Prius Personal Log  #1143

May 9, 2022  -  May 14, 2022

Last Updated:  Sun. 9/18/2022

    page #1142         page #1144         BOOK         INDEX         go to bottom     

 

5-14-2022

Speed or Longevity.  Finally, a second video was published highlight real-world charging for the AWD model of bZ4X.  It mentioned the correction, as well as having taken the time to try what most of us will actually do.  That was to try AC charging after the DC charging slowed to a crawl, once you are into the 90% numbers.  When state-of-charge is that high, what happens when you do that switch?  After all, when I'll need to charge to 100% it will be at home anyway.  Turns out, it charges noticeably faster with AC at that point.  I figured as much.  It is yet another speculation about LFP.  Knowing how difficult full is to detect at that level due to such a minimal voltage variance, the use of direct DC could be quite a challenge.  You have more control taking AC and trusting your own on-board DC converter instead.  In other words, it certainly looks like Toyota really did take those extra steps and those reporting observations are not well enough informed to understand.  This particular video did notice and made an effort to verify.  That's really appreciated.  I was the first to like it and the first to provide a comment, this:  Looking beyond just DC fast-charging, which most owners will rarely use anyway, you will see a favor for longevity.  Slower charging chemistries, like LFP, deliver exactly that. It comes down to consumer priority and Toyota is not afraid to try a variety of choices.

5-14-2022

Planning Ahead.  It sure is nice to see ordinary discussion from time to time.  Today, it was a Prius Prime owner trying to figure out what to install for level-2 charging.  After a number of post exchanges with a few of us, he shared this: "Who knows, they may decide they want a full-EV in the future, or next week."  It was wonderful evidence of looking beyond his particular need and considering the variety of people who may ask the very same question.  I was happy to provide my background related to the topic, having it be so far in the past for my wife and I:  5 years later for us, that's the case.  We had 40-amp lines installed, figuring 7.7 kW would end up becoming the norm.  When you do the math, 8 hours of charging will deliver roughly 200 miles of range.  Sure enough, the upgrade from Prius Prime to bZ4X will match that anticipated future usage.  Ideally, you would have the NEMA 14-50 outlet connected with 6-guage wire to a 50-amp breaker.  That's the max supported for a 240-volt outlet.  There's no point though if the vehicle cannot utilize greater load.  And if you want to favor lowest cost electricity, you'll be recharging overnight anyway.  So, no benefit from faster. If you truly need it, just use DC instead.  It is interesting now looking back, 5 years later.

5-12-2022

Who's Laughing?  Seeing news about bZ4X show up elsewhere, on publications I haven't ever encountered brings back old memories.  The same thing happened decades ago with Prius.  Enthusiasts magazines, who normally wouldn't be caught dead featuring an article about anything sharing a Toyota audience with the likes of Corolla or Camry, would write about Prius.  It was absurd.  They clearly were out of their league, desperate to not be left out.  That's why comments coming from articles like that are expected to resemble stuff just like this: "The BZX4 and the Solterra are the laughing stock of the EV industry."  It is that same smug attitude, looking down upon Toyota's new offering because it was capable of stirring interest without following their expectations.  Toyota wasn't playing by their rules... which was causing upset.  That type of industry stir again is awesome.  I so look forward to being part of that again.  In the meatime, I responded with:  Who is laughing?  Toyota is bold enough to point out the impact cold temperatures have on DC fast-charging.  They are educating their customers.  They also focused on the transition to EV, making the vehicle seem both familiar & simple... something absolutely essential for that audience... none of whom find it funny.

5-12-2022

Recognizing Necessity.  Seeing the problem between want & need re-emerge is interesting.  I had a series of comments exchanged today with someone exhibiting that lack of distinction.  She genuinely did not understand how to identify the difference.  In her mind, recognition of necessity was an opinion or judgement, not something based upon quantative measure.  That meant there was no possibility of constructive outcome.  Subjective assessment is not what necessity involves.  To be objective, you have to start by defining true need... like an absolute minimum.  She couldn't see the difference between slow charging and not being able to charge at all.  Focus was entirely on speed of charging.  Ugh.  No matter how slow charging is, you will still reach your destination.  Faster is a want.  I just let it go and ignored whatever was to follow by moving on about the same video with other observations, pointing out:  The catch is, what we saw was only 61 kWh of charging.  It wasn't actually empty to start with.  Also, it was a pre-production model, so we really don't know what the rollout version will deliver.  That supposed speed necessity also clashes with older BEV still being sold, like Bolt and Leaf.  Lastly, charging to 80% becomes less of a time concern as chargers become more common.

5-11-2022

Audience & Purpose.  This particular statement ruffled my feathers: "It's disappointing to see that bX4X owners that pay extra for the all-wheel-drive version will not only get slower fast-charging under all conditions but the disparity appears to worsen as the temperature lowers."  That was not only a distraction, since the upgrade to AWD will indeed be delivered well, it misleads about distraction itself.  All fast-charging is slower as temperature drops.  No immunity for any BEV should be understood.  Sadly, it is not.  Notice the complete absence of detail too.  The use of "slower" and "worsen" tell you nothing beyond direction.  There's no magnitude or context.  It's just a load of FUD with a blatant attempt to criticize.  Will showroom shoppers actually care?  They are looking for a drive that delivers and a system that's reliable.  The purpose is to purchase a vehicle delivering a reasonable balance, not favoring any particular trait.  It is why hybrids like Corolla, Camry and RAV4 have sold so well.  The quality & comprehensiveness of ownership experience was not sacrificed for the sake of achieving higher MPG.  You'd think that would be a sensible approach to selling vehicles continuously in high-volume for a profit.  Listening to enthusiasts though, who supposedly know better, you would think there's a conspiracy to support the fossil-fuel industry.  Ugh.  I kept today's reply to the nonsense brief:  Tradeoffs are a normal part of technology.  In this case, if the cells really are LFP chemistry, that tradeoff of slower DC fast-charging would be in favor of substantially longer battery life.  Think about what Toyota customers are looking for.  They consider longevity a higher priority than the performance early-adopters favor.

5-11-2022

What Toyota Actually Said.  The situation is really getting turbulent.  For the record, here is the full note that was published: "DC charging times are estimated based on ideal charging conditions.  As temperatures decrease below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, charging time will increase significantly.  For the bZ4X AWD model, charging may slow down more than other models in weather conditions below 32 degrees Fahrenheit and may not be possible when the temperature drops to around -4 degrees Fahrenheit and below.  Drive battery conditions, charger specifications and DC charging fully more than twice per day also can negatively affect charging time."  It's like a BEV version of the MPG disclaimer.  People should know this, but most actually don't.  Toyota knows their audience and couldn't care less about enthusiasts.  What seems so obvious to someone who has known and driven a plug-in vehicle for years, much of that will be obvious.  For someone never paying attention, it most definitely is not.  Think about how many new hybrid owners there still are who get caught by total surprise when they discover MPG drops in Winter.  All those years of driving, they never noticed.  There is no simplicity of fill & forget with BEV.  True, you can experience that at home with level-2 charging.  In fact, most of the time that's the way it will be.  Some BEV owners never use a DC fast-charger.  Despite that reality, some enthusiasts absolutely demand the fastest possible charging while on a road trip.  Why?  Just like I was saying 9 months ago, it's more about finding a spot you can plug into immediately than having to queue up and monitor for ultra-fast charging.  What's wrong with taking a break long enough to eat lunch while you charge?  It's not like you need full ever time anyway.  In fact, the recommendations we have been getting from those who go on drive challenges is to stop sooner and more often.  The level I hear the most is stopping around 65% since beyond that the slowdown becomes quite noticeable.  It's funny how enthusiasts quickly forget recommendations like that.  Notice how 200 mile of range was supposedly enough not too long ago but now it is not?  That's the difference between want & need.  They had been focusing on need, but later switched to want... refusing to acknowledge reaching their own defined necessity.  In other words, they move the goal posts.  That's why getting what Toyota actually said on record is important.  They will attempt the same thing as supporting evidence comes out contradicting their own claims.  -4°F isn't 10°F or 20°F.  It is a temperature only experienced for short windows of time here in Minnesota.  Though routine, that is no where near as big of an exposure they are making it out to be.

5-11-2022

Whoa!  While complaining about the lack (or absence) of research on the part of others, I was doing quite the opposite.  Information has become an obsession.  There are clues; it is just a matter of finding them.  Seeing Toyota be so selective about who got the cells from CATL has really got me thinking.  Subaru Solterra and the AWD model of bZ4X in North America (Canada & United States) was obviously an distinct audience.  We are new to the market and we well represent true Winter conditions.  That cannot be a coincidence, especially since it is specific to AWD.  We are to be the proving market... something far from new to Toyota.  They have been that selective in the past, just not with these parameters.  Prius PHV was a great example.  Enthusiasts didn't understand its intentionally limited audience either.  It made sense years later though, looking back at how the technology evolved.  Now that it has, shifting my attention to batteries is a next logic path to follow.  My hope continues on the potential with LFP.  Just annoucing to the world that it would become a next step doesn't make sense.  In fact, that is exactly what you should avoid.  Heck, just look at how quietly Tesla shifted over to LFP.  With all their hype for 4680 cells, then instead switching to a chemisty in which it doesn't excel, theirs good reason to build up real-world data & endorsement first.  Seeing Toyota do the very same thing (though without the penalty of never captializing on what had been expected to be a premiere design) makes sense.  After all, setting precedent for being a leader of better chemistry will be quite helpful with solid-state later.  Anywho, my moment of "Whoa!" came from doing research today and confirming a hunch.  I had a feeling there was more to the -4°F reference.  It seemed too specific to be arbitrary.  Living in Minnesota, you notice how particular temperatures have particular affect on things.  -4°F was never significant.  It was just one of many sub-zero numbers which made no difference.  A little warmer or colder was all the same.  No signficance was ever spoken about that individual reading on the thermometer.  Needless to say, I was rather exactly when I found a reference stated about LFP at that precise temperature.  I put it this way:  For those doing research, you will discover that -4°F (-20°F) is the threshold for LFP chemistry.  You will then notice that slower charging speed we have been told about matches the rate limit of 1C for LFP.  Taking a look at the supplier, you will see that CATL is a provider of LFP cells for several other automakers.  More and more, it looks like the AWD model of bZ4X in the US will be the first model of Toyota to implement LFP.

5-11-2022

Incorrect/Incomplete.  The temperature reference was updated.  Of course, the videos using the original for click-bait won't issue a retraction.  They jumped on the opportunity to criticize.  Now, they find themselves in a corner.  Having not actually done any research, instead drawing a conclusion on assumption was a mistake anyway.  Lots of claims were being made which supposedly spelled doom for Toyota.  Their first dedicated-platform BEV was a failure already.  You gotta love how such assessments take place before rollout.  With nothing but some random & incomplete reviews, that don't make sense.  You cannot be objective with so little data; yet, that's what they do.  I tried to point out such blatant judgement errors.  They didn't care.  I went on-record with:  The information in the original release was incorrect.  It is -20°C (-4°F) not freezing, which is basically true for all BEV.  Until the battery-pack is warmed, electrical resistance from lithium chemistry is so high it prevents charging.  You must first wait for the warming to complete, either through waste-heat from driving or using the warmer.  Also, don't overlook that this is only with regard tor DC fast-charging.  AC charging operates fine in colder conditions. I live in Minnesota and have recharged my Prius Prime without any trouble while plugged in outside at work during even colder temperatures.

5-11-2022

Rose-Colored Glasses.  Yup, antagonists have dug down and come up with a strategy: "I'll bet Toyota is regretting saying anything. their cold weather charging is no different than any of brand using lithium ion chemistry, so why foolishly call that out?"  Sound familiar?  That was predictable.  When you don't like the message, shoot the messenger.  This was long overdue.  I get really tired of optimal conditions being the focus.  Far too often, that contributes to misconceptions.  You intend to help, but end up omitting vital information.  It is an unintentional form of cherry-picking.  It comes from hanging around echo-chambers online.  What gets shared tends to be favorable, never any pushback or question.  That's why I spend a lot of research time elsewhere, in venues without a welcome mat.  They often don't like my perspective and thrive on finding fault with Toyota.  If was constructive banter, that would make sense.  It's not.  I end up sparring a lot... and frime time to time, learning something as a result.  You ask enough times, eventually someone will slip up and reveal something useful.  Sometimes they don't, but provide inspiration instead.  Whatever the means, I end up seeing what they overlook.  I tell them so too.  It falls on deaf ears, much like this will today:  Quite the opposite.  If you don't say anything, it turns into a scandal... even if it is true for everyone else.  That's because Toyota has been turned into a scapegoat.  The reasoning is they are so big, there's no excuse.  In other words, Toyota is forcing the rest to take off their rose-colored glasses.

5-10-2022

Traction Battery Heater.  There was some mention of cold-temperature impact to charging speed that seems to be stirring into a big deal.  I was asked: "Have you turned off the your Prime's battery warming system to conserve energy?"  It was another troll question, since there's a huge difference in energy between 10°C for ordinary EV operation and 50°C needed for DC fast-charging.  I have been AC charging in Minnesota with my Prius Prime trouble free for 5 years now.  The traction battery heater was able to keep the pack above freezing just fine.  No big deal.  So, we know the basics are already covered.  We also know, since Toyota already pointed it out, that warming & cooling of the pack for bZ4X is more elaborate.  That cutout has been shown countless times already showing how the liquid will be circulated.  That dedicated system to both increase longevity and improve performance is well known.  So, I'm rather annoyed with all the FUD already emerging.  True, that was to be expected.  Fortunately, I should have mine well before it even starts to get cold here.  Then, it will be fun to squash the misconceptions.  Being in Minnesota, I will have lots of opportunity to show some real-world driving & charging.  Winter is already something to look forward to, despite the beautiful signs of Spring only now emerging.

5-09-2022

Self-Inflicted.  When you have to point out that this problem was self-inflicted, that we turned our own backs on choices with balance, it's quite disturbing.  People seek someone else to blame.  For example: "We voted for clowns that won't push tight emissions regulations or carbon taxes that would favor small cars."  I had a lot to say about that:  It wasn't politicians.  It was enthusiasts... and still is.  They obsess with range & speed.  Notice how so much attention is on travel distance and recharge time continues to dominate discussion?  We never get to other topics as a result, like miles/kWh consumption.  Other markets don't have the problem. Europe considers electricity use a priority.  Here, we are promoting guzzlers, like Hummer EV.  It isn't small cars either.  Volt was also an electricity guzzler.  31kWh/100mi was its EPA rating.  For comparison, both Prius Prime and Model 3 deliver a far more efficient 25/kWh/100mi EPA rating.  Think about it.  Enthusiasts enabled the misplaced priorities.  That gave reason for politicians to not support regulations or taxes.  Simply shifting consumption from one fuel to another really doesn't fix the problem.

 

back to home page       go to top