Prius Personal Log  #982

December 8, 2019  -  December 13, 2019

Last Updated:  Mon. 2/10/2020

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2020 Highlander Hybrid.  Toyota's push for hybrid technology unmatched by others is obvious with this newest reveal.  It will be built in Texas, making it more American than so many other supposed domestic products, it's rather remarkable.  Anywho, the efficiency rating jumps from 28 MPG with the previous generation to an amazing 34 MPG.  This upcoming new generation uses the TNGA platform Toyota has been working hard to deploy across a wide variety of vehicles.  In fact, the upcoming goal of 80% will soon be reached, right on schedule.  Anywho, this rather large SUV hybrid with a 3,500-pound towing capacity will have a starting price of $34,600.  How will the other automakers compete with that?  GM certainly won't come even close.  Ford may have some worthy technology, but will it be a true contender in a market Toyota dominates?  Being able to simply trade in your old Highlander for a new hybrid model is an easy approach Toyota dealers will likely embrace with little hesitation... especially with the success RAV4 hybrid has already solidified.  We're beyond the establishment stage.  Hybrids are the new norm with plug-in variants leading the next stage.  That's exactly what has been needed to reach the audience desiring a large family-mover.  It's a bit of a surreal moment to consider in automotive history.  This hybrid will deliver quite a bit higher efficiency than family-movers of the past.  Remember last year's model of minivan?


Outright Lies.  We are seeing false facts being pushed around in the political world so much, it is becoming normalized.  We have embraced corruption.  Rather than actually consider the detail, we choose rhetoric.  For example: "The Prius used to be the best most efficient car on the market, now it's no where close."  The hope from that is the reader will be too lazy to consider what "efficient" really means.  Rather than being a measure of energy consumption, it is portrayed as just raw MPG numbers.  That's the same type of deception we got from diesel antagonists.  They'd misrepresent overall efficiency for only the value that came from only highway driving and only with a manual transmission.  So even without taking into account emissions, the narrative came out to be the diesel was a better long-term strategy to pursue.  That gas overwhelmingly been proven false.  The latest hybrid tech achieves much higher MPG than diesel.  Anywho, the measure of EV efficiency uses "kWh/mi" measures instead.  The same type of deception can be used to mislead to.  Omitting certain routes & temperatures will portray a false narrative.  You have to start somewhere though.  And it this case, it's a simple as calling out outright lies.  That one number provides a basis of stirring constructive discussion.  In this case, the person posting the comment abandoned the thread.  He got caught attempting to mislead.  This is all it took to point that out:  25kWh/100mi is among the highest efficiency ratings for EV propulsion.  Your "no where close" claim is just plain not true, as that value clearly confirms.


Restart.  This sound familiar...?  GM just stated they will be putting heavily emphasis on SUV sales to create enough profit to fund their EV program.  That's exactly the story we got over a decade ago for Volt.  Literally, nothing has changed.  It's the same old excuses, again!  The stupidity of not evolving the technology in Volt for use in Equinox goes so far beyond sensible logic, it's crazy.  The next-generation of Two-Mode was actually supposed to be that.  But instead of rolling out that prototype Saturn Vue with a plug as some type of production configuration to enter the EV market, the path of pursuing Volt was chosen instead.  That provided a buffer of time.  Using that time to build that Equinox with a plug would have justified the delay & expense; instead, the entire program was abandoned entirely.  We are now seeing what essentially appears to be a restart.  Rather than take the next step, move backward to make the next few years appear to be productive.  Remember all the rhetoric about GM being the industry leader and Toyota being an entire decade behind?  That's all nonsense.  Toyota will be delivering a RAV4 with a plug this Summer, roughly 6 months from now.  GM is still many years away from offering even just an Equinox hybrid.  They had Tahoe hybrid over a decade ago, then killed it.  They had Volt, then killed it.  Now they have Bolt, but do nothing to promote it.  Using the excuse of generating profit for EV development by pushing traditional SUV guzzlers is pathetic.  Look at how well the RAV4 hybrid is selling.

  Practical.  There are always a few who try to be the voice of reason, keeping topics constructive & civil: "If you can't say something nice, don't say nothing at all.  GM fails are legendary."  But to actually move on, achieving closure and sharing a message of what was learned, you have to sometimes tell it like it is.  Ironically, not doing that can bring about a next stage anyway.  That's how the mistakes of Two-Mode were passed along to Volt.  Rather than understanding that history, working to prevent it from repeating, a group of enthusiasts unwilling to open their minds set the stage for failure again.  Ugh.  Telling them doesn't do any good either.  Some are just don't want prior experience to tarnish unrealistic hope.  Again, ugh.  This is what I said to that:

That's how rhetoric with Volt began.  I pointed out the pattern emerging, how its approach resembled that of Two-Mode failure.  Supporters became upset, turning a blind-eye to such information... becoming enthusiasts, enablers for history to repeat.

This is exactly why Toyota's schedule is the way it is.  They went out of their way to avoid GM fallout.  Every time the topic of adding a plug to Prius came up, there would be a hype reference to Volt.  Despite lacking substance, it simply wasn't worth competing with propaganda.

Toyota simply refined the technology while waiting for that to play out and for the market to finally recognize that to keep their large & powerful vehicles, they must also embrace a practical means of making them far cleaner and much more efficient.

12-10-2019 Seems.  My response to that interjection of Tesla from that effort to force a look at the here & now, rather than consider the bigger picture and impact to the market along the way, wasn't taken well.  He just blew it off with: "And yet, it seems that none of them have taken advantage of it."  I liked his lack of commitment.  Unwillingness to take a stance based on a concise goal or a wide perspective is nothing new.  That's how I end up butting heads with even some supporters sometimes.  They end up feeding a narrative by not taking the time to really consider what's being portrayed by their stance.  What message are your trying to convey verses what people are actually hearing?  I provided some perspective to that with:

Like I said several times, not recognizing the bigger picture...  Your use of "seems" is encouraging.

Toyota is very much taking advantage of the situation, it just isn't obvious to those still viewing sales from the "EV Market" perspective.  That's a tough habit to break.  Dealing with mainstream consumers is far more difficult than early-adopters, so the tendency to not realize you've walked into that trap is understandable.  It's why so many have misidentified the stage as Innovator's Dilemma.  Toyota is simply waiting for the cycle to end.  After all, it was very predictable.

Tesla did a wonderful job of using the opportunity to their advantage.  Once passing the 200,000 threshold and triggering phaseout, they worked hard to deliver as much supply as possible during the unlimited period.  It clearly worked to their benefit too.  But that is just about over and what comes next won't be easy.

GM simply just gave up.  Almost all of their tax-credits were squandered on conquest.  It was a terrible waste of opportunity.  Rather than using the subsidy to actually change what happens at their dealerships, Volt was just used for attracting one-time buyers who have demonstrated no loyalty.  Sales fell apart. There was no audience to focus on when their phaseout was triggered.

Toyota still has quite a few tax-credits available.  They are setting the stage for dealer's wanting lots of Prime models to sell.  RAV4 will lead the way with a very nice Prius following.  It will be a chance for leadership which other automakers will feel sucker-punched for not preparing to join in for... except Ford, who sees strong potential plug-in hybrid SUV offerings.

The market is being primed (yes, I know) for a paradigm-shift and infrastructure just plain is not there yet for EV support.  We see it everyday with shortcomings from existing charge-stations.  Fortunately, that will change.  It is quite realistic to get what's needed in place.  The catch is, that will take a lot more time & money than the "EV Market" wants to recognize.


Media Misrepresentation.  Pushing a narrative to draw interest to your website is common.  Using online articles to stir activity is nothing new.  Ages ago, we'd see articles about Prius from enthusiasts magazines having no interest whatsoever in that type of vehicle.  They knew it was a new audience with potential for a lot of growth, so they tried to capitalize on it.  Nowadays, it's no where near as obvious of a membership mismatch.  For example: "As the article on Innovators Dilemma says, Toyota is marketing the RAV4 hybrid as a upgrade and not stressing the MPG.  So if it is perceived that way, their strategy is a success."  I was drawn to a green website posting that without any reference to what green represents now.  They should be well past MPG at this point, focusing on kW, kWh/mi, and emissions.  Oh well.  Supposed "journalists" are usually just writers getting paid by the word.  True in-depth investigation requires comprehensive reporting, not just a fluff piece with buzz words.  This was my reply:

The catch is, there is not an innovator's dilemma.  It's a perception being portrayed by not looking at the bigger picture.  The example of "not stressing the MPG" provides evidence supporting that.  People already know what HYBRID FROM TOYOTA means.  There isn't anything to stress.  There isn't even anything to advertise.  The technology has become so ubiquitous, nothing needs to be said.

It's as elementary as knowing "there's an app for that".  Nothing else needs to be said.  The technology involved and the anticipated benefit has become knowledge so common, you're just wasting time putting any focus on it.  Remember, advertising a complex product means focusing on what the potential customer doesn't already know, not sighting the obvious.

As for success, you must know what the goal is.  Toyota currently has their desired take-rate set in the 20% to 25% range for RAV4 hybrid.

12-10-2019 Green Halo.  I always got a kick of that term.  What it meant was an automaker achieved the image of being green and that helped them sell their fleet of non-green vehicles.  The fact that Toyota actually sold hybrids negated the claim.  There were indeed green.  Change on the dealer's lot was genuinely happening.  Camry hybrid and Highlander hybrid purchases were happening regardless of what happened with Prius.  It was real, not a halo.  Some try to interject Tesla into the legacy automaker equation as if that somehow also applied.  That makes no sense.  Tesla was 100% green right from the start.  It helped pave the way, not create barriers as this twist claims: "They allowed a newcomer to the industry to steal that away from them.  This stumble will cost them.  They could have sold a Prius EV in half or less than the quantity Tesla has sold Model 3s in the last year and maintained their green halo."  Confused?  It's a jumble of messages requiring a forced perspective.  You must believe there are only winners & losers, nothing in between... that all EV buyers are the same and have the same wants & needs.  Ugh.  I fired back with:

The situation isn't zero-sum.  The market doesn't work on a micro level either.  This is a macro-economic change, requiring multiple players.  None of the big ones wanted to play along though. GM, Ford, Chrysler, and VW all chose to resist in some manner and did so for 2 decades. Tesla filling in that void provides exactly the type of ally that has been needed.  This is why "know your audience" is such a vital part of the equation.

Many will argue until the cows come home that top-down & bottom-up approaches cannot co-exist. Reality is, they are complimentary.  That's why so many online battles are pointless.  That's why claims of "behind" are words of rhetoric without substance.  What cost is there to taking the time to ensure they are delivering change their dealers will embrace?  Rushing to market without a robust, profitable, adaptive set of technology advances is not how attract mainstream buyers.

In other words, following a belief that not capturing the early-adopter market represents a huge loss in the realm of appealing to ordinary consumers is futile.  The "halo" remark confirms a mismatch.  Who does RAV4 Prime target?


Purpose?  Posts like this are interesting: "If I'm really only getting 25 miles of EV for my electricity $$, I'm better off just running the car in HV mode all the time."  It's the same old generic math we've seen for 20 years, with no awareness of what actually happens as you drive.  From a pure financial perspective, you're never better off purchasing a new vehicle anyway.  There are tradeoffs, of course.  But those don't get addressed.  I try to point out the basics.  Many people posting comments like that have already made up their mind, so there isn't much sway opportunity.  You can enlighten others in the process though.  That's why I try to formulate a short & sweet response with the hope to provide some type of thought-provoking info:  Didn't you purchase your Prime to also make other people better off?  There's a very real benefit from using less gas and emitting fewer emissions, even if you can't equate it to a monetary value.  You'd be amazed how much your small contribution to a larger cause really adds up.


More Digging.  Continued attacks tend to result in some type of revelation or summary.  He just kept trying to spin any way he could to somehow bring down my credibility.  That's a common response.  Basically, they just try to confuse the matter to the point of you struggling to convey any type of concise message.  Quite the opposite happened with my.  It solidified my argument points.  It's an involuntary debate, where their engagement strengthens my stance while weakening their own.  That pretty much happens every time, since most arguments lack substance.  They end up with nothing to fight with and reinforcing my stance.  In this case, I got a nice list to use later for just such encounters... since they will inevitably repeat:

Nope, that's your spin to evade addressing what I actually stated.  My comments were about long-term approach...

  - reduced cost
  - reduced complexity
  - better weight distribution
  - better physical fit
  - better accessibility

Keep digging.


Keep Digging.  A handle of antagonists have hung around, preying on those unaware of their efforts to undermine.  But when it comes to me, it's an effort to misrepresent: "Oh Myyyy, how does one put a positive spin on the above toyota fact?"  It's the same old nonsense we've seen for decades with green transportation and now gets daily attention in the political scene.  They sight debunked claims as being uncertain, confuse the topic by introducing red-herrings, and attack the messenger.  I find it all quite amusing at this point.  For a Volt enthusiast to still be fighting, it's rather senseless.  There are no more battles to stage.  That war has been lost.  So, I watch posts like this with curiosity of how much deeper he will continue to dig himself.  It is already hopeless.  Production has ended.  GM has no intent to spread the technology.  Lack of a successor means it's over.  EREV is dead.  Of course, that was a meaningless term anyway.  The definition changed every time the rest of the industry moved forward.  This is how I dealt with his obvious provoke:  Efforts to avoid addressing specific issues directly related to this topic are very, very telling.  LIQUID COOLING is one such issue.  You absolutely insist it is a necessity.  I point out that is really just a work-around until more robust & affordable battery-chemistry becomes available.  It makes no sense to endorse added cost & complexity long-term.  You also shoot yourself in the foot by making that assertion of need.  With such a requirement, it forces a large & inflexible pack design.  Being able to distribute stacks of cells for better weight distribution, better physical fit, and better accessibility isn't possible.  You become stuck by limitations of your unsubstantiated claim.  Keep digging.  Each negative spin response for more rebuttal material to help reveal shortcomings & motive.


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