Prius Personal Log  #993

March 4, 2020  -  March 10, 2020

Last Updated:  Weds. 3/25/2020

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Daily Blog.  Remember that nonsense?  It was 2 years ago that it came to an end.  Their rhetoric was on a truly remarkable scale.  So much influence emerged from the propaganda they created, it was a force strong enough to shift the norm.  People just accepted their claims without question.  It became the voice for GM and the automaker was thrilled to have such a powerful group of enablers.  Time after time, we would get an ambiguous press-release, resulting in that group spinning it to hype.  That happened over and over.  Not only wouldn't they listen to me, I became the scapegoat for problems.  They said I had lost my way and was blinded by loyalty.  That's called reflection, of course.  I just kept pointing out the reality of the situation, how they became obsessed with a niche and lost purpose.  In fact, here's one of my posts from that end:  Too little, too slowly was the pointing out of opportunity being missed.  It simply never made any sense wasting good tech like that, especially with so many sharing words of praise for the potential.  GM management wasn't interested in reaching out to the larger market.


20.0 Miles.  Seeing that as the estimated EV distance when I started the car this morning came as a surprise.  Huh?  There was a "charge interrupted" message on the screen to confirm something wasn't right.  My thoughts dwelled on it being a charger issue.  What if my EVSE (Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment, the proper term for that connector to outside power) was starting to die.  Although that's highly unlikely, it is still possible.  I wondered what I would get as a replacement if that really was the case.  Taking the stats into consideration... 37°F outside... 79% start... 12% end... 3.4 miles remaining when I parked... and 18.1 miles driven total... things just weren't adding up.  All seemed just fine.  Then it hit me!  It was a double-whammy.  Not only had I departed for work an hour earlier than usual from having to attend a class that morning, it was also the daylight-savings jump ahead the day before.  Being off by hours explained what was going on.  Phew!  That sure had be wondering what was going on.


Doubt & Conclusions.  The foundation of a narrative is to raise doubt and draw conclusions.  We're definitely seeing that now.  It's the result of GM's EV Day.  That stirring of press is an obvious distraction effort to draw attention away from the upcoming loss of tax-credits.  There is a little over 2 weeks remaining.  Put another way, nearly 10 years of opportunity was wasted.  That money was a subsidy provided with the intent of helping each automaker adopt, adapt, and improve electrification.  Taking a look at GM dealers, the assessment today would be that's a total disaster.  If you are lucky, you would fine 1 or 2 Bolt available for sale somewhere in the vast offering of SUVs and Pickups.  At many locations, you aren't likely to fine any evidence at all of change.  In fact, the situation has grown worse since the departure of sedans is well underway.  So, the narrative of GM skipping plug-in hybrids because they have embraced a better way is pure rubbish.  Better what?  They aren't selling anything better.  It's not even enough to be a halo effort.  There's nothing and won't be for years still.  Quite annoyed, I posted this as a reply to a troublemaker clearly not interested in being constructive:  GM didn't skip PHEV in any regard.  They learned from Volt that building an efficient & profitable plug-in hybrid was a monumental effort... too much to spread the technology to one of their popular offerings, like Equinox.  That wasn't the case for Toyota though.  Prius Prime has proven it is a viable path to follow.  RAV4 Prime is that next step.  As for claiming the public hasn't really warmed up to PHEV, how can you draw that conclusion when so little exposure has happened?  They are still very much a niche and available only in limited markets.


Never Plug In.  When an antagonist does finally address the issue, they'll attempt downplay.  In this case though, it was outright dismissal.  They have figured out that claiming a plug-in hybrid owner never plugs the vehicle in will create enough of a distraction to completely derail the topic currently being argued.  So rather than a red-herring, they just provide false information.  Just like any other effort to undermine, there is rarely any detail to actually support their claim.  At best, you get outdated hearsay.  Some study or someone they know tells you literally nothing; yet, they think that's all we need to draw a conclusion with about the entire category.  Ugh.  It's all quite vague & random.  The best approach is to just rebut with facts that are difficult to dispute, as I did today:  You are making a big assertion to claim that PHEV owners don't recharge every day.  Since it only takes an ordinary 120-volt household outlet is needed for the included charger to recharge the battery, it is as simple of an effort to plug in the car as it is their phone.  No big deal.  The payoff is obvious too.  Daily commuting with electricity saves a lot of gas.


Red-Herrings.  The most common defense used online to deal with a shortcoming is to change the topic.  I see that deflection all the time.  Their refusal to address the issue is a solid confirmation of having identified it correctly.  Some get really mad too, but try to hide it.  For example: "Several years ago Toyota made a public statement that it was going with hybrids and hydrogen and not electric vehicles.  No conspiracies theories needed."  That was such a blatant attempt to divert attention, I couldn't help but to be amused... especially since the "argument" has been used so often, it really doesn't stir much attention anymore.  I have found fairly effective ways of dealing with that particular red-herring too:  That's an easy statement to take out of context.  Just ask when, where, and how.  We know hydrogen will be an energy storage/carrier for commercial use.  There's much opportunity it both the transport industry and the power industry.  So whether or not it also proliferates the personal vehicle market is more of a red-herring than an actual issue.


Currently.  There have been a number of people online just saying: "I am just saying the lack of batteries is a false narrative as any company that invests in production can have a supply of more batteries."  There's far more to it than just the production itself.  If you build it, they will buy it has been proven false quite well by GM.  In this particular case, it is how to best use what is currently available.  My reply to that statement was:  To be a narrative, context must be disregarded.  That context was a matter of timing... the best use of the battery production currently available.  In 5'ish years, that will be a totally different matter.  It's much like what we saw with the supply limitations when large LCD televisions finally became a mainstream product.  Ramp up of the production process proven to provide the best yields took awhile.  In other words, that's great timing for the upcoming EV platform Toyota is working on.  In the meantime, we'll get a variety of PHEVs to choose from.  That's a very real measure in the progress of reducing emissions & consumption right away, directly addressing the current situation.  It is very difficult for those pushing ZEV as the only solution to disregard the very real damage taking place by allowing new guzzlers to be put in service while we wait for a "some day" vehicle to finally get rolled out in decent quantities at decent prices.


Measuring Progress.  All that supposed nonsense in the past from me about stating goals was for good reason.  It was obvious at some point, well beyond the rhetoric, there would be a loss of perspective.  People just naturally lose track of purpose & priority.  That's understandable.  Heck, just look at how little people actually pay attention to politics.  Being so poorly informed makes enables a type of government we are now having to deal with.  There's argument of legal standing rather than moral obligation.  You do it because you should, not because you have to.  That means having some way of measuring progress.  It's how you know your effort was successful.  That's seem obvious... until you actually try.  Without a solid target, there's always a way to justify missing it.  This is how the "inconvenient truth" comes into play.  You want to congratulate yourself for engineering achievement but fail to recognize the lack of adoption.  Change is far more than just proving a technology viable.  You must sell it too.  Counting the number of plug-in vehicles encountered on the road from an ordinary drive, like your daily commute, should result in a number growing on a regular basis.  In other words, you should see more and more as time proceeds.  Stating an expectation of how many is an essential accountability factor.  With so much still needed for true change, we need to be concise about how that progress will be measured.  What must happen and by when?  I put it this way in today's discussion on that topic:  BEVs are a long way off for the masses (when that becomes a choice made by the majority).  There's simply no way to argue against the harsh reality of lacking infrastructure & support.  True, the technology itself is rapidly approaching a point where that is the obvious path, the road to get there is still a very long one.  The business, government, and society changes needed are enormous still.


Battery Pouches.  I occasionally mention the build of battery-packs consisting of stacks of prismatic or cylindrical cells.  Those have been the common automotive choices throughout most of hybrid & plug-in history.  Looks like GM will going all out with pouches instead.  They offer greater flexibility, since the dimensions can easily be varied.  Cooling is a challenge though.  The edges differ from the interior, making it a more of challenge to manage operation with regard to thermal control than the other types.  This approach should be less expensive, so there's valid reason to explore the potential.  How robust they will be remains a question.  Can they really sustain a lifetime of vehicle vibration?  It seems a strange gamble.  But then again, GM strategy doesn't always make good business sense.  With Two-Mode, Volt, and Bolt all major nothings, along with smaller failures like BAS & eAssist, there's a history of progress stalls.  That's why we should ask the same of any new technology, what is the goal?  In this case, according to the press release, it appears to be cost & flexibility.  That's quite vague.


Goals.  When I read this, I got really annoyed: "As I read it, the Prius Prime's goal is to provide the largest battery they can without the added weight compromising HV-mode efficiency."  I knew all too well his response would be to change the topic, diverting attention elsewhere in an attempt to avoid having to answer my question of source.  Many online cannot remember where they heard something, who the source actually was, or even when any of that exchange took place.  It's how misconceptions come about and how misleading thrives.  Knowing this particular individual has credibility problems (from posting contradictory information) and simply likes to routinely complain, I had to carefully think about my reply.  At best, he would just dismiss what I said.  More likely, he would use the squirrel response.  (No surprise, he did the latter.)  Here's what I posted:  Not sure where you read that, but it is not correct.  I suspect someone assumed that at some point and passed it along as fact which then readers never questioned.  The real story is Toyota was targeting affordability.  Using the robust stack they had available at the time made it a tradeoff of space & capacity.  That cost-effective reliability was key, so they went forward with the configuration.


Delay.  It's nice to see questions emerge from comments on a new topic.  In this case, it was about the legal matters: "Okay, I'm still a relative noob as far as details about "carb" states (since we live in a non-carb state) so I'm guessing the litigation is by automotive corporations fighting to prevent any more states from joining CARB ?"  Unfortunately, there really isn't much to say about it.  Those forces to hold back change have been incredibly successful.  In fact, undermining efforts are so successful they have become the norm.  People don't even question the supposed logic.  That's just the way things are.  The situation is deemed an essential component of our foundation, something unrealistic to change.  That type of mindset makes delay easy.  Some keep fighting it, despite the odds.  I'm happy to be a small piece of that very large puzzle.  I witness some of it firsthand.  Today, I heard mention of it on our local public radio, an effort I readily recognize.  You may be able to as well.  It's basically a heightened aware situation.  Once you know what to look for, it isn't difficult to find.  That's key.  That's how we'll overcome some of these terrible efforts to hold back change.  These are my general observations here, recently:  Minnesota is in the process of joining now.  We are seeing pushback from a variety of sources.  It has been Senate Republicans and Auto Dealerships getting the attention recently for their resistance efforts.  More with a subtle approach is the massive undermining effort coming from the Oil Industry.  The goal is to prevent movement forward by getting proposals tied up in a legal mess to cause delay.


Litigation.  It is nice to see others starting to recognize there's more to the participation equation than just offering an EV for purchase.  So many focus on the product itself, forgetting about the massive collection of resources required to make it happen.  Some become enlightened, exclaiming: "Totally agree!!  CARB is kind of a mixed blessing."  That came from recognition of what it takes for a state to commit to supporting the effort.  Not everyone is happy about the decision.  In fact, there's quite a bit of fighting that takes place.  That resistance isn't in a physical form, which would be easy to notice.  It's far more subtle.  Legal action slows the process to a crawl.  Sometimes, it even stops it entirely.  Watching progress get trapped by some group with power is so disheartening.  This shouldn't be a matter for courts.  It should be the right thing to do.  Unfortunately, the majority of those online don't see it that way.  They claim the environment and energy independence is paramount, but fail to recognize the complete picture.  Those elements at play Toyota is standing in defiance of are dismissed by rhetoric.  It's sad.  In fact, that is how I stated it:  Sadly, it results in a ton of litigation from each state attempting to join... hence Toyota's stance.  They see all those lawsuits as a wasteful distraction.


EV Day.  The big reveal was that GM is planning to spend $20 Billion through 2025 on all-electric and autonomous vehicles.  Lack of substance puts this in the same category as all their other ambiguous announcements of the past.  There's nothing to put any hope on.  Such statements are so vague, they aren't even enough to stir "vaporware" upset.  That's what happened with Volt all those years ago.  Goals were so ambitious, they sounded totally unrealistic to anyone trying to be constructive.  Too many unknowns sounded an alarm.  It simply didn't make any sense with so many questions still.  How?  Who?  What?  Where?  Those important starting points were such a mystery, the realities of cost & consequence wouldn't add up.  Clearly, nothing has been learned.  It's the same old desire to stir rhetoric, as the voice of GM (the Chairman & CEO for that automaker) made obvious: "We thought it was time for people to understand that General Motors has a leadership position in electrification and we're moving fast."  That literally tells us nothing.  Ugh.


Promotion Irony.  Some see how what is being said today is what should have been said years ago.  GM's supposed genius was really a facade that didn't actually account to much.  Volt looked like a green movement, but was really just a symbol of what could be... not what will come to be.  That difference was subtle then.  Now, we get comments like: "Perhaps they could have done that half a dozen years ago and promoted their own products."  Later today is anticipated to bring that, finally.  Hope is GM will finally address their own products, promoting their movement forward with electrification.  Arguments of whether or not Volt would have done better if advertised more have died.  It was a small hatchback.  No one would have cared.  What mattered was what dealers offered... the SUV.  Seeing a future where they include a plug is what changes the paradigm.  With "EV Day" hours away from reveal, perhaps that step in the right direction will solidify.  It's been a long time in the making and so much wasted opportunity has passed by, it's an incredible irony.  GM may promote what they implied their goal was way back in the days of Two-Mode.


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