Prius Personal Log  #1057

March 10, 2021  -  March 14, 2021

Last Updated:  Fri. 5/21/2021

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3-14-2021

Software Oops!  I found this quite interesting: "During a recent meeting with his team, Diess said VW must develop its own in-house software to solve problems and move forward."  I posted my reaction to that in the comments of an article featuring the topic:  How many times has it been pointed out that there's more to a platform than just the hardware, that strong software foundation is vital component to long-term success?  Don't listen to the experts. Audience members pushing a group-think narrative supposedly know better.  Ugh.  Countless attempts to get countless enthusiasts to look beyond engineering basics, to focus beyond just speed & power, fell on deaf ears.  It was far easier to label a sensible approach like Toyota as "behind" to make themselves feel accomplished than to face the reality of having made a fundamental mistake.  Looking back to 2017, it is now clear to see Toyota had rolled out what they evolved into mature software. It was a full EV software system operating already well developed, which they quietly did in-house.  Since then, the success of that well refined programming code has paved the way for PHEV like RAV4 Prime and BEV like UX300e.  It is a bittersweet reality to realizing what had been labeled with a stigma, casted away as a waste of effort, was actually a guide to reaching the masses.  Oops!

3-14-2021

Toyota Research.  They study the market extensively.  In fact, we got confirmation to an extreme once.  Someone innocently discovered a marketing firm Toyota had hired to collect information did not protect a server that had were storing data on.  The research was about online discussions.  They wanted to know what owners, supporters, and enthusiasts were saying about Prius.  So when one of those individuals did a search for the same thing, that unsecured data was revealed what a search-engine has just naturally found while scanning internet activity.  We got a chance to find out what was being said about us.  It was very eye-opening to encounter such a wealth of feedback in both directions.  We were directly provided marketing material in some cases.  Of course, I later encountered a corporate Toyota trainer who thanked us for that.  So, we all knew it was an effective means of sharing.  But then again, you must understand what the data is telling you.  That's something GM failed at.  Thankfully, that is out in the open too... as this expresses: "Toyota may know their customers better than EV owners appreciate."  It is a sentiment you most definitely won't hear from GM customers.  From Volt & Bolt owners, there is a technical appreciation, but that's where it ends.  There's rarely anything beyond that.  In fact, there are often complaints about creature-comforts and operation of the vehicle... which is what Toyota also does well with: "Toyota builds cars for people who don't like cars or driving so they'll be the last adopters of anything edgy."  Understanding how to appeal to those buyers is far more difficult than enticing an early-adopter with government subsidies.  Ugh.  I posted this in response:  "Know your audience" has been a source of enthusiast irritation for nearly a decade now.  It came about when support for Volt didn't make any progress.  Those "EV owners" of the time simply didn't understand that great engineering alone isn't enough to reach ordinary consumers.  It's a hard lesson to learn when you deny for years that early-adopter priorities are fundamentally different than mainstream shoppers.  Toyota knows this well.  That is why Prius beat the odds to such an extreme and now RAV4 Prime is disrupting the status quo.  As for adopting something edgy, that's a perception issue.  Toyota shoppers do, but the tech is well hidden.  Prius has introduced a wide array of things well ahead of its time... but in such a subtle way, it barely gets noticed... so much so, readers of this are likely scratching their heads trying to figure out what.

3-13-2021

Recharge Speed.  Some have an extremely difficult time recognizing the difference between a first-of-its-kind offering and when something like that becomes standard.  The timeline is very, very lengthy and far from predictable.  Examples are abundant too.  The most obvious is what most of use with plug-in vehicles face every time we plug in... level-2 speed.  Despite having been available for over a decade, the slowly 3.3 kW is more common.  The faster 6.6 kW should have become the norm many years ago; yet, it has not.  Support at your home is matter of having a 40-amp breaker instead of 20-amp.  That shouldn't be a big deal.  How come it still is?  No one ever asks that question though.  The automakers know.  They are well aware of the shortcomings many have in their households.  I see countless posts where the owner is using an existing 20-amp outlet for their car.  That's the best they could do.  They'll get by with the slower connection for year, perhaps the entire lifetime of that vehicle.  Upgrading the outlet to 40-amp likely won't happen until the next vehicle, either replacement or second.  Again, the automakers know this.  Enthusiasts either don't or are in denial of the situation.  So, we end up with the faster as an upgrade option for now.  That blindness to the situation leads to comments like this: "EVs are approaching this refueling speed."  It's like telling someone about 5G service.  They'll understand some of the benefits, but not even bother to research until time comes to upgrade.  And at that point, it still comes down to how much it will cost.  I keep my responses to challenges of rolling out faster recharging speed simple, for now.  If you argue too much, some come to believe you are against plugging in.  They don't understand why I would present such unpleasant information.  Avoidance of stuff like that is why they wear rose-colored glasses.  Ugh.  Oh well.  All you can to is point out what they are not seeing, as I did today:  Solving that challenge of refueling speed is only one step along a multi-step change.  Delivering the needed electricity to the station for charging presents an entirely new list of challenges.  It's the classic lab verses real-world delay.  Scaling up into far less controlled conditions takes time... a lot of time.

3-13-2021

Yes, But.  Some obsess with a single trait to such an extreme, they have a very difficult time even recognizing other perspectives exist.  "Yes, but there are good clean cheap efficient ways of generating electricity.  There are not good clean cheap EFFICIENT ways of making H2."  Since when is cost the absolute essential, must be minimized to the extreme, requirement for energy storage, transfer, and use?  For example, look at the common 2050 goal of being carbon-neutral.  No part of that target requires the most efficient means of achieving it.  The target is to prevent making the situation any worse.  It's like spending each paycheck as soon as you get paid.  That's far from an ideal, but it is much better than incurring any debt.  That's a good goal for not making Climate Change any worse.  We'll figure out how to reverse it later.  But in the meantime, addressing dramatic population growth and ending the use of non-renewable fuels is vital.  Damage control must start somehow.  Not being the most efficient is something we deal with everyday anyway.  We know the solar-panels and wind-turbines of today could be better.  For now though, they are enough to combat the problems we immediately face.  If we do well, our children will be well educated and able to take it the next step forward.  Showing the adults today is an entirely different matter.  Some don't really even understand the issue:  That completely misses the point.  Inefficient storage can still be a win over expensive storage.  Batteries don't last forever.  Someone must purchase, maintain, and replace them.  Hydrogen tanks last how much longer and can take how much more of a beating?  In other words, there are a variety of goals.  Durability could very well be the winning factor over both efficiency & cost.  This is why the situation extends far beyond just the focus on "car" hype.  We have both green sources able to provide more electricity than the grid can handle.  Our grids have proven fragile anyway.  How will that excess power be stored?  Small stations spread across the land makes far more sense than depending entirely on massive warehouse storage somewhere.  Put it this way.  When you respond with "Yes, but" you can expect a lot of pushback.  Such a dismissive response is not helpful to move us forward.  In fact, you are enabling others to maintain the status quo.

3-13-2021

Rant For Rant.  It's easy to do a tit-for-tat online.  In fact, if they continue long enough, posts tend to end up almost doing that on their own.  A way to combat that is to crank up the rhetoric... kind of like a controlled burn.  You throw out points out there to overwhelm & confuse, exactly like they are doing... but with facts instead of their fiction.  Anywho, I fired back with:  As for your continued comparisons between installation of a few level-2 chargers and the necessity for on-site hydrogen electrolysis equipment, I don't know how to express the absurdity of such an intentionally misleading rant.  Mislead #1. There has never been any mention whatsoever by anyone about being required to produce hydrogen at the same location it is distributed to consumers.  That's totally unrealistic.  It's like stating the refinement of oil to gas must take place at the gas station.  That just plain does not make any sense.  The green hydrogen economy will evolve to have some type of nearby local production to create local employment and reduce outside dependence.  Then local transport via truck or pipe will carry it to the distributor.  Not addressing this is wrong.  Mislead #2. It is a blatant misrepresentation of fueling need to pretend level-2 chargers, which is maximum rate of 7.2 kW for the bulk of BEV choices currently available, to DC fast-chargers.  For the provision of direct-current electricity, local production is required.  Haven't you ever noticed that massive converter-box next to a bank of chargers?  They require AC to be converted to DC.  The cost & placement of that equipment continues to be ignored.  Mislead #3. Issue at hand is scale.  Micro arguments don't always apply to Macro economic challenges.  That is certainly the case here.  This is where refueling logistics come into play.  Catering to just early-adopters meant only offering a small number of fueling connections.  How will scaling up of fast-chargers differ from hydrogen?  There's a very real problem dumping retail, housing, and trucking locations all into the same category.  They serve very different needs and the solutions for DC would not the same as hydrogen.  In short, you are attempting to trivialize the discussion. That evade from detail is a dead giveaway the situation is not being taken seriously.  It's far to easy to enable group-think error when doing that, especially with online exchanges in a blog.

3-12-2021

Wrong!  It's rather amusing when the antagonist just gives up.  Rather than admit defeat, they declare victory.  It makes no sense at all.  But when you have nothing to lose, why not yell out "squirrel" then point to see what happens.  Moves like that provide confirmation of failure.  They don't recognize such an obvious sign of defeat though... since they have convince themselves as being correct.  Oh well, eventually reality catches up to them.  In the meantime, I keep providing reminders of what is what:  That "admit they got it wrong" stance is based on what?  It's like awarding final grades to students the first week into a semester of class.  To draw a conclusion, some type of milestone needs to be crossed.  What is it?  We're still in the early-adopter phase, which is clearly defined by subsidized sales.  Ordinary consumers are not seeing plug-in choices on showroom floors either.  There is no direct competition with traditional offerings yet.  Not liking the approach does not make it wrong.  So what if Toyota invested in Mirai?  It's not like the BEV offerings to come won't benefit.  They share the same EV components.  Heck, we are already seeing evidence of mutual gain from the PHEV offerings... which would indicate a "right".

3-12-2021

Growing Desperation.  Usually, the BEV purists use hydrogen as a scapegoat... a reason to attack Toyota... as a distraction from their own problems.  It's not working out for them anymore.  Now, they are having a hard time running away from the topic.  In fact, it is turning into an issue for that.  As a result, there's a lot more spin.  They'll try anything to get back to their own status quo.  It's not working though:  That misses the point.  From the perspective you are presenting, the impression is that the technology is exclusively for personal vehicles.  Some would call exclusion of everything else a narrative. Leaving out the rest of Toyota's business is extremely misleading.  In other words, Toyota is taking some money they would have otherwise used for development in larger format studies and using this way instead.  Think of how much easier it is to scale up and how much wider a variety of real-world data that can get from such an approach.  It's a brilliant means of getting ordinary people to not only participate in the effort, they are also building up real-world confidence in the technology itself.  For starts, think about how useful portable commercial power units can be.  When setting up new construction or simply needing a lot of electricity at the location of a disaster... where there isn't any infrastructure available.  Do we really want to continue using diesel? Wouldn't hydrogen make far more sense?  Claims of hopelessly non-viable or unsustainable ramped up are quite unfounded.

3-12-2021

Growing Denial.  The reality that hydrogen will co-exist with batteries is starting to sink in.  You can tell by the attitude increase from BEV purist.  They clearly cannot handle non-binary conditions.  The complexity of multiple green solutions interplaying is too difficult for them to promote.  That should be no surprise, since even just promoting BEV itself has been a major problem.  Oh well.  They can figure it out.  Meanwhile, I pointed out:  Denial of hydrogen's future is basically the same thing we saw all along with diesel prior to the scandal.  It was used on a massive scale in several industries, but only modestly for personal transport.  As was already pointed out, there will be a wide variety of commercial vehicles using it.  How will that be any different?  The most telling is when a BEV advocate argues hydrogen is only an energy carrier, not an energy source, then at the same time they pretend that isn't also true for the battery-pack in their plug-in vehicle.  Ironically, storage of green electricity becomes a problem on the macro scale.  Hydrogen could be the complementary technology for that storage.  Think about how much more likely the oil industry is to invest in that solution than to somehow provide massive facilities with battery-banks.  Look at it this way, a basic fuel-cell unit can currently deliver a sustained 100 kW output in 44 seconds.  Think about that in terms of cost from the point-of-view for a large lot of DC fast-charger expenses.  Most operate at a loss due in large part to the infrastructure needed to provide a massive amount of electricity at all times. That's a costly requirement hydrogen could help alleviate. It could be supplied locally too.  Reality is, hydrogen production, storage, and use will continue to evolve... making its potential even more difficult to deny.  It will co-exist with batteries.

3-11-2021

Sure Enough.  It played out exactly as predicted:  That's called moving goal-posts.  You went from spinning a narrative that Toyota was betting the farm on hybrids, that they were hopelessly behind, to discovering they had mature EV tech rolled out already.  Initial rollouts being low-volume is a practice followed by most automakers.  They feel out the market with that offering to determine what the next steps should be. (VW is an exception of course, since they got caught in an emissions scandal and penalty has been forced.)  Having a plan that measures market response prior to committing to any particular build is sensible business.  It's only enthusiasts who push a supposed necessity for rolling out as fast as possible.  Consequences of poor targeting can be massive.  Volt was a historic example of that being a terrible business decision.  The point is, simply pushing for more doesn't mean change will happen.  We watched conquest sales become a massive waste of opportunity. Toyota is not going down that road.  They know better... and couldn't care less about narratives of compliance or being behind.

3-10-2021

In The Game.  The post in return was: "I would rather be the enthusiast actually in the game, with my foot in the door with real sales and real contracts with real relationships..."  Not understanding what that means is the backing into a corner.  He was mocking & belittling hybrids to such an extreme in posts to others, it was obvious he had no idea Toyota actually offered a variety of plug-in vehicles already.  Checkmate!  I suspect the post to follow this one to be an abrupt change of focus to some other narrative.  That's a dead giveaway of being an antagonist, where motive is to undermine.  If this was all just a big misunderstanding from having been poorly informed, you would get a very different response to:  Pretend all you want that EV drive from RAV4 Prime, Prius Prime, Corolla PHEV, CH-R BEV and UX300e aren't real sales and real contracts with real relationships.  Since you aren't the targeted audience, it doesn't matter anyway.

 

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