Prius Personal Log  #1152

June 24, 2022  -  July 1, 2022

Last Updated:  Mon. 9/19/2022

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Tax-Credit Confusion.  There are some who aren't out to get Toyota.  For example: "Color me confused, but apparently we have until end-Sept-2022?  To get the full tax credit for RAV4 or Prius Prime, and the new BEV. I had been assuming end-June was the deadline if the sales reached 200k."  Confusion requires actual thought.  Attacks involve so-called facts.  I was grateful to see that post and was more than happy to reply with:  The quarter to follow expiration is the unlimited period.  Tesla exploited that, shipping as many as possible during that time to take advantage of the quantity restriction lift.  GM completely wasted the opportunity.  Toyota is stuck with a chip shortage.  So even with delivery catch up from the recall prior to quarter-end, there shouldn't be an expectation of volume increase.  Though, 2700 for bZ4X and 2600 for Solterra produced roughly during the prior 3 months isn't too bad.  More of the same might be possible. Who knows, maybe that partnership with CATL will result in a steady flow of cells for us.


200,000 Tomorrow.  It's coming.  Toyota will reveal they have exceeded their threshold of 200,000 plug-in vehicle sales.  That will trigger phaseout... as well as a lot of narrative feeding.  GM squandered there opportunity, not doing anything to establish an EV reputation to build upon.  There were just 2 one-hit-wonders, neither of which carried them forward.  The upcoming Ultium offerings are a start over... new audience, new technology.  Toyota's is quite the opposite.  They are targeting the very same audience, their own loyal customers.  Having proven their plug-in tech works well, the next step is to eliminate the engine.  The same EV drive will be present.  That system is established now.  It's just adding more battery-capacity, which the dedicated-platform now found in bZ4X and Solterra, along with the upcoming RZ450e, uses.  Heck, even the anticipated 5X will use the same thing, but take advantage of the ability to extend length.  Purpose of the tax-credits established way back in 2008 achieved exactly what was intended for Toyota... the momentum to keep selling plug-in vehicles even without that subsidy.  Ugh.  I'm not looking forward to tomorrow's spin on this.

6-29-2022 Many Questions.  Spy photos revealed Toyota had been studying a Rivian pickup.  Antagonists couldn't spin the opportunity fast enough.  They piled on.  Hating Toyota is becoming quite popular now that the "anti" narrative is falling apart.  They lost focus.  This is what that has evolved into: "It is very satisfying watching Toyota raise the white flag of surrender.  But it is annoying that they wasted so much time & money before they accepted reality."  Recognize the pattern?  Upon seeing defeat, they declare victory.  Recognizing the behavior: I ask questions:

Waste?  Watching GM and Ford stumble along, then introduce electricity-guzzling trucks is an endorsement for waste.  Just because it is electric doesn't mean it is ok to consume with conscience.  How is a massive battery-pack in a massive vehicle an acceptance of reality?

Toyota's first dedicated-platform offering didn't push range for the sake of keeping the system efficient.  All those years of BEV enthusiasts belittling PHEV using "dead weight" reasoning, then they pretend that isn't important when insisting that 300-miles of EV range is necessary.  How often do you actually drive that far?

Seeing Toyota study other offerings to avoid the waste trap is a sensible step.  Surrender would be to just stuff a vehicle lots of capacity and call it good.  All that time & money already spent to develop efficient EV components, which can be used by BEV and PHEV now, that can be later used in an all-electric pickup is what?


Oops!  Wrong Link.  I was surprised, then amused.  Why had a foe provided a link supporting what I had posted?  It was supporting my comment, exactly what was needed to endorse the situation.  Toyota was actually doing just fine.  It was a link to a car enthusiast article with first-impression praise for the upcoming BEV from Lexus, the RZ450e.  Huh?  I had to check back, curiosity was getting the best of me.  Ha!  It changed.  He switched the link to something countering what I had said and started with: "Currently not looking good for Toyota..."  That was a big oops!  He obviously posted the wrong link.  I called him out on that:  I saved that original link.  Funny how it confirmed the opposite.... 150 kW fast-charging... 308 hp... 0-60 in 5.5 seconds.


Slow Speed?  Rate at which a vehicle can charge reveals a troubling trend.  Enthusiasts are focusing on peak, not sustained.  That curve is a really big deal.  If it drops quickly, what's the point?  If it starts slow, but remains that way, is that bad?  People aren't asking questions like that.  Instead, it is only commentary like: "And ultra slow charge speeds in the US models."  That's vague and incomplete; yet, it is what those hyping speed tend to post.  They simply don't care about actual results.  It's all about bragging rights.  Sound familiar?  That's just like 0-60 acceleration.  No other aspect of performance gets anywhere near the attention.  That is a talking-point they can exploit... and they do, to an extreme.  It's quite telling about how shallow their priorities really are.  They thrive on specs.  That is why appealing to ordinary consumers doesn't happen.  Niche is their focus, not the masses.  It is a self-defeating approach few come to terms with.  Ugh.  Needless to say, I'm calling out such individuals.  This was today's reply to such nonsense:  Misrepresentation is how you choose to portray VW's biggest legacy competitor.  That's telling.  ID.4 just got the update bringing its DC fast-charging speed to 135 kW.  Toyota's platform is already at 150 kW.  So what if Toyota's second battery chemistry doesn't currently utilize that maximum?  One of the theories why is it uses CATL's common LFP cell.  If so, that adds to your attempt to misrepresent.


Infrastructure.  I am glad it is finally getting some attention.  When the tax-credits began expiring, I was all for allowing them to come to an end rather than any type of renewal.  Why subsidize a short-term outcome when you can better use the same money for a long-term benefit?  In other words, a new vehicle purchase has far less of an impact than wiring a home or parking-spot for charging.  That 208 or 240 volt line is something that will return a supportive outcome for decades.  When that plug-in ages and needs replacement, the next vehicle will continue to reap the benefit.  It's all about infrastructure.  Let's spend our money on that.  Think about the desire to purchase a plug-in vehicle when the spot you park in overnight has ready access to electricity.  It will become a selling-point for apartment dwellers, the most difficult consumer to appeal to.  Those with homes who have old, detached garages will seek the ability too.  Once they have it, they can look forward to many years of leaving home with a full battery and no inconvenience.  Why did it take so darn long for anyone to focus on this?  Why were so many BEV owners content with level-1 charging at home?  Did they really think slow 120-volt would compel people to consider a plug-in purchase.  Ugh.  This shift is loooong overdue.  It should have been a priority all along.  Heck, I had two level-2 chargers installed in our garage over 5 years ago.


Sidewalk Dining.  Wow!  I was at a pub in Minneapolis with a friend.  Weather was nice, so we sat outside.  The number of plug-in vehicles that drove by was rather surprising.  I wouldn't have guessed so many sightings were realistic.  We're not at any obvious tipping point and statistically what I saw was only a small fraction of the overall traffic, but it was still nice nonetheless.  I doubt others recognize those vehicles.  It's easy to overlook them... especially when so many vehicles there are extremely noisy.  Those chargers across the street, two level-2 inconveniently spaced in the bank parking lot, looked mysterious.  There was no indication of use.  I was hoping for some type of sign with instructions.  Oh well, you have to start somewhere.  Seeing vehicles that could potentially use the chargers in that location is encouraging.


Subjective Assessment.  In a discussion about plug-in hybrids, someone claimed Volt was the "best" and I reached out to find out why.  I asked what attributes he found that made it stand out.  He replied with: "It's the only PHEV that can easily handle all city usage without gas."  He clearly didn't understand the nature of my question.  Odds are pretty good he is unaware of what other PHEV actually have to offer... like either Prime.  My drives in the city, as well as highway, are without gas as well.  No big deal.  You push the pedal and it goes.  What in the world does "easily" mean?  Needless to say, I didn't bother with any type of follow up.  What would that accomplish?  Back in the day, pushing for answers served well.  I found out some Volt owners not only didn't understand how the Toyota system worked, they didn't know how their own vehicle did either.  Heck, for that matter many didn't even know what how range-extender on BMW's i3 worked either.  Of course, the ones that did were fiercely in denial.  BMW's system was what they thought Volt had.  It didn't.  And Toyota's system in Prius Prime was clearly superior with regard to cabin heating.  It has a heat-pump.  Volt was stuck the resistance type.  Now, those supporters are back in the hype trap.  GM is promising an affordable EV model of Equinox but has not provided any specs whatsoever.  That complete absence of detail is the same problem we have seen again and again... hence asking for detail... in this case, something objective... not subjective.  Much can be learned from recognizing what someone deems important.  Those specifics help prevent conflict too.


Bad Analogies.  There are a lot of them.  Many completely miss the point.  Others simply don't fit.  I found this particular one today rather intriguing: "If EVs were the Internet, it's 1993.  Tesla is playing the part of AOL.  GM must be in there as Prodigy, right?"  So, I jumped into the discussion with:

It is amazing how short-sighted the enthusiasts have become . At first, it wasn't so bad. Initial audience was acknowledged by stating "EV Market" with regard to sales & specs.  But as the need to diversify grew more important, they turned their backs on that reality of business having to appeal to those who are not enthusiastic.  We see that obsession dominating discussions now.  Toyota's effort to deliver balance is unacceptable.  Range must be further.  Speed must be faster.  Efficiency be damned.

As for other automakers, it's just a mess.  GM is still focused on delivering guzzlers, though they now have a plug.  Tesla is still focus on expensive vehicles, dismissing the affordable entirely.  VW still has a tiny footprint in the United States, but holds a great deal of potential.  Kia/Hyundai are gambling on infrastructure, hoping DC charging faster than 150 kW will become common soon.  Ford is toying with the Osborne Effect and the problem of having a one-hit-wonder.

So, what Toyota is doing really doesn't look as dire as enthusiasts make it out to be.  In fact, more often than not the choice delivering balance is the one which survives the test of time. Proving their EV system using bZ4X will likely play out just like the hybrid system did for Prius.  We'll see carry over to different platforms in different configurations, all leveraging the reputation that first offering proved worthy.


Electricity From Coal.  The response from my friend was to change approach.  He abruptly abandoned oil and switched to coal.  The reason was obvious, I had played an unexpected card.  It was a wild he didn't even realize I was holding.  I got to see a F-150 Lightning in person 2 days ago and had lots of time to chat with the owner, along with taking photos.  It was a great experience... and it wrecked his argument of EVs lacking range & power.  Ford was not delivering a paradox.  To embrace the pickup market, you must accept the superior nature of electric design.  It's more than just range & power.  It offers several 120-volt outlets along with a 240-volt.  Having a built-in generator like that, rather than having to carry one separate is a great evolutionary improvement for pickups.  So naturally, the discussion shifted to where the electricity comes from.  He sighted coal.  I jumped on that and turned it back on him:  Actually, almost all coal has been phased out in Minnesota.  Our electricity is now a combination of natural-gas, wind and solar.  Electric vehicles are more efficient too.  So, even using coal for electricity they are the better choice.


Oil Is King.  When you have an old friend who literally ended his more recent post with that, what do you say?  He strongly believes that our current president is evil and drilling is essential.  That's the audience to face.  If you can get through to someone so easily swayed by rhetoric, you know you have studied the facts well.  It's all about finding a means to convey those facts in a manner such a person will listen.  How do you appeal to someone who says this: "You also have a hybrid, so that does not count."  Here's what said:  Don't be quick to dismiss.  That hybrid has an EV top-speed of 84 mph and heat-pump.  Also, I can plug-in at work.  So, most driving... even in the winter, has been all electric.  Within the next few months, it will be replaced with a BEV (no backup engine, entirely battery).  That vehicle will bring to market the first infrared heater, adding to winter comfort with radiant warming (a more efficient means heat transfer).


Disagree.  Regardless of circumstances, when you corner someone they will inevitably respond.  It comes down to "fight or flight" at that point.  Admitting defeat simply won't happen.  When it's a friend, they tend to not want to burn that bridge.  Online encounters with those who don't want to stir trouble or draw too much attention to their defeat are in the same situation... avoid any further conflict.  Of course, we all know how that plays out.  They become silent on the topic.  The reply today was a good example of that transition: "sorry disagree with that"  It's easy to see what that won't work.  How do you disagree with a fact?  LFP will continue to penetrate the market.  When all you need is energy storage and weight/size is secondary, LFP is a winner.  It reduces storage cost and greatly increase longevity.  Those pushing oil have no rebuttal to such a technology advancement.  EVs already show a massive reduction in operational cost.  Now showing an increase in on two fronts, both energy storage and energy delivery, it makes no sense to disagree.  Oil is threatened, period.


Old Friend.  How do you respond to a buddy from decades ago who just joined Facebook and is posting nothing but propaganda material?  It is sad to see nothing about his life... anything other than sharing content from others... family... friends... hobby.  All I have seen is absence of critical thought.  Today's share was especially disappointing: "If this bird was covered with oil, this picture would be everywhere."  In the background, there was a line of wind-turbines, the supposed reason for that death.  Knowing that buildings and vehicles cause far more bird death than wind-turbines, it's difficult to argue with someone who doesn't want to address what is really at issue.  How much life and quality-of-life is lost from fossil-fuel related pollution?  Clean renewable energy sources are a very real threat, especially as the technology continues to advance.  The most significant of which is how our electricity is actually delivered.  So many opposed to EVs claim our grid is incapable of supporting them.  To argue that point, you must pretend the grid is only electricity available at that very moment.  Storage for later and the fact that most EVs won't ever charge during peak demand is something they will absolutely refuse to ever acknowledge.  Having all that in mind, here's how I decided to reply to my friend from very, very long ago:  Sorry old friend, that's not how it works.  Success of LFP for storage of renewable electricity to reinforce the grid has got those in the oil business starting to panic.  They see potential for plug-in vehicles as a result.  Making matters worse is what the upgrade from lithium to sodium could do in that regard.  There is much opportunity for battery-banks augmenting infrastructure.  That is why we are seeing more meme's like this now.


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