Personal Log  #1191

January 4, 2023  -  January 10, 2023

Last Updated:  Weds. 2/22/2023

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Toyota Hate.  The nonsense continues.  It's still early in the morning for the 10th day of the year.  Yet, this new video published already had 4,875 views in just 3 hours: "Toyota's North American electric car sales FALL 40% in 2023".  With a title like that, don't doubt it being click-bait.  It was clearly about 2022 sales, but he didn't bother to correct the title... despite several comments pointing out the supposed mistake.  It's very obvious how much he exploits Toyota hate.  He claimed Toyota didn't sell any EVs in 2021, that bZ4X was Toyota's first and it was really just a rebrand.  Reading through the transcript (because I can't stand watching his nonsense), I see that he is including "vehicles with a battery".  Whatever the case, this is another example of scrambling to publish news quickly before the situation changes.  Knowing that the 5th-gen Prius will start shipping very soon, it's no surprise.


Looking Forward.  Feeding rhetoric is a steady flow of supposed "studies" which support claims being made by those who absolutely insist their is no good that came come from plug-in hybrids.  That attitude of purity is remarkably predictable.  Remember how it worked way back when Volt was still awaiting delivery.  The approach was self-deprecating.  We're seeing something like that happening again.  Certain gains cannot be realized without undermining your own stance.  Simply embracing anything capable of all-electric drive doesn't work.  They put up artificial boundaries, arbitrary divisions that ultimately work against the greater benefit.  Ugh.  Old well.  At least when it comes to studies, those are easy to deal with.  There is no arbitrary approach.  Everything is counter-productive when you are looking the wrong direction, as I pointed out:  Same old approach, look backward.  Imagine judging BEV outcome based on vehicles from many years ago.  Not looking forward greatly distorts findings. Just think if data was taken from only newer models.  Perfect example is this type of misleading is with the next-gen Prius Prime.  Nothing it addresses from previous studies will be reflected in this study, despite already knowing about upgrades.  In this case, there's no mention of significant improvement to range & power.  That increase of EV distance available would clearly have an impact toward plugging in.  Going from 25 to 38 miles should result in far fewer times the gas-engine would need to run.  Most owners will have enough electricity to cover their entire commute.  An effective study would point out what's needed going forward.


Anti-EV Rhetoric.  The antagonists keep trying: "As Toyota actively lobbies with millions against the move to BEVs, every time their sales drop I am glad.  They are wedded to fossil power and as long as they are, will see sales drop as that share of the global market shrinks.  They either embrace the better technology of BEVs or they become irrelevant."  Who is listening to this nonsense?  I fired back with:  Gotta love those attempts to confuse & mislead.  The more vague they are, they more telling.  Reality is, this isn't a zero-sum situation.  The effort to upgrade & expand PHEV offerings is not anti-EV as it is portrayed.  Toyota will continue their ICE phaseout, carrying forward the entire fleet to hybrid only.  The popular ones will get PHEV models... as we have already seen with Prius and RAV4.  Both Crown and Harrier (Venza) are planned. It looks promising that Corolla Cross will get a PHEV model as well.  The next step will be moving to PHEV only, as we see happening with Prius in Europe.  At the same time, rollout of "bZ" nameplate vehicles will continue.  4X is a proper SUV, delivering 8 inches of ground-clearance and rugged enough AWD for off-road driving.  We have been shown a compact concept, a vehicle similar in size & style to CH-R.  We also know a sedan is in the works.  In other words, ask what is actually being said "against" the move to BEVs.  There isn't much for substance.  It's mostly rhetoric coming from those who turning a blind-eye to what automakers claiming "all in" have planned for their phaseout.  Absence of a transition for other legacy automakers is a very big problem.  Diverting attention to Toyota, portraying them as an antithesis, isn't a good plan.


Think I'll Wait.  It eventually gets easier.  We started with 2 Primes, which took advantage of $500 rebates for each level-2 install.  That was 5.5 years ago.  We have been enjoying discounted electricity for charging ever since.  It made the decision to replace one of the Prime with a 4X simple.  That commentary I posted resulted in "Think I'll wait for the bZ4x ver. 2" and was followed by a series of insults.  Some people can't handle change, even if it is for the better.  Keeping Toyota viewed upon as anti-EV means not having to account for shortcomings related to their own preference.  Retaining the status quo...  Ugh.  I'm always happy to point out how such positions don't work:  That narrative is really struggling now.  It's quite outdated.  Just a few weeks ago, a Toyota VP pointed out there's somewhere around 70% to 80% reusability between PHEV and BEV for them.  From the perspective of a Prius Prime owner, they see 100% gas-free for many of their drives.  That's possible due to a full EV system already being present, including a heat-pump.  Calling that a "complete waste of technology" just a few months before Toyota rolls out their third-generation PHEV system is difficult propaganda to push.  Who is going to believe that?  They will see a Prius delivering close to 40 miles of EV and far more power than anyone imagined.  At the same time, we will see other "bZ" vehicles getting rollout plans.  Will anyone care where that technology emerged from or that the business is moving forward with a variety of both PHEV and BEV choices?  With regard to calling anything less that 300-mile range "useless", who is that message for?  For households with multiple vehicles and those who simply never travel that far, why in the world would they want to pay to carry that extra weight with an accompanying efficiency penalty?  In short, 2023 brings us beyond the old mindset.

1-08-2023 Pull verses Push.  There is a long-term plan from many years ago that stated Tesla would be targeting 20 million sales per year by the end of this decade.  How that would be achieved still remains a mystery.  With such lack of diversity, it doesn't make sense.  Yet, we continue to get blind optimism from posts like this: "If Tesla keeps innovating, there is no telling how far they could pull the market."  What exactly is the innovation?  The idea of FSD (Full Self Driving) has fallen apart, far fewer buyers are interested than planned and it simply doesn't work well.  And now 2.5 years from Battery Innovation Day, we don't see anything revolutionary having come from 4680 cells.  In fact, Tesla did the opposite by embracing a third-party supply approach (rather than vertical integration) by mass-adopting LFP cells instead.  Needless to say, I don't see Tesla as an example of leadership at this stage.  Here's when I posted with regard to the pull comment:

Actually, that is a fundamental problem with Tesla.  To get the masses to change, pull typically doesn't work. It is very successful when it comes to attract interest from enthusiasts, who are drawn to innovation.  Ordinary mainstream consumers are repelled by that, sometimes intimidated.  Push is what's needed for that audience.

That is the very reason enthusiasts can't stand Toyota's approach.  Rather than pulling from the top, they are pushing from the bottom.  Notice how Toyota is phasing out ICE-only models in favor of hybrid-only and PHEV offerings?  That is exactly what legacy automakers need to do.  Changing the status quo requires more than just innovation.

This new year brings a new chapter in BEV offerings.  Prior sales were low-hanging fruit, an easier group of shoppers to attract.  This is why Toyota's first offering focuses on off-road capability and driver appeal rather than range & charging-speed.  Seeing how RAV4 is their best-seller here, the push should be obvious.

Push makes sense as a means of getting phasing out less competitive choices.  How will pull work?  If the customer is only looking for a good ride at a nice price to replace their existing vehicle, innovation only takes you so far.  How will we see GM enticing Equinox shoppers to choose the EV model instead?


Tough Decision.  She said there would usually be 12 hours to recharge using level-1 charging, then mentioned: "So many people saying not to get the BZ4X.  But I didn't love the IONIQ5.  And the ID.4 and EV6 are both similar ranges and 2yr wait lists.  I was put on a BZ list 1 year ago and there's one on the lot waiting for me.  I'm sure better things exist, but they aren't easily attainable.  To buy or not to buy?"  All you can do is provide good information to help make the tough decision.  So, I gave it a shot:  Level-1 charging covers the basics... 120 volts at 12 amps delivers  1.44 kW, which in 10 hours (typical overnight) would provide about 14.4 kWh of electricity.  At an efficiency of 3.0 mi/kWh, that comes to an expectation of about 40 miles (don't overlook charging losses).  There are indeed many who are served well by that distance. In fact, that is why PHEV of that capacity work so well.  In your case, having 12 hours could push the return to roughly 50 miles (81 km).  With higher efficiency in summer, getting 3.5 mi/kWh (18 kWh/100km) that 100 km round-trip would be recoverable overnight.  In the winter though... it could be very difficult, especially if the battery needs to be warmed prior to charging.  Ultimately, the decision is a no-brainer if you have routine access to level-2 charging.  That bumps the equation up to 240 volts at 32 amps, which from 4X would draw a sustained 7.2 kW rate.  So even just during a limited off-peak discount span of 8 hours overnight, you would be able to recharge about 90% of the entire battery-pack.


Rebranding Narrative.  It's not dead, yet.  Lack of substance made it fade away quickly though.  All people have is hearsay that doesn't equate to much: "I'm thinking the BZ was made by BYD.  And Toyota threw a name on it maybe they went through it and made sure it met their specifications."  I'm curious if my reply will generate any type of constructive feedback:  That attempt to mislead eventually got exposed as a desperate effort to undermine, by a Toyota hater.  It was interesting to see how many people fell for the narrative and how much the lie was pushing, despite overwhelming evidence confirming the truth.  Ironically, it was the wheel recall that revealed that intentional deception.  The purveyor was a big fan of BYD.  Claiming 4X was a rebrand meant speaking out against BYD, the automaker he displayed very strong support for.  Instead, he abruptly changed stories and claimed it was a Toyota, pretending none of the previous claims ever happened.  Knowing that he was making money from publishing so much click-bait should have been a clue to everyone.  Oh well, it's now a part of history showing the lengths some will go to.


Cold Climates.  This is exactly the kind of comment I'm expecting to see on a regular basis, hence really wanting to get my 4X before winter ends: "This car especially is made for your climate not for colder area like here in Canada!"  The first new car I ever purchased was on the last big snow of the year.  It was the really heavy stuff, a lot of it, which immediately starting melting from what had been mostly clear roads already.  I took advantage of that situation, racing down my isolated court and slamming on the brakes.  It was my first experience with full anti-lock disc brakes.  Getting to test them quick before all the slippery stuff vanished for 8 months was nice.  Since I don't 4X real-world data to share yet, that means depending upon Prius equivalents.  That's not so bad when you recognize it's EV no matter how you look at it.  Having a backup engine that is rarely needed tells the real story.  Countless commutes over many, many years have been done without a drop of gas being used.  That should tell the story.  Unfortunately, some don't want to here that.  To them, I keep responses brief:  It works fine in cold climates.  My Prime has worked flawlessly in Minnesota winters, on the sixth now.  Upgrading to a 4X is an improvement across the board for EV operation.


Goodbye Prime, Hello bZ.  That was the short version of a post I saw today, on the group for RAV4 Prime.  One of the first replies was a brush off, a comment with the suggestion to take that discussion elsewhere.  You can guess group it was.  Yup, the big one.  I pointed out how that big group turned into a disaster, very negative with lots of Tesla promotion from the admin.  A friend of mine added: "Yes, the admin of bZ4X & Subaru EV group is a Tesla fan and admins the group to bad mouth abut bZ4X & Solterra.  He joined the other bZ4X group and finally needed to be kicked out of the group."  I had wondered what had happened.  The abrupt absence was a little odd.  I had anticipated him being another stalker, someone who trolled me on each of the groups I participated.  People notice the pattern and lack of anything constructive.  Finding out he is employed by Tesla for sales, explains the strange bias.  All that makes for an easy reason to be banned.  Such behavior is unacceptable.  It is also rather odd to participate elsewhere if you are an admin for a group with over 4,500 members.  Whatever the case, I was intrigued what the RAV4 Prime supporters had to say.  We'll find out quick, I'm sure.


Endless Rhetoric.  It never ceases to amaze me how some people will just make up stuff to fulfill their narrative.  For example: "Just looks horrible on paper.  Toyota is doing terrible with EV/PHEV reliability, its low power, low range, literally just zero redeeming aspects, including cost."  Where in the world did such a conclusion about reliability come from?  We have seen absolutely rock-solid performance from the all-electric drive in Prius Prime.  My guess is such statements are used for self-validation.  If you can convince yourself of that, perhaps it will work on others too.  Whatever the case, rhetoric like that is endless.  You can't ever squash it.  People will believe what they want.  That's why I focus on real-world sharing, with lots of detail.  For those with open minds, swaying them to take a closer look is possible.  That's why we hold public events.  Regardless of what you hear, seeing breaks through that nonsense.  Unfortunately when you are online, you see a lot of reviews telling you want to think rather than having an opportunity to explore the vehicle yourself.  To that, I reply with:  Pay no attention to reviews about quality of the drive then or how flawless 6 years of Prius Prime has proven EV reliability.


Think About It.  There is a belief that ultra-fast DCFC is absolutely essential, that it must deliver extreme speed since so many will be dependent upon it.  Really?  I find that argument very easy to derail.  Try this something.  When you hear it, ask how  the fast-charging session should be priced.  Think about it.  Notice how locations have speed connections isolated?  That's because the equipment costs more.  The machine delivering up to 350 kW requires a heavier cable, able to handle more amps and provide greater cooling.  Why shouldn't you have to pay more to get more?  Anywho, this is what stirred my ire: "I've been driving an EV for 5 years... yes it may be just 1-2 times a month, but it is for that same reason that Toyota's reason to limit fast-charging for longevity is bullshit.  Think about how rare of a situation to impact battery life…"  It's that same thing.  You want more, you should have to pay more.  What some deem "rare" may only be infrequent for them.  Someone only traveling short distances daily may choose to depend upon fast-charging.  The idea that cheap overnight recharges will be the approach for everyone isn't a safe assumption.  Of course, no matter how much you point out differences, some information will fall on deaf ears.  I try though:  This is where that know-your-audience mantra comes into play.  Toyota is targeting ordinary consumers, some of which won't have a clue or they are stuck using DCFC exclusively.  They are not well informed enthusiasts, like you.  Toyota has extensive experience with how owners will push tolerances.  We have seen this already with hybrids.  That's why Toyota isn't interested in catering to enthusiasts.  You want something that exploits a technology, there are other choices.  This is how Toyota got their reputation for dull, boring vehicles that are extremely reliable and hold their value very well.


Range Reduction.  I enjoyed pointing out this little snippet, remembering what those non-stop attacks taught me about Toyota's focus on the bigger picture:  This is another example of history repeating.  Prius got ensnarled in MPG awareness when people became aware of the winter drop.  People never paid attention.  They had no idea traditional guzzlers also took a hit.  EPA ended up revising estimate testing criteria as a result.  Interestingly, some enthusiasts never got the memo.  An entire year before Volt rollout, the same topic became a hot argument issue.  Enthusiasts didn't want to accept the reality that heater use would cause such an impact to range.  More intriguing is the reality that lack of awareness continued until recently, when discussion was stirred about Tesla finally adopting heat-pumps.  Both Prime and Leaf owners had already known for years what they were only then discovering.   Ultimately, it comes down to empowering owners with enough real-world information that they begin to recognize the influences of range reduction.  Prius had a big screen showing both live data and history, something traditional vehicles lacked.  Once an understanding was established, outraged transformed to excitement.


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