Prius Personal Log  #1076

June 24, 2021  -  June 27 2021

Last Updated:  Mon. 8/02/2021

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6-27-2021

Being Viable.  After awhile, you see the pattern.  It becomes easy to see trouble brewing.  An early sign is being vague.  For example: "Given it takes four years or more to develop a car, perhaps starting EV development sooner rather then later might be a viable strategy."  That sounds reasonable until you ask yourself what "viable" actually means.  I responded to the attempt to stir a discussion that would clearly not be constructive with:  Prius Prime demonstrated EV drive was successfully delivered to such an undeniable satisfaction that RAV4 Prime and Corolla PHEV was developed and rolled out.  Following that has been UX300e along with 3 other BEV variants.  Toyota's approach has been to work out details of delivering a system capable of returning profit.  Now with BZ4X, the first dedicated platform to do so is in final stages of development.  That's exactly what is needed to end up with a "viable" car.  In other words, Toyota started many years ago and most enthusiasts refuse to acknowledge it.  Instead, they choose to feed a narrative of being behind with a struggle to catch up.  The reason for such a narrative is to cover up the reality that GM's supposed leadership and Tesla's struggle to diversify hasn't resulted in profitable return yet.  Think about what is required to make a technology widely acceptable.  Not only must it meet all the criteria of the consumer, it must also appeal to those who sell it.  So far, the early deliveries have failed to deliver the sales aspect... hence the desperate push to revive tax-credits.  Like it or not, Toyota is taking their time to deliver a platform capable to stirred high-volume interest while returning a profit... which is what "viable" really means.

6-27-2021

True Change.  A new article yesterday attempted to twist innovator dilemma into industry disruption.  It was rather clumsy and had no real point... other than to get people to post comments, which did end up happening: "Everybody thinks that EV sales of legacy Car makers only eats up their ICE Sales but Tesla has the same dilemma."  That caught my attention, since most enthusiasts think Tesla is just fine without having to expand choice.  That always puzzles me.  Right now, it is the equivalent of Toyota only offering Camry & Corolla.  Lack of diversity isn't considered a problem for the EV market though, in their mind.  Needless to say, I disagree.  Here's what I had posted about that:  Tesla was all about conquest, since it was a startup.  Seeing cannibalism emerge as a new problem does not change the original problem of growing market share.  Sales last year were 2% share in United States and only 0.78% worldwide.  Tesla doesn't have significant market share anyway.  Looking at it from the perspective of a legacy automaker.  Consider what happened with GM. As the situation with Volt became more and more clear that it was falling into an Innovator's Dilemma trap, enthusiasts fought to defend the choice to make that limited audience design even more specialized.  That were obsessed with pursuit of perfecting a niche rather than adapting it to become a wide-audience approach. It never became a "game changer".  In other words, supporters abandoned their original goal.  What is the goal with regard to this topic?  It is to disrupt the industry or to bring about actual change?  There's a fundamental difference that continues to be overlooked.  In fact, that was the mistake made with Volt.  Notice how dealerships remained intact, retaining their status quo of pushing profitable legacy offerings?  Spread of the new technology across the fleet should be an obvious measure of progress, true change.  We see this very successfully happening with Toyota.  No cannibalism.  Notice how there is a hybrid model for almost every standard offering at dealer?  Notice how 2 (Sienna & Venza) have already phased out their traditional model as a result?  That's setting the stage for an easy transition for plug-in models.

6-27-2021

Don't Add Up.  Comments like this draw my attention: "The current crop of Plug-in hybrids from Toyota that get 45 MPG are so efficient they put ordinary ICE to shame from their own stable, yet they pale in comparison to Tesla efficiency which cost about $20 to fillup from home..."  That doesn't make sense.  How do they pale?  Whether you are filling up a BEV or a PHEV from home doesn't matter.  How is there any difference?  The result is electric-only driving for both.  My guess is it comes down to a fundamental misunderstanding of how Toyota's technology actually works.  It took until the end of Volt production before I was able to confirm that several of the most stubborn antagonists never actually understood.  For all those years, they had argued under a false belief.  Their denial was so deeply entrenched into their stance, they absolutely refused to accept any contradictory information.  This is why some of my videos presented them with a crisis of reality so great, some just abandoned the effort.  Coming to terms with such a mistake isn't easy.  Starting down that path is though to embracing a misunderstanding is though, as that quote today demonstrates.  I kept my reply brief.  Who knows if it will do any good:  Those numbers don't add up.  RAV4 Prime delivers 42 miles of EV per charge.  That's greater than the average commute distance.  Having enough capacity to make the round-trip using only electricity puts it on similar footing as a BEV.

6-26-2021

Funding Infrastructure.  Struggle to even acknowledge that "infrastructure" represents far more than just roads & bridges has been quite a challenge.  People don't consider the big picture.  They focus on a specific detail of interest, unaware they are cherry-picking.  This is why so many seek out sources which validate their beliefs.  This exactly why I participate on hostile online venues, those unfriendly to what I support.  I seek useful feedback instead; though, contradiction is actually a form of validation.  The point is, there's more at play than what is being presented by various sources.  We need some type of standard for DC fast-charging and a consistent message on speed.  Lack of unity among enthusiasts is why agreement has been so difficult.  In fact, it isn't much of a stretch blaming them for EV tax-credit renewal having been dropped from the final bill.  How can legislative efforts move forward if direction is outcome is so unclear?  This is why I push for stating goals.  That overcomes confusion and eliminates technology quibbles.  In this case, why tax-credits should be reinstated wasn't ever conveyed.  Each automaker was given equal opportunity.  Neither Telsa nor GM were able to achieve the goal of delivering an affordable choice for the masses.  How would more of the same result in a different outcome?  Not providing an explanation or even a plan is good reason not to provide funding.

6-25-2021

Not Sales.  The safari is over.  What an incredible life experience.  We are now in a hotel room passing time until leaving for the airport.  I came across this in an article online: "GM has said it will offer 30 all-electric models by mid-decade and wants EVs to make up 40% of its United States lineup by 2025."  Notice the problem?  It is a statement of vanity, not sales.  Simply offering choice is not enough.  Sure, it looks good on paper, but it doesn't actually make a difference.  Toyota gets made fun of for posting sales projections that are seemingly low.  They are actually quite realistic.  History confirms that pattern & approach.  GM not making any statement whatsoever about sales tells us what?  GM got burned really bad for doing that with Volt... because actual sales fell far short of expectations.  It was a great example of "over promise, under deliver" promoted as a solution to that very problem.  Not the opposite is being tried.  Promote the technology and completely disregard supply & demand.  There is no "if we build it, people will buy it" mindset.  This is simply a greenwash... you know... the "halo" effect, yet again.  That was always claimed to be Toyota's approach with Prius, delivering a technology to make the automaker appear green but then sell lots of traditional guzzlers instead.  For that to be true, sales and spread of the technology would have failed to take place.  That's the opposite of what actually happened.  We witnessed sales of Prius so strong, they freaked GM.  We also watched the technology become available in both Highlander & Camry, then continue to be deployed across the entire fleet.  Sienna & Venza are now only available as hybrids.  Corolla & RAV4 hybrids are popular choices, both with plug-in models.  Prius is expected to continue to pull the fleet forward.  That's all real change, sales confirming the transition away from traditional production.  What will GM's supposed 40% deliver with regard to what we see on the road and in consumer driveways?

6-25-2021

Acknowledgement.  How would you respond to such a garbled mess of perspective & analogy:  "Why should Africa and South America not skip the entire process of building up a rural infrastructure to support and repair fossil engines?  There are countries that never had to hire phone linemen, switchboard operators, or land line repairmen because they skipped straight to cell phones.  There are probably countries that were too poor to ever get into repair-prone VHS players, but were able to buy disposable DVD players by the 2010s.  Just issuing their schoolchildren cheap Chinese tablet computers could be evading many industries."  Starting with a seemingly relevant question, but then following with disconnect is a tactic to confuse.  It suggests that all things will need repair and the best approach is replacement.  Shouldn't it be choosing a better technology instead?  After all, that has been the premise of BEV benefit since GM destroyed EV1.  Refusal to acknowledge goals is what continues to be the problem.  In fact, it is a fundamental issue with approach.  What are you trying to achieve?  That is why my observations from travel come into play so well with this particular discussion today.  My reply post hopefully reflects that:  Clearly, you haven't actually visited a challenged market.  I'm in Africa right now (Arusha, Tanzania).  Looking out the window, I can tell you even the developed cities have no effective means to embrace plugging in.  Outside of a metro area, forget it.  Many don't even have electricity.  They find clever ways of squeezing the most out of tiny combustion engines and will continue to for far longer than plug advocates want to acknowledge.

6-25-2021

Other Markets.  Getting to see one firsthand is priceless.  Far too often, people take their observations about their tiny portion of the world and equate that to the rest being various degrees of the same thing.  Profoundly different being the norm elsewhere is not what you hear about online.  Selective mindset is a terrible problem that persists to the bitter end.  This is why I followed Volt throughout its entire lifecycle.  It was obvious from the very beginning that such a niche design with such a small audience would struggle to diversify.  That's exactly what ultimately killed it.  Lack of... or pretty much the absence of... any acceptance of variant was unacceptable.  It was a "one size fits all" attitude which flagged it as doomed.  BEV advocates have become the newest group to fall into that same trap.  Not only do they push purity, they also find slower DC charging speeds intolerable.  That type of resistance is a very bad sign, something I find all too familiar.  This is why discussion of market is so exciting at the moment.  Being over 10,000 miles from home, I'm most definitely witnessing a market quite unlike anything most people ever imagine.  The post of my observations was brief though, just a simply reply to a comment on the subject:  I'm in Africa right now (Tanzania).  You are quite right about the dominance of non-plug vehicles for decades to come.  The electric infrastructure simply isn't available and the cost of ICE is far cheaper.  Understanding those markets is vital to achieve real change.

6-25-2021

Shame.  When an antagonist fails to get any traction with their opinion, they turn attention to attacking others.  Shame is usually their preferred choice for that: "Personally I think they should be ashamed of themselves for not taking the kind of leadership in this transition that their global position should've demanded."  It's all about feeding a narrative.  Do everything possible to belittle & misrepresent.  I have seen it all over the past 2 decades.  None of it survives the test of time.  This is very much that type of situation.  Any reply falls on deaf ears.  They simply don't care.  Nonetheless, providing facts still helps counter that.  Lurkers benefit from information.  So, I continue to provide it:  They are taking leadership.  Rolling out hybrid models across their entire fleet, each of which can easily support a plug, is a means of transition.  Other legacy automakers don't have any real plan to reach their loyal customers unwilling to try something entirely new.  In other words, don't listen to the enthusiast narrative.  Their bias turns a blind-eye to consumers who are not receptive to change.

6-25-2021

Rant.  I got some attitude from sharing my observation of Toyota.  As you could easily guess, it was from a person refusing to acknowledge hybrid support leads to plug-in hybrid support.  That's part of the long-time narrative of portraying Toyota as anti-plug.  That ended up changing to anti-EV.  Problem is, electric-only performance of RAV4 Prime is so good, they are not struggling to recast Toyota as some other type of villain.  Most of time those types of comment end up becoming a rant post.  They just ramble on about their frustrations with obvious omission of fact.  It's quite a pain to have to deal with.  Every now & then you can actually call them out on it though.  This was such an occasion:  Any one person's opinion doesn't matter.  In fact, the entire choir of early-adopters singing praise will have little to no impact on the decisions made by ordinary consumers.  So what if you don't like plug-in hybrids?  The 42 miles of EV delivered from each charge of RAV4 Prime is reaching an audience beyond enthusiasts, resulting in a dramatic shift in gas consumption.  A plug is a plug.  Once people embrace the daily routine, a shift to BEV will come naturally.  In the meantime, an 18 kWh battery-pack in each PHEV will have far more of an impact spread across 3 vehicles rather than needing at least triple that for a single BEV.

6-25-2021

Public Charging.  I got asked this about my previous post: "Does there exist any public place to charge EVs in Tanzania?"  Seeing how busy the roads are and how diverse the traffic can be, it makes you really think about need.  There are people on foot sharing the shoulder of the road with motorcycles and those narrow 3-wheel vehicles.  Everything in that space is carrying cargo too, much of it loaded across width-wise for balance.  That makes them stick out into traffic, which is filled with cars & trucks attempting to pass each other.  It's quite wild... fortunately, not scary when you have a guide who has dealt with that all his life.  The experience makes you reconsider driving conditions as home.  We never have to face anything even remotely that complicated.  It is an everyday part of life for them.  They have very, very different priorities.  To get back to the question, I posted this:  There are no BEV here (Arusha) that I'm aware of.  This is a land of mostly Toyota Cars & SUVs and Motorcycles, with access to electricity very limited.  Going hybrid makes sense.  Think about how much they reduce both & smog emissions while squeezing out significant efficiency gains.  Think about the 10 million vehicles Toyota sells worldwide every year.  We only see a portion of that in the United States.

6-24-2021

Selling Hybrids.  The attacks on Toyota for not going "all in" are informative.  Many confirm that lack of awareness (or concern) for the rest of the world.  It was the problem we have always had, but became quite a bit more pronounced when Volt took the stage.  That was when the "EV Market" became all that mattered.  Sales of anything else were simply dismissed.  That intentional cherry-picking has consequences.  You can't just pretend nothing else is important.  Enthusiasts learned that lesson the hard way.  Not only didn't they want to acknowledge fleet impact, they didn't even want to dilute the technology itself by spreading it to other vehicles.  That was a smug we hadn't imagined possible... complete disregard for all but what they cared about.  Binary situations on that scale are very big problems to address... as we see with the political parallel here now.  Consideration of all goals must be part of the decision making, period.  If you neglect something, it will come back to haunt you later.  Those who enabled GM to do exactly that paid the price.  Being here in Africa, has provided confirmation, validating what I had been saying all along.  I posted that in the discussion about Toyota's approach:  Know your audience.  I'm in Tanzania, Africa right now.  A quick look down the street tells a very different story than the narrative early-adopters follow.  Most people have no clue how different markets outside of Europe and the United States truly are.  There is simply no way to convert new car & truck sales to a BEV only choice quickly.  (New motorcycle sales stand a chance; though, the ones already in use will continue to be used for a very very very long time.)  Hybrids and plug-in hybrids are clearly going to dominate in the next decade as BEV finally evolve beyond unprofitable niche offerings.  Look at the progress Toyota has made with RAV4 hybrid and Corolla hybrid for perspective toward changing the minds of ordinary consumers.

 

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