Prius Personal Log #1111
November 25, 2021 - November 27, 2021
Last Updated: Sun. 11/28/2021
page #1110 page #1112 BOOK INDEX
Shameful. We have seen this before, shame being used to divert attention away from themself: "Toyota lobbies, around the world, strongly against the adoption & promotion of BEVs, and against stricter emissions standards which would favor BEVs. This is not new. Toyoda-bozu has called BEVs as a joke and a fad. Toyota behavior with regard to all-electric vehicles is shameful." I don't see any reason to put up with that nonsense anymore. It is overwhelmingly been proven a waste of time. They are wrong and the behavior is an act of denial. So, I call them out on their own attempt to deceive: The shameful act is using Toyota as a diversion. We see them making slow & steady progress with plug-in offerings, but attention is directed elsewhere to amplify & mislead. It's quite telling. Anyone with half a brain will notice that GM, the supposed legacy leader, hasn't actually made any progress. In fact, GM is worse off now than it was years ago. They literally have no plug-in for sale and their entire inventory has shifted toward larger gas guzzlers. Meanwhile the startup leader, Tesla, continues to hope for the best with expensive offerings. There is still nothing expected for middle-market buyers yet. If it wasn't for VW being forced to deliver BEV, there wouldn't be much to talk about. Sadly, VW only has a small presence in the American market. Those who practice critical-thinking see the "all in" pledges as empty promises. There are no milestones to confirm advancement. There are no penalties as a consequence of failure. Heck, there aren't even plans stating how the transition will be achieved. That is actually the joke and fade. It is a "me too" without any commitment. Watching enthusiasts back themselves into a corner is fascinating.
Finally, Something Sensible. The gross overkill
specifications of Tesla vehicles was a nice selling-point to appeal to
early-adopters. Their preference for those traits were quite obvious
at gatherings. Unfortunately, those same traits are why mainstream
shoppers still show no interest beyond curiosity. The perspective of
Tesla being "too expensive" to even be considered. There's no
affordable model, so a purchase simply won't happen. Neither VW nor
Toyota have that luxury of performance-focus. They must strike a
balance of cost, that want verses need challenge. I was absolutely
delighted today to point out exactly that in comments about VW's upcoming
BEV. This is what I posted:
Common specifications emerging would be a sign of the market beginning to mature. VW's biggest competitor is Toyota. Both have far-reaching customers and enormous production-volume, which is why continuing to focus so much on Tesla doesn't make sense. We are seeing the legacy automakers starting to flex their muscle, taking advantage of their established distribution & sales networks. Watch for patterns as ordinary consumers begin to get targeted.
Looking at the specs of the base models, it is easy to see similarities:
77 kWh battery
520 km WLTP range
128 kW (172 hp) FWD
135 kW DC charging
71.4 kWh battery
500 km WLTP range
150 kW (201 hp) FWD
150 kW DC charging
The performance model also closely resembles those specs:
VW ID.4 Pro
77 kWh battery
520 km WLTP range
150 kW (201 hp) FWD
125 kW DC charging
Calling Them Out. I may end up getting banned for angering an author. That won't stop me from staying what needs to be said though. Today, it was calling this out: "Lexus, Mazda and Toyota were the most reliable brands. All three offer numerous hybrids and have a strong resistance to BEVs." That's just more of the same narrative, a blatant effort to milk the opportunity to keep readers engaged. Their articles generate income. Click-Bait and content which provokes posting is how they thrive. That's really unfortunate. It's another one of those cold, hard reality facts of this business. I sounded off to that quote by posting: At what point does credibility of the media fall when questionable statements start to stand out as misleading? bZ4X (and its sibling Solterra) kicked off new dedicated-platform BEV plans from Toyota, making it clear there will be 6 more from that new "bZ" brand and 8 more under current labels by 2025. What does "strong resistance" to BEVs mean with intentions like that?
Charger Pricing. Those still obsessed with
engineering continue to neglect the importance of other aspects of business.
It's really nice to hear from other voices online at times. Today was
just such an occasion with: "Nice article for those of us on the
"outside" trying to get educated. But I've not heard mention of
$$/kWh. How do prices vary? Are fast chargers more expensive per
kWh or per mile?" I was delighted to contribute to that
Price plays a major role; yet, as you point out it is not mentioned. That's really unfortunate... and telling of what stage we are at... still stuck at introduction.
People here get all worked up about offering the fastest kW possible. How much more that speed costs compared to a basic DCFC rate is problem. I saved this info from a recent article addressing charging costs:
0-60 kW = $0.17 per minute
60-100 kW = $0.45 per minute
100-180 kW = $0.84 per minute
180-250 kW = $1.35 per minute
Note that some states do not allow billing per-kilowatt. That's why it is especially important to be aware of how per-minute comes into play.
There are other factors to keep in mind, which most people won't know about since they usually don't get mentioned either. Pre-Warming of the pack to allow faster charging is a big one. That you can do ahead of time to avoid per-minute billing impact. Another is the state of charge. NCA and NMC chemistries tend to slow down quite a bit after the 50-60% mark. With LFP, speed can actually increase then and it can retain a fairly fast speed all the way to 100%.
Needless to say, there is much to address still on the topic of high-speed public charging.
LFP in Winter. That well-known Tesla supporter in Norway published a video recently. He has access to a LFP model, but it isn't quite cold enough there yet. So, this was just a teaser to get discussions going. It definitely captured the interest of many, including me. Since the temperature was little above freezing, the demonstration itself was limited. There were some thought-provoking comments though. This particular one hooked me: "I think this LFP battery is bad for cold weather. A lot of complaints in chinese media." It was an opportunity to share some of my findings: It is important to recognize the market in China. Look at some of their top-selling BEV. Many are small & cheap. LFP enables such low pricing. The chemistry is inexpensive and no thermal management is required. LFP is much more tolerant of heat compared to NCA or NMC batteries. The catch is, they take a big hit in the cold. This difference in chemistry brings about a new stage in EV growth. We have to ask how much of Tesla's existing design supports the greater demand of LFP for warming compared to designs with that purpose from the ground up. Watching Toyota's recent bZ4X reveal, it is only a minute into the video when they highlight their battery-warming design. We have been told a paradigm-shift will level the playing field. This is evidence of change fanboys were no prepared for. Things are about to get very interesting.
That Big GM Forum. I was curious what had become of it. Not having checked it out for ages, it was too good to resist. What would they be discussing with the downfall of Bolt and the upcoming Hummer looking more like a publicity-stunt than any actual effort to change. To my surprise, the topic listed in the main page of the forum was about Toyota... how it has no overcome the chip shortage and now anticipates production growth this December, up from the previous December. In other words, the problems with GM are getting too real to ignore. No amount of Hummer & Lyriq distraction help. GM is in trouble. Ironically, someone in the discussion posted: "Toyota is under some criticism for being so behind everyone on EV development so may be trying to garner better press with this chip stuff." A distraction about a distraction, interesting. In reality, the news of bZ4X is devastating to GM... since Toyota has already absolutely crushed expectations those supporting Volt ever had. In fact, one of the people I had often quoted from those days long passed had this to say about the situation in response to that comment: "Yet Toyota will have a Compact CUV EV before GM; something we've all but begged for (Voltec) for almost a decade now.... GM's promised an onslaught of EV's between now and 2025, meanwhile 1/3 of Toyota's today are some sort of Hybrid/EV." Those are words from a supporter who present the cold, hard reality without any expectation of backlash. They all know it. Evidence of GM's fall has all too clear at the Los Angeles auto show this week. The absence of plug-in vehicles is a sign of serious struggle. The supposed leader is no longer leading... or even trying.
China Equivalent? The top-selling BEV in China for the first half of 2021 was that Wuling HongGauge Mini EV. Despite the vehicle being tiny & powerless, there were 181,810 purchased. That's amazing, but no surprise with a starting price of $4,200 US. Following that were sales of Model 3 (84,844) and Model Y (46,180). The first Chinese brand vehicle was the BYD Han EV. With 38,665 and a price starting around $30k US, I was intrigued. How close would bZ4X specs compare? Since it a very aerodynamic sedan, the 500 km NEDC rating is a reasonable expectation. That's extra 100km from not being a SUV should go without saying. As for the motor and battery, it offers 163 kW (219 hp) and 76.9 kWh LFP. That's shockingly close to bZ4X. My interest was captured. What sold next best? It was the Great Wall Ora Black Cat at 31,994. That was another tiny & powerless choice, but with better specs at just over $11k US. Following that was the vehicle often compared to Tesla, the GAC Aion S. With 30,452 purchases, that quantity provides a peek into the approach for their audience in China. For specs, it delivers 510 km with 135 kW (181 hp) from a base 58.8 kWh lithium battery at $36k. There is also a 50.6 kWh LFP option. A few more small offerings followed. Next was XPeng P7, another Tesla competitor for around $36k US. Sales were 19,496. Specs are 196 kW with 60.2 kWh LFP and 480 km NEDC. It will be interesting to see how things progress. With the market here having basically abandoned small cars... just like in the 70's... will we see booming entry of China-made choices? It seems possible, especially since we saw that happen decades ago with the void the Big-3 created for Japan-mode choices.
Email Ultimatum. Those who placed an order with Tesla but have delayed delivery for whatever reason are now getting pushed to finally follow through. Not being ready is to be expected, there is some natural hesitation to any type of major financial commitment. As an automaker, this is a sign of trouble. I jumped into a discussion on this with: There are a variety of different ways the Osborne Effect can play out, but it ultimately comes down to the same thing... customers delaying their purchase. Regardless of reason for waiting, outcome is the same. It hurts the seller. Tesla is no longer a startup. Growth challenges will mimic legacy automakers now. There is resistance to change. Pushing those with an order to take delivery is evidence of new barriers. Looking at the situation another way, no longer dealing with an early-adopter market means having to appeal to consumers in a different way. Ordinary consumers simply don't have the same priorities. Waiting for delivery confirms that.
Hydrogen Investment. That topic stirs emotion, as the previous mention highlights. Seeing the upcoming budget for California, where around roughly 10% is targeted for hydrogen, backlash is inevitable. EV purists hate hydrogen, period. I find it ironic how much it will contribute to and provide support of BEV use. Some don't see it that way, even the objective commenters: "Hydrogen has a place in heavy trucking, trains, ships, etc. I think it is dead as a passenger car solution." Some of that could be messaging, not providing clarity or simply not having enough information themselves. In response to that particular post, I added: The better way to state it is "commercial" use. Identification of "passenger" is misleading. People transport... taxi services... are a great candidate for hydrogen due to the centralized location, need for rapid & random refueling, and extremely long operating-life. We can also see the potential for courier and deliver services. In other words, light-vehicles will have a slice of the market. Also, don't overlook industrial & construction use. Fuel-Cells serve well as large-scale portable generators in place of diesel.
Change Can Be Difficult. Trouble is brewing: "You said the H word. There will be some angry comments." I found that to be an invite. My contribution to that was: It is intriguing to watch EV purists struggle with the idea of multiple solutions for our complex issue. The concept of any fix to a problems spanning a wide array of situation being fixed with a single remedy is absurd. Yet, that is what they petition for. Hydrogen will co-exist with batteries, period. There are strengths & weaknesses of both. That's why we cannot just cast a blanket over it all and declare as winner. That doesn't even make sense. Certain applications will do better with one or the other. It shouldn't be a big deal to acknowledge that. Yet, some find it is. That denial creates barriers, enabling those holding on to the past to retain the status quo. Simply pushing forward with multiple solutions... as this article points out California is doing... we remain divided. Ugh. What a waste. It's not like purists won't get their BEV. That is an obvious solution for some uses. Put an entirely different way, change can be difficult for even those who embrace it.
Should Always Exclude. As I continued reading, it got worse. The absolute of excluding PHEV was in large, bold, green letters. There was no minimum. There was no operating requirement. There was only an absolute. The reasoning was: "they still rely on fossil fuel and have less potential for reducing emissions". That terrible propaganda study was referred as the source of the claim. Remember how it using BMW X5, Volvo XC60, and Mitsubishi Outlander as representation of the entire market? Data was collected from just a small market years ago, prior to RAV4 Prime rollout. That's outdated and cherry-picked... a dead giveaway to be suspicious of motive. Objectivity certainly isn't there... no detail, just vague assessments. No PHEV (plug-in hybrid) or HEV (hybrid) of any type counts toward the reduction of emissions. Sadly, even the topic of emission was tainted. The report was about GHG (green house gases) and that was itself. Effort to reduce smog-related emissions is ignored entirely. Scope was not addressed either. It was a Europe & United States perspective of the world with mention of China. That selective nature of the study is troubling. This was basically the next step beyond low-hanging fruit. Only markets with strong economies were considered. Those that will be trapped in world of limited resource won't given any consideration. Ugh. Interestingly, the higher demands of SUVs with respect to greater material need & poorer aerodynamics was mentioned. Sadly, there was nothing with regard to that being an easier platform to deliver electrification. In other words, this was more neglect of approach with absolutes creating barriers.
Delay Benefit. Reading through that whitepaper, the first thing that jumped out at me was delay being looked upon as counter-productive. People like me... who have been a software engineer for decades... know the opposite is true. Rushing into a solution can have consequences. In fact, the penalty can be enormous. You should take your time to research, learning as much as possible about both the technology and the users. It is a mistake I have seen repeated so many times, it makes you wonder if some will ever figure out their haste was what contributed heavily to the failure. I still wonder how some of those final desperate Volt enthusiasts ended up seeing the outcome. Did they understand why their focus on want neglected need to such an extreme the effort was doomed almost from the start. That is why I kept pushing for goals, which turned into demanding them after awhile. They didn't care. The outcome was praise, not sales. I could see that early on too. GM didn't see delay as beneficial. Those analyzing results of this research didn't either. In fact, the more I looked for detail, the less encouraged I was about the objectivity... since there was nothing at all about approach. The theme of bans & halts are all that matter. That complete absence of approach is a major concern... since it is history repeating. No statement of how is what caused Volt to die. There was no plan to spread the technology. That's how hope turns to hype. I see the same thing again. The best I could find was: "its product line-up will gradually become electric-only between 2025 and 2030".