Prius Personal Log #1054
February 18, 2021 - February 28, 2021
Last Updated: Fri. 3/05/2021
page #1053 page #1055 BOOK INDEX
Punish The First. Not seeing the status quo has been
unaffected is something that still boggles my mind. Use some critical
thinking! Ask what the point was of the tax-credits. Then ask
why it was so easy to abuse them, ignoring intent for the sake of conquest
instead. Ugh. Needless to say, my reply to that "punish"
post was not well received. In fact, there was no evidence of
acknowledgement or recognition. He just doubled-down on playing the
victim card by claiming the approach was wrong. I didn't accept that
for a second. I turned it right back around:
It was never that way. The perspective of "punish" is a narrative, spin to divert attention from how tax-credits were squandered rather than having been used for their intended purpose. In other words, we should not reward greed.
GM made the choice of who to specifically target with gen-1 Volt, gen-2 Volt, and Bolt. All 3 decisions were to based upon enthusiast appeal, not their own showroom shoppers.
You'd think GM would be smart enough to not sacrifice their own well being for the sake of appealing to early-adopters. But anyone who was actively researching what was truly needed to compel a current Chevy vehicle owner to later replace it with a Chevy plug-in would not want a compact hatchback or a compact wagon. Neither Volt not Bolt made any difference, dealer lots never changed.
Remember, all automakers were well aware of the 200,000 phaseout trigger. They all had started with the same allocations, to use as they chose. Pretending GM abruptly ran out and is now suffering is spin of desperation from enablers. GM made their choice.
They could have targeted their own customers by offering something those customers would actually purchase... like a plug-in hybrid Equinox. They didn't. Turns out though, Toyota did. When you look at what the Equinox could have offered and what RAV4 Prime actually does, the true nature of the "punish" complaints become clear.
Think about what position GM was in prior to Volt rollout. GM already had a plug-in hybrid SUV prototype. Their hybrid technology (Two-Mode) had already been demonstrated to support when ended up becoming Volt. That choice to deliver something to appeal to enthusiasts rather than loyal Chevy owners was intentional. GM did not want to disrupt its highly profitable SUV guzzler market.
Put another way, GM was doing what it could to put on a good showing but not actually being a first mover. Proof is that their dealers never changed.
Declaring Victory. When the outcome isn't as they hoped, they declare victory anyway. That's quite predictable. Just ask for someone to state goals or define purpose. Anything other than a concise reply is a dead giveaway there will be a problem later. Evading accountability is something I have seen over and over and over again. That pattern is very easy to spot. Attitude like this is a great example: "It is probably time for the tax credit to end. It did what it was supposed to do: build an EV industry and the market to go with it." He forced a looking-back perspective, absolutely refusing to provide any input as to what a second round of credits could target. I dealt with that for an entire decade from Volt enthusiasts. Long before rollout, back in the early days of development, they were already celebrating their "vastly superior" technology... but couldn't ever explain how it would actually change the status quo. They are doing the same thing now. I'm still calling them out on it too: Building an industry still hasn't been achieved. So far, we basically just have a new automaker who thrived on early-adopters and a legacy automaker who exploited conquest opportunity. The purpose of the tax-credit was to help change the status quo, getting dealers to embrace plugging in. That most definitely is not a "mission accomplished" outcome of what we have seen so far. As for the market itself, we are still overwhelmed with gas guzzlers and ordinary consumers are waiting for supportive government & infrastructure. Growth beyond enthusiasts is far from any type of guarantee.
Charging Assumptions. When you listen to a plug-in supporter, you are told about how ready the market is. When you listen to an actual owner, you get an entirely different story. In other words, they see the technical challenges have been overcome but have no idea how the technology actually works. That's a very big problem when you want to rollout to the masses. That education is vital. So, I have been using those owners as a basis of discovering the essentials. What basic information is necessary to convey a solid understanding. In this case, it is to address charging assumptions. After all, that is something rarely ever discussed when it comes to plug-in vehicles. Detail is just skipped over due to pretty much all focus being on the vehicle itself. The best way to get constructive input is to respond to someone who seems quite confident about their claims, but are wildly incorrect. You don't want their misleading to spread. Intentional or not, it causes damages. This was today's reach out for feedback: That isn't how the rating system works. The value stated is really the minimum in a range. Since all sources will vary... hence the 220 to 240 listed in the fine print... so does the rate. In this case, the minimum is 3.3 kW (15 amps * 220 volts) and the maximum is 3.6 kW (15 amps * 240 volts). As for capability of the system itself, that is AC input... which varies based upon the package you purchase. But when you connect an ODB-II reader and monitor DC input while in CHARGE mode, you'll see a sustained rate of 7.2 kW taking place. That is why Toyota is able to offer the faster rate as an upgrade. The battery-pack itself is capable of charging faster.
Real Change. The discussion of renewing tax-credits
got off to a rough start: "First of all, the incentive system is strange
to me where you basically punish the first mover in the long run."
Playing the victim card for having made poor decisions is unacceptable.
This is how I let him know that:
That has been proven false. GM chased conquest, choosing to sacrifice long-term gain for short-term returns. That wasted opportunity is plain to see too. Rather than all those tax-credits used on Volt having ushered in other vehicles with that technology, it was abandoned in favor of guzzlers. In short, the subsidy was used poorly. It did nothing to change what dealers choose to sell.
Seeing inventory change on the dealer's lot is how true change is measured. When you look and only find the same technology as 20 years ago, ask who is really being punished.
Each automaker was given the choice of how to spend the allocation of credits. There was no mandate of time or approach. They had the freedom to use them as they pleased. Hearing complaints about them having made unwise decisions is not constructive.
Do we really want to provide more without any accountability? What's wrong with having the second round requiring some type of fulfillment criteria, a step toward true long-term change?
For example, make the new tax-credit available at point-of-sale but only to dealers who provide fast-chargers available to the public (non-customers) to help promote infrastructure upgrades & education. Heck, each vehicle sale could serve as credit redemption to help that dealer recover cost of the charger equipment & installation.
In other words, the narrative of "punish" is nothing but a distraction. If you want real change, the tax-credit itself must change too. Simply offering more of the same would miss the point.
Mysterious Stats. Don't you love when numbers like this come out of nowhere: "PHEVs do many cold starts when driving and need better/bigger cats to reduce cold emissions. PHEVs in many cases create more pollution than regular ICE cars do to these cold cycles when operating since about 90% of emissions are at startup." Those kind of generalizations, along with supposed statistical backing, are nothing new. It's been done for decades. Antagonists will latch onto some study and misrepresent its findings to such an extreme, you eventually have no clue what the originating source even was. Though, that seems to be happening on faster cycles now. The growing pervasive nature of the internet tends to accelerate things like that. This is no exception. I try to combat that seemingly futile endeavor: Dumping all PHEV into the same category is a disservice to us. They don't all operate in the same manner or achieve the same emission rating. With regard specifically to Toyota's design, the startup process is optimized for emission reduction, taking advantage of the large battery-pack to prevent strain on the cold engine... which in turn prevents emissions you get from other PHEV that don't have that feature.
Push / Pull. There are some who feel quite confident about what they know. That's a warning sign. You should be aware of what you aren't aware. College taught me there is far more to life than I will ever figure out. You find others to share wisdom with, then collectively as a group you can be well informed. Alone, you don't stand a chance. Reading some of the articles some so-called green publications publish makes that all too clear. They sometimes don't have a clue and just wildly guess based on observation: "Even though plug-in hybrids, or PHEVs for short, are nothing more than transitional models used by manufacturers to get the emissions down for their entire range..." That didn't even involve any research. He just drew the conclusion to satisfy the article about supposed shortcomings, not even trying to consider scale or timing. Approach isn't considered. It's wrong if it isn't their way. Ugh. This is what ultimately got me: "Making a PHEV is basically electrifying the cars they were already going to sell because it's cheaper than reengineering them from the ground-up with electrification in mind." I became annoyed at that point and posted: Skipping PHEV to instead only sell BEV as the plug-in choice would require some means of encouraging dealers to accept a risk of difficult sales for low profit. That contradicts the reality of dealers being fiercely against that type of change. How is this "push" approach expected to play out? What is the plan beyond this first vehicle? We see the opposite playing out with Toyota. 2 vehicles are already only available as hybrids (Sienna & Venza) and 3 others that are hybrids (Prius, RAV4, Corolla) are also available as PHEV. Dealers are not fighting this. In fact, potential is being demonstrated for more... like the next Prius to only be offered as PHEV. That is a "pull" approach, where the entire fleet is carried forward with very little resistance. The idea of somehow being able to skip a stage is reminiscent of the "stop gap" propaganda from GM many years ago. It sounded like a sensible plan. But when you looked for detail about how such a paradigm-shift would be achieved, there was no substance to support it. They were empty promises.
Welcome. I have a feeling there will be a lot more posts like this in the near future. We have a lot of curious posters and almost none of the new owners participating have any background in the topics. So, it's new to everyone. Complicating matters, they have no source of reliable input. Most everyone is contributing based on observation. That's why I'm taking it slowly with the RAV4 Prime owners. They are quick to dismiss. My guess why is they don't have any means of verifying claims. That's a reasonable response. Fortunately, I have detailed data to support what I state. Today, I presented a simple screen-capture of what my own charger was telling me. (Having a Wi-Fi enable EVSE is really nice.) I followed with these basics: Level-2 chargers (that's the 240-volt type) all connect with the same standard port. Your choice of EVSE (charger) varies. The most common are those using a 14-50 NEMA outlet with a maximum rate of either 32 or 40 amps. Once you have that setup, any plug-in vehicle can recharge using it. Note that the 32-amp rate (40-amp line) will provide about 200 miles of EV range in 8 hours.
New Regulations. There is some hope, at least here in Minnesota where newly proposed regulations stand a chance of helping. In this case, new construction of single family residence may be required to have a 40-amp, 240-volt circuit junction-box available for parking. That's a big deal, since some new homes aren't being built with enough capacity or even a service-panel near the garage. Seeing only 150-amp service coming into the basement on the opposite side of the house was a common find when we did the "Parade of Homes" tour. That's when builders get to show off new development in new areas. We really enjoy getting to see the latest & greatest like that... but end up rather disappointed sometimes. Our own home has a 200-amp service-panel in the garage. That makes sense. That reduces homeowner cost. That's easy to accommodate during construction. Hopefully, this regulation gets passed.
Grid Capacity. Absence of critical thinking should be a dead giveaway for concern. It's easy to spot. If a claim isn't backed by any detail, how do you confirm it has any merit? That became obvious years ago when no one would ever chime in about how a second vehicle in the household could be recharged. Advocates for plugging in hadn't actually considered that. Their focus was entirely on the grid itself... which the recent nightmare in Texas revealed shortcomings for as well. It's when you start asking questions that shortcomings are revealed. A big one of the past was that a large number of Volt owners were only using level-1 charging at home. That meant they were already squeezing out as much capacity from the available line as possible. It's the same issue I bring up routinely about DC fast-chargers. Capacity usually isn't readily available. You must foot the bill to have the necessary upgrade take place. That extra $1,000 to $3,000 for a household isn't trivial... and neither is the $50,000 plus for commercial upgrades. Then when you look at the bigger picture, the grid, ask where that electricity comes from. The "grid" is just wires providing a means of delivery. Not using it right away means lost revenue. Not having enough at the required time means added expenses. Electricity providers are well aware of that, but are only doing the minimum to prevent. We can look at this situation as a disastrous failure or a golden opportunity. Why not create new jobs to directly solve capacity exposures? Being able to store electricity in batteries and via hydrogen allows for flexibility, being able to deliver the right amount at the right time. It takes critical thinking to even realize there is exposure. We have to finally start dealing with shortcomings like that. Focusing entirely on the vehicle itself won't solve the overall issues.
Continued Deception. We have constructive discussions
on the big Prius forum. It's especially nice when a newbie is
responsible for starting one. Yesterday, it was from someone with just
10 posts... quite new. That person asked about how MPGe was
calculated. Talking about innocently opening up a big can of worms.
I waited to respond, letting others chime in before I climbed up on the
soapbox. This what the comment that I ultimately deemed an invitation
to join: "I really wish the EPA would just have used miles/kWh.
It's so much more direct and it's what the car records. Why make some
artificial number just so you can confuse people using a term that include
mpg?" It was exactly what I had been waiting for:
They did use a ENERGY/DISTANCE measure unit. People don't focus on it though. They obsess with MPG, which never made any sense... and is the reason why most of the rest of the world does not. MPG encourages deception. Its misleading nature has been exploited for decades... even by hybrids. Remember Two-Mode?
A big part of the problem is that it originates from people not being aware of the rating's purpose. It is to provide a standardized measure to enabled a means of comparison within a class of vehicle. Comparing to a mismatch distorts reality, feeding a narrative. Sadly, it's one that calculation itself only serves to mystify. Most people don't get it... hence "e" for equivalent.
In other words, the new MPGe is just as misleading. So, stop using it. The other value on the window-sticker is the ENERGY/DISTANCE rating. It informs you how many kWh of energy is required to travel 100 miles of distance. For a dose of reality, think about what that actually means. It's the reverse of what everyone here has been taught all their lives. Instead of more being better, you want less.
For example, the rating from Prius Prime is "25 kWh / 100 miles". Despite it being a midsize hatchback and the other Prime model being a large SUV with AWD, the rating for RAV4 makes its efficiency difference obvious: "36 kWh / 100 miles". There's no other detail necessary. With that value, you know precisely how much more energy it takes to travel the same distance with the less efficient vehicle. Try that with MPG.
Absence of simplicity is why the deception has persisted. People with power fought to keep the status quo from changing, even with the switch to electricity.
Deleting Comments. His video about a "major flaw" with the heat-pump resulted in quite a bit of backlash. He was wrong and people were letting him know why. It will be interesting to find out what he has ultimately learned from the experience. Initially, the exchanges were rather ugly. It was very clear he hadn't done enough research and was angry about being confronted. He admitted study of the system was necessary to get a proper understanding of how it really works. He also admitted to deleting the unpleasant exchanges. One of my 3 posts was part of that. This was his reply, which is also now deleted: "I don't know but I'm not researching the Prius just to debate. I'm sure the systems are different. The RAV4 Prime is cutting edge for Toyota." After enough people pointed out how an automaker rolls out technology, it was too much for him to just accept the mistake. From a limited-scope platform like Prius to a top-selling vehicle like RAV4, perception changes... but not the technology. For him, it was "cutting edge". For those of us driving Prius Prime, it is already 4 years old and very well proven. That same technology was available in Mirai way back in late 2014. So, the idea of it being new still simply doesn't cut the mustard... and he knows it. Deleting comments like that is neither honorable, nor educational. Showing people you learned from posting an error shouldn't be uncomfortable or embarrassing. Integrity is a powerful trait. That's what separates leaders from complainers. It's all about learning & sharing.