Prius Personal Log  #1056

March 5, 2021  -  March 10, 2021

Last Updated:  Fri. 5/21/2021

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3-10-2021

Some Never Learn.  I find it truly remarkable how well the pattern repeats.  I see the same thing with Volt now happening again.  I would point out the past with Two-Mode, drawing attention to the repetition, yet it continues.  Regardless of what you say, they have already made up their mind.  Every now and then you score a win though.  I push for that, hoping they'll back themselves into a corner.  Put another way, the enthusiast absolutely refuses to accept that reality that they don't represent ordinary consumers.  It's that simple.  Their priorities tend to obsess with a particular trait.  Mainstream shoppers seek out balance.  That's a contradictory stance they cannot see... hence the repetition.  Same trap every time.  Ugh.  My reply this time was brief:  That would be confirmation of the perspective noted in the previous post, where focus is entirely on a single attribute of design... a trap enthusiasts often fall into.  Such fundamental mistakes of how long-term, sustainable business is achieved get repeated frequently.  Some never learn from history.

3-10-2021

Setting The Stage.  Thriving on hype is far from new.  We saw that long before Volt was rolled out.  They learned nothing from Two-Mode and repeated the same mistakes all over again.  No matter how many times that gets pointed out, enthusiasts simply don't care.  So, it's this familiar nonsense:  Focusing entirely a single attribute of design is a common flaw among online discussion.  Someone tosses out a perceived shortcoming and group-think takes over.  Absence of consideration for the rest of what's needed is quite telling.  Look at how well refined Toyota's software already is.... how Prius Prime has been delivering EV drive for over 4 years now without even a tiny hiccup.... motor... controllers... battery... heat-pump... electric A/C... all proving robust and quite capable.  Heck, Toyota even branched out to real-world test carbon-fiber.  Few even realize that complex shape of the hatch lid is not framed with metal.  It's something proven already, potentially putting Toyota ahead of other automakers in the quest to make next-gen BEV stronger and lighter weight.  No amount of spin or distraction will take away from those efforts.  They are long-term investments not apparent to those hyping a single attribute.

3-10-2021

Toyota X Prologue.  Looks like Toyota has some type of announcement coming next week, right on time for the usual "Earth Day" support.  Expectations are that it will be a BEV.  So naturally it triggered a bunch of, since such an all-electric offering will wreck the antagonist narrative.  This is what feed that nonsense, in the article itself: "Toyota is quite late to the EV game, even though, as previously stated, it was a leader in vehicle electrification.  And it still is a leader when it comes to non-plug-in hybrids, but it really needs to step up its EV effort in order to not risk being left behind even more."  News sources thrive on people posting comments.  So bait like that is too good to resist.  I fired back with:  Toyota doesn't play the early-adopter game.  Time spent catering to enthusiasts is of no interest to them.  Their development targets their own showroom shoppers.  So no matter how much of the "behind" narrative is spread online, it simply makes no difference.  That audience isn't ever reached by enthusiast criteria.  This is why we have seen many examples over the years of limited rollout... followed by demands of early-adopters falling on deaf ears.  They know their audience.  Aspects of design gain real-world experience for the sake of building a high-volume product later.  Exploiting green praise, as do many other legacy automakers, is not a priority.  Anyone taking the time to research what Toyota actually has rolled out, sees pieces of the puzzle coming into place.  They are refining bits of tech while setting the stage for dealer acceptance.  Notice how easy it is to sell a RAV4 Prime?  So what if there isn't a BEV in this market yet.  The full EV driving experience is already being demonstrated here to salesperson & consumer.  In short, Toyota is a juggernaut preparing to for growth beyond the low-hanging fruit everyone else is still focused.

3-10-2021

Understanding Priorities.  We see a lot of articles that are really click-bait, written to attract readers & comment without really having any constructive intent.  They are basically entertainment for those seeking green topics.  Buried within, you'll sometimes find a claim that doesn't have any basis on the market it claims.  For example: "The biggest reason more people have not adopted an EV is the charge time.  I do not care who you are; you have to plan your trip around charging is inconvenient.  Is there anything wrong with planning your trip?  No, there is not, but 45 minutes to wait for a partial charge is a lifetime if you want to get to your destination."  That is absurd, since there are really a variety of reasons with none really being paramount.  Price is obviously in that mix... with lower being vital.  Speed is another... but faster isn't necessarily better.  I had to point that out to this supposed expert writing about plug-in vehicles:  That assertion about time to recharge while on a road-trip feeds a misconception.  Many will argue (know your audience) it isn't the biggest reason for not adopting EV tech.  When we do our 700-mile drive to see the kids, concern is about being able to find a spot to recharge... not how long it will take.  In other words, we take an hour-long break during the trip anyway.  We need to eat, stretch, and take a mental break.  Having a fast-charger available when we pull into the parking lot ranks top priority.  It doesn't need to be superfast.  It just needs to be there for us to immediately use.  In other words, I'm pointing out that a large bank of 50kW chargers is far more important than a handful delivering power faster.  A vehicle able to accept the 50 kW rate the entire duration would end up with 50 kW of electricity during that hour we spend in the restaurant.  At a consumption-rate of 3.5 kWh/100mi, that's 175 miles of capacity. (Non-Highway travel would provide greater distance, since slower driving is more efficient.)  Knowing this, ask yourself how often someone takes a road-trip with all-day driving.  You'll notice that example is uncommon.  It happens, but no where near as often as the "biggest reason" seems to imply.  Waiting at a guaranteed recharge location, with plugging in available immediately, is far more important than the supposed "lifetime" that was asserted.

3-09-2021

Well Prepared.  Chip shortages are making the news.  Lack of supply is hitting every automaker hard, except Toyota.  That catastrophe in Japan almost exactly 10 years ago (2 days from now is the anniversary of that major earthquake) resulted in Toyota coming up with a robust BCP (Business Continuity Plan).  That's are absolutely vital.  In fact, we had one at work.  It took years to establish... but paid off immensely last year, when the pandemic forced lock-downs and everyone was forced to work from home.  With the situation now for vehicle production, preparing ahead of time for demand to continue within incoming supply should have been a priority.  It wasn't for others.  Toyota negotiated contracts for suppliers to be able to continue even without capacity to produce.  That meant finding a way to stockpile in a smart manner.  They were required to have anywhere from 2 to 6 months available.  That business decision is really paying off now.  Disruption is significant for VW, GM, Ford, Honda, and Stellantis.  They have been forced to slow or suspend some production; meanwhile. Toyota has raised vehicle output for this month and raised their earning forecast for the year.  It is an unusual, yet predictable, situation.  There is a cost to any type of stockpiling arrangement, but that came ultimately build a strong return for both parties.  The predicament now is demonstrating how important it is to place value on planning for uncertain times.  Change happens, whether you are prepared for it or not.  It's like science; you are bound to its reality whether you believe it or not.

3-08-2021

Unaware Of The Past?  You gotta like this: "Did it happen?"  Sometimes, the person really is clueless.  A nicer way to put that is saying they were naive.  That is acceptable, if they respond accordingly.  Someone close-minded or with a motive to undermine will dismiss the fact.  It's not always in the form of an argumentative reply.  It can be an avoidance in future posts.  Discovering their mistake, they'll do their best to divert the discussion in another direction.  I watch for stuff like that.  In this case, I didn't get any of those vibes.  The impression was he simply had no background.  That entire history was an unknown to him.  That's quite reasonable.  In fact, I expect that to be extremely common.  What I don't expect is an ask for confirmation.  That's very nice.  It's what I got this time.  So, I provided one:  It didn't matter.  Toyota was ramping up hybrid production on a scale much faster than anyone anticipated.  Approaching the end of 2006, you could see the projection of 300,000 to be produced in 2007 as quite realistic.  That shook the industry to its core... then came the economic collapse.

3-08-2021

Major Barriers.  Rather than actually addressing problems, we're still getting nonsense like this: "Weak - they have no viable BEV option - Toyota is toast.  Desperation is setting in as they missed the boat.  These clowns always try to talk their way out or rationalize their shortcomings."  Those types of claims always make me wonder how poorly informed the person truly is.  Are they clueless as to how the technology is designed & operates, or do they just not care to be honest?  It's the same old baseless claims and childish insults.  You have to wonder if they truly believe the rhetoric will work.  You can't fool all the people all the time.  Ugh.  It's their loss.  Meanwhile, I point out why:  Anyone taking the market seriously will see major barriers still for BEV acceptance by ordinary consumers.  A platform like RAV4 offering a plug is the best of both worlds.  You get your guzzler form-factor without guzzling.  So what if the engine runs after 42 miles of EV driving?  From nothing but overnight charging, that adds up to over 15,000 electric miles per year, while at the same time helping Toyota refine the tech.  In other words, using the word "viable" reveals who is really desperate.  Notice how Prius Prime has been on the road for 4 years and its operation record great?  All those EV miles being well proven prior to a BEV option widely offered.  Toyota has moved so far beyond "viable" that there is nothing to show they won't do just fine.  Toyota's EV tech works.  A few years from now, those BEV platforms being shown as prototypes now will be ready for high-volume production.  Refinement to get costs down is the step Toyota is already well into.  Current PHEV offerings not only help that process along, they also set the stage for BEV purchase.  A household with a PHEV already are far more likely to have the replacement of their second vehicle be a BEV.  Put another way, your assessment of "weak" really doesn't look far enough forward.  Progress is not the measure of picked low-hanging-fruit.  Selling to mainstream shoppers is far more difficult than appealing to early-adopters.  Know your audience.

3-07-2021

Speed vs. Quantity.  The classic issue still doesn't get much... if any... attention: "Is GM going to upgrade the DCFC to be competitive in 2021 with 125KW charge rate?  If not, then this is not going to sell and it's going to be sitting in a lot of dealer lots."  That comes off as a dismissal, with the perspective of necessity.  In other words, it is a masked Want vs. Need situation.  They want faster, but cannot justify why.  In fact, most don't either bother to provide a reason.  I fired back this time with:  It is still very much just wild speculation that SPEED will be more of a purchase priority than QUANTITY.  History clearly contradicts such an assertion.  Think about the expense of setting up DCFC in a parking lot.  Consider how the decision would be made between those priorities.  What would be more important for the provider, to attract more users or only a few?  Seeing the bank of chargers filled with vehicle maxing out tier-1 speed (50 kW), happily in your place of business spending money while they wait, makes far more sense than opportunity potentially lost from those unwilling to get in line to be the next 125 kW recipient.  Think about cost per charge.  It's not arbitrary why tier-1 rates are lower.  The amount of electricity being pulled makes a big difference.  It's a matter of hardware & service cost.  Shooting for the 50 kW threshold makes sense.  This is simple math.  With 480-volt service, a 100-amp line will deliver 48 kW.  There is also the reality of how much the DC-converter units cost.  A business will favor continuous predictable use rather than random high draws to justify the purchase.  You want something to attract & retain customers... and the automakers are well aware of that... whether enthusiasts are or not.  Put another way, consumers will look at it from the perspective of whether or not a charger will be available more so than how much time it takes.

3-07-2021

Grrrr.  What would your response be to reading: "The fact that hybrids and EVs running on coal-heavy electricity are in the same ballpark should give people some pause."  This is what I had to say about that:  It doesn't though.  In fact, that is commonly at the heart of why enthusiasts disparage Toyota.  Quite unlike early-adopters who actually exhibit critical thinking, enthusiasts simply don't have the patience or interest for addressing barriers.  They want certain tech to be rolled out regardless of negative impact.  Thankfully, Toyota has never allowed enthusiast hype to get in the way of doing things right.  That approach of comprehensively dealing with all aspects of impact prior to committing high-volume production out irritates the heck out of enthusiasts.  But it doesn't matter, since they aren't the audience.  Succumbing to hype and short-term gains is of no interest to Toyota.  Their loyal customers want the opposite, something thoroughly refined in every regard... including stuff like charging.  Antagonists are well aware of that and exploit it as a supposed weakness.  Sadly, we are seeing that now playing out in Minnesota, as the California rule adoption is being finalized.  Outright lies are being spread about intent & outcome.  That reveals talk about "truth" and supporting data haven't worked.  People don't pause.  In general, most tend to respond with knee-jerk reaction and basically no thought.  In other words, those of us who started with "Ugh" reactions to that nonsense are now changing to "Grrrr!"  The propaganda to resist change is ramping up as the pressure builds on the status quo.

3-06-2021

Road Trip.  It was 129 miles of travel, each way.  That's quite the escape during a pandemic.  I had an opportunity to take photos of some wildlife (fox & coyote).  Heading up north to a refuge ended up being the perfect road trip.  We had a great time.  There was a small group of us that met for that experience.  The weather was beautiful.  Warm enough to melt the rest of the snow late in the day, but still enough snow remaining to provide a great background.  There was a blue sky too.  The circumstances made it ideal timing.  Looking at my dashboard info, I can see a total of 257.7 miles driven for the day.  The average came to 57.8 MPG.  With the temperature below freezing driving there and only a little above on the way back, seeing such a nice efficiency result is reassurance of well thought out tech.  I look forward to taking longer road trips again, someday when we're finally past this unfortunate medical disaster.  But then again, maybe it will get people to think about what's really important.  A shift of priorities is necessary.  For me, I'm getting to enjoy more of nature.  My photography opportunities have expanded quite over the past year.

3-05-2021

Learning The Hard Way.  It's quite vindicating to find more and more people joining your side.  There should never have been sides anyway.  Remember how it all started?  I was looking for allies, others who shared the same concern for cleaner emissions and reduced dependency.  When Volt came along, the conflicts with GM grew way out of control, resulting in a barrier... which still exists to this day.  Fortunately, some of those walls enthusiasts created fell apart when Volt died.  Now, it's a matter of making due with the pieces and fixing the collateral damage.  Getting agreement with many of my recent posts is a good sign.  They are finally listening.  Woohoo!  This was the latest:

GM is learning the hard way how difficult it is to convince those who carry their product to actually want to sell it.  I ordered my Prius online 18 years ago.  On 7/2/2003, the purchase request was submitted from my computer at home.  18 years later, GM is finally coming to realize there's more to the process than just hoping for the best from their dealers.

Toyota actually knew even further back how vital it was to promote the technology itself.  Way back in late 2000, dealers were required to keep one in stock for 90 days prior to selling it.  That equated to always having a demo-model available.  Prius were also used at TRAC (Toyota-Rent-A-Car) vehicles and repair loaners.  So, there was opportunity for consumer exposure that way as well.

It's really sad GM neglected so much of the business itself in the pursuit of conquest sales.  Fortunately, they finally woke up to address the problem.  Unfortunately, it is going to be much harder as a result of allowing their own dealers to become complacent about the technology.

3-05-2021

Asking Questions.  I do.  I wanted to know with absolute certainty if the California rules being adopted by Minnesota were selected from a point in time, as if a specific version was being reviewed, revised, and approved.  That was indeed the case.  I got solid confirmation straight from one of the leading players.  He was quick to answer too.  Getting to ask questions directly like that is wonderful.  It provides us with ammunition to deal with the false claims being spread.  In this case, it was a push to scare people by making them believe something that simply wasn't true.  He's what I asked:  Does the current set of rules being adopted even include any type of ban?  Talk of that didn't emerge until long after the Minnesota adoption effort began.  To include that new language, a next stage proposal would need to be introduced.  Right?

 

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