Personal Log #1085
August 5, 2021 - August 8, 2021
Last Updated: Sun. 11/28/2021
page #1084 page #1086 BOOK INDEX
Build Back Better. It's pretty bad when you have remind regular posters of that motto from our president. Biden's approach is not to build giant electricity guzzlers. That just shifts the problem of waste over to a different platform. It means not only cleaner, but more efficient too. Electricity is not an unlimited resource. We have storage & distribution constraints to address still. I tell them that again and again; yet, that mindset from a decade ago persists. It's the obsession with purity... anything to get rid of gas-engines. It can only have an electric-motor, period. That blindness to opportunity is what has hampered progress. Sure, here that purity could be achieved with devotion to the cause... but that's not the slightest bit realistic here. We still have to address oil & coal dependency. In countries without resources, what will they do? Plug-In hybrids seem the ideal solution; promoting electricity use as much as possible by favoring its distribution rather than gas. That would encourage infrastructure build up. It seems so obvious. Some still don't get it.
Chicken/Egg. When you ask for a timeline, but instead get the same old cherry-picking... Ugh. I requested an explanation of how the bottom would suddenly drop out, support for the claim that traditional vehicle sales will plummet and plug-in hybrids will cease to exist. There are a number of enthusiasts pushing that extreme. They truly believe that by 2030, the entire automotive industry would have almost entirely shifted over exclusively to BEV. That's absurd. We'll be able to end dependency on fossil fuels, but there's still much work to be done for that to happen. The evidence is overwhelming that it will take longer than hoped. Enthusiasts don't like anything that upset their narrative though. A sensible look at the challenges we face are considered disbelief. Ugh, again. That refusal to look at the bigger picture is an eternal problem, much like the chicken/egg conundrum. In other words, we have multiple things that must first happen before thinking about a chicken sandwich. Ha! Anywho, this is how I hoped to draw attention to some of that in what has now become a topic of discussion which lost track of goals: No, all you addressed was the vehicle itself. You haven't provided anything with regard to infrastructure, which means there's nothing to support that stated timeline. For example, what is the recharging plan for those living in an apartment or condo? Think about how many parking spots that must have electricity supplied... in just 8 years. How will such a chore be achieved? That is a massive expense for purchase & install alone. There's also on-going cost of liability insurance and snow/ice removal. As for the Osborne Effect, how long did it take Blu-Ray to replace DVD? Replacing the obsolete product required an infrastructure upgrade. You can't just focus on the vehicle itself. Until people start seeing the ability to recharge where they routinely park, there won't be encouragement to purchase a BEV. In short, not taking the chicken/egg situation seriously that's slowing acceptance. Notice how we still struggle with port, speed, and pricing for charging-station use?
On The Prius Forum. Perspective is different there.
So are the participants. We have a mix of very thoughtful individuals
and a few antagonists. It is interesting to get feedback from that
bunch. So, I wait for a topic to be addressed fairly well, then I jump
into the discussion. This is what I found to respond to there: "BEVs
are not intrinsically clean, especially the SUVs that use twice the energy
that a Prius Prime or Model 3 use. They are only clean in comparison
to the dirtier cars..." And this is what I ended up posting:
Countless times in the past, I have been attacked online for bringing up "electricity guzzler" in discussions promoting BEV. They simply wanted no mention whatsoever about actual efficiency. The quantity of electricity was irrelevant as far as they were concerned. It is still is for some too. Consuming more electricity means you will use the charging-station longer, causing other to have to wait longer. Electricity isn't a limitless energy source either. Ugh.
Anywho, I did some research. Since the theme recently has been the United States falling woefully behind China, I wanted actual detail. Simply stating percentage of marketshare doesn't tell us the actual story. I knew BEV choices in China were quite different. In fact, I had the opportunity to drive a BYD model here on a closed track a number of years ago. That was interesting. It was small, powerless, had rough acceleration & braking... traits that would have a direct reflection of price. So, that's what I researched. Here's what I found:
52 = $40,000 to $125,085
22 = $35,000 to $39,999
35 = $30,000 to $34,999
56 = $25,000 to $29,999
76 = $20,000 to $24,999
42 = $15,000 to $19,999
38 = $10,000 to $14,999
22 = $4,470 to $9,999
That is the breakdown of the 343 models of BEV available. Notice how low the prices go and how many are in categories well below anything we would find acceptable here in the United States?
In other words, asking if there will be a change for Toyota is rather absurd. They already recognize the problem. We need to change. There is a happy middle somewhere in there. Simply building lots of monster-sized BEV that guzzle electricity doesn't actually solve the problem.
Tesla Not Invited. It was quite odd for the Biden administration to setup an event to promote EV growth but not invite Tesla. There's a lot to that situation. Why were the others either. Only the "Big 3" were in attendance. Despite Toyota having a massive production presence in the United States and VW planning to build a BEV production location here in the not-too-distant future, they were no where to be found. Nonetheless discussion focused entirely on Tesla. This is what I spotted for opportunity to join in with comment: "As for the $7.5K federal incentives Tesla's expired for a reason and the Model 2 should have been out years ago and R&D recovered and offset." That is a provoking aspect of growth to discuss. There are many opinions. Context is vital. I provided some: Tesla used those subsidies exactly as they were intended. Model 3 was perfectly timed to take advantage of tax-credit phaseout, when the limit switched from quantity to time. Production was ramped up production to boost sales during that period and it went exceptionally well. Then progress stopped. Rather than continuing the push to reach ordinary consumers, Tesla veered off track by obsessing with size & power. Since when is CyberTruck for ordinary consumers who just need transport for work & home? It's gross overkill and blatant disregard for what is actually needed... Model 2. Delivering an affordable choice, something stripped of what Tesla is known from... speed, power, range, and autopilot... basically cripples their business model to such an extreme, there's nothing left to standout. Tesla would go from niche to just another successful automaker struggling to adapt. This is why we have seen an increase of attention toward Toyota, successful automaker who has found a means of reaching ordinary consumers. With RAV4, their top-selling non-trunk offering, sales has shifted to 23.7% hybrid and 3.3% plug-on hybrid. That progress is encouraging change at dealerships, establishing a expectation of more to come... exactly what's needed for BEV sales. Think about growth. Households with multiple vehicles, one of which is already a PHEV, will seriously consider a BEV for their next purchase. It works in reverse too. We have seen quite a number of Tesla owners purchase a RAV4 Prime. Think about what will happen when Corolla Cross hybrid offers a plug. That smaller PHEV would deliver EV driving to cover routine commutes, but offer a gas-engine for the rare trip beyond charging-station range. That brings us back to Tesla. How will it compete for sales?
Wrong Turn. Our image here in the United States is
stained. We allowed ourselves to slip behind, but the reasoning is all
wrong. Enthusiasts are attempting to spin the situation as recent...
supposedly, we just got caught unprepared for how quickly plug-in vehicles
could be adopted. That really isn't the story though. I started
back in the mid-90's when that SUV loophole was exploited to classify those
high-profit vehicles as "utility" to make them exempt from
efficiency standards. That turn led us further and further down the
wrong road. So, it is no surprise the damage-control efforts to save
face are all over the place. The biggest oversight is looking at the
vehicles themselves. When comparing to China, there are only
percentages. Nothing about the vehicle design is actually mentioned.
That complete absence of detail should raise concern. It doesn't
though, since people only want to hear talking-points. Ugh. I
did some research, then sounded off today with this:
Calculated Risk. Upsetting enthusiasts is nothing new for Toyota. That "party" they are supposedly late for isn't something they want to attend anyway. They don't play the short-term game. When does rushing help long-term outcome? It has been tragic for GM four times now. We have witnessed Two-Mode, Volt gen-1, Volt gen-2, and now Bolt all suffer from emphasis of traits appealing to early-adopters. Look at Ford, who is doing the opposite. It has taken forever to rollout anything worthwhile. Mach-E is clearly a niche, but the quick follow-up targeted at their core customer... F-150 shoppers... is quite sensible. Of course, for Ford is it easy to stay out of the spotlight. That automaker is rarely a target, since it is rarely considered any type of competitive threat. Toyota on the other hand, has strong green credentials. So, they get attacked routinely. Today, it was an attempt to distort history and downplay reputation: "F u Toyota, you joined the tRUMP coalition, and that is why I am staying away from your crappy cars." I responded to that, rather curious if there would be any type of critical thought from someone else on that topic: What actually happened was Toyota avoided a massive effort by not participating in new regulation. It's a huge waste of resources to get into those legal fights. Litigation like that is a nightmare. So, choosing not to participate... betting that the administration would be changing shortly anyway... made sense and has since proven a wise choice. Living in Minnesota, I got to witness that legal fighting firsthand. We became a ZEV rules state (following California vehicle policy) just last week. It took years of lots of hard work by groups of extremely devoted people. There was a massive pushback and a bunch of legal maneuvers with the hope of preventing acceptance. In the end, we won. But the rules themselves don't even take affect until the 2025 model year, which means January 2024 at the earliest. In other words, claim whatever you want. Looking at the big picture, that won't actually change anything. There are far more pieces at play than the simplistic game any type of boycott appears to address.
Ambitious? We were told the executive order sets "an ambitious new target to make half of all new vehicles sold in 2030 zero-emissions vehicles, including battery electric, plug-in hybrid electric, or fuel cell electric vehicles." I wondered when the narratives would get muddled. Now, they'll have to struggle to come up with new attacks. I was amused by the absence of attention toward Toyota. We went from the seemingly endless nonsense to nothing, quite abruptly. They will obviously spin something. That's what antagonists do. But the choice of "ambitious" really puts them in an awkward position. How do you counter vague with even more vague? Lacking any clear goal was the big problem in the past. Not having any type of plan this time around complicates an already complex matter. Think about how many different models it will take to account for 50% of sales. It won't be easy. Concern should be raised... since only 3 automakers were present when the order itself was made. They had unionized workers as a common trait. None of their foreign built vehicles were present, only those specifically from America production locations. Something wasn't right. How could this be "ambitious" with such glaring omissions? I didn't care. That immediate change of posting activity is what I focused on: Notice how all those pushing the narrative of Toyota being behind have suddenly gone silent? It's not like they couldn't see Toyota's intentions weeks ago, since this was on their website for all to see: "By 2030 our goal is to annually sell more than 5.5 million electrified vehicles around the world, including more than 1 million zero-emission vehicles (battery electric and fuel cell electric vehicles)." Knowing 7 models of the new "bZ" brand are on the way, all BEV on dedicated platforms, it was already difficult to spin intent. Yet, some tried anyway. It's the knowledge of Toyota having rolled out hybrid systems to almost ever passenger vehicle that really sends the message. Making that hybrid into a plug-in hybrid is a relatively simple process, as RAV4 Prime has clearly demonstrated. All along, Toyota has been setting the stage. A mix of PHEV and BEV making up 50% of sales by 2030 is quite realistic for them... so much so, the narrative falls apart. Remember, true leadership is an ability to get the masses to change.
Early In The Game. An attitude of game over, when
things are only just beginning, is a sign of trouble. Either they are
scrambling to save face or they are completely oblivious to the true goal.
That declaration of victory so soon is nothing new. I've seen it many
times in the past. Impatience and lack of perspective are the common
causes. You can point out things to help, but it rarely doesn't.
That necessary information is just dismissed. They don't want to hear
it. I post anyway:
Using sedans as a platform to gain real-world experience and to build reliability reputation for hydrogen fuel-cell operation is quite sensible. It is far easier to scale up than it is to scale down. And of course, you can have far more if smaller is what's initially deployed to gain a much more diverse sampling of operational conditions. There is no denying that technology will replace diesel-engines for commercial transport. Point being, it is an investment to reduce emissions & consumption. Yet, people claim it is a waste for Toyota. Just because we won't see much personal transport using fuel-cells does not mean there won't a need for commercial use.
In other words, the use of "hydrogen" is really a distraction from the progress Toyota has made with penetration of new technology across their vehicle fleet, successfully getting both dealer & consumer to choose something other than traditional gas-engine vehicles. So what if a few purchased FCEV instead of BEV? We see Toyota preparing to deliver a variety of PHEV and BEV choices.
Notice how most here work really hard to downplay & mislead about the experience Toyota already has with plug-in offerings? RAV4 Prime leveraged prior knowledge gained from both Prius Prime and Mirai rollouts, both of which never had any technical issues with EV driving. They simply worked. That what Toyota has already achieved prior to bZ4X rollout, the first of many "bZ" brand vehicles. 7 models are expected by 2025.
Toyota is targeting 7 models of BEV for 2025 under the new brand. There is actually a total of 15 planned; those additional 8 will be other varieties of BEV model. The point is, everyone is carefully avoiding mention of that... because it doesn't fit their narrative of Toyota being anti-EV. Omitting such vital information tells us much about the intent. My hunch is they fear Toyota has been quietly preparing far more than they have revealed. Why show your cards so early in the game?