Prius Personal Log  #1074

May 30, 2021  -  June 5, 2021

Last Updated:  Mon. 8/02/2021

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Poorly Informed?  It is difficult to identify what sort of background this poster had: "I am a big fan of Toyota having owned Avensis (European Camry) and Prius which were flawless.  However, these cars are electrified, not electric and there is a difference.  Toyotas need to get some miles under their wheels with a pure EV, we need to see how their drivetrain efficiency measures up against..."  I read through a number of his other comments on the same thread.  The impression was he hadn't been paying attention to the PHEV market at all.  That makes sense.  A surprising number of Volt owners still don't actually understand how their own vehicle operates... which was quite a revelation to learn... it explained a lot about the Prius PHV fights.  They were basically clueless, arguing about something without knowledge of how it worked.  That's the fight for principle, a trap many fall into.  This could be another example of that.  Your only recourse in that situation is to assume they are poorly informed and provide detail with the hope of them finally recognizing their own information gap.  So, I did:  Toyota has been doing that continuously for 9 years already. It started with their first PHEV, which offered an EV drive able to deliver up to 100 km/h (62 mph).  In 2017, that system got updated to deliver a faster top EV speed of up to 135 km/h (84 mph), introduced a vapor-injected (high-efficiency) heat-pump, and introduced a CHAdeMO port for some markets.  In 2020, that system was rolled out to a platform which added another electric-motor to provide AWD.  In other words, Toyota has been refining their design quite awhile now, based on feedback from real-world experience.  In fact, if you were paying attention, you would have noticed the bZ4X concept came with a CCS1 port to build upon the optional CCS2 adapter offered with UX300e rollout in Europe.  Don't pay attention to the narratives.  They are rhetoric to distract & mislead, a means of downplay to prevent people from learning just how much expertise Toyota has already achieved in preparation for their first dedicated BEV platform.


In A Bubble.  It is nice when a journalist writes this: "Tesla owners and other EV owners often live in a bubble.  We preach to the choir."  It came from an article she had written about spending a day at the Louisiana state capitol advocating for EV support.  Getting anyone's attention beyond your own peers is extremely difficult.  This is why you basically have to wait... but patience is not an attribute of enthusiasts.  To reach beyond that audience, it is essential.  You drive your plug-in for years, then share those experiences.  That's what enables you to retain attention beyond just a brief mention.  They want to know more coming from a source that actually has more.  This is why salespeople aren't looked highly upon.  They aren't speaking from experience.  They are pushing for a sale.  When you have nothing to gain, yet take the time to share anyway, that's when you break out beyond the bubble.

6-04-2021 Market Share.  I kind of got something constructive from that time will tell post: "But can they scale to full EVs before they lose all of their share -- EVs should be inherently more reliable so they could lose much of their value proposition...."  At least it wasn't a size argument or an attempt to divert attention.  It was about audience though.  That cold, hard reality of not appealing to anything beyond early-adopters is an amazingly difficult topic to grasp.  Enthusiasts just can't for some reason.  They are trapped in their own world, to the point where many referred to the "EV market" as if it was all that ever mattered.  I posted this... not expecting much in return:

That's not how the market actually works.  Adoption is painfully slow (several years even in the best circumstances) and reputation can be blown from rushing.  In fact, we're seeing the consequences of that play out right now.  Think about next steps.

GM was praised for being the supposed legacy leader.  Volt did such a terrible job of reaching the minds of ordinary consumers, most either barely remember it or have forgotten entirely.  Bolt is facing buybacks and image rebuilding.  That results in a no advantage with regard to leadership.

Toyota, on the other hand, is simply rolling out "electrification" choices on across the fleet... basically invisible.  That has resulted in 2 vehicles already dropping their traditional-counterpart.  Hybrid only without notice sets the stage quietly adding a plug-in model. RAV4 & Corolla already have.

In other words, a supposed loss of share is really just perception based on low-hanging fruit.  Enthusiasts obsess with what happens in the initial availability stage, then neglect what comes next.  Toyota focuses so much on the "next" that narratives are easy to spin.  But that's where it counts.  Notice how GM still has no clear plan to transition their own loyal customers, despite being the so-called leader for many years.

It's all about growth.  Once you enter the market, how do you keep the momentum going?  Share is lost by not having a next step prepared ahead of time.


Time Will Tell.  I like reading comments like this: "Only time will tell if Toyota survives and thrives."  Based on the impatience & short-sightedness of enthusiasts, it's easy to understand why.  They want quick results and one solution for all.  Reality doesn't work like that.  They almost inevitable become disappointed an move on.  In fact, I cannot recall a situation where most just give up.  Their opportunistic nature sets them up for long-term failure.  Anywho, I responded to that with this... hoping for some type of constructive follow up:  Toyota's EV tech is already well proven.  Flawless operation concealed within Prius Prime is what enabled spread to RAV4 Prime.  We see UX300e hitting some markets now with bZ4X to follow.  That introduction to the 5 dedicated BEV platforms we have known about for 2 years now.  So the "gasp!" presented here about their supposed reluctance doesn't match up with the plan we were already well aware of.  It's long-term focus like that... with a disregard for short-term rhetoric... which provides an ability to thrive.


Not Infrastructure.  It's getting ugly.  Attacks on the president are coming from every imaginable angle.  One that's straight-forward is surprisingly effective.  Opposition is calling anything not related to bridges or roads something other than "infrastructure".  That's absurd, but understandable.  People take "technology" for granted to such an extreme, they don't notice it anymore.  Simple things are dismissed as not technology related, even though it took engineers decades to develop that tech they now don't even notice.  Ugh.  Needless to say, that same attitude of selective-vision happens with EV stuff too.  Fortunately, some are calling it out: "Of course, it also requires special infrastructure to charge at such high currents."  I was happy to finally see that.  There have been a number of active discussion topics lately.  Sadly, none actually addressed the real problem.  There is still an obsession with faster being better.  I jumped in an pointed out:  Cost of that, plus higher tier pricing for the service itself, is what enthusiasts continue to trunk a blind-eye toward.  They obsess with a technical trait, blowing off how impractical it is to actually deliver.


Won't Commit.  The rhetoric now is that if an automaker diversifies, it means they aren't committing.  In other words, that binary mindset has become the predominant theme.  Lack of flexibility is how you end up backing yourself into a corner.  It's what we witnessed with Volt.  It's what we see happening again.  There are some of us speaking out, trying to call attention to the blatant bias: "Get your facts together please, and stop spreading mis-information."  Efforts like that tend to expose group-think rather effectively, but don't have any impact on squashing it.  The source tends to gravitate more and more toward those articles which stir.  Drawing increasing attention to a limited perspective is how a niche is solidified.  Those enthusiasts participating become completely unaware of the world around them.  That's why what I posted has the expectation of being ignored, they just disregard what they don't like:  It was widely reported 2 years ago that a dedicated line of BEV with 5 platforms was coming.  Yesterday, we got our first close look at the initial rollout vehicle.  Toyota already offers 4 different BEV with traditional counterparts (for example, CH-R as an EV model).  So any claim that "Toyota has given in and announced its first mass-market BEV" is just pure nonsense, an attempt to capitalize on the "anti" narrative for attention.  Reality is, Toyota has delivered a variety of plug-in choices and will continue to build upon that experience.  For those who are paying attention, did you notice in a bZ4X concept preview video that the DC fast-charger connection was a CCS1 port?


Corolla Cross Reveal.  Among a flurry of announcements today from Toyota, one was Corolla Cross is coming to North America.  That seemed pretty much inevitable.  Phased rollouts is pretty much becoming the norm now.  Sadly, that reality came about due to our political environment having been so unfavorable during the past administration.  Pretty much any change coming from a non-domestic automaker... Toyota, despite its massive production & employment in the United States... causes a negative stir.  People needed a scapegoat and Toyota's approach difference made them a target.  This is why rollouts, like RAV4 hybrid and Corolla hybrid, were so low key.  Steps forward on that magnitude equate to new problems for everyone else.  To offer such great efficiency & emission improvements for such top-selling choices is a lot of pressure for the competition to deal with.  Watching a bread & butter product from Toyota change from world's most popular sedan to a crossover definitely spells trouble... especially since it is already offered as a hybrid elsewhere in the world.  Seeing it become a complimentary offering to RAV4 Prime, as a Corolla Prime, doesn't take too much imagination.  It would also validate the rollout approach for RAV4 Prime.  Think about how Toyota always places the fleet above any one particular offering.  Anywho, it is now official, starting with the traditional variant as a 2022 model.


Anti-EV Activism.  Attacks on Toyota keep coming.  Antagonists have nothing of substance to work with anymore though.  Today, the rebuttal was: "It's 2021 not 2011."  That was so brainless, it was difficult to know how to respond.  This is how I decided to deal with such an absence of critical-thinking:  In other words, there is nothing to support the anti-EV activism claim.  People needed a distraction, some type of narrative to divert attention away from the challenges BEV still face.  So, they chose Toyota to be the scapegoat.  Reality is, that newest BEV from Toyota (they already offer 4 in various markets) coming next year will be the first with a dedicated platform.  That gives some an excuse to pretend the advances delivered within RAV4 Prime somehow don't apply.  It's a pretty desperate move for those individuals to not acknowledge the flawless EV operation we have seen already, starting with Prius Prime.  84 mph (135 km/h) all-electric travel, complete with a heat-pump, has worked great.  People around the world have 4 years of ownership now, providing a solid basis to build reputation upon.  Ordinary consumers have no clue what happened back in 2011.  They aren't idiots though.  A quick lookup of Nissan Leaf reveals a 73-mile EV range.  Toyota is expected to deliver around triple that from the upcoming bZ4X... using their already well proven plug-in technology.


Asking For Purpose.  It shouldn't have to be like pulling teeth.  Unfortunately, it is even worse.  People try to change the topic or just ignore question when asked.  Ugh.  This is how history repeats, how we make the same mistakes over and over again.  I keep making the request, hoping for the message to get through to someone:  Purpose of tax-credits is a common among misunderstandings.  Some of that is from spreading assumptions.  Some of that is quite intentional.  None of that is helpful.  For example, the hybrid tax-credit didn't come about until January 1, 2006.  That was well into the second generation of Prius here in the United States, after the point of already achieving 100,000 annual sales.  That made the purpose of the subsidy a means of growing the market, not establishing it... which is a profound difference from the first round of EV incentives.  That puts into perspective some context overlooked and should make us want clarity of purpose for the second round.  Growth of market means no longer allowing extremes to retain the focus, giving attention to vehicles that are clearly a niche.  Never having potential for high-volume should be a red-flag.  It hasn't.  We have watched several examples in the past dominate media praise without ever delivering growth.  What should priorities be?  It's a question not being asked.  That's a warning sign of trouble to come.  Without agreement, the market will continue to flounder in the chaotic manner we have become accustom to.


Back To Basics.  Speaking of shortcomings online, today provided a great example with regard to RAV4 Prime: "ICE engine is too big.  Get it down to 1.5 3cylinder."  When that's all you have to work with, how do you respond?  Figuring out the nature of the message is extremely difficult.  What was the person's intent?  It's easy to make the assumption the poster believed smaller is better.  But then again, simply injected a "What if ?" into a discussion is exactly how a troll undermines to draw attention elsewhere.  So, was that an attempt to disrupt or a genuine uncertainty suggestion?  I ended up treating it as the latter, since I may never find out intent and it provided a nice opportunity to provide some exposition for lurkers reading the comment section:  The counter-intuitive nature of larger being both cleaner and more efficient is a well proven fact.  It's how the hybrid system achieves so much better of an outcome than traditional vehicles.  Remember, inside that gas-engine are lighter & smaller components and the pumping-cycle is optimized, since it always works in conjunction with the electric-motors.


Loss of Online Progress?  We had been extremely constructive in forums.  The nature of threads & membership made it very easy to build upon each others knowledge.  You could benefit from and contribute to a on-going learning process.  It was so much better than blogs for that reason.  Daily articles have an inherent disconnect.  It's a weakness exploited to ensure continuous participation.  Where we see growth happening now is in Facebook.  Being de facto destination for ordinary consumers, it draws in a completely new audience.  That tends to be a measure of progress; though, the quality of the content is quite low.  Most of the time, you have no clue who is posting content and there's no way to measure accountability.  It's basically a means of passing along hearsay with random links to unfamiliar sources.  That can be extraordinarily bad.  We have already watched misinformation campaigns overwhelm the truth.  Narratives become so predominant, people lose perspective.  That would be a loss of progress.  Online exchanges can be great means of sharing, but there are times it can be a means of undermining... whether you are aware of it or not.  Stay alert.  Ask questions.  Follow up.


Priorities.  This is quite common of a sentiment to encounter in random posting venues open to wide audiences:  "We need to take China very serious in the car market!"  That doesn't tell us anything useful.  It's the same thing you encounter endlessly from the online share, where people simple forward a meme along.  There's nothing constructive being shared.  You aren't given helpful advice.  It's just a horribly vague group-think without context.  I ended up posting "What should priorities be?" with the thought that such a question could be repeated hundreds of times in the not-too-distant future.  You want something to happen, what should it be?  It's very much like the "Who?" question.  There's a reference to someone.  But without providing any detail, you aren't actually telling us anything.  Yes, I realize that is outside of cognitive abilities for some, but it is not unreasonable to request.  If you say we should do something, tell us what it is.  That seems so obvious.  Online though, it is not.


Big Picture.  Being an effective narrative depends upon how well you can prevent facts from revealing your story is an attempt to mislead.  I got quite a bit of attitude in response to my previous post providing recent sale counts.  This was my resulting reply from having to deal with the continued nonsense:  You can cherry-pick all you want. It's the big picture that matters, not any single offering.  That's why GM failed so magnificently with Volt.  They absolutely refused to jeopardize existing choice by injecting change.  Volt remained a niche, rather than spreading that tech across the fleet is what kill it.  GM made that decision not to diversify.  Toyota, on the other hand, is pushing their entire fleet forward by replacing traditional models with hybrids.  2 vehicles now are hybrids only... Sienna & Venza. Both of Toyota's top-sellers... RAV4 and Corolla... now have both hybrid and PHEV models.  Prius never had a traditional counterpart and now offers a plug. Seeing it next abandon the hybrid model exclusively for PHEV is a no-brainer.  This strategy to move forward is why arguments about market or timing for a single model don't really equate to much.  Looking at the automaker as a whole, we see the progress.  And for those not paying attention, there are a few BEV models already with a new dedicate platform to be rolled out with the next year.  Think about the message all those "electrified" choices send to ordinary consumer.  They see the commitment to change.  That's why some are willing to pay a premium for a seemingly uneconomical choice.


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