Prius Personal Log  #1114

December 6, 2021  -  December 12, 2021

Last Updated:  Sat. 3/26/2022

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Speed Limits.  Not the vehicle, it's about the charging-station.  Speed is a simple matter, but a complex process.  For the user, just plug & play.  There is nothing really to consider when it comes to ordinary level-2 charging.  But when setting up your own home for that, you have to know what your own home has to offer.  Today, there was an educational article published today that tried.  The subject matter of speed is in terms of input & output.  This focused on input: "A 40A charging-station will not let you charge faster than a standard 30A if the power acceptance limit of your electric vehicle doesn't go beyond 30A."  I got rather hung up on that because the article went out of its way to point out there were 14-30 and 14-50 outlets, but didn't bother to explain how they technically differed.  It only stated one was for the electric-dryer and the other for the electric-oven.  Ugh.  Needless to say, I felt compelled to point out what difference they actually made:  Though correct, that isn't the limitation most often associated with 30A.  There are many owners who purchase a EVSE with the standard NEMA 14-50 plug and use an adapter to repurpose their home's NEMA 14-30 electric dryer outlet for power.  That EVSE would deliver 32A plugged when into the outlet it was designed for.  Adapting reduces the potential amps by 2 for vehicles capable of faster.  In terms of speed, that is 0.48 kW slower.  Also note that even though 240V is the modern standard here, some homes are still only at 220V.  That's why voltage support is listed as 220-240 volts.  It also means a 30A connection running at 220V will deliver 6.6 kW while running at 240V will deliver 7.2 kW.  So, people need to have a sense of why there are variations when it comes to how limits are reported.


Anti-Toyota Rhetoric.  The pattern has become easy to identify.  It's getting predictable.  It lacks substance.  It doesn't make sense.  The obvious divert to hydrogen is how most attacks start.  That in itself is an act of desperation.  Rather than address the topic, change it to something else.  Ugh.  Next is to pretend plug-in hybrids don't exist.  References are always to "hybrids" without any detail whatsoever.  There's nothing with regard to capacity anymore.  They just portray the market as if the plug wasn't an option. The worst though is claiming Tesla will produce over 20 million vehicles per year by 2030.  The expectation of Model S/X getting phased out has indeed begun.  It made sense that Model 3/Y would be so well received made that the larger, more expensive choices would lose appeal to the point of being too costly to maintain.  Trouble is, that single platform isn't enough for such profound growth, even with CyberTruck.  To become the size of VW and Toyota combined without a diverse product-line years is absurd.  Claims of doing it within just 8 years singles "anti" rhetoric.  It's basically just more of the same nonsense.  Online, they just plain don't care.  They just want to win arguments and live in their own make-believe world where the realities of politics, business, and environment don't matter.

12-11-2021 It Begins, Again.  The latest round of subsidy talks has brought about another enablement for GM.  We keep seeing history repeat.  Again, people are drawn to the hope without substance, without recognition of the past.  It is an amazing cycle to witness.  Of course, some would recognize it as human nature.  It makes you wonder how much executives game the system knowing that.  Anywho, I'm well aware of the pattern.  After a day of reading posts without contributing anything to the topic, I jumped in with:

It is quite interesting to read about our phoenix rise from the ashes.  Each time GM has an epic failure, there is another round of "over promise, under deliver".  How will subsidies be used by GM this time?

This cycle started with the fall of Hummer bringing about Two-Mode, GM's tech would be what would out Prius the Prius.  All the hype, bragging and belittling turned into a nothing-to-see-here replaced by Volt.  It would build upon their plug-in prototype to create a mass-market vehicle.

GM followed niche appeal, enabled by enthusiasts who had no interest in any pared-down configuration where range & speed were traded off for any affordable offering.  In fact, enthusiasts even fought in favor of a gen-2 Volt rather than spreading the tech to popular choices, like Equinox.  It was a classic Innovator's Dilemma playing out before our eyes.

That obviously failed bad, so bad GM abandoned PHEV in favor of BEV... a complete turn-around from its "range anxiety" campaign.  Trouble is, there is still a large market for PHEV.  Look no further than the successor to Volt's nemesis, the plug-in Prius.  Toyota took that tech and applied it to the extremely well received RAV4 Prime... exactly what GM should have done with Equinox.

Complicating matters, we now see GM without any BEV for the masses.  Fulfilling battery replacement for current Bolt owners puts the idea of a new Bolt production in a untimely situation.  With the expensive Hummer EV and Lyric taking priority, GM still won't have anything affordable to offer.  Their own loyal customers simply looking for a new model of Equinox to replace their old won't have any plug-in option.

Meanwhile we see Toyota, VW, Nissan and Hyundai all aiming high with the intention of filling in that gap GM didn't bother to target... the crossover market.  It's quite ironic to see bZ4X coming from Toyota, a full BEV with dedicated platform arriving before GM has anything.  That narrative of "behind" has collapsed.  In fact, we now look forward to finding out when Corolla Cross will be offered as a PHEV and whether the next BEV will be a bZ3 or bZ2.

It comes down to the same as in the past, asking what is GM's plan for ordinary consumer vehicles.  Look at how quickly VW is racing to take a leadership role.  When can we expect something from GM for their own loyal customers?


7.8 kW Draw.  I was thrilled to see this posted today: "Mine is 245 x 32 amps, pulling 7.8 kw on the XSE."  It was from a RAV4 Prime owner.  Most aren't that well resourced or don't know what to look for he did.  That was sweet.  Detail has been difficult to come by.  I appreciated seeing that, especially since I haven't been able to find out what the true maximum was... 30 or 32 amps... since limitation from NEMA 14-30 outlets is an restriction often overlooked.  He provided an answer, as well as an observation above the norm.  Cool.  This is what I had posted to stir that reply:  6.6 kW is actually a minimum, which can vary by source.  Ever notice how charging devices list "220-240" for voltage?  30 amps * 220 volts = 6.6 kW.  In other words, if your service is 240 volts (which is the modern standard here) multiplying that with the max draw of 30 amps, you get 7.2 kW.  Voltage into my house is 244 volts. That makes my recharge speed even faster than the expected maximum.


Misunderstood Messaging.  I found the misunderstanding of this statement rather thought provoking: "The Japanese company intends to increase the share of zero emission vehicles (ZEVs) out of new sales to at least 50% by 2030, and achieve 100% by 2035."  That was interpreted of an end to PHEV production, a decision made to focus entirely on BEV instead.  Since that was what GM did, assuming the choice was made due to finding BEV was vastly superior, it wouldn't be much of a stretch to assume the same outcome would be for all legacy automakers.  Reality is, poor decisions on GM's part made Volt technology expensive, inefficient, difficult to spread, and unprofitable.  Toyota didn't make those mistakes.  PHEV is a viable option for them.  That's why so much of the competition is pushing a narrative of Toyota being hopelessly behind.  Finding out diversification is necessary for the transition puts the competition in a bad light.  So, attention is kept on Toyota.  Ugh.  Anywho, I addressed the misunderstanding with:  That is a mismatch of markets & timelines.  The expectation is an increase of both PHEV and BEV as an offset for the end of ICE production.  Think about what 2035 represents.  The production-cycle for vehicles is 5 to 6 years.  2 full generations will take place in the meantime.  It is a reasonable phaseout plan.  Think about how other automakers will achieve their transition away from ICE production.  Think about how much less emissions (smog & carbon) come from a 40+ mile EV capacity compared to a traditional vehicle without a plug or even a hybrid battery.  Keep in mind that there are mandates to satisfy in the meantime.  Other automakers with nothing but ICE and BEV will be quite challenged.  PHEV adhering to the upcoming more strict proposed requirements will fulfill that need until the barriers in difficult markets can be overcome.


Premature Lock-In.  I was quite surprised to see it brought up in any type of online media.  So much rhetoric is being spread now, an expectation to stumble across actual journalism is shocking.  Gasp!  This is what I read: "GM has gone all-out to promote its new Ultium lithium-ion battery platform, but it too, appears to be wary of premature lock-in."  While enthusiasts are making fun of Toyota for not committing to vertical production (building their own batteries) or locking in massive contracts with third-party suppliers, I have been wondering if any of them have actually taken a class in business... or marketing.. or economics... or even accounting.  Locking into a product that may become outdated is risky in any quantity.  But doing it on an enormous scale with something rapidly evolving makes your sanity come into question.  Yet, that's the attitude.  Not going "all in" means you are "anti" toward anything BEV.  Ugh.  You'd think this was common sense.  Clearly, it is not.  I ended posting the following comment in response to that quote:  It is interesting for that to finally be addressed.  We watched Toyota focus on the engineering while chemistry addressed.  They got labeled as "behind" for that.  But anyone with good business-sense knows that committing to something that's still clearly evolving is very risky.  Getting locked into something outdated can be a costly burden.  With Toyota's reveal of bZX4 we got an expectation of 90% capacity retention after 10 years along with a 1,000,000 km (621,000 mile) warranty.  If that doesn't hint at newer chemistry being used, what does?  Put another way, we need to expand the way we measure progress.  It's not just about energy-density and charging-speed anymore.  Heck, even some tradeoffs are now reasonable next-gen longevity.  Looking at LFP as an example, that longevity comes with a much lower cost with a tradeoff of added weight & lower energy-density.


The Big Lie.  There has been quite a bit of FUD lately.  Antagonists have run out of spin.  They don't know how to mislead about Toyota anymore.  This was the latest attempt: "I think software may be tricky area for them. Just ask VW and Ford as they are going through that stage right now.  Really good software takes a long time to develop and goes through thousands of little revisions."  I shot that down right away with:  That big lie about Toyota's software status is starting to look rather desperate.  For those who never get to see the BEV model of C-HR, the BEV model of UX300e, or the Mirai, they won't have any clue how far along Toyota actually is.  But they will encounter RAV4 Prime and discover Prius Prime.  That is 6 years of all-electric drive already, without including the first-generation Prius PHV.  Those thousands of revisions have already taken place for Toyota, the worldwide leader of continuous improvement.  The narrative of being behind is falling apart as bZX4 detail is revealed.  Toyota was quietly advancing their EV software in preparation for this rollout.  Notice how RAV4 Prime has delivered an all-electric drive without any issue?  No software scramble.  It simply worked right out the gate.


PHEV then, ZEV now.  The casual reader gets this impression: "An interesting change in strategy from Toyota, who previously held PHEV's quite high."  I obviously had a lot to say about that:  There is no change. An entire year before their latest PHEV was rolled out, RAV4 Prime, Toyota revealed their plans for a new sub-brand of BEV.  We got to see rendered images of what each of the 7 vehicles may look like.  Looking at their current fleet, we can see the introduction of Corolla Cross hybrid.  It looks suspiciously like a Highlander of the past, so much so you can easily envision it getting the Prime upgrade just like RAV4.  When you look at Toyota's customer base, worldwide sales of around 10 million vehicles, it is easy to see PHEV will play a major role in their electrification.  BEV won't thrive everywhere for quite some time.  PHEV will help get people plugging in right away... no range-anxiety due to lack of charging-stations and no struggle to recharge having only level-1 available.  It's the narrative online by some who want to portray Toyota as "behind" that give the impression of the automaker struggling to catch up.


Narratives.  Stuff like this is now falls on deaf ears: "Yes, it is fascinating too watch how one of the largest auto corporations in the world is setting itself up for a huge loss of market share by its almost willful ignoring of the very clear trend towards full electrification of light duty transportation through BEVs."  There are few, if any, replies to such nonsense now.  In the past, it was fodder for enablers.  They would endorse and pass along the sentiment... ensuring it would provide material for their propaganda.  Losing that voice has resulted in narratives.  The audience for that is difficult to reach though, since the nature of narrative is to build an impression.  That means it must be vague.  Propaganda of the past was all about misleading about actual data.  I see that trend change.  I was happy to point it out too:  That narrative is for whom?  Certainty it isn't someone well versed in business & economics.   Toyota is setting the stage for their customers, addressing the entire fleet... the bottom-up approach... rather than following what the rest of the industry is doing.  That type of comprehensive preparation is not exciting.  In fact, enthusiasts pretty much hate that slow & invisible method of change... but that is exactly how Toyota has success in the past.  What makes this any different?

12-06-2021 Toyota Investment Info.  I sometimes wait quite awhile before finally joining a discussion.  With so much evolving so quickly now, there's a whole lot of nothing to say... since much of that experience with technology isn't fully applicable to the future anymore.  That type of change is difficult to recognize.  That's where knowledge of the past is helpful... how we got here.  It provide context & motivation.  Here's what I had to say about that:

The takeaway from reading comments on an article about Toyota investment is seeing that many have no idea how hybrid design has evolved.  They makes assumptions and based predictions that are basically pointless.

Look at RAV4 Prime.  That is envy of anyone who wanted to see GM advance Volt to a SUV platform.  Toyota took their profitable base design that already delivered EV drive and enhanced it.  With a larger battery, the gas-engine could be disengaged entirely to allow the electric-motors to work in tandem to deliver more all-electric power.  All the components for a BEV are already in place.  Experience with production and refinement of hardware & software to achieve greater efficiency are taking place.

Next step is to rollout the dedicated platform (e-TNGA) for BEV while establishing battery production locations.  We already know bZ4X will use an improved chemistry.   You don't get an expectation of 90% capacity retention after 10 years and a 1,000,000 km (621,000 mile) warranty without having already done extensive real-world research.  Leveraging hybrids to achieve that was a means of getting return on investment right away.  In the meantime, we know 6 more "bZ" sub-brand BEV models are on the way.

Reaching consumers beyond the enthusiast realm is what Toyota excels at.  Those who back themselves into a corner making assumptions now face difficult times.  Enthusiast spin & denial doesn't actually change anything.  It's just noise online. Know your audience.  Toyota is setting the stage for their those hybrid & plug-in hybrid customers to next purchase a BEV . Production here further reinforces that upcoming shift.

Look at it this way.  How exactly will the other legacy automakers reach their customers who have no interest in anything beyond the status quo?  Enthusiasts are easy to appeal to.  Someone only interested in affordable & reliable transport is an entirely different audience.


Self Monitoring.  Some people just say things without any thought: "Definitely cars should be self monitoring the batteries and should be able to provide the manufacturer with data without going to a dealership."  That's a free lunch statement, an obvious effort to confuse & mislead from an antagonist upset by the possibility of Toyota pulling out ahead with a 1,000,000 km warranty.  I fired back with:  Who is going to pay for that connection?  To self-monitor, there must be a permanent & dependable means of transferring data.  There is no guarantee whatsoever that a Toyota customer will have Wi-Fi available for the car on a regular basis.  For that matter, it may never have access.  Expecting an automaker to pay for service for every single of their vehicles sold under all possible location circumstances is absurd.  That's a completely unreasonable expense for a mass-market offering.  Know your audience.  Toyota doesn't have select customers like Tesla, well resourced and well informed early-adopters.  Toyota is targeting a vast spread of potential buyers, some of which won't have a regular parking location.  Toyota strategy of KISS has been extremely successful too.  Just bring it to the dealer annually.  The dealer will have a connection.


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