Personal Log  #1149

June 4, 2022  -  June 12, 2022

Last Updated:  Sun. 9/18/2022

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Losing Grip.  That niche enthusiasts had is showing signs of serious weakness now.  They are losing grip of what had once been incredibly simple to promote.  Remember back when computer purchases were simplistic?  You basically shopped for speed & capacity.  That was it.  Since audience was extremely limited, that worked fine.  Appealing to the masses completely messed up that approach though.  Other factors came into play... features enthusiasts didn't deem important.  Sound familiar?  We're seeing the same now with plug-in vehicles.  If all you are looking for is a commute and around-town vehicle, why must it deliver a long range and ultra-fast DC charging?  Bolt worked just fine for that.  It was labeled as a "city" care and beloved by owners.  Now, it is deemed inferior.  Why?  The reason is obvious, they are moving the goal-posts again.  Appealing to the masses with a choice that is "adequate" is offensive.  They wouldn't be caught dead supporting something that isn't pushing extremes.  Ugh.  As they state, it "blows out of the water" or it isn't worthy.  Other preferences for purchase... like a better ride, better longevity, more refined system... isn't important, which is exactly Toyota's focus.  They absolutely refuse to accept that.  I keep pointing out their error and how their claims fall on deaf ears.  I ask questions too, knowing all too well they will do everything to avoid acknowledgement.  For example:  Important for who?  Know your audience.  As Leaf & Bolt owners have shown us, even long trips can be done with slower fast-charging and less range.  For those who rarely travel, their recharges overnight and staying within their usual travel area makes it a very nice choice.  And for those with a PHEV as the second vehicle in their household, the choice is a no-brainer.  Also, think of the longevity which Toyota's design favors.  Different people have different priorities.  That's why Ioniq 5 in Europe is offered with a 54 kWh battery.


Analogy Desperation.  The ironic nature of this comment was wonderful: "I agree with your kodak/toyota comparison. paradigm blindness/paradigm paralysis clearly at play.  The expertise and long history of success within the previous paradigm actually solidifies and guarantees their failure to adjust to the new paradigm.  Their success in the old paradigm becomes the weight that holds them down.  A giant tanker ship at full speed cannot make the 180 turn in time."  It was posted on yet another one of the hate videos that particular antagonist produced.  The analogy of using a tanker ship was sweet.  It can indeed make a turn at full speed.  It is just so large of a swing, it barely gets detected.  It goes unnoticed, exactly as I pointed out in my reply.  Of course, the very idea of 180 is absurd.  Toyota is already delivering plug-in vehicles.  Producing more, especially the all-electric type, isn't a turn-around.  Ugh.  There is such a desperation to make Toyota the villain, it's remarkable.  Enthusiasts have nothing to work with anymore.  With such overwhelming confirmation of Toyota not being anti-EV and their first dedicated-platform BEV actually delivering a better drive experience than much of the competition (for their audience, Toyota's own customers), antagonists are now at a complete lost.  They have no idea how to portray the juggernaut.  Oops!  Needless to say, I'm enjoying this phase of the enthusiast struggle.  Here's how I responded to that nonsense today:  It's an easy narrative to feed if you pretend the bottom-up approach doesn't work.  Reality is, that approach holds far more potential in this worldwide paradigm-shift.  Toyota has been quietly upgrading their entire fleet with the new TNGA platforms.  No one noticed.  Easier to build and squeeze profit from, along with the flexibility for e-TNGA migration, the stage is being set for legacy transformation.  Online rhetoric pushed by enthusiasts, who focus almost exclusively on speed & range, completely disregard that as important.  Toyota is well positioned to address the needs of mainstream consumers.  Those claiming "paralysis" are in denial about what appealing to ordinary shoppers actually requires.  Their expertise taught them how to navigate through the hype, avoiding traps other automakers continue to fall into.


LiFePO4.  That's the chemical makeup of LPF battery cells.  You'll find lots of references to it in the past, but like the limitation for NiMH, not much could be taken advantage of while the patent remained in force.  Now that it has expired, there is new opportunity.  I have been stirring the pot by sharing my observation related to the AWD model of bZ4X destined for this market.  Either than has come around and got the attention of others or they have made the same observations on their own.  This was a new thread posted on Reddit today asking: "What type of battery is in the CATL pack from the BZ4x/Solterra?  LFP?  I am just going over the datasheet from CATL's website for the LIFEPO4 batteries they make and they look exactly the same..."  My research related to the chemistry is far more in depth; it takes the business perspective into account as well.  Knowing how fragile the market is and how some love to twist situations into a negative, it is easy to see how Toyota is keeping quiet.  After all, Tesla did the very same thing.  Remember all those who praised Tesla for vertically integrating all of their production?  Suddenly finding out their have abandoned that in favor of third-party supplied LFP cells is damning.  Even acknowledgement of the change makes you a hypocrite.  They pretend those praise never happened.  There's the risk of triggering an Osborne Effect too.  Toyota knows this.  They aren't stupid.  They are well aware of the benefits of subtle.  You quietly prove the technology worthy and position accordingly.  That's why we see every vehicle in the fleet capable of hybrid support.  Uncontrolled triggers... like $5 gas... may force you to play your hand early.  Having real-world data to support a paradigm-shift invoked by forces beyond your power is what you want.  That type of planning is often dismissed as unnecessary... until it is.  Toyota takes investment of resources for long-term survival seriously... quite unlike what we have seen from other legacy automakers.  Needless to say, this seems to hint at being one of those efforts.  I replied to the speculation today with:  I have been tracking detail for months, looking very closely at specs.  The chemistry does indeed appear to be LFP.  The subtle approach Toyota is taking makes a lot of sense from a business perspective too.  The confirm we need is what Toyota recommends for charging.  If it is 100%, then we'll know.  That's required on a regular basis for accurately determining SOC level with LFP.


$5 Per Gallon.  Today was the first day ever the national average for gas in the United States hit $5 per gallon.  It is an interesting landmark.  There are many who argue online about the price of gas being manipulated by the president as a means of promoting electric vehicles.  Reality is, he has no control over that.  In fact, we are seeing price hikes that the administration can do nothing about.  Congress can impose temporary windfall taxes though... but that is highly unlikely.  What's most telling though is when you point out how much cheaper it is to drive an EV when gas is cheap.  Even at $3 per gallon, you are spending far less on electricity.  Those arguing against plug-in vehicles have no comeback for that.  There is no talking-point to counter the driving expensive savings.  The best they can do is point out how much more expensive an EV is to purchase... which is a big problem now that Bolt is available for "nicely under $30,000".  It's all blowing up in their faces.  The more they complain about the price of gas, the more they have to face the solution.  Reaching an audience with that pain-in-the-wallet outcome can bring about quite a turn-around.  Being backed into a corner, by their own doing, means having to suck it up or admit they made a mistake.  It is very interesting to watch that situation play out.

6-09-2022 Only Level-1.  It is always interesting to see the question pop up of whether the standard electricity connection already in your garage is enough for BEV ownership.  Do you really need to invest in a level-2 setup?  In this case, the discussion was started with this: "Curious, if I only commute 60 miles per day can it be recharged with a 110 outlet overnight?"  People sounded off with their own experiences, all anecdotal.  Those stories of real-world support are priceless.  Endorsement from owners will tell you a lot... but not everything.  You still need some solid facts to help validate your situation.  Stories rarely convey enough detail.  So, I provided that:

Short answer is no.  Here's the math, keeping in mind these are maximum inputs with speed varying upon temperature and distance just estimate based on average consumption:

  120 volts * 12 amps = 1.44 kWh
  1.44 kWh * 8 hours = 11.5 kWh
  11.5 kWh * 3 mi/kWh = 34.5 miles

An upgrade to level-2 charging changes the equation to:

  240 volts * 32 amps = 7.68 kWh
  7.68 kWh * 8 hours = 61.4 kWh
  61.4 kWh * 3 mi/kWh = 184 miles

Commute Efficiency.  Owning a plug-in vehicle with a very small battery-pack (8.8 kWh) has meant focusing more on miles delivered rather than efficiency.  But now expecting to upgrade to a substantially larger capacity (72.8 kWh), I am watching the mi/kWh numbers.  Turns out my observed results from my PHEV will be way better than the BEV.  On my commute to work today, I witnessed that measure climb to 6.0 mi/kWh.  It was great to see, especially since driving conditions weren't actually ideal.  I may be able to see a little higher, even without trying.  It took 3.48 kWh to recover those first 18.8 miles, including A/C cabin pre-conditioning. The value was 5.6 mi/kWh displayed for the overall average, both directions of the commute combine.  A different route was taken home due to traffic & construction.  But it was real-world data, so that counts.  I ran the A/C the entire way back to.  It took 4.13 kWh for that second recharge.  Cooling wasn't needed that time, but there's still extra energy consumed from a conversion loss going from AC to DC.  Ignoring that overhead entirely, the round-trip calculated result came to 5.16 mi/kWh.  That's quite a bit better than I expect from my bZ4X.  I anticipate 3.0 for the average, with 3.5 on good days and obviously less in the winter.

6-07-2022 Name Fixation.  It is quite telling when a review of bZ4X starts by focusing on the name, then dwells on it for awhile.  Why?  How many traditional luxury vehicles have just a series of letters & numbers for their name?  It makes no sense spinning the situation as if Toyota was somehow different and doomed as a result.  Yet, that what we get on a regular basis: "Unfortunately, the password-like name doesn't inspire confidence that the giant automaker's marketing machine is on board."  That post pushed me over the edge.  What a colossal waste of time!  Dwelling on a name... one that actually makes sense... makes no sense.  "bZ" is the new nameplate for the series of new dedicated-platform BEVs being rolled out.  The number, in this case "4", represents the size of the vehicle.  The letter, in this case "X", represents the type of the vehicle.  That's thoughtful.  It also makes marketing easier.  With such a unique name, online searches will provide you with exactly what you are looking for.  With a name... heck, even Prius... there were other references online that had nothing whatsoever to do with the vehicle.  It was a name used elsewhere.  Anywho, being quite annoyed, I did some searches of my own to come up with a canned-response to post in any new commentary wasting our time, yet again.  This is what I ended up finding, then posting:

Which automaker are you referring to?

  ID4 - VW
  EV6 - Kia
  GV70 - Genesis
  XC40 - Volvo
  MX30 - Mazda
  R1T - Rivian


New Chargers.  Ugh!  It was so bad, I didn't even want to take a photo.  I was at a pub with a friend just chit-chatting when I noticed the new bank across the street was in the process of installing level-2 chargers.  After we finished our drinks, we walked over for a close look.  The freshly painted parking dividers had swallowed up both units, making them directly in front of a single spot.  They hadn't been spaced a vehicle width apart.  That makes for extremely difficult parking under ordinary circumstances... perpendicular-parking spots.  When you can pull directly in, you stand a chance of the cord reaching far enough even when the charger isn't aligned well.  In angle-parking... which is what they had there... you cannot.  It forces you to stretch as much as possible over either your vehicle or the adjacent vehicle.  That's awful.  The only work-around to make the cord accessible would be to someone turn-around and back into the spot.  With a single-direction lot like that, it would be extremely difficult to pull that off.  Clearly, whomever was in charge of the project never bothered to actually ask a plug-in vehicle owner.  They would all know from practical experience that each charger needs to a vehicle width apart for angle parking or perfectly centered between spots for perpendicular parking.  When I get together again with that friend in a few weeks, I take a photo.  We doubt they will solve the self-inflicted problem they created.  Ugh.  Stuff like that is really unfortunate.  At the grocery-store nearby for me, there is a charger that has never been used.  After installation, the contractor made a mistake and marked that spot handicap.  Oops!  It clearly isn't a handicap accessible spot.  That error is obvious.  They never fixed it though.  Think about the expense, paying a monthly connected fee for all those years on a charger  no one can actually use.


PP or R4P ?  That question came up today, should I purchase a Prius Prime or a RAV4 Prime?  With 2 fundamentally different choices, that seems a rather absurd question.  Who would ever compare a hatchback to a SUV, especially when one has an emphasis on efficiency and the other power?  Toyota hit both ends of the spectrum with their initial plug-in hybrid offerings.  Unfortunately, that's all the further some can see.  It's just like what I witnessed with the Volt enthusiasts.  They focused on the here & now, completely dismissing any possibility of variety to come.  In fact, they fought that very idea of diversifying product.  Mindsets so limited are the problem.  Why can't their be variety?  After all, we see that trend growing in Europe for BEV.  If you don't need a massive battery, why carry around that extra weight at the penalty of cost & efficiency?  We have the same kind of thing emerging for PHEV here.  If you don't need a large SUV with a plug, why not purchase a smaller one.  In other words, don't just think RAV4 will be the only choice.  I tried to point that out today.  My post followed several days of that either/or question being asked... and not a single person ever considered any other offering could be possible.  Ugh.  This is how I stated the situation:  Everyone continues to overlook what should be obvious... the next Prime vehicle.  Toyota delayed rollout of the hybrid model of Corolla Cross here in the United States so it could start with their next-gen hybrid system.  That upgrade, along with the realization that it is just a smaller version of RAV4, makes it a "prime" candidate for becoming a plug-in hybrid.  The same approach for can be taken for that new crossover.  As a smaller option, it would be more affordable and more efficient.


Never Buy.  It is interesting how people turn a blind-eye on what GM did in the past; yet, they still cling on to the "anti" narrative for Toyota.  Heck, GM can build an electric-guzzler now and all is ok.  Nissan never really took BEV seriously with their passive cooling, but that is somehow ok too.  Then there's Tesla with the broken promise of "affordable" simply dismissed as unimportant.  Ugh.  It's why comments like this are so hypocritical: "Toyota has been anti-EV for years.  They have tried to confuse consumers with deceptive advertising & EV-bashing.  I would never buy a Toyota car because of their anti-EV stance."  Who is confused?  We got hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and now electric-only.  Knowing that there are enthusiasts that still don't understand how Toyota's PHEV system operates, the question of "Who?" is quite relevant.  So what if he never buys a Toyota.  He isn't the target anyway.  It is the consumer who shops the showroom floor, attempting to choose between the variety of Toyota vehicles offered.  The mentality of conquest sales being the gauge of progress is terrible.  Know your audience.  Know your history.  Anywho, this is how I replied to that mess:  That has been a narrative which is now falling apart.  Toyota didn't see how the push for BEV exclusively could be anywhere near as fast as enthusiasts had hoped.  That is proving correct too.  It's not like Toyota wasn't pursuing EV tech.  Their first mass-produced plug-in (Prius PHV) is now 10 years old and still doing just fine.  It's better known successors... Prius Prime, RAV4 Prime, UX300e... are as well.  They all prepped Toyota for the "bZ" nameplate, first of which is now in the hands of some owners.  As for anti-EV automakers, take a reality check on what some others have done.  Which of them are targeting their own showroom shoppers now with a variety of 7 new dedicated-platform BEV by 2025?


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