Personal Log  #1038

October 21, 2020  -  October 23, 2020

Last Updated:  Sun. 2/21/2021

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Wireless Charging.  SAE-J2954 specifications are official now.  The protocol will deliver 3.7 kW, 7 kW and 11 kW power levels.  Efficiency is expected up to 94% at 10 inches of ground clearance.  Parking tolerances are 3 inches in the direction of travel and 3.9 inches laterally.  I started the discussion thread with the following comments:  Makes you wonder how the receiver equipment in the vehicle would be protected from random road debris impacts and contacts with snow & ice.  The sending unit would have protection issues as well. Exposure to winter climate doesn't seem to be addressed yet. Between freezing cycles and the need to remove snow, there are very real challenges. Think about how many generations of design it took for charging-stations to finally to deal with those same exposures.  And since there will always be a cord in the walkway, something will need to protect it too.  Needless to say, all that adds cost to the hardware.


Consequences of Precedent.  It's nice when your post stirs an opportunity to point out some history: "You do realize that the Voltec technology is what led into Ultium, right?  How dense can you be to say what they learned with the Volt wasn't used elsewhere?  It led into a new generation that powers the Bolt EV and that led to Ultium."  This is why I documented what was actually posted back then in such detail.  Remember that daily blog for Volt?  Just like the "up to the chore" exchanges, it is now gone.  You can't find the connect anymore, except in archives... which takes work to uncover... and even then, you don't get the continuous nature of multiple threads being posted to at the same time.  Needless to say, I had much to contribute with regard to today's exchange:  I didn't set the precedent.  I'm just drawing attention to it... and all the enablers.  For years, there were hostile arguments claiming Voltec was entirely new, that efforts of the past were unrelated.  It was absurd.  That technology was clearly the successor to Two-Mode, but enthusiasts fought fiercely to defend their narrative.  It was their way of marketing "vastly superior" technology as revolutionary, not evolutionary.  We see a similar misrepresentation narrative attempt underway now.  Even though it is obvious that EV tech used in current Toyota offerings of PHEV and FCEV will later be shared in BEV, there are quite a number of individuals here who claim that isn't possible.  They continue to assert Toyota is many years behind with "laggard" labeling, that nothing done now can be carried forward... that everything done now is a waste of time & resources.  Sound familiar?  There are a lot of enablers here and provoking them is the only way to get attention.  You can help by calling out the next time they try to portray evolutionary steps as detrimental.


Agree.  It's nice to get agreement from time to time.  Not being drown out by antagonists anymore helps.  They still stir trouble, but their influence is tiny now.  That impact of the past dominated discussions to the point where it was painting a picture of belief, you couldn't help but to get a feeling of hope.  That was how false narratives came about.  More and more learned you could manipulate by simply repeating the same lie so often, it would take on a life of its own.  The reason why is simple.  People don't pay attention and are too lazy to research.  That advice of "don't believe what you read on the internet" is wisdom long lost.  Every now and then though, you get encouragement from someone actually recognizing, then acknowledging something learned from the past.  That was today.  I joined in with:  Volt's downfall was being targeted at the wrong audience.  No amount of marketing would have changed the engineering aimed at appealing to enthusiasts.  GM had an entire decade to work out design that would appeal to its own customers for a core product, like Equinox.  GM chose not to... and still does, hence Hummer EV.

10-22-2020 Getting Serious.  A little bit of constructive discussion is starting to emerge: "Sure, many automakers are lagging just like Toyota.  But automakers like VW that are actually serious about EVs are geared up to produce hundreds of thousands of EVs like the ID4 across multiple factories.  Completely different ballgame."  It's in the form of belittling; nonetheless, that's still better than just reciting talking-points.  I climbed up on the soapbox for a long reply:

Just because Toyota appears to be lagging doesn't mean they actually are.  VW is taking a traditional approach.  Toyota is not.  So comparing the two based a single business model won't provide meaningful measure.  It's an apple to coconut comparison.  They have very little in common, even though both appear to be food picked from a tree.

Taking the time to review Toyota's actual plan, rather than speculating based upon observation & commentary, you would see a business approach carefully planned and well underway.  The theme emphasized is to achieve high efficiency through HV refinement, carried to PHEV, for use later in BEV offerings.

They want to squeeze the most out of the limited resources.  That's quite the opposite of what GM did, despite GM getting praised for being a supposed leader.  It was a rush to market with significant consequence.  GM's design was costly, so much so, the platform ended up being abandoned.

Toyota saw that play out and steered clear of it, taking not-so-obvious steps to avoid making the same mistake.  It looks bad from the early-adopter perspective though, since they want tangible results immediately.  Waiting for pieces of the puzzle to be delivered in stages instead is quite a let down, not at all the approach they want to endorse.  So, they pretend it isn't happening.

With respect to VW, they are placing a big bet based on limited experience & success with initial BEV offering... but not by choice; it was forced upon them. Could it work?  Sure.  But in no way is that the process Toyota should follow.  Why take such a blind gamble... especially with the knowledge of how poorly rushing worked for GM.

Toyota will just keep on refining all the components used to provide EV in their PHEV offerings for sharing among BEV offerings.  Note that Toyota also has some rebranding efforts underway too, like RAV4 Prime as a Subaru in different markets.  That's all economy-of-scale benefit, but far less obvious than VW's approach... and much less of a risk.

In short, assessment of "serious" can be made in several different ways.


Nearly Pointless.  I enjoyed proving this wrong: "GM should have done more with the Voltec power train, but the inefficiency of larger vehicles is the reason they didn't.  A PHEV with 15 miles of range would have been nearly pointless in 2011."  There were many points to me made:  15 * 365 = 5,475 miles per year with nothing but overnight charging, back when gas was still $4 per gallon would have been nearly pointless?  Neither Volt nor Bolt targeted GM's own customers.  They ended up being nothing but conquest sales, most of which never resulted in any loyalty.  In fact, a large number of them were just leases.  We have since seen an exodus over to Tesla.  That inefficiency is a lame excuse, since GM was well aware of it long before Volt was rolled out.  Two-Mode overwhelmingly confirmed a plug-in model would take far more of an investment to achieve than just adding a battery.  Toyota delivered that very product though. RAV4 Prime achieves 38 MPG in HV mode while also delivering AWD and the ability to tow 2,500 pounds.  Now with improved battery chemistry & production, that 15 miles of EV has evolved to 42 miles.

10-22-2020 GM Distractions.  It is interesting how "vaporware" isn't brought up anymore, despite the discovery of the Hummer EV promotional video being a fake.  There wasn't actually a working prototype.  It was really just a demonstration of what GM has planned.  Finding that out, we are seeing posts like this: "The art of selling non existent vehicles seems to be the support GM is getting from Nikola."  I was intrigued by that complete absence of history recognition.  Was the poster of that comment completely unaware of the past or just so focused on the present that is was disregarded as important.  Patterns are vital when trying to determine intent.  That's why I look for them.  Heck, that's why I blog so much.  I can look back through the history I documented as it was playing out to confirm a match.  Today, it was pointing out the pattern I recognize all too well:

No, this is what GM has been doing for 15 years.

It started when they saw the success of Prius.  There was a reaction of panic, a need to promote something superior... hence the birth of Two-Mode, a non-existent vehicle that would out-Prius Prius.  Hype went on for years.  When Two-Mode finally rolled out, it was a disaster.  GM abandoned the approach and focused resources on Volt instead... which also ended up a disaster, twice (both generations).  Then came Bolt... which has gone nowhere.

So, now we have Hummer EV.  How is that even remotely an effort to address a transformation of GM's existing fleet to green offerings?  It's yet another distraction from priorities... an appeal to enablers to help protect the automaker from constructive criticism... and there are a lot of suckers willing to contribute.

I find it incredibly ironic how some here come down on Toyota for not participating, when it simply makes no sense to be part of such efforts to avoid actually making a difference.  They complain about GM being penalized for running out of tax-credits they wasted on efforts to appeal to consumers outside of their own customer base.

Why is there not an Equinox available as a PHEV or BEV still?  Remember the plug-in SUV we were shown back in 2008 as an upcoming 2009 model?  That was a prototype Saturn Vue using the Two-Mode augmented with a plug.  Following that letdown was Volt, a promise of a better plug-in platform.  A decade later, nothing... despite several other automakers entering the plug-in SUV market targeting middle-market buyers... GM's own customers.

In short, Hummer EV is yet other distraction.


Devil's Advocate.  When an antagonist wants to appear to be constructive, they'll play that role.  It doesn't work when you know the topic has been addressed already... sometimes to the point of ad nauseam.  There is a former Volt owner turned Tesla owner on the big Prius forum that asks the same question over and over and over again.  It's so obvious he is trying his best to retain the status quo.  Ugh.  In the case of today's effort from an obvious challenger with no integrity, I replied to his efforts to raise doubt about engine & brake robustness:  That role serves no purpose.  With over 15 million Toyota hybrids having been sold (including 8 years of PHEV sales), proof for debunking anything bad has already overwhelmingly been provided.  Heck, the start/stop cycle nonsense was debunked over 20 years ago.   The hybrid system revs up the engine to idle speed, then waits for oil-pressure to be established before fuel & spark.  Combined with an engine optimized for reduced load, all stress factors have been addressed generations ago.  The same is true about that attempt to raise doubt about the brakes.  It was debunked ages ago.


More FUD.  In this case, it is raising doubt... again: "But is it soon enough that Toyota will still exist 5-10 years from now?  I'm not at all sure."  That was quite expected in response to finding out Toyota is indeed rolling out BEV choices.  Denial isn't possible anymore.  So, antagonists turn to the spread of FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt) instead.  I fired back with:  Raising doubt is the typical response from early-adopters who always felt Toyota should be breaking new ground (catering to that audience) rather than focusing on their own customer-base.  The obvious pattern is to watch how assumptions are postulated, then later that incorrect or outdated information is passed along.  In this case, we now know that the big huff about only supporting CHAdeMO was an incorrect assumption.  This article points out a CCS2 will be offered.  So, it is clearly an attempt to undermine by using a label of "ridiculous" after learning the approach is to maximize charging opportunity.  As for Toyota still existing in 5-10 years, there's no basis to make such an assumption.  With a customer-base of 10 million worldwide and PHEV & BEV options already being rolled out, along with the upcoming reveal of several new dedicated BEV platforms, that is pretty much just another attempt to undermine.  In other words, too bad if you don't like Toyota's approach.  That's simply no excuse to continue raising doubt.


Tesla Attacks.  Remember how whenever an article was published about Prius, some Volt enthusiast would start trolling the comments with "vastly superior" posts?  That same thing is now happening from Tesla enthusiasts.  It's quite annoying, an obvious effort to undermine.  Today, one of them got called out for doing exactly that.  My takeaway from his nonsense was: "We're hearing about a $25,000 subcompact."  That is an obvious rhetoric spread, when the content is vague at best but the message to distract obvious.  In this case, that is actually an innovator's dilemma issue.  Catering to early-adopters is easy.  They are forgiving and have a lot of discretionary income available.  So, initial rollouts to them with a "test the waters" approach works fine.  Appealing to the mainstream is an entirely different matter.  Those customers are far more picky and volume must be levels of magnitude higher.  Reaching that goal is much, much more challenging.  Antagonists gloss over that detail, portraying the situation as just a matter of ramping up production.  This is among the first "of what" to be stirred about production.  So, I responded with:  What we have heard is concern about that market being extremely competitive with razor-thin profits and a strong potential to cannibalize sales of current offerings.  Toyota has mastered how to appeal to consumers in such a market.  That is unfamiliar territory for Tesla.


Overkill.  Enthusiasts are known for confusing want with need.  They focus on the most extreme solutions, then justify that as a requirement. The idea of balance or the concept of tradeoffs is not part of their mindset.  That makes many online exchanges basically pointless.  For example: "If air-cooling was the best option for a larger battery-pack, the Toyota RAV4 Prime battery-pack would not be liquid-cooled."  It shouldn't take much effort to figure that out.  Unfortunately, the quote there was from the article's author, not a comment posted about it.  Those media sources thrive on overkill.  So feeding it material to stir interest is good motive.  Sadly, that's called enablement from those observing the consequences.  Ugh.  Oh well.  We simply have no choice but to inject logic into those discussions, with the hope some sensible readers will realize the what, why, and who elements at play.  This is what I posted:  That conclusion is easy to confirm as an anecdotal observation which overlooks an important design feature: 2,500-lb towing capacity.  Most vehicles simply don't need that, so forced air-cooling with a dedicated A/C source is fine.  A more aggressive cooling system to support added power demand makes a lot of sense; otherwise, it's overkill... unnecessary... a waste of cost, weight and added complexity.


Confirmation of Panic.  When they don't even acknowledge what you say and just rant about their perception of future without substance to support it, that's a sign of desperation.  His panic was confirmed by this: "Further, in 5 years, BEVs will have the majority of the new car market and even people formally in denial will realize that the direction the market is going is pure BEV.  No one will buy anything with an expensive to maintain ICE, especially used.  Resale values will drop to scrap as repair shops close and gas stations start disappearing or converting to electric chargers."  That conclusion he drew was so good, I had to post the entire paragraph.  As much as we'd like that type of new technology adoption, that aggressive of a timeline on such a large scale simply isn't realistic.  The fact that he ignored my fact about overnight charging was the tell-all, a dead giveaway of not being constructive.  That is much to large of a barrier to overcome still for no attention whatsoever to be given.  I fired back:  Completely ignoring that analogy was the disregard; instead, you just passed along an arbitrary date with an unrealistic quantity.  That is the repeat of history, put politely.  Put succinctly, it's rhetoric.  The claim of "in 5 years, BEVs will have the majority of the new car market" is utter nonsense.  In this market alone, that is 16 million vehicles.  Worldwide, it is 92 million.  Again, the analogy brought up the problem of infrastructure.  Why are you refusing to acknowledge that fact?


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