Personal Log  #1034

September 26, 2020  -  September 29, 2020

Last Updated:  Tues. 10/13/2020

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Voice Of Reason.  You know comments like this will just fall on deaf ears, but I persist regardless:  Think about how challenging it is to grow sales beyond early-adopters, especially without incentives.  Toyota is already addressing that.  PHEV are an easy step from hybrids.  Having now established an obvious focusing getting dealers to embrace change, you build up trust and reliability reputation PHEV sales.  That sets the stage well for BEV.  Notice how expectations from other legacy automakers are a complete mystery?  Heck, even with VW, we really don't know how ID.4 will be accepted or what the next offering will be.  With the wide variety of hybrids from Toyota, there's no question each will end up getting a plug at some point.  That makes introduction of their upcoming dedicated BEV platform far less challenging.

9-28-2020 Another Report.  This came from our resident troll, who is so blatant his online name actually has both "troll" and "bait" in it: "Another report on this topic just came out."  He thrives on debate.  His thoughts would actually be considered constructive too, if it wasn't for the fact that he disregards previous posts.  Simply repeating the same old nonsense for the sake of personal entertainment is what?  But since many newbies have no idea the topic has already been beaten to death, they take the bait.  It's a vicious cycle... often referred to in short as "rhetoric".  Motive varies from person to person, but the outcome is always the same... impeding progress.  Ugh.  I get annoyed.  But allowing that activity to persist unchallenged is enablement, which can be make a bad situation worse.  So, I counter those claims with my own type of repetition:

That one also misrepresents.  You have to carefully read through the information provided to discover what's missing.  The omission, which heavily skews how the data is portrayed, becomes evident using some critical thought.  It's really sad people are so easily mislead by taking what they see at face value, without question.

This is a rapidly evolving market, but the conclusions are based upon the impression that nothing has changed.  Think about how different interpretation of expectation is from just generation to generation.  It makes no sense treating them as the same; yet, these studies lump everything together without any consideration of automakers responding to consumer feedback.  It is textbook propaganda, especially when it focuses entirely on the technology itself, giving you the impression no other factors have an influence toward consumer behavior.

A simple solution... which is clearly not getting addressed with any of these analysis papers... is to encourage the very behavior they imply we have no influence to change.  In other words, help people take advantage of charging opportunities.  What should be obvious is to promote time-of-use discounts for overnight recharges.  That electricity usage can be tied directly to vehicle consumption.  Both provider meters and the EVSE unit itself can be programmed to track that data and report it accordingly as rewards for usage.


Hydrogen Facts.  There are a lot of claims being made by BEV purists, but no data.  It's the same as that survey being quoted now.  We have no idea what sampling the summary was created from.  Data is easy to filter to represent a bias.  That's why it is openly shared and peer reviewed.  Without confirmation of appropriate approach, you can easily end up misrepresenting.  So when it comes to fighting points against hydrogen co-existing, we need facts.  So, I did a little digging today.  A basic unit will output 100 kW and reach that within 44 seconds.  That easily covers potential for supplementing chargers.  After all, maximum tier-1 draw for DC fast-chargers is 60 kW.  So, seeing many vehicles top out at 50 kW currently means expectations for that would be met even in times of high-demand.  Put it this way, faster has challenges.  My focus is offering a balance of quantity & speed, rather than just a small number of really expensive super-high-speed chargers.  Anywho, this was an interesting new fact I uncovered today: "Hydrogen is a standard industrial chemical commodity today.  In the United States, approximately 10 million metric tons of hydrogen are produced every year, most of which is used for petroleum recovery and refining purposes as well as fertilizer (ammonia) production."  I wasn't aware that the act of getting gas into consumer takes required hydrogen.  That's something you won't ever find out from petroleum supporters.

9-27-2020 Missed Opportunity.  Failure to consider the bigger picture is a chronic fault of early-adopters.  They tend to see the world through the eyes of enthusiasm with no boundaries.  I like to trip them up by pointing out what has been excluded from their argument.  Omitted facts is common, though it is very difficult to know if it is intentional or lack of awareness.  Anywho, I added this to the mix of speculation & propaganda articles lately:

Ironically, we could see hydrogen providing supplemental power at some DC fast-chargers.   People don't take into consideration how expensive it really is to push a large amount of electrons quickly during peak hours; yet, they promote it as if that's going to be no big deal.  We already see pricing around $0.28 per kWh from Tesla for their highest speed service.  Imagine when demand goes up.   There really isn't a discount for higher volume.  In fact, it can be the opposite.  You end up paying a premium.

Such immediacy could be accommodated by fuel-cells operating on premise.  In fact, locally supplied hydrogen could be a source of new green jobs complimenting the green efforts we see in the solar & wind industry.  Excess capacity needs to be stored somehow.  Putting it where it would be most valued is a win-win.

The ironic nature of the symbiotic relationship is quite amusing.  BEV supporters have fought intensely against hydrogen, assuming it would be counter-productive to their green objectives; instead, it could prove to be missed opportunity.


Incapable or Unwilling.  The oversimplification effort continued: "The solutions are obvious, but legacy companies can be either incapable or not willing to embrace the changes..."  It's the same old nonsense I saw years ago.  Enthusiasts think change is easy.  They don't recognize audience.  That's why it has become such a dominant theme in the contributions I provide.  You must understand what they are dealing with.  Not knowing that leads to making incorrect assumptions.  When you look for detail, the "obvious" solution tends to fall completely apart.  That's how saying "the devil is in the detail" came about.  You discover complexities.  Anywho, this is what came next in my on-going series of replies:  What's obvious is the disaster that would result from legacy automakers forcing their dealers to suddenly sell vehicles completely unknown to their salespeople and customers without any type of transition.  Change should not be that abrupt.  There are consequences to rushing and skipping steps.  Many here just expect that to happen though, dropping everything without having learned lessons from the past.  The reason we have situations known as "Innovator's Dilemma" and "Osborne Effect" is because what you suggest was actually tried and failed horribly. Finding a rapid path to phaseout with expense minimalized is what's required, period.  It doesn't make sense throwing out the baby with the bath water... in other words, abandoning all that was built upon for something entirely new.


Oversimplification.  I actually expected someone to go for the purist argument sooner.  This was inevitable: "The easy, obvious solution is to ditch the gas tank altogether and put in a bigger battery."  They don't understand all that involved, especially from the sales perspective.  So, I fired back with:  That idealistic view of the situation spells doom for those naïve enough to believe it.  The automotive business is filled with complications beyond just engineering green alternatives.  In other words, the harsh reality of selling "bigger battery" solutions cannot be just brushed off so nonchalantly like that.  Dealers want something that can be sold with very little effort and will return reasonable & sustainable profit.  There is no guarantee whatsoever that any specific configuration of BEV will actually do that.  Heck, even Tesla is all over the place trying to determine what battery-capacity & charging-speed balanced with price will achieve reasonable & sustainable profit.  Far too often, enthusiasts don't take requirements of business seriously.  The solution is neither easy, nor obvious.


It Doesn't Matter.  Some people keep missing the point: "Bottom line is there is no question PHEV operating costs will be somewhere between BEV and ICE ... but it would be logically impossible for it to match a BEV in any apples to apples comparison."  Enthusiasts are especially prone to this, since they feel compelled to draw conclusions... even if no purpose is served from doing so.  For example, today's exchange:  That bottom line is it doesn't matter.  If you are amortizing lifetime of the vehicle to last 200,000 miles and it does, then comparisons are the same.  That is the point of standardized measure.  There isn't much to debate that a larger pack should last longer.  But beyond "lifetime" isn't part of the expense equation.  And let's not forget, the aging influences that have nothing whatsoever to with miles, like routine exposure to hot temperatures while parked.  Lastly, the definition of "cycle" you are using is incorrect.  Simply depleting the standard 84% to 14% for EV range available is *NOT* a cycle.  That is a common misconception.  Reality is, it takes quite a few of those sequences added together to amount the equivalent of a single cycle.


Old Gas.  Discussion of the consequences of not using the engine much comes up on a regular basis, but then dies quickly.  No one has anything to contribute that's actually useful or even enough to stir interest.  All we typically get is... "You can have problems if you run the ICE too infrequently." ...which tells us nothing.  It's just basic FUD without an fanfare.  I now jump in, seizing the opportunity to post:  Toyota built a rather elegant solution into their PHEV, an obvious plan-ahead in their design easily overlooked.  If you drive with gas infrequently, you can take advantage of Charge-Mode to exercise the engine.  It uses up gas by using the generator to push electricity at twice the base level-2 rate to recharge the battery.  I use that from time to time with my Prius Prime, since my driving is almost entirely electric.  If used for the duration (from 0% to 80% of EV capacity), it will recharge in 40 minutes at highway speeds.  That's a rate of about 7.2 kW.  The end result is some gas consumed in cleanest manner possible from a hybrid system and some electricity available for use later.

9-27-2020 Being Ignored.  Over and over again, I get accused of showing hate for GM by sighting the problems they had with Volt.  In general, people don't want attention brought to the fact that they were wrong.  So, they do the best to change focus and distract.  That only works if they still have attention.  Not presenting them with an invite to respond means they will end up being ignored.  That's happening more and more now.  If you don't mention Volt, there's nothing to lash out against.  They require substance to spin.  I'm not providing that anymore.  So, posts are transforming to:

Data is vital, regardless is what it tells us.   In fact, that's what makes the next-gen design better. There are great examples of that now available, for anyone who looks from detail from the past.

With Toyota, it was the limited rollout of Prius PHV.  To only a limited market in an emerging category, feedback was far more valuable than actual sales.  That result was ending production early to deliver a design more fitting to consumer shift with Prius Prime.  Having learned how useful that experience was, the same process was repeated.  It resulted in RAV4 Prime.  Each successive design has been an obvious advancement beyond the prior.

As for PHEV being "a full ice car with electronics and battery added to it", that is not the case for Toyota.  Unlike the approach some other automakers have taken, there is a clear reduction of complexity.  The transmission was eliminated, replaced by nothing but a simple power-split device.  Not only was that a step away from traditional dependencies, it was also a big move toward lower cost and higher reliability... which has since been proven the case.  This is why increasing battery-capacity for a plug-in has been such an easy next step.  It was a plan-ahead approach, an inherent part of the design from the start.

That's why collecting & sharing real-world data is so important.  In informs you of what would be most effective next.  Summaries presented in studies don't tell the whole story about decisions & outcomes.


Recent Surveys.  That propaganda is making the rounds.  Some people are wising up to the deception attempts, others pass along the undermine material: "Recent surveys of PHEV owners however are finding that owners don't really plug in that often."  It's sad when so many lack critical thinking.  They believe what is printed without question.  What is wrong with the "trust, but verify" approach?  Why aren't more people asking for data to back up the claim?  It is because we have grown lazy & complacent.  This is an expected outcome of a society that takes things for granted.  Lacking any background knowledge, it is easy to become ungrateful of what it to achieve such a state.  That means I end up having to point out what should be obvious:  Those "recent surveys" remain meritless claims.  No actual data has been provided.  There's been nothing but vague summaries highlighting unknown samples from some mysterious past.  The total absence of substance to back up supposed findings reveal it is just propaganda.  In other words, credible sources don't feed rhetoric.  If there was something to back a "don't plug in" consensus, that would be readily available.  Instead, we still have nothing.


Compliance Car.  I like how some just jump to conclusions.  That makes it easy to confirm they are only spreading rhetoric, rather than trying to be constructive.  I know that Toyota is in the process of getting that new partnership with Panasonic going.  I also know the ramp-up of RAV4 production in Kentucky rather than Japan is well underway.  So, dealing with this is not a concern: "Good luck buying a Rav4 Prime.  They are only importing 5,000 of them.  Toyota is treating it as a compliance car."  That insight to what is really happening behind the scenes, instead of just reacting to what can easily be detected, makes a big difference.  I added this to the discussion of actions, focusing on approach that can be verified without much effort:  Taking a look at Toyota's history, you'll see a pattern of quantity limited rollouts.  They simply don't cater to initial demand surges for new-market categories.  That's not how you make a profit and not the type of uncertainly you should dump on dealers.  It's all about long-term.  Patience is a fundamental part of their culture.  PHEV and BEV offerings will become a standard part of the fleet, so taking time to establish reputation and react to market shift is the approach taken... even if it gives the appearance of compliance... especially since feedback from compliance regions can be very informative.  In other words, say whatever you want.  Making claims based upon anecdotal observations won't change anything.  That slow & steady progress is what the industry needs to achieve demographic growth.  Appealing to those who jump on first-year offerings is simply not a priority, which their history confirms that is a wise approach.

9-26-2020 Faster Isn't Better.  You have to wonder how people come to such decisions: "I see, that's plausible, but with battery price dropping significantly in near term, combustion engine's appeal will diminish quickly, and stopping all fossil fuel usage is really the priority now.  Go as fast as we can is really necessary."  Having business as my minor in college, the knowledge I obtained toward my degree has been priceless.  I had no idea how the dynamics of responding to consumer & industry change can impact business decisions.  I had some professors quite passionate about those topics.  It made an obvious impression on my choices.  Anywho, that is why I responded this way:

It's all about breaking the status quo.  Don't lose sight of big barriers; often, it isn't the technology.

Though I strongly agree with the priority, my experience doesn't suggest those who covet the roar of a combustion engine will give it up.  Gas is cheap to guzzle and the oversupply problem will only get worse, ensuring price remains low.  The sound, feel, and smell is a primal desire easily fulfilled.  You don't get that from EV driving.

That smooooooth & silent we get from electric-only experience is available from PHEV and doesn't require giving up an engine.  True, the owner won't realize how infrequently it will actually be used (especially in a PHEV like RAV4 Prime), but we don't have to tell them that part.

With such urgency to get people to switch to electric, we have a solution to get those timid or impeded to accept change by offering a something that appeals to both past & future today.  They start with 120-volt charging immediately, then later discover what a level-2 EVSE can do for them.  That will stir interest for a BEV being their next household purchase.

In the meantime, it gets dealers (the industry's most reluctant customer) to finally let go of those guzzlers they have grown dependent upon while the automaker refines production of EV components shared by both PHEV and BEV.


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