Prius Personal Log  #1164

September 1, 2022  -  September 4, 2022

Last Updated:  Mon. 9/19/2022

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Good Intentions.  Sometimes, they backfire entire.  Other times, they unknowingly feed propaganda... which was the case recently: "An EV needs about 200 kg of minerals like copper, nickel, cobalt, and lithium."  The writer was clearly trying to provide an objective look at the pushback reasons related to EV battery production.  She did a nice job too, but that one statement really stuck out for me.  I chimed in to raise awareness of how a seemingly innocent fact has the potential to cause harm.  We credible information becomes outdated, that's exactly what happens.  I have seen in countless times in the past.  Good intentions become a source for rhetoric, something a devoted journalist will strive to avoid.  Don't give antagonists material they could turn on you.  Anywho, I highlighted the situation this way:  Generalizations like that are a disservice to those of us trying to show how EV batteries continue to evolve.  LFP chemistry doesn't use any nickel or cobalt.  Not only does the elimination of expensive and socially-challenged elements improve battery imagine, it also improves longevity & safety as well as lowering cost.  There's a tradeoff of energy density, but many welcome such evolution.  Advancements like that are true steps beyond just proving EV are viable ICE replacements.  We need to raise awareness within the EV community, setting the expectation of continuous improvement.  That way, this technology will thrive the same way we saw computer and handheld devices penetrate deep into formerly resistant markets.


Battery Temperature.  I get labeled as a Toyota fanboy by those who cherry-pick, only seeing what they want.  In reality, I'm routinely posting replies to other owners... sharing observations & insight and thanking them for doing the same.  Today, it was a ID.4 owner who had a discussion with an Ionic 5 owner about the negative impact fast-charging could potentially have.  For them, the topic is new.  It's something that should have been discussed for years; instead, there was an obsession with range & power.  Ugh.  It was confirmation of still being stuck in the early-adopter stage.  When you move beyond those basics, like addressing detail of achieving longevity, you know that next step is being taken.  With basically only Tesla SuperChargers, it was a difficult topic.  There was no basis of comparison.  But know with VW and Hyundai owners contributing, the table has turned.  Heck, even the brief observation of bZ4X charging brought Toyota to the table.  There are strategies for longevity.  Temperature of the battery plays a major role.  Here's the insight I shared in that discussion:  To achieve high speeds from DC fast-charging, heat is required.  Heat is what contributes to shorter battery life.  For some perspective 50°C (122°F) is the target temperature Tesla warms its battery to for SuperCharging and 30°C (86°F) is what it has for ideal operating temperature.  This is why some BEV allow the consumption of electricity prior to DCFC usage to enable fastest charging.  With the pack still cool (or cold in sub-freezing temperatures) performance is hindered and you end up waiting for it to warm at the charger before speed ramps up.


Family Conflict.  That old friend continues to post propaganda.  His wife will sometimes chime in, supportive of his positive.  From time to time, I will challenge the claim made.  Since he was a friend for so many years, I get to share information.  Little did I realize, someone from his own family would take the position too.  I thought I was alone.  Clearly, that's not the case.  This is what stirred the realization: "Sadly when the solar panels and batteries die, "they aren't worth the cost" to break down and recycle the metals."  I was quite happy to join in the discussion with:  Keep in mind that petroleum can only be used once and it requires electricity to be refine into gasoline, not to mention fuel for its transport.  With nearby capture & storage of solar, you'll get 20 years out of the equipment.  It was fascinating when my wife and I were in Germany, seeing how many of the homes there already had solar... back in 2015.  Now with the Russia invasion of Ukraine, their severe reduction of natural-gas will cause usage of solar to boom.  The country we believe so strongly in has allowed the spirit of innovation to be lost.  I have watched anti-EV propaganda enable this.  Thank goodness there's a glimmer of hope with offerings like Ford's F-150 Lightning (Michigan) and the VW's ID.4 (Tennessee) and Toyota's $5.6 Billion in battery production (North Carolina) and GM's battery production (4 locations, first in Ohio) which includes a $2.5 Billion DOE loan.  In other words, the sad part is we are scrambling to catch up.

9-03-2022 Understanding the Numbers.  There was a new discussion stirred yesterday on the big Prius forum.  With so many non-Toyota BEV owners there, it was a very constructive exchange.  They started with Prius, then moved on to something else, yet remained active on the group.  Their participation is greatly appreciated.  That's why I took the time to compose the following information to share:  Real-World observations, especially when coming from a source like Edmunds, go further to build a true picture of efficiency than anything else can provide... since they aren't lab estimates and they use a standardized approach.  You want a basis of comparison, that's what you should use.  But if you want a true range expectation, that isn't helpful.  Automakers really on their game will provide software capable of giving you a fairly accurate calculation while on your trip, using recently observed efficiency and the amount of electricity remaining at that moment.  This is quite important when you are trying to determine where to stop for a recharge.  Understanding the numbers is important. Our market is basically clueless still, having no idea what to look for or what it means when they eventually find it.  The most important value is the "mi/kWh" efficiency measure.  Think of it as an equivalent to MPG for calculated range.  You multiple that times the number of kWh available to come up with an estimated distance in miles.  For some perspective, here is Edmunds data filtered on common market choices calculated to show that "mi/kWh" value:

2.13 mi/kWh = 2022 Rivian R1T Launch Edition
2.67 mi/kWh = 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E GT Performance
2.86 mi/kWh = 2020 Tesla Model X Long Range
3.07 mi/kWh = 2020 Tesla Model S Performance
3.12 mi/kWh = 2021 Tesla Model S Plaid
3.23 mi/kWh = 2021 Volkswagen ID.4 Pro S dual motor
3.24 mi/kWh = 2023 Genesis GV60 Performance
3.24 mi/kWh = 2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5 Limited dual motor
3.32 mi/kWh = 2018 Tesla Model 3 Performance
3.38 mi/kWh = 2020 Tesla Model Y Performance
3.38 mi/kWh = 2022 Mazda MX-30
3.39 mi/kWh = 2022 Kia EV6 GT-Line dual motor
3.41 mi/kWh = 2021 Volkswagen ID.4 Pro
3.42 mi/kWh = 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E Premium Ext Range RWD
3.42 mi/kWh = 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E Std. Range
3.46 mi/kWh = 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E California Route 1
3.47 mi/kWh = 2021 Volkswagen ID.4 First Edition
3.51 mi/kWh = 2023 Toyota bZ4X Limited FWD
3.69 mi/kWh = 2022 Nissan Leaf Plus SL
3.82 mi/kWh = 2021 Tesla Model Y Long Range
3.85 mi/kWh = 2022 Kia EV6 Wind RWD
3.86 mi/kWh = 2021 Tesla Model 3 Long Range
3.89 mi/kWh = 2022 Chevrolet Bolt
3.95 mi/kWh = 2020 Kia Niro EV
4.35 mi/kWh = 2020 Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus
4.35 mi/kWh = 2022 Hyundai Kona Electric
4.59 mi/kWh = 2020 MINI Cooper SE
4.81 mi/kWh = 2020 Hyundai Ioniq Electric

9-03-2022 Criticism.  If you don't play the game they want you to, they get very frustrated... sometimes, quite angry.  I see that a lot, especially when I point out there's no reason Toyota's bottom-up approach cannot be successful.  The early-adopter mentality is that top-down is the only path to success, period.  They refuse to accept the concept of winning by a different strategy.  That's why I get questions like this: "Is there anything that Toyota can do that you'll criticize?"  It is confirmation of viewing the situation from a particular perspective.  To be objective, you must criticize.  Why?  It comes down to the same issue some have had with me from the very beginning.  Supposedly, I can only support one particular automaker.  I choose a favorite, then support that team.  Supporting a technology instead is just plain wrong.  To do that, I would show preference throughout the auto industry.  I do too.  I point out where others have succeeded.  But if all you notice is criticism or others, you get an impression that counter-balance can only be achieved by the same for whatever I have designated as favorite.  Since it is a technology, where Toyota is leading with regard to reaching mainstream consumers, antagonist have absolutely no idea how to respond...  hence the frustration.  Being supportive of anything reliable & cost-effective shouldn't be difficult to accept.  Ugh.  Anywho, that question was asked of me a few days ago.  It took awhile to find the best way to answer:

That assumes purpose incorrectly, implying I only favor Toyota.  The real story... the bigger picture few actually see... you know, the forest... is supporting the entire industry.  That's why for those who look, they'll notice compliments posted for other automakers.  It's that simple, whatever helps move the masses forward gets attention.  That's why Toyota gets the spotlight so often.

Tesla being trapped in the premium segment and GM's talk of finally targeting their own customers leaves us with nothing to actually discuss yet.  VW stands a chance with the new CEO, but there's no information about what will change yet... though the production in Tennessee is very encouraging.  Ford has delivered a great EV pickup.  First owner reports have been very positive.  We await delivery and new arrivals from Hyundai/Kia.  Late this year, Nissan will re-start their effort.

Meanwhile, we see what appears to be Toyota floundering... unless you remember history and what it taught us.  Remember how the other automakers struggled with hybrids and plug-in hybrids?  They couldn't find a way of selling something competitive & profitable.  That's why Toyota repeatedly stepped backed to provide an opening for them.  Timing of rollouts was to allow the stage to be shared.  That's why there is a positive outlook for the recall.  Rather than fallout, there is now an increased spread of interest.  In other words, short-term loss can sometimes translate to long-term gain.

You notice how Toyota took a risk with the hub-bolts and is also taking a risk with a second battery supplier?  People here push the narrative of being unwilling to take risk.  Notice the absence of a glovebox?  That made room for an infrared heater. How many other automakers have tried radiant warming?  It's all about stirring the pot without actually making waves.  That's their way... like me not criticizing, instead pointing out leadership moves easily overlooked.


Melodrama.  There are a number of people who are blowing the recall way out of proportion.  True, the possibility of a wheel actually falling off is scary, but the odds of that happening were freakishly low.  According to the report, the loosening of hub-bolts came about from repeated sharp-turns & hard-braking.  That's exactly what reviewers do when reviewing a vehicle.  A number of them took bZ4X for some off-road testing too.  So, it shouldn't be a surprise that the 3 early vehicles exhibiting a problem revealed what may have been possible.  It's not really accelerated aging though, since the act of rotating tires would result in tightened hub-bolts.  In other words, the exposure was limited... quite unlike the portrayal of doom & gloom we hear from the troublemakers.  Remember how they were spreading cause for doom & gloom prior to this?  That propaganda already has faded to the point that it is difficult to recall what they claimed.  In short, they like to stir controversy.  They look for excuses to justify their narrative.  My rebuttal is to provide perspective based on history:  Toyota learned from the mistakes GM made with their Bolt recall.  That's why the scale & variety of the offers are so generous, not a indication of status.  They are taking the time to make sure the solution comprehensively addresses those high-stress conditions which brought about the recall.  It's not the melodrama some are claiming it to be.


Crickets.  With a scapegoat start, casting Toyota now as the antithesis is a natural next step.  Every good story needs a villain that had originally been liked by many.  It's the Hollywood portrayal of evil.  It begins with a favorite character, then something happens causing them to go bad.  Their moves intentionally cause harm & despair.  Real life isn't like that.  People seek out someone to blame for their harm & despair.  They come up with excuses to justify the accusation.  It's a loss of critical thinking with an outcome of wasted opportunity.  That's the theme we have been following for years.  Of course, it required pretending when Toyota did something supportive it never actually happened.  The announcement of upcoming 7 bZ models 3 years ago was a great example.  For Toyota to be anti-EV, that press release must never be mentioned or referred to.  Doing that made the concept reveal late last year easy to depict as a "reversal" rather than the next step in a long-term plan.  It's just like the partnership with Panasonic for new battery production.  It never happened.  Ugh.  Toyota's recent announcement adds to that.  This isn't new.  This isn't a reverse.  This is further investment in a plan already in the works.  The battery investment is growing to $5.27 Billion.  That is an additional $2.5 Billion for here in the United States.  Specifically, it brings that North Carolina project up to $3.8 Billion.  Capacity is planned for 800,000 hybrid battery packs initially, bringing the volume up later to 1.2 million.  That would represent a large portion of Toyota's passenger fleet becoming hybrid.  Capacity for BEV hasn't been revealed yet.  Employment expectation is 2,100 new jobs.  All of which really screws up the narrative for Toyota being anti-EV.  This is why we haven't heard a peep in the last few days.  Antagonists have nothing to say.  It has been a deafening sound of silence.  Crickets.


Embarrassing.  Is it?  What makes the recall embarrassing?  Of course, what loss is there from embarrassment?  If it is only an emotional or even a timing setback, what's the problem?  After all, raised awareness can be a very good thing overall regardless of how.  Despite that, we still see conclusions like this: "...nevertheless, it's quite embarrassing for a brand like Toyota to have this kind of problem."  What kind is it?  Nothing whatsoever found wrong with the EV system tells me the "problem" is of limited scope.  What makes this supposedly so much bigger?  The entire first generation of Prius was said to be a problem for countless reasons.  Heck, there was even a recall for the steering-rack, where the entire assembly had to be replaced due to wear after the miles add up.  That resulted in an improved design, making just the component within that could potentially wear changeable rather than requiring the entire assembly.  That was a long-term gain with no real short-term penalty.  What exactly will happen with bZ4X from the hub-bolt change?  There will still be early-adopter demand and the establishment of the technology will continue.  Rough waters but arriving at the destination isn't a problem, right?  I poked at that comment by stating:  It is the counter-intuitive nature of negative press to consider.  The outcome is raised awareness of the new offering and a strong argument against those claiming Toyota is unwilling to take risks.  Both are good things.  Heck, even a few loss sales to the competition can be helpful overall.  Such a connection is usually difficult to create.  There's reputation building that results from how the situation was handled that could end up a gain as well.  Think about long-term, not initial impression (like embarrassment) that comes about in the short-term.


Confirmation.  This was interesting to stumble across: "I saw that the CATL would accept 100% recharging like the Model 3 are and also recommended to help the GOM accuracy."  I needed to find out the source of that supposed advice.  That is exactly the information I have been seeking confirmation of for quite a long time.  As much sense as the findings so far seem to confirm, all that is still just speculation.  When the early deliveries began, I thought it would be as simple as just asking an owner to check their manual or subsequent instructions for that chemistry clue.  To my chagrin, it wouldn't be that easy.  They few I got to try that on had no idea what I was talking about.  It was beyond their understanding... which is an interesting different confirmation... Toyota having reached an audience different from that of enthusiasts.  Appealing to those who lack background, but trust reputation, is priceless.  Anywho, I tried asking the person who posted that comment:  Where did you see the recommendation for 100% charging for GOM accuracy?  That would be confirmation of LFP being used.  So far, all we have is speculation.  The information & data has matched characteristics of that chemistry.  In fact, the DCFC slowness nearing 100% is one of them... that need for calibration.


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