Personal Log  #1276

April 18, 2024  -  April 15, 2024

Last Updated:  Sun. 4/21/2024

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4-19-2024 From Skepticism To Intrigue.  Prospect of a software update stirred interest.  This was her reply to my post: "I'm interested to know what it's going to change now!"  Remember how many were skeptical last year if we'd get anything at all from Toyota?  This is why I research battery-temperature so extensively in the meantime.  It basically doesn't engage unless outside conditions are below freezing and you are plugged in.  Will that change?  Hopefully, the wait to find out won't be long.  I continued my information exchange:

It will be interesting to see what Toyota provides.  My hope has been some type of pre-conditioning feature, but not a clumsy one like some others have offered... where they require you to map to a DCFC location for it to engage.  I would like a simple on/off switch to deliver up to 30 minutes of battery warming.

We know this software update will include timing estimation for charging to 80%, new dashboard information encouraging owners to unplug from DC at that point... rather than abuse their stay as we have seen others routinely do.

That type of empowerment & education could make understanding pre-condition tradeoff realistic.  It will reduce your range, which could be detrimental for road-trips.  Toyota did this for us with Charge-Mode for their PHEV.  Used poorly, it has an efficiency penalty.

In the past, patience has delivered for owners.  Stay tuned.


Software Update.  This comment posted on the Subaru Solterra group certainly got my attention: "I just made an appointment with my dealer for something unrelated and they said a new update just came out yesterday that they can do on my car.  They said it had to do with battery performance and display."  I was absolutely delighted to jump into that discussion thread.  It's a topic I have had to patiently wait for.  Now, I can engage with others on the matter:  Early January is when Toyota provided a press-release stating there was an update for existing vehicles planned.  It was to follow 2024 rollout, which featured battery-heater & coolant-circulation hardware upgrades.  Timing of software for 2023 models was reasonable to expect around Earth Day, following detail about the new 100% hybrid Camry rollout (which just happened 2 days ago) and their upcoming larger BEV for the US market (produced in Kentucky using batteries from North Carolina).  Mention from a Subaru dealer about a new software update released yesterday sounds totally realistic.


Longevity Question.  I liked seeing this new post: "I'm in the market for buying a Prime.  Used only around the year 2017-2020.  I am the type of person who expects a vehicle to last approximately 15-20 years."  That start got my attention.  He was considering the plug-in over a used regular gen-4 Prius and continued on with: "The bottom line is if I buy a 6-year-old car, what is the life expectancy..."  Keeping the discussion high level and waiting to see where the topic takes you can be interesting.  So, I saw no benefit from getting into detail right away.  Keeping it basic, I replied with:  I sold my 2012 Prius PHV to a good friend.  It's still running just fine.  I sold my 2017 Prius Prime to my niece.  It's expected to deliver quite a number of years still.  With regard to 15-20 years of use, I don't see the point.  Upon reaching year 15 or so, a replacement battery with 2 to 3 times the capacity will be dirt cheap.  That purchase would allow you to milk the vehicle for quite a number of more years.

4-19-2024 Pulled Back In.  I had forgotten the big Prius forum was a means of some reaching out to me with questions.  I have engaged in a number of conversations with members who never posted any messages; they joined only as a means of contacting me.  Today was quite the opposite.  It was a long-time Prius follower who was now considering purchase of a bZ4X... a scenario I had overlooked.  Most just do research on their own.  As a trusted source in that venue, it's easy to just ask me.  So, he did.  This is the info I provided:

The only issue I have had is the lack of working DC fast-chargers on my trip up north.  I just got back from one a few days ago.  Reliability is sketchy still.  That's quite annoying, but very encouraging to see NEVI funding (money from the IRA bill for DC installs) deems reliability a vital measure for continued payments.

The vehicle itself has been awesome.  Drives around the metro area have been completely trouble free.  Heat is great.  Power is great.  Traction is great.  Charging at home and at work are always dependable and the kWh return predictable.  I wish more DC stations would include an AC as backup for that very reason.

With regard to speed, AC varies.  From 240-volt service at home, I get a steady 7.2 kW rate.  From the 208-volt service from public chargers, it's between 5.6 and 6.0 kW.  There are a few that use 240-volt lines, where in that case I get the faster 7.2 kW rate.

When it comes to DC, those speeds are all over the place.  There's a mix of EVs that offer pre-conditioning (heating the battery using the battery) for faster DC charging.  Toyota has not enabled that feature yet, but does condition when you plug-in.  2023 heating is modest.  2024 heating is better, due to a battery-heater upgrade.  Once warm, you get decent speed.  With a cold pack the other day on a blustery cool spring day in Minnesota, I got 42 kW immediately upon plugging in.  In the summer, I saw 72 kW right away.

At the dealer, my only experiences were a software update and tire rotation.  Both were simple and without issue.

Thanks for reaching out to ask questions.


Antithesis Portrayals.  Ford resumed sales yesterday for F-150 Lightning after having halted them for 2 months after finding some issue.  It added to the distress caused by needing to reduce price & production due to weakening demand.  Having over-estimated demand is a big problem.  On the opposite end is GM, where some have been going nuts waiting for Ultium rollouts.  Blazer has been a mess, Equinox remains a complete mystery, and Silverado will be priced far out of the reach for most consumers.  That's why I find comments like this amusing: "It's too bad Toyota didn't get started on EVs earlier so they could be passed these flubs."  Those attempting to portray Toyota as an antithesis could say the very same thing about VW, but they don't.  VW is really struggling to match product to buyer.  Anywho, I was delighted to reply to that nonsense from such a well known troublemaker with:  As for it being too bad, why?  Toyota didn't back themselves into a corner by having to stop production.  Only a small allocation was planned anyway.  Kaizen has proven extremely effective for them.


Repeated Lies.  Attacking me was his focus today.  Toyota is not supposed to get an article of praise published, especially as a headlining feature.  That provides me with too much of a platform, an invitation for exposition.  So, he started a rant with me as identified as the enemy.  I took some time to consider how to respond.  Most of the time, trolls should be ignored.  He had exhausted those exceptions.  It was time to go on offense.  I was all too happy to do exactly that.  But as usual, I work hard to avoid making it personal.  Even callouts are more to draw attention to the stupidity of the claim rather than making it into an attack.  In this case, the day where Camry's new life as only a hybrid and the next BEV from Toyota is getting a lot of press.  I posted:  It never ceases to amaze me the lies some people make up when they discover their status quo has been broken.  That serves as solid confirmation of change, acknowledgement of goal being fulfilled.  Adding what-abouts to their posts make it even better.  Also, I like how your posts have become contradictory.  It makes no sense to claim I'm providing an assist to slow walk electrification when a large number of posts provide BEV endorsement through my ownership experiences.

4-18-2024 Toyota's Timing.  More and more, Toyota's timing is becoming a source of irritation for antagonists.  Push of the "behind" narrative doesn't work when mainstream consumers come to recognize the market is ready anyway.  Ford having to reduce production upon discovering limited demand for a premium offering and Tesla having to slash prices due to the market being saturated already, makes it very difficult to claim Toyota is scrambling to catch up.  With the variety of plug-in vehicles they have planned, it is also difficult to portray the automaker "kicking & screaming" response.  Rhetoric like that is failing.  Woohoo!  Objectively looking at the situation, we are new getting posts like this: "More realistically, it's a place holder in the U.S. market until they get their N.A. production of IRA compliant battery EVs and PHEVs going.  Their timing will be fine for the mainstream EV buyer.  It is a very good deal for the bay area (my home) IF it really exists at actual dealers."  I was delighted to join that discussion with:

Status quo is difficult to break and takes far longer for that change to take hold.  In always comes down to patience and placeholders serve well to keep momentum going.  As we have already witnessed, those "all in" automakers are now dealing with unforeseen challenges.

Toyota knew timing would be lengthy.  Some are shocked about how long NEVI projects are taking though.  They had no idea what was involved, to get contracts established for required hardware & software to deliver required reliability at sites within approved corridors, before ground could be broken.  Then there's lots of install & inspect steps prior to any customer getting to charge their vehicle. Private funding could take even longer.

Seeing Camry become hybrid only fulfills their long-term plan of phasing out ICE.  That sets the stage nicely for phasing in PHEV, another plug-in choice to share showroom floors with upcoming BEV.


Works For Toyota.  I found it intriguing decades ago when people were dumbfounded by the idea of someone supporting any automaker effort to encourage change in a subtle manner.  If you weren't in it with guns blazing, it was assumed ineffective or some type of undermine.  Why would anyone be in favor of technology steps that were only a bridge, something that wasn't earth shattering?  The conclusion was always that I must work for Toyota.  That's changing now.  Today, that prospect was stated in using a rather ambiguous question: "Who here thinks john1701a works for Toyota at this point?"  I appreciated that.  It came right after a well known troublemaker attempting to discredit by outright lying.  Quite curious what others had to say or even if anyone else would comment, I kept my own reply brief with:  Very few.  That assumption used to be quite common.  But as you read my posts and watch the videos, it becomes obvious I'm just a customer willing to support long-term endeavors.


Road-Trip Rhetoric.  Someone posted a comment to queue of the road-trip rhetoric on an article featuring Toyota's next BEV offering.  Attacking bZ4X was necessary to ensure the narrative holds.  I appreciated the poke at enthusiasts feeding that nonsense and chimed in with:  The amusing part of that is I just got back from another trip up from Northern Minnesota.  It was 407 miles round trip.  Efficiency was 4.0 mi/kWh there and 3.6 mi/kWh on the way back from my AWD with 20" wheels.  Near my destination, a national chain as station (CircleK) just broke ground to provide 4 CCS 180 kW chargers.  That will be handy, though level-1 or level-2 while there has worked fine.  That region's electricity provider is looking into funding 2 new locations for DCFC.  Prior to reaching them, I'm along a NEVI approved corridor.  That means several more will be coming available.  In other words, basic road trips are well covered for me.


Monthly Bill.  I enjoy being able to respond to inquiries like this: "How much does the Level 1 charging affect your monthly electricity bill?"  Those tend to come from individuals genuinely curious, someone who has never really looked at operational costs.  Most people don't want to.  Gas is expensive, but they just put up with the cost and complain to feel better about it.  They don't actually ever take action to alleviate the problem.  That means opportunity like this a great conversation starter.  With the hope of answering follow-up questions, I posted:  40 miles is the average people drive each day.  At a basic 3.0 mi/kWh efficiency (owners tend to see much higher during non-winter months), that would be a daily consumption of 13.333 kWh.  We'll round that up to 14 kWh to cover charging overhead.  For me, level-1 charging is $0.12/kWh.  (Time-Of-Use discounts for level-2 is what owners should always look into, especially if their kWh cost is quite a big higher.)  That equates to $1.68 per day, about $50 per month.

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