Personal Log  #1044

December 3, 2020  -  December 6, 2020

Last Updated:  Sun. 2/21/2021

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Raising Doubt.  I have been watching the FUD campaign ramp up.  This time, it's not coming from the BEV purists.  The nonsense is coming from the same old troublemakers, a few former Volt owners who are really upset by Toyota's growing success.  I had really hoped we wouldn't ever hear from them again.  After all, most of the rhetoric related to GM has fizzled out anyway.  The obsession with Hummer EV and the stumbles with Lyriq are keeping most supporters from saying anything... since nothing from that will result in changing the status quo.  It's just more of the same, not targeting their own loyal customers.  Conquest is trouble.  We've see it play out already; yet, they don't care.  Instead, we get this: "I suspect they have already missed the boat..."  Divert attention to Toyota by casting a cloud of uncertainty for their future.  Ugh.  I was annoyed, but posted something constructive rather than taking an offense position:  What boat?  So far, we are just barely seeing signs of what lies beyond the early-adopter market (clearly defined by subsidized sales, which are not over yet).  Think about how much of the market has been involved so far.  Basically, nothing has reached the masses and won't for awhile.  Claiming to have failed just at the first or second milestone of a long journey is absurd.

12-06-2020 From An Enthusiast.  It is interesting to hear from someone actually being sincere: "I'm surprised they are dragging so long.  I personally can not imagine ever buying an ICE car again (EV since 2013)..."  That rare bit of openness is always constructive though.  He doesn't realize his enthusiasm is part of the normal early-adopter letdown.  Acceptance of the new technology by ordinary consumers is never as fast as they want.  In fact, many enthusiasts end up becoming frustrated by there being so much confusion & resistance.  It seems so obvious of a choice after many years of ownership.  Patience tends to not be a virtue for enthusiasts though.  To the sentiment posted today, I replied with:

The perception of "dragging" is really just a narrative by enthusiasts.  Reality is, the rollout of TNGA went exceptionally well, progressing for years almost completely unnoticed.  That process set the state for e-TNGA... which most people aren't paying attention to either.  The reason for the overlook is simple, it's boring architecture & process stuff... things you never actually see in the final product.  That invisible nature is key though.  You can rollout fundamental improvements with little resistance.

It's all about Toyota's approach.  They appear to be asleep-at-the-wheel, since they don't seek out attention like the other automakers.  They just take steps forward almost completely unnoticed.  Two great examples come from Prius Prime.  It featured the industry's most efficient heat-pump; yet, there was little credit given for that achievement.  It also featured Toyota's first rollout of a major component produced with carbon-fiber instead of metal, the hatch interior.  That's a complex shape which must be robust enough to take a beating... which went unnoticed.  And of course, the overall design of the vehicle strived to make it affordable technology for the masses.

We see some of that progress now with RAV4 Prime.  Some complain about "only" getting 5,000 for initial rollout.  Since when is that bad for 6 months of supply in just 1 market of many from a worldwide introduction?  Remember, at the same time, Toyota is ramping up local (Kentucky) production of the hybrid model, setting the stage for plug-in builds there too.  Think about how much that helps with regard to support of local employment.

So what if enthusiasts whine & complain about progress not being made based the roadmap they believe best?  It's just the opinion of some online group of niche thinkers unwilling to accept the fact that economic process has many paths to success.  Whether they like the approach or not, progress with e-TNGA continues.


Pushing Narratives.  When it comes down to motivation for participating online, most of the time you can readily pick up on the person's desired outcome.  Some are there to learn.  Some are there for entertainment.  Some are there for validation.  Among those who want to push endorsements for their favored technology, some are sincere while others have ill intent.  How to deal with that can be quite a challenge; often, you can catch them being hypocritical.  That really stirs anger, but there isn't much of a means to dispute.  They end up just trying to change the subject instead.  This was one such encounter:  What about the other automakers?  We witnessed both GM and VW also focus on the product promotion of what they have to sell at that time.  In fact, that is supposed to be the purpose of advertisements.  It is only enthusiasts who expect some bold statement about future endeavors to always be present in every public mention.  In other words, we see attempts online to push a narrative, but it comes out as hypocritical if you look at the bigger picture.


Meritless Dribble.  After repeatedly posting claims like this, I got miffed: "GM's EREV tech beat this Toyota PHEV ten years ago."  You can only tolerate so much of that nonsense.  I fired back with:  That talking point never includes anything to actually support the claim.  It is meritless dribble, a desperate act to push a marketing label as somehow being vastly superior.  RAV4 Prime delivers a full EV driving experience, complete with heat-pump for cabin warming & cooling, along with AWD.  It is built upon a profitable high-volume, high-selling platform.  That technology is shared in the plug-in models of Prius & Corolla, demonstrating the strong potential for us to see it later offered in other Toyota hybrids... like Sienna & Venza.


More Lies & Attacks.  The heating up of rhetoric was quite predictable.  Their scapegoat is making progress.  So, it's nonsense like this becoming more common: "...but that gas engine will still kick in if you depress that gas pedal to keep up with traffic or the road goes uphill, even slightly."  Some of it comes from that study stirring the flames of resistance.  It provides fuel for the fire by publishing data that's extremely misleading.  You have to really hunt for detail to debunk the claims.  Antagonists don't care though.  All they want is a talking point and some source with supposed credibility.  That's how we get these lies & attacks spread throughout the online community.  They feel enabled, given a type of affirmation to proceed.  It's a play-the-victim-card scenario.  They feel they were wronged, so that makes it ok to inflict harm.  Nonetheless, I tend to keep my replies to that brief and to the point:  Toyota's careful moves forward to make sure their dealers are on board with the transition, supportive & understanding is vital.  Knowingly spreading false information to distract from that is confirmation of their progress.

12-06-2020 Cadillac Buyouts, part 2.  Comments were quite a bit more emotionally charged on another blog site, one that is often hostile toward Toyota.  So, I let them have it:

It makes you wonder how much of this came about from GM sending so many mixed messages over the years.  Remember how all throughout Volt development there was an expectation of it being a series hybrid?  Then as the final production model was revealed, we found out it was really a series/parallel type similar to what Toyota but not an efficient.  That completely messed up marketing... which is how EREV ended up being coined.  Problem was, the definition kept changing.

How is a dealer supposed to support something when no one really knows how it operates or even what it's purpose is?  Think about how anti-EV the promotion was from GM.  That "range anxiety" campaign stirred concern, but never provided with a viable solution.  The technology was far too expensive to draw interest from dealers.  What's the point of a technology that's difficult to sell... or even understand?

We don't see any clear expectations being set now from GM either.  Think about the benefit that would come from a national campaign sighting what it takes to setup level-2 charging at home and what the benefits are.  You stir consumer interest that the dealers can easily get behind.  Instead, GM is just dumping on dealers... expecting dealers to upgrade repair equipment, install chargers, and train staff.  There is that "over promise, under deliver" reputation to overcome without any effort to actually do so.  How will GM actually help dealers sell new inventory?  What will message is there for consumers?


Cadillac Buyouts, part 1.  GM is starting their push.  So far, 150 dealers (that's 17% of the total 880 in the United States) have chosen the buyout option.  I posted this with regard to that topic:  Makes you wonder how Toyota has been so successful with their push of hybrids... which have proven to be extremely reliable.  Dealers have chosen to offer... Camry, Corolla, Avalon and RAV4 all as hybrids.  Now, we see Sienna & Venza only offered as hybrids.  Along comes the plug-in hybrid... namely RAV4 Prime.  That was the ultimate dream offering from GM's own Two-Mode, which evolved into Voltec.  Expectations from supporters was their would be some sort of plug-in hybrid SUV under the Chevy brand.  What is the expectation now?  Look beyond the chaos happening with Cadillac.  For Toyota, seeing the next step from PHEV to BEV will be a simple one.  Their dealers will already be well informed & equipped for that new business approach.  How is GM going to handle their electrification transitioning?  Remember, it all comes down to profit. Like it or not, that's how the legacy automakers operate.  The purists here will complain and make excuses.  Reality of the situation though is the transition will be slower than wanted and far from pure.


Moose Test.  When detail is missing, that's a sign of trouble.  When obvious omissions go unquestioned, trouble has been confirmed.  That's what is playing out now with the "moose test" results from RAV4 Prime.  It's a maneuver measure to assess safety of a vehicle.  There's no actual scoring reported though.  There's no criteria mentioned for how the test is supposed to performed.  There's no real standard of any sort, even an expectation.  It's just basically a pass/fail critic.  How is that informative?  The photo being shown in the article is of a tire stressed to the max while a tight turn is taking place.  There was no mention whatsoever of PSI for the testing.  What was it?  Is there some standard being followed?  If so, who's?  There is a recommendation from the automaker for a balance of comfort, sound, and safety.  That is pretty much always well below the maximum the tire itself provides.  There's also the reality of what tire was on the vehicle.  Keep in mind, the same vehicle can be shipped with very different tires.  That happened with our 2 Prime.  Mine was much softer, coming directly from Japan early in deliveries.  My wife's was the long-lasting type that's much harder, coming from the United States in a later shipment.  Don't forget the sidewall issue with Classic Prius.  It was a special rigid build to tolerate greater stress.  If you didn't replace with that expensive type, you needed to compensate with higher PSI.  Notice how nowhere in any mention from any published article the PSI recommendations are published for the various models of RAV4.  Want to bet that or the tire itself varies?  Lack of any curiosity at all, just accepting claims at face value is incredibly dangerous.  Yet, that's exactly what I'm seeing play out.  People are do not critical think.  It's all brainless, gut-reaction posting.  Today's rhetoric was a great example.  It reminds me so much of 20 years ago, when publications who were clearly not informed about how hybrids worked, got accolades for their reviews simply for having been a popular name in traditional automotive circles.  They were desperate for attention, knowing the industry was changing.  Journalism was replaced by hype.  Recognizing that pattern and knowing most posting comments couldn't care less about detail, I kept my observation brief:  Looks like click-bait.  Credibility comes from publishing data of how a standardized test is performed.  Compares require full disclosure to confirm what the measurement is for.  An obvious omission is tire PSI.  What were they at when cold?  It's really easy to sabotage a test like that by simply having the tires under-inflated.


What Matters.  There was a stir this morning, a brief mention of "New BEV Coming In *Short Term* " from a video-conference from Toyota Motor North America (TMNA).  I wanted to preemptively post something, knowing the narrative against Toyota would quickly be reinforced.  It is a distract-from-our-woes response matching that pattern from long ago.  They don't like bottom-up.  That isn't exciting.  That isn't sexy.  That isn't even fulfilling.  That's just the boring reality of a necessity for sustainable profit.  They thrive on attention-stirring hype.  That's why there was so much pushback in the past to a second-model of Volt, something scaled down to make the price lower price a draw... instead of range & power.  This is why a supposed Model 2 from Tesla poses such a conundrum.  How would something in such contrast to what Tesla represents being enough of an appeal to ordinary consumers, enough to get them to abandon their preferred legacy automaker?  Anywho, this is what I posted:  Here comes that same old rhetoric... attack the legacy automaker actually able to change the status quo.  Toyota became the scapegoat for antagonists, a means of diverting attention away from stumbles of their preferred approach.  It rubs them the wrong way to see progress from a different path.  They don't want to acknowledge the reality of resistance from both business & consumer.  Antagonists claimed their hybrids would never evolve appeal to anyone beyond just those wanting to make a green statement.  They were wrong. Antagonists claimed their plug-in hybrids would never evolve to deliver all-electric driving.  They were wrong.  Antagonists claimed their plug-in hybrids would never offer more range & power.  They were wrong.  Antagonists claimed their plug-in hybrids tech would never support the next step over to BEV.  They were wrong.  We have known for awhile now that Toyota was working on dedicated BEV platforms.  We even knew when they would first be revealed... and understand delay due to the pandemic.  Yet, this discussion will ultimately have nonsense of the past brought up again.  Reality is, all legacy automakers must find a means of gaining trust from their dealerships.  That equates to getting supplied with a product that will show continued demand and deliver a reasonable profit.  In other words, most of the claims from antagonists fail to address what is actually needed.  Watch how this plays out, how Toyota's approach results in true change on the showroom floor.  That is what matters, not posts online.


Credit Exploitation.  The topic of expired tax-credits continues to come up on a regular basis.  There are quite a number of people who simply don't have the background, no idea what the purpose was or how that history played out.  So routinely, I'm posting that information:  The specific quantity forced automakers to strive for profitability.  Achieving it prior to triggering phaseout would allow them to take advantage of the unlimited stage that followed.  Tesla did a great job of meeting that target, hitting the bull's-eye with respect to timing.  They fulfilled intent exactly as hoped and were rewarded by being able to take advantage of unlimited quantity during the phaseout period.  GM simply didn't care. Instead of striving for something they could sell in large volume to their own loyal customers, they exploited the credits for conquest sales.  As a result, GM now has no easy path forward and enthusiasts are complaining about being punished... despite this having been an obvious wasted opportunity.  Toyota is setting the stage to also take advantage of phaseout, when upon hitting the 200,000 limit it switches to unlimited quantity with a time-specific phaseout.  Having local production (like Kentucky for RAV4) that's both profitable and high-volume would equate to a major impact to the market... exactly as the credit was intended.  Any type of credit "reset" should include strict criteria, to prevent another exploit as we witnessed with GM.


EREV trumps PHEV.  That was his claim.  I enjoyed posting a rebut:  EREV is nothing but a marketing label, branding for plug-in hybrid.  PHEV represents a wide variety of plug-in hybrid designs.  Some are just a basic MPG boost from a plug. Some are full-blown EV in every regard.  Prime models from Toyota are designed to deliver electric-only driving.  They have 2 electric-motors (3 for AWD models) for propulsion.  They have an heat-pump for electric heating & cooling of the cabin.  They have a gas-engine that can provide power via a clutch after the battery-pack has been depleted.  Much of that Toyota technology has been shared with their current BEV offerings: UX300e & C-HR.  More models of BEV, using new dedicated platforms, are planned for rollout within the next few years.  The misinformation spin being spread about Toyota is an effort to undermine.  Look at the technology itself. Recognize what's necessary to appeal to dealer & consumer.


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