Prius Personal Log  #1147

May 27, 2022  -  May 29, 2022

Last Updated:  Sun. 9/18/2022

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5-29-2022

Signs of Trouble.  You recognize them when statements like this are made: "Toyota will sell their gas cars instead of this EV."  If it has a gas-engine, it is unacceptable... period.  Polarization of choice is how arguments are made.  There's no sense of balance or compromise.  It is either this or that.  It is how Toyota got labeled as an enemy of progress.  Taking smaller steps that will be widely accepted by the masses is unacceptable.  You take a major step or die... hence all the doom & gloom claims.  They try to spin any type of discussion of detail as: "This is so far from "pushing limits" it is close to unacceptable for an EV in 2022."  Again, that's their interpretation of leadership.  Getting ordinary people to change isn't important.  It is all about "pushing limits".  That sign of trouble means we have much to deal with on the horizon.  In fact, that is exactly why Toyota makes these major steps in such a subtle way.  If they can be almost undetectable or easily dismissed, they are far more likely to not be frightening to ordinary people.  That's the part they don't get.  Enthusiasts assume mainstream consumers think they same way they do.  Ugh.  Know your audience.  What I find remarkable is that most enthusiasts don't recognize potential.  If it cannot be measured in by distance or electricity, forget it.  For example: "Giving this car this CATL battery means it will sell a lot less than it potentially could."  That sign is just plain naive.  Study of that battery-supplier reveals a world of success & investment.  I was annoyed, responding with:  Not according to Toyota.  They expect AWD to be a majority of the sales in the North America.  Coming from such a capable battery-supplier, that's realistic.  Consider characteristics of the battery itself raising an eyebrow.  We can see similarity to LFP chemistry. In that case, those cells will be less expensive and easier to provide... since neither nickel, nor cobalt is used.  The fact that Toyota customers favor reliability & longevity, the chemistry is a great match.  That supersedes the supposed importance of range & fast-charging.  Remember, they strive to strike a balance rather then push limits.

5-29-2022

Sabotage.  We heard a rant from a Model 3 owner on the Solterra group.  He claim that having so time to prepare, specs for this rollout should have been better than Tesla.  It's an absurd benchmark.  What do Subaru & Toyota owners have in common?  And how is Tesla's business model even profitable?  Tesla has no experience selling low-profit vehicles, being forced to survive on tiny margins by pushing very high-volume.  That is profoundly different than appealing to early-adopters.  Ugh.  Oh well, this is what I had to say about that rubbish:  Deliberately sabotage would imply GM, since they had Bolt out for years to supposedly compete directly against Tesla.  That upgrade to Bolt did not improve upon DC fast-charging speed.  In fact, it is quite a bit slower than Solterra/bZ4X. Since when is Tesla the measure for their audience anyway?  What we get from Toyota (and Subaru) is a better quality build with a better interface and a familiar drive feel.  Then of course, there's the gain from X-Mode.  That along with the higher ground-clearance gives it a competitive edge over other automakers.  So what if range is on-par with base models in Europe rather than pushing distance?  So what if 11 kW charging option to take advantage of 3-phase electricity won't be available until late this year?  You still get a well refined system right out the gate.  With 10 years of delivering EV systems, that experience will payoff with this first dedicated-platform offering.

5-28-2022

Plans in Minnesota.  Support for EVs is growing.  The expectation is to invest about $68 million from this program over 5 years, along with a 20 percent non-federal match.  To be eligible for the federal program, Minnesota needs to submit a Statewide Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Plan by August 1... since the decision will be made by September 30 this year.  Knowing there's a mid-term election coming up the first week of November, reason for that aggressive pace is rather obvious.  Of course, it follows a year of stalling by those opposed to EV support.  Ugh.  Anywho, the state is requesting suggestions & comments on the matter.  This was my contribution to that:  DC fast-charger locations should include a few level-2 chargers. This would be helpful for when there is an issue related to equipment or connection.  Having that slower option available is far better than none.  Level-2 access would also give EV owners a means of keeping their battery pre-conditioned (very important during winter in Minnesota) and vehicle interior warm while waiting for a used DC fast-charger to become available.

5-28-2022

DC (Fast) Charging.  That is the official title of the section in the brochure for bZ4X.  This is the wording which it contains: "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 level and condition, charger specifications and DC charging more than twice per day also can negatively affect charging time."  Knowing how antagonists will desperately try to spin what was actually stated, I wanted to make sure I preserved what was on that download available today.  It is what those searching Toyota's website here will find.  They will try everything possible to mislead & undermine.  We have seen in before.  Take the wording out of context, alter the circumstances, or just blatantly lie.  They don't care.  When Toyota is honest and tries to be upfront as possible, they do what they can to make sure that is what people don't see.  Ugh.  That's the price of doing what needs to be done.  Appealing to enthusiasts and catering to their wants is such a waste.  It's really unfortunate other automakers are willing to follow that path.  With regard to this topic, DC fast-charging is just fine.  For the AWD model, it will be slow, but nothing to be considered extreme.  Over the years we have heard of countless Bolt owners driving cross-country.  How could they manage just fine with a maximum charge-speed of 6 kW but not bZ4X owners (with the CATL-supplied pack) somehow be worse off with 100 kW.  That makes no sense.

5-28-2022

Enthusiast Upset.  As we progress into this next stage they will struggle more and more to apply their values to everyone.  For example: "Car buying is not usually a logical "make sense" scenario.  A lot of emotions when spending that kind of money."  What they say is easy to see, but it's simply not realistic to make such an assessment.  It  isn't even a good generalization; the market is far too diverse for that.  I responded with:  It is a matter of perspective.  The same "spending that kind of money" to some means striving to make the most logical choice possible, putting almost all emotion aside for the sake of being practical.  Heck, that is exactly how the minivan came to be.  Some of the very same people who made the "wouldn't be caught dead in one" comment upon first impression find themselves behind the wheel of one years later.  Notice the problem for Tesla many try to avoid addressing?  Sales of Model S/X plummeted when Model 3/Y entered the market.  That very same shift to a smaller, affordable choice pretty much certainly happen again with Model 2/Z.  In other words, that "makes sense" scenario is pretty much an inevitability.  We start with enthusiast appeal and eventually make our way to low-profit, high-volume offerings.  Like it or not, that is how technology matures... which is what we are seeing... which is really starting to upset enthusiasts.

5-28-2022

bZ5 Sedan.  Speculation has made antagonists nervous, resulting in nonsense like this: "Toyota is so screwed.  They will be out of tax credits soon, have a platform (FWD in an EV lol) that is 5+ years behind the rest of the competition, terrible range, and no interest in innovating their designs to take advantage of the lack of an engine."  That reference to FWD was a dead giveaway of audience problem.  How many non-enthusiasts seek RWD, for that matter why?  The only reason I'm aware of is for faster acceleration.  As for the doom & gloom attempt, there's never any substance.  It is nothing but a mention to divert attention.  I don't put up with that crap.  Here's what I had to say:  Attempting to feed the narrative by claiming "5+ years behind" without explaining why shows signs of desperation.  Their 10 years of experience from having produced plug-ins without dedicated platforms has made this first with already well refined, as many reviewers have confirmed. DC charging speed from the Panasonic supplied battery and its efficiency rating are competitive with other current offerings.  As for not innovating, you're not paying attention.  The new fabric covering on the dashboard and infrared-heater are rather blatant efforts to deliver improved efficiency in draining conditions.  We also know there is support for 800-volt charging.  Then of course, there's this expectation for the next bZ model.  Lastly, lack of an engine allowed Toyota to take advantage by provide more leg room in the rear seats.  In other words, that "screwed" portrayal completely falls apart when you look at the facts. The situation is no where near as dire as some hope. 

5-27-2022

Exactly 35 Minutes.  Getting some real-world data is interesting, especially knowing that I will become a provider hopefully soon... sometime mid-summer, if delivers go well.  Someone who got their bZ4x XLE AWD a few days ago posted this snippet of info: "And for those curious about the battery, just charged from 10 percent to 80 percent on a 150kw charger in exactly 35 minutes."  I was indeed one of those who were quite curious.  It was my opportunity to attempt to glean a little tidbit of what the other battery really is.  I highly suspect that "glen" will be a stretch, that the new owner will have no idea of the significance of my inquiry.  They will likely either respond with uncertainty or some canned others don't.  Tesla owners had to be explicitly informed with their LFP installed model.  Since this installation is both market & type specific, there isn't any expectation finding that documented in a basic owner's manual.  It will be an addendum, likely similar to what Tesla did.  Think about how much Toyota strives for KISS with their interfaces & behaviors.  Subtle is an understatement.  Downplay of significance is part of the culture.  Think about how many innovations we have seen over the years that got little to no attention.  When it involves perception of risk, there is even more reason to "just do it" and disregard any attention.  Knowing all that, I kept my request rather basic:  What we really want to know is... what is the default/recommended stopping point when AC charging?  Since tidbits of info about the cells for the US model AWD closely resemble LFP chemistry, that detail would be a clue as to what CATL is supplying Toyota with.  Routinely charging to 100% is normal (and of no consequence) for LFP cells.

5-27-2022

Growing Smug.  Watching history repeat is fascinating.  I recognize the pattern so well.  Enthusiasts absolutely refuse to acknowledge their priority differences from the masses.  Insults & Belittling become the norm, especially easy when the venue is an echo-chamber for their particular interest.  That refusal to accept the reality of want verses need is remarkable.  Over and over, same attitude.  So, expecting the same outcome is reasonable.  Here's how that growing smug is being dealt with at the moment:  That assessment of "lags" comes from those who don't place as high priority on reliability, longevity, or appeal to their own loyal customers.  When someone goes to the dealer, gets their butt on the driver's seat for a test-drive, it becomes an easy purchase decision.  That reputation for quality is of greater importance than squeezing out farther range or faster charging.  It is the classic dilemma of enthusiasts not recognizing what mainstream consumers are drawn to.  Also, keep in mind how the fabric dashboard and infrared heating are cutting edge innovations conveniently omitted.  Both address thermal improvement for improved range... something you won't find in the rating criteria, but will very much come into play in real-world driving.

5-27-2022

Years Later.  It makes you wonder how long the "temperature" myth will persist.  Like the other myths we have seen in the past, there was some misinformation or a misconception that got passed along.  It is how trolls thrive.  They push aspects of concern to feed their narrative to keep it going for years.  Continued attention on a trivial or uncommon topic gives it power to grow & spread.  I have seen it so many times already.  Fortunately, some of that can be better countered from the availability of YouTube.  Posting vehicles conveying lots of detail tends to force the antagonists to give up and move on to another topic.  Spin is very difficult when you have a resource like that.  Unfortunately for now, I don't have a vehicle to get that real-world data from... nor is it the right season.  So, we have to just deal with the madness in the meantime.  Here's how I did that today:  The warnings are overblown, all lithium chemistry takes a hit at temperatures below freezing.  Like any charging then, the pack must be warmed first.  As for the -20°C (-4°F) limitation, that's not unique to Toyota either.  What is unique is the attempt to raise awareness for ordinary consumers.  Other automakers have avoided mention of extremes.

5-27-2022

Mixed Up.  Remember all those years ago when I was continuously arguing with some of the Volt enthusiasts?  I eventually figured out that they really didn't understand how Toyota's second-generation PHEV actually worked, that they truly thought EREV operated differently.  They were proven wrong by the videos I ended publishing.  Most vanished as a result.  Memories of their hostile attempts to shut me up still linger though.  Over the past few days, I got a reminder.  He kept claiming the EV drive was different.  It was absurd to claim I should go to a Toyota forum and find out from real owners that I was wrong.  He clearly wanted me to somehow stumble over some extreme, choosing to argue over some rare circumstance... much like all the other purists.  That was a major contributor to Volt's failure.  They desperately wanted it to be a BEV with an emergency backup generator.  The very fact that it had a gas-engine invalidated their desire.  It was a self-destructive approach.  So what if a rare circumstance breaks an otherwise all-electric drive?  See where I'm going with this?  The purists now absolutely insist a charge to 80% much be in less than 30 minutes, period.  The fact that many BEV don't (including 2 choices still offered in the United States, Leaf & Bolt) is irrelevant.  Just dismiss what you don't like, right?  Ugh.  I ended the desperate spin exchange this time with:  All-Electric system is exactly that. Having a top-speed of 135 km/h (84 mph) combined with a heat-pump make the EV driving experience exactly like any other BEV.  You drop the pedal to the floor and go; no gas consumed.  My guess is you have simply mixed up Toyota's design with that of other PHEV, not recognizing just how different the Prime models really are.

5-27-2022

Mixed Up.  Remember all those years ago when I was continuously arguing with some of the Volt enthusiasts?  I eventually figured out that they really didn't understand how Toyota's second-generation PHEV actually worked, that they truly thought EREV operated differently.  They were proven wrong by the videos I ended publishing.  Most vanished as a result.  Memories of their hostile attempts to shut me up still linger though.  Over the past few days, I got a reminder.  He kept claiming the EV drive was different.  It was absurd to claim I should go to a Toyota forum and find out from real owners that I was wrong.  He clearly wanted me to somehow stumble over some extreme, choosing to argue over some rare circumstance... much like all the other purists.  That was a major contributor to Volt's failure.  They desperately wanted it to be a BEV with an emergency backup generator.  The very fact that it had a gas-engine invalidated their desire.  It was a self-destructive approach.  So what if a rare circumstance breaks an otherwise all-electric drive?  See where I'm going with this?  The purists now absolutely insist a charge to 80% much be in less than 30 minutes, period.  The fact that many BEV don't (including 2 choices still offered in the United States, Leaf & Bolt) is irrelevant.  Just dismiss what you don't like, right?  Ugh.  I ended the desperate spin exchange this time with:  All-Electric system is exactly that. Having a top-speed of 135 km/h (84 mph) combined with a heat-pump make the EV driving experience exactly like any other BEV.  You drop the pedal to the floor and go; no gas consumed.  My guess is you have simply mixed up Toyota's design with that of other PHEV, not recognizing just how different the Prime models really are.

 

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