Personal Log  #1012

June 10, 2020  -  June 14, 2020

Last Updated:  Sun. 7/19/2020

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Logical Step.  My next generation post was in reply to a newbie.  He got excited to be engaged in discussion, but was clearly not paying attention: "I agree that the next logical step is to get a bigger battery into the Prime....but the problem is it will necessitate it being under the floor to not sacrifice interior/cargo room...which would mean a re-engineering of the chassis/ride-height..."  I already provided that detail.  But repeating it in another manner with a follow-up post was fine:  No re-engineering necessary.  That was delivered years ago, already on the road disguised as CH-R.  It is a different vehicle body sharing the same chassis.  It is even available as a hybrid in Europe and Australia.  This is confirmation that Toyota plans ahead and experiments to finding a way of achieving the most challenging goals.  In this case, it is to effectively raise the floor without impact to being cost-competitive.


Electric Efficiency, teaching.  The response was so predictable, I was delighted.  It allowed me to continue on as a teaching moment.  It was an opportunity to point out how the problem came about.  This was his entire reply: "Prius Prime does not even meet the 30 mile criteria.  And it travels 25 miles with a 8.8 kWh battery which translates to over 35 kWh/100 miles.  That pathetic attempt makes it clear you don't have any worthwhile arguments.  So bye.  But your model Y numbers are also wrong, BTW."  That 30 miles was arbitrary, just a distance without reason, making it easy to not give attention to.  That next part was the treasure.  He clearly didn't have any idea how the numbers were derived.  Like so many others, the assumption is a larger battery provides greater efficiency.  It's as brainless as saying a larger gas tank will give you better MPG.  It's amazing how prevalent that belief is.  But the real clue was not recognizing "usable" charge.  He was focused entirely on capacity.  Another way of identifying this situation is when someone argues that carrying around the "dead weight" of a rarely used gas engine will create an efficiency penalty, but refuse to acknowledge a very large battery-pack has the same consequence.  Excess capacity is a waste, period.  The rating value helps to reveal such detail.  Needless to say, I was amused by the direction this posting had taken.  It matched that pattern of the past so well, I feel extremely comfortable concluding the exchange with:  Those are official EPA ratings, measures of efficiency delivered when following the standardized tests for electricity consumption.  In other words, they are numbers collected from each vehicle under the same conditions to provide a proper basis of comparison.  Calling those rating values a "pathetic attempt" and "wrong" is not how you should respond to this teaching moment.  I strongly suggest you go to FUELECONOMY.GOV to learn more about how electric efficiency is measured.

6-14-2020 Electric Efficiency, exposition.  That reply to the "serious commitment" comment was definitely the correct audience.  Whoa!  He got really angry and started spewing the usual nonsense... you know, supposed facts that don't equate to anything of merit.  It's very easy to recognize arguments like that now.  The most obvious clue is lack of any detail.  Then when they reply with no substance whatsoever, you have your confirmation.  If they also personally attack you in the same post, that's your invitation to start posting exposition.  The conclusion I got in his reply was: "Rather than arguing with facts and logic you are hiding behind semantics."  It's a bizarre physiological trait (called "projection") when a person replies defensively by accusing you of doing what they are guilty of.  Since his rant became an argument about efficiency, that's what I posted more information about... carefully thought out detail to focus attention:

I called you out for being vague, asking for some type of measure.  Then, I highlighted KW/MI rating as fact and logic in reply to efficiency.  Now, I will again, with detail:

31 kWh/100 mi = Nissan Leaf
29 kWh/100 mi = Chevy Bolt
28 kWh/100 mi = Tesla Model Y
25 kWh/100 mi = Prius Prime

Understand the electric-only efficiency measure?

That's how you do it.

6-13-2020 Next Generation.  On the big Prius forum, we tend to get very constructive discussion.  RAV4 Prime is stirring new voices and new focus.  That extremely refreshing.  This particular post got my attention: "It's going to be interesting to see where Toyota takes the Prime for the next gen/2.0 iteration."  With over 20 years of Prius history I actively participated in, there was material to contribute.  I provided this insight:

There were 2 generations of prototype prior to the 2012-2015 production of Prius PHV.  Seeing Prius Prime expected to go 5-6 years with upgrades rolling out via RAV4 Prime in the meantime, it simply makes no sense trying to put any type of label on design anymore.  This is now just part of the continuous improvement approach Toyota does exceptionally well.  It's pretty easy to see the priorities at this point too.

Packaging will improve.  Moving the battery-pack to the floor (which yes, could cause Prius to get taller, as CH-R sharing the same chassis already did) would be a natural next step.  That would enable greater capacity as well as aggressive forced-air cooling. The result would be an increase in both EV range & power, as well as an increase in cargo space.

Consider the goal.  It is quite realistic to see an effort to phase out the regular hybrid model, serving as a guide to helping move the entire fleet forward.  That may not be feasible upon launch, but should be an expectation for the end of its product-cycle... which means being cost-competitive is vital and improving MPG from hybrid-mode simply not a priority.

The important thing to remember is Toyota is moving many pieces in the game all at the same time.  So, it isn't always easy to recognize why certain steps are taken.


Availability.  I found this quite worthy of follow up: "I would definitely go all-electric, once a sufficiently good one comes available."  Hopefully, my post will stimulate some constructive discussion:  Our plug-in owners group here in Minnesota (which is joining the National Electric Auto Association this coming Thursday) would very much like detail on what you consider "sufficient" for availability.  Adding to the challenge of location, equipment cost and installation, there is also factors of speed, quantity, and operating costs.  Here in the north, we have the challenge of snow removal and ice mitigation too.  Needless to say, infrastructure is very much at its infancy.  Requirements of what's needed continue to be researched.  None of it is finalized yet.  Remember, we must also figure out how those chargers will be used and how they will be paid for.  Then, there's the matter of agreement.  Think about how the lack of a plug standard plays a role in all of this.  In other words, the "availability" equation is far more complex than most people realize.


Used Vehicles.  This is a category where Toyota thrives... and most people never notice.  Today, we got a long list of reasons why there are some buyers of PHEV don't ever plug in.  Though there may not actually be many, there are some and the reasons why are important.  In this discussion, I jumped on: "Some buy to get in the HOV lanes. (this is huge)"  It was a clear & simple message.  I replied with:  That is huge... and Toyota knows it.  They look for opportunities to push technology out in a way that will naturally create used models in a few years.  In fact, that is why we have seen a historical pattern of mid-cycle updates where people are baffled why that feature wasn't offered in the first place... for example, the middle-rear seat.  HOV was a guarantee for used availability.  Toyota knew some would purchase the vehicle for the sake of exploiting that and tax-credits, then it would be sold a few years later. It's a situation where everyone wins.


FCEV's Future.  It was summed up with: "...pretty much dooming them to fail."  I can't help but to be amused at this point.  They cherry-pick to misrepresent fuel-cell technology to such an extreme, it's almost a waste of time bothering... if it wasn't for the culture of change it nurtures.  So, I continue to push the facts:  Since the technology will be used elsewhere, cherry-picking sales as personal transport really doesn't equate to much.  However, development in a consumer arena for wide use in the commercial realm makes sense.  It's a lot less expensive and it stirs attention & support you wouldn't otherwise be able to achieve.  That's a big gain from a seemingly pointless effort.  Watch what happens in the shipping industry (truck, boat, train).  Use for some high-mileage fleet vehicles is likely too.  There is the takeaway of shared technology too.  In the case of Mirai, that 114 kW electric motor is a nice size for a potential daily-driver BEV.  In fact, that offers a little bit more horsepower than Volt and the base Leaf.  The sharing of other components, like a heat-pump, is obviously beneficial as well.  So, the idea of "fail" is rather muddled.


Nonsensical Replies.  As expected, this reply was like oh so many others.  There was nothing.  The complete absence of any substance told the story.  He had nothing.  It was the same old mindset.  More range means a better outcome.  Lack of critical thinking is sad.  Some don't care.  They just want to win an argument.  Whether their point actually makes a difference doesn't matter.  Changing the status quo isn't taken seriously, which is why the ideal is so often sighting as the winning solution.  They don't understand how change works.  That reality is painful... as the well documented saga of Volt tells the tale.  Ugh.  I responded to his spin with:  Both share the same EV components, including battery cells.  Seems like you are claiming the 18.1 kWh battery-pack from RAV4 Prime is trivial, that regardless of how many are produced, the automaker won't have to secure a large inventory from suppliers.  That's a load of nonsense.  There's no way to argue otherwise.  PHEV require serious commitment too.


PHEV Era Needs to End Now.  Attacks from BEV purists are ramping up.  Their level of panic is obvious.  You can gauge desperation by the number of misleading and blatantly false claims.  They see the potentail now as a threat, rather than the "gateway drug" it had always been looked upon as.  That's rubbish.  We know a household will likely have a combination of technlogies for many years to come.  I selected one post to focus the message of purpose & progress on.  This was the claim: "BEVs mean a serious shift and PHEVs are just to let manufacturers skate by without a serious commitment."  I was quite curious what type of spin would result from questioning that logic.  What possible substance could support it?  I asked:  What commitment?  BEV does not mean any serious shift in any regard.  We have already seen that play out too; so this isn't an academic exercise . It is already history. Both GM and Nissan delivered BEV choices.  What became of them?  We witnessed firsthand how some designs never make it beyond the early-adopter stage.  In fact, if it wasn't for the tax-credits, neither Volt nor Bolt would have likely come about.  What incentive did GM have beyond conquest?  PHEV, on the other hand, offer an appealing path forward the legacy automakers can present to their dealers.  Being as cost-effective as a BEV means little to nothing for someone needing to stock & sale them.  Dealers want a product that is simple & profitable... which is exactly what a popular vehicle like RAV4 Prime addresses.  In other words, sales isn't about pushing an ideal solution. It is about finding a balance... which is what confirms serious commitment.


Reviews.  That attitude of false history carries over into reviews.  Antagonists want to portray the technology as outdated.  Seeing a new review for Prius Prime spells trouble for them, and I know it.  They don't want an established reputation to carry over to the newest offering.  In this case, RAV4 Prime will benefit from Prius Prime having proven the plug-in technology is robust & reliable.  It's exactly what GM should have done with Volt, using it as a launching tool for other offerings.  That's why I'm so pleased with Toyota moving forward like this.  It is exactly what should have happened years ago and those nasty troublemakers now know it.  To think of how much grief they gave me fighting the very outcome many now see as a major step forward.  The irony...  Anywho, my focus is on the new audience.  So, I posted this when the complaint of "not another review" came up:  Comments posted about the reviews tell a different story.  Many watching are newbies, only now discovering what the Prime system has to offer.  It's good to have an established platform to base new releases upon too.

6-11-2020 False History.  When something misleading is posted, someone else may jump in to muddled the message: "Unlimited phase?  Credits run out quarter by quarter after 200,000 unit production like they did for GM and Tesla."  That's precisely the outcome a troll wants.  They drop bait with the hope someone will bite.  That type of enabling can be quite powerful.  Volt provided a great example.  They perpetuated some terrible ideas, things not the slightest bit helpful.  Much of that is boosted by building a false history.  I wasn't about to allow that enablement to be carried through:

No, that isn't at all what we saw for Tesla and GM.

Once the 200,000 limit is reached, it triggers phaseout stage, but that doesn't start until the current quarter comes to an end.  When it does, there is an additional quarter to follow when the automaker is allowed to sell as many vehicles as possible to take advantage of that "last call" opportunity.  The expectation is they already achieved sustainable high-volume demand at that point, so they could exploit the tax-credit without limitation.  In other words, they should have been preparing all along to have an audience of ordinary consumers, having well established the technology prior to reaching phaseout.

Tesla did exactly that.  It went extraordinarily well too.  Kudos.  GM failed miserably.  They had squandered time & credits prior to that on conquest sales, doing nothing to actually change the status quo.  So when phaseout was triggered, their dealers hadn't changed at all.  Sales to loyal GM customers were almost entirely just traditional guzzlers.  The opportunity was a monumental waste.

Toyota is clearly preparing for the "last call" opportunity.  That means up to 6 months (depending upon when the threshold is exceeded) of full tax-credits for an unlimited amount of sales.  That is followed by 6 months of tax-credits at a 50% reduction ($3,750 instead of $7,500) with unlimited quantity.  Then there's the final 6 months at just 25% ($1,875), also unlimited.


Almost Over.  It is rather strange when someone will post a lie.  They will be dishonest without any concern.  In a very popular discussion that came about from a quite information review of RAV4 Prime came: "Toyota will be running out of US tax credits soon."  That was vague & misleading.  I was annoyed:  No, not even close.  The end of 2021 is when the quantity limit will likely be triggered, then it switches to the unlimited phase... which is what Tesla did a fantastic job of taking advantage of.  It's easy to see Toyota doing the same thing, building as many as possible during those following 6 months.  In other words, there is much to look forward to... lots of potential with the way the stage is being set.


Should Have.  This came about when someone commented about the hope of Toyota having a strategy of making all their cars available as Prime versions: "They should have started doing that 5 year ago.  But I hope they do it soon."  We are seeing more and more of that now.  It's the very same tactic we saw with hybrids.  Once the popularity hits a certain threshold... the point of maturity to reach mainstream buyers... antagonists attempt to recast it as outdated.  This portrayal of "behind" is strong evidence of worry.  Their how is the misrepresentation won't be questioned.  I provide detail & background to mess up that effort:  They did.  A major aspect of that was the TNGA rollout, which is now complete.  It dropped cost and standardized approach, enabling next-gen hybrid availability across the entire fleet and setting the stage for plug-in models.  Missing major advances to architecture like that is overlooked even more than the neglect for business essentials.  Did you know RAV4 will be the third PHV offered from Toyota?  The plug-in hybrid of Corolla is now available China already.  It's all an effort to establish reputation, proving reliability of their technology.  This is exactly what Toyota did with hybrids, which worked out great.  This time, it is for the plug.  Consumers will have confidence in plug offerings, which will make rollout of dedicated BEV much easier... since the "EV" aspect will already be proven.


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