Prius Personal Log  #966

September 12, 2019  -  September 18, 2019

Last Updated:  Sun. 10/06/2019

    page #965         page #967          BOOK         INDEX         go to bottom     

 

9-18-2019

2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid.  It's nice to hear about Honda's effort to move forward, but today's annoucement really didn't tell us anything vital.  It was the usual press release focusing on engine size & horsepower.  What I found intriguing was the speculation that it would deliver higher efficiency since Accord hybrid has a combined rating of 48 MPG.  Huh?  The combined rating for Camry hybrid is 52 MPG.  It simply made no sense; yet, no one called out that statement from the article.  Comments posted just praised CR-V hybrid for the expectation of being more efficient than RAV4 hybrid based on that incorrect logic.  I was annoyed that no one bothered to actually check the claim.  It was a sad statement on how lazy we have become.  Accepting what you read at face value, without ever questioning merit, is a terrible idea.  Ugh.

9-17-2019

Compliance.  Don't you just love encountering this: "They're just compliance cars."  It's meant as an insult, to belittle the technology.  That's fairly effective too, since most people never question the assessment.  They just accept that label without consideration of facts.  Online posting helps with that type of propaganda.  It's the type of rhetoric used with the hope of normalizing... you know, downplay to conceal importance.  That is how detail gets overlooked.  Vital aspects of design are simply never addressed as a result.  That provides an easy means of dismissal.  I do all I can to call out those attempts, like the one today:  Compliance implies the vehicle is sold at a loss to compensate for a regulatory requirement.  Proof that Prius Prime or Corolla PHV are not profitable simply hasn't ever emerged, since both designs leverage existing hybrids that are part of ordinary production.  Adding a plug through a simple upgrade is a very meaningful way to deliver even cleaner emissions and even higher efficiency.  In other words, it's yet another meritless claim.

9-17-2019

GM Strike.  It is well underway now, unfortunately.  Intriguingly, the highlight outside of the usual pay and healthcare coverage concerns is preparation for a mostly electric future.  The union is well aware of how that will require fewer workers.  That's a big deal when there are over 46,000 workers spread across 33 sites.  How should that impact be handled?  This is something that was never addressed.  GM management avoided the topic, choosing to isolate efforts with Volt, rather than integrate them into the fleet.  It was very much a niche.  Never being part of a bigger plan is how Bolt was handled too.  From the outside, the plug-in tech appeared to be the future.  But from the perspective of production & sales, it was nothing beyond an experiment to test market acceptance.  There wasn't ever a next step.  This unknown is how negotiations fell apart.  They saw the "too little, too slowly" concern as a very real problem.  Executive action was to just stay the course and hope for the best.  That trust enthusiasts put in them was sadly misplaced.  Despite all the evidence showing how terrible of a choice that was, they did it anyway.  Some people refuse to accept warnings.  Now, the sadness is placed upon those workers now on strike, hoping their future includes electrification efforts... even if it means fewer doing that work.

9-17-2019

Cylindrical.  News about Toyota using cylindrical battery-cells for their other plug-in hybrid was the big discussion today.  I was curious where the topic would be taken.  Most of it was related to Tesla, since they have the same supplier, Panasonic.  No one touched upon what I thought would have been addressed, the difference that shape would make with regard to overall physical packaging.  Focus was entirely on business, rather then engineering.  That was a odd switch.  After the day came to an end, I finally jumped in posting:  No one has posted the most obvious still, after all this time to comment.  Interesting.  Look at the battery-pack for Prius Prime/PHV.  The packing favored affordable & robust.  The design of the stacks didn't fit well as a result, due to the size & shape of the prismatic cells.  Giving cylindrical a try in Corolla PHV was the logical next step.  Remember, Toyota likes spreading upgrades across markets & vehicles.

9-16-2019

Self-Charging Attack.  Looking for an excuse, an article was published to draw in participation.  That's a bad sign.  I remember in the past when a media source would publish something just for the sake of getting attention.  It was rather obvious too.  A simple search of their past showing they had no interest whatsoever in Prius, Toyota, or even green technology was a dead giveaway.  Many of the performance magazines feel into that category.  They were losing some of their audience and started to become desperate to restore interest.  That ultimately failed.  People move on just as quick as they appear.  The enigma of Prius is unique to only certain venues.  That's why the big Prius forum has not only retained massive audience, it as also remained true to the quest of clean & efficient transportation.  Needless to say, I was annoyed by the blatant attack today focusing on "self-charging" as the means of stirring post activity.  Ugh.  Oh well, stuff like that is always an opportunity for exposition:  Prius & Corolla both have PHEV models now.  CH-R will be getting an EV model next year.  There is an expectation of a Lexus EV reveal at the upcoming LA auto show.  Claims of no interest from Toyota to deliver plug-in choices have no merit.

9-16-2019

Controversy.  After all these years, you wouldn't think issues like this continue to come up: "I have also been confused about the charging to 80% vs 100% to reduce battery degreddation controversy. Reading the forums most of the opinions seem to be..."  That word "opinion" is frightening.  There should be no doubt whatsoever.  It has been well established fact for many, many years now.  Nothing remains to speculate about.  Ugh.  This shows the effectiveness of FUD.  Efforts to confuse are on-going.  Antagonists never let up.  They feed discussions with subtle hints to make you question the wisdom of those who are well informed.  It's quite frustrating.  That's why I keep pushing for higher and higher quality video with lots of detail, as well as commentary embedded along the way.  That is a means of communication to convey wisdom those hoping to undermine haven't figured out a way to attack.  Video has proven a very useful weapon in the arsenal against their efforts.  It's quick & comprehensive.  It also means I don't have to go into great detail when posting.  I can just provide a more-info link.  That kept this response short & sweet:  The pamper zone should have been common knowledge since day 1.  For me, that first observation came way back in 2000, with my first Prius.  That avoidance of full or empty was part of the design for battery longevity.

9-15-2019

Coming Disaster.  It should be no surprise that GM is at the center of our automotive mess.  They are again putting the well-being of their busines on high-profit guzzlers.  That's was a big problem yesterday, when Drive Electric events combined with the auto-show launch in Frankfurt.  But then news came this morning of drone attacks in Saudi Arabia, cripling half their oil production.  That will cause oil prices to surge.  Adding that to the pressure from both electrification and climate-change sure makes things interesting... knowing an old problem is about to return.  Tomorrow, GM union workers will likely strike.  That's 50,000 wanting fair wages, afforable healthcare, job security, and a few other issues resolved.  How can months of negotiations failing be dealt with when so many other pressures are growing?  This is why the push for consideration of the bigger picture is always so important.  Laughing at Toyota for taking such a different approach certainly doesn't so bad in that perspective.  Focus much be well balanced.  Simply pushing a technology because it is "better" doesn't mean business will thrive as a result.  This is why so many of the arguments online are meritless, not worth wasting time on.  Advancements forward are complicated.  Don't be fooled by enthusiast posts.  Ask how the claimed superiority will actually help all the players involved.  If something is omitted or overlooked, there may be problems to come.  In this case, we expect the coming disaster to be morning headlines confirming a strike has begun.

9-15-2019

Solar Improvements.  Today we got a glimpse of Toyota's advancement for their next-gen solar design.  These improved solar panels bump efficiency from the current commerical standard of 23% to a very impressive 34%.  That is quite an upgrade, more than the typical generation refinement.  It delivers the potential to add as many as 27 miles while parked during the day.  In a bizarre sense of looking at the situation, that's an impossible perpetial machine actually built as a working prototype.  You wouldn't ever need to plug it in if that's all the farther you wanted to drive... especially since charging can also take place while you drive.  Realistically, cost & efficiency won't be that perfect.  You get the idea though.  It increases the green factor.  Being able to contribute less to carbon emissions is helpful.  That's a genuine reduction worthy of continued research & development.

9-15-2019

National Drive Electric Week.  This is what I shared on the big plug-in forum, as the first post in the topic:  The big event in Minnesota yesterday that I participated in was great.  It was a well represented ride & drive, offering wide variety of vehicles to learn about.  I got to park nice to the flashy red Model 3 with my flashy blue Prime.  On my other side was the Pacifica.  Price was overwhelmingly the question most on attendees' minds.  That meant I got quite a number of "beautiful, but too expensive" comments directed to the Tesla.  Interestingly, the Chrysler minivan price was less of a concern due to it's very generous interior size.  Starting with 120 volts for charging, then later upgrading to 240 volts, was the approach I heard the most often in conversations.  It was clear many would be more than willing to try something with a plug, but unwilling to take the level-2 plunge right away.  Range seemed a total non-issue.  The "switch over to gas" aspect of PHEV operation seems to have become well understood at this point.  Perhaps the inherent nature of Prius being a hybrid lends itself to the mastery of electricity & gas blending.  So, adding a plug is just an obvious upgrade to the design.  Overall, this year was an amazing experience.  Market perception from just a year ago has changed rather significantly.  The combination of climate change awareness with the attention tax-credit phaseout has stirred has been quite helpful toward move away from traditional offerings.  It now seems a much less intimidating step for the ordinary consumer to take now.

9-14-2019

Electricity Storage.  The hope is this becomes more and more of a problem: "But while it's not as efficient as direct electric powertrains, it is a clean and dense way to store power. Especially in countries like Germany, which currently has more power than it needs and nowhere to put it, there's a case for producing hydrogen with renewables when there's extra capacity in the grid."  It simply isn't realistic to build massive bank of batteries for that excess.  Keeping in in tanks though is a different matter.  We already do that with gas anyway.  Being able to deliver that to customers either as hydrogen itself or doing the convert on-the-fly to power chargers makes sense... especially when you consider the expense of a bank of chargers.  Serving high-demand use that way could be more realistic than the expense of infrastructure for transmission.  It's an interesting challenge to address.  What is the best way to store electricity in the wide variety of situations we face?  Sadly, that type of critcial thinking doesn't happen often online.  In fact, most commentary suffers from group-think.

9-14-2019

Watching Inventory.  I'm still watching tinventory Prius Prime.  The counts goes up more than it goes down.  That over change is a climb.  They are all 2020 models all limited to the intial rollout area, with the exception of a very small number of special-order deliveries elsewhere.  It's that long awaited ramp-up.  Seeing market spread will be next.  But as next year's model, that puts it ahead of the game.  Early September is several months ahead of the schedule anyone should expect.  Though, I can see antagonists already anxious to attack on the basis of it not being complete yet.  There is always that spin.  No matter what happens, they'll find a way of making it sound negative.  That's how you know they have nothing of any merit to combat with.  Getting the established markets in a position of being well stocked prior to moving into new territory is a sensible business move.  After all, the measure of success comes through sales.  Achieving change in mainstream purchases is the goal.  So, seeing the coasts get all the initial delivery is a logical first step.  Advertising is pointless until everything is in place.  That means the secondary market, those of us in the central part of the country and that region in the south-eastern states will indicate when the time is right.  When we (I'm in Minnesota) start seeing ready-to-buy inventory on dealer's lots, that day has arrived.  I remember it happening in May 2002.  That was a long time from me taking delivery in Early September 2000.  Over 2.5 years of waiting.  It was the same strategy then too, limited to special-order delivery until the market had reached an acceptance point.  That's how reaching ordinary consumers is achieved.  You push the technology to those who can help establish and work out details of how to combat antagonists.  This well-proven approach is worth what seems an agonizing wait.  Keep watching inventory.  That's a key indicator of progress.

9-13-2019

2021 VW Golf.  A pre-production next-generation Golf was spotted without camoflauge.  Since ID 3 is expected to replace the EV model, this will become the dominant plug-in hybrid platform for VW.  There is supposedly a current generation with a slightly smaller battery-pack as Prius Prime (8.7 kWh verses 8.8 kWh), but it's not available in the United States.  The expecation is a larger capacity for this market.  Though, that would consume much of the cargo area, which is smaller than Prius to begin with.  Thoughts are that the higher horsepower output of the engine make it terrible in regards to both efficiency & emissions.  So, there's no telling what will ultimately happen.  It may simply never rollout if all goes well for the ID family anyway.  The 4 is expected for market, a taller body for those here who overwhelmingly prefer SUV over hatchback styling.  That impacts cost, weight, and efficiency...  In other words, it just more to add to the pile of speculation & hype.  We really won't know until actual production starts.  And even then, that doesn't guarantee high-volume sales.

9-13-2019

Good Grief.  Seeing a new perspective is difficult, in general.  You tend to fall into the trap of not expecting big change.  Ironically, that's what holds back the enthusiasts.  They suffer from a group-think of believing change only comes in the form of "more" of something.  That's why range & speed is so dominant of a discussion topic.  In fact, that's basically all I ever heard from early-adopters.  This is why their attention to the needs of business was basically non-existent.  Good grief.  You learn in Economics 101 that more is not necessarily better.  Heck, that's true for introductory Engineering class as well.  Ugh.  That's why what is happening with Ford is so easily overlooked.  I pointed out my observation:  Ford pushing the EV model of Mustang as a SUV marks a fundamental shift in marketing.  Here in Minnesota, niche cars like that gets stored away during the cold season.  That would be a profound waste with an EV, especially since Tesla has proven capable on snow & ice.  So, we see Ford attempting to rebrand.  Why not?  After all, you're going to see a lot of advertising for the AWD-e model of Prius.  Able to handle adverse driving conditions is a selling point, something not to be ignored with the move to electrification.  In fact, that is likely a big contributor to the strong appeal for RAV4 hybrid.  It's an AWD platform edging closer and closer to offering a plug.  That means redefining Mustang for it to survive in this newly emerging market.

9-12-2019

Solid-State Recharge.  Ever think of the potential possible with better battery technology?  The elimination of liquid or gel electrolyte from regular rechargeable batteries to create the solid-state type should allow dramatically faster charging.  A solid electrolyte wouldn't be anywhere near the fire risk.  There is the potential to store much higher energy densities as well.  It changes the way we look at how much capacity is really needed for a plug-in vehicle, especially if the expectation of longer cycle life proves true.  You could recharge more often for shorter durations.  We're still a few years off before the experimental chemistries now show a practical means of becoming commercial products.  Costs will be high even when those designs become worthy of using in vehicles.  Our transportation outlook will change of when that finally happens.  So, all the crazy now is really just a chapter in history... ramblings of enthusiasts and early-adoptesrs.

 

back to home page       go to top