Prius Personal Log  #1163

August 28, 2022  -  August 31, 2022

Last Updated:  Mon. 9/19/2022

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8-31-2022

Quality Control.  Gotta like this: "Toyota should also invest money into quality control so that wheels do not fall off again as with the Bz4x EV."  It's all about talking-points, not facts.  Seeing so many trying to portray Toyota as a laggard was quite telling.  Enthusiasts didn't agree with the alternate approach and certainly didn't like the resulting success.  So, they work to mislead & undermine.  The easiest way is to distract.  Avoid actual discussion by posting about hype & fear.  Now, we see efforts to spread distrust, taking advantage of the recall by making seem the rollout was rushed.  Not watching reviews and acknowledging history, it's fairly easy to push that narrative.  I know the EV system itself is already well refined.  Watching from the start of the PHV model, back with the prototype in 2010 made it obvious.  I got to drive one for a few days.  You could see where Toyota was heading and who they were targeting.  The rollout, starting with a 2012 model, confirmed that.  The next-generation started with a 2017 model... which both my wife and I own.  Both of those Primes have operated flawlessly with all-electric driving.  Why would more of the same not?  bZ4X builds upon that already delivered quality.  Ugh.  Needless to say, this is getting tiring.  I won't relent though:  The switch from stud & nut to hub-bolt was exactly that.  Unspoken industry-wide problems is what it draws attention to.  In this case, Toyota was addressing the problem related to third-party providers of tire related services. When they over-torque, there are long-term consequences that are subtle and very difficult to trace.  When a third-party doesn't follow specifications, the automaker must deal with the outcome.  That switch will help remove such an exposure.  The fact that wheels weren't actually coming off during all those heavy stress drives by reviewers is a testament to Toyota having addressed all but some extreme driving circumstances.

8-31-2022

Recall Expectations.  Most people tend to be extremely impatient.  Our society thrives on speed.  You need the fastest ailment remedy, period.  Less is unacceptable.  That's why the obsession with faster and faster charging speed is becoming such a problem.  It's never good enough.  Diminishing return is a concept enthusiasts don't want to hear.  The jump from 150 kW to 350 kW is very expensive and you must tradeoff life of the battery to achieve it.  They don't care.  Faster is better.  That gives you an idea of what we face for setting recall expectations.  The mindset of faster is better is very much problem.  Having to wait an entire month was stirring some serious emotion.  How could you think turn-around that fast is a good thing?  Think about how long it takes to thoroughly test.  Then think about the logistics of sending out parts and ensuring comprehensive service procedures are provided.  That is not a fast process.  I tried to provide some perspective on the topic:  Q4 is what we were expecting.  This isn't rocket science, but there are some realities of business to consider.  60 days from identification to proposed resolution was aggressive, but doable.  90 days to put the plan in place.  120 days to implement.  That puts us at the end of October.

8-30-2022

State Fair.  There were several BEV on display this year, at the Minnesota State Fair.  Both inside & outside building, the displays were being circled by the curious.  I saw some volunteers, from the owner group I'm part of.  They are there to answer questions.  It was interesting to witness.  Seeing that, you can easily confirm the exchanges online I routinely write about are just rhetoric.  True, some of what turns into offline propaganda.  But for the most part, it has no impact to curiosity.  People want to know more, especially where there is a large pickup with a large frunk open.  That stirs interest.  It ones of the reasons RAV4 has sold so well.  The stereotype of small & weak was easy to place upon Prius.  Antagonists needed a scapegoat.  In fact, that was what all the Volt enthusiast nonsense was all about.  They would attack Prius and carefully avoid any mention of any other possibility.  So when I would bring up the fact that Camry was larger and more powerful, they'd scramble to change the topic.  When I brought up RAV4 becoming a hybrid, they pretended it wouldn't happen.  When I pointed out the possibility of that RAV4 hybrid someday offering a plug, the reaction was panic.  We've come a long way since then.  There is still panic from some, but the sense of this change being for the better is difficult to ignore.  Why would a big automaker like Ford offer its premiere vehicle as a BEV model?  That's what the display at our State Fair is all about.  The vehicles there get people thinking.  Hmm?

8-29-2022

Endless Attacks.  They never end.  People read the propaganda, then use it to attack you.  That's what they need to supply their position.  Critical thought is not required for such emotional outburst, for example: "You are showing stupidity here...... BYD build the ENTIRE frame AND drive train for both BZ4 and the Solterra...... That includes BATTERIES...... If you want to remain ignorant about EVs, just don't comment."  It never ceases to amaze me how lies are spread across the internet.  Just like in the offline world, repetition of false information eventually transforms to believed-to-be fact.  They don't bother to check.  That propaganda is passed along as a talking-point, assumed to be valid.  If you challenge that notion, even with a reasonable question, you are attacked for not accepting their folklore.  Ugh.  Here's how I dealt with that this time:  That is just plain not true.  Toyota builds both bZ4X and Solterra (plus the upcoming RZ450e) entirely on their own, in Japan, nothing from BYD.  In fact, even the batteries are not from BYD.  Those cells come from Panasonic & CATL.

8-29-2022

100% BYD.  The feeding of narratives is mind-numbing.  They just keep spreading outright lies.  This particular... claiming bZ4X is entirely a product from China... is blatantly false and gets corrected on a regular basis.  They don't care.  They just keep pushing material to support their agenda.  Ugh.  It's like the anti-EV people.  They latch on to talking-points.  Correct or not, it doesn't matter.  They simply want to shut you up by overwhelming discussions with their nonsense.  That's what makes the next step even more complicated.  There will eventually be a bZ nameplate vehicle with some BYD components inside.  The reality that it will use the e-TNGA platform, which is entirely from Toyota, won't matter.  Using the same styling language and interior won't either.  If there is something from BYD, that means it is made by BYD.  Ugh.  How can they expect people to be that gullible or that stupid?  Being a BEV doesn't actually change much about how the business of production is conducted.  They don't want to hear it.  I post it anyway:  The practice of supplied components was never an issue in the past.  SHO Taurus used an engine supplied by Honda; yet, it was always considered a Ford.  Of course, use of "powertrain" for BEV is so vague there's no substance.  What does it consist of... motor... controller... AC inverter... DC converter... cooling... software?

8-29-2022

Misfortunes.  No one seems to remember even recent problems, like VW's issue with 12-volt batteries going dead.  The fix required replacement and a software update.  VW addressed it and provided a remedy.  But how come actually leaving owners stranded is ok, but the potential for a wheel to fall off from repeated extreme driving conditions is a complete failure?  Not only are people evaded the question, but they are avoiding the topic all together and focusing on Toyota instead: "It may be the "first throw of the first inning," yet it's still a strike ball for Toyota.  Unfortunately, long winded soliloquies framed as excuses aren't going to help Toyota's misfortunes producing their first all EV."  History and judgment thereof isn't being taken seriously.  It's all about making sure the distraction isn't yourself.  Find an enemy, then dismiss logic.  Ugh.  I fired back with:  Misfortunes is yet another example of not having realistic expectations.  Tesla has had a long string of issues.  GM problems have been on a much greater scale for both Volt and Bolt.  Nissan had to start over...  History has taught us it's how the misfortune was treated.  That's what makes a difference, not how it is perceived while it is still playing out.  You know, the outcome of the game... not a strike ball on the first pitch.

8-28-2022

Nice Theory.  One of those long-time troublemakers on the big Prius Forum was at it again today: "Nice theory - but it isn't the actual history.  If it were cost that killed the Volt, every single Volt ever manufactured wouldn't have gotten snapped up."  He didn't like my hype post.  I don't like him, but I do respect his perspective.  So, I replied to that with:  That was fact.  Enthusiasts did indeed spin what Toyota said and cost was why Volt died.  GM could not figure out how to spread the technology they had created, because it was too expensive.  Better design provides more opportunity.  Quite unlike GM, we didn't see Toyota cram in as much battery as possible to achieve "vastly superior" range.  Toyota focused heavily on efficiency too, beating GM in both HV and EV categories.  As for your claim about snapping up Volt (cost), it was a tiny non-SUV sold at a loss (price).  For that matter, Bolt was sold at a loss (price) too.  That's fine if you can leverage the technology, spreading it to a profitable platform later.  GM didn't though.  They were about conquest, not changing the status quo.  Their dealerships thrived on ICE guzzlers.  Meanwhile, we see Toyota pushing a paradigm-shift, making their dealers embrace change.  It's too slow for enthusiasts, but it is genuine progress forward.  ICE models are getting phased out.  Toyota has taken the time with their bottom-up approach.  That makes enthusiasts (top-down supporters) so upset, they have turned Toyota into an antithesis.  There's no justification for that.  Economics has shown us that both approaches can be extremely successful.

8-28-2022

Deal With It.  I got attacked.  He was very frustrated with continued effort to present perspective of ordinary consumers.  I let him have it:  Refusing to listen to someone with a BEV on order is your problem.  Not facing the reasons why it will take longer than hoped is your problem.  It's not impossible, but it will be slow.  Deal with it.  For example, your suggestion of "You can even buy a charger that will switch from car A to car B at the right time during the night." completely disregards what others here have been saying for years.  Plug in the car at night and leave home in the morning with a full battery.  It's quick and requires no thought.  With only 4 hours at night for each car, that's not going to happen.  You still have to purchase the switcher, purchase a EVSE for each vehicle, and install a line that will feed both of them too.  That will expense & effort will not be a fast or as simple as you hope.  Doing it right takes time.  Mainstream shoppers are apprehensive.  Many will start with a PHEV taking advantage of a 120-volt line already available.  An upgrade to a 240-volt line with full capacity (40 amps, no sharing) will take place at some point, encouraged by the all-electric driving from the PHEV.  Availability of that level-2 charging will encourage the purchase of a BEV, requiring the PHEV to go back to level-1 charging for overnight with that level-2 being used on demand.  This isn't rocket science, but it is loaded with denial.  Making up excuses about the messenger won't change any of that.

8-28-2022

Toyota Failed.  I always find assessments of status like this quite telling: "If the point is to establish a new nameplate to prove reliability, Toyota failed woefully with the bZ4X."  Besides being extremely impatient, it's hypocritical.  They routinely proclaim you must wait an entire year before judging demand and determining how well it fit the need for their vehicle rollout.  But with Toyota, it's immediate.  Only 258 people were able to accept delivery and they just barely had an opportunity to get familiar with the vehicle.  The longest I heard of was 3 weeks of ownership.  That's it.  With so little time, what is their to draw a conclusion with?  Needless to say, their opinion has no merit.  It's far too early.  I said:  The first throw of the first inning and you are already declaring the outcome.  That desire to draw a conclusion so early in the game is exactly what enthusiasts have been doing for decades.  Each time something new rolls out, they rush to place judgment based on their own criteria... not how the intended audience responds.  In this case, Toyota is targeting ordinary showroom shoppers... their own loyal customers.  We are still far from that point.  Think about what that audience's expectation is.  They know their will be rough starts and inevitably say "I'll wait until the bugs are worked out."  From their perspective, this is just a bug.  In fact, it has nothing whatsoever to do with the EV system.  This is just the first move in a long game.

8-28-2022

Recall Reflection.  Posts looking for opinions on the bZ4X recall happen on a very regular basis.  I only respond from time to time.  It is quite informative finding out what others think about the situation.  My perspective is unique.  There are very few who have owned so many generations of Prius and even fewer that recognize bZ4X as becoming a vehicle to follow in those same influential footsteps.  There is very similar enthusiasts reaction.  Characteristics which draw that niche crowd are absent, just like Prius.  Remember the speed & power aspects of the Classic model.  Notice the familiar supposed shortcomings now?  Toyota is targeting ordinary consumers, not trying to impress early-adopters.  Mainstream is not appealing to the enthusiasts.  It is a fundamental problem with their assessment of new technology.  They base perception on rollout, the initial impression.  That's why they call this recall a "disastrous" rollout.  No one else will.  Someone who walks onto the showroom floor will wonder if the "bugs have been worked out yet" and will never purchase a first-year model anyway.  That means something like this is a complete non-issue.  They'll just look online for people sharing their ownership experiences.  What happens early on isn't of any concern.  That's what contributes to my observations being a big-picture understanding, not anything tied up in heat-of-the-moment emotion.  Reaction like that is just noise in the background that fades over time.  Focus on the outcome, not what could potentially just be rhetoric.  Here's how I put it:  Some reviewers drove the vehicle under more stressful circumstances than most owners will ever encounter, and they did it repeatedly.  It's easy enough to find YouTube samples of off-road driving and emergency braking.  Everyone now knows that Toyota is actively seeking a solution to address those extremes.  That spotlight is unfortunate to have come so late in the process.  But then again, we'll have assurances that those circumstances are covered.  Other vehicles won't provide such a guarantee.  It's an beneficial outcome from an otherwise bad situation.

8-28-2022

Dryer Outlet.  Questions like this come up quite frequently: "Can the Solterra be plugged directly to 220V outlet (dryer outlet) using the cable that comes with the car?"  The dead giveaway that this comes from a person with pretty much no background is the "220V" reference.  There's no such thing anymore.  The upgrade to 240 volts happened more than half a century ago.  Also, calling it a "dryer outlet" tends indicate that is the only high-voltage outlet in their home they have ever seen.  One of appliances in the garage, one for an electric stove or water-heater in the house, simply isn't visible or doesn't exist.  This is yet another example of how know-your-audience really makes a difference.  I took the time in my reply to provide some detail, treating the opportunity as a teaching moment:  The jump from an ordinary 120-volt household outlet to a 240-volt will indeed result in faster recharges; however, you also have to take amps into account.  Repurposing a dryer outlet may result in less than hoped for results.  Both volts & amps make up the speed equation.  Most dryer outlets are only rated for 30 amps, which means the sustainable draw will be 24 amps (due to the 80% max safety buffer).  Solterra is capable of 32 amps.  Doing the math, that difference of 6 amps is lost opportunity of 1.44 kWh per hour.  Using an average efficiency of 3.0 mi/kWh and considering that difference from overnight charging (8 hours), you would end up with 34.5 fewer miles each morning.  If you were to convert the cable that comes with the car, you would be further limited to a maximum of 12 amps... which would be 69 fewer miles.  In short, if you want the highest potential, you will need to invest in a level-2 EVSE capable of at least 32 amps.

8-28-2022

Advertising.  From a newbie perspective, this makes perfect sense: "Toyota's hybrid cars have been around for over two decades; yet, I see no ads promoting these cars.  People need to be educated as to why they should spend more for a more fuel efficient car."  From the perspective of someone who understands how trepidatious ordinary consumers can be, it does not.  For a new technology to be looked upon as mainstream, there cannot be new about it.  The expectation is to see evidence of it being so well established, the decision is a matter of keeping up rather than purchasing something outdated.  In other words, there's a reversal.  Sales of BEV (Battery-only Electric Vehicle) should go a long way toward promoting PHEV (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle) as a balanced choice and HV (Hybrid Vehicle) as the default.  The idea of purchasing an ICE (Internal Combustion Engine-only) vehicle simply doesn't make sense anymore.  I pointed that out this way in my reply:  We're past that need-to-educate stage.  Toyota has been so successful (hence being villianized) that 100% of the Sienna & Venza sales are now hybrid; they don't offer traditional models anymore.  Watch what happens with the new Corolla Cross hybrid.  Those subtle advances and word-of-mouth endorsements set the stage for plug-in offerings which present themselves as a natural next step.  It is an extremely effective means of eliminating intimidation.  While other automakers have to promote, loyal Toyota customers seek out the new choices on their own.

 

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