Prius Personal Log  #1079

July 9, 2021  -  July 13, 2021

Last Updated:  Mon. 8/02/2021

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7-13-2021

Growing Desperation.  Attacks on PHEV continue: "It is a travesty that we are still giving $7,500 tax-credits to this dead technology with this sort of pitiful efficiency.  The Biden administration needs to kill the PHEV tax credit.  It was a good idea a fifteen years ago when it was conceived.  It is now just a shameful waste of taxpayer resources."  Notice the theme of appealing to emotion ramping up?  That use of "travesty" and "shameful" is exactly that.  It's why even "good" doesn't have any detail provided.  That's what would reveal it still is good.  That is why goals are avoided.  Accountability is a very real problem.  PHEV are reaching ordinary consumers... which is quite evident by the nature of the RAV4 Prime questions now... whoa!  Anywho, the low-hanging fruit (limited audience) with Tesla continues... hence the lashing out at funding that expands choice.  Ugh.  There's not much you can say to those who continue to push narratives, doing all they can to force a perspective of limitation.  So, I keep my replies to them brief:  Attempts to disqualify an entire category of technology by cherry-picking a specific example rather than a variety of market choices is a sure sign of desperation.  No one with constructive intent would try anything so obviously bias.

7-11-2021

PHEV Exploitation, evil.  This is what we had been dealing with: "Plug-in hybrids are the car industry's wolf-in-sheep's clothing.  They may seem a much more environmentally friendly choice, but false claims of lower emissions are a ploy by car manufacturers to go on producing SUVs and petrol (gasoline) and diesel engines."  Faced with such statement of ill intent, how would you react?  It got worse with their claims that were blatant attempts to mislead: "Plug-in hybrids are fake electric cars, built for lab tests and tax breaks, not real driving.  Our tests show that even in optimal conditions, with a full battery, the cars pollute more than advertised.  Unless you drive them softly, carbon emissions can go off the charts.  Governments should stop subsidizing these cars with billions in taxpayers' money."  Those vague claims came from cherry-picked data, specific vehicles not at all representative of what the market had to offer.  But selecting very specific examples and going out of your way to omit recent rollouts, you could feed a false narrative... which is exactly what resulted.  To make matters worse, that material gets passed along as credible by others wanting to contribute to the undermining effort.  When you look at something privately owned (consumer purchase, not business fleet lease) and recent... like RAV4 Prime... the outcome is profoundly different.  It is very easy for a PHEV like that to deliver miles almost entirely electric, stretching a tank of gas to 6 months or more.  Heck, even with my 4-year old Prius Prime, that's not a big deal.  Gas is rarely needed.  The engine really does become just a backup for long trips.  Needless to say, the battles are growing.  Think about what war is being fought.  What is the goal?

7-11-2021

PHEV Exploitation, good.  It's nice to see some true journalism tackling attempts to undermine.  This was published today: "How did PHEVs become hated pariahs rather than enabling saviours, at least by politicians and environmentalists?  Some big fleet operators exploited the tax exemption rules by buying PHEVs, then failed to make their operatives use them sensibly.  Because company car drivers don't pay for their own gasoline, they had no incentive to plug-in the vehicles.  Result?  Many corporate owned tax-funded PHEVs consumed more fuel than the ICE ones they replaced.  This could easily be fixed by perhaps geo-fencing or imposing rules, but this hasn’t happened.  So this fantastic shortcut to electrification with no range anxiety has been stymied, as green groups cheer from the sidelines."  Having witnessed GM exploit tax-credits for conquest sales of Volt and leave a horrible mess in its wake, this backlash was to be expected.  It was a business opportunity easy to exploit, with no consequences to the abuser.  In fact, if they declare the effort a failure or cry victim, the outcome is in their favor.  Reality is, a mature hybrid system like Toyota produces is quite profitable and quite reliable.  Adding battery capacity for it to operate as an electric-only vehicle a majority of the time is sensible business.  Other automakers are no where near as well positioned.  As public charging-stations increase, the ability to drive with electricity most of the time becomes quite realistic.  It all adds up to lots of pressure on those unable to compete... so, they fight by posting misleading reports.  Thank goodness their effort to greenwash is finally getting called out.  Just because something of the past didn't work doesn't mean the desired outcome is impossible.  In other words, don't throw the baby out with the bath water.  Not all PHEV are the same.  Not all PHEV drivers are the same.  Try washing the baby a different way.

7-11-2021

Vastly Superior.  Remember all those desperate efforts of Volt enthusiasts to divert attention, to focus on something other than the shortcoming you pointed out?  They see challenges.  They choose to ignore them.  The biggest of which is diversification from Tesla.  That automaker is very much in the trap now.  That dilemma from innovation prevents escape from niche.  It continues to get worse too.  Rather than build a product to appeal to the masses, we're seeing steps in the wrong direction.  Yet another limited audience offering is the upcoming Cybertruck.  How is something so radically different supposed to appeal to an ordinary pickup driver in a way that will actually result in a purchase?  When you don't offer anything that will get an ordinary consumer to change, what's the point?  This is why the "nicely under $30,000" target was set for Volt all those years ago and why I kept reminding enthusiasts of it.  A base F-150 starts at $29,290.  Interesting price-point, eh?  The pickup from Tesla will start at $39,900.  Will their really be enough people who have an extra $10k who would be happy with that choice?  Appealing to emotion is a challenge... hence so much "vastly superior" nonsense from the past playing out again.  Ugh.  Some just plain don't care.  I responded to "biggest seller" individual with:  That has nothing to do with my comments about PRODUCT DIVERSIFICATION.  In fact, I question if you even read what was posted.  Tesla must spread their technology to a variety of vehicle choices for it to achieve growth.  Simply making more of the same is not how a business reaches new customers.  Know your audience.  Look around, not everyone wants or needs the same model of vehicle.  Offering variety is absolutely essential, the next required step for a technology to expand its reach.

7-11-2021

Biggest Seller.  It is always fascinating when someone replies to your comment with ramblings absent of substance: "Tesla doesn't intend to be the only seller, just the biggest seller, and they're achieving just that.  Tesla won't sell a $25K car unless it has all their features."  He completely disregarded what I had posted and instead replied with superiority nonsense.  Such a disconnect from the actual market, his entrapment in a fictional victory made it nearly impossible to provide something useful in reply.  I eventually found something and posted: "Yup, fan boy here, but I deal in facts honestly and don't present a single side."  That was your previous comment on this same discussion thread and presenting a single side is exactly what you just did.  Worldwide automotive sales last year were 63.8 million.  To claim "biggest seller", data has to be cherry-pick selecting something specific and disregarding everything else.  For the industry to truly change, the entire market must be impacted... all categories of sales.  Ignoring the entire affordable market won't achieve that. In fact, that's a good way to prevent growth.  Tesla has a choice of remaining a specialty automaker (hence this topic about being unique) or expanding what they offer.  Delivering only 500,000 vehicles last year does not represent a large portion of worldwide sales.  The goal of significantly reducing oil demand and reaching net-zero won't happen if consumer segments are excluded.  Weighted average of lithium prices last year dropped to $137/kWh.  That's fantastic, but it also serves as a milestone showing us there's much required still to deliver competitive priced plug-in choices... those able to compete directly with other vehicles on the showroom floor.  In other words, if Tesla chooses to not even compete for sales from that audience, they won't be the "bigger seller".  Like it or not, that is the reality of the automotive market.  This is why GM failed to reach its own "nicely under $30,000" pricing target.  This is also why so many enthusiasts belittle & insult Toyota for actually trying to deliver something capable of truly competing.  It's what happens with the entire fleet, not just a specific portion.

7-10-2021

How To Grow?  The title of this article caught my attention: "What Makes Tesla So Unique And Popular?"  After reading through the fanboy nonsense about growth expectations, I was compelled to read this too.  They presented nothing of any substance.  The situation was stated as if Tesla just produced more, millions more would be purchased.  There was no sense of market awareness at all.  You don't even need to understand audience to recognize automakers offer a variety.  Why should be obvious.  It wasn't.  Their mindset was one of having fallen into the innovation trap, where you obsess with refinement and forget about other aspects of appeal.  Watching these Tesla enthusiasts make the same mistakes as what I witnessed before with Volt is stunning.  They learned nothing from history.  Growth is supposedly just achieved from being different.  That brings us back to the mid-90's.  Remember the effort gain marketshare in computer sales?  Recalling that, I interjected this into the comments:  Reminds me of the "Think Different" advertising slogan from Apple.  The brand/product needed to remain a niche to be successful.  Becoming common would be self-defeating.  That article the other day about Tesla asking "Could Tesla Be Selling 10 Million Cars A Year By End Of Decade?" didn't address a fundamental vital to growth... the necessity to diversify.  It failed by making the presumption of battery availability being a key constraint to that growth.  Not everyone wants the same characteristics we currently see from the extremely limited choice Tesla currently offers.  A choice of small & affordable would likely be achieved by removing some of the features which make Tesla unique though.   To become more popular, the very traits early-adopters praised will become diluted or eliminated. It's the classic identity predicament most startups face.  How to grow?

7-09-2021

PHEV Downplay.  Ugh!  Seeing this added to the frustration of dealing with a lack of critical thinking: "Becoming a hybrid is not "ditching ICE", but I suppose it's a (late) step in the right direction..."  That article was about a vehicle in the UK becoming PHEV only, no more traditional model.  He pulled the typical purity move, misrepresenting plug-in choices that are not BEV.  Such blatant attempts to mislead are frustrating... but at least not as bad as outright lying.  That was always frustrating to deal with.  This is just a pain.  I posted:  Misrepresentation of PHEV by portraying it as just an ordinary hybrid informs us about weakness with respect to ICE bans.  If a supporter of BEV refuses to acknowledge the significant reduction of gas-consumption by a competitive PHEV, we have to question their motive.  Isn't that the goal?  We now see 42 miles of EV from latest PHEV offering.  That pretty much eliminates daily engine use, limiting it to drives outside of ordinary commute & errand use.  Isn't such a major shift from gas to electric the point?  In other words, that "right direction" downplay is being called out.  CARB mandates of the past taught us not to focus on technologies.  Efforts should be on what the enforcement is intended to achieve.  Forcing an absolute of no new ICE sales after 2035 could have profound negative consequences.  Think about what could happen with the used market and the disincentive that could have to discontinue ICE-only vehicles early.  PHEV is a necessary bridge we should be pushing for now, not downplaying their importance.

7-09-2021

Not Rocket Science.  He twisted what I expressed to such a distorted view, posting it to convey my annoyance is a stress relief: "You are right higher than 50 kW charging rate in 2021 is not a rocket science… if you are manufacturer with warranty concerns and impact on battery, you clearly are doing it wrong … Bolt has been 50kW and it still has battery safety concerns, so I guess they should stick to L2 only, eh?"  I would routinely see nonsense like that in the past.  What you said is not what they respond to... hence getting the label of antagonist.  When they go to such a length to avoid what you actually posted, it's clear they have an agenda and will just ignore anything that gets in their way.  He said what he wanted to reinforce his narrative.  The rate of 50 kW literally has nothing to do with safety.  GM's problem with Bolt was allowing it to charge beyond the common recognized limit.  Speed was never a problem.  This is why the work-around suggestion until a permanent fix becomes available was to ensure 90% was never exceeded.  Setting that limit was the safety measure, not speed.  That's how I knew he simply didn't care.  To distort the situation to such a degree...  Ugh.  Anywho, this is what I ended up posting as a reply:  Despite recognition of technology, the point was still completely missed.  Not all automakers are the same.  Neither are their customers.  Know your audience.  1,000,000 km (that's 621,000 miles) is the warranty Toyota provides for UX300e, their current BEV offering.  Never exceeding 50 kW charging speed is in part how such a longevity guarantee can be provided.  Engineering includes many tradeoffs.  There is nothing "wrong" about that.  It's a choice.  Not every customer wants the highest performance possible.  In fact, most consumers prefer a balance.  Paying a premium something they may rarely ever use and certainly don't need isn't a priority.

7-09-2021

Want verses Need.  This is how they promote & mislead: "Let's be honest, nobody else, except laggards, are launching new cars with 50kW charging … why do you think that is?"  It is a twisting of perspective to paint a picture using selective data sprinkled with opinion.  In other words, they aren't providing facts for you to draw a conclusion yourself.  They are telling you what to think.  That's why so many people have such difficulty telling the difference between want & need.  They lose critical thinking ability from not having to figure out stuff on their own.  Give it some thought yourself.  How many entry-level BEV choices are there now?  The answer in the United States is zero.  All are expensive still.  There is nothing which targets an "affordable" market.  Remember how the "nicely under $30,000" was supposed to be the starting point with an expectation of lower later?  You don't achieve that by implying much faster is necessary.  50 kW means in one hour you could potentially potentially accept up to 50 kW of electricity.  That battery-pack for UX300e is only 54.3 kWh.  Knowing you won't ever start from "empty" and that there is also a longevity buffer, a charge to "full" would take about an hour.  Why is that presented as if that is a shortcoming?  Who is requiring faster?  Who will expect faster?  Who is willing to pay for faster?  I put it this way:  Researching cost of electricity service at higher rates, as well as the charging equipment itself, provides an obvious answer.  50 kW rate is significantly less expensive.  Reduced load on the battery allows for the automaker to provide a longer warranty too.  Entry-Level options are vital for industry growth.  This isn't rocket science.

7-09-2021

Bolt Op-Ed, charging.  Not being able to set context, despite so many years of trying, tells us much about the situation.  It's complicated.  Unable to convey detail to a potential consumer in simple manner is a barrier that should not be ignored.  Yet, that's pretty much exactly what happens.  Enthusiasts dismiss DC fast-charging that isn't blazing fast.  They are obsessing with that trait the same way they did with capacity.  If the battery was smaller than they found acceptable, it was outright dismissed.  The same is now happening with charging.  Faster is critical in their mind, of the upmost importance.  See the problem with such a one-size-fits-all mentality?  Ugh.  This was the latest example: "I know there has been some complaints about the CCS charging speed, at 50 KW.  I do agree that is now considered a bit old-fashioned.  It would be analogous to buying a brand new computer that only ships with USB 2.0 ports."  That downplay, an exaggeration of difference in such a vague manner really got to me.  It was misleading at best.  I pointed that out with:  That analogy doesn't work. It is more like comparing USB-C specs. Speed varies, despite the same port being used. With the right adapter & cable, you can get up to 100-watt charging. Keep in mind, 50 kW cost less for everyone involved. Public chargers delivering faster speed are far more expensive for both the equipment itself and the electricity service. A provider will pass down that expense to the consumer. For an automaker, it cost more for both the equipment and the warranty, which is another expense for the consumer. Markets need entry-level offerings. They are essential for widespread growth. 50 kW serves that purpose well, especially if that speed is maintained throughout the entire charging cycle.

 

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