Personal Log  #1275

April 12, 2024  -  April 18, 2024

Last Updated:  Sun. 4/21/2024

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Troll Rant.  I was able to save the long comment a troll posted on the article about Camry becoming hybrid only before the moderator deleted it.  The FUD spewed was remarkable, so outdated it was very easy to see why it got deleted.  He went on about weight & cost and the supposed "claims" for MPG.  They he went into replacement of the battery and the starter alone being $1,000.  I couldn't help but to be amused at that point.  Toyota's system has never had a starter, 5 generations of simply just using the generator-motor instead.  It got worse from there, he talked about a pump being required for the transmission even when the engine was not running.  There is no transmission or pump either.  It was beyond absurd, a pointless rant.  What stands out the most though was he started his post with "Ugly, ugly, ugly. And then there is the hybrid part or should I say the expensive battery part."  That's the big tell.  You never start a subjective comment with objective material.  And how is that an expression of critical thinking?  Anyone who actually looks up the cost will see that lithium is around $100 per kilowatt and that the system only uses 1 kilowatt.  That puts pricing in the neighborhood of a premium grade 12-volt.  Needless to say, no thought was involved.  He was clueless and clearly upset to see the status quo change.  He was just another rant from a troll with nothing to lose.


Hybrid Only.  Embargo lifted.  Camry is now only available as a hybrid.  That means mission accomplished, phaseout is absolutely undeniable.  Exactly has long-term plans had spelled out, success originating from Prius would be spread through the fleet.  That technology is now standard and quite evolved.  For me, means moving on from the big Prius forum.  Whenever I posted, trolls attacked.  Working as a lightning-rod to take pressure off newbies while they learned made the effort well worth it.  Now, they've got things under control.  I'm focusing entirely on advancing plug-in choices now.  Woohoo!


Cheap Lease.  It's easy to tell we just entered a new market stage.  Toyota is getting attacked from every direction with completely empty claims.  No substance is a dead giveaway of desperation.  They literally have nothing.  Today, it was trying to spin the current lease deals as somehow being new & unexpected.  Ugh.  They way they try to avoid history is truly remarkable.  Fortunately, I have that on my side and take every opportunity they present as a chance to post more about it... as I did today:  Those familiar with Toyota's history will recognize their strategy to reach a diverse audience to generate practical everyday use feedback.  They produce a limited number and focus on specific markets.  We saw that with both gen-1 Prius hybrid and gen-1 Prius PHEV.  It simply made no sense jumping all-in to the market where mainstream consumers simply weren't ready.  In this case, we also have infrastructure holding the status quo in place.  Notice how the "all in" automakers have been struggling with their loss-leader sales?  These super good deals on leases will appeal to non-enthusiasts, exactly the audience others with range & power emphasis designs have failed to reach.  Toyota's focus is in gen-2, learning what they can without first-generation barriers others create for themselves.

4-16-2024 Game Changer.  It finally happened.  Tesla has been dropping vehicle prices, subscription prices, and now there will be layoffs.  This comment is what I saw as an invitation to climb up on the soapbox: "Foolish to just cut 10% of workforce after one bad quarter….they should just use firings of worst performers, attrition, early retirement incentives, and cross training.  That would reduce 10% NLT fall."  Seeing that sentiment so, an assumed obvious next step for the uninformed, should result in a moment of critical thinking upon reading my post:

Recent sales shortfall is just a tip of the iceberg.  Tesla's financial approach has been fundamentally flawed for long-term well being, a problem enthusiasts have turned a blind-eye to.  Overall profit has heavily depended upon income from both FSD and selling carbon-credits.

Shortcomings with FSD are obvious, it took forever and still doesn't deliver as hoped.  That's great for establishing brand in a developing market, but a very hard sell at this point... especially when others offer a modest version without subscription.

With regard selling carbon-credits, that market is coming to an end as other automakers fulfill their requirements with sales of their own vehicles now.  That convenient substitute is no longer necessary.  Tesla has surplus no one will buy.

Future profit becomes even more of a problem for Tesla.  The market has been saturated with Model 3/Y.  Heavy discounting has harmed used sales in the process.  A refresh won't fix that problem, which came about from the absence of diversification.  Without an prospect of a Model 2, growth for Tesla won't happen.  CyberTruck certainly isn't a mass market choice.

All of this was quite predictable.  You could tell by the intensity of comments when concern for these exposures were pointed out in the past.  Support meant sticking to the narrative rather than being objective on how to address the status quo.

In short, Tesla has become a legacy automaker.  It has it's own past making the game-changer effort much more difficult.

4-15-2024 Simplicity is Key.  Here is the message I conveyed today for someone who was curious about what they could get from charging at home.  The key to reaching ordinary consumers is simplicity, put the information in terms they will easily understand & remember:

120-volts @ 12-amps delivers 1.44 kW/h.  From 8 hours of charging with an average efficiency of 3.5 mi/kWh, that equates to about 40 miles of EV range.

240-volts @ 30-amps delivers 7.2 kW/h.  From 8 hours of charging with an average efficiency of 3.5 mi/kWh, that equates to about 200 miles of EV range.


Revisionist History.  He's at it again, that guy making a living from publishing rhetoric that included portraying Toyota as anti-EV.  This time, it ended with: " this article that I've just shared with you is exactly the same message that wax printed by the global media thousands of times in 2023 and again in 2024."  He didn't actually share anything though.  I looked in the author notes and there were no references.  I read through the transcript and couldn't find a source either.  It is yet another example of passing along hearsay with the hope of said claims never being verified.  I fact-check and couldn't find anything.  I also checked my own notes from the time, never having remember any such nonsense... not even a vague implication.  He was greenwashing, plain & simple.  I didn't call him out directly though.  I'm more subtle.  This is what I posted, quoting his own claim for good measure:  You can still find the 2020 Nikkei article stating Toyota's intent to debut their solid-state battery in 2021 and be the first to sell a production version in the early 2020s.  No where does it say anything about high-volume for the masses.  This video claiming "next year in 2021 there will be um literally thousands and thousands or electric cars manufactured by Toyota with these revolutionary new solid state batteries" is just feeding a narrative, revisionist history.


Hateful Perspective.  Seeking quick & simple fixes is the approach for enthusiasts.  They don't want to address complexities of a diverse market.  That cold, hard reality of transportation not being a financial priority doesn't exist in their world, nor will they acknowledge intimidation of change.  It's how comments like this come about: "I won't ever buy a Toyota after what they've done to slow down EV adoption.  Awful company with no morals."  Blaming an automaker for not ignoring a large group of consumers is not the way to overcome barriers.  Those automakers proclaiming "all in" did exactly that though; they ignored the entry-level market.  I remember many years ago how Toyota pointed out that an affordable low profit-margin BEV would turn the market upside-down.  When you can outstanding efficiency & performance from a small basic vehicle, what interest would consumers have in the wasteful high-profit vehicles dominating dealer showroom floors now?  We see the paradigm starting to crumble already.  Shifting from high-profit ICE to high-profit BEV isn't working.  That audience is only a niche, far from the majority they had hoped.  Toyota knows their customer is the mainstream consumer looking for something that won't be painful to their wallet and will be extremely dependable, without requiring much of anything to learn.  It's all about audience... something enthusiasts still haven't figured out.  That's why I keep replies simple.  They will regret not having paid attention to steps taken to make an extremely successful gen-2 offering.  For them, they obsess with the here & now.  So, don't bother sharing detail.  It's their loss.  I just post with brevity:  You aren't the intended audience.  Toyota is targeting the masses, using gen-1 to shakeout priorities... exactly like they did with gen-1 of Prius.


Utter Nonsense.  Not only are enthusiasts oblivious to history, they don't even know what's coming in the short-term.  They live in the now and make assessments of the market based on anecdotal evidence.  It's quite a let down when you have to associate with so many who don't use critical thought.  Hope would be that the supposed well-informed online are actually well informed.  They are not.  In fact, some do nothing but respond to primitive instinct... hence their obsession with speed & range.  As a result of that absence of brainpower, I have to routinely point out what they should already know.  Fortunately, the effort really pays off.  A number of times now, the moderators have clearly noticed what I posted... because I will end up seeing an article a few days later on the very content I provided.  They are obviously reading comments for topic suggestions... especially when they address content they overlook.  So, I provided them with more of that in an argument about Toyota supposedly not investing at all in a BEV future:  Toyota is rolling out bZ3X (smaller SUV) in Europe the bZ5X (larger SUV) in the United States (produced there, along with batteries so it qualifies for (tax-credits) and Hilux (long-bed pickup) in other markets.  Claims of not investing in EVs is utter nonsense.


Road Trip.  It is springtime, my opportunity to escape up north.  That route is one with very few DC fast-chargers.  There's one 50 kW that is 55 miles from home, the next 37 miles from that one, followed by another 35 miles further.  That's all I had before last fall, when the MagicDock location opened up.  That was followed by a CCS location with 180 kW chargers, three of which were not working.  Ugh.  I had to wait 25 minutes to use the only one available.  Having those 50 kW locations still available is nice.  My goal on this trip was to just fast-charge once, then take a very long drink of electrons from a level-2 charger at a restaurant near my destination... which just happened to break ground to build four new CCS chargers yesterday.  Hopefully, that means they will be available for my next drive up that.  This time was without issue anyway.  In fact, it went really well.  I shared this about it:  Road trip to Northern Minnesota yesterday.  By dumb luck, it was warm and I had a decent tailwind.  The result was mind-blowing.  At 4.0 mi/kWh, that works out to a range of 260 miles.  More importantly though, it reduces time & money at the charger... since I will be far from DC charger access.  Needing less electricity it the first place is a big deal.


Sales Plateau.  Most never bother to step back to look at the bigger picture.  That's why all of those assessing at what point we are in the S-curve of product adoption missed the fact that it is actually a series of S-curves joined together.  There's a plateau in between each, where sales flatten due to audience change.  New growth means figuring out how to reach a new market.  Sales just naturally slow as the existing market becomes saturated with a lot of similar models... which equates to a lack of choice for those who don't seek the same traits.  This is why KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE is so vital to recognize & understand.  Sadly, most enthusiasts never will.  They are baffled by the slowing of sales and attribute it to perception skewed by the media.  They are not aware of what really happens on that larger scale.  Ugh.  It's why I don't even bother arguing sometimes.  In fact, that is typically when I switch from defense to playing offense.  They said their piece and are now struggling to figure out what went wrong... despite me providing a heads up to the warning-signs all along.  Again, ugh.  Fortunately, their increased silence allows me to get more of a voice with the new audience coming on board.  This is what I said about the situation today:  In others words, stop listening to the what-about narratives.  Look at what the market actually needs.  Focus on speed, power and range have clearly become a problem... hence the sales plateau.  To reach the wider audience, the type of leadership Tesla provided is not what's required at this point.  Early-Adopters are having difficult time accepting the reality of the innovation stage coming to an end.  The type of leadership needed to grow sales means a change of focus, breaking the status quo enthusiasts created.  Mainstream shoppers have very different priorities.


Zero Competition.  On the topic of history, reading this was awesome: "There was zero hybrid competition."  It was also quite telling.  That was his entire reply.  Then when I posted my reply 15 minutes later, he had at that point added a reference to Insight with an outright dismissal of that in any way being competitive.  He was completely clueless of course, assuming Toyota was the only automaker striving to deliver efficiency choices.  He was obviously completely oblivious to the origin of Prius itself, how the government-funded program for each automaker to deliver a high-efficiency vehicle was only for those based in the United States.  No one remembers that.  It really upset Toyota... so much so, that they found their own means of delivering.  But rather than the target of having a prototype available by 2000, then actually delivered a vehicle and started sales before the end of 1997... Prius.  I didn't bother with any of that background history.  I simply started with my perspective of what it was like when I was driving my own Prius back then:  That's utter nonsense.  From Honda, there was both Insight & Civic.  From VW, there was their dishonest push of diesel.  From GM, there was a ton of chest-pounding to "leap frog" the tech From Toyota.  From Ford, we got a lot of pushback that ended up delivering hybrids.  All that was in the face of struggle to appeal to the masses... which Toyota has learned from.  The biggest takeaway is the payoff patience provides.


Winning History.  When you already have a major win in the past, why wouldn't you try to repeat that history?  It's truly bizarre how antagonists have been completely ignoring the history I point out.  That's even worse than with Volt enthusiasts, who would dismiss it or make some excuse that Two-Mode had nothing whatsoever with Volt... which was later confirmed in great detail that it was indeed just a gen-2 design with the same engineers & management running both projects.  Why is the prospect of repetition so difficult to accept?  True, GM's endeavor failed twice.  Acknowledgement of the potential to hit a homerun again would be painful to give credence to.  Perhaps I just figured out the why on my own just now!  Anywho, I continue to post reminders of that past, hoping lurkers will see how a pattern of success is reasonable when you repeat the same approach:  That is literally what loss-leader means in the early market.  They saw no benefit from selling something unprofitable, but lots to gain from only attracting die-hard supporters though limited inventory and a uncompetitive price.  Keep in mind, that's exactly what happened with gen-1 Prius.  There was a small production allotment and no tax-credit.  It turned out to be a winning approach.  That initial feedback from that audience provided a very useful means of creating a vehicle correctly targeting the masses, without having backed themselves into a corner like we already see from other automakers.


Split Household.  The never-ending reminder needed to be shared again.  This time though, I added a little bit of a personal twist.  Since troublemakers like attacking me in specific anyway, knowing I'm well versed in the topic draws attention to their desperation.  I'm not sure how much, or if any, pause that my give them.  But what the heck.  I might as well give it a try.  So, I did with this reminder post:  The split household with a PHEV supplementing a BEV works well.  We went from 2 Prius Primes (both 2017 Advanced models) to replacing 1 a year ago with a bZ4X AWD.  Commuting was almost always electric anyway, since chargers were available at work.  Any BEV here (Minnesota) is a challenge, since DC chargers are still rare in rural areas.  But I can still make the trip up north with planning.  Having a PHEV also makes long trips a no-brainer though.


History.  I wonder how many times I will end up posting this information... knowing most of the readers simply won't care:  Using Toyota as an antithesis is a weak effort by enthusiasts to distract from other automaker shortcomings and to feel better about their own impatience.  Denial that Toyota is following the same very successful approach they used with Prius is too much to accept.  Having to wait until gen-2 makes them crazy.  Shooting the messenger is an attempt to provide a sense of relief, but doesn't actually work... since the narrative doesn't reach beyond their own echo-chamber.  Study history.  There is much to learn about the bottom-up approach.

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