Prius Personal Log #1109
November 16, 2021 - November 20, 2021
Last Updated: Sun. 11/28/2021
page #1108 page #1110 BOOK INDEX
New Credits. None of the new tax laws are finalized. In fact, we are still in that pass back & forth voting within Congress. The expectation is some type of refundable credit for next year. Proposed is "a base amount of $4,000 plus an additional $3,500 for vehicles placed into service before January 1, 2027 with battery capacity no less than 40 kilowatt hours and a gasoline tank capacity not greater than 2.5 gallons, and for vehicles with battery capacity of no less than 50 kilowatt hours thereafter." That gives the impression of a tiered approach. It could be a reasonable compromise. BEV purists hate PHEV but absolutely refuse to acknowledge the challenges for those who won't have easy access to recharging. It is incredibly short-sighted and quite a gamble to think things will somehow magically fall into place without pushback or delay. I see major challenges to come and see these credits as a means to help make the situation easier to deal with. We have quite a number of barriers to overcome still. Some already driving BEV are denial though. They don't realize just how difficult it will be for some to switch to electricity, even when they really want to. Life isn't fair. We need to help those who are less fortunate. And when it comes to stuff like tax-credits, that's a tool we can use effectively to help change along. Progress comes from the recognition of what is really holding us back... which is almost always complex and full of unknowns. Regardless, the act of trying making a difference. I like seeing the effort to take this next step encouraging.
Not Taken Seriously. There is a lot of it now. In fact, the misleading is really getting out of hand. Sales cherry-picking and distortion from percentages is common, but it's really the 2 extremes to watch for. Cheap runabouts (small, inexpensive, short-range BEV) have seen a boom in popularity. They are basically Smart cars that are all-electric. Think about how bad something like that would sell here. This is why we are seeing a lot of advertising for the opposite, the Hummer EV. Those commercials are getting sickening. I see them so often. It is a giant electricity guzzler. Why is that the focus for GM right now? Oh, that's right... Bolt production has been halted until year-end due to the battery-replacement recall. No one wants to discuss detail. That is essential if you are taking a situation seriously. Anywho, we are getting this instead: "Toyota has (and is still) spending millions to thwart EV sales worldwide through government lobbying, bribes and coercion of automotive suppliers. Considering that mass adoption of EVs is critical to saving the planet, Toyota's actions for purely economic reasons (profit) are indeed crimes against humanity." I find that disturbing. It's a refusal to recognize the bigger picture. Results for the short-term and limited-audience are deemed more important, but with the perspective of the greater good. Ugh. I turned that nonsense today around with: If the mission really was "critical to saving the planet", why are don't we see high-volume EV here like there is in China? Profit is what's leading EV adoption here. In fact, it borders on the spread of FUD to not acknowledge the absence of low-margin EV offerings. Notice how the supposed EV leaders are focusing entirely on offerings with massive battery-packs? There is no push for them. Small sticker-prices... vehicles affordable to the masses... are extremely challenging to sell due to the small profit they return. That's why there is a narrative of to divert attention elsewhere. Ironically, millions are being spent on that.
More Lies. That guy making lots of money with several new videos per day does it in part from just outright lying about Toyota. Official word is that bZ4X will be rolled out worldwide mid-2022. Toyota even went as far to specify that meant showroom availability with deliveries actually starting in the spring of 2022. That makes the often repeated fall of 2022 for first deliveries a blatant attempt to mislead. He doesn't care. That's why every reference to Toyota is vague. There's never any detail. It's easy to call out someone who sights a specification that is incorrect. But when it comes to automaker schedules, those are easy to misrepresent. What I find intriguing is the detail on very specific points... like in this case, timing. We know that April 22, 2022 is when that last patent expires, the one specifically to a barrier in the United States. Want to bet deliveries begin the following day? Anywho, this was one of the comments posted about that plans Toyota has: "What does Toyota care, it's not like they make EVs anyway." Followers continue his vague messaging. They are gullible and quite easy to manipulate as enablers. Ugh. We saw this play out to an extreme with Volt. Fortunately, those lies didn't work. You can only con people to a certain point, then they begin to question validity. Walking that fine line is the game antagonists like to play. They feed narratives to the point were dishonesty becomes very difficult to detect. That's why I keep my replies to that simple, especially when you don't want to offend an enabler. They are often just passing along hearsay and get really upset when called out. They perceive the question as an attack on their intent. With that in mind, I posted: 2 models of converted BEV are already available... CH-R/Izoa and UX300e. The rollout of bZ4X will be the first on a BEV dedicated platform. It will be followed by 6 other models in the new "bZ" brand along with 8 more regular Toyota/Lexus offerings all by 2025. In addition to that, the RAV4 Prime... which delivers 42 miles of EV... has proven something both Toyota and their customers care about.
Too Late. The narrative of Toyota being asleep,
completely out-of-touch with the market, is falling apart. This is
evidence of that: "Is Toyota waking up? Will it be too little too late though???"
We can see the idea of never delivering anything to being too late as a
shift in antagonist messaging. It wasn't too long ago that "anti-EV"
was the messaging. Now that there is a BEV on the way with traits so
intriguing, a price to tip the balance isn't that much of a stretch.
There's the reality of bZ4X being followed by a bZ3 and bZ2 too. Not a
single person has ever disputed that either. It's what they don't say
that often clues you into their true source of worry. Heck, even the "all
in" messaging abruptly stopped when detail emerging from LA.
Remember how I was expecting that from the Auto Show in mid-November.
Guess what, it is mid-November and detail was indeed shared. That
reveal of production specifications is obvious stirring worry. Watch
how this "too late" attempt to misrepresent goes bad. In the
meantime, ponder how I responded to today's spin:
Toyota has been awake all along. Enthusiasts simply don't like the bottom-up approach. That makes sense. Why would anyone with such different priorities be interested in ordinary mainstream choices?
It's the same thing we have seen for over 20 years. Enthusiasts made fun of Prius, shaping it as a scapegoat rather than facing their own challenges. A great example is how Volt enthusiasts absolutely refused to acknowledge Toyota's progress with their spread & advancement of hybrid tech. GM's was vastly superior, period. Fast forward a decade, the technology in Volt was abandoned and Toyota now leads that market with RAV4 Prime... exactly what GM could have done with Equinox.
It's not waking up, it's taking the next step. That battery knowledge & experience gained from those hybrid years is what makes investments in production here easy to justify. bZ4X will contribute to that as well. Toyota does their own thing their own way, quite successfully.
Seeing bZ3 or bZ2 produced here using those locally supplied batteries is the end goal, but quite the opposite approach as what enthusiasts want. They prefer top-down, starting with the most expensive and most obvious. Subtle for the affordable class of vehicle is not exciting for the early-adopter audience.
As for timing, too late for what? So far, BEV sales have basically just been qualifying laps. The extremely long race to transform the entire market is only now assembling players at the starting line.
Daily Propaganda. Someone just called it out today. Knowing that one of the big EV websites is really a daily blog owned by a very large Tesla investor, it needed to be said. I was always annoyed by the obvious bias. But then when the sentry & driving videos became a dominant posting topic, it turned to annoyance. Purpose of the website was to promote Tesla, not the plug-in industry. You can tell by the overwhelming number of advertisements embedded within the topics too. No other online resource of BEV comes even close to that quantity. Anywho, this is what that callout included: "There is no evidence that Tesla has any sort of unique drivetrain efficiency. What they do is mostly offering sedans or very egg-shaped SUVs instead of more traditional looking SUVs, like most of the competition. And that's good for range because of the lower drag but has nothing to do with the drivetrain." I was delighted to see that, especially within a topic about battery chemistry. Tesla's abrupt embrace of LFP, rather than their long-awaited 4680, has been quite a shake up. It's a split for all to see, a vulnerability of messaging. Suddenly, there is a direction change. Even a slight detour that's unexpected can have profound impact. In this case, Tesla seems to be changing to follow rather than being an industry later. That could be a very big deal for an automaker where reputation does more for sales than quality or flexibility. After all, it doesn't take much to see scores in some categories are very low and that some goals are falling way short. Stuff like that is how consumers begin to look elsewhere and discover other options... hence daily propaganda to keep their attention. I jumped in with my observations to this change... a fracture among the devoted: Some of it could be a rush to get in front of the changing market, since messaging tends to have more of an influence than substance. Toyota's reveal yesterday of bZ4X informed us there would be 2 different suppliers, Panasonic for the FWD model and CATL for the AWD model. The ever-so-slight difference in kWh capacity hints at different chemistries. That variation of battery is what Tesla is doing and they likely want to promote it while Toyota chooses the subtle approach. Knowing that Toyota BEV currently selling in China probably use some China supplied cells, that supposed advantage claimed in this article is basically just hearsay. Both automakers will be striving to improve efficiency regardless of the current circumstances.
Distorted Past. Being so far away from GM's longest-running disaster and now being within its most-expensive disaster, losing perspective is easy. Forgetting detail is even easier. Not knowing it in the first place, just guessing at what you seem to recall what happened is what we see playing out now. I stumbled across these in a topic about the current state of GM and its future: "They almost made an electric cadillac which was a volt rebadge..." That was just plan wrong. ELR was indeed a vehicle that became a reality, an unpleasant one though. It failed so quickly, it is easy to see how the "almost" came about. This one was especially telling: "The Volt is a bigger car, more beefy in every respect than a model 3 or leaf..." In what reality did that take place? Volt was tiny and no where near as powerful as a Model 3 and Leaf definitely had a bigger interior (rear seating). This was my favorite though: "IMHO the Voltec drivetrain - the serial PHEV - is uniquely perfect..." That misconception about how Volt actually operated is clearly becoming the biggest "wrong" of all. That was never true. It makes me wonder if some posting that understand what "serial" actually means. It also makes me wonder how poorly informed they are. Since BMW i3 was a true serial plug-in hybrid and Nissan e-Power still is (as of April 2021, there were 500,000 purchases of the 3 combined models), how can they not see the difference? Blind to truth is true. Of course, some of that is the cold, hard reality of Toyota having delivered: "Wish they built a 50 mile Volt full size pickup or SUV. Best of both worlds." Seeing RAV4 Prime so close to that market at 42 miles of EV, it could be difficult for a GM supporter to accept... hence the distorted past. Rewriting history is so much easier. Ugh.
Past Failure. My interest was peaked when I saw this: "The current best efficient engines are dominated by Toyota." The reason why is simple, it's true. That truth will stir FUD within the big Prius forum. Antagonists there see they lost the argument. Their reaction is very predictable. They will hit the reset button. Pretending this is an entirely new topic, they will ask the same question they did in the past. I have seen repetition of that behavior so often now, its pointless to even bother toying with their bait. They simply don't care. The forum is there for their entertainment, not to learn & execute. Ugh. Past failure will repeat because of this. It's amazing how they will turn a blind-eye to prior mistakes and signs of that same thing happening again. In this case, I chose to respond to the sensible and disregard however they reply to it: It's entirely possible the same will be true (among legacy automakers) for motor efficiency as well. Based on the tidbits of info we have so far, the mi/kWh for bZ4X will be better than the ID.4 rating. As hung up as people get about "Toyota attitude", you would think some would actually consider detail. The resulting hardware & software is still better. We know that is what will end up getting deployed to the masses. So what if their approach is different? If you travel to less fortunate countries, you will find lots of small-engine vehicles. As much as we would like all to become BEV right away, it's not realistic. So a ban or pledge with an absolute of all ICE isn't taking the situation seriously. Why can't those use 100% non-fossil-fuel instead? Clean, Renewable, and Carbon-Neutral are the desired outcomes, right? In other words, we are witnessing the CARB failure repeat. Rather than focus on goals, focus is on technology. Some never learn from history.
Climate Catastrophe. That writer of the Toyota electrification article continues to exchange posts with me. That is a surprise. This was the most recent: "The point is that the IPCC report makes clear that every bit of emissions is a problem. We need to stop ASAP. We are at 1.1C temperature rise now and 1.5C is pretty much locked in. That kills off coral reefs and has all kinds of climate catastrophes built in. The laws of physics don't care. We should." That is what I was expect from an advocate who just started to advocate recently, someone who was total indifferent to the "crisis" over the past 2 decades and only now came to realize we were in trouble. In other words, he is pressing the panic button and is dumbstruck by my lack of panic in return. I'm well aware of the causes for the mess we are in. That's what I'm focusing on... the source of the fire, not the fire itself. Put another way, it is not the technology, it is the people you are trying to sell it to. I stated the situation this way: Know your audience. Preaching to the choir won't change anything. I have been working to find ways to appeal climate solutions to ordinary consumers for over 20 years. Many simply don't care. Toyota's choice to not use a brut-force approach like everyone else is key. So what if a PHEV uses its gas-engine for long trips? If all the other driving is electric, that's a drastic reduction of both carbon & smog emissions.
Promoting. Reaction to my post was anger. He didn't like what I had to say. It was expected. One of two outcomes was too... either attack the messenger or ignore them. He said he was done, refusing to discuss the situation anymore... since I was supposedly being unreasonable. That reaction is common. When I person becomes so familiar with something new, they can have a very difficult time seeing from the perspective they formerly had. In this case, the BEV makes so much sense based on the traits he was most interested in, it seemed unworthy to waste any time or resources focusing on any other trait. In his mind, that is all that's important. Different people with different priorities don't matter. Ugh. That is a horrible way of promoting a product with a wide array of strong attributes. I was done with him, so I said my goodbye with: Are you really that far out of touch how BEV should be promoted!?! While the rest of us are promoting clean, reliability, low maintenance, and cheap operating cost... you're still in the traditional world of using the appeal of more being better. Ugh.
Paradigm Shift. It is interesting to watch the enthusiasts face change. That early-adopter focus on range & speed was quite redeeming. It satisfied their want. Addressing need was not important for establishing the market. Simply delivering something with a plug was the only requirement at that stage. Moving on doesn't make sense in their mind: "There is no reason for lowering the power so much other than trying to make their ice vehicles look better." The lesson from Volt was not learned. I find it very informative. Exactly as predicted, they are out of touch with ordinary consumers to such an extreme, there's no way to relate. Enthusiasts are baffled by the different priorities. I responded to that confusion today with: Loss of perspective is common. Raising power (range & speed) to the point where BEV price is too expensive to compete directly with ICE has been the issue. Continuing to fail to address that is an act of denial. It's the classic overkill problem. Enthusiasts cater to want, always pursuing more and never satisfied... refusing to acknowledge need. Look at how vehicles kept getting larger and larger, to the point where they no longer sold well. That's why we see a size shift, now reduction is favored. Both small SUV and small Pickup choices have returned. Haven't you noticed?