Personal Log  #793

February 12, 2017  -  February 17, 2017

Last Updated: Sun. 3/12/2017

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Instead.  Another technique to discredit is to sight a situation as polarized, with the hope readers won't realize the choices aren't mutually exclusive.  I could see that coming with the newest topic on the EV blog... which recognized the strong potential for Prime sales, it catching on faster than EV choices.  Naturally, that brought out the hate for Toyota taking the mass-market approach.  In the minds of some, leadership is only represented by pushing extremes.  Acceptance by large sums of ordinary people doesn't count as progress.  They don't recognize that as any type of accomplishment.  In fact, many simply don't care.  The word "mainstream" only serves as an indicator of obsolescence.  That's really sad.  But then again, we know that the 99% are often not considered.  So, the perspective is no surprise, like this: "It means they will continue to drag their feet as much as they can instead of going full EV."  My guess is the reply will be snarky & dismissive:  How do you figure?  Lithium battery-pack production is being ramped up, used in both the regular Prius and the plug-in model.  That economy-of-scale is absolutely essential for selling an affordable EV that doesn’t depend upon tax-credits… which is well worth waiting for.  In the meantime, they continue to improve electric design.  Traction motor production is in full swing and they are delivering (in Prime) the industry’s most efficient heat-pump.


Wasted.  There are some posts that you know are going to be trouble right from the start: "As a curious person it makes me angry that they wasted so much... everything.  Their continued blindness to the nature of electric mobility is shocking and saddening."  Was this person totally clueless or focusing entirely on something incorrect?  Running into an innocent individual who has been a victim of greenwashing happens from time to time.  So, you have to carefully consider how to respond.  I try by posing a question, then proceed to point out how the situation is not how they interpret it:  What was wasted?  Toyota is pushing the affordable approach.  They didn't take the easy route by simply rolling out an expensive plug-in, then hope for the best with cost-reduction after the fact.  Notice how that didn't turn out so well for GM?  Heavy dependency on tax-credits is a terrible idea.  Instead, Toyota took the more difficult path, having to tolerate the snickers of doubt & belittling along the way.  Now, they are mass producing the needed components at an affordable cost.  The regular Prius uses lithium battery cells too.  That's a huge economy-of-scale benefit other automakers don't have.  Also from Toyota is their very successful first-year debut of RAV4 hybrid.  It's a platform that sets them up very well for adding a plug to a SUV, the market that no automaker in the United States has yet to tap.  In other words, the spin about waste is without merit.


Scare Tactics.  A common method of dishonestly discrediting is to claim that your safety is threatened.  It's bad enough seeing that in politics.  Having to deal with those same scare tactics for Prius is even worse.  That's puts you on the defensive.  Not taking the bait can be a challenge.  They'll just keep posting it.  For awhile, the claims about Prime being inadequate came in the form of expressing danger when entering the highway.  They'd focus on merging.  Yet another attempt happened today: "The only way to merge safely in a Prius is to hope those cruising in the right lane move to the center or left lane so you have an 'open' channel to merge."  But rather than follow that line of thinking or trying to get back on topic, I kept the focus on acceleration.  They don't expect you to play along.  You're suppose to fight back directly, throw a punch to the face.  I decided to jab from the side instead.  It worked too.  I simply gave another example of accelerating, one even more extreme:  It's claims like that raise the intrigue.  Are you in denial, poorly informed, or just desperate?  The safety comment is simply not true.  I pass with my Prius PHV from time to time.  It's no big deal.  Heck, even when going through South Dakota at 80 mph, there's still power available for me to accelerate even faster to get around those I no longer want to follow.


Hitch.  One month from now, the first receiver-hitch for Prius Prime is supposed to become available.  That's well timed.  With the dual-wave window in back, I wasn't certain the idea of using my adjustable strap-on carrier for bikes in the meantime was a good one.  Though, with the other Prius, the feet on top were for nothing by stability.  All the weight was on the lower legs.  Not being able to actually measure yet had been a set back.  Living surprisingly close to 2 different hitch manufacturers would have made that easy too... if I had my Prime.  Delivery is still a month away though... coincidently, it's the very day the hitch could be delivered.  Searching online, I haven't found any information yet.  My source was from a friend who pushed for one last year, shortly after the gen-4 was rolled out... since he needed a hitch.  He let the use his own Prius for measurements to build the very first one.  That worked out well.  For me, looks like I'll have to do even less... except be patient.


Totally Inferior.  I was very amused to see the term "totally inferior" used in place of "vastly superior".  That's a level of desperation so blatant, it's almost pointless to respond.  That mantra of the past was absurd.  The gen-1 Volt enthusiasts just kept chanting that over and over and over again.  Its lack of substance ended up driving many away.  They didn't want any part of a technology unable to actually compete on merit.  Needing to embellish for the sake of retaining attention is a bad sign, and they knew it.  That lesson learned is apparently something this new gen-2 audience seems to believe they are immune to.  That type of attitude is the very reason history repeats itself.  The leaders become complacent... exactly as a I witnessed today.  I was amazed to see that.  They say you cannot fix stupid.  Seeing it play out firsthand is troubling.  But then again, we're seeing similar on the presidential level.  Awareness have never been raised to such an extreme level before.  I wonder what kind of long-term effect that will have.  The short-term outcome will definitely be painful.  Arrogance can be quite expense, stirring unforeseen costs on an enormous scale.  Calling something "totally inferior" without evidence to support the claim is usually evidence of trouble to come.


Terrible Timing.  I had a follow-up post to my declaration of death.  The ironic nature of attempting to gloat about a diesel efficiency rating right when such a huge efficiency hybrid milestone has been met is poetic.  The sweet sound of electric silence.  That's so much of a contrast to the clatter of a diesel engine.  Ugh.  I'm amused and was quite happy to keep any spin attempt at bay with:  Toyota just surpassed the 10,000,000 mark for hybrid sales.  There have been a total of 34 models offered.  Availability has reached 90 different countries.  An affordable plug-in model is being rolled out in Japan, the United States, and Europe.  The timing is terrible... for diesel.


Diesel is Dead.  The official "50 MPG" rating is making news today.  Ugh.  That's the highway rating for the Chevy Cruze diesel.  Focus on just highway is rather blatant greenwashing, criticized extensively in the past for drawing attention away from overall efficiency.  It was cherry picking, plain & simple.  A method of deception, similar to "clean diesel" from the perspective of intentionally excluding vital information.  The choose what to tell you and totally disregard the rest.  For example, how often do you hear mention of urea refills?  That's the cleansing agent required for diesel vehicles.  It's a liquid that's sprayed into the exhaust system.  I'm willing to bet most diesel shoppers never encounter any mention of it.  There's the issue of diesel being more expensive per gallon than gas too.  Think that is ever brought attention to by diesel promoters?  Anywho, I don't like diesel for passenger cars... and expressed that sentiment in response to the news:  37 MPG combined for the manual and 31 MPG combined for the automatic is so bad, it's not possible to take it seriously.  No mention whatsoever of emission-rating is the evidence of being severely wounded, especially from all the awareness raised by the cheating scandal.  After 15 years of tolerating the claims of being as clean & efficient, it's time to move on.  Gen-4 Prius easily surpasses that it both regards.  Adding a plug to it to make a Prime buries the coffin.  Diesel for passenger cars is dead.


Improvement & Cost.  Attempts to inject constructive points into GM discussions when you own a Prius is usually futile.  Many just choose to not listen anymore.  That's actually progress.  It sure beats those attacks of the past.  Denial turning to acceptance is much better.  Enthusiasts becoming supporters is a challenging process to usher along.  It is working though.  The struggle of gen-2 Volt has helped it along.  We all can see the potential for Prius Prime.  Once production & delivery is finally ramped up, Toyota will take the lead they've always feared.  It is no longer a matter of "IF".  It is now trying to figure out the "WHEN".  My hunch is that will be around Earth Day.  Waiting for things to fall in place is quite a challenge though, a test of character through patience.  It's well worth it, of course.  It teaches you not to burn bridges too.  Those still showing some resistance will eventually either vanish or become an ally.  So, I keep interjecting some sense into the daily topics.  Hopefully, this will be considered helpful... someday:  With respect to design, there's the big issue of production cost.  For EV to be directly competitive with traditional vehicles, it must have a closer MSRP and no dependence on tax-credit subsidies.  Not requiring liquid is a way of cutting cost.  It reduces complexity too.  That's good for reliability.  It's the advantage of going electric.  For example, electric power-steering doesn't have liquid.  It doesn't have a belt either.  That's a clear simplicity improvement, as well as a cost reduction.


Too Late?  Someone else sounded off with superiority chanting.  Ugh.  I was dismayed by reading: "Nissan is late to the new EV party.  By the time the new Leaf is available, the Chevy Bolt EV has taken up that market.  And I don’t believe that a *cheaper* Leaf against the Bolt EV will sell better, because quality and quantity has its price, and true BEV believers (just like Tesla buyers) will pay whatever to get the best EV possible."  Was he really that clueless or close-minded?  It was yet another audience problem.  Some people just never learn, I guess.  Of course, it could just be denial.  Being backed into a corner, you really don't see much from that perspective.  I decided to deal with the denial in this fashion:  Late to what?  Which market?  The acceptance of EV by ordinary traditional buyers hasn't happened yet.  We're still trying to get out of the low-hanging-fruit stage.  Reaching beyond early adopters is still just a hope… realistic, but clearly some time in the future still.  Once sales occur without any tax-credit subsidies, that milestone will be reached.  Until then, it's just enthusiasts helping to prove the technology is worthy for the masses.


Air-Cooling Greenwash.  I was absolutely amazed to see this today: "The current Leaf's air-cooling is insufficient for hotter climates."  That's a claim easy to disprove.  Why would anyone make such an obvious attempt to mislead?  Perhaps he thought readers would take the claim at face-value, not bothering to click the link also provided.  If they did, the hope would be the age of the article wouldn't be noticed.  It was 5.5 years old!  Greenwashing by posting outdated information is quite desperate.  But when you are a hard-core GM supporter and the article is about Nissan's next-gen Leaf, doing that still happens.  Heck, I got annoyed by how many times facts were voted down just because they didn't like them.  So, using facts to mislead comes to be an expectation.  Anywho, I didn't hesitate to point out the attempt with:  September 22, 2012 isn't remotely "current" from any perspective.  That article has been called out as greenwashing material for being so outdated.  Leaf batteries were upgraded mid-cycle, greatly improving their resilience to heat.  We know the batteries will upgraded again (chemistry & construction improvements) with Leaf gen-2 rollout too.  We also already know they will be air-cooled.


Concern.  You can tell how much the attitude from Volt enthusiasts is changing, from statements like this:  "...I'm surprised they haven't offered more models, but it would be foolish to not offer as many models as they can during the phase-out period."  The realization of gen-2 having failed to achieve growth is moving into the acceptance stage.  It's trapped as a niche.  The clock is running out... and there is no sense arguing it anymore.  That crazy lashing recently out over the "too little, too slowly" really was the finale.  It's over.  Time to move on.  Evidence of this change came from my simple post today.  It wasn't attacked.  In fact, the opposite happened.  I got positive votes!  Gasp, eh?  Even the most staunch saw the writing on the wall.  GM will need to play catch up if they don't offer the technology they developed in packaging their customers actually want.  In other words:  Getting caught mid-cycle without any subsidies has been a problem expressed for years.  That's why there's been such a big push for a SUV with Voltec.


Charging Observations.  The official number from the wall is what was reported for EPA is 6.33 kWh.  That takes into account charging losses, which are given a standard factor of 15%.   That means the usable capacity calculates to 5.38 kWh.  The value matches up nicely with observations a friend of mine reported with his Prime.  It's a good confirmation.  I'm not sure where that higher number came from.  That's why I document what I find in these blogs.  Sometimes you come across a clue to an aspect of design no one had really notice the significance of yet.  Other times, you stumble across the birth of a misconception... which makes understanding its origin very important.  Whatever the situation, we start with observations.  In this case, it's with respect to charging.  That topic is unknown to most people.  So, having some accurate numbers readily available to share can be quite help.  I can't wait to contribute to Prime's rollout.  In the meantime, I'm using the observations collected from my Prius PHV to help document that history.  After all, you never know what kind of spin will emerge.  Having 5 years of detail available could certainly come in handy.

2-12-2017 More Calculations.  Running those same calculations on Prius Prime is interesting:

85% - 23.5% = assumed usable EV capacity available is 61.5 %

61.5% of 8.8 kWh = EV capacity calculates to 5.4 kWh

5.4 kWh / ( 25 kWh / 100 miles ) = EV range is 21.6 miles

Anyone know the actual usable value?  There was speculation that deeper discharging with the new chemistry was realistic, especially since GM decided to expand usable capacity for gen-2 Volt.    I haven't heard actual numbers though... and I don't have my Prime yet.  Based on the calculation result, it's easy to see where the original EPA stated range was 22 miles.  I have found a mention of 6.18 kWh usable.  In that case:

6.18 kWh / ( 25 kWh / 100 miles ) = EV range is 24.7 miles

Note that using the 133 MPGe rating (to be more precise), we get 25.3 kWh / 100 miles.  That's 33.7 kWh per gallon of gas / 133 MPGe.  Values reported for EPA are truncated, rounded, and adjusted.  So, be careful of trying to get too precise.  And of course, YMMV.

2-12-2017 Calculations for EV.  Being able to move on to a Prius focus (not having to deal with rhetoric much anymore), it's time for some calculations.  It sure will be nice when I have my own numbers to work with.  But for now, we can use EPA reported values.  I did that for this response: "I can still do 10.3 miles at 32 degrees, but it was more like 12 at one time."  Knowing how imprecise anecdotal observations of the past can be, this is how I worked out the expectation:
Simple math would seem to indicate your pack is just fine still.

85% - 23.5% = usable EV capacity available is 61.5 %

61.5% of 4.4 kWh = EV capacity calculates to 2.7 kWh

2.7 kWh / ( 29 kWh / 100 miles ) = EV range is 9.3 miles

That doesn't take into account hills or regen, of course.  It's just a basic measure of potential using the EPA measure of efficiency for Prius PHV.  Nonetheless, seeing 10.3 miles years later looks good.


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