Prius Personal Log  #1043

November 28, 2020  -  December 2, 2020

Last Updated:  Sun. 2/21/2021

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Intentional.  An attack from a disgruntled Volt enthusiast, using Toyota as a scapegoat, was expected from that comparison.  Frustration from having been burned so bad makes that an expectation; not all who were let down can be expected to remain silent.  I was taken aback by just how desperate he had become.  Just like our out-going president, he has become so accustom to being dishonest, he doesn't bother to check facts.  The result is believing your own lies.  I called him out on it too:  Intentionally spreading false & misleading information, repeatedly, is a sign of desperation.  You know quite well the Toyota hybrid system doesn't even have an alternator or a starter or even a belt.  You know spark plugs rarely ever need replacing in the hybrid, so the plug-in hybrid will likely last the entire lifetime of the vehicle.  For that matter, the muffler & cat will likely last the entire lifetime too.  And how many tune-ups does an engine actually need when the gas tank is only filled up a few times a year?  It all comes down to denial about actual progress. Toyota found a means of appeal to masses.  They have moved production to Kentucky for hybrid production and the partnership agreement in April should be bringing about more batteries. Spinning that as a narrative about compliance won't change that.  Change is happening.  Time to accept it.  Toyota knows their audience.


True Progress.  Comparing Model Y to RAV4 Prime has become a common occurrence now.  There are a few who feel threatened by that.  Some lashed out with rude & dishonest posts.  Others choose to outright dismiss, for example:  "Ridiculous.  One has a gas engine and the other is totally electric.  There is no comparison.  We are trying to move away from fossil fuels.  The reason the RAV4 is even hybrid is because Toyota and Toyoda are too lazy and intellectually dishonest to get on the stick."  Fortunately, much of that rhetoric is already falling apart.  This is the benefit of Toyota taking the time to build up reputation prior to getting much exposure.  I pointed out confirmation of that with:  Reality is, RAV4 Prime delivers a full EV driving experience.  So what if is it only 42 miles per charge?  From just overnight recharging, that provides over 15,000 miles of electric-only driving per year.  Claiming to have a goal of "move away from fossil fuels", then outright dismissing a vehicle that does exactly that as "ridiculous", are the words of someone afraid to actually make a comparison.  You are being called out for dismissing data that doesn't fit your narrative.  Toyota is working hard to address their core issue, change of its business.  That's a problem for all legacy automakers and none have been anywhere near as successful as Toyota.  We are witnessing a stir among their dealerships. Ordinary consumers are showing interest for a plug-in with an enormous amount of potential, being among the most popular selling vehicles.  Go ahead, keep trying to feed that narrative.  In the meantime, watch how Toyota continues to phaseout traditional vehicles, replacing them with hybrids.  Then take note of how easy it is to up-sell the plug-in model.  Having a means of so easily appealing to ordinary showroom shoppers is true progress.


Growth.  It never ceases to amaze me how it always comes down to the simple things.  In this case, it continues to be audience.  Enthusiasts see the world very differently than ordinary consumers.  These are lessons taught from my economics classes in college playing out right before my eyes.  I can see the examples those professors stressed as being important, not to be overlooked or taken fore granted.  Those who do will learn the hard way.  In this case, achieving growth beyond the initial stage often requires a fundamentally different approach.  You may have proven the technology worthy, but selling it may requite big changes to the product itself.  Remember how Volt enthusiasts hated any suggestion to that regard?  Now, we see it was indeed what was needed.  Look at how RAV4 Prime fit the criteria they absolutely refused to acknowledge.  Oh well.  That's their loss.  To this group of enthusiasts in this situation, I posted:  Growth will plateau.  As the early-adopter market becomes saturated and choices continue to expand, necessity will be to appeal to a wider audience.  Those consumers are far less forgiving and have much higher expectations.  Money-Making extras, like autonomous driving and connected services, won't be an option either.  It comes down to the basics, something Tesla hasn't dealt with yet.  GM gave a half-hearted attempt and failed miserably.  VW stands a decent chance, but convincing dealers here (the United States, where there is little incentive) will be very difficult.  Toyota sees getting loyal customers to upgrade from hybrid to plug-in hybrid as realistic, something dealers will likely endorse.  As for the others, who knows.  Ford's stance is wishy-washy, at best.  Honda & Hyundai/Kia have small footprints.  Nissan is a complete mystery.  In short, that "nicely under $30,000" price-point is a vital market section, but remains quite elusive.  Growth depends upon it.


Business Portfolio.  There is a growing frustration toward Toyota.  Showing signs of successfully navigating the horribly complex worldwide market system as it changes is quite an accomplishment.  This comes from ignoring the rhetoric and carefully studying need.  All aspects of the business must be addressed, not just the exciting stuff enthusiasts only focus on.  That is why GM has failed so many times in the past.  They lack balance.  You can't just neglect part of the business and hope for the best.  Consequences will eventually emerge.  We saw that play out with Two-Mode and Volt in very big ways.  Both were monumental-sized failures, massive investments without any clear goal or outcome.  Toyota's effort to address their entire portfolio, making sure they have a balance of priorities going forward is huge... though, quite boring... hence not getting the attention it deserves online.  That's why I keep pointing out some of those details:  It is always quite telling to read posts from those who refuse to consider the bigger picture.  They attempt to project their own aspirations as if they were the goals of Toyota.  Anyone who actually takes the time (critical thinking, gasp!), will see there is a hydrogen transition coming.  Industrial & Commercial uses will lean on it heavily as the replacement for fossil fuels.  It's a moot point whether your own personal transport will use it.  Toyota will supply fuel-cell technology for that.  Mirai is platform onto which it will be refined.  They are using it as a "vehicle" for change of their overall business... which will include far more than just the narrow-minded perspectives we have posted about mainstream consumer purchases.  So what if sales are "limited" to 20,000 to 30,000 per year?  That is a worldwide network providing priceless real-world data.  The resulting knowledge & experience will be used to scale-up the technology for larger vehicles... trucks... trains... boats... planes.  Efforts to push a narrative that Toyota won't benefit from sharing that same electrical components... motor... invertor... battery... heat-pump... are futile.  There's a mutual benefit across the company's diverse business portfolio.


PHEV Transit Fleet.  The attacks keep coming: "A plugin hybrid minivan is indeed stupid at this stage."  Those purists absolutely refuse to accept a system only taking 2.7 hours to charge.  It's a paradigm not addressed.  How do you recharge an entire fleet?  Most just blow the problem off as something that's a non-issue for large companies with large financial worth.  In this case, there was an article published about one such business purchasing 151 plug-in hybrids from Ford.  That comment was quickly posted by someone only interested in BEV, a troublemaker purist unwilling to address goals or logistics.  It's that type of close-mindedness that enable excuses.  The end up causing progress to pause.  That counter-productive nature goes unnoticed though.  They become blinded by outcome, dismissing alternative ways of achieving it.  That insistence on simplicity doesn't work in the real-world, where complexity is part of what we must address.  Anywho, they have to face it eventually.  Perhaps today:  Stupid would be not taking the full picture into account.  Those 151 new PHEV must somehow be charged.  Do you really expect the company to invest in enough EVSE to charge every single vehicle in that fleet so they will always be ready for use?  That would be freakishly expensive.  13.6 kWh is small enough of a capacity for EVSE to be shared.


Hybrids Are Useless.  Impatience & Unwillingness to consider the process of change continue to be our theme online.  That's basically the definition of enthusiast, holding strong for over 2 decades.  They want it all, now.  The complexities of business & culture are of no interest to them.  They have figured out the technology and have disposable income to invest in it, so do... and expect others to follow.  It if were only that easy.  This is how the "know your audience" came about and remains the on-going motto to share.  Stuff like this is what I have to respond to: "Well it's not obvious to Nissan obviously.  Since then they would have added a plug already...  PHEVs are great transition vehicles.  HEVs are useless."  They remain oblivious to what happens on the showroom floor.  They refuse to acknowledge challenges of the household.  They deny purchase priorities of ordinary consumers.  It's the same old nonsense.  In this case, I replied with:  So, you are saying Nissan should just abandon their customers who don't have access to an outlet?  In other words, HEVs are far from useless.  There is a large chunk of the population who simply doesn't have anywhere to plug into.  Nissan providing a means of phasing out traditional vehicles by offering an easy to switch to greener option is a win for all involved.  Think about how strained even a 120-volt line is.  Continuously drawing 12 amps for 10 hours poses a very real challenge.  So, even those with an outlet aren't exactly well positioned.  And for households with multiple vehicles, forget it.  They are faced with the expense of upgrading.  That won't be a quick.  There is a large & diverse market and phaseout of traditional choices happen very soon.  I'm calling you out for not being realistic about the situation.


Not Understanding.  Just because a person says they do, doesn't mean it is true: "I understand that, just like they would flock to diesel."  Not wanting to accept the fact that highest efficiency does not equate to lowest pollution is interesting.  This is why the fighting with Volt enthusiast went on and on and on for an entire decade.  The reality of what they had endorsed to such an extreme not proving worthy was too much to accept.  It's just like the insanity of our current president.  He was a babbling fool who was clearly dishonest & uncaring.  Yet, enablers supported his rhetoric for an amazingly long time.  That will soon be over, but understanding why all that happened and what the consequences are will never be known for some.  They will just embrace a belief and hold on to it.  False narratives help those who caused harm feel better about themselves.  It's sad.  Someone of moral conviction would accept and try to right the wrong.  Our horrible chief-executive won't... even when reality comes crashing down.  But what about supporters?  Enthusiasts of GM have been painfully silent.  That's true for enthusiasts of VW as well.  Of course, we never actually saw anyone flocking toward diesel or were even given the impression that could happen.  Ordinary people have an opinion, but rarely act upon it with actions.  No stand is actually taken beyond a post or vote.  That's why not understanding is so prevalent.  Ugh.  Oh well.  I will continue to confront those spreading misinformation:  PHEV is nothing like that.  Diesel had no path forward.  The next step of adding a plug to a hybrid is so obvious, many will skip hybrids entirely.  That purchase of a plug-in hybrid will bring about upgrades at home too.  Faster recharging and time-of-use discounts are a compelling post-purchase action to take.  Then once the household has access to level-2 charging, the choice of the next new vehicle becomes a strong possibility of it being a BEV.


Assumptions Without Data.  We are in an age where evidence isn't considered important.  People navigate their world with opinion.  This is why we have a pandemic raging out of control.  Some simply dismiss science.  As a society, we have become so close-minded, data is disregarded.  Ugh.  That's why statements like this are stirring: "Series hybrid enables the ICE to run at optimal rpm.  Highest efficiency, lowest pollution."  Remember exactly a decade ago?  That's when one of my biggest nemesis was proven incorrect.  For years, he had attacked me with the belief that Volt would deliver greater efficiency than Prius.  It as all based upon the assumption that the SERIES type of hybrid was best.  Having confirmation of this 6 months earlier from GM itself wasn't enough to change his mind.  He kept repeating a "60 MPG" mantra over and over and over again.  The denial transformed into looking for a scapegoat to release his frustration upon.  I got attacked for years.  It was futile, of course.  He went down fighting though, accusing me of not being objective.  I found the irony confirmation of blindness.  Some people just plain don't want to see reality.  Others do.  That's why I remain somewhat optimistic dealing with this new audience.  So, today I posted:  That's only on paper and only with respect to carbon emissions.  The influence of hills, curves, wind and traffic, along with smog emissions, have proven parallel the better overall choice.


Still Wrong.  Like I said, this is an entirely new audience.  So, comments like this are to be expected: "ICE acts as a generator as in Chevy Volt."  However, that shouldn't come from a frequent poster.  Assumptions can live on for a very long time.  Left unchallenged, they end up reinforcing a false narrative.  I'm not about to let that happen:  It's a source of intrigue how such fundamentally incorrect information about how Volt operated has been able to persist for so long.  It could indeed operate that way, but the ability to provide power directly to the wheels was always part of the design.  In fact, with gen-2 GM delivered improvements to its parallel operation.  ICE was not just a generator, since series is not the best choice for efficiency.


Measuring Progress.  There is an obsession with reducing carbon emissions, to the point where smog emissions are neglected.  Exploitation of that oversight is how the death of diesel came about.  The problem is potentially even worse now.  This newer audience is even less informed.  The discussion regarding the upgrade to Nissan's series hybrid makes that quite obvious: "When you consider that the LEAF only gets 99 MPGe on the highway (123 MPGe in city), 88 MPG is pretty damned clean for a gas-powered vehicle."  The writer of the article clearly didn't actually research the topic.  I did.  It only took a few minutes of searching to discover the 2021 Nissan Note will have a JC08 rating of 38.2 km/l.   That's 90 mpg for the testing cycle used in Japan.  In other words, he saw the number and assumed it was a leading value.  He clearly had no idea Toyota surpassed that several years ago.  I pointed it out by asking:  40.8 km/l in Japanese JC08 test cycle is the rating for Toyota Prius.  That's an equivalent of 96 MPG.  So, Nissan is most likely still playing second fiddle.  The previous generation was rated 34 km/l.  What is this new one?

11-28-2020 Seeing Only The Forest.  The problem has reversed.  Now instead of seeing only the tree directly in front of them, they only see the forest: "Hybrids are only a stepping stone to the full electrification of ground transport."  You can't just pretend what's happening at the moment doesn't need to be addressed.  After all, the end goal is to be carbon & energy neutral.  That means finding balance, not forcing a solution that may be overkill and won't even be realistic for a decade still.

I understand where you're coming from.  We have 2 plug-in vehicles and all our summer tools are now electric, but that's a talking point that doesn't actually tell us anything.

Think about how much "full electrification" a hybrid like RAV4 Prime delivers today.  42 miles of EV daily comes to over 15,000 annual.  That's a drastic reduction of gas consumption right away.  It also covers most people's average driving distance per day.

Around 90,000,000 new vehicles are produced & sold worldwide each year.  Imagine what would happen if a sizeable chunk of them shifted to plugging in overnight.  Whether or not their entire driving needs are supported by that electricity doesn't matter.  It represents so much of a reduction of oil consumption, we'll reach the tipping point sooner... especially when you take into account battery supply and charging infrastructure.

There's the added benefit of providing a short & shift transition away from traditional vehicles without business disruption.  In times of such challenge, legacy automakers can't just change their business approach.  Look at VW for lack of a clear path forward.  Sure, they'll fulfill demand for early-adopters, but what happens when that market segment becomes saturated?

Consider the question I asked about emissions.  The smog-related type is being addressed how?  Remember, there's far more at play than just personal transport.


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