Prius Personal Log #1100
October 12, 2021 - October 15, 2021
Last Updated: Sun. 11/28/2021
page #1099 page #1101 BOOK INDEX
True Solutions. I remember those days with Volt quite vividly. It was an endless stream of misleading. They hated Prius so bad, they would just make stuff up about it and Toyota. Starting with the PHV model, efforts to mislead about capacity were baffling. Lies became so blatant, it was obvious some simply didn't care. They had to retain the "vastly superior" title regardless of what it took. Video of my drives came about for that very reason. When the Prime model came along, claims of the engine running were abundant. They could see my commutes were all-electric and it made them absolutely crazy. That's when focus shifted to diversification, the bigger picture. I had been saying for years GM needed to do that. GM never did; in fact, they still have not. Evidence of Toyota taking a lead was the tipping point. I kept drawing attentions out how Camry offered a larger system and that the upcoming RAV4 hybrid would have potential to become a Prime... and it did. Enthusiasts struggled to dismiss & deny. When Volt eventually died, there as a lot of bitterness... because I evidence revealing why and how they backed themselves into a corner. Focus shifted elsewhere. VW being forced to deliver BEV as compensation for DieselGate put them in the position of having to make difficult decisions quickly, gambling long-term for required short-term remedy. It made sense. Why not invest? Plug-Ins are the future, but how you deliver them is a challenge only now Tesla is seeing a shift in. You can't just build lots of a single model and hope for the best... exactly what GM had done. Now we see examples of VW and Tesla facing growth challenges. How much low-hanging fruit is there? Market saturation of a limited choice is a problem enthusiasts absolutely refuse to address. That's what brings us to Toyota, an automaker who doesn't believe in those types of risk. Why not take the time to do it right, to have a well thought out plan and proven technology first? Enthusiasts absolutely hate that, to the point of it blinding them from facts... exactly what I saw from Volt on that daily blog. Now, there is a new hater. He just started publishing videos a few months ago. Information is clearly cherry-picked. He also misinterprets some of what Toyota states. That's a common problem among early-adopters, since few actually have the background to recognize how words translated to actions. They don't see all that is happening. I have over 20 years of experience observing. It gives you a larger view, the ability to recognize patterns and understand context. This guy is clearly off on a rant, blinded by emotion... looking for scapegoat. Just like that RAV4 Prime owner who got banned, he thrives on the attention his channel brings. So each video keeps getting more and more visceral. It's truly amazing to witness. The obvious dismissals of evidence and failure to know audience makes him dangerous... just like that daily blog. The hate riles up those who are looking for a quick fix, not a true solution.
Mandated Minimums. I was quite pleased to see this: "I wish the world would agree to make at least private PHEV mandatory in 2025 with a minimum EV range of about 30 miles." Rather than a blanket ban on PHEVs, someone was actually looking critically at design. If it can meet a goal, why not build & sell it? After all, what is the point. Asking that rarely happens. The group which published that propaganda study, a blatant effort to undermine PHEV by using cherry-picked data, has proposed such criteria. One of the points I object to. It is that power output of the electric-motors much be greater than that of the gas-engine. No explanation why was provided though. We know for a fact that larger will deliver higher efficiency and lower emissions. So, what is their reasoning for less power? It's how you use it, not how it is sized. Ugh. Needless so say, I didn't sight that point. Instead, I mentioned the distance: One of the proposals for Europe has been to set the minimum at 80 km with 50 kW charging, which would render the undermining propaganda about not plugging a moot point. That's 50 miles, well above daily commute distance. More realistic would be 65 km (40 miles). Regardless, the point of drawing attention to and ending production for weaker offerings would be achieved.
Providing Opportunity. When you generalize, you allow assumption. Not providing such an opportunity is key. Even when someone tries to avoid that, they can still do the opposite. For example: "Most PHEVs use the gas engine much more than Honda Clarity or Chevy Volt." By sighting those 2 vehicles, there was an effort to provide some basis of perspective. However, it failed epically with use of "most" and "more". Such references tell us literally nothing. For that matter, even people familiar with Clarity or Volt won't really have any context. How much more gas? How many PHEVs? That is a means of conveying a message without actually telling us anything. In other words, it is really just a waste. Not much can be done to counter those who lack critical thinking. You can try though: That is extremely misleading, far too generalized to provide any meaningful data. Both Prius Prime and RAV4 Prime are all-electric, allowing you to drop the pedal to the floor and run cabin-heating, without the engine ever starting. Most commutes are entirely EV as a result. No gas. Unfortunately, the PHEV from Hyundai don't have an electric heater. So, the same cannot be said for them. The point is, using "most" for PHEV is no different than lumping all BEV into a single category. It is a disservice to everyone trying to promote an understanding of plug-in vehicles. We need to make an effort to avoid providing opportunity for people to assume. Now with the added complexity of next-gen batteries, the messaging to ordinary consumers gets even more muddled.
BEV Propaganda. It just never ends. We go from
one misleading promotion to another. Such repeated misrepresentation
is what brought about an end for Volt. Rather than being realistic,
enthusiasts enabled a path of false promises to be followed. Some
absolutely hated me for presenting facts. That cold, hard data did not
paint a simple future for them. It revealed a series of challenges yet
to be overcome. That problem continues to this day. An article
today, promoting a glowingly favorable future for BEV included this supposed
fact: "A commercial EV fast charging station costs about $10,000."
I was annoyed that a so-called journalist from that website would be so
intentionally misleading. He should know better. But rather than
focus on the writer, I focused on the facts. It didn't take that much
research to get some data to share. That was especially disturbing.
When it only takes me a few minutes of looking online, how can their
articles lack such detail? These are helpful facts. All
you need is a few solid numbers to build upon. Making claims that
provide no value only leads to problematic outcome. Clear messaging is
vital. GM never learned that... well, they never bothered to follow
that. Ambiguity continues to be their mantra, but I digress.
Here's what I posted in response:
Vague references like that do more harm than good. That's extremely misleading, especially since none of the audience here consider the common commercial charger (level-2) fast. In fact, many often criticize 50 kW as slow. Here's suggestion detail for clarification:
According to a study (posted June 2021) from the International Council on Clean Transportation, DC Fast-Chargers (DCFC) cost approximately $28,000 to $140,000 installed & networked:
$28,000 = 50 kW
$75,000 = 150 kW
$140,000 = 350 kW
Among The First. There's a building belief that
change will be abrupt, that by 2025 so much success would have been achieved
by BEV, sales for anything with a gas-engine will collapse... to the point
of inevitable bankruptcy by 2030. That's why the narrative of doom &
gloom for Toyota is gaining so much attention. You repeat a lie often
enough, people begin to believe it. For example: "I'm not saying Toyota doesn't care at all
about BEVs, I'm saying they don't understand how BEVs will completely
dominate this industry in just a couple of years. Toyota are showing concept
cars while everyone else have BEVs on the streets right now. Toyota hasn't
ensured the battery production capacity to become a serious player in the
BEV market. Toyota's leadership still seem to assume that BEVs will be one
car technology among others, when everyone else understands that BEVs are
the one and only future for personal cars." Notice how incredibly
vague that is. Avoiding detail is key to misleading. When
confronted, evade by changing the topic. Notice how any type of
information posted in favor of Toyota either results in an attack of the
person who posted it or a diversionary post to hydrogen. It's always
that same old nonsense. Some people never see it. I share
insight anyway, hoping someone will take a moment to use their brain rather
than just contribute to the narrative:
Toyota understands. That's why they are not rushing to market. They know their audience and simply don't bother catering to enthusiasts.
RAV4 Prime delivers all-electric driving. It's a full EV in every regard. The fact that it also has an engine backup is just an extra. No gas used for daily commutes is the same outcome as a BEV. There is also the EV models of Izoa/CH-R and UX300e. They are BEV, but share a platform with non-plug models. bZ4X will be the first with a dedicated platform.
As for supposedly not ensuring battery production, how do you know that? There's no reason for them to reveal their hand. In fact, an advanced chemistry would give them a competitive edge. Keeping quiet is advantageous. bZ4X is targeted to retain 90% capacity after 10 years of use.
Remember, true leadership is the ability to get the masses to change, not to be among the first.
Like Tesla. Comparing a well funded venture-capital startup to a
legacy business simply doesn't make sense... yet, we see it all the time:
"It's not like
Toyota made all their vehicles PHEV's. Also Toyota did foolishly push for
hydrogen for a long time as VW and Tesla pushed for EV's. Now Toyota is
pushing the 2022 bZ4X electric crossover. This is a great pivot to electric
vehicles, but still criticism is justified for Toyota's reluctance to fully
embrace electric vehicles 10 years ago like Tesla did." Seeing
that claim of "pivot" already was a bit of a surprise.
Usually, damage-control doesn't come until what was obviously coming is
confirmed. Their narrative must be weaker than anticipated.
Cool. I jumped in with:
Tesla is a industry contributor, not a disruptor. From Model 3, we see the potential, a great demonstration of what will serve the masses. Actual change to the status quo has not been achieved yet. We see how VW and BYD are pushing for affordable choices, basically building off of Tesla's example to deliver something mainstream... which is where Toyota comes into the picture.
Spinning the false narrative into a pivot, claiming Toyota wasted 10 years on hydrogen is a blatant act of denial that they have been refining EV tech all along. RAV4 Prime (as well as Mirai & UX300e) delivers all-electric drive. The next step is a more robust battery... something Tesla is still striving to deliver. Going with a newer chemistry, like LFP which eliminates dependency on expensive materials (cobalt & nickel), makes the supposed delay a smart move. They have quality already. Next-Gen batteries address affordable.
And why wouldn't Toyota make all of their non-BEV into PHEV? The upgrade from hybrid to plug-in hybrid is quite realistic. Corolla sedan is already available as a PHEV in China, an excellent market to try new options. Corolla Cross (the new crossover model) hybrid can follow the same transition RAV4 did to become a Prime. It is a profitable step to reach a very wide audience quickly, while at the same time nurtures loyal customers for BEV being the next purchase.
You can have your cake and eat it too.
Beyond Engineering. It is nice to hear the encounter a voice of reason from time to time: "This has been blatantly obvious for 5 years now. Legacy auto is in a MASSIVE catch 22 and always has been. Those of you who believe legacy was or IS ever going to be serious about transitioning to EV's miss total logic. You just say it with zero understanding of just HOW you expect them to do it (generally an important point when making a case or having an opinion by the way)." Simply demanding change and insisting it is simple evades both responsibility & accountability. In other words, it is easier to complain than to contribute. Thankfully, there are some who can see beyond engineering. It may not seem logical by how & what steps are needed for true change, but the necessity becomes difficult to deny when you acknowledge the barriers... then try to come up with a means of overcoming them. I contributed to that with: Very well put. Those who watched progress of hybrids recognize the monumental challenges which impact the spread of proven technology. It's really unfortunate so many here don't see or don't want to see beyond just the engineering. I suspect many who feed the anti-EV narrative about Toyota recognize the problem, but are frustrated by that reality. Having a scapegoat makes them feel better. Reality is, Toyota's push for plug-in hybrid spread is the addressing of several issues. Think about the overall fleet. 1 BEV with a 72 kWh pack means you have 3 ICE filling in the gap. 4 PHEV, each with 25% of that 72 kWh, means you have 4 vehicles delivering all-electric commutes. RAV4 Prime capacity is 18 kWh at the 42 miles of EV from that will indeed cover daily driving for a large chunk of the population. This is why Toyota says that technology will dominate for many years still. In the meantime, we see battery-chemistry improving. Those advancements put existing supply contracts in an awkward position. How long can an automaker sell a BEV using older generation packs?
Vastly Superior. The nonsense is back: "BEVs are vastly superior tech. As we speak, purchase price parity is happening, EVs cost 1/4 or less to fuel, 1/2 to maintain, they last 2x longer, they don’t shake, smell, or pollute, they are quick, responsive, and don’t kill you and your family with toxic fumes. People care about these things." It is remarkable to see history repeat like this. A better technology comes along, but it is not promoted as the next natural step forward. Instead, it is forced through as choice so profound of an improvement that you would be an idiot to consider anything else. The pushers are rude & insulting. Nothing else matters. It is their way or no way. Absolutes are seen as necessity. Emotion reigns over logic. You have to wonder if they see just how extreme their stance is. Basic priorities are deemed meaningless in favor of their view. Ugh. I dealt with that nonsense today by posting: History of "vastly superior" taught the lesson of audience. If you don't recognize the difference between enthusiast priorities and want mainstream consumers actually deem important, you're doomed. It is basically the next challenge faced upon advancing beyond the early-adopter stage. So even if you overcome Innovator's Dilemma, you encounter another barrier to mass acceptance. In short, even though we see undeniable advantages to BEV, that doesn't mean they are enough to break the status quo.
BYD Dolphin. This was an interesting BEV that came up on my video feed. The review was in China. The commentary was by someone from the UK with the expectation of the early testing model being rolled out worldwide. There, the warranty will be 6-year or 150,000-km (93,206-mile). That seemed rather odd for a LFP (lithium iron phosphate) Blade battery designed to last 1.2 million km (745,645 miles). Prices in China will start at RMB 93,800 ($14,545) and go to RMB 121,800 ($18,887). That gives a relative idea of category. From the rating system there (NEDC), it is expected to deliver 301 km (187 miles) from the 30.72 kWh pack and 405 km (252 miles) from the 44.9 kWh pack. Fast-Charging is said to return 150 km (93 miles) of EV in 5 minutes, but that claim came with no context. Does the pack require preheating? Can that be achieved only when charge-level is low? Of course, that's only with the most rare of ultra-fast chargers... something very few people have access too and are very expensive to use. So, there it really comes down to what people will actually have access to. Converting that NEDC rating to EPA would likely bring the 187-mile range to around 135 miles. So, the idea of being competitive at the low-end is a bit of a mystery. I'm intrigued to see how something like that will play out here in this market.
Worried. Comments like this make me wonder when reality will finally hit the poster: "VW is at least adapting to the new reality where BEVs are the norm. I'm much more worried about Toyota, still in massive denial about the whole thing." That message of disconnect was common back with GM supposedly leading the way. It was a sentiment of change that didn't acknowledge the market. It focused on ideals. Paradigms shifts are not fast, they are not easy, they are not without resistance. The complex matters of change cannot be approach with an "at least" attitude. With Volt, we saw a lot of "good enough" attitude. Since it excels at certain traits, the shortcomings were supposedly ok to overlook. That dismissal cost GM dearly. They listened to enabling enthusiasts rather than doing what actually needed to be done. Now with VW, there's a reaction to penalty combined with a mix of proactive steps. That could be successful. It really depends upon VW's ability to adapt. The market will change. Chasing a moving target is far more difficult than plotting a course for where you see the market heading. Toyota has proven very successful at ignoring rhetoric and keeping true to genuine change. Regardless of how bad the propaganda against them gets, they always triumph. That comes from remaining focused... not chasing red-herrings. Ugh. Anywho, I replied to that worry with: How do you explain the investment in the "bZ" brand to deliver 7 dedicated BEV platform? bZ4X rollout next year contradicts any type of massive denial. In fact, it confirms the investment to deliver EV drive in the Prime vehicles was an effort to gain knowledge & experience for plug-in vehicles. Put another way, being worried feeds the false narrative of not planning for all-electric production & sales.