Prius Personal Log  #1062

March 25, 2021  -  March 31, 2021

Last Updated:  Fri. 5/21/2021

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3-31-2021

Out of Arguments.  Having exhausted every possible means of attack is the vibe I'm getting now.  Antagonists have run out of arguments.  They don't argue detail anymore.  Remember how specs used to be argued?  That's long gone.  Even semantic quibbles have vanished.  This is all we seem to be getting now: "How could you have any confidence in an BEV made by Toyota?"  Such a tactic tells us what about offerings from other automakers?  If all you can do is attempt to erode reputation, that's not a good sign.  Remember how reputation was the trouble for GM?  With so many delivery disappointments in their past, the hope is somehow that will be true for Toyota simply by saying it.  Disconnects from reality are the realm of enthusiasts, not Toyota supporters.  So, this is what I had to say about that nonsense:  Prius Prime has been delivering EV drive flawlessly for over 4 years now.  Owners have plugged in and driven electric-only miles without any issue whatsoever... so successful that RAV4 Prime was also delivered.  Pretending that real-world experience has not proven the technology and built confidence is some rather desperate FUD.

3-31-2021

Promoting The Plug.  Our new president has proposed spending $174 billion to promote electric vehicles and the installation of 500,000 charging stations across the country.  Here in the United States, there are currently 41,400 charging stations.  That isn't much.  In fact, when you look at the 192 million vehicles we have on the road right now, that's far too few.  For some perspective, there are 136,400 gas stations.  Think about how many pumps are available at each.  Think about how much faster a gas tank can be filled.  Brace yourself for the reality of this fact... there are fewer than 5,000 of the charging stations offering DC fast-charging.  That's why Toyota is speaking out, trying to draw attention to the other challenges we still face.  Even if all new vehicles had a plug, where would they plug in?  This is why more of the "slower" DC faster-chargers make sense.  That 50 kW threshold doesn't stress the battery-pack like those speeds needed to compete with gas pump... somewhere in the 300 kW range.  We have to start with the basics.  Use some of that $174 billion to help subsidize upgrades at home.  Don't worry about freaky charging speeds until we have enough vehicles to actually use them.  Remember, those charging stations must somehow be profitable.  Again, this is why banks of slower DC chargers will help move the base.  Obviously, a bulk of the charging stations will be the AC type most of us are familiar with now.  They typically only deliver 6.6 kW rates, but for local shopping you get enough electricity anyway.  Travel corridors for highway travel should get the faster.  Stopping at a restaurant, you'll be there for an hour.  Concern is to have a charger available, not that it should only take 10 minutes.  Again, the chargers must be profitable.  How much more are you willing to pay for the higher tier speed?  Tesla already has tiered service.  Not everyone wants to pay a premium.  Needless to say, some of that money should be used for education too.

3-30-2021

Reality.  The response to a post stating several kWh/100mi ratings was just more rhetoric.  There are some who just plain don't care: "Can you actually drive a 100 miles on electricity in the RAV4?  No.  Is it easy to even find a RAV4 PHEV to buy if you want one?  No."  It's the same old nonsense we have to deal with again and again.  It never ends.  Fortunately, it is easier to address.  With an EV range of 42 miles, bringing up daily driving makes any type of propaganda look desperate now... so much so, there simply isn't an appetite much of that anymore.  Having endless nonsense isn't so bad when basic reasoning can snuff out tiny new fires being set.  In this case, even the spin of adding Tesla into the equation didn't help the antagonist:  That refusal to consider daily driving and instead attempt to cherry-pick an infrequent situation tells us how much reality scares you.  Same goes with the ability to find one in stock. Rather than address the technology, divert attention to a temporary issue.  Online rhetoric will make little difference.  It's what ordinary consumers will see & experience.  Daily driving covers a very large portion of miles driven.  Having most of them 100% electric is appealing to mainstream shoppers.  Further simply isn't a concern when there's an engine available as backup.  That makes PHEV an excellent household companion to BEV.  As for supply, that's where partnerships can assist.  Sharing of knowledge & resources is a win-win.

3-30-2021

Fanboys.  When you don't know what to do, spread FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt).  When that appears an act of desperation, attack those who oppose you be calling them a "fanboy".  That's basically a blind loyalist, one who enthusiastically backs the business without any need for reason.  It's an inflation of support based upon previous successful initiatives.  Notice the catch?  GM wasn't successful.  That reputation for "over promise, under deliver" continues to be the difference.  That's why a possible alliance or partnership of some sort with Tesla & Toyota would be different.  Tesla has actually been successful.  Tesla also sees a wall in their future.  That appeal to early-adopters doesn't work for mainstream shoppers.  Tesla is smart enough to recognize Innovator's Dilemma and now appears to be trying to overcome that challenge.  It's so bizarre how GM did the opposite by just milking their exploit instead.  Volt died as a result.  GM didn't care.  Tesla does.  Seeing any type of FUD would indeed appear desperate,  you get the predictable alternate attack: "This has got to be confusing for the fanboys."  I took the time to provide detail to alleviate any supposed confusion:  It's all about knowing audience.  We have see many enthusiasts pushing a narrative this website does not agree with, as confirmed in this article: "Toyota is the king of hybrids, but it has made it clear that it's taking EV adoption slowly."  That contradicts all those "anti" claims attempting to portray a perspective that Toyota has expressed no interest in ZEV offerings.  Of course, a dead giveaway to their disingenuous posts was a refusal to acknowledge the EV drive RAV4 Prime already delivers.  There is mutual benefit from a partnership like Toyota & Tesla.  We have seen how the Tesla offerings have saturated the enthusiast market and now struggle to appeal to the next... mainstream consumers, who are far less tech-savvy and far less forgiving.  Toyota excels at reaching the masses, as the wide variety of hybrid offerings have overwhelmingly confirmed.  2 models (Sienna & Venza) are no longer available as ICE, they are hybrid only now.  RAV4 broke the 25% milestone with hybrids.  Camry & Corolla hybrid sales have continued to be choice dealers endorse.  It's a winning formula.  Put another way, those challenges Toyota just shared with congress are about what remains after technical barriers are overcome explain the perception some have used to mislead about intent.  In this case, that is very much the challenges posed by profit & infrastructure... something a partnership could help address.  It's not slow, it's only seeing what you want.  Enthusiasts tend to be blind to those secondary challenges.

3-30-2021

Oh Brother.  My comments about fast-charging being a challenge has clearly ruffled some feathers.  I recognize the effort to dismiss.  As quickly as possible, trying their best to not draw any attention to the issue, an antagonist will dismiss the point made.  I recognize that pattern.  Seeing the familiar response is the clue I needed to confirm some enthusiasts are now beginning to see the other problems.  Being so obsessed with the vehicle technology, they put blinders on to block out everything else.  To them, the perspective is one of focus.  They believe a concentration of understanding the engineering is how all problems can be solved.  It is a fundamental mistake.  Absence of balance is something you must be taught to look for.  It's not a common trait to come naturally.  So, you get instead: "oh brother, it's always something"  They see you as a thorn, an irritant just trying to get attention.  In a way, the attention part is correct.  They overlooked what should have been obvious and I am now trying to point it out.  That pretty much never works with that audience though.  I posted a reply anyway:  This isn't an "oh brother" issue to just be brushed off as trivial.  It has been a barrier for years, which has downstream consequences.  Lack of any type of DC plug standard is preventing progress with speed & pricing.  Absence of that is holding up investments.  This is a contributor to the United States not being a leader in sales anymore.

3-29-2021

EV Adoption.  Someone on the plug-in owners group lashed out at Toyota in the comment section under the RAV4 Prime photos I shared.  He posted a link to the "shameful anti-electric" ad from Toyota.  I responded back that the supposed resistance was from over 2 years ago and a lot has happened since then.  He fired back providing a link to the recent argument Toyota presented to Congress about the challenges we still face.  I did get the impression he actually read the article itself.  The reply gave an impression of feeding the narrative, nothing of any substance to back the claims.  So, I fired back with:  That is Business 201, what must be done once subsides are gone and the early-adopter market is saturated.  In other words, technical challenges get replaced with infrastructure & profit challenges.  Also, don't overlook how chaotic our DC fast-charger system is.  There's no standard yet and 2 more proprietary plugs on are the works.

3-29-2021

Continued Attacks.  I think there are some who have become aware of an announcement from Toyota coming tomorrow.  We have no idea what it is, just something related to plug-ins.  That's it.  So, ramping up of the rhetoric was to be expected.  They'll continue attacks as much as possible.  Having to alter arguments along the way (move goal-posts) can sometimes end up being a huge mistake.  They can find themselves backed into a corner by not actually thinking things through before posting.  That's what I thrive one.  I watch for the setup.  In this case, I think it came in the form of: "It's embarrassing they haven't made a purpose-built EV; and they love to advertise that EVs are bad and that we should all buy 'self-driving hybrids.'  In my opinion they've done more damage to the EV cause than any other MFR to date."  That made me pause.  We have see disastrous outcomes from both Nissan & GM.  The damage from Leaf & Bolt came in the form of disenchanting enthusiasts... which is quite a blow.  They set very high expectations, but tend to forgive heavily even when shortcomings emerge.  That didn't happen with either though.  The result has been very little interest.  Souring of the milk came from them, not Toyota.  In fact, Toyota choice to keep distance from them has pretty much meant an untarnished reputation for BEV offerings... since there is nothing to actually tarnish.  Enthusiasts tend to not see the obvious though.  That's why they make up narratives.  Without acceptance of what actually caused the failure to achieve goals, they make up excuses and find others to blame.  So, I posted this as a reply instead:  The overblown perception of "anti" comes from enthusiasts.  Mainstream consumers couldn't care less... hence not actually being late for anything.  After all, it's not like they aren't investing in EV tech. Both Prime deliver great electric-only driving.  There's a dedicated platform about to be revealed too.  Remember, early-adopters tend to want schedules to move much faster than legacy business can accommodate.  We see that same expectation in every industry.

3-29-2021

Too Late For What?  A friend of mine bought a RAV4 Prime.  Living in the Midwest, that meant purchasing it from a dealer on one of the coasts and either flying there to drive back or have it ship.  With all the pandemic challenges, his choice was to have it shipped... which resulted in us playing with an extremely new vehicle yesterday.  It was a beautiful Spring day too.  So, we drove out to the park, plugged in, and took a few photos.  That puts me in the category of "real world" now, rather than just online study.  Since he was already a plug-in owner, that meant no messing around... it was all business.  We were impressed too.  The extra time Toyota took and the knowledge gained from Prius Prime clearly paid off.  The design is impressive.  Figuring out how to target the masses is something Toyota does exceptionally well.  RAV4 Prime overwhelmingly confirms that.  So, it's quite amusing when you encounter a post like this: "Once Toyota decides they care about EVs they are going to be a force.  Will it be too late though?"  That was just another one of those rhetoric posts hoping to stir enabler posts.  Ugh.  I tend to find them very informative.  Replies rarely ever have any substance.  It's just nonsense to make the other antagonists feel better.  That means I must post to find out if there is anything with merit they have to present.  So, I asked:  Too late for what?  RAV4 Prime is helping to refine both hardware & software related to EV drive.  That's real-world production & experience.

3-29-2021

Traded for a Prius Prime.  Exactly as anticipated, it took very little effort to find a discussion on that particular topic.  I found a very active thread on a Tesla forum, traded from Model 3 to a Prius Prime.  Rather than having that "vastly superior" attitude, they were somewhat less obvious.  The comments were condescending:  "My condolences for your loss." and "I'm so sorry. I hope you get better soon." and "Wtf? Lol" and "Congrats on your new adult Little Tikes Cozy Coupe." and "Good luck." and "AYFKM?"  That's not a good sign.  You don't want such messaging to speak for your base.  GM didn't care.  Any attention was good attention in their mind.  That's not how you appeal to the masses.  Fortunately, there were somewhat sensible posts mixed into that discussion: "A Prius is a fantastic piece of utilitarian kit for someone who gives absolutely zero squirts about driving for pleasure and wants reliable, hyper-economical transport."  I was intrigued how everyone was carefully avoiding mention of RAV4.  They are falling into the same trap as the Volt enthusiasts did.  They are fixating on a scapegoat, trying to stigmatize by cherry-picking.  Because when you step back to consider the bigger picture, quotes like this can be found: "It does not surprise me that someone would have soured on their Tesla experience be happier with different car; so far it seems like Lexus/Toyota is the go-to from Tesla owners who are tired of bad customer service and/or high repair costs out of warranty."  That sad-but-true situation is predictable & avoidable.  Enthusiasts don't care though.  They just hope for the best and push their narrative.  Some truths can be rather inconvenient...

3-29-2021

Comparisons to Tesla.  We're starting to see Prime show up in articles written for comparisons to Tesla.  One last week was quite detailed, but fundamentally flawed.  It compared RAV4 Prime to Model 3.  That just plain does not make any sense.  Parked side-by-side to a Prius Prime, it's easy to see how remarkably similar it is to a Model 3.  The proper compare is Model X.  Size & Profile should make that obvious; yet, there was no mention whatsoever.  That would have basically wrecked the argument claiming the Tesla was far superior.  Only being marginally better is a much more difficult sale.  Ironically, that the type of business Toyota thrives in.  They specialize in evolutionary improvement, not revolution as with Tesla.  It's a very big problem enthusiasts absolutely do not want to face.  This is why there are growing attacks on PHEV coming from BEV support.  They have become increasingly aware of the nature of mainstream shoppers.  Ordinary consumers make purchases based upon generational upgrades.  Seeing RAV4 go from traditional to hybrid to plug-in hybrid is what they understand & trust.  In other words, Toyota knows how to persuade middle-market buyers.  Tesla clearly does not... and that lack of expertise is starting to show.  Sound familiar?  Volt enthusiasts obsessed with engineering.  They would dismiss concern related to business appeal.  That selective ignorance hurt them dearly.

 

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