Prius Personal Log #977
November 12, 2019 - November 16, 2019
Last Updated: Mon. 2/10/2020
page #976 page #978 BOOK INDEX
This Latest Kerfuffle. I had much to say about it: Toyota knows their audience well. Being able to offer a variety of PHV models provides a strong endorsement for moving their dealerships forward. The choice of a few plug-in options complimented by a wide selection of hybrids sets the stage for EV sales later, while also taking advantage of limited battery supply now. It's simple math. There's far greater of an emission reduction by spreading 60 kWh of battery cells across 5 plug-in hybrids (assuming the next capacity increase is to 12 kWh) than to just 1 electric-only vehicle... since the other 4 would still be traditional guzzlers. Think about the likelihood of the next purchase from a PHV owner being an EV. This is why conquest isn't a concern. After all, you want the entire industry to move forward. Having some Prius owners help Tesla become established isn't a bad thing, as many attempt to lead you to believe. In the meantime, battery production is being refined and its chemistry improved. While in the same period, people are upgrading infrastructure in their garages, driveways, and parking lots. Put another way, the spin about Toyota not caring or being hopelessly behind don't match up with the reality of what's actually happening behind the scenes. That's why the term "narrative" has become the modern identifier for trolling. Antagonists hoping to undermine hope you only pay attention to what they claim is important, preventing the bigger picture from being seen. Having fought the green war for 20 years now (I still vividly remember my discovery of Prius & Insight way back in 1999), I see this latest kerfuffle as just a new chapter in that on-going history.
Witnessing History. It is quite fascinating to witness this history play out. It is like when I had collected a wealth of information to confirm gen-2 of Volt was doomed to fail. The evidence was obvious; yet, enthusiasts worked extremely hard to deny it. In that case, GM was studying feedback from gen-1 owners. That set them up for innovator's dilemma. And sure enough, the next generation made what started as a niche even more of a niche. I could see all along they were asking the wrong audience for suggestions. You want mainstream acceptance, you must carefully consider every bit of info that fickle audience is willing to share... not what early-adopters state praise for... then push for what they are unlikely to even be aware of. It's all quite important... and clues to success are very easily overlooked. Put another way, this reminds me of that scene in the movie "Raiders of the Lost Ark" when they came to realize the Nazis were digging in the wrong place. It was just a matter of time, waiting for them to figure it out their mistake. Then, things would get ugly. That's exactly what I witnessed too. I watched history as a participant... which is quite a different perspective from those telling tales now. Looking back, you get a very different impression than while it is playing out.
Other Automakers. Ugh, this narrative is well beyond
annoying at this point: "...the other auto makers shifted gears and
started heavily investing in catching up, whereas Toyota pulled an Ostrich
and buried it's head in the ground..." It comes from the effort
to convince people that electric-only vehicles are the only solution.
If it's not EV, the automaker is supposedly now becoming desperate, falling
so far behind they will have to scramble to catch up. Again, ugh.
People are gullible though, especially when it comes to topics they know
basically nothing about. You feed them some misleading information to
let assumptions originate from. Don't allow owners to actually convey
anything useful. That's why my videos have become such a powerful tool
to counter that nonsense. This is how I replied:
You actually believe that narrative? It's the same old greenwash we've been hearing for years. Some have worked hard to convince us that Toyota is ignoring the market, despite the fact that evidence to the contrary is hidden in plain view. All you have to do is look around. The components for a great EV are being refined right before our eyes.
Start with what should be the most obvious. A vehicle's battery-pack is nothing but a series of cells assembled into a stack. The more stacks you include, the more capacity (range) the vehicle offers. It's not rocket-science. It's just packaging. The chemistry is being tested heavily in real-world conditions by Prius Prime. That data will go a long way toward making the next-generation something to truly contend with. No EV is necessary for that.
But if you want an EV already, look no further than Mirai. It utilizes a 151 horsepower (113 kW) electric motor. Again, Toyota is already real-world testing it. To give the technology intended for mainstream use such a heavy shake out in public with most people never noticing is genius. They are taking their refined design for electric motors and pushing it to continuous and heavy use. It's proof of worth without ever having to deal with audience challenges.
Then there's the heat-pump in Prius Prime, an industry leading approach... most definitely not catch up. Their vapor-injected approach sets it above the rest in terms of electricity consumption. It's the top for efficiency, something essential for being competitive. That is why we also see the use of carbon-fiber in Prius Prime. For added strength and weight-reduction, that's a nice advantage to have too.
In addition to all that, Toyota is working hard to change the culture at dealership. Their push for change with RAV4 is proving extremely effective. The hybrid version is selling exceptionally well... and that's before next week's reveal of the upcoming PHV model. Combine that with the build up of Prius Prime (mid-cycle update along with production ramp-up) and the introduction what should become paradigm-shift from the Corolla hybrid delivering 52 MPG and starting at just $23,100.
Put another way, what does "catch up" actually require? Think about everything that much change to achieve sustainable high-volume sales. Don't listen to those only paying attention to low-hanging fruit. They're in for quite a reality shock when the early-adopter market becomes saturated and subsidies expire.
Irresponsible & Behind. That didn't go well. I got this in return: "The fact is Toyota wants to squeeze every last dollar of investments out of ICE engines no matter how environmentally irresponsible and behind the times that notion really is. They're as greedy and stupid as VW thinking they could get away with faking compliance with emissions requirements... Seems like you and Toyota and Trump are circling the same drain." I was quite disappointed. My hope of some thought taking placed before another reaction was crushed. Oh well. It gave me the opportunity to say more on the topic: Who? I was one of those fighting the fight to draw attention to what VW was up to. Things just didn't add up. I helped collect & present evidence to reveal why claims being made were not true. At the same time, I was also battling GM with its facade from supposed efforts to reach mainstream consumers with their plug-in efforts. Choosing to follow the narrative to support a boycott won't change the wisdom of the bottom-up approach. Toyota is pushing for change across a wide array of choices. That's something enthusiasts object to, since they believe only a top-down approach will succeed... despite the reality that it was a momentous failure GM has had attempting that. In other words, I have 20 years of history helping to confirm the perception unfolding now isn't really what's taking place. Toyota has carefully planned out a means of deploying green options their dealers will embrace and consumers will seek out. It's good business, something enthusiasts show no interest in... and I have hundreds of pages of blogs to prove it... very, very in depth market research. Take a look around. What have the other automakers actually delivered in terms of change not dependent upon tax-credits? Toyota is setting the stage by deploying PHEV models of Prius, Corolla, and RAV4, along with an EV model of C-HR. Each is targeted at ordinary consumers and is expected to be appealing to dealers. Remember, stocking them as regular inventory is vital. In other words, what merit is there for stating "environmentally irresponsible" and "behind the times" when we can see obvious work at play to disrupt the status quo?
Knee-Jerk Reactions. It is interesting to watch comments like this gain traction: "Meanwhile, a boycott against Toyota's support for Trump is coming on strong." With so little merit to support them, you wonder how the intended audience will actually react. This is thought-provoking when it comes to automotive purchases. Are such financially large decisions really made with so little information? And does the shopper really care about politics? It's the type of rhetoric you have to wonder about. Does it make any difference? That's why I watch so carefully and document my observations. The market isn't all about engineering. In fact, there is little logic to it sometimes. But there is a strong element of practicality. Even the obsessively large & wasteful SUVs do provide some physical benefit. I hope at least a few of those who typically react without thought will try to consider the bigger picture this time and how seemingly good choices don't actually much, of anything. We'll see: Knee-Jerk reactions from those with limited focus (in this case EV enthusiasts) will give that impression. Many have demonstrated a genuine disinterest toward the needs of ordinary consumers, obsessing with range & power instead of actually addressing their purchases priorities. Appealing to the mainstream market means attention to the showroom experience is vital. Dealers must be on board, which means sales without any type of subsidy. A boycott will not achieve that.
Video: Prius Prime - Cold Commute thru Minneapolis. I enjoyed putting together this particular video. It provided an opportunity to show a type of commute I usually don't have to endure. But in this case, we had have to drive to that location fairly often. We are helping to get that home ready for selling. So, going there to do some clean-up after work meant jumping into the busy Twin Cities corridor while commuting traffic is at peak. That's something I normally wouldn't need to do. Capturing it on video was a nice benefit. Anywho, here's what I published: Electric heat and heavy traffic during rush-hour through Minneapolis represents a significant demonstration of the EV capabilities Prius Prime offers. Combined with some high-speed highway travel to follow with new tires not broken-in yet completes the commute from downtown St. Paul to a suburb home on the other end of the Twin Cities. Watch this video, paying close attention to the data provided on the right from an aftermarket interface. Compare that detail to what you see on the left, the dashboard of Prius Prime... Prius Prime - Cold Commute thru Minneapolis
Mainstream. Fragments of past rhetoric still linger, a the definition of "mainstream" demonstrates. My guess of antagonists, now lost of purpose, feel the need to have some type of voice still. Having been proven incorrect, that's a difficult position to be in. They fought hard with twisted facts and lots of spin to support a failing effort. And now that has been exposed, what can they do? Most vanish. You never hear from them again. That was the beauty of hiding behind an avatar with a made up name. There was no sense of accountability. That's why most venues abandoned that type of commenting approach. If you were unwilling to associate your posts with your identity, you were probably trying to hide something. It simply makes no sense to conceal like that. Sadly, those days of being unable to trace source persisted for many, many years. It's over now; however, some still try to hold onto that past... which necessitates pointing that out: The widely accepted definition of mainstream here started over 15 years ago with hybrids was anything capable of sustaining non-subsidized profitable sales at a minimum rate of 60,000 annual. People like to move goal-posts though, especially with the entire EV market still leveraging tax-credits. Basically, it comes down to a breaking of the status quo. If you can get showroom shoppers to purchase the vehicle, you have effectively achieved change. If you are catering almost entirely to nothing but the early-adopter audience, it still isn't mainstream yet.
Waste. This was another Ugh today. It was based upon the precedent established, then heavy endorsed, to portray efficiency only in terms of MPG. I was annoyed by the Gallons exclusive, an obvious effort to conceal kWh consumption, to hide information about waste. That's because some EV designs are more efficient than others. Listing how much electricity was actually used reveals a different story from what was actually being portrayed. Anywho, that's what I was forced to accept. So, now being called out for doing exactly that, I can't help but to be amused. That hypocrisy is confirmation of what they did in the past to mislead. They would omit detail to undermine. Being called out on a double-standard is something they want to avoid. So, I felt free to draw attention to the situation: I remember the days of getting attacked for pointing out an EV could be considered a guzzler of electricity. Hopefully, those close-minded individuals have come to realize that extra electricity required to travel the same distance translates to extra time you have to wait for a charger to become available. Even if it is from a green source, waste is waste. Time & Electricity should be an important measure of EV worth. 58 kWh/100mi is in an entirely new league of waste. Whoa! Compared to the newest Model 3 rating at 24 kWh/100mi or Prius Prime at 25 kWh/100mi, that's an amazingly inefficient EV drive.
Dehumidify. Ugh. It's troublesome to read comments like this: "BTW - once you turn on the windshield defroster, it kicks on the ICE anyway, so it's almost not worth trying to do much in EV mode if you want to be safe." It's very misleading. There's nothing you need to actually do. The ICE (gas engine) will cycle on & off as needed while in EV mode, automatically operating in HV while that extra heat is provided. You get the benefit of EV without compromising safety. Of course, there are a few who go to extremes while driving to squeeze out more electricity use. Some are unaware of the non-driving things you can do. That type of advice was perfect for this situation, to dodge the obvious growing of tension on this particular discussion. I posted: Dehumidify the vehicle before parking. Just open the doors or windows for a minute. The temperature difference will force moisture to escape. You don't need MAX defrost then (the button). Ordinary window blowing works fine then and it's all electric.
Electric Announcements. Lexus announced that at the
upcoming Guangzhou Auto Show (on November 22) it will unveil its first
battery-electric vehicle. This was the teaser provided: "Specifically
crafted to suit the needs of audiences in China and in Europe, this further
advances the brand's desire to offer a portfolio of electrified powertrain
choices for diverse audiences worldwide." Expectations are that
the EV model of C-HR will be highlighted too, providing specifications &
pricing. It's the type of detail that should finally bring an end to
the rhetoric. Much propaganda for other automakers was built upon the
premise that Toyota would never deliver EV offerings, that they were
exclusively interested in fuel-cells. That was always a load of
nonsense, efforts to undermine based on a one-solution-for-all belief.
The concept of diversity wrecks meritless hype... what enthusiasts thrive
on. That's why so much antagonism emerged from Volt enthusiasts.
Portrayal of a narrative depended upon single-dimension characterizations.
Toyota offering a wide variety of choices didn't fit into their agenda...
and now that reality is crashing down... coinciding perfectly with the
phaseout of their tax-credits. This is why we are now witnessing a
rather profound change from online posting. Evidence of having lost is
obvious. Those old blogs and what I documented here will forever
preserve their decision to turn a blind-eye to certain facts; instead, they
chose to misrepresent & mislead. Ugh. I sure am glad to see that
coming to an end.