Prius Personal Log  #1146

May 22, 2022  -  May 26, 2022

Last Updated:  Sun. 9/18/2022

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5-26-2022

Price Parity.  When you ignore real-world data or logic, you can pretty much claim whatever you want.  After all, people are supposedly entitled to their opinion on the internet.  Truth isn't as important as being heard.  Ugh.  This was today's example: "I think you can have "price parity" if you give the EV version a 100 mile range.  But most people won't accept that.  But raising it to 200 to 300 miles just raises the price a few thousand more but you'll make that money back in fuel savings pretty fast."  How exactly with that happen?  The claim is so stupid, I don't really know how to best respond.  It is a complete absence of critical thinking.  Saving money by having greater capacity is truly bizarre spin.  How do you benefit financially from that?  It doesn't add up, even when you consider whether you are paying for electricity by the kilowatt or by the minute at a DC fast-charger.  Knowing that daily driving is less than 40 miles, what would you have to do to save fuel?  It is crazy to even need to ask that question.  What is it with some people where logic evades their thoughts?  I cannot fathom what he assumed would happen, especially with the qualifier of "fast" in that claim.  What the heck?  Long story short, we have been waiting for price of battery-cells to drop to some equivalent of gas-engine vehicle cost, making a price-parity easy to recognize.  Clarity still evades.  Here's how I replied to the nonsense:  If you have a LFP battery that will deliver around 3,000 cycles and your driving needs are satisfied by the 100-mile range, paying to carry around unneeded capacity that will result in an efficiency penalty (due to the extra weight) makes no sense.

5-26-2022

Name Obsession.  Having run out of criticism (little material remaining to support the narrative), focus has shifted to the name.  I find it so hypocritical, it is absurd.  Nice part is though, I can say something about it.  On the videos that dedicate the first few minutes to a ramble about the name, I post a comment after it has been available for a bit.  That settling down of post activity helps keep it from getting buried in the flurry of posts.  Here's an example of what I posted today on that topic:  Toyota's choice of "bZ4X" was even better than Prius.  When you search online, you only get hits on the vehicle.  That is fantastic for marketing.  ID.4 and EV6 are fine for names but bZ4X isn't?  Think about when next bZ model is rolled out, likely the larger SUV.  Calling it 5X makes sense, right?  Kia will be similar with EV9 and VW already did with ID.3

5-26-2022

bZ5 Next?  We are starting to get impression a "5" designation is next.  Whether that next-out-the-gate offering is a large sedan or a larger SUV is a complete unknown.  Toyota's BEV dedicated-platform now offered can easily be stretched to provide a longer wheel-base and hold more battery-cells.  Basically, as bZ4X is to RAV4 that new larger vehicle would be to Highlander.  Of course with Tesla and the more aggressive transition plan for Lexus, it tends to make sense we'll get a car relatively soon anyway.  Who knows with this market though, especially with infrastructure support being so wishy-washy.  Whatever the case, it is getting more and more difficult to villainize Toyota.  The steady stream of new plug-in vehicles has begun.

5-25-2022

Conquest Sales.  It is headlines like this that we should be worried about: "2023 Cadillac Lyriq Sold Out, 70% Of Buyers Are New To The Brand"  That is not actually a good thing.  Making matters worse, here's what the sub-title said: "The Lyriq is not only an effective conquest vehicle but also one that attracts younger customers for Cadillac."  It is like saying the quiet part out loud.  Seeking an outcome of conquest is exactly the wrong direction.  You want to appeal to your own loyal customers, not abandon them in favor of glory.  Ugh.  It is that praise problem again, wasting resources on keeping the spotlight rather than actually working to change the status quo.  Sadly, you can only remind people of past mistakes so much.  They either grow tired of hearing it or having no idea what you are referring to.  It becomes pointless.   I still give it a try anyway:  Conquest sales have been GM's repeated mistake.  Rather than appeal to their own base, resources were wasted on short-term opportunity.  That obsession continues to be a downfall.  Nothing changes at dealerships as a result.  Just like in the past, we are left wondering when something for current owners will get something to choose from as a viable replacement... a choice actually competitive on the showroom floor.

5-25-2022

Australia Hybrids.  Some of the negative attitude about Toyota from down under can be easily explained by this statement: "Toyota sells hybrid versions of Yaris, Corolla, C-HR, Yaris Cross, RAV4, Camry and Kluger, with 72% of RAV4 and 84% of Camry vehicles being hybrids."  With so many sales dominated by hybrids, it makes sense that some perceive any move away from them would be with kicking & screaming.  Why would you abandon something you worked so hard to achieve?  It isn't exactly a no-brainer anywhere else outside of basically just Europe anyway.  Some would make you think otherwise.  To them, the days of doom & gloom are quickly approaching.  You must change aggressively or die... there is no transition... there is no balance... it is all or none.  Ugh.  That mindset is so destructive.  There are consequences to zero-sum enthusiasts fail to recognize.  Coming from a worldwide view with obvious market-specific bias, it is even more difficult to address the problem.  Having a little insight into each audiences particular circumstances is helpful.  I know my trip to Africa last year certainly was eye-opening.  Heck, it was to walk in the streets of Europe too.

5-24-2022

Business Perspective & Tradeoffs.  I posted this today: "Other details have been revealed, tidbits of spec info further supporting that theory.  The biggest though is simply a business perspective.  CATL clearly stated they are pursuing growth opportunity and they are heavily favoring LFP for that."  Usually, enthusiasts are obsessed with numbers.  They fixate on some specification and make it their mantra.  We hear the same thing over and over, without any progress.  The status quo remains unchanged.  They do their best to place blame and distract from other design aspects.  It's always about engineering.  The perspective of business is always ignored or dismissed.  They just plain don't think it matters.  Ugh.  In this case though, it is especially important.  With chemistry of batteries now becoming diverse, it's a really big deal.  We are no longer dealing with an old or new paradigm.  Many new choices are emerging and each has strengths & weaknesses.  That makes the impact of business decisions a really be deal.  What does an automaker want to sell?  Tradeoffs are a harsh reality.  If you decide to favor fastest charging, you are likely it trading for longevity.  That longevity tradeoff for LFP comes with a penalty of range loss (due to lower energy-density and heavier cells) but a gain of cost-reduction.  For the need of selling in high-volume at low-profit, that decision is an easy one, for business.  For an early-adopter or someone focused on performance, they would disagree... if they bothered.  Unfortunately, they still don't seem to care.

5-24-2022

That Attitude Returns.  When posting on Facebook, there is no avatar to hide behind.  Think about how many blogs & forums I dealt with in the past where the person was always anonymous.  They would attack me for being open about my identity and hide as much as possible about who they were.  I learned a lot about their fear & weaknesses as a result.  It was quite educational learning about that audience.  This new audience has some of the same problems.  They emanate from posts like this: "Furthermore Prius prime and RAv4 prime are not BZ4x, they are gasoline assist systems, if you actually understand how motor work then you would know the behavior and result is different."  Since the poster has no idea of my past based on just my actual name, there's no clue that I am extremely well informed on the topic.  I don't divulge much in that regard, choosing to focus on facts instead... otherwise, the posts just turn into an attack on me... you know, shoot the messenger.  This is how I dealt with that in this case:  Neither Prime is a "gasoline assist system", quite unlike some PHEV offered by others.  It is a pedal-to-the-floor design, entirely electric and with a heat-pump.  The gas-engine is physically disengaged while in EV mode.  There are a number of videos available with ODB-II data clearly showing the Prime system is all-electric, drawing only from the battery-pack without the gas-engine ever starting.  That EV driving experience is no different from bZ4X.  It is easy to see how assumptions are made that all PHEV are the same.  They definitely are not.  Understanding how the engine is clutched out so MG1 and MG2 can propel the vehicle using only electricity is what gives Toyota that experience & expertise for delivering such a well-refined EV drive from their first dedicated-platform offering.  Those other plug-ins delivered more than most people understand.

5-23-2022

Uncertainty.  Now that bZ4X deliveries have begun, we are starting to get real-world data reports.  This evening's new owner post included: "We started at 12% and went to about 72% in 24 minutes.  Max was 144kW reached in the first 3 minutes, by 10 minutes dropped to 95kW, by 24 minutes we ramped down to 50kW.  We didn't have time to do a full test, but this seems better than the AWD charging rates."  It's an interesting situation.  Either way, potential for buyer's remorse is a very real possibility.  One reader expressed his feelings with: "Thanks for mentioning the charge rate!!!  Much relief for my FWD!"  I'm sure he'll be quite pleased with his; though, my guess is he had no idea what the situation really was with the AWD observations related to DC fast-charging.  Looking at the enthusiasts, that's a different story.  So many attacked Toyota for supposedly failing to deliver and claiming 4X to be a huge let down.  Watching them react to this new will be fascinating to watch.  It is basically a hypocritical corning about to take place, setup by Toyota.  With all the rhetoric, turn-about is fair play.  Some of us are aware of chemistry differences.  Some of us understand what the significance is of those differences... both from a performance aspect and the impact to business.  Toyota's focus is long-term; they have no interest for appealing to early-adopters.  I'm still hoping what comes from CATL is indeed LFP.  Elimination of cobalt & nickel for a more affordable, longer-lasting battery that's also safer is a really big deal.  If it turns out that's not what my AWD will be getting, I will be happy regardless.  It's not like there are plans for long-distance travel that we wouldn't be using my wife's Prius Prime for.  Limitations with 4X won't actually be that limiting anyway.  All the usual stuff we do will work just fine with it.  With regard to today's post, this is how I responded:  There was never any reason for concern.  We always knew the Panasonic supplied cells were different and would charge faster.  The unknown is with the CATL supplied cells, which exhibit characteristics of LFP chemistry.  If that is what they are, charging speed may be tweaked some but will never be as fast.  The catch is, they will last longer and can be charged to 100% without penalty.  Like most technologies, there is usually some type of tradeoff.

5-23-2022

Advertised Capacity.  For months, I have been stumbling across mention of a lower capacity for bZ4X than what has typically accepted as fact.  To me, that is a misunderstanding of information.  When a reviewer asked "capacity", they are unaware of the ambiguous nature of their request.  Without knowledge of how EV operates and the strategy taken for longevity, it is a very easy mistake to make.  After all, common rechargeable devices don't have any such protective mechanisms for extending service life.  You just charge your phone to 100% routinely and sometimes drain it all the way to 0%.  The idea of only charging it to 80% or 90%, whether it be explicit or hidden design, doesn't matter.  The thought of "full" implies the entire capacity.  Setting a portion aside to be permanently unusable is beyond the typical person's thought.  That concept is new to them.  So, you have to take time to explain it.  The process starts with a recognition of numbers.  I have done the calculation before assuming that 72.8 kWh was used entirely to get the estimate value.  After all, buffers are software adjustable and what's physically available is not.  Think about gas tanks.  No buffer is used for them when determining range.  That distance requires every last drop to be used.  When not the same with every electron?  It is a challenging topic.  Discussion starts with sharing of observations, which is exactly what I did:  Problem is "advertised" has not been what people assume.  Notice how "actual" and "usable" has been absent from those sources.  For people hoping to find detail, the 72.8 kWh battery is sometimes mentioned as having a size of 65.6 kWh... which is the 90% usable (10% buffer) we would expect to find.

5-22-2022

Something Better.  This attitude is pervasive online: "With Toyota being late to the game with a 2023 model, they had a chance to make a splash car.  Something with better specs and price to undercut the competition.  Something with better specs and price to undercut the competition."  Making a big bang is an obsession with enthusiasts.  They crave attention-stirring advancements.  That's why subtle improvements often go unnoticed or are dismissed as trivial.  They don't recognize the significance of so many refinements combined.  Oh well.  It is their loss, as I am all too happy to point out:  Still thinking we are in the early-adopter stage is a fundamental flaw.  You're not alone.  Many enthusiasts make that same mistake.  It's too easy to fall into the "EV market" trap.  This is the mainstream stage and Toyota is right on time.  Cold, hard reality... painful truth for those in denial... is that other automakers are not the competition.  We are trying end ICE sales.  That means appealing to those on the showroom floor.  In other words, the competition is the vehicle sitting right next to the BEV at the dealership.  That means, time to face the music.  We can discuss whatever you want hear.  In fact, I really enjoy exchanges addressing the variety of technologies available.  Problem is, that does nothing to actually change the status quo.  Think about what a Toyota customer is seeking from a Toyota vehicle.  If their household has more than just one vehicle, being a BEV won't play much of a role in the purchase decision.  Neither range nor fast-charging speed will matter. Toyota will make a splash anyway.

5-21-2022

New Rhetoric.  Just like we saw with Toyota's statement on lithium chemistry well over a decade ago, enthusiasts are manipulating what was actually said.... turning into antagonists, repeating history.  In the past, Toyota's choice for staying with NiMH was a cost issue.  It was simply too expensive for the energy-density available back then.  Those wanting to see Toyota fail changed that to avoiding lithium due to the fire potential.  It was clear in the quote that cost was the constraint.  They didn't care.  They pushed their narrative to undermine.  The same thing is happening again.  This time, the following statement is being altered: "Drive battery conditions, charger specifications and DC charging fully more than twice per day also can negatively affect charging time."  That became a post in quotes saying: "If you charge quickly more than once a day, the charging speed will drop."  That is part of the campaign to get people to see Toyota as desperately behind by focusing solely on DC fast-charging speed.  It's like acceleration-speed, a measure of value based upon want rather than need.  New rhetoric is a pain, but also a confirmation.  When they do everything possible to divert attention away from EV drive praise, that's a good sign.  The idea of longevity is shunned.  Faster charging, regardless of tradeoff, is vital... according to enthusiasts.  Ugh.

5-22-2022

Buy Any Other.  Without knowing audience, stuff like this would get tiring: "I would buy any other ev instead.  ID4, model 3, Ioniq 5, Chevy Bolt Euv.  With the lacking specs and horrible charging speeds, it is not even worth the MSRP."  I find it ironic how I keep getting told the purchase decision is based mostly on emotion, than also get told how important the specs are.  That contradictory stance is familiar.  I have seen the same thing countless times over the decades.  It comes down to the same problem pretty much every time... no detail.  Those vague, substanceless claims are signs of emotion... a trait enthusiasts pride themselves for not having.  They are supposedly focused entirely on subjective measure.  You know, need rather than want.  Then you get "lacking" and "horrible" as their reasoning of worth.  Ugh.  I recognize the nonsense, trying to keep my reply short, with facts that derail their narrative, ending with a question.  This was today's attempt at that:  Bolt EUV offers fewer miles (247 vs 252), much slower charging (55 vs 150), and lacks ground clearance (5.35 vs 8.1).  bZ4X's base is simply nicer too, with a standard panoramic roof and a standard heat-pump.  There's an optional infrared heater as well.  ID.4 and Ioniq 5 are indeed competitive, but do they share Toyota's target of 90% capacity retention after 10 years?

 

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