Prius Personal Log  #1083

July 31, 2021  -  August 1, 2021

Last Updated:  Mon. 8/02/2021

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8-01-2021 Cold, Hard Reality.  This is how someone's long-winded rant was concluded: "Look out Toyota, your time is up..."  It was in a post singing praise for Tesla.  I was annoyed, especially upon reading this: "...expert engineers and commentators are now saying: "financial genius", "Tesla are years ahead of the competition", "the only thing holding back sales is supply."  So again, I hammered down the message of what Toyota acknowledges and what the rest choose to ignore:

It's what they are not saying that tells us the bigger story.  The part of the market Tesla has captured is not representative of the rest, nor will the same approach work for attracting it.  In other words, simply building more S3XY won't achieve much growth.

Spin what you want about legacy automakers, it won't change the reality Tesla now faces... a new automaker aged to the point where it shares many of the same challenges as the older ones... who understand what it takes to sustain business in a fiercely competitive environment.

Put another way, the selling-points for Tesla's initial offerings appealed to early-adopters (want).  They are not what mainstream consumers consider priorities (need).  That means different strategy is required, as well as new vehicle choices... something which Tesla has very little experience with and legacy automakers are experts.

It's a cold, hard reality the comments in this topic clearly confirm enthusiasts are not willing to accept.  You can't just boycott something you don't like.  Toyota sells 10 million vehicles per year.  They know their audience.  You have a better idea how to appeal to that vast diversity of customers, you present it.  Running away from the problem is not constructive.

Having said that, what do you think Tesla should do to appeal to those seeking affordable choices?  Consider what the big automakers here sell that's under $30,000:

Ford = Maverick $19,995. EcoSport $20,395. Ranger $25,070. Escape $25,555. Mustang $27,205. Bronco Sport $27,215. Bronco $28,500. F-150 $29,290.

Chevy = Trailblazer $19,000. Trax $21,400. Malibu $22,270. Equinox $23,800. Colorado $25,200. Blazer $28,800. Silverado $29,300. Traverse $29,800.

Toyota = Corolla $20,075. C-HR $21,595. Corolla Hybrid $23,650. Prius $24,525. Camry $25,045. RAV4 $26,250. Tacoma $26,400. Camry Hybrid $27,270. Prius Prime $28,220. RAV4 Hybrid $28,800.

8-01-2021

Rewritting History.  It sometimes happens in real-time, as the event is playing out.  We see that a lot.  It's referred to as a narrative.  Those who want to mislead will feed you only the information they want you to know.  Omitting important facts will distort your perspective of what's happening.  Most people never notice an effort to mislead, since they have no idea what's missing.  History can be manipulated that way too.  I have seen it far too many times.  Someone will power will erase what they don't want you to know.  Remember how the enthusiasts on that daily blog for Volt would simply downvote to hide particular posts?  It was a blatant effort to undermine.  Some can actually delete.  I saw that play out awhile back with RAV4 Prime.  Rather than accept feedback as it comes and learn from it, he deleted what he didn't like.  It's how you lose credibility.  Those wanting to learn will seek out opinions of those who don't share the same view, then share their own observations.  You don't remove.  That happens though.  It did with results posted for the first half of 2021 sales.  I clicked on the link in today's industry summary article for "electrified" sales and discovered my post was attached to a "deleted comment" post.  Since I have this blog, I could just look up what had been deleted.  It was: "Hahahahaha.  587% of nothing is still nothing.  Total Toyota BEVs sold: ZERO.  3.7% BEVs of 56M vehicles annually = 2,072,000 down.  53,928,000 to go."  I had called out the person for posting such blatantly false information.  That attitude never ceases to amaze me.  Some people don't care.  They will lie to mislead, whatever it takes to get their "win" from a situation.  That's the extreme denial we see again and again.  They can't deal with the truth, so they create their own reality to cope.  Ugh.

8-01-2021 Know Your Audience, again.  The message from that recent article about Toyota lobbying was to hurt Toyota, to call for a boycott.  When do boycott's actually work and how will you get people to participate?  This was yet another example of how not knowing audience results in failure.  We have countless examples of that.  Some people never learn.  This summary... "The real message from Toyota is this: "We can't compete against Tesla." " ...said it quite well.  It's just like with Volt.  Enthusiasts never figured out who the competition actually was.  Ugh.  This is why I bring up "showroom floor" so often.  They only see the EV market still, not the entire fleet.  It's a doomed perspective.  All you can do is continue to point out what they are failing to recognize.  This was today's effort:

Tesla can't compete either.

The entry-level market is a massive void right now.  Look at the count of traditional vehicles offered under $30,000.  Now tell me how many unsubsidized BEV there are in that same price range.  See the problem?

After giving that some thought, tell me how well a $27,999 model of Tesla would compete with Model 3.  It's a cannibalize situation.  We witnessed this with Model S & X.  The less expensive choice takes away sales.  That's a very real problem no one here wants to address; instead, they are using Toyota as a distraction.

This is why the GM fans have been silent too.  They see a BEV model of Equinox would destroy sales of the traditional model, which would have serious financial consequences for GM.  Witnessing how successful Toyota has been transitioning RAV4 from traditional to hybrid and now to plug-in hybrid makes them sick to their stomach... because they see how BZ4X will naturally attract new sales without upsetting the balance.  It's what GM should have done with Voltec all along.  Now, GM is stuck with a floundering Bolt.

At least with Ford, there may be some hope.  The potential is F-150 Lightening could co-exist with the traditional F-150 for awhile.  Part of that is the support of their dealers is so messed up (as Mach-E has shown us), it could buy them some time to work out a process for reaching their core audience.  Of course, resale values of F-150 could plummet and none of it would make any difference with the rest of Ford's product-line.

Then there's VW.  Their new product-line is off to a mixed start.  Early-Adopters like what they see so far, but appealing to the wider audience is a very real problem... exactly like what Tesla is struggling to overcome.  Competing with other vehicles in your own dealership is an incredible challenge.

That's why articles like this suggesting a boycott make no sense.  How would that help the overall process of shifting the entire population over to plugging in?  A loyal Toyota, GM, Ford, VW, etc. customer will simply by a traditional model instead.

Demanding more plug-in vehicle availability is the appropriate action.  I live in Minnesota.  Just 6 days ago, we officially became the 15th state to adopt California ZEV rules.  We are also the very first state in the Midwest with that status.  What is means is that automakers will be obligated to carry more plug-in inventory.  Give consumers a choice, provide the opportunity to vote with their wallet.

In other words, the suggestion of "Hurt them in the wallet." is like preaching to the choir.  That message is meaningless, since it won't ever reach those who shop the showroom floor.  See how it comes around to understanding who the competition actually is?  Know your audience.

Tesla cannot compete with Tesla.

7-31-2021

Barriers.  It is quite interesting to hear people discuss solutions, but not actually address the problem.  I get that a lot at work.  When asking a question, the answer won't always be related.  That person providing it will sometimes get flustered too, irritated by you not accepting what had been provided in great detail.  They feel their time was wasted, when ironically it was them wasting your time.  I see a lot... overwhelming quantity, in fact... of that very situation online.  This is stated, "They are not long term solutions.", followed by nothing referencing the problem itself.  It all goes back to stating goals.  A reason they don't is because they don't understand purpose.  Think about how Volt was promoted as "vastly superior" compared to everything else with a plug.  What made it better with regard to overcoming barriers?  They couldn't answered because it wasn't really a solution.  It was just a really cool advance in technology.  So when you want to refine criteria, forget it.  There was no long, short, or near term.  It had no focus.  Toyota's hybrid transition does.  They are starting to see that now.  We couldn't fix the stupid.  They weren't helpful.  That's why they disappeared.  This new audience might be an improvement.  Recognition of barriers would be a confirmation of potential.  Hopefully, this post reveals something as to what the verdict may be:  No one ever said anything about being a long-term solution.  In fact, it has been called the opposite.  They are a bridge, something to help bring down emissions & consumption right away, rather than having to wait for infrastructure, production, and chemistry shortcomings to be overcome.  Also, the PHEV with EV drive is a very simple means of persuading both dealer & consumer to embrace plugging in.  In other words, Toyota has an effective plan for transitioning their entire fleet.  Other automakers have dabbled with direct BEV rollouts and struggled to entice their own loyal customers... hence the "slow down" narrative. If you look at the bigger picture, they are going slow too but are unwilling to address barriers.  Toyota is quite open about theirs.

7-31-2021

Can't Fix Stupid.  That was basically the lesson to be learned from the troublemakers enabling the daily blog for Volt.  Discovering some did not actually understanding how their own vehicle worked explains the problem I had with fundamentals.  No matter how much detail I provided about Prius, they simply didn't care because their basis of comparison was flawed.  Finding out all these years later that they were unfixable is quite annoying... though, an interesting lesson for me to learn.  Some of that nonsense continues to this day, so perfects my awareness now can help deal with it: "The Serial hybrid like the Chevrolet Volt is probably what John1701a is talking about, where only the electric motor drives the wheels and the engine only charges the. Most plug-in hybrids (example: Ford's Energi cars) still insist on using the ICE engine to power the wheels at least some of the time. This approach allows the OEM to put in much smaller batteries and lower power motors. And it means twice as much can break down."  I find it rather intriguing that both examples sighted were discontinued years ago.  Having ended the production should raise a red flag when the word "still" is used.  I know it is an effort to undermine Toyota by misleading others, hoping they'll assume all hybrids are the same.  This is why I recently started referring to the Prime vehicles as "PHEV with EV drive".  If those supporting Bolt absolutely insist upon it being referred to as "Bolt EV", why not add a suffix to Prime vehicles too?  After all, there wasn't just a plain "Bolt" for years and now the new one is called "Bolt EUV".  It's more GM's confused messaging.  Ugh.  Of course, that's what got us into this mess in the first place.  Remember all the "direct drive" nonsense?  It lives on.  This is how I dealt with it today:  Volt was actually parallel-series hybrid.  Both generations had the ability to send mechanical power directly to the wheels.  Gen-1 only used the efficiency benefit during very specific modes of hybrid operation.  Gen-2 expanded upon that ability, making that charge-depleted design even more efficient.  Point being, it wasn't a series type.  Neither Prime from Toyota is either.  Both have a power-split device and clutch which allows operation to completely disengage the gas-engine, providing the ability to drive entirely with electricity.  That all-electric behavior is default when the vehicle is started.  That's the EV mode often referred to.  Point being, no gas is used until plug-supplied electricity is used up.  As for twice as much to break down, that's just plain false.  Toyota's system doesn't have gears, belts, or a starter.  There's no power-steering fluid.  The cool pumping is electric too.  Components you would expect to find to make that "twice" are not present.  In fact, the simplification of their design is what makes it profitable.

7-31-2021

Actual Sales.  I was quite annoyed seeing this, "When they came out with the RAV4 Prime, they made 3,000 for the whole US, way fewer than people wanted to buy.", since it was followed by an obvious effort to mislead... since it only took me a few minutes to look up counts of actual sales.  Context of being in a pandemic with parts shortages, yet rolling out new products anyway, is completely disregarded.  The situation is presented as if everything was normal and demand within the newly emerging market is obvious worldwide.  Ugh.  We were allocated a quota.  It's that simple.  How long it takes to produce or how it is distributed doesn't matter.  There was only a finite amount.  That's how profitable contracts work.  You negotiate and plan accordingly.  That's how other industries operate.  Think about planning Christmas inventory.  Gambling on demand is short-term, at best.  Automotive sales don't make sense that way.  Profits are much more challenging.  With numbers so much smaller due to the infrequency of purchase and the significantly higher price, setting expectations the same is absurd.  Fast can be costly.  What's wrong with waiting until next year?  Start slow, then ramp up as education about the product itself catches up.  After all, it is not at all obvious how plug-in vehicles work.  So, anything else misleading about them really stirs me up.  I simply don't feel any need to tolerate the poorly informed spreading assumptions and drawing incorrect conclusions.  So, I jump it with real-world data to hopefully clear up the mess:  That is extremely misleading.  These are the counts for the United States.  Keep in mind, RAV4 Prime was rolled out mid-year in 2020 worldwide.  Delivering to several different markets all the same time is a really big deal.  3,200 sales for 2020 in the US.  2,975 sales for June 2021 in the US.  9,667 total sales for the first half of 2021 in the US.

7-31-2021

Context & Dismissal.  You gotta love when someone pushes a hypothetical that has already been proven false: "Hybrids still have ICE engines, and still burn fossil fuels -- especially the plugless weak-hybrids that Toyota is pushing.  If their entire line-up was nothing but weak-hybrids, then they would still be polluting too much."  There is no if.  Many other automakers only have weak hybrids.  Why is Toyota being targeted for having already addressed a bulk of their passenger fleet?  The reason is obvious.  Enthusiasts are looking for a distraction.  They are so blinded by current niche offerings, they simply don't see anything else.  I find it quite telling.  Such a lack of business sense has been the downfall of countless enthusiasts.  They fail to learn from the past which inevitably means they will almost certainly make the same mistake.  I suspect today's comment came from yet another example of that.  Here's how I responded:  Like I said, no context and dismissal.  Toyota offers ALL-ELECTRIC drive plug-in hybrids already and intends to continue to expand upon that technology.  Toyota is also planning to rollout their first BEV dedicated platform, adding to the refits already available.  Following that will be 6 more based upon their new e-TNGA design approach.

7-31-2021 Slow Down.  Supposedly, Toyota is lobbying for that.  All the claims come from hearsay and there's even a scare-tactic propaganda video to that affect.  It is very much a cherry-pick scenario for narrative support.  Absence of detail isn't a care though.  With critical thinking something of the past, we are in a lot of trouble.  Integrity doesn't matter much anymore.  It's really sad.  I jumped into the newest article in that regard on this topic with: 

It has been interesting to watch enthusiasts continue to move the goal posts, despite being in the early-adopter phase (clearly indicated by those original EV tax-credits still available to most automakers).  It would be an entirely different matter if plug-in vehicles were actually competing directly with traditional offerings.  They are not yet.

We see the potential.  It will happen.  People don't deal with change well though.  That's why there is not so much anecdotal observation without context being spread.  Claims of intent are made on nothing but those so-called facts.  Whether correct or not, it can have unintended outcomes.

For example, history has shown us that acceptance of vague promises have no consequences.  The supposed "all in" pledges from other automakers very much resemble those of the past.  When the deadline approached and shortcomings were obvious, the goals were simply abandoned.  Notice how there are no actual milestones to measure progress or no penalties for not achieving the apparent goal?  Notice how there is no plan of how to phase-out current products and phase-in the new ones?

In other words, you're being played by them and Toyota doesn't want any part of it.  Toyota is well aware that enthusiasts are early-adopters with engineering focus who have nothing but a basic interest in the actual business itself.

Toyota is actively phasing out already.  Hybrids are available across almost the entire passenger fleet now and both Sienna & Venza are no longer offered as traditional vehicles.  We also see how easy it was for their hybrids to become plug-in hybrids. Both Prius & RAV4 are in this market; there is also a Corolla PHEV in China.  The refit to create UX300e shows BEV system advancement is well underway.  Next year, the first dedicated BEV platform (of 7 total designs) will be rolled out... BZ4X.

It takes quite a bit of dismissal to not acknowledge that progress forward... to the point of questioning what "slow down" actually means.

 

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