Prius Personal Log  #1120

January 5, 2022  -  January 8, 2022

Last Updated:  Sat. 3/26/2022

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1-08-2022

For Decades.  This was the response from that previous post: "53,000 vehicles spewing emissions for decades."  It is why I take the bait sometimes.  Their provoke will eventually provide a backfire, where they will trip up over their own logic.  That's what happens when your premise isn't sound.  In this case, it is focusing entirely the short-term.  Such a limited scope (early-adopter audience) almost inevitably fails.  Long-Term cannot be a gamble.  Here's an example why:  Seeing you backed yourself into a corner is nice.  Those 53,000 vehicles are plug-ins delivering all-electric drive.  That's full EV, complete with a heat-pump.  A decade later, think about where this discussion topic will be.  Seeing solid-state cells become affordable would make an upgrade of one Toyota's PHEV a very compelling next-step.  Imagine replacing the current lithium pack with something far more energy-dense fit into the same area.  Being able to double or even triple EV range provides an interesting long-life option.  Keeping a vehicle in service longer spews far fewer emissions than replacing it with a new one.

1-08-2022

Omission.  If you cannot insult or belittle, the next step is to pretend there isn't anything new by drawing a conclusion: "Strike one: Hydrogen.  Strike two: Hybrids.  Strike three: Solid state batteries.  GM will bury Toyota.  It could have been different if Toyota could have gotten free of OPEC."  Yup, it was that same person growing even more desperate to remain relevant.  To my surprise, he added GM into the discussion.  Perhaps it is a disenchanted GM owner upset to see Toyota passing them.  The 2021 sales completely debunk the "behind" narrative.  Whatever the case, I'll draw a conclusion instead.  The pattern of defeat is obvious.  So, I made sure that was known:  Misleading by omission.  That's a sign of desperation.  The narrative is falling apart.  How many new owners in the United States this years alone purchased a plug-in from Toyota?  52,749 is the answer.  Each owners takes advantage of their PHEV, plugging in whenever the opportunity is available. You can find countless comments posting about their EV driving experiences.  Later this year, bZ4X rollout will take place. (Production begins March 1).  That first dedicated-platform BEV will build upon the BEV from converted models Toyota already sells.

1-08-2022

Another Great Video.  Every few weeks we get a new ID.4 experience shared online.  Those videos are from an owner experiencing his BEV firsthand.  Today, it was an exploration of how it deals with actual winter.  The car sat outside without being plugged in for 2 days, then was taken to an unplowed parking lot.  With several inches of fresh snow, his effort to learn was great to share.  I really appreciate it.  Hopefully, I will be able to return the favor at some point.  Today, I posted this comment after watching his contribution to BEV understanding:  Another great video. RWD with just all-season tires is an interesting experience.  My Prius Prime is FWD and with all-season tires it handles fine, here in Minnesota.  My switch a year from now to a bZ4X with AWD by this time next year will should be a non-event for driving with Subaru's X-Mode.  Heating of battery-pack should be informative.  I have an insulted garage with level-2 charging, so I expect range loss mostly from cabin warming.  I'll leave the vehicle outside overnight a few times for comparisons.  Thanks for providing such a nice basis of comparison.  That's really insightful.

1-07-2022

Gas Investment.  There has been a lot of attention recently due to Hyundai's decision to end development of gas-engines.  They are shutting down those efforts.  Toyota basically already did awhile ago.  It went quiet and unnoticed.  Phaseout was already well underway with the end of non-hybrid models of Sienna & Venza.  There was nothing else to invest.  The work was done.  So seeing this was a bit of a twist: "stop all investment in gasoline fuel economy".  I had to ask:  What does that actually mean?  Toyota is constantly getting attacked for hybrid support, despite the fact that their investment is nearly complete.  TNGA (the architecture to enable those cost-competitive rollouts) is nearly complete for the entire fleet.  No further investment required.  It's done.  Yet those hybrids, which are clearly a successful means of ending traditional production, continues to get ridiculed.  Look at the statistics. Once a customer purchases a hybrid, the choice to purchase a plug-in hybrid next is highly likely.  That quickly gets households considering a BEV to follow.  It is an effort to set the stage and reach difficult to appeal to consumers.  In the meantime, it is also significantly reducing both emissions & consumption.  In short, we need to be clear about goals.  What are we trying to achieve and by when?

1-07-2022

That's Ridiculous.  Without any background, coming to this conclusion is a reasonable outcome: "How can solid state batteries be even remotely conceivable if they cost 7 to 8 times more than a LiON battery?  That's ridiculous.  Solid-State was supposed to be two to three times cheaper because they were more energy dense and required a smaller battery for the same charge amount.  So this math is nuts."  That person clearly doesn't have any basis to have such an outcome.  The reason why should be obvious.  There is nothing with regard to date expectations.  The evolution of technology often takes decades.  Not even seeing any consumer products using the new type of battery should make it obvious the goal of using them in vehicles is a long way off still.  You start simple.  For Toyota, that means focusing on hybrids first.  With so much smaller of a battery-pack and having a gas-engine to supplement, the risk is significantly reduced.  Look at the disaster GM is dealing with now from Bolt replacements.  That's a horribly expensive mistake and will take a massive amount of resources to undertake.  Swapping out a hybrid pack is magnitudes easier.  Anywho, this is how I replied:  It is a normal part of production evolution.  At first, yields are terribly low.  We have seen that countless times with next-gen CPUs and it was a very big challenge when LCD was first introduced.  There are both quality & speed issues to address.  That refinement process is quite time-consuming and expensive.  It works out fine in the end, for those who are patient and understand the steps required.

1-07-2022

Distraction.  The attacks are becoming increasingly desperate as the reality of Toyota delivering a BEV that destroys the "behind" narrative.  A few are scrambling to do everything possible to undermine.  This morning, it was this distraction attempt: "OPEC . . . oops, I mean Toyota, is hanging on like a dog with a dead bone."  I was amused.  Stuff like that is a sign they have nothing left to argue with.  In return, I posted:  That talking-point is now getting recognized as a distraction tactic to draw attention away from the reality that other legacy automakers are struggling to address the difficult sales, though consumers who couldn't care less about plugging in.  It is easy to appeal to those actually looking to purchase a BEV, which is where the industry is now.  That is the "low-hanging fruit" stage.  Sales become dramatically more difficult following.  The challenges involve the end of subsidies and lack of infrastructure.  At that point, the hope is standards will finally be agreed upon. In this case, it would be for DCFC stations... use of CCS. As for Toyota, they will be advancing their hybrid technology while also increasing availability of for PHEV and BEV.  We know that will result in a growth of each of those categories, resulting in a phaseout of traditional choices.  Meanwhile, we will see other legacy automakers quietly hanging on to traditional vehicles while trying to maintain a spotlight on BEV.

1-06-2022

Production Location.  This little tidbit of information emerged today: "Motomachi plant where the bZ4X will be made from March - 1. Motomachi, Toyota, Aichi 471-0854, Japan"  I figured production would start right around then.  I had no idea what location, nor does it matter.  What's important is how those initial builds turn out.  Every automaker will produce a small number of vehicles initially to ensure all is in place for the big start.  I believe most of those vehicles are destroyed afterward.  They a great source for testing data.  You don't feel bad crashing a few and putting some through extreme stress knowing results will validate both production & design.  I suspect initial rollout will be domestic, but those will be right-hand drive.  Not starting another line for left-hand drive markets until a bit later makes sense from a ramp-up perspective.  We are targeted for mid-2022 here, like much of the rest of the world.  Similar to RAV4 Prime, rollout is worldwide the first year.  That means don't expect a high volume.  That will follow in good time.  Meanwhile, focus can be on training staff and educating consumers.  With a BEV, there are many questions.  Even with answers at the ready, it still takes time for people to figure out what to ask.  Some of the subject matter is totally new.  Think about the amps & volts coming from your household outlet.  That may be the first time you really ever took a moment to consider what a plug-in vehicle actually needs.  So, we start simple.  I can now tell people March 1.  Delivery a few months later would be awesome.  Who knows how realistic that is.  Demand is a mystery and regional allocation an abyss.  There is the matter of packaging too.  We know that the AWD model will be supplied from a different battery source.  Both Panasonic & CATL have been identified as suppliers.  How much of what and when is a big unknown.  We will all have to wait to find out.  Thankfully, it won't be a long wait.  Of course, knowing that location means knowing there will be a wait for shipping from Japan to the United States.

1-06-2022

Win-Win.  You gain perspective on audience from comments like this: "Toyota wasted all their credits on plug-in hybrids."  That's all there was.  Nothing with regard to goals informs you of that motive may not even have been considered.  What was the desired outcome?  In most cases, it is assumed the simple act of sales is the only measure of benefit.  If it wasn't a BEV, it was a waste.  Understanding the gain from sharing EV drive with both BEV and PHEV is not considered useful.  There is a zero-sum mentality as the motivator for many.  They don't recognize mutual benefit was a possibility.  It's really a sad state of our society when the belief is for someone to win, someone else must lose.  Ugh.  I responded to that mixed up view of approach & expectation with:  Purpose of the current credits was to establish plug-in sales.  That's exactly what was achieved.  Both customer & dealer now have an expectation of change.  Adding to that is having a solid base of PHEV owners seeking BEV as their next purchase.  That's the next natural step following HV successful transition to PHEV.  As for the Build Back Better, that is what those PHEV owners will take advantage of to purchase their BEV.  It is a win-win situation.

1-06-2022

Promises.   Here we go again.  This time though, there are some conquest owners saying it too: "Exactly, that's why a base model bev equinox won't be built till at least 2024.  So that $30K base price some of you are hyping on is just more BS from GM bout how great they think they are doing w/bevs.  Mind you, I'm a current bolt driver so I have room to speak of GM promises."  I couldn't resist that:  Over Promise, Under Deliver.  GM plays the hype game, engineering by press release.  It's quite remarkable so many people fall for that... and rather ironic how actual substance from others is just outright dismissed. The double-standard is telling.  Ultium is the latest.  We have nothing but basics still, after all this time. ​ Despite being the supposed legacy leader, we only got a statement saying "an affordable, functional compact SUV" is coming in 2023.  How is that any different that the "nicely under $30,000" statement we got about Volt for 2010?  That promise was never delivered.  At least the "behind" rhetoric about Toyota has faded.  Rollout of their first dedicate-platform BEV (several converts are already available) easily confirms they are right on schedule.  Though, it does bring up the question of GM's stance on Ultium.  We know Toyota is expecting 90% capacity retention after 10 years and will have a program to cover 70% for up to 1,000,000 km (621,000 miles).  Will GM have something similar?

1-06-2022

Master Plan.  I was intrigued to see this: "IMO, Toyota and GM achieved very little from the Federal incentives other moving 200-300 thousand vehicles.  They built no semblance of brand, marque, or foundation over the past 7+ years.  Very sad indeed, they could have really benefited from a long term 'master plan.' "  Did that person watch the market over the past decade with totally unrealistic expectations, was it a perspective of not having paid attention until recently, could it have been a follower of rhetoric never questioning what they were being told?  You really don't know about.  I do know about those federal incentives though:  That is quite incorrect.  In fact, the narrative behind it is beginning to fall on deaf ears.  Toyota built upon their motor & battery knowledge to create all-electric drive (complete with heat-pump) for use in PHEV which we have seen since 2016 in this market.  That is solid experience has built up reputation among loyal customers from having EV drive already well established.  In this market, people are seeing and asking about RAV4 Prime & Prius Prime plugged into charging-stations.  In China, they see CH-R (and Izoa) converts as BEV models.  Toyota recently rolled out UX300e as a BEV too.  All that adds to experience gained prior to finalizing design for the first of 7 brand "bZ" vehicles, each on a dedicated BEV platform.  Put another way, Toyota took full advantage of the tax-credit as an opportunity to build real-world proficiency that could be directly applied to future offerings targeted directly at their showroom shoppers.  It is a necessary step other legacy automakers must take at some point to avoid the Osborne Effect.  That is their master plan.  As for GM, their approach was missed opportunity with regard to tax-credits.  Sales were almost entirely the conquest type... which did nothing at all to change what happens on the showroom floor.  Unlike Toyota effectively pushing legacy phaseout by introducing plug-in hybrids as a choice for customers shopping at the dealership, that shift has been absent for GM... hence the complaint from Volt owners about the necessity to offer another model, like an Equinox with their plug-in hybrid tech.  Toyota actually did with RAV4 Prime.

1-05-2022

Phaseout.  It is coming for Toyota.  The automaker will trigger it this quarter.  190,047 was the sales total at year end.  That came from the sales of 156,668 Prius Prime/PHV and 30,097 RAV4 Prime and 2,472 RAV4 EV.  Outcome of that has been obvious.  Toyota created a solid basis to build BEV upon.  Not only is the technology established, there is also a recognition of change.  Both dealer & customer are noticing and accepting shift.  True, there is a controversy as to how this came about.  It's rather subtle too.  But that change is genuine.  Listening to the "kicking & screaming" rhetoric from antagonists gives a very different perspective from observations of a loyal customer; nonetheless, there is an expectation of plug-ins now.  Many won't understand the market or any of the technology.  Most won't have any tax-credit assist either.  Sadly, our government simply isn't motivated.  In fact, that is why phaseout is getting attention.  A future with subsidies is anyone's guess.  I suspect it will happen in some manner, but that process is even slower than market change.  Ugh.  In the meantime, the current federal funds will begin the phaseout stage soon.

1-05-2022

Dethroned.  With Toyota having taken over the top-selling title here in the United States, it is now a lot easier to post stuff like this: "GM needs to get their ducks in a row.  Bolt/Volt have been disasters for them.  This COULD do a lot for GM, and yes, destroy Toyota/Honda Legacy ICE sales in America, and elsewhere."  That type of critic did not go over well in the past.  I couldn't help but to join in:  It comes down to how to manage change.  The threat of the Osborne Effect is quite real and Innovator's Dilemma has already taken its toll, for GM.  Toyota's approach is very different.  Toyota is already moving from hybrid to plug-in hybrid while at the same time rolling out BEV.  In fact, Toyota will likely be rolling the next model to follow bZ4X when this Equinox EV becomes available.  That variety of affordable choices is what does a lot for the automaker long-term... what Toyota is known for: continuous improvement across the fleet.  GM has been full of one-hit-wonders... Tahoe Two-Mode (HV)... Volt (PHEV)... Bolt (BEV)... which did nothing to change their status quo.  Toyota has already deployed its HV tech to most of their passenger vehicles and has been so successful that 2 have phased out their ICE model entirely (Sienna & Venza).  Prius never had an ICE and sales of its PHEV are now starting to rise, as people figure out what a PHEV is.  RAV4 here in the United States is now up to 29% of the sales being HV and 6.8% being PHEV.  All that is true change, happening at dealers... an approach proving to be wise.

 

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