Prius Personal Log  #1124

January 25 2022  -  January 30, 2022

Last Updated:  Sat. 3/26/2022

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1-30-2022

Misleading Studies.  It is unfortunate when studies portray the market like this one did: "For reference, EV sales in China grew 169% in 2021, accounting for 14.8% of their new car market.  Why is America behind most of the rest of the industrialized world in the race to adopt zero-emissions personal transportation?"  There's a lot of misleading studies now.  They cherry-pick data, omitting what isn't favorable, to tell their story.  You have to really pay attention to notice what bias is taking place, then research to find what was missing.  In this case, I already had.  It was only a matter of looking back in my blogs to find that information I had already looked up:  That growth in China comes from a heavy government push and strong interest for cheap EVs.  For example, there were 181,810 Wuling HongGauge Mini EV purchased in the first half of 2021.  With a starting price of $4,200 USD, that shouldn't be a surprise... but price information was omitted.  You get what you pay for too, the electric-motor only delivers 17.4 horsepower and top-speed is only 100 km/h (62 mph).  True, much more expensive vehicles with familiar speed & power are also available (like Model 3 and ID.4), but the mismatch is never mentioned.  The study allows for assumption, resulting in an inaccurate picture of what to expect for our market.

1-29-2022

Brand Loyalty Be Damned.  That mindset of "EV Market" has become so normalized, it is no longer questioned.  Rollout progress is now portrayed as without barriers now, only a matter of ramp up.  It is a fatal mistake, one very easy to foresee.  Enthusiasts are looked upon as people who simply got in line first, a clear misrepresentation of what actually happened.  That is what narratives are all about.  You get sucked it so deep, you lose perspective.  I try to provide reminders of what really matters and what the big picture actually looks like:  That assessment of brand loyalty is flawed.  Comparing early-adopters to mainstream consumers will predictably yield different results, regardless of product.  One group are shoppers actively seeking out opportunity.  The other group are those who simply want a replacement.  Know your audience.  In other words, what has happened so far with plug-in purchases is not representative of what to expect when supply is available for the masses.

1-28-2022

Death of Bolt.  They don't see the pattern.  I recognize it all too well and shared that fact:  It's happening again.  When the situation for Two-Mode got bad, focus shifted to the hoping for what would come from GM next.  We saw it again with gen-1 Volt, again with gen-2 Volt and now again with Bolt.  Each time was some new technology that would be much better.  The catch was info was vague and the timeline was drawn out.  What starts out as hope turns into hype.  This time, it is a supposed Equinox EV.  What exactly will make it competitive?  Think about this situation. How many other BEV choices will there be when that rollout from GM finally takes place?  VW, Hyundai, Kia, Nissan are all pushing to appeal to that same audience.  Heck, not only will the supposed laggard Toyota have also delivered, by then they would be working on rollout of their next bZ model.  There is always a lot of want with little to actually address need. GM never learns from prior missteps.  Look at what happened with Bolt. That race to beat Model 3 didn't result in a "game changer" as hoped.  GM failed to adapt, instead choosing to gamble that circumstances would be different.  Not only didn't sales increase as hoped, the opposite ended up happening... a self-inflicted PR crisis from a technical issue.  Ironically, that was the very situation Toyota learned their lesson from the hard way in the early days of Lexus.  It became a great example of what not to do; yet, GM allowed it to anyway.  So, we end up just hoping for the best... yet, again.

1-27-2022

Larger First.  Remember all the arguments that it was best to focus on the larger vehicles first?  That came about from the Two-Mode apologists, defending GM's choice to deliver Tahoe first.  Supposedly, a smaller vehicle would quickly follow.  It never did.  In fact, there was never any evidence the design could even work in a smaller vehicle.  To contain all of the necessary components within an existing transmission housing... supposedly making it easy to share across platforms... meant only vehicles with a larger housing would be eligible.  The denial was incredible.  It was easy to see that would be an incredible challenge to accommodate smaller.  In fact, that's why Toyota started small with both hybrids & fuel-cells.  Nothing was learned from any of that.  We still get reasoning of "more emissions from the large ICE vehicle" as justification to focus on larger first.  That both fails to recognize limited battery supply and the reality of the entire fleet.  Ironically, Toyota gets attacked on a regular basis for exactly that.  I do too, when pointing that out.  Larger first only works when you are able to follow-up quickly.  That introduction vehicle serves to promote the other choices, the ones that would get as much attention or advertising since they are lower-margin.  I put it this way:  Not the same.  There is a 3-to-1 offset.  1 large EV uses 150 to 200 kWh.  3 small EV use about 58 kWh each.  In other words, you cannot be selective about data.  The overall reduction of emissions is what measures the difference.

1-27-2022

Simple, Cheap Cars.  It's nice to see discussions about them finally stirring: "How many times must we relearn the same lesson?  The early VW beetle and now the Chinese mini EV shows that simple, cheap cars sell.  Everyone doesn't need the latest tech in what is for many just transportation."  I was happy to join in with that, providing some detail and some extra perspective:  There is indeed a market for simple cheap cars, but it is far from what Tesla sells or intends to sell.  181,810 Wuling HongGauge Mini EV were purchased in the first half of 2021.  With a starting price of $4,200 USD, that shouldn't surprise anyone.  However, enthusiasts like to gloss over that extremely low price (and the tradeoffs associated as a result) to give an impression of BEV acceptance rates are better than they really are.  Ever notice how that car with a tiny motor & battery gets lumped into the same category as Model 3 and Model Y?  That intentional misrepresentation of counts is an indicator of the challenges some BEV enthusiasts are unwilling to address.  Interestingly, these words of wisdom apply as a double entendre: "There's nothing about yesterday's success that guarantees tomorrow's success."  Just because Tesla was extremely successful in the early-adopter stage doesn't mean they will continue to be as competition & variety changes in the next stage.  But in an ironic twist, the past prior to that... the early days of "economy" ICE vehicles... can provide some insight to success for "affordable" EV vehicles.

1-27-2022

Trolls & Shills.  Being critical of claims was summed up nicely this way in that affordable vehicle discussion: "There is a long history on this site of people claiming Tesla was about to disrupt the car market completely with a $25k car and those of us who said it was not coming any time soon were called trolls or Big Oil shills or Russian bots, or whatever the derisive term of the moment was."  In other words, the defensive nature of enthusiast replies has become more evident as shortcomings of their arguments get revealed.  When details finally emerge, they feel backed into a corner from not having thought through their own claims.  It's a sign of loss recognition... seeing the outcome won't be as they had anticipated.  I put that this way:  Tesla is picking up traits of a legacy automaker... which was pretty much inevitable as scope & volume continued to grow.  People come to expect that to remain without having to change approach as audience changes.  In other words, appealing to the $25K market segment will not work using the same tactics.  Those consumers have very different priorities.  This is Business 101 stuff that those here are either unaware or dismissive of.  What is also part of that is recognizing the "over promise, under deliver" trap.  There are new challenges to address to achieve growth.  You can't just ramp up production and expect to sell more... especially on the magnitude enthusiasts have been boasting.

1-27-2022

$25K Car.  Talk of affordable EV choices is growing.  That's long overdue.  This is what started today's engagement for me: "Yay and Hooray.  Chasing this low-margin, low-priced vehicle was an incomprehensible waste of time and resources.  It was completely off brand, was going to do very little for climate change other than displace already efficient small vehicles..."  It came as a result of Elon Musk providing an overview of 2021 and expectations for 2022.  After informing the audience that CyberTruck would be delayed until next year, he dropped the bomb that there was no work being put into the delivery of a $25,000 car.  For Tesla, that could bring about an end to the seemingly endless orders for Model 3 and Model Y... much like they did for Model S and Model X.  People seek an affordable solution, but go for the more expensive because that is the better current choice.  After all, with all those SuperChargers, the plan by Tesla to dominate the early years was an immense success.  It means nothing for their future in the realm of mainstream consumers.  Given an more affordable choice from an automaker who had established lots of SuperChargers for their expensive vehicles back in the day, what would you choose?  That shift would avoid the Osborne Effect, since sales wouldn't come to a screeching halt.  But profit would become a huge problem.  A car only selling for $25K requires high-volume to make up for their low-margin return.  Having something like CyberTruck to offset and spread the risk makes sense... but now that is a problem too.  I posted this, seeing the inevitable upset coming from investors hoping for a larger return sooner:  That puts Tesla on the path to remaining a specialty automaker, targeting a specific group of consumer rather than an automaker for the masses.  There's nothing wrong with that, but it is not the expectation many had hoped for.  That business-model would allow for focus on FSD as Musk has suggested for a revenue-path anyway.  It also alleviates the CCS conflict here in the US.  Handing over such a large market segment to legacy automakers probably won't make shareholders happy though.

1-26-2022

Spreading Lies.  It sure was nice to see a few others calling out the hate too.  Unfortunately, there are far more who thrive on it.  The outright lies are plentiful.  Those can be addressed, especially as real-world data is collected.  That worked well in the past.  This time, we are approaching a tipping-point and they know it.  That is when the rhetoric turns to lies that really don't much sense.  It turns into an effort to spread whatever narrative people will accept.  Here is the latest attempt: "Toyota doesn't sell EV's (gas guzzling hybrids with no plug-in capability are not EV's)."  Such an attempt to pretend neither PHEV nor BEV is offered marks a true act of desperation.  It is becoming apparent that the market will not embrace an all-electric paradigm quickly and without a fight.  Reasons why will be provided elsewhere.  My attention was raised today from such an outright lie, so easy to disprove.  It's like watching Fox News.  They expect watchers to never watch anything else, to only get their news from that single source.  Such nonsense is effective.  There is indeed an audience for that.  Ugh.  I responded to today's attempt with:  Toyota sells a variety of BEVs already.  Those were good platforms to build upon their EV drive from the PHEV models.  Look up UX300e for an example.  Rollout in Europe began last year.  There were 2,987 purchased. bZX4 will deliver a 40% reduction of battery cost, the switch to CCS charging, and bump up charging speed to 150 kW.

1-26-2022

Feeding Hate.  Wow!  It's getting really bad.  That guy is still producing several videos per day, with a total of over 950 now in just 8 months.  Of course, that doesn't include his previous channel back when he was pro-Toyota.  Hate sells though and he is obviously making steady income now from spreading hate.  In the video I watched today, he actually called out a post and a specific user.  Since what is does is provide commentary on news, following the same sources as me means overlap of both content & participants.  I'm seeing exactly that too.  Not only did I recognize the person he attacked, I also recognized a number of those posting comments.  In other words, I am witnessing the enablement happening again.  The same group of people amplify their message by attracting people to their echo chambers.  In some cases, it is just a matter of repeating the same lie over and over again.  In this case, it was yet another attack on Toyota.  I called that out with:  The spin that BYD will be making all Toyota BEV comes from the partnership they have for Chinese built vehicles for the market in China.  bZX4 will be Toyota's own e-TNGA design & build with batteries supplied by Panasonic & CATL.

1-26-2022

Ugh.  I read an article that came up on my news feed.  It was an unfamiliar publication.  The history conveyed about plug-in history seemed a little distorted and somewhat concerning, until I got to the bottom.  Seeing correct given to the source, I understood was had happened.  That article was written & sold as content for them... by someone who's reputation I know well.  On the sources I frequent, that name is quite familiar.  Here's the quote that stood out and captured my attention: "A cautionary tale exists with Nissan: Although the automaker pioneered mass-market EVs in 2011 with the Leaf compact hatchback, it has lagged with EVs since then."  The reason why was omitted, quite intentionally.  I know he is well aware of why but excluded that vital bit of information.  Nissan gambled on passive cooling.  Leaf used neither liquid nor air to reduce battery temperature.  Heat would radiate out on its own.  No active cooling was provided.  That's why it lagged.  Early-Adopters were well aware of that shortcoming... a shortcoming which soon will no longer exists.  Nissan's successor to Leaf will indeed have that.  So, what is that cautionary tale supposed to tell us?

1-25-2022

Wild West.  The favorite thing for early-adopters to do is to declare the early-adopter stage over.  They want to take credit for participating and declare victory.  For example: "It appears to me that EVs have passed a tipping point and adoption is much heavier now....especially in Europe.  But even in the USA, people seem pretty interested in EVs more."  Drawing conclusions for you is a dead giveaway of a narrative.  They are telling you want to think by suggesting or implying.  I like to call them out on that absence of objectivity:  Here in the USA, we have barely made it beyond the early-adopter stage.  Fortunately, that progress so far did a decent job of proving the technology. We have a very long before reaching a tip though.  Right now, it's very much an uphill push.  Only enthusiasts wearing rose-colored glasses don't see that.  Without involving financial or supply challenges, think about what remains outstanding.  Absence of DCFC is a major barrier.  Neither a standard connector, nor a standard means of payment exists here.  That's a big problem for adoption.  Heck, we don't even have consumer expectation established for charging speeds yet.  We are very much in the "wild west" stage now.  Soon, the low-hanging fruit will be gone and there will be a struggle for attention.  Notice how we cannot even agree on priorities?

1-25-2022

Why?  It is especially compelling to jump into an discussion when something like this is asked: "...Honda and Toyota are real laggards regarding pure EVs.  Why is that?"  I like to provide a reply they aren't expecting:  Why is because enthusiasts are impatient and their own expectations have gone unfulfilled.  So, they created a narrative to make Toyota as a distraction & scapegoat.  Rollout from others no where near what they hoped, federal subsidies are still unrenewed, and DCFC locations are still quite scarce.  Here in the United States, we have the added problem of Tesla competing with CCS.  As for Toyota, we see that their PHEV are selling well.  That contribution to BEV advancement is undeniable.  Emerging from RAV4 Prime's design experience came UX300e, which there were 2,987 purchased in Europe resulted in 2,987 purchased from when rollout began in spring 2021 to the end of 2021.  Knowledge gained from that will contribute to the 40% reduction of battery cost for bZ4X.  Production of which begins March 1.  On April 22 at the Beijing Auto Show, reveal of the next bZ vehicle is expected.  It is said to be a BEV most similar in size & shape to Corolla, though with more rear legroom like Camry.  In other words, trying to convince an ordinary consumer that Toyota is a laggard or that it even matters is futile.

 

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