Personal Log  #1148

May 29, 2022  -  June 3, 2022

Last Updated:  Sun. 9/18/2022

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Echo Chamber, name calling.  In just a few exchanges (typically 3), you tend to find out if the person will ever care about information posted.  That was all it took this time: "You're still missing the point!  It's like talking to a parrot!  Good luck, Comrade!"  He had already made up his mind and was only interested in feeding the echo-chamber.  It's pointless to even bother, though a nice jab and some exposition is usually a nice way to end the exchange.  I know there are a lot of lurkers in a venue like that.  They end up replying to your comment or liking it.  Reaching out to an audience I wouldn't normally have access to is the point.  Those who resort to name-calling were never going to change anyway.  I find it vindicating to have researched the problem so well, there is lots of real-world data to leverage in return.  Whether it is fear or ignorance doesn't matter.  Resources are limited and problems are mounting.  Drilling our way out of it is not an option; it is a desperate means of facing reality.  Anywho, I felt especially good posting this as my rebuttal:  Failing to understand how the grid is being improved is not my problem.  I see how solar & wind energy is stored in battery-banks to offset demand during peak.


Echo Chamber, propaganda.  It never cease to amaze me.  People will keep listening to the propaganda until they believe it themselves: "Propaganda!  If just one city’s population bought an electric vehicle, the grid would fail!"  He went on to call what I posted a hypocrisy.  The ironic nature is wonderful.  It is how echo-chambers work.  They convince each other about being correct.  Rather than look at imperial measure... you know, actual fact... they consider their own sources valid.  Based on nothing but conjecture, they declare victory.  Ugh.  In a few months, I will be able to hit them with real-world data.  Since I don't actually own a BEV, all my EV driving experience is easily dismissed.  They just plain don't care about the engineering.  It's all about attacking an idea.  Fortunately, my research is based on 5 years of Prius PHV ownership, 5 years of Prius Prime ownership, and about a decade of participation in the local plug-in owners group... along with all the sparring online.  So again, I keep my replies to such an individual brief:  It is neither complicated, nor hypocritical.  Reduce electricity usage during peak demand.  Recharge late at night when capacity is available.


Echo Chamber, downplay.  This one was especially attention-getting: "We're told every summer to reduce air conditioning use to prevent stress on the grid, causing rolling blackouts now!  Let's just add millions of chargers to an already aging power grid?!?!  What's their argument…….oh, "most people charge their cars overnight!"  Give us a break, EV’s are an alternative AT BEST!"  When arguments begin to show weakness, post content shifts from talking-points to downplay.  That's a good sign.  They recognize shortcomings of their stance.  In this case, the use of exaggeration is what caught my eye.  Blackouts are quite rare.  Millions would be awesome.  Why wouldn't you charge overnight?  With at least a 200-mile capacity, how many people will actually need to recharge during peak on days of high demand?  That is an extreme situation, far from the norm.  On days when it is that hot, people tend to reduce travel anyway.  To someone with someone having back themself into a corner, I tend to keep my replies brief.  Here is what I posted in this case:  A single overnight charge will last you several days (+200 miles).  Off-Peak charging (late night) is when the grid has excess capacity, hence the discount to entice you to recharge then.


Echo Chamber, gas prices.  There was a local news story yesterday, posted on Facebook.  Comments there tend to be nothing but an echo-chamber.  People like to post talking-points to feel good about their stance against change... at all costs.  Who cares about the planet for their children.  Who cares about limited resources or polluted air or climate change.  It's all just ploy anyway.  Ugh.  I try my best to stay away from the political trap.  Republicans sabotage the government by focusing on short-term gain, then when they lose office it is up to Democrats to clean up the mess.  We have been watching that nonsense play out for 40 years now.  So when I see stuff like this, I just focus on other posts instead: "Democrats are causing the high gas prices in order to force people to buy electric cars.  They have no intention of lowering gasoline prices.  It is all part of their plan."  How exactly are they influencing the price of gas?  The war in Ukraine is accelerating the end-of-oil shift.  Europe will stop importing from Russia.  Such a fundamental energy/supply shift combined with the struggle pandemic recovery after massive market change is the cause.  Adding to that the reality of EV cost dropping, what do you expect?  Oil subsidies continue.  Imagine if those were allowed to stop.  Of course, even at $3.00 per gallon it is still far less expensive to drive an EV.  So, the argument is moot regardless.


Corolla Reveals.  Toyota's big Summer press-event began yesterday, here in the United States.  People got to see the debut of Corolla Cross hybrid.  It will be produced here.  That factory has a capacity to build 150,000 of the crossover.  That's a lot of potential... especially since it will premiere the 5th-generation hybrid system.  (Waiting was a good reason why the United States didn't get a hybrid model right away.)  This time, it will not be Prius pushing f  That gets me really excited about where Toyota could be taking Prius.  Rather than being in the mainstream trap, this new Corolla frees it to explore new opportunity.  Meanwhile, there will be really nice packages for Corolla... including AWD.  This is that moment few recognize as a fundamental shift.  With over 50 million purchases of Corolla, giving it the spotlight for the masses with such variety is massive.  That's how Toyota will take the next step phasing out traditional choices.  Doubt has been completely eliminated.  All the attempts to claim hybrids were just a scam make no sense when a best-seller so prominently offers them.  That is Toyota's bread & butter vehicle which the masses absolutely love.  No other vehicle in the world compares.  It's how real change happens... getting the base to move forward.


$25,000 Price War.  I am intrigued where this is going.  Today's spin on the affordable EV outlook was: "So basically Ford will get to what GM has with their Ultium platform?"  Supposedly, GM is still years ahead of everyone else.  When Bolt was first launched, that made have been true with some disclaimers.  Nothing became of the leadership potential though.  Ironically, GM rested on it laurels... exactly what GM supporters claimed Toyota was doing.  During that time, GM's new battery & platform was being developed.  How does that put GM in the lead?  Every legacy automaker has been pursuing electrification in some manner.  Annoyed by the obvious hype (absence of substance), I pushed back at the growing spin with:  What does GM actually have?  Any automaker can deliver a platform.  The issue is whether it proves to be as efficient & affordable as hoped.  People here like to declare winners & losers early on, long before the race has even passed the first few milestones.  Remember how Two-Mode was intended to be a simple transmission swap?  What are the selling-points of Ultium that supposedly gives it a competitive edge over other legacy automakers?  Think about what VW and Hyundai/Kia are working to deliver.  Knowing that Toyota already been through this with TNGA rollout and have since moved onto e-TNGA, what differences are there?  In other words, what exactly makes any of these able to achieve GM's long-time goal of "nicely under $30,000"?


Nicely Under $30,000.  It was only a matter of time. 15 years later, GM finally delivered on their self-imposed goal... nicely under $30,000.  Targeting that price made sense.  It is what "affordable" was to many.  For the market here in the United States, that impression remains true still.  In that regard, we got big news today: "The Detroit automaker cut the cost of the Bolt EV to a starting price of $26,595, down $5,900 from the 2022 model year.  GM also reduced the price of its larger Bolt EUV by $6,300 to start at $28,195.  All pricing includes a mandatory $995 destination charge."  Naturally, Ford's CEO had something to say about that.  He said a "huge price war" is coming.  Any predication of "soon" would be overly optimistic though.  It will take years still; however, this price-cut provides a hint at how the market will take notice.  GM always said Bolt would never make a profit.  With the massive recall requires all those battery-pack replacements, losses don't matter.  It's all about rebuilding reputation.  This move will help get eliminate the impression of expensive.  Of course, this is a reduction of MSRP.  There were many discounts effectively bringing the price down anyway.  Nonetheless, it is looked upon as progress, despite status quo remaining unchanged.  That's how this comes about: "As for Toyota, there's nothing to say…they have condemned themselves..."  Those feel-good posts are inevitable.  I fired back with:  Who is that narrative for?  Toyota will have rolled out 7 models of dedicated-platform BEV by 2025.  The entire Lexus product-line in Europe will be BEV by 2030.  Sales target is set for 3.5 million by 2030.  Meanwhile, we see investment in their business with Panasonic and expansion to include CATL as a supplier.  There is also a partnership with BYD.  That is not "condemned" no matter how you spin it.


Diluting The Brand.  This should sound familiar.  Tesla is focusing on what's selling well rather than working to diversify.  That is the same short-term thinking which got GM into trouble.  Of course, CyberTruck is a big step in the wrong direction.  So, different for the sake of different isn't a step in the right direction.  As a matter of fact, seeing Hummer EV guzzling electricity at a charging-station got online attention.  It get's half the efficiency of many common BEV and has nearly triple the battery-capacity.  How exactly is that helping move us forward as a society or to fight climate change?  Ugh.  The real problem though is the familiar one of breaking convention.  If Tesla is known for distance, speed, power and fancy technology, what exactly will it sell that's affordable?  Being willing to pay a premium for each of those traits is how their reputation was built.  Take them away, what do you have?  Seriously.  What is there when the battery-pack is smaller, the motor output is less, and things like self-drive are excluded.  That's how a $25,000 vehicle price would be achieved.  There's a build up of hype without setting of realistic expectations.  Tesla will somehow magically achieve greatness in a category (high-volume, low-profit) it has no experience in, competing with experts in that realm.  Ugh.  Anywho, with regard to that nonsense I asked:  Tesla can only milk the current situation for so long.  Choices here (United States) are expensive and proprietary.  There will be a tipping point where CCS stations become more common that SuperChargers and legacy automaker offer models directly competitive with ICE counterparts.  How will Tesla address that without diluting its own brand?


Calling Out BS.  Reading this got me really worked up: "Biden is pushing this BS EV agenda by keeping gas prices high."  Fortunately, I had plenty of time to consider how to reply while out cutting the gas (with an electric lawn-mower, of course).  It suddenly hit me when I was cleaning up from that.  Even with the price of gas low, it is still way less expensive to drive an EV.  Realizing the simplicity in that reply, I was eager to jump online.  The numbers were simple and I could avoid the obvious effort to place blame rather than actually do anything.  Here's what I posted:  As for high gas prices making a difference, you clearly haven't done the math.  At $3.00 per gallon, driving 100 miles in a 30 MPG vehicle will cost you $10.  Charging at home with an overnight cost of $0.12 per kWh, driving 100 miles in a medium-efficiency EV (that's 3 miles/kWh) will cost you $4.  So, even with cheap gas the BS is clearly coming from those complaining about gas prices.

5-30-2022 Tailgate Party.  Reality is starting to come crashing down.  The low-hanging fruit has all been picked.  So many choices beyond Tesla are becoming available, appeal is becoming a challenge.  Shortcomings of fit & finish are now getting more attention.  What Tesla enthusiasts were willing to tolerate, new Tesla owners express some regret about.  In fact, exactly that is what a new article published today was about.  Such a person shared a video expressing that very sentiment.  This is what I can to say on that topic: 

That's why Toyota is portrayed as the antithesis.  It is on the opposite extreme, where quality is vital.  Reviews of bZ4X have been outstanding in that regard, everything from internal fit & finish to how well the EV system itself delivers in terms of matching customer expectation.  In other words, if you purchased a Camry or RAV4 in the past, the step to a "bZ" vehicle will be a no-brainer.

Tesla is in a strange position of having only conquest sales.  No legacy means no stranded assets but also nothing to leverage.  That will make growth to the next stage very challenging.  Targeting early-adopters was easy.  That audience is quite forgiving and has a willingness to pay a premium for something still evolving.  Mainstream buyers are fundamentally different.

Put another way, how will Tesla compete in the market where Corolla dominates?  Keep in mind, that's a moving target.  Toyota's recent debut of Corolla Cross, with production in the United States, extends reach out to those interested in a crossover instead of a sedan.  It also brings about a hybrid platform that can easily adapt to carry more battery-capacity to offer a plug.

In other words, the appeal of power, speed and range isn't as important in this next stage of EV growth.  Tesla not only faces that, but also must address the DC fast-charger tipping point... where CCS popularity grows to overshadow the proprietary nature of Tesla's connector.  Add to that this topic of fit & finish, the game is only just beginning.

Put another way, all those "late to the party" references are falling on deaf ears now.  That was only a tailgate party... which has come to an end.


Toyota Complacent.  The attacks from a specific author continue.  This is his latest headline: "Toyota Complacent As Electrification Of Transport Picks Up"  It is spin that's making him money.  Article after article is a feed of the narrative.  Toyota is behind and clueless.  That is utter nonsense, but it is what sells well for online media.  Fortunately, some people posting comments see otherwise: "Japanese companies are known for their improvement engineering.  They sit back and wait.  Once a technology is proven then they enter the market with something that is even better."  That type of contradictory message is what keeps this author going.  He basically trolls.  The attention keeps the income steady.  Ugh.  I end up contributing to it too.  That is a means of reaching an audience I wouldn't otherwise have access to.  So, it isn't all bad.  Here's how I did that this time:  It is continuous improvement.  Toyota is an industry leader in that regard.  There is no wait... which irritates some to no end, because it doesn't come out with a bang.  By rolling out refinements on an on-going basis, they are subtle and often go unnoticed.  The hype & excitement this market craves is absent as a result.  That's exactly what happened with Prius.  The only real attention it got was fear from competition.  That type of ridicule is repeating with bZ4X.  It is why some are doing everything they can to divert attention away from its highly refined drive system.  The impression of "sit back" is happening again.


Better Battery.  I got a sassy remark, claiming Toyota obviously wants their offering to fail by not providing a "better" battery.  Clearly, she didn't actually want to hear what I said... yet another sign of trouble.  So rather than keep sparring, I kept the reply short... nothing but an exposition comment... a teaching-moment for those reading our exchanges:  NCA pushes battery limits, but sacrifices longevity.  NMC is a balance of many criteria, which is what made it so popular.  Unfortunately, it still has dependency on nickel & cobalt.  LFP eliminates that dependency with a tradeoff of energy-density & charging-speed.  But in return, LFP delivers significantly better cycle-life and thermal-resistance.  So, assessment of "better" is very much based upon what the consumer deems most important.


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