, keep in mind that some people have their service-panel in or near the garage.  That's quite convenient.  Some have it clear on the other side of their house.  That's quite expensive.  So, the ideal may not work out.  But even just sharing a 240-volt line works fine, since some chargers will allow you to set a maximum draw.

The key is to consider how many vehicles will need to be plugged in overnight.

 

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