Prius Personal Log #1137
April 10, 2022 - April 12, 2022
Last Updated: Sun. 9/18/2022
page #1136 page #1138 BOOK INDEX
Deep Denial. OMG! The nonsense is really getting absurd: "No way on earth you can back up that most drives are all-electric claim. None." At this point, I have no idea how to deal with such blatant rhetoric. Is there anyone so far out of touch that they actually believe that dribble? He went on to say: "I will not go back and forth with you on this but I am confident that you cannot provide any real data." That attitude and refusing to accept any video evidence contradicting his claim made it clear he was beyond hope. So, I ended up posting this: Convincing yourself that all PHEV are the same and there is no possible way for ordinary consumers to drive entirely with EV is a problem only you have to address now. For all those RAV4 Prime and Prius Prime owners enjoying all-electric drives, they couldn't care less about such rhetoric. Those same owners are your greatest fear too. They took advantage of the tax-credit, which reinforced their trust in Toyota, and now are making plans to add a bZ4X to their household. Think about their influence long after the phase out. When the next bZ model becomes available, they will be the first to provide endorsements. That claim of "twiddled thumb" is proving to be quite the opposite. Review videos are highlighting how well refined the EV system already is. Those years of all-electric experience you are in deep denial about are already starting to show reward. So what if subsidies were used in the refinement process rather than the product itself. Toyota's first BEV won't share initial struggles as many of the other automakers now face. In other words, there is no back and forth to have with me. I'm not the audience. Toyota's own loyal customers are what matter and they simply don't care about rhetoric online.
Price Expectations. This is one of the first comments I came across: "Toyota.com USA for bZ4x is up and running.... looks like pricing starts at $42k for the XLE and $46,700 for the Limited.... higher than I had heard they may start at." It's a complicated topic, one which people make snap judgments about. Notice how range is commonly the only factor taken into account most of the time? I wonder if that will become all of the time, now that many of the first videos are making comment about how much faster the acceleration is than anticipated. It is much more difficult to criticize & belittle when impression switches from on-paper to video. That isn't the case with pricing though. People just exclude whatever doesn't support their narrative, like the value of a better warranty. In the past with Prius, it was the many safety features which came standard. Failing to mention them portrays the value compared to a vehicle not as well equipped differently. You get the impression of equal, even though they clearly are not. Value from efficiency will be the challenge in this case. For example, how much better 4X handles cold conditions will be completely lost to antagonist rhetoric. They will drown out real-world results for the same of supporting their narrative. Ugh. Sadly, it will be awhile before I have real-world data to work with. In the meantime, it's commentary for the moment at hand: Expecting prices to be similar to BEV with similar specs should have been reasonable... since that is what ended up happening. Look at ID.4 pricing. 4X closely followed that. Of course, the important part is what you don't see. VW is likely just barely squeezing out profit, if at all yet. Toyota has lots of experience building EV components, putting them in a better position to make sales more favorable with regard to dealership interest. 4X will still be a challenge to break the status quo. Education about how plug-in vehicles work and charging remains a big barrier still. So even with decent prices, it's will remain an uphill battle for years. There's the shortcomings of infrastructure impeding progress too.
Ordering & Distribution. The first thing I looked for was availability info. I found this from a reasonably trustworthy source: "Toyota Motor Corp. begins sales of the 2023 bZ4X BEV in the U.S. on April 14, initially in the 14 U.S. states that have passed mandates for zero-emission vehicles. In the fall, Toyota's new BEV will be available in the remaining states." That made me wonder about my location, a uniqueness in the region of non-plug support. Being the only state in the Midwest to be part of ZEV efforts, it makes you wonder about priority. The rules themselves don't even begin until January 1, 2024. We are woefully under-serviced too... lacking infrastructure. True, that will change. There are 2 main travel corridors throughout the state that will be installing DC fast-charging stations. That takes time though. If you are an automaker under pressure to ramp up, there's not much reason to divert many resources to an up & coming location. Though, to build support right from the start, that is a great opportunity. I posted that quote on the MN owners group wondering about my prospects along with: Minnesota becoming the 15th state to adopt California rules is hopefully just an oversight by the journalist who wrote this. It would be nice finding out all that work people did to make that happen is beginning to show rewards from their effort already.
Embargo Lift. It finally happened. There is a flood of new videos to watch now. Pricing & Package detail is available too. Hooray! It was an entire year ago that we got the bZ4X reveal. 5 months prior was when we learned of the trademark filings for the nameplate vehicles. Waiting is part of the process. It goes surprisingly quick, as was the wait for this embargo lift. For me, it is a no-lose situation. I formalize my choices with the dealer, then continue on with other stuff. The world is relaxing after 2 years of pandemic-related change. Now, we figure out priorities. I look forward to ordinary summer activities. There will be get-togethers with friends, some including biking & kayaking... both of which include travel with a vehicle. Standard rails on the 4X will make switching my rack over to the Prime quick & painless. A height increase of 7 inches makes me curious about loading & unloading cargo on top. No worries though. And if it happens mid-summer without time to adapt, we could always use my wife's Prime for that. Long story short, this is a new chapter in a long adventure... one I am really looking forward to.
Deep Denial. On the eve of bZ4X embargo lift, the
desperation is becoming all too obvious. This was posted as a comment
about Toyota soon to hit the tax-credit limit, triggering phaseout: "What
a waste of the 200,000 vehicle slots. Only a handful of RAV4 EVs
perhaps, with all the rest going to hideously ugly, frustratingly slow
hybrids that theoretically could do six miles on electric-only power but
would turn on the gasoline engine at the slightest speed or acceleration.
In Toyota's case, the credit did nothing to encourage the transition to EVs
or build up economies of scale and production to make its EVs affordable for
consumers and profitable in their own right for the company."
That outright lie about range & power made be laugh. To be in such
deep denial for so long, whoa! This is how I responded to that
Not sure who is going to believe such fiction. Toyota has already established an EV foundation. From motors to software to heat-pump, the bases are all covered already. Like it or not, PHEV did a great deal to assist BEV refinement.
Prius PHV delivered a solid 12 miles of EV, then was replaced 5.5 years ago by Prius Prime... which delivered a solid 25 miles of EV, complete with heat-pump and to-the-floor electric-only acceleration. That worked so well, it resulted the spread of EV to another PHEV (RAV4 Prime) and 2 convert BEVs (CH-R and UX300e). Success of all of those plug-in vehicles led to what will be revealed in full just 8 hours from now, when the North American news embargo is lifted for bZ4X.
Too bad if you don't like how those 200,000 vehicle slots were utilized. All that set the stage for Toyota to take advantage of the phaseout stage of the tax-credits which shifts to unlimited quantity. That anticipation of delivery will stir quite a bit of interest in the variety of new plug-in vehicles on the way, including the reveal of RZ450e in two weeks.
Claim all the "did nothing" you want. It won't change the reality that Toyota used the opportunity to refine design & production based on real-world experience, preparing for this stage the industry is only now entering.
Agenda Driven. I was surprised to see the only photo featured in that propaganda article was of the original prototype Toyota had rolled out back in 2010. It's hard to believe so much time has passed since then. It's also quite exciting to see photos from my opportunity to drive one for a few days all those years ago. I got some great photos & video, long before reviews (like we will see after tomorrow's embargo) ever existed. Most fascinating about that is the fact that I will be able to relive some early market moments just like that with the 4X. We only have a single CCS charging-station complex in the entire Twin Cities. For metro area with a population of 3.5 Million people, that is barely enough to even count as "available". That is really just a test-location from the average consumer perspective. If there was a more-to-come announcement, that would be different. There isn't though. Nothing has been said from Electrify America yet. Hope is that will change. I would really like to see EVgo here too. Anywho, this is what I had to say about that choice of photo: btw, notice how the "Outdated" article features a photo of a plug-in hybrid from way back in 2010. Omitting reference to the 3 generations of upgrade that followed (2012 Prius PHV... 2017 Prius Prime... 2021 RAV Prime) was key to holding up that narrative.
Hummer Hype. The legacy automaker is at it, yet
again. Rather than actually trying to change the status quo, it is
chasing profit. When news today emerged of Hummer EV having exceeded
60,000 reservations, I stated my mind in the discussion on that. My
expectation is a mix of anger, excuses, and agreement. It was only a
matter of time. Here's what I posted:
GM's reputation for hype dates back to the early days of hybrids.
It started with the insanity of "good for the economy" promotion of Hummer following 9/11. Remember $10K tax-credit it became eligible for? When that disaster fell apart, GM turned to "over promise, under deliver". Two-Mode was to out-Prius, Prius. It failed miserably, being too expensive and too inefficient for use in large vehicles to be competitive. It's plug-in variant evolved to what became Volt... which was nothing but hype with regard to being competitive. Again, GM promised far more than it could deliver.
Interestingly though, the engineering itself proved worthy. Bolt has actually done well, despite the battery problem. Much of it is entangled with the LG partnership; those tech-rights are likely what has prevented substantial upgrade. Ironically, anyone who criticized the DC fast-charging speed or EV range of Toyota's upcoming rollout have backed themselves into a corner with Bolt. Think about what GM customers actually need.
As for Hummer, it is a massive waste of resources. It uses triple the battery-capacity of a typical BEV and guzzles electricity. Think about what that means for others wanting a CCS connect. Having such a monster at a charging-station is almost a new version of having a spot ICE'd. Why not just focus on Silverado & Equinox deliveries instead... you know, something for GM's own loyal customers? Hummer is nothing but conquest sales.
Remember how a few years ago GM promised "20 EVs by 2023" ?
Both Sides. The person who posted this gave a like to my reply almost immediately after it appeared in the feed: "Both sides need to keep in mind that although heavier vehicles are less efficient, this penalty is minimized in vehicles with regen because most of the extra energy used to accelerate the extra weight is recaptured when braking." That is awesome. It got better too. Someone else chimed in pointing out the play off emotion is "clearly agenda driven". That comes from recognition of progress. Their efforts to impede have to be ramped up to deal with diversification success. It was easy to fight a leader like Prius when it was such an obvious target. RAV4 is far more difficult and bZ4X will be even more so. Other legacy automakers don't have as much influence. Here in the United States... hype from GM is worthless with regard to actual change... Hyundai & Kia basically get ignored... VW is too small to make a difference. Ford is intriguing though; it is indeed an automaker with potential to break the status quo with F-150 Lightening. Here's that reply I posted: That's the trap... divide & conquer. They are trying to position PHEV and BEV against each other, even though they are actually on the same side. Both deliver similar miles/kWh efficiency driving with electricity.
Extra Weight. That article claiming "outdated" concluded with this statement: "So, although you could say that 50 clean kilometres is better than nothing at all, as they have to carry around the weight of the internal combustion engine and its fuel, the effects are more than negligible." It helped confirm the lack of objectivity. That same old nonsense we've seen in the past is moving forward, targeting what they feel is the lasted threat to purity. Remember all the talking-points with Volt? Absence is detail is what to look for. When there isn't anything but vague claims, you know they are stirring trouble. Emotion clouds judgment and they know how effective that can be. I made sure to point out what was taking place, leveraging the vague nature of the dialog to avoid getting trapped with their usual trivial semantic dribble. Notice how "nothing" and "negligible" tell use literally nothing useful? I can play that game too: That is quite the hypocritical statement. Long-Range BEV are heavier. It makes no sense carrying around that extra EV capacity when you rarely ever need it, especially when there is an efficiency penalty for doing so. Yet, that fact is always overlooked when trying to portray PHEV as the enemy of BEV.
Efforts to Ban. That campaign to misrepresent plug-in hybrids continues. This is the latest: "Outdated and pointless: Hybrid cars should be banned for holding back EV revolution." With such a title, I knew the read would be interesting. There is always an element of intrigue about how they will portray their supposed enemy. Most of the time, it is to lump everything into a single category... calling everything a "hybrid" just by the simple fact of it having an ICE (Internal Combustion Engine). Then, of course, you select an outdated example to represent anything with a plug. You know, acknowledge but downplay. In this case though, it simply just used an outright lie. So when a post asking for comment about the article came up, I sounded off about that with: That claim is utter nonsense. It was yet another propaganda article favoring BEV by misrepresenting PHEV. This was a dead giveaway of that: "Tyre wear is also a huge problem for hybrid vehicles with tyres releasing more particulate matter with the heavier weight of the car." Driving hybrids for over 20 years, I know quite well that is not true. Comparing similar-sized PHEV to BEV from Toyota, we see difference between base model weights of RAV4 Prime and bZ4X is only 2 pounds. Interest for plug-in hybrids is growing and there are some who are getting desperate to stop that.
Waste of Time. There was a series of exchanged
messages. I could tell he was becoming angered with my refusal to
accept his what-about. Having been through this countless times over
the decade and never seeing any useful outcome, I was amused by the ironic
"What a waste of time !!!" That's what he was doing.
Fortunately, I had made helpful information readily available for this very
topic. I was all to happy to post it too:
That should be expected when you post a what-about. Without any context or detail, of course it will waste time. Though, there is a takeaway from such a vague post. When actual data is looked at, the situation becomes clear.
These are the record lows for Minneapolis over the previous decade:
-12°F February 14, 2020
-28°F January 30, 2019
-14°F January 01, 2018
-16°F December 31, 2017
-20°F December 18, 2016
-11°F February 23, 2015
-23°F January 06, 2014
-13°F February 01, 2013
-11°F January 19, 2012
-16°F January 21, 2011
-15°F January 02, 2010
That context provides a basis to see that -25°F simply doesn't apply to a vast majority of this audience. So what if it takes longer to recharge during an extreme cold for a limited number of people on a limited number of days who actually travel distances greater than the capacity available. At least charging is still possible.
Lesson learned is to focus on what most people concerned about a BEV purchase really need to know. If you don't, it will become a waste of time.