Personal Log  #1013

June 14, 2020  -  June 19, 2020

Last Updated:  Sun. 7/19/2020

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Purist Trolls.  If you aren't a BEV purist, you're a troll.  I'm so glad that polarizing approach isn't prevalent, but it's still a pain to have to deal with.  Each encounter is the same.  They have made up their mind, so there's really nothing that can be said.  In those cases, I just provide exposition by addressing their audience with information and ignoring them.  This time, it was: "It's so sad to see so many pro-ICE trolls on here making all sorts of dubious claims about how BEVs aren't good enough."  That just randomly popped up in a discussion about RAV4 Prime.  Ugh.  My post... with no expectation of any response in return... was:  Notice how every time the topic of ICE trolls is brought up, the reality "EV" is carefully avoided.  Those who only favor BEV don't want to acknowledge just how much of the design is shared by PHEV.  I can cruise along in my PHEV on the highway at 80 mph effortlessly in EV... that's electric-only... no ICE... even for heating or cooling.  And as the battery-pack capacity increases from generational upgrades, more power becomes available.  It's all there helping to establish a strong foothold in the market for EV.  So what if an ICE is available for after depletion?  The goal of switching over to taking advantage of plugging in is clearly underway.  Many owners start with the convenience of 120-volt being an appeal as part of the original purchase, then end up upgrading at some point to 240-volt charging.  That's exactly what you want to achieve.  Calling those who support that goal a troll is absurd.


Random Disinformation.  They like to randomly post disinformation, just like this: "Toyota, AWD runs on the engine .. its not full Electrical in AWD."  I searched and couldn't even find a source of how that could have possibly come about.  You can sometimes figure out how that originated.  This time though, there was nothing to work with.  Extremely outdated observations are typically what starts it all.  My guess is it was just a wild assumption without any research whatsoever.  Regardless of how, I didn't like the complete absence of any facts to base anything on.  It's one of those claims they will assert until called out, then the person will deny anything was ever implied  Ugh.  I provided some historical background as my choice to refute: 
No detail to share yet.  I suspect there's a mode to select for a power tolerance, where EV is guaranteed up to a specific draw threshold.  Though, the algorithm is probably not that obvious, even with a ODB-II to monitor.  For Prius long ago, it was 10 kW... then 27kW... then 38kW.  For Prius Prime, it is 68kW.  But that's with 1 or 2 traction motors.  With a third, I suspect some knowledge-sharing from the Subaru partnership having played a role in MG3 response management.  In fact, that is probably why Prime towing-capacity exceeds the regular RAV4 to such an degree.

6-17-2020 Failing To Deliver.  The advent of RAV4 Prime has brought about a new audience... uninformed prey, those easily swayed by rhetoric.  The lack of critical thinking is expected.  But you would think someone in the crowd would ask what the goal is.  Nope.  It's still all about delivering the best BEV, that means a long range with fast charging and a decent price.  There's no depth, no thought, no discussion.  Why isn't asked.  How isn't asked.  What that is supposed to achieve isn't asked.  It's all just a jumble of assumption without direction or timeframe.  I try to point out those shortcomings.  Most don't understand why I take issue with their approach.  They just pass on the mantra, posting without understanding what they are endorsing.  Ugh.  Oh well.  All I can do is continue to share some insight:

That's just a narrative, nothing actually addressing status quo.  It is the "failing to deliver" that you should be questioning.  Deliver what?  Those token rollouts we go did not result in real change.

Think about what leadership means.  Many feel the small number of subsidy dependent offerings were making a difference.  They were wrong, very wrong.  GM played that game, exploiting the opportunity to get praise from conquest sales.  They promoted a "game changer" but never achieved any change.  Compare their dealers from 10 years ago to that now.  The situation has become worse, not better.  Cars are being phased out in favor of larger guzzlers.  What happened with all that hype for Volt and Bolt?  No change.

Now, we get "failing to deliver" claims as a distraction and excuses to forgive what still has not been accomplished.  Leadership is having achieved change.  Getting the masses to embrace the new offering is the goal.  Seeing that shift of sales, when a loyal customer replaces their old vehicle with something offering a plug, is when you claim success... not before.

Again, deliver what?  In other words, your judgment is misplaced.  Look deeper, at the tech itself, not just whether the vehicle is a BEV.  You'll find out why the term "EV" is meaningful then, what its delivery represents.


Ford Attacks.  I knew of this poster's reputation from this: " least this is better the pathetic 25 miles of range in the Prius Prime."  Looking up other posts, it was clear he had turned.  Upset by GM's broken promises or just simply ready to move on, his pattern of intolerance was obvious.  This is what had initial ally caught my attention: "The Volt should have set the floor for PHEVs not the ceiling, if 53 miles was doable in 2015 why can't anyone produce a PHEV with more than that today?"  It provided me with enough curiosity to find out more prior to posting a reply.  With those findings, I then proceeded to express my views... knowing Ford supporters were in no position yet to deal with attacks:

53 miles wasn't doable in 2015 and is still not in 2020.

Heavy dependency on tax-credits is what kept Volt alive.  It was a compact hatchback that didn't stand a chance at ever becoming profitable.  Enthusiasts knew diversifying the technology by offering it in SUV form would be a death blow to Volt too.  A larger, heavier, much less aerodynamic vehicle would mean lower efficiency and reduced range.  The 53 would drop to something in the 30's, exactly what we are seeing now from Ford.

As for setting a target of 50's for range, the diminishing returns simply are worth it.  Perhaps later when energy density hits 300 Wh/kg and cost drops to below $100/kWh, that may make it realistic.  But right now, that's a misplaced priority. There are too many other important aspects of plugging in to focus on in the meantime.

As for your claim that "I don't see how 37 miles of range would do it for anything more than going to the grocery store", that's just blatant rhetoric.  37 miles per day equates to 13,505 miles per year.  No amount of spin can downplay that plug-in benefit.


Other Reasons.  People typically don't have enough facts to make educated decisions.  When they don't bother to research, narratives take hold.  That's just a natural outcome of making assumptions.  You gravitate toward something that seems likely to be the reason: "Toyota has enough emissions credits, so they're not required to build these.  So it's not a compliance vehicle.  But they totally botched something here because they have a product people like, there's a demand for it, but they're unable to supply."  The probability of that is high enough to give an impression of being obvious... hence my crazy.  Without detail, it's an easy trap to fall into.  Ugh.  That's why even just providing some background can be the right amount of push to get a discussion to become constructive.  Sometimes it works, sometimes not.  I gave it a try:  Unable implies that is the only reason.  History tells us otherwise.  When dealing with ordinary consumers, those shopping the showroom floor, its important to recognize their priorities.  Among the top is reliability.  Getting that data requires time and Toyota knows the best quality information comes from those willing to endure efforts to acquire a first-year vehicle.  It other words, they have a winning formula that comes from taking their time with initial rollout.  20 years of that same strategy playing out is why there's no rush.


Patience & Priorities.  Sometimes, you just need to provide some perspective:  The choice to rollout slowly, especially when it is worldwide all within the first year, isn't anything out of the ordinary.  That doesn't stir much excitement though, so we get spin & speculation to result in lots of posts.  Enthusiasts thrive on narratives and want rapid change.  This is why "know your audience" has become such an important part of understanding the bigger picture.  In this case, Toyota rollout of their TNGA platform across the fleet to help set the stage for the profitable phaseout of traditional vehicles.  RAV4 production (including the hybrid) in Kentucky was part of that.  Sadly, the pandemic will slow making the plug-in domestically.  Nonetheless, you can see direction Toyota is taking.  Change on such a large scale takes time.  Patience is required.  Think about the progress.  42 miles per day (assuming only overnight recharges) equates to over 15k miles of EV travel per year.  Anyone who claims that won't make a significant difference toward emission & consumption reduction really needs to re-evaluate their priorities.


The Switch.  Desperation is growing to a very exciting level.  It's like our president at this point... there's nothing of any value to contribute anymore, so attack what is working.  Ugh.  Watching that trapped-in-a-corner situation play out certainly has its moments.  Stuff like this makes them feel better: "A dinosaur like Toyota will not be able to switch production from one type of car to really complicated."  But it doesn't achieve anything at all.  The post is a complete waste now.  Even enablers have nothing to pile on with.  It's over.  There's nothing to work with anymore.  In fact, this rambling on is pointless.  The switch is already taking place.  They just are too stubborn to admit it.  Of course, I'm happy to provide information to the contrary:  Toyota planned way ahead.  The "behind" narrative is falling apart.  The Lexus EV now available in China has a 54.3 kWh pack share stacks with RAV4 Prime (triple the battery-pack capacity of 18.1 kWh) and shares the chassis of Prius Prime.  In other words, the switch is already taking place.


Only Way.  How many times have you heard this already: "Having home-charging is a requirement for PHEVs because the only way to charge them is with an AC EVSE."  For me, it has been many.  For most, I suspect they don't even know what that means.  For many years to come, it probably still won't mean anything either.  However, that doesn't make it true.  In fact, it is not true for 2 reasons.  I posted why:  That is false.  Mitsubishi Outlander and Prius Prime (in Japan) offer CHAdeMO fast-charging.  As semi-solid and solid state batteries advance, taking advantage of DCFC will become an added appeal for PHEV.  Think about it.  20 minutes at the grocery or retail store will completely recharge the pack.  And since it is a plug-in hybrid, there is no concern about when the next charger visit will be.  Recharging the battery-pack using the engine is also already available.  That is only an efficiency benefit if you use generated electricity to prevent engine use in high-consumption situations.  Nonetheless, it is another option proving "only way" is not an accurate portrayal of PHEV design.


"Behind" Narrative.  They just repeat the mantra, over and over again without thought or even content: "Remember, it has air-cooled batteries, which shows how much Toyota needs to catch up in terms of technology."  That incredibly vague comment was included within an article... no explanation, no background, nothing.  The writer was clearly just capitalizing on the opportunity to post content which would stir lots of posts.  And yes, I did bite at his bait:  Striving to find a means of removing dependency on liquid-cooled batteries is an advancement forward, another step closer to mass adoption.  Achieving that results in a reduction of cost, weight and complexity... which is the goal, right?  It doesn't make sense to think an effort to reach beyond the original approach gets labeled with a "behind" status.  To those reading this, explain why an ordinary consumer using their BEV from Toyota will require more than a system designed to cool the battery-pack using a dedicated forced flow of A/C air is not enough.  Know your audience.  Recognize the difference between want and need.


Looking Closer.  It's fun when you get other ambitious and well informed people online to contribute to the observations: "Look at the Lexus UX300e, also made on the same platform as the Prius Prime and it's not quite as long as the Prius Prime but they managed to fit a 54KWh battery pack under the floor.  I wouldn't be surprised if the next Prius includes a Prius e..."  I was more than happy to add to that:  Taking your observation another step forward, there's the approach of adding more stacks in the pack to increase capacity. If you triple the capacity of RAV4 Prime (18.1 kWh), you get the what is being used for UX300e (54.3 kWh).  It makes sense that Toyota is working to reuse as much as possible.  It also makes a lot of sense to take advantage of the requirement in China to collect real-world data in preparation for that first BEV offering here.  Seeing that as a model of Prius wouldn't surprise me either... or my wife, who knows how determined I would be to jump on that upgrade opportunity.


Yum, Cake!  I snuck this tantalizing tidbit into the next-gen discussion:  Prius has served as a great vehicle (pun intended) for the introduction of new technologies.  It is not out of the realm of possibilities that Prius could be the first to utilize a semi-solid or solid state battery.  That improvement to reduce/eliminate the electrolyte has been getting closer and closer to becoming a commercial reality.  The benefit would be especially impressive for PHEV use.  You could exceed the current thermal limits, allowing greater flexibility from 40-mile range design.  That's new opportunity to exploit.  Think about what it would be like to connect to a basic 50kW fast-charger with a 18.1 kWh battery-pack.  20 minutes for a full charge at a retail or grocery store would be no big deal.  In fact, that could be sighted as a nice selling point for those unable to recharge at their apartment or condo.  Having your cake and eating it too...


Relentless.  I kept finding more attacks from that same person.  He uses fear to push his agenda: "Automakers hiding behind PHEVs are risking our future for short-term profits."  Stuff like that is so annoying.  Unwilling to tolerate that nonsense, I fired back again:  Short-Term profits are coming from guzzlers.  They don't require anything new.  All you do is just push the larger ones, since they provide the larger return.  That is how our future is being risk.  Don't be so naive.  The reality of PHEV design is it shares BEV design.  Both need the same EV components for propulsion, charging, thermal management and cabin comfort.  You invest in one, the other benefits.  Of course, that is the same desperation we saw back with Volt.  Those enthusiasts worried about purity loss as pressure grew to diversify.  They fought against choice... despite the benefit from sharing.  So much effort is being expended to misrepresent that manual gain.  What a waste... and risk.


You Are Wrong.  I searched through the over 500 comments that "needs to end" topic resulted in.  That same troublemaker I was dealing with had also been confronted by others for the very same reason.  He was a purist and was accusing others of having blinders on.  It was more projection.  I wanted to get the message across he was wrong, but in a way that emphasized why rather than making it personal.  This was a hot thread within the long discussion: "But manufacturers focusing on that now are not really trying to solve any issues."  It was exactly what I was looking for.  He has lost sight of objectives, no longer recognizing the barriers anymore.  That happens a lot with new technologies.  I was delighted point out why:  Post after post, you keep trying to explain the market from an engineering-only perspective.  That is the same fatal mistake enthusiasts of Volt made.  No matter how many times they were told to include the business aspect, they kept dismissing its importance.  Some people never learn.  Reality is, the customer of automakers is the dealer, not end consumers.  If a dealer isn't interested, they don't bother.  Sales cannot come from inventory that isn't stocked and salespeople with no incentive.  It's that simple.  Focus on PHEV is an effort to direct address that issue.  It is a balanced solution.  Taking what EV has to offer and packaging it as something easy to sell at a profit is exactly what is needed.  BEV is far from that simple.  Know your audience.  The market is struggling to get beyond early-adopters.  Ordinary showroom shoppers want a familiar vehicle with a plug and no risk.  As great as a dedicated platform can be, that's not the stage we are in yet.


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