Personal Log  #1221

June 8, 2023  -  June 13, 2023

Last Updated:  Sun. 4/21/2024

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Signs Of Desperation.  This was rather blatant trolling: "Make sure to keep your BZ4X parked in the garage since they reported that the wheels could fall of due to a manufacturing defect."  Seeing posts like that randomly in comments is a sign of desperation.  Just like when there is a hydrogen mention, it's too far off topic to have an relevance.  What does that have to with the road-trip range or the speed of DC fast-charging?  Nothing.  It is used as a distraction and a means of preventing constructive discussion.  In other words, when someone posts that you know they don't have any useful to contribute.  Instead, they work to undermine.  As we saw with Prius, rhetoric like that falls on deaf ears.  It informs you their propaganda campaign has failed, the messaging they were attempting to push didn't work.  So, they try something else... even it if doesn't make sense to do so.  To that, my replies are brief:  Sighting a recall fixed long ago which had nothing whatsoever to do with the EV propulsion system is rather blatant trolling. As others have asked, why are you here?


Missing The Point.  It is quite common for someone online to make up their mind and stop listening.  When it comes to achieving a goal, that problem becomes an especially large barrier to overcome.  They become so fixated by the solution, they have no clue how to reach it.  That's like seeing the destination on the other side of the river and not even noticing the river itself.  Somehow, legacy automakers should be able to just commit to selling BEV then switch over production & sales without disruption to dealer or customer expectation.  They expect a world without resistance or confusion.  That absence of any type of plan is perfectly fine in their minds. It boggles my mind how naive they can be... but doesn't surprise me at all that they miss the point as a result.  You've heard this from me countless times in the past.  Here it is, yet again:  The point is to set the stage for PHEV by ending ICE-only production.  Since that first hurdle is the most difficult to get over... purchasing a hybrid... it makes the next step a no-brainer.  In fact, the upgrade from HEV to PHEV is rather trivial from an owner intimidation/understanding perspective... which is exactly why Toyota is on that path.  Then once you have a PHEV in the household, purchasing a BEV as the next ICE replacement becomes trivial.


Understanding PHEV.  Lumping all plug-in hybrids together, having no idea how much designs actually vary, is quite common.  It is a major tell, informing you of the background posters are working upon.  They commonly make incorrect assumptions, then fight you to an extreme to defend their mistaken position.  It's fascinating to participate in arguments when you know their facts are wrong.  Disproving what they claim comes easy when it comes to operation, like how Prius Prime could deliver EV drive even in temperatures below freezing.  But when it comes to the business of selling a PHEV, that's quite different... especially online, where participation is dominated by engineers who pay little attention to economics, accounting or marketing.  An article today was about how Kia doesn't see much opportunity for PHEV sales.  Knowing their design wasn't competitive with Toyota, that doesn't surprise me.  What does is how even those engineers failed to recognize that less EV power and no electric-heating could make such a big difference.  They obviously don't pay attention to operational detail either.  Anywho, the discussion on that topic shifted over to GM.  I obviously had much to say about that... but refrained.  I kept my reply brief:  Volt was discontinued because GM couldn't find a way to make a profit with their particular design.  It was expensive and inefficient in both EV & HV modes.  Back then, hybrids weren't as common either.  Now, we see Toyota's fleet already at 26% hybrid and still transitioning with profit steadily flowing.  As we see BEV growth starting to approach the S-curve climb, it makes selling the idea of a hybrid with a plug much easier.


Confused Survey.  Someone created a post with a survey.  The selections listed were a bizarre combination of numbers & terms that didn't make any sense.  It was impossible to get anything useful out of what has been presented.  He clearly didn't understand to topic.  It is an easy assumption that asking about how people are charging their vehicle at home.  But reality is, you have to have some background for the numbers to have any value.  To sort out that confusing mess, I started with the basics.  Hopefully, this will stir some constructive feedback to work with:  No one actually has 110 & 220 anymore.  They were phased out decades ago in the US in favor of 120 & 240.  That's important to know when calculating charge rate, especially when you take in account the fact that public chargers use 208.


Owner Rant.  It was only a matter of time before someone on the RAV4 Prime group started a rant.  He felt empowered as an owner of a PHEV to speak out against BEV.  I'm not sure why.  Most others see the two offerings as complementary.  He obviously didn't.  The catch was, his argument wasn't constructive.  He attacked bZ4X with a "wheel falling off" insult, then it got dishonest & misleading from there.  He simply didn't care.  That recall has turned into a great tell.  If that is used to stir attention, the intent is clearly not to get positive feedback.  We've seen that for years.  Rather than address the technology of discussion, change the topic to something that will draw negative interest.  Ugh.  Needless to say, I was annoyed.  He presented Toyota's stance as a difficult predicament.  Who cares?  Think about audience.  When someone shops for a BEV, they will encounter a flurry of recall mentions from every imaginable direction.  Growing pains for every automaker is quite normal.  You try new things, it won't be perfect first try.  There will be some post-purchase tweaks.  Some will be major, but most will be minor.  I asked, hoping for something worthwhile in return:  What predicament?  The recall was fixed long ago and had nothing whatsoever to do with the EV propulsion system.  The software update addressing a number of the early reviewer observations is now being rolled out.  Owners themselves have been praising the AWD performance.  As for the price, choosing to not sell loss-leaders like other automakers will likely prove to be a wise decision.


DCFC Timing.  The simple fact that more DC fast-charging stations are being planned makes many online fall into the trap of believing that equipment will be the best possible.  It's a common assumption, especially on daily-blog websites.  That isn't how new technology for enthusiasts becomes well proven hardware & software for mainstream consumers.  Why do they so easily forget that?  No matter how many times you remind them that progress isn't from "leading" to "obsolete" in a single step, they refuse to acknowledge that "mature" step in the middle.  Enthusiasts don't like anything that is ordinary.  They are their own worst enemy.  Becoming common is the goal.  This is why their sense of timing is so unrealistic.  They will seek out the rare DCFC in their area and proclaim rollout to the masses a success.  Ugh.  Unless it is just a few minutes away, like your local gas station, how is that going to be convenient for the 10's of 1000's of people in its proximity?  Needless to say, enthusiasts absolutely refuse to respond to a question like that.  So, I scale back my inquiry to a matter of pointing out a few key points:  Reality will come crashing down for those who see the move from 400-volt to 800-volt DC as anything but long process, here.  It is extremely expensive to deliver that much power to several chargers at the same station.  There is no cost-effective nature to doing so.  Economics will favor a large number of slower chargers instead.  In fact, NEVI started that push by requiring those funded stations to offer 4 chargers each being able to deliver 150 kW at the same time.  In other words, faster simply won't be a priority for quite a number of years still... perhaps an entire decade.  In the meantime, it is far more important to be able to deliver a seamless charging experience... where payment is brainless (like tapping your credit-card) and the cord reaching your port not an exercise in gymnastics, in addition to not having to wait long to actually use the charger.  Don't overlook how long it will take for adapters to whatever port type wins the standards battle to become common as well.

6-09-2023 Faster At Home?  More chatting with new owners.  This was great timing and too good to resist while waiting for pizza to be ready: "Looking for advice.  Get the fast charger for home or is 110 enough?"  I typed this response up on my phone, happy for the opportunity to convey information in KISS format to those completely new to the topic:

1.44 kWh per hour from 120-volt.  Getting an efficiency of 3.5 mi/kWh, about 8 hours of charging would deliver roughly 40 miles of range.

From a 24-amp draw (30-amp 240-volt line), you'll get about 5.7 kW for a charge rate.  From a 32-amp draw (40-amp 240-volt line) you'll get the maximum for bZ4X of about 7.2 kW.

5.7 kW * 8 hours @ 3.5 mi/kWh = 160 miles

7.2 kW * 8 hours @ 3.5 mi/kWh = 201 miles


Owner Regret.  It happens every time there's a new rollout: "I'm starting to think we made a wrong purchase."  Informing every potential buyer of all the information they would possibly need to make an informed purchase decision is impossible.  Someone will jump on the opportunity to buy making an assumption that's incorrect.  Fortunately, that isn't actually a bad thing.  It can be just another assumption.  In fact, the point to attract the uninformed means being able provide assurance later of having made the right choice after all.  That was a secret to Prius success.  The more owners became aware of what the technology had to offer, the better they felt about it.  Think about the disappointment that comes from the discovery of lower MPG when driving at very high speeds or during the dead of winter.  Lack of awareness of how that impacts non-hybrid vehicles we often the cause of initial regret.  But then upon discovering that's a universal thing, an avoidable efficiency factor affecting all vehicles, you don't feel as bad.  Then when you notice some of the subtle extras Toyota includes, it becomes even nicer.  In fact, that's how some of the "smug" stereotype came about.  Now, it is the reason why enthusiasts fear Toyota's entry into the wider BEV market.  Toyota knows how to reach the masses and they will do it with traits enthusiasts do not deem important.  I put it this way to that new owner not feeling so good about their purchase:  Competitors have other shortcomings.  The choice of Solterra/bZ4X is a quality product.  You'll get great reliability & longevity with balance of power & speed. If you seek faster or farther, make a different choice knowing that comes with a tradeoff.

6-09-2023 100% Detail.  Now moving into the support stage of ownership, being able to post technical detail from having experience & equipment enable useful insight to share was nice:

I started collecting ODB-II data, so we would know what the true information is before & after the software update.

In this case, I was seeking SOC (State Of Charge) data. For those who understand how the battery-pack is managed, they know that when it says 100% on the app (soon to be on the dashboard too) the actual SOC value is less.  That's the difference between total capacity and usable capacity, a buffer enforced through the software to ensure longevity.

In this case, we can see the 100% charge (stated as "full" in the limit setting) is actually 95.3% of the overall size available.  That means a maximum charge is really only 69.4 kWh of the 72.8 kWh battery-pack (supplied by CATL for the AWD model).

There is a buffer at the low end too.  So even when you reach 0%, there is around 25 miles of EV range still available... prior to the software update.  Following it, that EV range beyond "empty" is expected to be no more than 10 miles.  Whatever the case, it is something to be avoided since deep-discharges will shorten battery life... which is why I'm focusing on the upper values instead.


Oversimplification.  Here it is again: "But most US homes have 240v power."  Do people making that claim have any clue?  Looking at neighborhoods with the alley in back, how many have 240-volt service in that distant garage?  I would expect that to be extremely rare.  The same goes for detached garages.  Running a 120-volt line from the house to that stand-alone structure has been common practice.  Heck, in the past there was less demand for electricity.  So, many service-panels don't even support that capacity.  Owners either need to upgrade or to install a secondary.  The capacity & convenience we get conveyed from the "but most" crowd simply isn't the case.  Want confirmation of that, ask a BEV owner how they will charge when another vehicle in their household has a plug.  It is a long-term investment, well worth the expense... something that shouldn't be downplayed or misrepresented.  I try to get that message through to those spreading a message of oversimplification:  We need to be realistic.  It's unfortunate that many in northern states don't have 240v available in their garage.  The service-panel is elsewhere, requiring a new line to be run to provide more than just 120v.  For those in the south who have laundry-outlets in their garage, that 240v available is limited 30 amps.  For all US homes, there is the challenge of charging multiple vehicles.  Having only 1 level-2 isn't exactly the convenient plug & play EV advocates have been promoting.


Will Not Settle.  It didn't take long to hear from a Tesla owner with an adapter who uses CCS chargers: "I already have to wait many times on those darn Bolts because they charge VERY slow and the owners I have ran into are charging them above 90%.  Last week I had to wait on an owner charging their bolt to 100%.  They where there for like 2.5 hours."  It is the very same problem I saw with Volt enthusiasts.  They focus so much on arguing engineering aspects of their favored technology, they completely neglect audience.  What good is a supposed "vastly superior" technology if it doesn't allow for trouble-free use by those who don't understand it?  In other words, we are dealing with another aspect of KISS.  When you make the product simple to adopt, you must anticipate how misuse will be dealt with.  That unintentional use is a common part of my career as a software engineer.  Purpose is difficult to stay true to when so many other factors are introduced.  That's why I share so much praise for Toyota.  Ironically, that's exactly why many enthusiasts despise Toyota.  After over 2 decades of observing how Prius owners actually use their Prius, that is well understood.  You'd be amazed how many times Toyota had to respond to discoveries of unanticipated owner behavior.  That's why paying attention to them is so important and the noise from enthusiasts mostly an unbeneficial diversion.  This is how I replied to today's rant:  Getting the message through to new owners... that DC fast-charging should really only be used to about 60%, taking advantage of the charge-speed curve then stopping... simply won't happen.  There will always be some who will not settle for less.  Know your audience.


Port Location.  First thing that came to mind with potential to adopt a standard was the physical reach problem.  Having the ability to use Tesla connectors would require the port to be within a short distance of the charger.  That is a problem for some with CCS, where the cord simply isn't long enough.  That problem is made worse at Superchargers, since those cords are even shorter.  Since all Teslas have the same location, the rear corner, that worked fine.  Opening up use of them to non-Tesla vehicles in Europe revealed just how much of a problem that actually is.  So today when we heard Ford would be following suit with a decision similar to GM, I posted:  Makes you wonder if port locations on those Ford & GM vehicles will need to change.  Think about it.  With the Supercharger cords so short, the current location by the driver-door won't work.  Forcing owners to always back into spots isn't exactly ideal either.

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