Personal Log  #1003

April 17, 2020  -  April 21, 2020

Last Updated:  Sun. 7/19/2020

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Calculating Expectations.  Unlike the crazy approach from enthusiasts, who build hope from hype, there's a better way.  It comes from studying information available and collecting data to see if you can extrapolate anything from it.  Someone did that today.  I was thrilled to see a sensible post.  So much of the EV mindset has been based up the niche known as Tesla, the group as a whole is at a lost about how that applies to legacy automakers with dealers selling to mainstream consumers.  They have little in common... and let's face it, the status quo has not budged.  That sets up for a terrible outlook just prior to the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day, but it's reality.  That is what we learned from Volt... so much barking with no bite at all.  The entire fiasco literally did nothing to bring about change.  What difference is there between a dealership now and one back prior to rollout?  The technology didn't advance the market forward... which was my point all along.  Something needed to emerge from Voltec.  Nothing did.  Instead, it died.  Supposedly, the solution now is to abandon the integration of engine & motor entirely for the sake of BEV focus instead.  That means taking a closer look at what the technology has to offer and setting realistic expectations.  Since GM has proven worthless, attention is shifting to Toyota/Lexus.  This week brings about the first rollout, in China.  People are attempting to figure out what that means in terms of range.  What would that same vehicle be rated here?  This was one such speculation: "186 miles on WLTP.  Under 150 miles EPA/real world."  I took that and built upon it with the information I had, providing some calculations to support those numbers:  NEDC rating is listed as 13.1 kWh/100km, which calculates to 21.1 kWh/100mi.  Translating to EPA, you get about 30.17 kWh/100mi.  That lines up well with ratings for Bolt, Leaf, Niro, Clarity and i3.  Assuming 90% of 54.3 kWh total capacity, you get 48.87 kWh usable for EV.  That comes to an EPA range estimate of 162 miles.  Assuming 85%, you get 153 miles.


Dealing With Nonsense.  Some of it is so repetitive, there's nothing to gain from quoting the full text anymore.  It has been torn apart to small pieces, proving no value in return.  They had little to work with coming into this pandemic.  Coming out of it, there's no point.  Their nonsense has been weakened to the extent of not serving any purpose.  Even just plain old delay has a no outcome.  Rather than wait, people will move on.  So, I was happy to respond to today's batch of it:  Know your audience.  That reference of "tend to buy" is data from the early-adopter stage, when enthusiasts took advantage of lease & tax-credit opportunities.  It has almost no relevance to how ordinary consumers will behave and has basically nothing in common with their purchase priorities.  With regard to "one side of a scale", that's just rhetoric.  It is easy to confirm too.  The claim of "going to win" is meaningless.  Win what?  In fact, the absence any stated goal or measure is a key component to rhetoric.  Of course, anyone who understands the engineering sees the shared technology.  To propel a RAV4 Prime you need the very same hardware & software as a RAV4 EV.  The primary difference is one also has a gas engine and the other a larger battery-pack.  Remember, the true customer of a legacy automaker is the dealer, not the consumer.  They want to carry inventory of mature technology.  Having hybrids so well proven, the stage is set for plug-in hybrids... which in turn, make the next step to BEV a very easy one.  As for the "it would be interesting to see the percentage of people that have PHEV plug them in consistently", that's nothing but a propaganda feed.   Who do you expect to believe such nonsense?  39 miles of EV is more than the first Volt offered and no one made claims of it not being plugged in. RAV4 Prime is larger, faster, and more powerful... better pretty much every regard, for that matter.

4-20-2020 Behind Spin.  It will be interesting to see how statements like this change when Fall arrives: "Actually Toyota is doing as little as they can to move the ball forward."  Of course, we really don't know what the situation in either the automotive or oil industries will be then, but that's no reason not to keep looking forward.  They key is knowing where to look.  Forward is forward.  That's progress regardless of how it is achieve.  So, the conclusion to that dribble posted was just more of the same old downplay nonsense: "...I'm not sure 39 mile EV range of the RAV4 prime is going to cut it when others can run silently for over 200 miles."  The more is better mindset doesn't actually achieve must.  For some cases, it doesn't achieve anything.  In fact, this is why it can be referred to as rhetoric.  Holding back progress entirely is a goal for some.  They throw out claims like that to impede the entire process.  It's quite frustrating when you notice the pattern.  Anywho, I turned that narrative around with:

Those who do not believe in the bottom-up approach will get that impression.  In reality, the perception of little (or "behind" as the narrative puts it) is a powerful means of moving the entire fleet forward.  See, the challenge with top-down is it gambles the technology will rapidly drop in cost and the market as a whole will readily accept the technology.  As we have all witnessed, neither is playing out as hoped.

With respect to a RAV4 Prime having to compete directly with a 200-mile EV, when are you thinking that will happen?  Take some time to think about the specs.  That size, speed, horsepower, and AWD offered in high-volume would come from who?  That's where the bottom-up makes a difference.  With RAV4 so popular and built in Kentucky, there's a supply/demand balance.  Toyota won't be shooting themselves in the foot.

Please explain how a 200-mile EV would be able to satisfy the pressures a large legacy automaker must deal with.  The realities of business paint a picture of great barriers to overcome still, something only Toyota has addressed with regard to dealer & consumer.  It's not all about engineering.


Whoa!  The price of oil had fallen to a 21-year low... as of this morning.  Since then, the market has collapsed entirely.  $0 per barrel is bizarre.  Soon to come are negative prices, when the infrastructure suffers from inventory problems.  Where do you put millions of barrels of unwanted oil?  Things are about to get ugly.  This situation hasn't ever existed before.  To abruptly stop using something usually in high demand is a real problem.  It get worse when you give it some thought too.  Each barrel of oil yields a variety of resulting product.  The largest portions are the many gallons of gas & diesel.  Since gas isn't being purchased much anymore but diesel remaining in regular use (for commercial deliveries to businesses & homes), there's a new imbalance to deal with.  This is why the price of diesel hasn't been impacted but the price of gas has plummeted.  What a bizarre and very unexpected set of circumstances.  Who knew that the tipping-point for oil would arrive with such an obvious bang.  There's no missing this moment in history.  No debate... only concern for inevitable change... to discover what "normal" will end up becoming.

4-19-2020 Advancement Spin.  Since drawing a conclusion cannot take place without supporting evidence, I take stuff like this as meritless spin: "...had a piece on LICE (legacy internal combustion engine) manufacturers making cuts to R&D budgets, since C19 has cut what little positive revenue they had.  This does not bode well for their EV efforts, and that means it does not bode well for their future."  To properly respond, I look at the few facts actually available and combine them with documented history.  You can recognize patterns that way, which provides a basis to identify how advancement will likely take place.  Notice how that keeps emotion out of the equation?  The use of "does not bode well" is a clear attempt to avoid using logic.  Making a statement of passion is usually much more effective than cold, hard facts.  That's an unfortunate reality, but a good indication of intent.  What for it.  That spin is sometimes very easy to overlook.  Here's how I dealt with it today:

Actually, it will probably mean the opposite.  When money for R&D vanishes, you are forced to take some unexpected risk to capitalize on market opportunity.  Most are quite reluctant to take that required step forward. It is necessary for recovery though.  Watching this play out will be interesting.

With the case for GM, they have been quite timid about their existing PHEV and BEV tech, hoping to start fresh in a few years.  So, it's a head-scratcher.  Their strategy was calculated based on an auto-industry and oil-industry which have since both fallen apart.  Complicating matters is the uncertainty of future income for consumers.

With Toyota, it's a very different situation.  There is no R&D necessary.  They are already positioned for this.  It is now matter of ramping up hybrid production to phaseout their traditional models, which sets the stage for their plug-in hybrids.  It doesn't involve a lot of risk, since the architecture is already rolled out and the tech is readily available.  Being able to carry the entire fleet forward is exactly what's needed.  It also makes the following step to BEV a shorter one, since their customers will see the electrification progress.

That's why the attention on a Hummer EV is rather absurd.  What purpose does it serve with regard to the business at this point?


Declaring Victory.  Supposedly, I am required to admit defeat at this point.  Ugh.  My own text from 2 years ago sums up what actually happened: "Now, some just declare victory without any supporting facts.  They just plain don't care."  With the declaration coming from someone looking forward to the upcoming Hummer EV, it was to be expected.  Know your audience.  Some enthusiasts block out all reasoning with a desperation to justify their choice under all circumstances.  That approach of absolutes is the clue to look for.  Focusing on specifications is the confirm.  I saw it shortcoming after Volt made its debut.  There was no flexibility whatsoever.  GM would deliver precisely what had been promised, period.  Victory didn't have to be waited for either.  It was only a commitment to the technology, not actually doing anything to bring about change.  Praise was victory.  In other words, this is that same old "trophy mentality" all over again.  This is why it was so easy to dismiss Prius.  This is also why so many antagonists are struggling to dismiss RAV4 Prime.  Watching them challenged by facts is interesting.  You can only spin reality so much before the desperation becomes obvious.  In fact, that is the point our president is at now.  With each interaction being a flurry of lies, nothing is getting accomplished... which is exactly what I witnessed with Volt... hence the "too little, too slowly" concern.  Victory of what?


Fighting Facts.  It only took 9 minutes to get this reply to that recurring interest post: "Perhaps you can contrast and compare GM's history with Ford, FCA, Volvo, BMW, Porsche, Toyota, Honda, Nissan, etc.  And maybe rank each company on history and level of interest and involvement.  Until then, I'd say your argument is very weak and falls in the general category of reflexive bashing."  It was a classic downplay & dismissal with an added personal insult.  I was quite amused.  That defensive posture in reaction to an offensive play was very much expected.  He was appealing to emotion.  I was pointing out facts.  His instinct was to fight.  It's quite bizarre how someone believes they can portray a different history as valid, without being called out, simply by omitting particular details.  Of course, had he actually addressed them, I would have followed up with more history: BAS and eAssist.  But it was clear that wouldn't be necessary.  Ignoring what I posted and attempting to focus the spotlight elsewhere was the dead giveaway of intent I hoped to confirm.  So, as usual, I made my response brief:  Whether or not another automaker is guilty of the same thing doesn't make GM any less guilty.  Judging it as "weak" doesn't change the fact that it is a recognizable pattern repeating either.

4-18-2020 Recurring Interest.  I certainly found this interesting: "GM has certainly made its mistakes, but they are the company that got people actually thinking about EVs.  They started with the EV1, next came the Spark EV, then the Volt and finally the Bolt.  All those efforts were half hearted and somewhat disjointed, but it certainly shows a recurring interest."  Of course, my interest was quite different.  Mine was with regard to the halo we are once again watching GM manipulate people with.  It's the same old propaganda, but no one else seems to recognize the pattern.  Even that post completely missed what was truly taking place.  I attempted to provide the detail, but who knows if it will make any difference.  Excitement the Hummer EV is beginning to stir already resembles the same old nonsense we have seen several times already.  I posted:

Actually, that pattern reveals disinterest.  Look closely at your list of electrification projects.  Notice what's missing?  Understanding audience is key.  None of those targeted their own loyal customers.

GM's first mass-market technology attempt was Two-Mode.  That was to be a highly scalable platform, able to be resized for different vehicles and to accommodate a plug.  Trouble was, there was no clear audience.  Who was that technology designed to appeal to?  It certainly wasn't those who were looking to replace their aged SUV from GM with a new one.  The follow-up to that was Volt, which suffered from the same problem.  That technology didn't have an audience of GM owners either.  We see the same situation with Bolt as well.

Watching GM repeat the same pattern confirms it really isn't a mistake.  True, they are indeed getting people to think about EVs.  That isn't bringing about change though.  Do you really think a 1,000 horsepower system generating 11,500 pound-feet of torque and 0-60 acceleration in 3.0 seconds is designed to target shoppers at GM dealerships looking to replace their old GM pickup?  For that matter, how many will even be produced?

It's the same old distraction tactic.  Get people excited about something to appear technologically ahead of the competition, but don't actually impact the status quo.


One Month, No Gas.  What a strange situation.  I haven't traveled outside of the EV range available to my Prius Prime for entire month now.  So, I went out of my way to start the engine today.  It was just on a run to the drive-thru for coffee, but that's more than enough to keep the system fresh.  Of course, someone cut out in front of me on the drive there.  I was annoyed how they simply didn't care.  They never acknowledged my presence or even tried to speed up.  Had I known, I would have passed them.  Ugh.  Oddly, the same thing happened on the way home.  Driving 15 mph below the speed limit, why?  You'd think with so little traffic, they'd been going to fast... and not cutting you off.  My guess is people are preoccupied with other issues.  That's not safe for driving.  Being distracted is never good... especially when you have someone that got out specifically to drive.  Coffee was a good excuse to get the use a little gas instead of electricity.  That shop was further away than the usual, perfect for that purpose.  Oh well.  I can try again in a month.


Too Late.  He didn't like it, but I didn't care.  The same old nonsense was attempted: "I'll be patient a little longer.  Future Voltec products have been promised by GM for whatever that's worth.  If there's room for 10 mile PHEVs and the 25 mile Prime, there's room for better."  Each time in our history went something went wrong and a shortcoming came back to bite him, the response was similar.  Except now, there's no reason to provide any resource.  It's over.  I let him know why too:  Too late.  Opportunity has been missed.  GM squandered tax-credits on a configuration their own loyal customers have no interest in.  Toyota did not make that mistake.  Toyota still has tax-credits available and they will be used to draw interest for a plug-in version of their top-selling vehicle.  GM also missed out on the phaseout stage, where tax-credits switched to unlimited sales quantity.  Tesla did quite the opposite, exploiting that chance to deliver high-volume during a time of high-demand they created from the previous stage.  It is incredibly ironic how all those "laggard" claims backfired and the concern for moving too slowly was validated.  As for your claim of future products, that is just plain not true.  GM has clearly & repeatedly stated they are going all in on BEV production and see no market for PHEV.  Meanwhile, we are about to see Toyota deliver a RAV4 Prime... a fast & powerful SUV plug-in hybrid with decent range and priced reasonably enough to stir interest from their own loyal customers seeking a core product.  In other words, what the heck are we waiting for from GM, especially after so many years of hearing "be patient a little longer" for something supposedly better?


Day Of Reckoning.  That especially nasty troublemaker from years ago emerged out of nowhere to defend the death of plug-in hybrids from GM.  His comment provided an interesting stir: "It may be too soon to hold services for Voltec."  That got me to look up the statement he made once upon a time about this very event.  I found it and felt a reminder was in order, telling him what was what now:  That day of reckoning has come.  In your own words at the close of 2017, when news came of Volt to reportedly cease production in 2022: "How many here doubted that you'd be first to dance on the Volt's grave?"  It's time to dance.  Refusing to accept what the data tells you won't change the reality of the situation.  And after a decade of denial, no successor speaks for itself.  From that exchange, the words "too little, too slowly" tells us why.  No more excuses.  It was all about goals... and still is.  Each automaker much deliver a well-balanced solution.  This discussion thread reinforcement the importance.  Delivering 10 miles of range would indeed do that.  Too bad if you don't like it.


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