Prius Personal Log  #1065

April 5, 2021  -  April 14, 2021

Last Updated:  Fri. 5/21/2021

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True Fear.  There are countless arguments online.  What you need to find in that mass are the topics being avoided.  They tell the true story, what the enthusiasts actually fears.  History repeats itself too.  We are back to the "saves gas" argument, but now it is taking place without saying those words.  They know that previous perspective on the topic failed.  So instead, they are switching to the purity view instead.  That won't work either.  It's just different lipstick on the same pig.  I calls out the latest effort with regard to battery supply with:  Some are afraid to look at the big picture.  That's why we call out "cherry picking" so often.  For example, take sales of 1,000,000 vehicles based on 15,000 miles driven annually.  5% of that BEV and 95% of that ICE = 750 million miles of EV and 14.2 billions miles using gas.  25% of that PHEV and 75% of that ICE = 3.7 billion miles of EV and 11.2 billion miles using gas.  From that basic math, it's pretty easy to see the 3 BILLION mile reduction from PHEV is quite significant.  And remember, an large legacy automaker like Toyota sells 10,000,000 vehicles annually.  That bumps the outcome to 30 BILLION miles fewer driven using gas.  It gets even better when you consider the increase of public chargers over time.  That makes the same PHEV even better as the years roll by.  This is why such a limited resource of batteries spread across the population can have so much more of an overall impact.


Beyond Vastly Superior.  We see a lot of the same old "vastly superior" attitude nowadays.  It was the supposed "smug" actually playing out.  Some never get beyond that stage.  For those who do, things get interesting.  They start posts like this: "See, we told you the world isn't ready for BEVs."  Then they self-validate by pointing out how they have moved on: "That's the mentality I used to ascribe to GM many years ago.  My how times have changed!"  That sounds worthwhile, until you realize they didn't actually tell you anything.  What changed?  It's easy to just assume they know what they are talking about.  But without pointing out what they supposedly observed, why accept such a vague statement?  I didn't and asked:  How?  GM is back to Hummer and it will be priced well beyond the reach of ordinary people, clearly not a product targeting their showroom shoppers.  Bolt is at least somewhat affordable, but shares the targeting problem... which is the same audience struggle Volt had.  In other words, what does "ready" actually mean?  It's like saying the world is ready for 5G, but we all know that it will take many years for it to become the base offering.  The older tech will continue to dominate for a very long time still... despite the fact that phones have a much shorter service life than a vehicle and a much lower purchase price.  There are very real audience & infrastructure challenges still, not to mention the quantity of those fighting against change.  We can't just be complacent about what still must be dealt with.


It's Not Easy.  When someone brushes off a problem, claiming it's easy, there's reason to take your time and point out the challenges faced.  But when they suggest something that has already been tried and failed, then what?  There is no opportunity for further discussion when they believe what was just presented is new.  For example: "It's extremely easy to make people charge their PHEVs: limit ICE power to 50-75 HP tops, and bump electric range to at least 100 km."  It's great to see a comment that doesn't place all types of PHEV into a single category.  But when the poster isn't aware that the category they suggested already exists, you're pretty much doomed... since most people won't admit making such a mistake.  Pride often creates barriers.  That makes it extremely difficult to reply.  I try anyway:  It never ceases to amaze me how some audiences miss an entire chapter in history.  We have already been through this. CARB defined a category specifically for that purpose.  A vehicle you can still purchase today is available as a 2021 model fits that criteria... BMW i3 REx.  The approach works fine, but it is difficult to sell... which is the same problem BEV face.  PHEV with larger engines & tanks are not. Interesting, they can be more efficient too.  It's not the size of the battery-pack, it's how the motor is used.  That's why kWh/100mi is so important, yet so often overlooked.  In other words, you still must appeal to both automaker & dealer.  Both require incentive to sell the supposed "easy" choice.  Being a challenge to sell and returning a razor-thin profit is not going to stir much interest from that audience.  They simply have no desire to build or stock such inventory.


Problem Solving, dismissal part 1.  I was stirred by the close-mindedness of this comment: "It's a problem of human behaviour.  You should not receive any kind of benefit for driving a PHEV unless you are prepared to provide the telemetry to demonstrate you're using it as intended."  That was typical of the vastly-superior attitude of the past.  Even though there were a variety of solutions available, they would use one failure to dismiss them all.  I fired back asking:  Why not subsidize EVSE setup at home, paying for the device itself and wiring/installation, then follow with discounts/reimbursements for the electricity used through the EVSE?  After all, that is exactly what the Wi-Fi enabled EVSE are designed to provide.  That form of very persuasive encouragement to recharge as much as possible as conveniently as possible is exactly what ends up benefiting that same household as BEV owners.  It's a way of promoting infrastructure upgrades you evidently were completely unaware of.  In other words, check your own human behavior.  Don't dismiss problems.  Use them as opportunities for teaching moments.

4-13-2021 PHEV Phaseout.  European Union consideration of banning sales of ICE in about a decade or so is an interesting topic.  How will that impact PHEV prior to that?  Some are attempting to rewrite history as a means of justifying their own failure: "The manufacturers brought this on themselves.  There isn't one PHEV that comes close to the Volt which was discontinued two years ago.  If Chevy could build a 53 mile EREV in 2016 how come nobody is building something better than that today?  A halfassed PHEV with 25 miles of range is just a compliance car, it's not an EV.  For a plugin to function as an EV most of the time it needs enough range so that you can get through a normal day without turning on the engine.  And it needs to operate on it's electric motors only without needing the assist of the engine."  After reading that, the wisdom of knowing audience should be obvious.  If not, perhaps my response helps with the recognition of what's really taking place and how I deal with those trying to mislead about it:

That is correct.  The problem can indeed be brought on by automakers.  Chevy did exactly what should not be done. It was a textbook example of Innovator's Dilemma.  All throughout development and upgrades, GM listened to the wrong audience.  That vehicle delivered was a niche, catering to the wants of enthusiasts.  Needs of mainstream buyers... those who provide sustainable profit... went unfulfilled.  Not all automakers give in to the temptations of misguided praise like that though.  Some stay true to priorities of the masses, ignoring ridicule of those focused on short-term gain.

Toyota breaks your narrative.  RAV4 Prime not only delivers enough EV range for daily driving (defined by the EPA as 41 miles, that's 15,000 annual divided by 365 days) it also achieves that in a profitable manner using a platform highly desirable by showroom shoppers.  That 42-mile EV rating comes from a large AWD vehicle capable of towing 2,500 pounds.

Toyota is demonstrating how to do it right.  Their newest offering... which you conveniently evaded any mention of... is a means of getting the most difficult audience to abandon the past.  It's their dealers, the same problem GM continues to struggle with.  RAV4 Prime shows us how at-home charging can deliver a full electric-only driving experience while also taking advantage of opportunity recharging as public infrastructure is built.

That win-win situation also helps to promote upgrades at home.  The 120-volt EVSE included with purchase strongly encourages a 240-volt at some point during ownership, which in turn results the probability of the next vehicle purchase to be a BEV.

In other words, your misrepresentation of the technology ultimately hurts efforts to address the most difficult aspects of change.  Just because the simplistic approach GM took with Volt failed miserably, doesn't mean it will for other automakers.


Considering.  I liked seeing this: "Considering history, what are the odds a Toyota concept actually goes to production?"  One of the antagonists has actually been paying attention, but not close enough.  Remember when Prius Prime was revealed?  That was in September, only a few months prior to rollout.  Yet, what we saw was had a "prototype" label on it.  The vehicle certainly looked production-ready.  That tiny note in the window served a good purpose.  Anything shown was subject to change.  It is basically a non-commitment disclaimer.  That stirs a lot of speculation, discussion, and further intrigue.  Such a simple means of promoting a "stay tuned" message.  Troublemakers attempt to stir rhetoric with it.  I find how their words come back to bite them... which in this case could be only a week from now.  My guess is there's an embargo on the upcoming Shanghai Auto Show, where some reporters already have photos & specs they can share the moment exhibits open to the press next week.  We'll see.  In the meantime, consider the history just as the quote says.  I'd say the odds are pretty good.  I asked:  What history would that be?  Toyota shocked the world with the original Prius, revealing a production-intent model, then actually rolled it out.  Since then, we have seen other models do the same.  The 2012 PHV revealed in 2010 was remarkably close to what ended up being delivered.  Toyota followed up with Prime, their first PHEV to offer to-the-floor EV acceleration.  It also went to production.  In other words, look closer at what "concept" is being shown.  Are they showcasing an upcoming product or demonstrating a technology?  There's a big difference.


Watch.  It's difficult to know if antagonists are actually aware of the upcoming reveal or if they are just seeing an opportunity to milk their narrative.  Whatever the case, it is just pointless rhetoric to a meritless audience.  That is obviously enough to keep the dream alive... their hope for something from any type progress forward from their own preferred automaker.  In other words, they have nothing.  It is a stall & distraction effort.  They really don't pay attention.  My guess is in their gut they fear Toyota really has plans well underway but is being their usual quiet.  Hype simply isn't how they operate.  That "join the party" attitude is for other enthusiasts, not ordinary mainstream consumers... hence bringing up audience on a regular basis.  That fundamental difference of who cares about what is a big deal when it comes to actual change.  The illusion of being green the game other automakers play.  Toyota just sticks to business.  That isn't exciting for early-adopters, hence their backlash.  The middle-market couldn't care less though.  That's who makes progress a reality.  The role of early-adopters is only to demonstrate opportunity.  Anywho, my statements are becoming brief knowing we only have a week to wait now:  It has been informative to read "late to the game" comments so often.  The statement doesn't actually represent anything sustainable.  It's just bragging rights, something Toyota has never been interested in.  Their business culture is quite different.  Their approach is different.  They take their time to do it right.  Rushing has consequences.  We have seen this play out already.  Study the history... and watch what happens.


Familiar Undermining.  It's nice that more people are recognizing efforts to mislead.  Blind trust of the past still exists now, but it isn't as common.  There are more ways to validate claims.  Additional sources can be a problem, especially when they all echo the identical sentiment.  Fortunately, the desire to learn more makes the repetition of basics easy to overcome.  Just do more searches online.  Failing to find anything of substance either in favor of or opposing is a warning sign.  Most of the time, it is an absence of data that gives away true intent.  Remember that "1776 Mile" promotional stunt GM pulled prior to the reveal of price for Volt?  Looking back, it is easy to see the total absence of any HV driving data was an effort to get people to focus entirely on EV results.  GM knew Volt's much higher than expected MSRP would create a huge stir.  So, they created a distraction.  Why plan a widely publicized trip of 1,776 miles to ending on the 4th of July without sharing results?  We knew that overnight charging at the motels wouldn't provide anywhere near enough electricity to cover that distance.  In fact, no one knew at the time what that distance would be.  Expectations were about 40 miles.  Reality was 35 miles.  Recharging 3 or 4 times during the trip wouldn't even cover 10% of the travel.  Why was the 90% portion held back?  Hiding what people are begging to know isn't good publicity.  GM soon felt a backlash... one of many.  Some have learned to call out such holding of vital detail.  That's how we knew the supposed PHEV study was really a propaganda campaign.  Nothing to support claims is highly suspicious.  And sure enough, it was revealed as a deceptive report.  I'm glad to see others recognize that.  It means not having much to say about the topic when it comes up in discussion.  Today, my reply was brief:  This is a classic undermining campaign.  The pattern is easy to recognize.  Those seeing the growing interest from the newest offerings (like R4P) are attempting to flood the media with disinformation.  Kudos to the people taking time to look at the actual data and spreading awareness of the cherry-picked facts used to mislead.


Familiar Desperation.  This rambled response was great: "No... an EV is one that drives 100% on electricity.  Anything else is at best a partial EV.  UX300e is a lousy excuse of an EV and is not even sold in enough numbers to be classified as compliance...  It's worse than a 2013 Leaf.  Toyota is a sad excuse for a company."  That is what happens when the antagonist makes a mistake and gets called out on it.  In this case, he assumed Toyota had no interest in ever producing a BEV since he hadn't ever seen one from them.  The link I provided proved him wrong, very wrong.  At best, he expected to see a concept vehicle.  Finding out that Toyota is not only producing it now, but that some are already in the driveways of customers, was too much to accept.  Reality crashing down on you to destroy the narrative you have depended upon for years is a devastating blow.  The response to that is a familiar desperation.  All they have to work with at that point is a vague moving of goal posts.  After all these years of witnessing the behavior pattern, it has become a source of fascination.  Who do they think they are fooling?  So, that is the type of reply I end up posting... eluding to the attempted deception:  What's most telling about the use labels like "lousy" and "sad" is the obvious effort to evade specifics.  This audience is not a group of idiots.  They see right through that.  UX300e offers double the battery-capacity, provides an active thermal management system, and drives 100% on electricity.  As for sales, first deliveries are just now taking place.  So already drawing a conclusion on demand makes no sense.  Toyota production of EV drive systems for PHEV and BEV are proving to be profitable & reliable.  This topic focuses on Nissan's effort to do the same.  Those systems are setting the stage for ICE elimination... whether you agree with the approach or not.


Standardized Measure.  That classic problem never goes away.  Remember 20 years ago, when people didn't understand that the big number listed for MPG wasn't actually an expectation?  It was a standardized measure to provide a common perspective.  To confirm the misunderstanding, all you had to do was ask about the small numbers listed on the window-sticker, right underneath the big one.  They would look at you with that deer-in-the-headlights stare, clueless as to even the existence of them.  They made a lot of assumptions then... and still do now: "Unfortunately, that's is an article of the "estimated annual fuel/electricity costs" and it's based on a lot of assumptions."  I found that particular ironic, since he assumed the assumption.  In reality, well known standardized measures were used.  I pointed out my favorite:  The most interesting is annual distance: 15,000 miles.  If you annualize RAV4 Prime's overnight-only recharge range of 42 miles (multiple times 365), you get 15,330 miles.  That standardized perspective gives you an effective means of countering those assumptions.


Favorite Arguments.  Among the topic is when an offering is intentionally excluded.  The troublemaker will simply pretend it doesn't exist.  In the past, it was making sure focus was exclusively on Prius.  Other hybrids, like Camry or Highlander, were ignored.  Now with both Corolla and RAV4 added to the mix, that is basically impossible.  So, omitted facts have shifted to the plug-in hybrids.  They'll exclude the entire category.  When confronted, the dismissal is in the abrasive brushoff of owners supposedly never plugging them in.  Now, focus has shifted to BEV offerings with this claim:  "Toyota doesn't do any real EVs.  But they do a lot of lousy petrol only hybrids which are almost as efficient as a regular diesel car."  I was amused; that served as an invitation to provide some exposition... which I did not hesitate to do:  Denial runs deep.  UX300e isn't a real EV?  It has a 54.3 kWh battery-pack and delivers a 400 km range (European rating), a true BEV in every regard.  EV comes in the form of PHEV too.  The model I drive (Prius Prime) has a lifetime average of 114 MPG, using their design from 2016.  Their newest offering (RAV4 Prime) provides a much larger battery (18.1 kWh) and it is proving to be a very popular choice.


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