Personal Log  #1031

September 11, 2020  -  September 18, 2020

Last Updated:  Tues. 10/13/2020

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9-18-2020 Exclusion.  They simply didn't care.  It continues: "Let's just not count PHEVs as EVs."  There's a belief that purity is the only way.  If it has an engine, it is bad... period.  There's a intolerance that is quite unconstructive.  Rather than considering how routine PHEV plugging in contributes to the desire to upgrade charging at home and could ultimately result in a used PHEV becoming available, some enthusiasts absolutely insist only a BEV will make a difference.  More and more, the claim is becoming there's no benefit at all from having a small battery-pack with a plug.  It's interesting to see that come about as evidence to the contrary becomes more common.  My guess is that is the result of growing desperation.  If they get caught misleading, they'll just ignore the accusation rather than making up some excuse.  Heck, we saw that in the Senate with the Impeachment.  I was surprised how blatant it was.  They simply didn't care.  As a result of learning that, much of what I post is for exposition to others who may be reading the discussion... because I know my post will basically be ignored by the troublemaker.  Today was such an exchange:  EV represents anything using only electricity for travel.  Having an engine is an extra, not a requirement for most PHEV choices.  BEV is the best way to refer to vehicles with only a plug.  Why would you not count electric-only driving as relevant to the cause?  Keep in mind, PHEV benefit much more from opportunity recharging... something that's becoming common as the number of charge locations increase... which is not reflected in any study of past usage.

Advice.  Reading comments posted from new owners of RAV4 Prime are fascinating.  Most have little to no knowledge of Prius Prime.  Some don't even know how Toyota's hybrids operate.  It's an entirely different world for them, a new market filled with consumers completely unaware of the enthusiast realm I have dealt with for years.  That's exactly what I warned the antagonists about.  Know your audience.  That was foreshadow of an unfamiliar domain to come, fortunately, one where their none of their tricks work.  Dwelling in unfamiliar territory is really throwing them.  Turns out, the same is true for new owners.  They guess based on observation.  Sometimes, that works out fine.  Other times, they need advice... because they totally got it wrong.  This time, it wasn't too bad.  But I was concerned that it was the administrator of the forum making an incorrect assumption.  It was in the form of a video too.  So, I directly confronted him with the hopes of a constructive response.  That worked out well... thankfully.  With that exchange, it will be much easier to share other wisdom in the future.  That's how good advice ends up getting shared... hence an entirely different world.  This is an example of how it starts:  It is called "Charge Mode".  The word "hold" is simply an instruction, just like they have for buttons on the remote.  Using it while not moving is horribly inefficient.  The purpose is to take advantage of the hybrid system while under a load, like while cruising on the highway.  It's beneficial when you want EV on a road-trip, but don't have anywhere to plug in.


Per kWh Pricing.  The long-overdue change has finally begun.  Pricing per unit of time was controversial.  It can vary depending upon who else is drawing at the same time.  And obviously, different vehicles charge at different speeds.  Laws had prevented everyone except electricity providers to charge based upon quantity.  That is not a barrier anymore.  It can now also be done by those who provide charging-stations.  Today, Electrify America announced the have drive dropped session fees entirely and replaced time with a 31 cent per kWh billing approach for members ($4 per month) and 43 cents per kWh for everyone else.  This takes effect in the following states: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, and Washington, which covers 78 percent of their overall network in the United States.  You will get billed for remaining connected 10 minutes after the draw has stopped.  The chargers I used at work are ChargePoint.  They have not changed yet.  It is still on a per 8-hour billing approach.  Who knows if that will be altered.  There's no demand anymore.  Everyone who plugged in there has shifted to parking elsewhere.  For me, it's in my garage.  Working from home has been great... as a software engineer.  Most people aren't so fortunate.  Demands on my career got easy with the flexibility remote access has provided.  So, my pricing is even better.  Now, the only public chargers I use are at the grocery store... which are free.


Cold Soak.  Even if you read the manual, it doesn't mean you'll understand what to actually do.  Today, it was the interpretation of "low" and how that applied to battery care.  Making assumptions is far too easy.  This topic is new to most people and the only related background they have is with their other digital devices.  The cell-phone is a great example.  It is designed to exploit every last bit of power the battery will provide.  That works fine for the anticipated useful life of 2 to 3 years.  Longer than that is counter to the providers need to sell you a replacement.  They depend upon that routine upgrade.  So, longevity of the powersource isn't a priority.  As a result, you notice shortened usage time as the anticipated replacement period draws near.  Some are aware of this that plug-in vehicle wouldn't share that design, hence seeking out information about how it differs and what to do with that knowledge.  In short, they don't want to have to replace the battery-pack later.  That's means helping those out that don't know what it all means.  In this case, the uncertainty came from these quotes: "Charge the EV after a sabbatical.  Resting at low charge reverses capacity fade." and "It is best to let the battery rest at low SoC and only charge before use.  Dwelling at low charge reduces calendar aging and may also reverse capacity fade."  I provided this as a follow-up to speculation about what it meant:  That is a misunderstanding of what "low" actually represents.  Basically, it means a "not charged yet" state.  In other words, Toyota recommends leaving the recharge until right before the vehicle is to be used.  Allowing the chemicals to rest as long as possible before routine charging is as a "cold soak".  This does indeed help slow aging.  In simple terms, you are giving time for the battery to cool down.  Heat is what reduces longevity.  That is why DC fast-charging has so much more of an impact than just level-2.


Benchmark?  It got really tiring, every single article being made about Volt... claiming it was vastly superior.  Now there are many choices and Prius can't even be considered the antithesis anymore.  That puts those enthusiasts who still like to stir the pot upset.  They have no idea how to deal with RAV4 Prime, exactly the vehicle many had desperately wished GM would deliver.  In denial, they continue to claim Volt should represent the example to aspire too.  Today, someone annoyed with that nonsense put it this way: "Why is Volt, a vehicle that could not survive the end of EV subsidies, the benchmark?"  That nails it.  I couldn't have said it any better.  Preparing to deal with tax-credits prior to when they expire was the push I had complained about for years, GM wasn't.  Failure was inevitable.  They didn't care.  It did indeed fail too.  They still don't care.  It's bizarre.  What's the point of simply having bragging rights?  A benchmark without purpose doesn't make sense; yet, we still get the pointless praise... despite not being the "game changer" it was promised to be.

9-13-2020 Still Arguing.  I got this as a reply to the recharging advice: "​Shallow draws and parked for extended duration are both not good.  Best is to keep the battery charge around 50% as possible as you can.  I am not saying that charging to 84% or drop it below 25% is going to kill the battery.  I am saying that the less you do that the better for longevity.  Read this."  I went from annoyed to amused.  I'm not sure if he didn't read it himself or didn't understand the contents.  So, I posted two key takeaway quotes from it:  Quite the opposite. In fact, that links confirms what I have been saying...

"The smaller the discharge (low DoD), the longer the battery will last.  If at all possible, avoid full discharges and charge the battery more often between uses.  Partial discharge on Li-ion is fine.  There is no memory and the battery does not need periodic full discharge cycles to prolong life."

And it went on to say...

"Most chargers for mobile phones, laptops, tablets and digital cameras charge Li-ion to 4.20V/cell.  This allows maximum capacity, because the consumer wants nothing less than optimal runtime.  Industry, on the other hand, is more concerned about longevity and may choose to lower voltage thresholds.  Satellites and electric vehicles are such examples."

In short, lumping together knowledge of other lithium powered devices into the same category as our cars is inappropriate.  We know for a fact vehicles like Prius Prime don't allow maximum capacity.  So, it's basically a red-herring to claim otherwise for frequent use.  That are not the same.

Put another way, focus on what has a greater impact instead.  The biggest reduction to battery-life is from heat.  Owners should strive to avoid charging when the battery is hot and parking in situations that will expose the vehicle to long spans of direct sun.


Teaching Moments.  I got another one today.  He clearly didn't like my reply to the "simple & cheap" comment: "Your inaccurate and cherry picked numbers are indicative of your FUDly intent."  It never ceases to amaze me how some will post an insult and think they have addressed the problem.  It's denial on a fundamental level.  The "flight or fight" choice is bizarre.  How does running away from issues fix anything?  Ugh.  Anywho, this is how I responded to that nonsense:  Raising awareness of what others cherry-pick is not FUD, it's critical thinking.  As a PHEV owner, I have to deal with those calculations on a very regular basis.  Rather than blowing off the exchange (consequently, legitimizing their claim), you should be capitalizing on the opportunity.  One constructive reply is to validate their numbers as accurate, pointing out how their 25 cents per kWh doesn't have to be.  You can inform them how to sign up for a time-of-use discount program with their local provider.  With mine, I am able to recharge overnight for just 7 cents per kWh.  Another constructive reply is to stir interest in rebate offerings.  Point out how some power companies and local governments have incentive programs to get you to upgrade your home for level-2 charging by subsidizing part of the EVSE purchase.  With mine, I was able to get $500 for each of ours.  In other words, I'm calling out your dismissal.  Next time, don't just label something you don't want to deal with as FUD.

9-13-2020 Recharging Advice.  It is interesting how some people will argue with you using nothing but basics.  They have been following the generalized advice for years and it has served them well.  So, they don't understand the pushback... even when you provide detail explaining why this is different.  There has been an online exchange continuing on that very problem: "Even if there is a 16% buffer to the top it is still better for the battery that you keep it around 50% than 84%. 84% is still considered high in terms of health for lithium ion batteries."  That comment was posted i reply to me pointing out "full" isn't really 100%.  They felt compelled to argue.  I pushed back too:  Frequent shallow draws from the battery are better for it than being parked for an extended duration, regardless of charge level.  The health for daily use is just fine if you charge it back up to 84% every night.  This is already proven too for the particular lithium chemistry used.  That stopping point in not arbitrary.  So, unless you will be away from your vehicle for at least a week, simply plugging in for a scheduled overnight recharge is the recommendation.
9-12-2020 Being Constructive.  It takes far longer than anyone wants to admit.  A recent survey made that all too clear.  People want BEV choices to have quite a bit lower price (well under the "nicely below $30,000), to have a range close to 300 miles, and to recharge in 30 minutes.  This is one of the first comments posts in a discussion about that: "Once people begin to realize how simple (and cheap) home charging is, the tipping point will come closer."  In response (and to keep things constructive), I asked:

How simple & cheap is it ?

The problem we have here is it's more expensive for some.  I see posts everyday from those doing the math for their situation... gas less than $2 per gallon and electricity about $0.25 per kWh.  With a PHEV delivering 50 MPG and 4 mi/kWh, the respective returns aren't favorable... 100 miles = $4 gas or $6.25 electricity.

Less expensive can be had if you are willing to invest in a level-2 EVSE.  But the cost of that device along with the wiring ends up washing out any possible savings.  So, you are stuck without any good way to promote going green in terms of fueling.  This is why any complaint related to advertising are a red-herring.  Enthusiasts arguing amongst themselves doesn't achieve anything.

In short, gas wins.  How do we overcome that?


Gas Guzzling Monsters.  Celebrating has begun now that initial production of Rivian has begun.  These are very large electric pickups. But since they consume electricity, turning a blind-eye to how much is an easy trap to fall into.  That's exactly what Volt owners did.  Enthusiasts showed no concern for kWh/mi values.  Their mission was to "save gas" only.  Eventually, dismissals like that will reveal consequences.  You'll fall into the trap.  Needless to say, I found this quote the perfect invitation to join the discussion: "Replacing these with the Rivian, Cybertruck and other electric vehicles will have a proportionally bigger impact on fossil fuel use in the USA than electric cars and we can say good riddance to the gas guzzling monsters."  I wonder if this response I posted will stir any critical thinking:  Switching from fossil fuel combustion to green electricity is a checkbox filled for the priority of clean emissions, but it doesn't properly address the consumption problem.  These giant pickups transporting nothing but a driver most of the time is still an energy guzzler.  That reality will sink in when you are waiting for a public charger to become available.  A monster-size vehicle is going to have a massive thirst.  You could end up having to wait longer as a result.  There is also the predicament of charging at home.  Being too large to fit in a typical garage, owners have to do something special to plug in outside.  No one ever addresses that situation.  The cost & logistics cannot be easily dismissed.

9-11-2020 Hydrogen.  There are a few who thrive on the hope of hydrogen dying.  They cannot stand the idea of multiple solutions for reducing consumption & emissions.  It never ceases to amaze me how some feel it is absolutely necessary to adhere to a simplicity of one.  My guess is they cannot deal with the complexity of a multitude of configurations.  As a software engineer for 30 years, I'm well aware of design considerations.  Addressing so many different tradeoffs from a wide variety of approaches to achieve an optimum balance for an ever-changing set of needs is what I thrive on.  My career depends upon understanding audience want & need... hence my mantra.  For others, I can see how that would be overwhelming.  Anywho, this was the post: "Just when you think it's dead."  His despise for hydrogen is no secret.  I replied with:

It was never going to die.  The bigger picture is what most people don't take time to consider.  California wants shipping emissions to be significantly reduced.  That means boats wanting to dock will need to find cleaner fuel alternatives.  That also means trucks in the yard will need to do the same.  Having a well established set of hydrogen stations helps with the truck part.

Reality is, there's a massive potential with hydrogen for industrial use.  We will also see it in commercial use, for fleet vehicles and some passenger.  The cold, hard fact that fuel-cells will co-exist with battery is overwhelmingly difficult for some to accept.  Why?  Diversity is vital.

Having diversity among green choices makes sense too.  After all, it's entirely realistic that we could see come DC fast-chargers supplemental powered by hydrogen.  Paying for top-tier service during peak hours is very expensive, which could make that alternative attractive... especially if it provides local employment opportunity.  Think about the value of spreading power generation & capture to rural areas.


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