Prius Personal Log  #974

October 25, 2019  -  October 29, 2019

Last Updated:  Mon. 2/10/2020

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10-29-2019

Distraction.  The rhetoric is endless: "Because you don't need even a single EV to be compliant with CA's CAFE requirements.  They are probably playing the distraction game so their competition would slow down investment."  The fight against it isn't hopeless.  Change is slow & subtle, but it can be detected.  It's a matter of pointing out the clues:

It is the distraction game.  Ironically though, you've got it backward.  GM rolled out an EV and had their enthusiasts spin stories to draw attention away from the reality that it did nothing at all to actually change their status quo.  In other words, Bolt has been a token offering with no prospect of ever becoming mainstream.  GM simply wasn't interested.  Toyota on the other hand, wants their entire fleet moved forward... as evidence of their hybrid efforts overwhelmingly confirm.

Notice how Prius, Corolla, and RAV4 hybrids are all on the short path for their plug-in hybrid counterpart to becoming common? How does that in any manner reflect the claimed kicking & screaming attitude?  When you look at the big picture, they are quietly pushing change within their own production.  It's others who are spreading the lack of any current offering as somehow a massive resistance... like those in doing damage-control for GM.

Look at the other big legacy automakers.  Do we actually see anything of substance from GM, FCA, VW, or Ford yet? None of them have rolled out high-volume profitable offerings either.  In fact, Toyota is well ahead of them with regard to change at the dealer level.  Inventory shifting away from traditional choices is undeniable.  In fact, RAV4 hybrid is a runaway hit... so much so, the upcoming PHEV reveal should be quite a draw... enough to finally quiet those spinning stories.

That very real change on the showroom floor is what has the greatest impact... not the rhetoric we encounter online.

10-29-2019

Raising the Bottom.  California rules are a mixed blessing.  CARB credits do indeed serve a valid purpose.  They push automakers to innovate.  That's change for the sake of change though.  It doesn't actually encourage them to rollout any new tech across their fleet.  In fact, what it really does is impose a minimum.  There's no real incentive to advance beyond that artificial ceiling.  It's an unfortunate reality many don't actually see.  That's why the TOP-DOWN approach is favored so heavily.  Focus on that paints a rosy picture.  You get the impression of progress.  Sadly, the benefit doesn't extend beyond the spotlight.  That's why the BOTTOM-UP approach must somehow be included.  Balance either within or from an industry perspective is vital.  In that regard, we see Tesla and Toyota complimenting each other.  It works well in early stages.  Moving to the next step presents challenges.  Seeing that isn't easy.  Many online don't.  That's where the rhetoric comes from.  It can be difficult, if not impossible, to overcome.  I keep trying:  Good intentions on California's part have resulted in problems from some automakers.  Rather than improve the emissions/consumption of their fleet, the outcome is gaming the system.  Toyota sees no reason to endorse such behavior.  It makes sense too.  RAV4 hybrid is a large AWD vehicle delivering 40 MPG.  It's profitable and sets the stage well for a plug-in model.  The regulation from CARB doesn't push change across the board; instead, it encourages fleet offset.  We end up seeing "compliance" vehicles for just those markets as a result.  Often, they are low-volume and unprofitable.  That creation of niche products is the reason for not wanting region-specific approach.  A common standard raises the bottom.  The other does not.

10-28-2019

Group Think.  There's a mantra of old being bad that overweighs logic.  Some just can't get over the idea that long-term outcome can come from long-term planning.  It's bizarre how success is gauged upon trying something bold & new.  The idea of steady & true (continuous improvement) is lost to this new audience.  That makes sense though.  A group of new participants may not have the background.  No exposure to alternate approaches may give the impression alternatives are not possible.  After all, the Volt enthusiasts were obsessed with a one-size-fits-all approach.  They never ended up seeing the entire forest, fixation was always just the one tree.  It's really bizarre when you see analogies & cliché playing out to such an extreme.  It was like interacting a living caricature.  Anywho, elements of that still persists... and I'm still dealing with it:  That incredibly vague "old tech and battery is the future" reveals a lack of understanding how Toyota's hybrid system actually operates.  Adding a clutch creates a vehicle capable of delivering all-electric commutes on a platform able to deliver profit in 2020.  That's far from "woefully inadequate" in any regard.  As for not understanding the tougher emission/efficiency standards, that comes from failing to look at the bigger picture.... which ties into your shared sentiment.  It's a group-think problem.  Focus is on just the newest offerings.  As a result, ordinary choices are getting neglected.  Toyota's mission is change across the board.... not to endorse token efforts.

10-28-2019

Consequences.  Carrying rhetoric on, rather than learning from the past, seems to be this new audience's forte.  Ugh.  That's why history repeats.  Oh well, again.  I just keep sharing what I observe:  Speaking of audience, it has been interesting to watch antagonists struggle with the steady progress Toyota is making.  They have no clue how to effectively continue with their anti-EV rhetoric as the entire automaker product-line takes a step forward.  And in this case with Lexus, it's several steps.  The reason why is simple, they have no solid reasoning to explain how Toyota will fail.  Descriptions like "behind" and "laggard" don't carry any weight when there's nothing of merit to support claims.  That's quite a difference from the downfall we saw with GM.  It was obvious how heavily dependent Volt was upon tax-credits.  When expiration approached, cost was simply to high to offer affordable pricing and there were no other models to bear the burden.  With Lexus being priced in a higher tier, that pressure isn't there anyway.  Assisting matters, we'll see both hybrids & plug-in hybrids helping to push down cost through their volume from Toyota brand offerings.  Launching an EV won't silence antagonists.  In fact, they'll just find some other way of spinning the situation.  Ironically, their efforts to undermine will end up helping to promote... since what gets posted will draw attention to the new offering... consequently, taking away attention from other discussion opportunities.

10-28-2019

Moving Forward.  That stir continued on into the next day.  Working with an entirely new audience on such an old topic is fascinating.  They repeat the same mistakes, despite even more data disproving claims.  It's denial on a scale you wouldn't ever believe.  But then again, our history has a past plagued with believing what you want to hear, not accepting what you actually see.  Ugh.  To that, I say oh well and shared my observations:  That's why "know your audience" came about.  Toyota has never been interested in conquest sales.  Looking at the disastrous outcome that had for GM with Volt, it has proven a wise choice.  While the EV market matures, Toyota will push traditional vehicles out by phasing in hybrids, with RAV4 getting lots if attention... setting the nicely for the plug-in model to follow.  What other automaker has such a simple process laid out for quickly moving their entire fleet forward?

10-27-2019

Lies & Hypocrisy.  There is quite a stir now, as audience changes.  It's a look back at select history, giving a very distorted impression, at best.  At worst, the new online participants will discover some narrative and follow it without question.  The death of Volt was inevitable, since those enthusiasts pushing were terrible representatives of ordinary consumers.  They certainly believed they were endorsing mainstream preferences though.  Not seeing their effort was built upon lies & hypocrisy was a fatal mistake.  How anyone could turn a blind-eye to so much conflicting data is remarkable.  I would have never accepted the idea that such a large group could so easily disregard information like that.  They did though.  I replied back to the stir today with this reflection:  We witnessed that quite a few times over the years.  In fact, that's where the "over promise, under deliver" came from.  It is odd that some still haven't figured out how that works.  It's a matter of understanding audience.  Who?  When?  Where?  For example, advertisements are short-term.  How many times have those here complained about "self-charging" with the implication that was the ultimate philosophy & approach for the across every division long-term?  That's absurd.  They are for at-the-moment sales; yet, they aren't treated that way.  In other words, look for actual change.  Do the actions taking place bring about a step forward?  For an example of that, look at what happened with Volt.  It never attracted GM's own customers.  Sales of SUVs & Pickups continued to grow and sales of cars dropped significantly.  Words of executives and promotions of the technology didn't result in any change to what the dealer's stocked as everyday inventory.  It's quite remarkable how uptight some individuals get from announcements and how blind they are to recognizing true progress.  Focus on outcome.  What changed?

10-27-2019

Not Ready.  Focus on Toyota from the Tokyo auto show was on the extra stuff the automaker does, side projects which are commonly not understood.  That information is used to spin a "not ready" sentiment.  It's annoying, but understandable.  I pointed out:  Trouble is, enthusiasts aren't actually paying close enough attention.  Turning a blind-eye to Toyota's message of pricing is nothing new though.  In fact, that was a major argument point against Volt even before rollout began.  It was too expensive.  That's still true an entire decade later.  The cost-per-kilowatt problem remains a barrier for reaching the masses.  So while waiting for battery technology to continue to advance, Toyota allows its engineers to indulge.  Having that freedom to experiment, exploring the possibilities is priceless.  It's unfortunate that opportunity is lost to so many.  This builds a stronger development team as well as serving to help push the potential batteries have to offer.  As for the disruption claim, it's interesting to see more posts from those thinking Tesla is the competition.  It's not.  Tesla is a major contributor to the effort to move away from traditional vehicles.  Their top-down approach is complimented by Toyota's bottom-up approach.  Both are working hard to appeal to very different audiences to achieve that same goal.  In other words, the perspective of "ready" is audience dependent.  The number of people unable conveniently recharge or to even afford a plug-in vehicle is enormous still.  Not acknowledging that is doing a disservice to those who are struggling to overcome those challenges.

10-26-2019

Video:  Test-Drive Suggestion (using Charge-Mode).  It was nice to finally have a chance to put together some detail to share on this topic.  This is the kind of thing you cringe every time you hear about it.  Sadly, being poorly informed or not making an effort is far too common.  I've heard stories of people interested in Prius Prime, but ending up being disappointed at the dealer because no one bothered to charge the battery.  Without that plug-supplied electricity, you don't get the full experience of EV (electric) driving.  That's unfortunate.  There is a handy solution though.  Using Charge-Mode is a quick means of charging the battery.  When you hold the EV/HV, rather than just pushing it, that feature will engage. It instructs the engine to operate beyond just HV (hybrid) mode.  The result is electricity generate from gas instead of plugging in.  That isn't the most efficient means of recharging the battery, but it is quite useful when you would like to go for a test-drive but the salesperson was unable to accommodate.  Here's the video...  Prius Prime - Test-Drive Suggestion (using Charge-Mode)

10-26-2019

Losing Marketshare.  Obsessive focus on increasing EV range and the early-adopter market is a becoming a big problem for market growth.  Many perceive the low-hanging fruit sales as a loss, one automaker taking sales from another.  With a mature product, that could indeed be the issue to focus on.  But when a non-legacy company is helping to break new ground, that's an entirely different situation.  This is why Tesla shouldn't be treated the same as GM.  Their is nothing to phaseout.  There are no old dealerships to convert.  Heck, there isn't even existing staff to retrain.  With GM, that has always been challenges enthusiasts simply dismissed.  That lesson wasn't learned from Volt or Bolt though.  The same blindness is a source of attacks on Toyota.  They don't understand how the entire industry must work together to achieve mainstream change.  Ugh.  It's really unfortunate to have to address that still.  You'd think real-world outcomes would help teach what should now be something recognized as the true problem.  Sadly, that's not how rhetoric works.  They spin what they want.  I keep pointing out their oversight:  That feel good story is really a narrative to avoid addressing the problem still faced by the industry.  Battery technology (cost, density, and volume) are all still hampered.  Research has always been pushing, striving to achieve those barriers to mainstream acceptance.  Even now, as Tesla works to overcome saturation of the early-adopter market and loss of tax-credits, there is no guarantee the necessary growth will actually happen.  However, Tesla's top-down approach compliments Toyota's bottom-up approach quite well.  So, regardless of whatever online spin gets posted here, the effort continues.  In other words, if you think marketshare is being lost, you really don't understand who the competition actually is.

10-25-2019

Hold Mode.  If you can't misrepresent the market now, try misrepresenting the past.  Ugh.  He certainly tried.  I'm not going to validate such attempts with quotes as much anymore either.  That nonsense had its time.  We learned from it and now move on.  I will provide reminders of the history though:  The older Prius PHV had it from day 1, way back in 2012.  That "hold" mode was mocked & ridiculed, until 2 years later when Volt also got it.  Another detail avoided is the fact that Prius Prime offers a charge-mode, which is surprisingly efficient.  You can deliver a sustained 7.7 kW to the battery-pack and get 37 MPG all while cruising at highway speeds.  It's a nice best-of-both-worlds feature, quite handy when you are on a road-trip with nowhere to plug in.  We do that on our trips out west, storing up some EV capacity for use long after the engine has cooled.  That electricity is handy for pre-conditioning too.

10-25-2019

Untrue.  The effort to provide damage-control for Volt continues.  There isn't much of that anymore.  But when it emerges, the source is typically a past antagonist attempting to stir the pot.  In this case, it was this comment: "This sets it apart from most other PHEVs which blend battery with engine power under heavy demand at any speed."  I noticed his vague use of "most" with the hope to mislead.  The expectation is no one will call him out on the ambiguous statement.  No attention to detail allows assumption to take place... hence a successful effort to undermine.  I called out today's attempt:  Untrue.  Prius Prime in EV mode will not start the engine either, even if you drop the pedal to the floor.  That all-electric drive is unlike its hybrid counterpart, achieving a disconnect from any engine activity by literally disconnecting it via clutch.  There are videos clearly showing that 68 kW draw of electricity, enough to merge onto a highway and drive in EV up to 84 mph.  That can even be achieved while using the electric heat-pump at the same time.

10-25-2019

Keeping It Real.  Some people say it, but don't.  What they deliver is tends to be overly simplistic.  That's really easy to do when posting online.  Those venues and the process don't promote detail or follow-up.  A majority of posts are nothing but quick hits.  It's a means of entertainment and self-gratification more than being a source of constructive efforts.  That's just the way it is.  You need dedicated private forums and in-person meetings to get true work done.  In other words, some type of accountability is required.  Hiding behind an avatar isn't real.  Nonetheless, it is a good means of shaking out ideas and looking for weakness in arguments.  Think of it as preparation for the "real" world.  The topic of setting up chargers at home is still new enough to not have many problems with rhetoric, yet.  This was part of today's discussion on that:  The use of "real" implies the question focuses on difference beyond price.  Considering an audience of ordinary showroom shoppers, not early-adopters, the biggest purchase decision influence is how the vehicle will be charged.  For the masses, charging will take place at their residence overnight.  Volt demonstrated the limits of 120-volt charging.  13 hours for 53 miles is a maximum.  To leave for work at 7:00 AM, you'd have to start the charge during peak-load hours at 6:00 PM.  That means a BEV requires a 240-volt charger for traditional-equivalent daily range.  For a PHEV though, there's an engine available. So, getting by without any household upgrade is quite realistic.  It's a good option for both buyer & seller.  Expect PHEV sales to thrive throughout the next decade, side-by-side with EV offerings.  They are both great starter & second vehicles for households embracing the idea of plugging in.

 

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