Personal Log #1095
September 22, 2021 - September 27, 2021
Last Updated: Sun. 11/28/2021
page #1094 page #1096 BOOK INDEX
Betting The Farm. Framing the situation as zero-sum is typical. Online exchanges are usually polarized. You choose a side and stick with it. That's why the exchanges are endless. They like to declare victory: "You forget that Toyota bet the company on hydrogen fuel cells and lost." I like to call them out on the attempt: There was no such bet. We see hybrid technology spread across almost their entire selection of passenger vehicles now available, with some phasing out traditional models and others adding a plug. We also see the intent to rollout the first of seven BEV models staring in about 6 months. In other words, rhetoric about hydrogen is starting to look pretty desperate.
They Will Pay. It's more of their doom & gloom narrative: "Toyota like all the legacies should have seriously invested in BEV's 10 years ago. Now they will pay a heavy price for their bad decisions." Ugh. Oh well, I always have something ready to volley back: That narrative of Toyota not having invested already is becoming more and more difficult to push. Look at success of the EV drive from RAV4 Prime for proof. It's an all-electric propulsion system that leveraged experience gained from Prius Prime, which was a second-generation design based on the original Prius PHV. Think about how many years of development has already put into delivery of real-world miles from ordinary consumers plugging in every night. This is why the new BEV coming Toyota this Spring has so many worried, especially with an expectation being set for 90% battery capacity retention after 10 years of use. Combining that production & support knowledge already acquired with better chemistry is what the other legacy automakers are not prepared to deal with yet. As for a cheaper BEV being more desirable than their own PHEV, that's just pointless rhetoric. Absence of any detail to support such a claim makes that obvious. I'm surprised that would ever be posted. Who is it supposed to convince?
Until When? I got a kick out of reading this today: "Toyota isn't planning on putting out their first BEV until 2025." There are a few who feel comfortable with outright lies, just making up whatever they want. Ugh. It such a waste of time having to deal with that. But if you don't, it ends up feeding the narrative... becoming undermine material no one can trace it to an original source. Supposed facts get passed along to legitimize them as valid by depending upon repetition. You just end up believing something after awhile as a result. So, some type of interrupt should be posted to disrupt the flow. I went with: Where did you come up with such nonsense? 7 models in there upcoming "bZ" brand will be rolled out by then, along with 8 additional BEV offerings. The first from Toyota will be a RAV4 sized BEV with AWD. Rollout will begin this Spring. That's roughly 6 months from now. Stop feeding the narratives.
Constructive Discussion. It is difficult to get anything resembling constructive discussion out of the local trolls. They just inundate any discussion about Toyota until it is overwhelmed with rhetoric. They thrive on the attention it stirs. Since it there's no way to get them to actually try to contribute any useful, I sometimes go for the provoke approach. Tricks like that will occasionally result in an exchange of information. It's sad that they have nothing better to do, but at least it isn't futile. For example: "It wasn't a wash with the Model 3. Getting around the same range as the standard range model meant using a LFP pack that is the size of the long range Li-ion pack." That was interesting. It continued on with the self-importance of enthusiasts. Ugh. They don't care, but that does provide an opportunity to respond with exposition... stuff they don't care about, but lurkers would have as a take-away from reading the exchange. So, I posted: Know your audience. The buyers being targeted don't care how it was achieved or what the engineering tradeoffs were. They simply find fulfillment of their own desire wants & needs... which is the point of market growth. A pack that is larger & heavier is only a barrier if you have other priorities, like long range instead of heat-tolerance and minimizing fire-risk. That's why selling to mainstream shoppers is so much more difficult than enthusiasts. Design traits very important to one group tend to be of less or no importance to others. This is why automakers produce a variety of model configurations. Welcome to a world where Tesla is forced to diversify. The mantra of just-build-more wasn't realistic. Stated in an entirely different matter, ask who would be willing to pay an additional $10,000 for an extra 90 miles of range.
The concept of speed, where faster is better, can be extremely difficult to
overcome. There's a belief in our society that first is the winner.
We've been trained to see only the finish line, forgetting about everything
and everyone else. For example: "Well, if Toyota doesn't produce an EV in time and then Hyundai
build more EVs than Toyota then, what Hyundai will do to Toyota is what
Samsung did with Sony. That means that Hyundai will outpace Toyota as
the number one auto manufacture in the world and Hyundai will be above
Toyota because Hyundai made more EVs than Toyota." That measure
of more somehow being a zero-sum with the outcome already determined is interesting. Sony isn't
dead. In fact, you have to wonder what exactly that analogy was
supposed to tell us. What happened? Speed to market is very much
a perception problem now. Fortunately, it is mostly isolated to
enthusiasts. The impact to showroom shoppers is trivial. Think
about the difference it will make in a few years, once we finally have some
supportive infrastructure & policy. I put it this way:
Faster is not always better. We have witnessed the tortoise & hare situation already. Taking the time to avoid making sacrifices along the way is a really, really big deal those here refuse to acknowledge... hence the on-going narrative. Failing to recognize the risk & consequences is what makes someone an enthusiast, rather than a supporter. You can't just wish away problems.
What should be obvious.... but strangely is not... are the shortcomings of current battery technology. Dealing with heat and risk of fire cannot be denied as needing improvement. That's where new chemistries, which Toyota has been focusing on, are vital. Look at how LFP is already stirring Tesla purchase decisions.
In other words, committing to high-volume production of something that ultimately will not be acceptable to ordinary consumers or even competitive can be a seriously mistake. Yet, we see many here endorsing quantity over quality. Comprehensive solutions cannot be rushed.
Overly Optimistic. Sometime, that "vastly
superior" attitude makes a return appearance: "Bahahaaa. EVs will be over 80% of new car sales
in 2030. Disruption isn't linear." That audience doesn't
understand why their early-adopter perspective is so profoundly different
from that of a mainstream consumer. Lacking background in business and
heavily favoring what an engineer can deliver distorts reality. We
don't operate on logic. Heck, we don't even respond to emotion
predictably. Our society is a mess. Know your audience.
Taking the time to learn all that it takes simply won't happen though,
especially with online exchanges. You end up resorting to dissertation
posted in a series of many comments:
Adoption is misleading and overly optimistic.
Early-Adopters get excited about the momentum they witness and refuse to accept the reality that those sales are low-hanging fruit. Appealing to enthusiasts, especially when those purchases have subsidized incentives, is far easier than with mainstream shoppers.
Those ordinary consumers are much, much, much more of a challenge to convince. Some of the problem simply comes from that audience being so poorly informed. They are also very susceptible to being mislead. The biggest barrier to overcome is disinterest. They tend to be content with the status quo. Waiting until the technology is well proven is required for them, which means watching an entire generation play out.
There is also the cold, hard reality of infrastructure. Regardless of how excited the masses get about BEV opportunity, not having a place to recharge overnight is a major deterrent. It is not just the expense & liability landlords must address either. Ordinary households with multiple plug-in vehicles face difficulties as well.
It will happen, just not anywhere near as fast as enthusiasts hope.
Series Hybrid. Gotta like a question asked, even if the hypothesis has little footing in reality: "Why aren't hybrids made to have a gas engine only as an electric generator, like freight trains with diesel-electric? No gas engine connected to the drive train, but just to charge and run the electric motors?" The best way to deal with that is to address the concept with some starter examples. Don't sight statistics, since that can just be twisted & distorted to avoid having to address the actual problem. That becomes an invitation for dismissal rather than an invitation for deeper inspection. In this case, the topic is a category (type) of hybrid that we have seen a times over the past 25 years. I started what will hoping become a constructive exchange with: There have been some. Like all engineering, that involves tradeoff. For the most part, it isn't the most efficiency approach. You are better off with either parallel or blended. Also, keep in mind that emissions (smog) are important too, not just efficiency (carbon). Nissan Note e-Power is indeed that type of hybrid and is still being produced.
Desperate Statistics. It is great when someone
declares failure with easy-to-disprove claims. Today, it was: "Toyota's
hybrids have been a Failure in the market.
Even today they're no where near 50% of Toyota sales, not even 20% of
sales." So naturally, I just did a few lookups to get detail...
actual numbers to show the conclusion drawn was wildly inaccurate:
56% was the marketshare in Europe last year. 159,163 of the 287,678 purchases were hybrid.
18% was the marketshare in North America last year. 337,036 of the 1,837,900 purchases were hybrid.
Sales have been so successful, both Sienna & Venza are now only available as hybrids. Phaseout of traditional offerings is quite the opposite of failure. Desperation to misrepresent is pretty obvious when you look at actual numbers. Growth continues too. RAV4 hybrid climbed to 23.7% the first half of this year. 52,446 of the 221,195 purchased here where hybrid. Adding to that was another 9,667 sales of the plug-in model, which raises the marketshare to 28%.
Needless to say, they have a very diverse & profitable offering with continued potential. Introduction of Corolla Cross hybrid will very likely usher in a plug-in model.
Expired Patent. There is yet another article
attempting to result in a boycott of Toyota. This was one of the
comments posted: "Haven't owned a Toyota, not planning on getting one
based on this [suggested boycott]." Stuff like that never ceases
to amaze me. How exactly would a purchase that did not happen be know
by Toyota? If the dealer simply sells what he has in stock and
continues to replenish inventory, what changes? This is why audience
is so important. If he never owned a Toyota, why would a product aimed
at loyal customers appeal to him anyway? Remember, showroom shoppers
tend to be former customers looking for their aged Toyota to be replaced
with a new Toyota. Conquest sales are great too, but they are far from
the primary focus... quite the opposite of what GM did with Volt & Bolt...
which failure on a grand scale. So, I asked:
Based on a narrative? Do some online searches. Notice that Toyota has 7 new models of BEV planned to be available by 2025, with the first of which coming this Spring. Look further and you'll find an additional 8 are expected in that same timeframe outside of the new "bZ" brand. The final desperate act of Toyota haters is playing out now with the hopes of diverting the spotlight elsewhere. That Toyota BEV available next year will be rolled out worldwide. It will feature an improved battery, improved EV drive efficiency, and will come standard with AWD in a crossover body. So, not only will make a boycott rather absurd, it will also get people to take notice.
In other words, don't take what's presented online at face-value. Do a search for "bZ4X" and find out for yourself what Toyota has been quietly developing, waiting until the time is right for rollout.
btw, yesterday marked 20 years since the lithium battery chemistry we are all familiar with had a patent filed. That makes today the first day when it is no longer protected... because patents are only good for 20 years. It has expired. So, this isn't a coincidence that there is suddenly such a stir and concern about what the Toyota juggernaut might bring.
Fact Checking. Gotta like this: "It took Tesla 10 years to get to where it is now, Toyota hasn't even started pursuing electrification beyond their hybrids." Some just like to post the history they want, rather than face reality. My guess is some of that comes from not wanting to find out what that reality actually is. Simply finding a sentiment of opposition to validate your hope is so much easier. After all, we saw Volt enthusiast hold on to meritless hope for years. They just figured if enough people all believed the same thing, that would somehow legitimize their stance. Ugh. I punched back at that absurd attempt to rewrite history with: Claiming that they haven't even started yet is just plain not true. In China, there is a choice Izoa/C-HR and UX300e now. Both are BEV on existing platforms. The new dedicated platform (first of seven) will be rolled out next year, creating Toyota's new "bZ" brand for electric-only vehicles. So it comes down to the question of whether you were not well informed or if you were just passing along rhetoric without fact-checking.
Toyota Boycott. A new article was published. It was just a meritless collection of the usual rubbish rhetoric. I let the comments build up quite a bit before finally chiming in. I was quite curious if any of the claims about Toyota supposedly being anti-EV would at all be called out by their plans to rollout an entire new brand featuring BEV choices. After all, GM has only offered Bolt... a vehicle clearly not targeting their own loyal customers... with nothing but a promise to eventually start producing Ultium-based all-electric vehicles for their core. There's nothing to actually support that. In fact, GM's plans for Hummer and the new Cadillac do anything but. My post was short. I asked: bZ4X will be the first BEV from Toyota's new brand using new dedicated electric-only platforms rolled Spring of 2022. Details about it will be revealed late this year. There will be 6 more to follow by 2025. Why is everyone pretending Toyota's has no such plans?
Already. There is a blog article stating the CEO of
Toyota would rather die than... It was absurd. Enthusiasts like
to blow situations way out of proportion. They thrive on the drama.
That's why we see things expressed in extremes so often. Fortunately,
out of the nonsense there is sometimes a little bit of common sense: "Toyota
should move all in on plug in hybrids." That wasn't exactly critical thinking, but
it was good enough to reply to:
Those wheels are already in motion (pun intended). RAV4 Prime demonstrated how easy of a next-step it was to convert their hybrid to plug-in hybrid. The major part of that was battery placement. The lifted floor of a crossover provides a convenient platform for that... which is why we now see Corolla Cross. Seeing that hybrid become a plug-in hybrid isn't much of a stretch.
It is a transition plan no other legacy automaker has. Notice how GM & VW lack that entirely? They are hoping current customers will just replace their aged ICE with a BEV, a direct jump from legacy to electric-only... which is an incredible gamble, dependent upon ample supply of leprechauns & unicorns. That's a risky move when dealing with consumers who have no interest or understanding of the technology.
In other words, sales success of BEV is really just low-hanging-fruit. That's fine for proving & refining the technology, but does not address the challenge of appealing to mainstream shoppers. Those ordinary consumers have very different priorities... aspects of approach Toyota does exceptionally well with... stuff that enthusiasts find boring and unimportant.
That's what the perspective of "would rather die" resonates with this audience but means nothing to the masses. It is really just part of the evolutionary process as a technology progresses to new audiences within a vast & diverse market.