Prius Personal Log  #1144

May 15, 2022  -  May 17, 2022

Last Updated:  Sun. 9/18/2022

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5-17-2022

Downplay & Delay.  This a classic avoidance tactic.  Rather than acknowledgement, we get delay.  Ugh.  Here was today's example: "In my opinion, Toyota missed on this one.  I'm not surprised their aim is off, considering how anti-EV they've been over the years.  Maybe they'll get it right next time."  Attempts to downplay never cease to surprise me.  Who are they trying to convince?  That disconnect between online perception and in-person reality is remarkable.  It's why the test-drive experience is so compelling.  Whatever "anti" or "behind" rhetoric there is, it just doesn't stand up to seeing a delivered product.  Oh well.  Some people never learn what "Who?" represents.  I was all too happy to point that out too:  Enthusiasts have an extremely difficult time understanding how different things will beyond the early-adopter stage.  They don't recognize low-hanging-fruit sales.  That opportunity & conquest will not continue.  It's just a feel-good narrative seeking a scapegoat.  In other words, claims of "behind" and "too late" lack substance.  Online rhetoric we're familiar with is barely a noise to ordinary consumers.  They have no clue what may have been "missed" or how that might impact them.  It's all about changing the status quo.  We are just barely seeing the needle move.  Prior to 2022, it was all about proving & refining the technology.  Reaching mainstream consumers hasn't really even begun yet.  Absence of charging-stations and lacking political will places all automakers in the same position.  Placing blame, name calling, or belittling won't change any of that.  It is simply far too soon to already be declaring winners & losers.  It is about reaching a new audience.

5-17-2022 He Doesn't Know.  Antagonists attempt to spin your own saying on you.  It rarely works though.  In fact, sometimes it backfires.  Here's an attempt: "Exactly!  Know your audience!  Toyota fanatics waited this long for revolutionary BEV.  Instead, bZ4X is cripple across the spectrum.  Toyota fanatics are so stubborn that brand loyalty is eating them alive.  Wake up and smell the roses.  There are better cars out there."  Rather than actually claiming "vastly superior" for something else, his tactic was to insult supporters.  I was quite amused and posted:

What a remarkable example of not learning from history.  The repeat is truly astonishing.  That is exactly what the sentiment so-called "fanatics" got from Volt enthusiasts.  The threat of GM delivering on its promise of a "nicely under $30,000" plug-in was too much for them to handle.  They were so panicked by the thought of dilution, they lashed out at the only scapegoat they could find... Toyota.

It is quite amazing to see that happen again, especially when so many reviews of bZ4X highlight the quality of the ride and how refined the system already is.  Like it or not, the EV experience came from plug-in hybrids... which Toyota has demonstrated outstanding performance from with RAV4 Prime.

Too bad if you don't like the balance of range or charging-speed to deliver a well-rounded product.  That is the first big step toward delivering a system capable of sustainable high-volume sales at a profit... something Volt enthusiasts were dead set against, becoming enablers for GM to continue pursuing conquest sales instead... which crippled the system.

The "know your audience" mantra came about from that very problem.  It started out as "Who is the market for Volt?"  Those enthusiasts absolutely refused to acknowledge it was a niche, that GM would must rollout a "compromised" model of Volt for the tech to survive.

That's not at all the situation with Toyota.  We already see a 800-volt system completed and being readied for the Lexus product line.  We already see a more powerful version of bZ4X coming in the form of RZ450e.  We already see both smaller and a larger models for the "bZ" nameplate being developed.

In other words, your attempt to mislead has not only failed, it also provided a reminder of why.

5-16-2022

Observations & Advice.  I find it very informative when advice is abruptly changed for no reason.  It is a dead giveaway the person or group is attempting to move the goal-post.  Why is obvious.  I have observed this far too often.  The pattern is obvious.  Once the product you endorse proves to fulfill their criteria, that criteria is quickly forgotten.  Video after video, I have heard the same thing.  When DC fast-charging, you want to stop as soon as the speed drops significantly.  That point has been a very big deal for years.  This is why we have been witness to many shorter recharge stops rather than very long ones.  Denial about that is remarkable.  It's on countless videos, the same thing repeatedly.  If you want to save time, you end charging long before reaching full or even 80%.  I provided this reminder:  The common practice when road-tripping is to stop just before the drop-off point, which is typically around 65%.  So, the idea of pushing it beyond 80% when you see even more of a slowdown makes no sense.  Watch some competitive drive videos for confirmation of that.  They stop frequently to take advantage of that up-front burst, rather than ever bothering with any slower speed.

5-16-2022 Plug-In Hybrid or Full EV?  That was the question asked about people's purchase decision.  In the big Prius forum, you'll get quite a variety of responses to a question like that.  I was very curious where this discussion would take us.  Things are changing, finally.  Industry struggle with chip supply, dealer rethink, and attitude toward the technology are all hurdles we still to address.  It's far from over.  This was my contribution to answering that question:

We currently have two Prius Prime, so your question really doesn't apply to my household.  I can perhaps provide some background though.

Back in 2012, there simply wasn't much of a choice.  Prius PHV was the sensible decision, especially since I was still single back then.

Later in 2017, the plug-in market was basically a mess with no sign of improvement or obvious next step.  It would be a number of years remaining before any type of agreement or standard in the United States.  Prius Prime was a sensible plug-in upgrade, especially with the heat-pump and all-electric power/speed increase.

Now in 2022, there is much to hope for but a lot of waiting still.  CCS is very much at the early stages of rollout here, so travel will be limited for the foreseeable future.  There simply aren't many DC fast-chargers available, regardless of speed.  I will be getting a bZ4X in the next few month.  It will work exceptionally well for the uses my wife and I have around the suburbs surrounding the Minneapolis/St. Paul area.  Eventually, we will be able to conveniently travel up north with it too.  Knowing typical driving needs and already having two 7.7 kW (32-amp continuous draw) EVSE in the garage made that decision a no-brainer.

From my perspective, it has been a steady evolution.  Each generation has come with an obvious push forward.  There is always something new too, a feature that will catch others off guard.  With bZ4X, that would be the radiant heating.  Living in Minnesota, it will be quite exciting to experience firsthand what transmitted energy feels like rather than wasting it to warm surrounding air.  I'm quite curious how much that reduces demand/need for the heat-pump.

Stay tuned.

5-16-2022

Wrong.  It is nonsense like this which make my efforts redeeming: "Well, the people that expected Toyota to really shine with their first EV are proven wrong."  Knowing Toyota produced two generations of RAV4 EV years ago, followed up by the CH-R and UX300e converts along with both Prius Prime and RAV4 Prime, makes it all worthwhile.  Each of those plug-in vehicles provide all-electric driving from plug-supplied electricity.  How is this the first?  You could say that "first" only counts when the platform is dedicated.  But then again, that doesn't make sense either.  Reviews for bZ4X have been outstanding.  The build is meticulous and the drive well polished.  That prior EV experience is difficult to ignore or dismiss.  Toyota shines whether antagonist like it or not.  The perspective comes down to priorities.  If all you can find fault with is shorter range and slower charging, there's not much to argue.  That's not what those shopping at a Toyota dealer will be expecting anyway.  Think about what things will be like when inventory returns and the showroom floor has many choices.  Seeing a few plug-in vehicles in the mix won't change the priorities those shoppers already have.  I will continue to remind the troublemakers of that too, never letting them forget how wrong they were and continue to be:  Know your audience.  Expectations of Toyota's existing customers looking to replace their aged ICE or hybrid with a BEV will get exactly what they were hoping for... more of the same... a familiar drive experience, rock-solid reliability, and extremely long service life.

5-16-2022

Revolutionary.  The mind of the enthusiast is to always push forward.  They focus entirely on the next premiere offering.  Whatever gets produced later for the masses is meaningless.  In their mind, that doesn't represent progress.  Reality is, they are wrong... very wrong.  Niche products are not a measure of advancement beyond status quo; they are a demonstration of potential.  Actual progress is the result of mainstream consumers accepting whatever it was that started as a niche.  It is often dull & boring at that point.  Enthusiasts lose interest and move one.  That is why "revolutionary" means something so different for them, as this expresses: "Toyota released Prius back in 1997?  That’s over 2 decades of experience with battery packs.  It's 2022 outside the window, where's the revolutionary BEV?"  Everything that happened in between is meaningless to them.  Ugh.  I was all too happy to express otherwise: 

Just like the original Prius, you are judging through eyes of an enthusiast.  The pattern of history repeating is remarkable.  bZ4X is revolutionary for the audience it targets.  Listen to what the reviewers have to say about the drive experience, how refined it is.  Watch the off-road videos to see how well thought out the AWD system is.

Too bad if you don't find the DC charging fast enough.  Those complaints are even worse than back in 2000 with the rollout of Prius in the United States.  Supposedly it was so slow it was a death-trap.  That ended up being proven just a desperate effort by enthusiasts who favor speed over what mainstream consumers find more important.

Charging with AC is what most owners will do almost exclusively.  Know your audience.  Those purchasing now will jump on the opportunity to own a BEV for Toyota, following the same pattern as in the past.  When the next-gen big upgrade comes along, they will buy that too.  The older vehicle then becomes secondary, a hand-me-down, or an offering in the used market.

In short, you are failing to see the bigger picture.  Study the history to learn what "revolutionary" actually does to break the status quo.

5-15-2022

Some People Never Learn.  One of my former foes who ended up jumping ship with his Volt replied to my post ranting about how speed is absolutely vital, concluding with: "1 hour would be really painful.  Toyota doesn't want BEVs to be successful."  I was amused that he would be so oblivious to what's important.  It was that "Who is the market for Volt?" situation all over again.  He absolutely refused to acknowledge it was a niche.  I'm in the opposite position, gladly pointing out that bZ4X is for a specific audience.  Ugh.  Oh well, some people never learn.  This is what I had to say about that:  That conclusion is a sign of misaligned priorities.  From Toyota, shoppers seek a quality ride that will be extremely reliable for a very long time.  Next would be the convenience of charging at home.  As much as you want faster charging to be of upmost importance, it simply is not.  People see how few charging stations there actually are currently and a good share of households already have a road-trip vehicle.  bZ4X does not have to fulfill your requirements or even the bulk of Toyota own loyal customers.  bZ3X is likely to provide greater range from being smaller, lighter weight, and be better shaped to favor efficiency.  This first offering does not need to be all things for all people.  Being successful means providing a diverse selection of BEVs for customers to choose from... which ironically, you know about all too well.  GM failed with Volt for not diversifying.  That long-awaited Equinox with Voltec never came to be... which ironically, Toyota delivered in the form of the very well selling RAV4 Prime.

5-15-2022

Data To Leverage.  My online pondering continued:  Also, another video review has since been published.  That same drop to 1 kW was observed.  A switch from DC fast-charging to ordinary level-2 AC charging revealed faster to full was possible though.  It did not drop to 1 kW while using AC until the last minute, quite different from DC.  As stated here, Toyota's priority of longevity makes this initial approach understandable.  It also makes sense that over time enough data will be collected to tweak charging speed, which could result in an OTA update as some point.  After all, it isn't like other automakers haven't done the same thing.  Note that if you apply real-world experience from hybrids to all-electric, the 61 kWh does calculate.  Usable capacity in Prius Prime is 84%.  Since it has been in hands of owners for 5.5 years now and the model in Japan includes CHAdeMO, there is substantial data to leverage.  84% of 72.8 kWh is 61.1 kWh.

5-15-2022

Usable Capacity.  That was brought up in context of the 61 kWh observed during the charge-session.  It took them long enough to finally address such an obvious knowledge gap.  Toyota being ultra-conservative to deliver a 90% retention expectation does support a generous buffer size.  That seems a bit too large; however, it does match the 84% we have seen with their hybrids.  I started my speculation with sharing of some calculation:  Another way to look at that 61 kWh is a measure against EPA rated efficiency.  AWD Toyota bZ4X Limited = 102 MPGe combined, which is 33 kWh/100mi.  61 kWh * 3.03 mi/kWh = 185 miles... which is far short of what the 222-mile rating.  The numbers don't add up.  While it is likely the efficiency rating is understated, it is also quite realistic that 0% indicated on the displayed wasn't actually close to empty.

5-15-2022

An Hour Later.  Well, that was a heck of a surprise.  Just an hour after I posted that additional information to consider, another blog on the same video was published.  My guess is there was so much feedback, keeping the discussion alive was a top priority.  After all, comment posting is what drives revenue for them.  Their follow-up included this: "According to the video, charging from basically 0% SOC..."  That worked out great as an invite for me to provide more:  0% on the display did not mean it was empty, especially if you are familiar with how Toyota presents that type of information.  They have a long history of dealing with owners ignoring low-fuel warnings.  Of course, in the video itself he said empty had not been confirmed.  Usual testing procedure is to drive until the vehicle stops moving.  That wasn't done for this, as was stated in the video.  End results confirmed it as well.  Most BEV have a "full" point somewhere in the 90% capacity area.  That from the 72.8 kWh pack would be around 65.5 kWh.  Only having pulled 61 kWh from the charging session informs us at least 4.5 kWh was unaccounted for.  That means the graph should really be shifted over at least 6% to properly represent the charging curve.  Consider calibration too.  Newer battery in a pre-production model means displayed information could be off.

5-15-2022 Not Calibrated?  After quite a bit of thought following that first ever published DC fast-charge of an AWD model bZ4X with the CATL battery, I had more to add to my own consider of the data:

The vehicle wasn't driven until it could no longer move.  61 kWh clearly is not a full charge from a 72.8 kWh pack.  Roughly 6% to 7% capacity appears to be unaccounted for.  If this battery really does use LFP cells, it seems quite reasonable calibration for "full" had not been performed yet.  Shift the entire graph over and those observed results make sense.

Look at the numbers recorded as "full" was approached:

  % _ _ min _ _ kWh _ _ kWh Diff _ _ Time Diff

  89 _ _ 58 _ _ 18.988
  90 _ _ 59 _ _ 19.085 _ _ 0.097 _ _ 1
  91 _ _ 64 _ _ 19.703 _ _ 0.618 _ _ 5
  92 _ _ 72 _ _ 20.307 _ _ 0.604 _ _ 8
  93 _ _ 84 _ _ 21.062 _ _ 0.755 _ _ 12
  94 _ _ 98 _ _ 21.577 _ _ 0.515 _ _ 14
  95 _ _ 118 _ _ 22.244 _ _ 0.667 _ _ 20
  96 _ _ 146 _ _ 23.169 _ _ 0.925 _ _ 28
  97 _ _ 154 _ _ 23.412 _ _ 0.243 _ _ 8
  98 _ _ 172 _ _ 24.000 _ _ 0.588 _ _ 18

That slow trickle at the end looks a lot like system consumption while parked, not the battery being charged. In other words, when the system said 0% it really had that missing 4.75 kWh still available.

Again, consider necessity of calibration when LFP is used for the pack.  To accurately determine when "full" has been reached, several samples of the voltage variance from complete recharge cycles is required.  That is likely something a pre-production model used for review test-drives would not have.

 

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