Prius Personal Log  #1072

May 17, 2021  -  May 24, 2021

Last Updated:  Mon. 8/02/2021

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Lots of Likes.  I posts comments on one of the big Facebook groups for RAV4 Prime.  That audience there really struggles with the lack of background & experience.  It's clear evidence of Toyota having extended there consumer reach.  I jump in to answer questions they struggle with, especially when they have no basis to build upon.  This was such a topic: "Is it better to let your battery run down to empty before recharging, or does topping it off each night not hurt longevity."  Think about the wide variety of backgrounds people have and the lack of technical equipment (or know-how) to make any sense of the system they just purchased.  It's really easy to make assumptions based upon anecdotal observations from other rechargeable devices.  That can be very problematic.  I'm finding that out based upon feedback from BEV owners purchasing electric lawnmowers.  The resulting comments expose shortcomings in both the understanding of battery longevity and the variety of approaches to longevity.  It's simply a lack of awareness.  The knowledge itself is easy to grasp and even easier to share.  I got confirmation of that by posting the following... which ended up being very frequently liked:  Lithium chemistries thrive on short charges & draws.  This is why you can charge your phone whenever without any worry of longevity.  Aging is accelerated when you charge to 100% or discharge to almost 0%.  Neither RAV4 Prime nor Prius Prime allow you to do that.  Both a high & low ends are protected.  In short, just charge whenever the opportunity presents itself.


Never A Good Sign.  I was reading an article that brought up the possibility that Tesla is overvalued.  Seeing such topics emerge is a sign of change.  We are entering a new chapter.  No one knows what it will be, but the feeling of something different is clear.  Uncertainty of the future is one thing.  The past isn't.  That already happened.  We know what happened.  This wasn't it: "Toyota, which has been a conspicuous electrification laggard, has recently shown signs of a change of strategy, announcing plans to introduce 15 electric models by 2025."  It was more of the same old nonsense.  They tell you what you want to hear, not what actually happened.  Of course, I had to call that attempt out:  It's never a good sign when the image of a business is based upon misrepresentation of another.  Expectations for the first BEV from Toyota started back in later 2018, when rumors of an EV model of CH-R emerged.  Sure enough, it was confirmed during Earth Day reveals the following year.  The first half of 2019 also provided the "six global BEV models" plans based on e-TNGA platform.  4 additional BEV for specific markets would expected within the same 2025'ish timeline.  Since then, we have also seen the rollout of UX300e.  So... claims of "recent" are really just material to feed a narrative... you know, something to make the story protagonist look especially impressive.  And of course, negative votes... shooting the messenger... adds to the drama.  In other words, focus on what Tesla has contributed to progress away from our legacy problems.  It's a disservice to everyone when something from that past is misrepresented.


Asking Questions.  It was wonderful to see the following: "What do you think it will cost a company to purchase enough EVSEs, and tear up their parking lot to install all and wire all of them?  And upgrade their electrical supply to support enough current to support a whole lot of level 2 chargers at once.  And who pays for the electricity?  Isn't it interesting that car companies that say they will only will make BEVs by some date don't ever talk about their plans for employee parking?"  That was the entire post.  He was also annoyed by the lack of critical thinking.  I added this to the on-going discussion:  The parking ramp where I parked daily for work upgraded there 2 existing stations and added 6 more.  It was far from trivial like many here portray the situation.  Exactly as you pointed out, that effort to tear up the parking lot for wiring got really involved and wasn't cheap.  Your point about plans for automakers own employees is wonderful.  Not seeing them demonstrate potential by converting their own workers is a major red-flag everyone has overlooked.  It totally makes sense to have those closet to the business directly participate in its own future.  Notice how GM keeps promoting "30 new EV models globally through 2025" but provides nothing whatsoever in terms of commitment?  The complete absence of any targets is a bad sign.  There's no accountability or penalty of any sort for "over promise, under deliver".  We could end up getting a small number or expensive choices available in limited locations.  It all comes down to setting realistic expectations.  To start, what should ordinary consumers expect for the availability of affordable public charging?

5-23-2021 Banning ICE by 2035.  That topic of ending sales of combustion engines by 2035 really stirs a lot of emotion... but very little logic.  It is very much a knee-jerk reaction.  Thankfully, some of that is getting called out now: "People acting like this is some problem that can just be fixed overnight are delusional."  Having lived through the past 20 years of hybrid acceptance from the perspective of the battle front provides a far more realistic expectation of what can be achieved.  People fail to address all the factors involved.  That's your clue of problems to come.  Remember Volt?  Those enthusiasts absolutely refused to acknowledge certain areas of concern.  That's how I knew it was doomed.  You can just place a bet and hope for the best.  It takes a whole lot of studying and real-world research to advance the market.  True progress takes time, since it must be comprehensive.  Appealing to enthusiasts is a short-term niche.  They were to... stupid... to see that.  Choosing to be blind to something is stupidity.  They did, repeatedly.  Trying to shut me up when concerns were raised only revealed just how much of a risk they were taking.  You can't ignore problems.  So far, talk of bans are doing exactly that.  I climbed up on the soapbox to explain why:

It's really sad when advocates downplay the challenges still faced.

For example, overnight plug-in at home is supposed to be the easiest to address.  How will multiple BEV recharging overnight?  To get 200 miles of EV range (assuming an efficient BEV, not a electricity guzzler), it takes roughly 8 hours from a 40-amp line.  Some households are challenged to accommodate just 1 vehicle.  Overcoming those location/supply issues isn't cheap and most certainly isn't a priority for families. Seriously government funding is required just to deal with that.

A far more troubling example is high-density housing.  How many condos or apartments even have the real estate available to install enough EVSE to cover their tenants?  There are physical space limitations too, not to mention on-going expenses (liability insurance, cost to clear snow & ice, and billing for the electricity consumed).  Someone must also maintain the equipment itself.

Then we have the continued chaos of DC fast-charging.  It is still very much at an infancy stage. Lack of a standard and no consistent pricing makes growth extraordinarily difficult.

This will all take many, many years to resolve.  Legislation must first address all this before any progress can take place with regard to automaker mandates.

5-21-2021 F-150 Pricing.  This was our first glimpse of it: "The vehicle's price, much like the traditional F-150, has a wide bandwidth.  Ford said a work-oriented version of the truck will start at $39,974.  More consumer-centric models will start at $52,974 and top out at around $90,000."  There has been speculation that the work-oriented means it will only be available to business, for commercial use only not personal.  That would snuff out the idea of purchasing a base model but with the "extended range" option.  It's an additional $10,000 for the 100 more miles.  Unfortunately, that will sour the idea for some by it simply being too expensive.  It will also feed the narrative about how battery-pack replacement is not affordable.  The reality that most BEV will never need replacement is conveniently omitted from those claims.  Ford will likely provide a generous warranty, much like Toyota, to help will adoption too.  Some of that would be baked into the purchase price as a result.  So, you really are getting a dependable system.  Conveying that detail will be quite a challenge though.  When we finally get the rollout information (likely near year-end), much could have changed with the market since then.  There shouldn't be much to be concerned about.  There will be some opposing this regardless.

Making Cars.  I found this interesting: "I still remember that sense of shock, a few years ago, on hearing that Ford would stop making cars in order to focus on trucks."  Some change is a matter of adaption which can actually lead to long-term benefit.  Desperation from chasing profit has been the mantra for Ford & GM as a basic essential to survival in the 21st Century.  Selling cars is difficult.  It requires high volume, since the profit-margin is so tiny.  That presented a number of challenges from the dealership approach of having inventory available for immediate purchase.  It is far better in that paradigm to stock more profitable vehicles... especially here in Minnesota, when you are required to have staff brush off every single vehicle each time it snows.  Think about having to move them all to allow plows to clear the lots.  That is a massive, repetitive effort.  It is one of many factors that make the SUV more appealing.  The selling points of easy in & out (seating for those with back & leg issues) and the draw of AWD.  Stuff like that has been pushing the industry toward less efficiency, but more profitable, choices.  Ironically, it doesn't help the progress of electrification.  Here's how I pointed that out:  Having a long floor that can be lifted and a flexible cargo area (rather than trunk) helps with battery-pack placement.  RAV4 Prime proves that works extremely well.  This is why the idea of the Corolla sedan being replaced by crossover is no longer difficult to imagine.  In fact, rollout on the new "Corolla Cross" has begun.


Actual Experience.  Owners of RAV4 Prime tend to be newbies.  So, a lot of what gets posted is nothing but anecdotal observations.  I have already clashed with a few who think they know more, despite not having any means of measuring & recording detail.  One just put a thermometer in his vent and filmed it with a clock to document heater effectiveness.  What could that tell us of value?  There are simply too many other variables at play.  This is why I present so much detail in my videos.  You need to have lots of inputs and lots of sampling to draw any type of reasonable conclusion.  Those 1-time captures that become a 15-minute moment of fame really don't teach us anything.  This example originated from such a source, altered to be a question for someone in their circumstance: "From actual experience of those on this forum, is this true "How it really works is: It stays in EV mode but runs on the engine and won't use ~ any battery when it's colder than -16°C."  Because I don't want to not be able to run on electric for about half of the winter - it's cold up here in Breckenridge, CO."  That is 3°F, a temperature uncommon there.  I looked it up.  They have dips below the heat-pump threshold similar to that here... in Minnesota.  You get a time to time cold spell, but by no means is it half the winter.  It is a few days, perhaps a week long.  That's all.  Even then, the engine still shuts off.  That's why I made an explicit effort to record one such day.  That driving plan worked out great too.  The temperature was just barely above zero... well below freezing.  So, it would most definitely satisfy doubt for most.  Hopefully, it will continue to.  I shared a link to that particular video, along with commentary:  Living in Minnesota with a Prime, I have lots of experience with this.  When outside temperature drops below 14°F, the engine will cycle on & off.  During that time with the engine off, the cabin is warmed using heated coolant.  After that coolant cools, the engine starts again to reheat it.  During those engine-off cycles, you are driving in EV.  Here is a video illustrating that...  Prius Prime - Engine Cycling in Winter


Under 40K.  We got a list of current & upcoming BEV delivering at least 300 miles of range.  Only one was under $40,000.   Eight of that list of twelve were way out of anything you could even remotely label as affordable.  The idea of targeting your core customer is still very much a problem.  I responded to that article with this comment:  We call that moving the goal-posts.  Once upon a time, the target of "nicely under $30,000" was a very common discussion topic.  But when automakers discovered just how difficult that would actually be, it was as if that idea of affordable had never been an objective.  Some of it has to do with the realities of change.  With products becoming global and transportation itself having different priorities from previous generations, the ability to sustain the business requires new approaches.  Tesla was always looked upon as a vehicle of change (pun intended).  Sales to early-adopters helped prove the technology worthy and demonstrate what economy-of-scale could deliver.  Lack of diversity is the problem now.  Growth cannot be achieved with such a limited choice.  We can imagine a $25,000 model of Tesla, but the likelihood of that choice cannibalizing sales and causing congestion at superchargers is all too real.  Other automakers at now beginning to speak out about what happens beyond the low-hanging-fruit stage we are currently enjoying.  It's not pretty.  Seeing that list of vehicles, we clearly have a long way to go still.  Even with government support, the process will be slow and agreeing upon standards will be painful.


Growth.  I really wanted some detailed follow up to this: "Issues with DC charging like this have been solved by Tesla long ago, and other manufacturers just aren't addressing it."  What issues?  What solution?  We are in the great unknown stage, exploring potential.  Very few chargers deliver beyond the 150 kW rate and they are extremely off-putting to install & operate.  That repellent nature of something so costly and so uncertain is a very really problem still.  What is the business justification for providing DC fast-charging?  It seems like a simply & obvious statement to convey... until you actually try.  The message of speed & quantity become a confusing mess, before you even address pricing.  We require clarity for growth though.  A shared sense of agreed upon purpose is a necessity advocates have not been taking serious... hence that quote.  After all, how much power does each manufacturer have with regard to infrastructure and business unrelated to automotive industry?  I replied to that absence of critical-thinking with:  Tesla growth is hampered by DC fast-chargers too.  Being proprietary means limited options.  Adapters can significantly reduce performance and they can be very expensive.


Academic.  This caught my attention: "(Battery) Price now is 1/8 of 10 years ago.  Dropped 19% 2020 alone...  Another 50% drop by 2023 is projected by the industry and energy department.  You can look it up."  Use of percentages, rather than numeric targets, is also sign for concern.  It's an easy means of misleading.  That statistic propaganda tactic is far too common.  You cherry-pick a base & scale to skew results to support your narrative.  Making that situation worse is quoting 2020 as some type of benchmark.  With a worldwide pandemic, what happened within the industry during that disruption really doesn't tell you anything in terms of progress.  It does reveal resiliency, but that has nothing to do with an abrupt change of priorities for a temporary period.  Nonetheless, I was curious about the "look it up" part.  That was a rather drastic out-of-context comment.  Look what up?  Where?  My response was to back up the discussion to something constructive, since vague estimations of components don't inform us of how the market will be able to respond.  This was my response:  In other words, the claim was academic.  From cost reduction to the an actual vehicle delivered in more than just introduction quantity will still take years following that.  This is why I asked for detail.  Projections are that 2023 battery improvements won't become widely available until 2026.


Give Up.  Some just get tired of resistance.  They give up rather than trying to figure out why their logic doesn't sway others.  For example: "Don't buy an electric car if you can't change it at home.  Do everything you can to find a way to charge at home, but don't ever give up and just plan to use public chargers all the time.  You won't be helping anyone, least of all yourself."  I found that ironic.  It directly contradicts the support for SuperChargers anywhere other than travel destinations.  The neighborhood stops (like the local Hy-Vee grocery store or the local Target retail store) with them supposedly don't matter.  That's certainly not what I'm hearing from EV advocates here.  They stress the value of having that availability for ordinary use... non-travel destinations.  What's the point of having a large battery-pack for vehicles other than long-distance travel otherwise?  Imagine someone less fortunate unable to recharging each night?  Going to the fast-charger from time to time, like you do for gas refills, sounds quite realistic.  How long does it take you to go 300 miles during the course of an ordinary month?  Anywho, I responded with:  That doesn't address all the hype about DC fast-charging.  Notice how often we get "just buy a Tesla" or statements about needing to fully recharge in less than 25 minutes?  Those are about travel, addressing the occasional need to charge while not at home.  Ignoring issues of limited power, limited plugs, and high cost by focusing entirely on at-home charging doesn't make any of that go away.  Errors while charging makes the challenge of technology promotion even greater.  It's a disservice not to address those.  In this video, we saw a lot of challenges which remain.  The "don't ever give up" advice applies to that.


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