Prius Personal Log  #1070

May 4, 2021  -  May 10, 2021

Last Updated:  Sat. 5/22/2021

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ID.4 Charging.  With a vehicle at 4,665 pounds, we know efficiency will be challenged.  Looking up the official rating, the value of 35 kWh/100 mi confirms it.  That's quite a bit less efficient than Model Y's rating of 36 kWh/100 mi.  Anywho, consuming more electricity means taking longer (and paying more) for a high-speed recharge.  An early review shared information from two recharges using a high-speed station.  I asked the following about data:  Usable capacity of the 82 kWh battery-pack is 77 kWh.  If charging started from 34%, reaching 100% meant adding 51 kWh.  To achieve that in the specified 57 minutes, overall DC rate would have been about 54 kW.  For the second recharge, we see 85% (also started from 34%) was reached in 36 minutes.  That observed 39 kWh draw calculates to an overall DC rate of 64 kW.  That's only 2 data-points to work with, but from a system rated at 125-kW for DC fast-charger, you would expect a faster overall draw.  From 5% to 80% is listed as taking 38 minutes at full speed.  Do we know anything else about the circumstances of those 2 charging events or how much rate drops as 80% is approached?


Not Again.  That topic of mandating ICE phaseouts came up again.  I wasn't about to let the same few antagonists troll this new thread like that one last week.  A nice comment came up that provided a convenient segway for me to jump into the mix with: "It will be interesting to see what happens with the PHEV segment.  It will allow 20%, but not sure if that only applies to sales in Calif or country wide."  I took full advantage of the opportunity it presented:

It would apply only to states which elect to follow Advanced Clean Cars II (ACC II), regulations still in the planning stage.  So this doesn't even apply to California itself yet.  That means each of the current 12 states, plus the new entrant of Minnesota, will need to go through another approval process... complete with their own fight against the oil industry, dealerships, and Republicans.  It's a long & ugly process.

Complicating matters is the lack of understanding and the constant flood of PHEV misinformation.  It's bad enough having to deal with propaganda efforts, like that recent study which was blatant attempt to undermine.  We also have the problem still of early-adopters who don't really know how the technology actually works.  A prime example (pun intended) is Volt.  Still to this day, some believe it was a plug-in series hybrid.  Marketing rhetoric was so effective, some never came to realize how different it actually was from an actual plug-in series hybrid, like BMW i3.

It all started with a campaign to set GM's design apart from Toyota's by misrepresenting what the US06 drive-cycle for measuring efficiency actually told us.  It was brutal.  That was the "big lie" of its time.  There were a few Volt enthusiasts who peppered green websites to stir false assumptions by twisting data from that source... the same drive-cycle that has been proposed for ACC II regulations.  You would be surprised how easy it is to feed a narrative.  Always insist upon detail when a vague claim is made.

Looking at the expectations, we can see a phased approach based loosely upon projections of dropping battery costs: $100 per kWh in 2026, $81 in 2030, and $63 in 2035.  Targets are being aimed at 26% in 2026 for combined BEV & PHEV sales and 76% in 2031.  Combined minimums shift to a PHEV maximum in 2035, capping those sales to 20%.

It's an interesting reminder of a long ago past, back when CARB started to push mandates.  Anyone remember phase-1 of that original effort?  It had quite a bit of pushback following agreement to abide by what the plan had established.  The initial ZEV regulation in 1990 was a mandate for the major auto companies to produce and sell electric or fuel cell vehicles in California starting in the 1998 model year, ramping up sales of pure ZEVs to 10 percent of total vehicle sales in the state by 2003.


Demise of Coal.  We can see it coming.  Here, the local plants stopped accepting shipments many years ago.  Generation of electricity switched to natural gas in its place.  Where some of my family lives, they are more than just witnesses.  They are in the heart of coal country.  That makes it especially strange reading an article opening with: "Wyoming is faced by a transition to renewable energy that's gathering pace across America, but it has now come up with a novel and controversial plan to protect its mining industry – sue other states that refuse to take its coal."  Knowing how windy it is there, how much open space is available, and the recognizing the need for new employment, it simply makes no sense fighting the inevitable.  The thought behind lawsuits is to slow transition, but that process tends to only be a pacifier.  That litigation is wasting money and the outcome won't change.  Of the many reasons coal is not a choice environmentally, how can any one of them be dismissed in favor of being economic?  Arguing in favor of depending on a limited resource barely made sense 20 years ago.  Now, it isn't cost-effective.  We have reached that particular tipping-point and see improvement coming; yet, they want to fight it anyway.


Vague Claims.  This is why I go in circles with enthusiasts: "Right up until now, the company has repeatedly undermined climate action, from opposing the U.K. government's ban on internal combustion engines by 2030 to opposing car fuel economy standards in the U.S."  It was a quote from a statement a CIO of an investment firm made about Toyota just before Earth Day.  Calling them out with that timing a great way to draw attention to your business.  There's no detail whatsoever though, so no accountability... just fuel to feed a narrative.  Sure enough, that vague claim is exactly what got passed along.  Think about how little that actually tells us and how much hype it stirred.  Absence of any context is disturbing.  It is so incredibly easy to misrepresent situations and these individuals online are going out of their way to make sure that happens.  My guess is they really are clueless, completely unaware of how disconnected their fact is to any particular stance.  We need more info!  You can oppose something for a wide variety of reasons, especially of there are many conditions to consider.  The world is not binary.  This is not a zero-sum situation.  There are other options, other approaches.  That complete disregard for the importance of finding out the how's & why's is what contributes to history repeating.  The devil is in the detail, but they simply don't care.  Their focus is still on the initial market.  Means of changing the business itself is ignored.  The same "if we build it, they will buy it" belief is being pushed, without taking the time to consider what "it" actually is.


$200 Billion.  That was the settlement for the VW scandal.  Remember the diesel nonsense?  Some Prius owners were suspicious long before they got caught.  It simply didn't make sense how such supposed efficiency was achieved while a the same time also delivering a significant reduction in emissions.  We were well aware of the cost & complexities involved.  What was being claimed by VW and owners of their diesel vehicles didn't add up.  Anywho, we ended up with $200 Billion to be invested toward the advancement of electrification.  The money would be spread across regions, timespans, and categories to help bring forward the entire industry.  Use for education & commercial efforts rarely gets attention.  Fortunately, money set aside for that will be carefully monitored.  What ends up drawing interest is the infrastructure portion.  Unfortunately, it's not all good; "Build out the interstate first, then rural routes, and last should be the cities.  People in cities should be charging at home or L2 stations.  If you really have to rely on a L3 charger for your ev in the city to drive anywhere you should buy something else.  Who's going to want to wait 30-40 min every time you need to juice up your car?"  Needless to say, I wanted to provoke discussion on this topic.  It had been seriously neglected until recently.  So, I poked with:  That's exactly how to provide a disservice to those supporting plug-in vehicles.  Why can't someone who lives in the city DC fast-charge at their local grocery store?  If most of their driving is to local destinations, use high-speed recharging is a simple solution.  That's quite sensible for those who don't have an overnight location to recharge.  Think about how long it takes for weekly grocery shopping.  It's hard to believe anyone wanting to promote the spread of plugs to turn someone away, telling them to buy something else.


Rewriting History.  Whether the person doesn't recall the past accurately or they in a trap of denial excuses doesn't matter.  How they got there isn't the point.  It's what to do from there.  Think about how much I pushed Volt enthusiasts for the next step, asking them what they suggest GM should do.  Replies were always the same clueless nothing.  Being that unaware of your own situation is a very real problem.  That's how responses like this come about: "Remember how he criticized the gen1 Volt for its 4 seat configuration?  He lambasted GM over it.  The PiP comes out a bit later with, yes, 4 seats.  Suddenly it is a brilliant solution."  That was a desperate effort to change the subject.  Don't deal with the topic at hand.  Create a diversion.  Ugh.  This is how I deal with that type of nonsense:  Rewriting history is not your strong suit.  Lambasting Volt for having 4 seats came about because it was marketed as a solution for the FAMILY, a vehicle that was somehow superior to their other offerings.  That was a blatant attempt to deceive.  Enthusiasts fought relentlessly to mislead about GM not targeting their own loyal customers, that GM had no intention to actually spread the technology as they had promised with Two-Mode.  Toyota never did any such thing.  We were told at the reveal that the Prius Prime was targeting the empty-nesters who started with a Prius, but now the children they raised we grown up.  We were also told that approach (adding a one-way dry clutch to enable greater EV power) was a simple upgrade to the hybrid system that would be spread across the fleet.  Toyota's fundamentally different approach was a clear effort to target their own showroom shoppers... which has since been undeniably confirmed with the rollout of RAV4 Prime.  What I find most telling is how you excluded the rest of my "lambast" argument.  You left out the part about the low headroom and the tight legroom, neither of which was a limitation to that degree for Prius Prime.  It's a good example of misleading by omission.  Want even more evidence of deception, note the timeline.  Back when Volt was rolled out, the market was thriving on giant vehicles.  6 years later when Prius Prime was rolled out, downsizing had become the them.  2 years later when the "gig" economy took hold, Toyota recognized that shift back to larger and altered design to provide a 5th seat.  GM never did.  In summary, you're not doing anything to help us reach the masses.  My push to get you to engage you in something productive is what?


Simple Messaging.  Even those with sincere intent struggle.  I contributed this to help us get out of that "lobbying" discussion:  It's all about simple messaging... that of which, the points above are not.  We need ways to promote the wide-audience offerings to come.  DC fast-charging will be for BEV and PHEV with larger packs.  Quoting peak & sustained kW rates is still a big problem.  After all this time, there is no type of consensus about what's realistic for day-to-day needs and travel.  That is absolutely essential for setting expectations.  We won't be able to get any type of business or legislative support without.  Investors won't invest with so many unknowns still. How will the service be paid?  AC charging at home is still very much a problem too.  There is at least a standard connector, but rates and how connections are achieved far from simple.  We witness early-adopters downplay the challenge of wiring old homes and outright dismiss what it takes to support multiple vehicles all charging at the same time.  They obsess with the vehicle itself and neglect infrastructure.  This topic is about Toyota and how when they bring up these barriers it gets twisted into anti-EV lobbying.  The narrative has become so diluted, there is nothing but a few vague talking-points now.  Yet, those involved see no obligation to re-evaluate, despite a continued flow of new offerings and undeniable progress with difficult to reach consumers.  This new stage the technology is entering requires an entirely different frame of mind to advance within.  Those unable to cope due to lack of experience or absence of awareness end up complaining and placing blame, rather than coming up with a simple message... something actually constructive.  We have done great things with critical thinking in the past.  It is now time for a new round of it.  Tools of the past don't work with this new audience.


Upcoming Decision.  It is really upsetting to see how much fight their has been here against getting our state to join the 12 others following "clean car" rules.  It is a set of standards agreed upon to help us move forward.  The proposal from MCPA (Minnesota Pollution Control Agency) was "To adopt both California's LEV and ZEV standards in order to reduce motor vehicle emissions and accelerate the adoption of EVs."  The latest effort is an ultimatum to stop, or else.  Ugh.  None of this surprises me.  I witnessed it on the small-scale continuously.  Whomever the antagonist was, they would go from pointless arguing to hostile moves.  Threats to get you banned or do whatever it takes to shut you up would common.  It was attack after .. without any purpose beyond just impeding progress.  That same thing is playing out on the bigger scale now, here in Minnesota.  Soon, it could be over though... this chapter, anyway.  We will find out soon.  This is what I attached as commentary to a story I shared online about the latest effort:  Groups in Minnesota have been working together for about 2 years now, trying to get the state to adopt California rules for clean cars.  That will make it easier for those interested in a plug-in vehicle like RAV4 Prime... 302 hp, AWD, 2500-pound towing, 0-60 in 5.8 seconds, 42 miles of EV then 38 mpg... to actually find one to buy.  Leading the way by being first in the Midwest is not how State Republicans see this.  They are threatening to slash tens of millions of dollars from environmental funding if the effort isn't stopped.  The final decision is in just 2 days.  Their desperation to fight this is sickening.


Reflection.  When their own post documents exactly what you have observed, then what?  To quote his entire post: "Should that be read as, " I have nothin'."  That was the type of closure I was looking for.  This is how I summarized:  You don't, which was the point of all of this.  It's about noticing what people don't say.  That is the history repeating.  Volt continues to be the ideal example, since it was developed, delivered, upgraded, then died without ever dealing with the problem it passed along.  That was lack of clarity.  No real purpose doomed it to fail.  What was it attempting to achieve?  That same chaotic mixed messaging carried over from Two-Mode to Volt and now to Bolt.  We have witnessed it here with so-called "lobbying" claims.  This audience was and still is clueless as to why any type of resistance has been expressed.  KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE is absolutely vital.  What the %$#&!@ are you trying to get ordinary consumers to purchase?  Look no further than DC fast-charging for an understanding absent goals.  BEV owners are all over the place, no agreement whatsoever about type, speed or pricing.  It's a disaster that is getting worse, not better.  Why would anyone apprehensive about plug-in vehicles listen to the jumble of experiences that don't address the entire situation.  The randomness of supposed "need" only serves to confuse & disenchant.  Again, who?  It's quite remarkable to watch this group chase its own tail.  These concerns are what Toyota is bringing attention to.  While others are accepting accolades, there is still many barriers to overcome... and shooting the messenger doesn't accomplish anything.


Returning to ICE.   It continues.  The same group of individuals playing the same game.  You'd think they would notice the pattern at some point.  Clearly... after quite a few years... they have not.  I replied back with:  This is when red-flags should be noticed.  Analyzing feedback from enthusiasts will give you a niche perspective, something of little to no value with regard to adoption by the masses.  GM made that fundamental mistake with Volt owners.  The problem is called Innovator's Dilemma.  Focus has been on the wrong thing.  Playing the "victim" card when tax-credits were used up was a red-flag.  Seeing this article highlight cause unrelated to the vehicle itself is refreshing, it shows the bigger picture is being considered.  With regard to tax-credits, new subsidies should focus on infrastructure instead.  There's no bias that way.  You purchase from whatever automaker you want and have your parking location upgraded to provide convenient level-2 charging.  Looking beyond what should be obvious, the next challenge would be to address vehicles that guzzle electricity.  There are only a limited number of chargers, speed to recharge is slow, and battery supply is constrained & expensive.  Those are not the conditions to promote waste.  It serves to provide material for those who oppose plugging in.  In short, always strive to consider the bigger picture.  We have seen countless early-adopters help promote the technology by taking advantage of opportunity.  That's great for proving it worthy, but does nothing to address the other challenges.  It only checks one of many boxes.  We still have other barriers to overcome.


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