Prius Personal Log  #1094

September 20, 2021  -  September 21, 2021

Last Updated:  Sun. 11/28/2021

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9-21-2021 Looking Forward.  Sometimes, it is very difficult to determine whether the person's post is confirmation of similar beliefs or they stumbled across information you shared.  Whatever the case, it's nice to hear an echo from time to time, seeing the same thing looking forward.  The sentiment is appreciated regardless of how it came about.  That provides a sense of being on the same page about the future.  I conveyed my feelings upon today's encounter with:

Nice summary.  That engineering is outstanding.  There hasn't been any issue about EV drive in Prius Prime for the nearly 5 years it has been available or 4 years prior with the original PHV model.  Such success is how RAV4 Prime came about, which has also delivered a flawless all-electric driving experience.  It's how Toyota reaches their own audience, their own way.  The upcoming first "bZ" model will leverage that real-world experience... which is why so many of the naysayers have been dead silent on the topic.

Ironically, the situation a backed-into-corner for those claiming Toyota is now stuck there.  Reality is, the naysayers haven't noticed what they backed themselves into.  To reach the audience of ordinary consumers, it takes far more understanding of market than anything we have seen from BEV offering so far. Toyota is well aware of that.  Toyota also knows that most households will choose a mix of BEV and PHEV.

That second plug-in purchase is a really big deal.  Whether you go straight from ICE to BEV or bridge from PHEV, the search of charging-station availability stirs an unfortunate & uncomfortable reality to face.  We are still many, many, many years still before that becomes no big deal.  That means one vehicle with a gas-engine will remain available in the household.

90% retention of capacity after 10 years is what Toyota is targeting for their upcoming new BEV.  Again, naysayers are painfully quite on that topic.  They know the tables could quickly be turned by a better battery chemistry.  What if Toyota delivers that to this market, able to appeal to customers who have very different priorities than early-adopters.

I look forward to that next step, already in a household with two PHEV and two 40-amp EVSE awaiting that next-gen BEV... which will very likely be bZ4X.  Not everyone is that fortunate.  They want us to prove out the technology, enabling it to spread to more affordable configurations and becoming easy-to-find inventory at dealers.  Sadly, that won't happen when feeding of narratives is more of a draw than fighting the good fight.


Unless.  From the perspective of FUD, this would be Uncertainty: "Unless Toyota intends to *never* work with electric, they're deliberately putting themselves in a very poor position."  Some people do everything they can to keep the mystery alive.  No progress is all they want.  Retain the status quo.  Ugh.  I get annoyed, but deal with it too:  It is quite interesting how the anti-EV narrative persists.  It is utter nonsense.  We already know there is an entirely new BEV brand in the works, 7 dedicated models in the new "bZ" brand and 8 others all planned out for 2025.  The first of the rollouts will begin this coming Spring, the bZ4X.  Certain people are desperate to portray Toyota as a villain.  Motivation is most likely due to their favored automaker struggling to appeal to ordinary consumers.  It is a magnitude more difficult than simply satisfying the desires of the early-adopter crowd.  Take a close look at how advanced the EV drive provided by RAV4 Prime already is.  Those 42 miles of all-electric driving, including a very efficient heat-pump, are real-world preparation for BEV delivery.  Unfortunately, there are some who do everything they can to mislead & undermine about that success.  It's priceless experience which ensures new offerings... like the upcoming bZ4X... will directly benefit from.


Into A Corner.  There is usually far more to the situation than what you'll ever encounter online.  The medium simply isn't well adapted to deal with complex issues.  That's why conclusions like this are so common: "Toyota is painting themselves into a corner.  Further delay puts them in the tragic position of begging for government handouts lest they go into receivership."  Certain words... like "tragic"... make it obvious.  Not only is that way over the top, it doesn't actually tell us anything.  What does that mean?  Think about it.  We have seen that already with the tax-credits.  Without some type of financial support, there is no motivation.  Of course, isn't the carrot better than the whip anyway?  Whatever the case, without any scale or timeline or expectation, how do you identify an impasse?  With so many difficulties that are self-inflicted and so many challenges not foreseen, it's all a mess regardless.  That's why the words of wisdom online fall on deaf ears.  They don't listen.  They don't see.  Ugh.  I posted a reply anyway:  It is always interesting to see a blind-eye being turned toward the corner other automakers have painted themselves into.  Lack of diversity and lack of any clear direction is remarkable.  Just rollout a token offering and pretend issues like consumer choice and dealer support are not in need of attention. Just build more of the same and all will magically be well.  The cold, hard reality of sales to mainstream consumers is something Toyota takes quite seriously, while focus from enthusiasts is lower-hanging fruit to support a narrative in their favor.  That type of neglect is remarkable; yet, it is fully endorsed online.  In other words, this isn't a box situation.  Stop looking for corners.  Pay attention to the goal.  It's a long-distance journey with many hares making fun of the one tortoise.


Doom & Gloom.  Not all antagonists will give up.  Some will just keep spinning the situation to save face.  It's amazing how much effort is expended on damage-control.  That starts with posts like this: "Toyota is essentially saying: Hey Ford, Tesla, and VW: our market share is yours!!  Come and take it!!  We're done."  Rather than portray an image of desperation or giving up, they switch to a new narrative.  After all, the message of late-to-the-party has gone on for so long... with the party far from over... finding some new angle is required.  It hadn't crossed my mind that the party had to come to an end for their claim of "late" to actually carry any weight.  But once validated, it's like crying "wolf" over and over again.  Significance is lost as more time passes, especially if you keep repeating the same claim.  They self-deprecate.  Cool.  In other words, you just wait for the doom & gloom sentiment to pass.  They'll get tired and move on to something else.  I find it all quite telling.  After 22 years of support, I recognize true problems and don't let the noise be anything more than background nuisance.  In the meantime, just reflect back that noise with something informative:  Toyota BEV rollout is a wait-to-do-it-right timeline, something enthusiasts can't stand.  That narrative they have created in response will be very difficult to maintain once bZ4X rollout begins.  Heck, the reveal of detail coming this year will make such deception a challenge.  It's all quite telling when each "doom & gloom" response paints a picture dependent upon omission of information.


Puzzling.  Sometimes you can get the message through the mind of a stubborn enthusiast.  They don't always see beyond their early-adopter perspective though: "So it is very puzzling to me why Toyota does not understand me as a customer and does not offer an EV."  That was somewhat encouraging to read; however, providing someone like that with the background they are missing doesn't often end well.  Sometimes, the reaction is to become very upset.  In other words, they recognize their own oversight and do everything possible to direct attention elsewhere.  Finding out publicly that you made a mistake is difficult to accept.  It's far too easy to make an incorrect assumption and not realize it before it's too late.  What do you do at that point?  It can be quite embarrassing.  This is why I am pushing so hard now, before the narrative gets so overblown people have no idea what's going on.  The signs are all there.  I recognize the pattern.  We are approaching another stage.  Reveal of details from Toyota & Subaru will put outspoken antagonists in a hypocritical position.  Fortunately, some just abandon ship rather than acknowledge making an error.  Others will double-down.  Avoiding some of the latter is my effort now, by posting stuff like this:  Toyota already does offer BEV models, all adapted packages elsewhere of existing vehicles.  Our market (United States) will go straight to a dedicated platform.  That's coming next year... a detail the narratives conveniently exclude.  Notice no mention whatsoever of bZ4X or even the upcoming "bZ" brand.


Titles.  2 different articles featuring the same content.  Each painted a very different picture of the situation.  One had this title: "Toyota CEO: Going All-EV Could Cost Japan Millions Of Jobs"  It spelled out the problem and stated the goal.  Carbon Dioxide was the enemy.  To achieve the goal neutrality, we shouldn't worry about the absolute elimination of the combustion engine.  If there is a way reach the desired outcome while still using it, is there really the need for bans?  It is a sensible question to ask... especially when millions of jobs are at stake.  The answer itself tells us how to proceed.  But not even asking it is the problem.  People are not being objective.  Instead, we get this other article title on the very same topic: "Akio Toyoda Would Rather Die Than Adapt"  It then went on to describe the situation as a destruction of the Japanese economy.  Sound familiar?  Fear is being used to confuse & mislead.  It is just like we saw long ago when Volt was initially being developed.  Toyota pointed out cost concerns, citing fire potential as an expensive barrier to overcome.  That made sense too.  Mitigation systems to overcome heat risks are not cheap; they add weight & complexity too.  Enthusiasts didn't hear that though.  Posts about Toyota being afraid and the dangers of lithium were spread, establishing the "anti-EV" narrative we still see today.  It wasn't true then and it isn't now.  There tends to be much more to a situation than talking-points.  The online community doesn't operate on those though.  They thrive on headlines and drama.  Ugh.


Priorities.  Attention being stirred about battery-chemistry as a result of Bolt fires is an unexpected benefit.  Makes sense though.  GM's real-world example of that "Tortoise and the Hare" story should end up teaching us something.  After all, that was the point of the original being written.  Obviously, the automaker wanted a different outcome.  But with such attitude and decisions based on short-term results, it was easy to predict.  Rather than just racing to the finish line, why not consider alternative?  Learning to look for options is important.  A few are starting to get that message: "Not everyone is going to want this, of course.  I'm not about to do the math, but there will certainly be a range drop with LFP, possibly to under 200 miles per charge."  That is a good what-if consideration.  Would some people be interested?  There are Tesla owners who said yes, happy with the tradeoffs.  What about GM customers?  I replied:  Depends upon priorities.  It is likely the more robust nature of LFP (much more heat resistant and far more charging cycles) will be preferred over range.  Think about both consumer & business priorities.  GM has warranty (and liability) concerns rising to the top for importance.  Dealers have yet another excuse not to carry inventory.


Fall Apart.  I was amused by the denial: "Commit is nothing mysterious.  It means they'll need a competitive lineup of BEVs, for sale in quantity, in all their major markets, in the latter half of the '20s.  If it's 2028 and Toyota is still showing concepts and talking up Big Future Plans, they'll be buried..."  That failure to realize their own comment is so vague it lacks anything constructive is a trait that separates enthusiasts from supporters.  You cannot achieve a goal if the criteria of the goal is unknown.  Duh!  They don't see that shortcoming though.  It's like arguing with water.  Oh well.  I see the absurdity.  This is how I described today's serving:  Effort to maintain that narrative isn't going well.  We see the successor to Toyota's current BEV offerings as first with a dedicated platform coming in the Spring.  That's 2022, a production vehicle will be available.  It is quite telling when such a vague post is provided when detail is requested.  That use of "competitive" and "quantity" provide nothing constructive.  It's the same old nonsense we saw in the past when the story of doom started to fall apart.  Denial that bZ4X is coming by refusing to even acknowledge it or the history which led up to it, is confirmation of concern about narrative.  Turns out, Toyota was simply following a bottom-up approach instead.

9-21-2021 Commit.  How many times can such a vague statement like this be made: "It'll be interesting to see if Honda and Toyota manage to make it through the coming EV transition.  If they don't commit to the new paradigm soon, they may find themselves in deep trouble by the end of the 2020s."  I see that same pattern repeated again and again.  History will eventually teach those who fail to learn from it.  Look at how long that process took for some Volt enthusiasts.  They absolutely refused to consider the past.  Recognition of warning signs took forever as a result.  They learned the hard way.  We are seeing that play out now with "commit" propaganda.  They don't notice.  They don't care.  Reality comes crashing down later, when the pattern is finally recognized.  Ugh.  Until then, I repeat:

What does "commit" actually mean?  Is it just an empty promise with no accountability like the other legacy automakers?  Without any type of penalty, how would whatever statement made be acceptable?  In other words, you're being played.  We have seen this before by the others.  That's why so many keep saying Toyota is "late" rather than no playing along.  There is a desperation to send a message of hope... even if it fails.  It is meritless... just lipstick on a pig.  Enthusiasts are settling for token efforts.  What about real change?  Reaching ordinary consumers is far more difficult than appealing to early-adopters.

Notice how goals are incredibly vague?  The lack of milestones... or even a means of measuring progress... being completely absent should be a red flag.

Too bad if you don't like Toyota "dragging their feet".  We all know hydrogen will have a place in commercial transport.  In the meantime, its not like Toyota has ignored plug-in technology for non-business use.  They have been quietly refining their EV drive while battery design & chemistry advances. bZ4X will launch the upcoming new brand for Toyota BEV offerings.  6 more "bZ" models are expected by 2025.  How is that not a commit?

Pointless.  You try to explain why.  You get this in return: "It is blindingly obvious.  Virtually every person who tries to debate this uses today's numbers while failing to acknowledge Teslas trajectory for increased production and reduced cost.  Tesla produces cars at 28% gross margins today and they continue to reduce costs quickly with die cast chassis and battery production.  If they need to increase demand, they can easily drop prices.  The alternative is gross margins continue to increase to 40%+.  fyi, Tesla has all but spelled out their plans to make a $25k car in the millions and they plan to start in just a few years."  Including the entire post here was necessary.  I was taken aback by the lack of understanding.  Business is not a simple matter of adjusting numbers.  Lowering cost will not necessary result in a rise of sales.  Imagine if that was really the only factor at play?  Think about what the world would be like if everyone wanted and required the same thing.  Know your audience.  He clearly does not.  I kept my reply very short, since it was obvious I was not getting through to him... which is rather ironic.  I posted:  The necessity of product diversity is not obvious.


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