Prius Personal Log #1071
May 10, 2021 - May 16, 2021
Last Updated: Mon. 8/02/2021
page #1070 page #1072 BOOK INDEX
Affordable. This dismissal logic is the
same old problem: "Pfff... ICE cars are already more expensive than EVs if you put ownership
cost into equation. And if you care about performance, ICE cars are already
multiple times more expensive..." That type of response is why we
continue to struggle with market growth. How long must an approach
fail before you finally give up and try something else? There are
other means of persuading people to change. If success falls far below
expectations, try something else. That's how you get to know your
audience. There could be a better way to appeal. I asked: Who are you trying to
persuade? To some, the meaning of "affordability" is being able to
make monthly payments. Ownership cost means nothing to an audience who
doesn't consider that long-term outcome important. This is actually how
sticker-price has been able to increase over the years, despite wages not
increasing. There's a growing market who focus on financing and don't
prioritize saving money overall. Recognition of fundamentally
different markets having to co-exist is how topics like this come about. The
CEO of Stellantis is well aware of their diversity of customers and how
their purchase priorities differ.
Understanding Minimum. It is interesting how a former Volt owner who upgraded to a Tesla will try to tell you how much better things should be... not could... should. Ugh. Even for Tesla owners, it won't be that good once mainstream buyers join the mix. Those handy few superchargers become difficult to access when demand ramps way up. Growth can be difficult when supply of a resource like that is limited. This is still a bigger problem though: "There is a minimum level of functionality that a car needs to be acceptable." It's the classic problem of not recognizing the difference between want & need. Annoyed by the blatant lack of critical thinking, I posted: Minimum is not the example provided though, those are wants. To understand need, we must ask if absence of that trait would prevent the act from being achieved. Convenience of faster charging most definitely is not a necessity. Remember, the topic addresses affordability and not everyone requires long travel or quick trips. Failing to acknowledge the higher cost to charger provider or vehicle owner shows a lack of comprehensive analysis. Not everyone has the same purchase criteria. The CEO of Stellantis is well aware of that. So is the CEO of Toyota. We're seeing the second-wave of audience finally being addressed, those who have very different priorities from early-adopters. Like it or not, there is very much a place for 200-mile EV range vehicles and chargers that deliver 50 kW of DC power. Too bad if you don't like that. The realities of business take precedent to aspirations of enthusiasts.
Trouble Ahead. It's hard to know if the antagonist is blind or reflecting: "Yes, legacy auto is in trouble..." That was how he started his rant, then continued on with: "Incidentally, Stellantis states they will no longer need purchase carbon credits from Tesla." Being an enthusiast, it's easier to tell; their bias tends to be obvious. But with him, it's just attack anything not fitting his definition of leadership. That's vague, not any specific brand or technology. In this case, it didn't make. He had clearly overlooked what should be a growing concern. I replied with: In other words, non-legacy is in trouble too. Money from the sales of those credits were used to offset the unprofitable nature of Tesla vehicles. Loss of that income puts even more pressure on squeezing out a means of sustaining business. Complicating that fact is the reality that more affordable vehicles deliver less profit and that those very vehicles could cannibalize sales of the expensive vehicles. Put another way, Tesla sees the danger of Innovator's Dilemma... which we have already seen play out with GM... and comments like this reply address only serve to conceal the magnitude of that growing problem. Hearing the CEO of Stellantis joining the chorus of those raising concern for problems related to growth beyond early-adoption is a welcome voice.
Faster Costs More. A nice article was published
yesterday about how Stellantis CEO is worried about EV affordability.
Enthusiasts were not receptive to the message. This comment the
morning summed up their view well: "Honestly, affordability has nothing to do
with the current automotive market. When the average price of a pickup truck
is $55k, I think you have to challenge the notion of what affordable is."
Sound familiar? This is why I have so much trouble getting through to
enthusiasts. This is why Volt was doomed from the start. Know
your audience. This is why I post replies like what they get from that
That so-called "automotive market" is really just an American perspective, not in any way representative of the rest of the world. 90 Million new vehicles are produced & sold each year. Less than 17 Million of those purchases happen in the United States.
Watching GM & Ford chase profit by discontinuing their low-profit vehicles is very much a red-flag warning us of trouble to come. We are currently at the peak of the "macho" stage of the dominance cycle. That will inevitably come to an end. Based on psychology study, a "meek" stage will likely replace it. In terms of automotive demand, that would mean people discover the appeal of BEV driving from small, inexpensive plug-in choices... which will put GM & Ford in a position of struggle.
To survive low-profit sales, the automaker must compensate with volume. All we get from plug-in enthusiasts right now is an obsessive message of range & power... traits promoted as most desirable purchase priorities for Volt... the plug-in that died because could never deliver profit. Focus on maximum miles and fastest recharge now for BEV just carries that same problem forward.
Notice how 50 kW charging is mocked & belittled whenever it is brought up? It is a speed that can be affordability delivered & warrantied by the automaker. That is also an affordable DC fast-charger type, exactly what we need for widespread deployment. There are very few businesses provide many ultra-high-speed chargers and expect to make any type of sustainable profit from. Faster costs more.
It's really unfortunate the narrative of average has taken hold so well it has distorted our perspective. The world needs affordable choices.
Europe Narrative. There is a new spin emerging, a narrative to separate between what happens in Europe to that here. Sound familiar? We saw that same desperation with Volt enthusiasts. They did everything possible to disregard the rest of the world. What happens in the United States is all that matters. Ugh. Heck, I remember them taking it even further by focusing all attention on Prius, pretending there were no other hybrids and that no other PHEV could ever be important. They were wrong, very wrong. I warned them RAV4 hybrid would be a big deal and would deliver the potential to also someday offer a plug. That makes it especially vindicating now. I can invalidate their claims so easily by sighting RAV4 Prime. That worked especially well in this case, when they were attempting to portray Europe as the only place anyone would ever drive mostly just short distances. I was quite happy to tell them with: That's a misconception. The daily average for US drivers is only 41 miles. Note the number of BEV owners who have purchased a RAV4 Prime as their second plug-in vehicle. Not only does the 42-mile EV range cover daily needs, the extremely efficient hybrid system covers them for the occasional long distance trip. To grow the market beyond first purchases, we must consider the rest of the vehicles in that household. A shorter range BEV or a PHEV would fulfill that need well. Think about what it will take for a typical home garage to support to multiple level-2 EVSE for charging. 6.6 kW for 2 vehicles means 2 dedicated 40-amp 240-volt lines. Seeing a smaller battery-pack for the second vehicle makes a lot of sense. It also serves those who cannot afford a long-range model. This is why Toyota has been trying to raise awareness of challenges to come. Those low-hanging-fruit sales early-adopters praise were much easier than what the masses will require.
Shorter Range BEV. Remember how range of a Nissan Leaf was well under 100 miles a decade ago? Times of changed. Striving for distances well over 300 miles is what you here about now. There's a stigma as a result. Less is bad, period. Enthusiasts are dead set against accepting any type of ceiling. More is necessary, period. That absence about understanding the difference between want & need is quite evident from the new offering from Volkswagen. They just introduced an entry-level model of ID.4 with a WLTP range of 211-213 miles (339-343 km). That version uses a smaller 52 kWh battery (usable capacity), compared to the initial 77 kWh battery (82 kWh total). I find it interesting to see what market there is for the 200'ish-mile range BEV models. Lexus UX300e is more expensive as a luxury choice starting at £41,745 but does qualify for the £3000 EV grant. Range is rated at 196-mile from its 54.4kWh battery-pack. Acceleration is faster at 0-62mph in 7.5 seconds. It comes with ports for both CHAdeMO and Type-2. Remember all the talk years ago about how 200 miles was the threshold at which BEV would cover routine needs for more people?
Gas Shortages. When concerns of "infrastructure" are brought up, rarely ever is it with regard to software. People have the invariable perspective of wanting to associate that with something physical. It isn't though. In fact, there is quite a bit related to intangible advancements. Toyota thrives in those types of innovations... which is why so few accolades are ever stirred. That isn't important in the world of enthusiasts who obsess with range and power and speed... all aspects of engineering directly attributed to some type of physical design. So when there's a ransomware attack on a main gas pipeline on the East Coast of the United States, people are clueless about how it happened. They don't see the decades of upgrade neglect. Supply of gas was only visible from the point of pumping it into your tank. Discussion of what it takes to refine & deliver basically never happen. Even here in Minnesota, where there's a major pipeline for ethanol to the southern states, mention is almost non-existent. That finished product is overlooked. Attention only gets put on deliver of the raw material... freshly drilled oil. Anywho, the panic caused by those who didn't understand the situation resulted in a dramatic demand increase and sudden supply drop. Instead of waiting the few days it would take to restart the system, people envisioned an apocalypse. Ugh. I find it interesting. That's a second major infrastructure event in recent history. Remember what happened a few months ago in Texas? That became a software nightmare. Privatizing energy delivery created a chaotic system. Shared physical infrastructure didn't matter. Control had been lost. Ordinary people suffered from that too.
Charging Speed. I appreciate when someone takes the
time to share real-world data. Enthusiasts engage in discussion as a
matter of principle, not actual need. They lock onto criteria without
any reasoning beyond giving less an "unacceptable" label.
Wanting Change. Narratives of Toyota lagging have
change to presenting Toyota as if they suddenly had a revelation and now
embrace the idea of BEV production. For example:
"Looks like Toyota has a plan after all, who'd have thought it?!?!"
I like to read what isn't being posted. There's a sense of
once-Toyota-commits that sends a message of "Watch out!" I
have seen that sentiment again and again. There's a repeated "all
in" mantra. No one knows what that actually means. In the
most generic sense, it is nothing but an unaccountable promise to end ICE
sales. In other words, the word of an automaker to switch is good
enough. It's the same old "over promise, under deliver"
nonsense repeating. Enthusiasts are so gullible in that regard.
Actual change is unnecessary. Measureable goals are not requested.
We supposedly only need an ambiguous statement of intent. Ugh. In
other words, they are putting want above need. How many times much
with deal with the same problem? True change never gets addressed.
They thrive on hype & praise. Again, ugh. This is how I
responded to today's mess:
They have for years, but that bigger picture doesn't support the narrative some here push... which narrows focus to basically just Europe and the United States... markets with far more opportunity to adopt plug-in vehicles quickly. In other words, what we see in these posts represent only a fraction of Toyota's vehicle production of 9.1 Million last year and the projection of 9.6 Million for this year. Put another way, their cherry-picking misrepresents the true situation at hand.
It is a frustratingly slow process for those who can easily turn a blind-eye toward shortcomings we have with cost, infrastructure, and standards . It is almost a no-go situation for those with limited resources. Think about how many markets Toyota sells to each year not represented by Europe or the United States. They could benefit immensely from PHEV offerings.
I remember years ago when the mantra here was Toyota would never build a BEV of their own. Then came along a BEV model of C-HR in China. Now we see UX300e there and in Europe. Next will be the first of several dedicated platforms is on the way, bZ4X.
There has been a plan all along. Some just don't like the approach. Others look for a scapegoat to distract from their own challenges. Change isn't easy beyond early-adopters. Change always takes longer than hoped. Change does eventually come though... to those with a well thought out plan... even if it rubs some wrong along the way.
Anxiety Shift. Remember how "range" was the source of anxiety for plug-in vehicles. A basic survey now reveals that feeling has shifted to inadequacies of charging infrastructure. There are so many unknowns. Where will the stations be? How much will it cost to use one? How long will it take to fully charge? Will a plug even be available when I need it? The potential goes unsatisfied. There simply are not answers yet. Focus is still on long-distance travel, but that's just due to those concerned about their particular exposure are the most outspoken. Hearing a voice for someone who won't have overnight recharging, but will be well covered by the current range for all their local travel, is something we rarely encounter. There simply aren't even enough examples of charger at local stores to stir discussion. The one near me only has 3 of the level-2 type. That's not realistic for BEV dependency. You need a DC fast-charger. They are so rare here... in Minnesota, the first of the "clean car" states in the Midwest... only has a small number of them (non-Tesla). The closest public one for me would be the Wal-Mart 22 miles from my home. With only 8 connections of the CCS type and 1 for CHAdeMO, it's quite a sad showing. Those stations came about as a result of the VW settlement too. So, it wasn't a business making an investment to draw patronage. That doesn't exactly provide a feeling of confidence. Sad.
It Was Inevitable. Certain individuals do everything in their power to keep a fight going. The wait wasn't long either. I had stated my case so well, the only move available was to reset and try again. So, he did: "EPA says 0.0 gallons of gas but yes I think it does kick in on the US06 test today. They should be easily able to do the test without turning the engine on by 2035." This came from the same person who claimed there was never any website which held enough power to influence automaker choices. Of course, that was before "fake news" was coined and anyone noticed just how much sway online comments could have. He knew. He just didn't want to allow such strategy to be exposed. The intended outcome is obvious though. I called him out on it too. He got caught attempting to spread FUD, again: There it is. Reason for bringing up the past was to address this very situation. Even though we already have the detail (it does *NOT* kick in) and that has been repeatedly discussed, someone inevitably stirs an uncertainty anyway. That was the "big lie" and it very well could be again. History repeats. When the pedal is pressed for hard acceleration, the engine will not start. The system is designed to allow pedal-to-the-floor operation all the way up to 135 km/h (84 mph). That speed is in excess of US06 testing cycle criteria. So, there is no doubt. We can confirm it is available today, in 2021.