Personal Log  #1045

December 7, 2020  -  December 11, 2020

Last Updated:  Sun. 2/21/2021

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12-11-2020 Intentionally Deceptive.  We finally got something other than a vague conclusion.  The study that just dismissed PHEV as viable without presenting any evidence was absurd.  How could anything so obviously evasive be trusted?  We've seen this countless times in the past.  Data only gets withheld when it looks unfavorable or the means to collect it were bias.  There's no reason to hide detail of a study that was supposedly constructive.  Sure enough, it wasn't and now we know why.  This is what I posted upon finding out some of what the study actually contained:

The devil is in the detail, especially with this cherry-picked list of testing vehicles:

  - BMW X5 = 31 Miles EV, 6-cylinder 282-hp engine starting at $65,400 (50 MPGe, 20 MPG)
  - Volvo XC60 = 19 Miles EV, 4-cylinder 316-hp engine starting at $53,950 (57 MPGe, 27 MPG)
  - Mitsubishi Outlander = 22 Miles EV, 4-cylinder 117-hp engine starting at $37,705 (74 MPGe, 25 MPG)

How is that supposed to be representative of an entire fleet of PHEV choices?  Excluding the newest offering tells the real story:

 - RAV4 Prime = 42 Miles EV, 4-cylinder 176-hp engine starting at $38,100 (94 MPGe, 38 MPG)

And based on what is a minimum of 90 km (56 miles) for EV required?  That's quite an arbitrary value, well above most people's daily driving needs.


What's The Rush?  Pretty much every BEV related story that makes some mention of Toyota ends up with a post including "late to the party" comments.  That doesn't actually mean anything, since no one can state any consequences.  All we get instead is just nonsense like this: "Again, Toyota will not build in higher quantity due to poor management."  That's just enthusiasts spinning their own schedule.  The pace has no impact to mainstream consumers.  By the time they even take notice for purchase consideration, the technology itself will be well proven.  Collecting years of reliability information from real-world data Prius Prime and RAV4 Prime owners is priceless.  In fact, you can move on to work out details of how to promote the technology from no longer having to focus on its rollout.  That part is done.  Rushing to push sales would actually be counter-productive... as GM proved already with their barrage of mixed messages.  Failing to find a way to promote Volt turned Bolt into a second-generation debacle.  What a mess... one that Toyota is wisely avoiding.  "Late" can be beneficial if it is only just an early-adopter audience.  I posted this for my comment:  Taking their time with rollout is not poor management.  Evidence of that should be obvious.  Salespeople desperately need training & exposure before taking on high-volume sales.  Just think of how many dealerships that don't even have a single level-2 EVSE installed yet.  Then there are negative campaigns like this study to address.  Also, keep in mind that we are not the only market or that being the only new vehicle.  RAV4 Prime was rolled out worldwide along with UX300e.  The extremely popular RAV4 hybrid was also upgraded this year.


Salespeople Advice.  Reading a question like this sure stirs some interesting memories: "Can anyone tell me about the timer to start charging?  My salesman told me not to set the timer because it would be hard to override if I wanted to charge at another time.  But, it is cheaper to start charging at midnight.  Thoughts?"  It came from a new RAV4 Prime owner.  That audience if filled with newbies the Prius Prime owners can really be of assistance to.  I heard that calling and jumped in to counter that terrible advice the salesperson had provided:  Override of a scheduled time is trivial. This is yet another example of a salesperson just guessing.  To charge immediately, just push the "Charge Now" button that appears on the screen when you're powering down.  You can also push the physical button on the dashboard afterward, then the steering-wheel button to confirm.  There's the trick with the charging-handle itself too... but don't do it with an active public charger where you pay, since it will end the session... just reinsert within 5 seconds after the initial insert blink of the green light.  Lastly, for a delayed start you can just add a "Next Charging Event" entry in the schedule itself.  That only happens once, then automatically disappears from the schedule.


Attacking Hydrogen, part 4.  Eventually, someone will try to reply with a comment attempting logic.  The constructive nature of a discussion is missing though.  They make a claim, then draw a conclusion without waiting for any feedback.  Input from outside doesn't matter.  They make their point and move on.  In this case, the antagonist tried to dismiss fuel-cells as being a viable solution based on location.  Supposedly, there could be places so polluted the system wouldn't operate.  I was amused, wondering where that could be.  But rather than laugh it off or post some general comeback, I went on a quest for detail.  EPA measure is always a good source of stuff like that.  This is why that LEV, ULEV, SULEV and PZEV scale came about.  Very specific measures identified each category of clean.  How much of what was vital information... things that could not be disputed... hence dieselgate.  Anywho, I found what I was looking for surprisingly quick.  This is how I replied:  As for the "won't work well in smoggy environments claim", that is just plain wrong.  In fact, the situation is quite the opposite.  It is a negative-emission system, cleaning the air as it passes through the vehicle.  Per Toyota's press release:  A catalyst-type filter is incorporated in the air intake.  As air is drawn into the vehicle to supply the fuel cell, an electric charge on the non-woven fabric filter element captures microscopic particles of pollutants, including sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrous oxides (NOx) and PM 2.5 particulates.  The system is effective in removing 90 to 100% of particles between 0 and 2.5 microns in diameter from the air as it passes into the fuel cell system.


Attacking Hydrogen, part 3.  It never ends.  They just gone on and on without ever focusing on any detail.  It's all about posting a talking-point and watch supporters struggle to support.  It's the science of addiction at play.  They thrive on the reaction.  That's how the term "troll" originally came about.  Someone coming in from outside just for the sake of stirring trouble would get that label.  They were easy to identify as a result.  Those from inside are not.  They simply appear to be a well-informed participant that's well known from posting very frequently.  That makes it very difficult to call them out as a result.  There's so much content, the ask for detail simply gets drown out from argument points focused on ideals.  Watch for that.  It's quite common.  The attempt to appeal to your "feels right" sense, rather than using logic, is what their going for... praise, not change.  Thank goodness Toyota doesn't play that game.  This is why those "late for the party" comments almost inevitably queue up the hydrogen attacks.  I find it confirmation that they don't actually have anything to rebut with.  That's when I respond with a "Did you know?" type post:  128 kW is the output from the fuel-cell stack.  That's 171 hp, plenty for ordinary driving on its own.  31.5 kW available from the battery-pack is indeed for fast-response, but that's more of a hybrid feature to keep the system efficient.  That benefit for longer range should be obvious.  Also, that "just make the battery larger" is exactly what Toyota will be doing.  They will be rolling out several BEV models, taking advantage of and share components of Mirai.


Attacking Hydrogen, part 2.  This was a great example of the brainless activity some us have to routinely face: "Toyota's stubborn decision to stay with hydrogen was/is unfortunate.  The money spent on hydrogen could have bought them a battery gigafactory.  The result is Toyota is yet another company without enough battery supply to compete with Tesla in price or EV supply...  In 2-3 years Tesla will have massive production capacity of $50/kWh cells.  Toyota?"  That was absolutely wild to read.  Estimates are that in 2 to 3 years, the cost will break below the $100/kWh level.  To quote a value half that was absurd.  It was based on nothing but fantasy.  You can't even hope for something that far fetched.  The duration is miraculously short.  It may happen someday, but not that quickly and almost certainly a different chemistry will be required.  Anywho, I couldn't respond because this particular blogging site closes discussion after 3 days.  They want readers to move on to the next article.  These are comment sections, not forums.  That's why such rhetoric can persist.  Every time something showing Toyota advancing forward comes out, they attack with a hydrogen diversion.


Attacking Hydrogen, part 1.  When an antagonist doesn't like what Toyota is doing with plug-in vehicles, they attack their fuel-cell program.  It's this unrelenting diversion.  Even though Tesla spends an obscene amount of money investing in self-driving, that investment toward autonomous technology is fine.  It has nothing whatsoever to do with electric propulsion; yet, that expense isn't even questioned.  Ugh.  They just keep hammering the same message of waste, over and over: "Sorry to burst your bubble.  Again."  It's a diversion that works.  Change the subject.  This is how our president has thrived.  He and his allies use the "What About?" tactic any time they get caught.  It's so obvious.  I try to counter with logic, which is pointless with this crowd.  But at least there is a record of critical thought getting dismissed repeatedly:  So many people complain about Toyota wasted money on their FCEV development, but turn a blind-eye to the components that will be shared later... as well as the knowledge & experienced gained from the production & support. The 151hp traction motor used in the previous generation Mirai will be upgraded to one with 30hp more in the 2021 model. It's a component you can easily see Toyota also using in their upcoming BEV.

12-09-2020 The Nothing Narrative.  If there isn't a BEV available, nothing has been accomplished.  This is why GM took so much flack and gained so much praise.  They push out a token vehicle that doesn't actually change the status quo to satisfy those drawing their attention to their lack of progress.  Toyota does the opposite, just quietly changing the status quo with increments so small most going completely unnoticed.  As a software engineer, that is by far the better approach.  Users who actually use what you program is confirmation of success.  You almost never actually get any attention for the achievement or even a "thank you" from anyone.  You just do what needs to be done and witness the change it brings about.  Doing that is often most effective when deliver quickly, in small pieces.  In fact, this is the "agile" method the entire industry is striving to embrace.  Lots of tiny steps forward is how you get the job done.  That's why this is so annoying: "It's been 23 years since the Prius was released!  Toyota hasn't done jack s#it in a generation."  How could anyone miss so much?  There are millions of hybrids now.  They replaced traditional offerings.  This trend will continue as plug-in models take over the lead.  Knowing the poster clearly either doesn't pay attention or doesn't care, I keep my response simple:

Prius Prime that I have been driving for 3.5 years takes me to work and back entirely with electricity.

RAV4 Prime increased range, power, and size over Prius Prime.

UX300e doesn't have a gas-engine at all, instead there is a 54.3kWh battery-pack.

A dedicated BEV using e-TNGA is on the way.


How It Starts.  A comment like this can easily spin out of control: "This completely ignores the inherent ease of hybridization versus selling a completely new powertrain."  It lead to this: "Toyota largely just replaces the transmission with an eCVT."  We know that isn't true.  In fact, I had just finished pointing out how the pistons & rods were reduced in weight & strength due to the engine no longer needed to tolerate as must stress in the hybrid design.  I also mentioned the Atkinson-Miller pumping cycle being used instead, which delivers less power in favor of being more efficient.  Antagonists don't care about detail like that.  As he was concerned, the engine remained unchanged.  It was all about the transmission, which he only referred to as a "eCVT".  That could be anything.  It's just a generic label implying some type of electric-motor interaction with a continuous-type transmission.  Designs vary.  He didn't care... hence the "largely" and "just" references.  I was annoyed and posted this to clarify his complacency & attitude:  That most definitely is *NOT* how Toyota hybrids are designed.  The conventional transmission & starter don't exist.  Instead, there is a large motor (MG1, used for propulsion & braking) connected to both a small motor (MG2, used for generating electricity & starting) and an ICE.  The MG1 & MG2 are what provide EV drive in the Prime models.  That ICE is secondary, clutched into the power path following depletion of plug-supplied electricity.


Attacking Hybrids.  The topic is stirring a lot of attention recently.  That came about from the combination of ban considerations and the growth of the plug-in models.  That really rubs BEV purists the wrong way.  They want it all and they want it now.  In fact, they are so impatient, they are unwilling to wait for better battery technology.  The is very much an attitude of "good enough" now.  Any possible improvement potentially coming in the not-too-distant future will wreck their messaging.  So, they are capitalizing on this moment in time.  Remember, the Olympics postponed from last summer will eventually happen.  Toyota was planning to reveal prototypes of their upcoming BEV platforms, most likely with new battery tech.  It's very likely they will feature a new chemistry, possibly the solid-state type.  In that case, the tables will turn.  Announcements about breakthrus are one thing.  Actual operational mules are entirely another.  That's a step forward no one else in the industry has made yet.  So, there is good reason to worry Toyota has been quiet knowing they hold an very good hand already.  Remember how well that worked out with Prius Prime?  It was the breaking of a price barrier no one expected to happen way back in 2017.  This could be a 2023 model with very real potential... which would be exceptionally good timing for me.  I'd love to jump on the opportunity to upgrade again.  Anywho, this is what I posted in response to today's attack:  Filled with wild assumptions, this particular statement buried in that mess is what I focused on: "Unlike EVs, hybrids cannot by design reach price parity with ICE cars, since they are already ICE, plus expensive electric gear on top."  Such blanket statements do a disservice to everyone.  Toyota has proven that false.  2021 Sienna and 2021 Venza overwhelmingly confirm that, since their traditional models are no longer offered.  Both are hybrid only.  Toyota hybrids eliminated the transmission, changing gears were replaced with nothing but a power-split device.  That resulted in a simplification of design, which lowered cost.  The power-steering fluid & pump, as well as the serpentine-belt were also eliminated.  Again, that simplifies design and lowers costs.  To further reduce the resulting end price, the ICE itself is both smaller in size and components within scaled-back.  In other words, the "temporary hack" claim is just plain not true.  Some hybrid designs are clearly up to the chore.


Going Too Far.  By the time I got to the growing thread, a half-dozen people had already posted call-outs.  They went out of their way to draw attention to the antagonist effort.  He was trolling, just looking to provoke anyone willing to fight.  Turns out, there were a number of us.  This is the quote in is rant I jumped on: "YOU'RE USING GAS.  Uphill, against a headwind, speeding up to keep with the flow of traffic... Using gas."  His on-going attacks to spread lies about PHEV, especially with regard to Toyota, are getting fierce.  You can tell he's cornered.  I punched back with:  Who do you think is gullible enough to believe that nonsense?  It's a blatant effort to mislead and stir trouble.  Fortunately, we all see it. We know that PHEV ownership contributes significantly toward infrastructure upgrades, both for home and businesses.  In fact, the endorsement for plugging in as often as possible provides a strong encouragement for the next household purchase to be a BEV.  From very little gas to none at all; yet, you fight that outcome.  PHEV that don't offer a full EV driving experience simply won't sell well.  Those that do... like RAV4 Prime... will bubble up to become a top-seller.  So, your misinformation campaign is pointless anyway.  Give it up.


Outright Lies.  Another let down Volt owner carried the effort to undermine Toyota to a new low: "It took them almost 20 years to expand hybrid beyond the Prius, and they only did that when their Prius market collapsed and also regulators required fleet economy improvements.  Just in the last couple years.  Instead, they left the hybrid in a model intentionally limiting its desirability."  It's quite bizarre to witness someone just outright lie.  He knows that isn't true; yet, he posted it anyway.  I have known this individual for a very, very long time.  He simply doesn't care anymore.  He got burned and now wants others to suffer too.  GM failed, so Toyota must also.  Ugh.  I kept my response to that nonsense brief:  Don't try creating a new narrative, especially one so blatantly false.  Highlander (SUV), Camry (SEDAN), Estima (MINIVAN) hybrids are each around 15 years old now.  Other hybrids followed, filling out the fleet to offer a wide variety of choices.


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