Prius Personal Log  #1110

November 20, 2021  -  November 25, 2021

Last Updated:  Sun. 11/28/2021

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Today's Attack.  It was another hit piece.  The measure was an absolute 80% phase-out fossil fuel vehicles.  If the automaker made a non-binding, no-consequence pledge to phasing out sales of any vehicle with an ICE, they were blessed from all prior & upcoming sins.  That's absurd.  How many promises in the past have we watched come up short?  For that matter, how many have we seen abandoned entirely?  Ugh.  The other 20% was supply-chain decarbonization.  Supposedly, that was the entire extent of the measure.  But when you read the fine print, you see that lobbying efforts of any sort are considered "activities against climate action".  That means even negotiation for better policy is a negative.  So, it really isn't an 80/20 measure.  Deductions area also taken for efforts to improve outcome... you know, quality.  Ugh.  It's that same mindset we saw from Volt enthusiasts.  All they cared about was not using gas.  Despite being a small, aerodynamic vehicle.  Volt was acceptable to guzzle electricity.  Still to this day, we see that mindset continue.  Hummer will guzzle electricity too.  That is such bad red herring; yet, people fall for that diversion.  Ugh.  Anywho, these were the grades:  F- = Toyota, Stellantis, Ford, Daimler.  F+ = Honda, Nissan, Hyundai/Kia.  D- = Renault.  D = Volkswagen.  C- = GM.  I have never heard of an F- or F+.  Either you fail or you don't.  There is no degree of not achieving a goal.  Of course, the goal wasn't clear anyway.  Thankfully, the 84-page whitepaper itself provided detail.  It appeared to present proper research.  The article linking to it didn't.  That was the attack source.  The video guy used it as more bait.


Click Bait.  It's getting really bad.  That guy making videos from Toyota hate was especially obvious today.  The title of his newest was: "Mitsubishi's 1st EV is WAY better and CHEAPER than the Toyota bz4x".  Needless to say, that caught my interest.  What in the world was his criteria?  We don't even know the price of bZ4X yet and there is nothing vastly superior to expect from that automaker.  Mitsubishi focuses on being competitive, delivering something that can actually be of interest to ordinary consumers.  They aren't a source of hype... like GM, Ford, or Tesla.  They know they have to face VW directly too.  I was obviously intrigued.  Looking up the specs quick, I saw the 520 km range estimate from a 70 kWh battery.  That is pretty much identical.  Toyota's press release for the market in Japan stated 500 km from 71.4 kWh.  So... what could he be focused on?  I watched and listened.  In that 9-minute 56-second video, he literally didn't say anything beyond just using adjectives.  There was nothing whatsoever for compare detail.  It was blatant rhetoric... just another propaganda piece spreading sentiment rather than actual content.  Having witnessed the hype machine which that daily blog became, I readily recognize the disinterest in objectivity.  Enthusiasts are simply looking for validation.  That's why they aren't called supporters... no critical thinking.  Looking at the feedback, I did see a single constructive comment.  It asked: "Better how?"  There was another, but I doubt it will be responded to: "What is it with you and Toyota?"


Charging Minimums.  I find posts like this quite compelling.  They make me seek out more information.  Detail like this is priceless: "I installed a 20A 220V circuit in my garage myself to use with a 16A charger.  This dramatically reduced costs.  My total costs including charger and 50' of wire was just $230 US.  For our two Chevy Bolt EVs I find that this combined with a 110V charger is more than adequate for our needs."  Think about how little that topic is actually addressed.  When enthusiasts go on and on about how easy it is to recharge at home, but they never address what is needed for more than just one vehicle.  That's a really big problem.  First tends to be the easiest.  For example, they already have an electric-drier circuit that can be shared.  With a single vehicle, that can work just fine.  With a second, that's an entirely different matter.  If you install a new like, like this person did, what if it is underpowered?  For that matter, what if the existing line is?  How will needed extra capacity be provided?  When people aren't even asking those questions, you know a problem is brewing.  This is the "low-hanging fruit" dilemma.  The easiest to pick is what gets picked first.  Next is more difficult.  I stated the situation with this, since discussions have to start with something to get you thinking:  That is as minimum as you can possibly get to support two BEVs.  The realistic minimum for those wanting to future-proof their household would be two 32A lines.  That's just enough to provide both BEV a range of roughly 200 miles from overnight (off-peak) charging.


Radiant Heating.  It was nice to see Toyota getting some attention for being innovative.  There has been a dire need to improve how we warm the cabin.  When it comes to transportation, that tradeoff of range for heat is a big deal... yet, it hasn't been treated that way.  In fact, very little attention was given to it.  Despite Toyota being several years ahead of Tesla for delivering a heat-pump to their vehicles, the effort was pretty much entirely ignored.  At best, it was a footnote.  People simply didn't care because they really didn't recognize the significance.  The same thing will likely happen with the new front-seat radiant foot-and-leg heater bZ4X will introduce.  That most definitely is a new approach to providing warmth.  Quantifying the benefit such a feature delivers will be next to impossible.  We all know heated-seats help with Winter comfort.  Why wouldn't that from something directed at your feet & legs also help?  It all adds up.  The better that energy used for heating is used, the better overall efficiency of the vehicle.  In other words, if won't have to run the heater as much if warming comes from a variety of well distributed sources.  I can't wait to try the feature.  Roughly 1 year from this date, I should have the opportunity.  Woohoo!


Arbitrary Minimums.  Here is another example: "If it was really intended for a broad market in the US, it would have at least 300 miles."  That isn't how the automotive market really works.  That more-is-better mentality leads to dead-ends.  You can only push so much.  Diminishing returns becomes a very real problem.  In fact, with regard to battery-capacity, there are penalties.  Carrying that extra weight for extra range reduces efficiency.  This is how I stated it, while trying to stir attention for other priorities at the same time:  Over the years, countless supporters explained to us that 200 miles would the tipping-point, where that distance combined with dropping battery prices would bring about the paradigm-shift to BEV.  For what reason are you moving the goal-post?  What makes 300 miles significant?  You know all too well naysayers will argue that isn't enough.  It is just an arbitrary size unless you can tell us in detail why that isn't the case.  With LFP cells (or any other next-gen chemistry) far more resilient to heat, larger capacity packs become less of a concern for long trips.  Being able to plug into a 150 kW charging-station and maintain close to that speed all the way to 100% changes the game.  Carrying all that extra weight (and corresponding cost) for longer range makes no sense.  Put another way, you are not critical thinking.  More is not always better.


Tesla Trouble.  Whatever happens with current Tesla vehicles or even Cybertruck doesn't matter.  Continued diversification is required.  Both VW and Toyota know this well.  Only VW gets acknowledgement of that though.  Slowly, the situation is changing.  Some are starting to take notice and say something: "That EV nay-sayer is planning to introduce 15 EV's by 2025.  How many EV's will Tesla have by then?"  I jumped into that discussion with:  That's the magic question.  Tesla's growth is supposedly on an unstoppable surge, but there isn't any sign of a choice for ordinary consumers still... or even anything planned. Basically, if an automaker is unable to directly compete with whatever their current business-sustaining, they won't be able to retain marketshare.  For legacy automakers... like Toyota... it would be something like a Corolla or Corolla Cross equivalent in BEV.  That should be obvious.  What isn't in time expectation.  Realistically, that would be 3 to 4 years from now.  But in the case of Tesla, growth isn't an offset of traditional sales. ​Tesla needs to achieve increased BEV by conquest.  That will be limited with Cybertruck, a large & expensive vehicle.  In other words, don't expect too many Toyota showroom shoppers to jump ship for Tesla.  From another perspective, Tesla is losing its lead with regard to middle-market buyers.  Lack of choice means lack of potential customers.


Dead On Arrival.  It was amused to read this: "If they sold this under $30,000 it would sell otherwise I think it's dead on arrival."  Volt certainly wasn't held to that expectation.  When it fell short on price, even enthusiasts looked to the upgrade for achieving reduced costs, resulting in lower price.  There was never, ever a forecast of  DOA like this.  Looking at the entire inventory of choices available for the United States, it was easy to see he had nothing to argue... which was obvious already, due to his abrupt pivot away from the Fugly Box comment.  I responded with:  Your opinion is based on what?  That category is rather sparse.  Their aren't any real contenders other than from VW... Bolt is clearly not a SUV... Kona/Niro are both very small... Mach-E starts at $43k... Model Y starts at $58k.  Toyota will be drawing upon their large customer base with a fresh offering.  As for ID.4, that faster acceleration and slightly further range comes at the tradeoff of battery-life expectation.  VW guarantees a minimum capacity of 70% for 8 years.  Toyota is targeting a battery capacity retention of 90% after 10 years.  Keep in mind, even if bZ4X only sold in limited quantity, it still achieves the goal of establishing the "bZ" moniker.  When bZ3 and bZ2 are rolled out... which will obviously be smaller and less expensive, they will look at bZ4X for reliability and customer satisfaction information.  Large numbers are required for that.  Lastly, it is an act of denial thinking none would be sold.  Look no further than RAV4 Prime for confirmation of that.  We know a plug-in model of Corolla Cross will be much more appealing to the masses, but its more expensive sibling is selling well regardless.


Clues of Desperation.  I find snippets like this quite telling: "...just another Fugly Box!"  Most of the posts appeared to have a similar sentiment.  That's a clue of desperation, revealing they have nothing of substance to actually argue with.  That's the same thing I saw years ago with Volt.  They would focus on something trivial and beat the topic to death as a distraction, since they were out of constructive content.  They were lost.  Purpose was lost.  Toyota has delivered something worthwhile.  That's difficult to accept.  The same is beginning to play out again:  When reviewers are commenting about how closely the vehicle resembles the top-selling RAV4, the response from naysayers to attack its appearance is rather telling.  That's a dead giveaway of panic, confirming most of the prior argument points have be debunked.  Remember how enthusiasts went on and on and on about Toyota lacking proper thermal management, being clueless about its benefit, and being so hopelessly far behind that they were doomed?  That was all blatant rhetoric, acts of desperation to distract from how much real-world experience Toyota had already gained from PHEV advancements?  Toyota having clearly stated they are "targeting a battery capacity retention of 90% after 10 years of ownership." makes it especially difficult for any type of spin or misleading.  What is there to argue now that an expectation has been set so high?  Toyota has even demonstrated industry by introducing a front-seat radiant foot-and-leg heater.  Innovation like that is exactly what is needed to improve BEV overall appeal.  Heck, even the supposed "ugly" is a clear effort to breakaway from the mundane SUV look we now see from the market being saturated with similar looking choices.  Say whatever you want hear, since this audience doesn't matter.  It's all about what happens on the showroom floor.  Think about the backfire that took place with Prius, how naysayers were crushed by such an unlikely competitor.

11-20-2021 Imminent Death.  That double-standard is back: "If this isn't intended to ramp up to 6-digit (global) annual production reasonably soon (<2 years), Toyota is still out of it."  That same old nonsense... ugh.  There are plenty of excuses for slow from everyone else.  But when it comes to Toyota, an extreme is treated as an expectation.  The shift to BEV will supposedly be abrupt, not just disruptive.  That's not the slightest bit realistic.  The world is diverse and many countries are resource limited.  Heck, even here we are... only, that's by choice.  I wish we had a national effort.  Imagined if we all treated this like the next "moonshoot"?  Sadly, out political landscape is far too divided to cooperate on that scale.  Anywho, I explained the situation by saying:

There is more than one path to change.  Ramping up a single vehicle isn't actually the best way to build up a brand.  In fact, that can give the impression of indifference.

GM has done that twice now.  Volt just floundered in place for years, never spreading that tech to other vehicles.  Imagine what would have happened with an Equinox plug-in hybrid.  Bolt did the same thing.  Lack of diversification is not how an automaker sustains business.

Ford's plan with F-150 Lightning is just 15,000 in 2022, then 55,000 in 2023 and 80,000 in 2024.  That falls way short of the arbitrary goal stated above.  Does that make Ford out of it?  What about Mustang Mach-E sales?

Toyota intends to deliver 6 more "bZ" branded vehicles by 2025. bZ4X will be at the higher end, so it tends to make sense concentrating resources on bZ3 and bZ2 models.  Keep in mind, the secret-sauce for success with Prius was word-of-mouth endorsements.  That comes about from well-informed owners sharing their experiences prior to the masses overwhelming social media with mixed messages.

Long-Term success means looking at the bigger picture.  Notice how Toyota was able to quietly deploy hybrid models across almost the entire fleet?  RAV4 hybrid was a popular seller, even without any federal subsidy.  An all-out blitz with several bZ models, once reliability has been proven, makes sense.  Think about how many misconceptions we are still dealing with.

Consider how flooding the market with Model 3/Y has done a great job of enticing those already on the fence but ended up creating a divide for those who had no interest in BEVs.  Nothing changed.  Of course, if Tesla ever did offer a Model 2.


Someone Else Mentioned.  This is the outcome those hoping to undermine want to see: "Someone else mentioned there being a study that shows on average most people are too lazy to actually plug in their PHEVs, which wouldn't be too much of a stretch to believe."  Watching their toxic messaging spread by those completely unaware they are being played is redeeming.  They work hard to mislead & confuse.  That proves their efforts are effective.  Truth doesn't matter.  It's all about impeding what they don't like.  Vague reference to a propaganda source without any detail whatsoever is how their narrative tends to start.  It serves to legitimize their message.  Since questioning it results in personal attack and follow-up in extremely difficult for most online venues, they get away with it.  They only effective means of addressing that seems to be with video.  Short attention-spans and being able to cram a lot of detail into convenient packaging helps to combat that.  But not all topics can be represented that way.  This is one of them.  The best I can do in that regard is reply with something like this:  That hearsay is reference to an outdated study which didn't include a wide sampling of owners.  In fact, it didn't even include the newest and most popular PHEV in this market, RAV4 Prime.  Look at it this way, when you can get 42 miles of EV by just plugging into an ordinary 120-volt outlet, why wouldn't you?  Some PHEV aren't all-electric like that.  Some have much shorter EV ranges.  Remember, we are promoting how quick & easy it is to recharge a BEV the same way... just 30 seconds to plug in when you get home.


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