Personal Log  #990

February 11, 2020  -  February 16, 2020

Last Updated:  Weds. 3/25/2020

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2-16-2020 Credit Limit.  It was a nice change of pace to have this question pop up: "What is Toyota's magic USA plug-in sales number?"  He wanted to know how the tax-credit would come into play with regard to Toyota's master plan and the rest of the market.  I enjoyed getting to provide an answer:

When phaseout is triggered (reaching the 200,000 limit), there is an additional quarter (3 months) of full tax-credits available after that current quarter completes.  Following that, the volume restriction is lifted but tax-credit value is reduced by 50%.  After 2 quarters, the value is reduced to just 25% of the original full amount.

That process worked exceptionally well for Tesla and the same should be true for Toyota.  The reason why is simple, intent of the tax-credit was fulfilled.  Demand for the technology was established and brought up to the level of sustainability.  In other words, the automaker takes advantage of the unlimited volume aspect of phaseout... which contributes to consumers accepting the offering as the next natural step forward.

The cold, hard reality of GM having exploited tax-credits for conquest with a terrible disregard for their own loyal customers became undeniable as their triggering of phaseout grew near.  They had not established their technology.  Showroom shoppers at GM dealers had nothing desirable.  Volt had failed to grow beyond a niche and Bolt was struggling to survive.  So naturally, there's a lot of downplay about the resulting fallout... especially with regard to Toyota's progress.

Toyota will face phaseout with 2 models of Prime already well established and the expectation of new & updated offerings to follow.  There will be no doubt among showroom shoppers that change is underway.  That confidence in those steps forward is vital for both dealer & consumer.  So regardless of any future government incentives, progress will have already taken place.

It's not magic.  It's just a lot of careful planning and a mission unbroken by endless rhetoric.


Skeptics.  That was the identifier a good friend of my help to provide with his perspective, having moved on to the top-down offerings.  From Toyota, to BMW, to Tesla, his explorations have been quite enlightening.  That type comprehensive exposure can be very informative.  It's what you need to balance technology with what the market will actually accept.  We all hear about technology that's exciting & inspirational, but that isn't what the majority actually purchase.  This is why Toyota's work to establish a technology for mainstream choice right from the start has been so successful.  It's easy to build something when expense isn't a concern.  But when you must squeeze out cost to make the offering both profitable & affordable, that's an entirely different matter.  This is why I bring up GM so often.  All those years of gloating, with so many enthusiasts feeling empowered to insult & belittle, the lesson learned from that having failed should not be so easily dismissed.  Those antagonists really try hard to do that, hoping to sway skeptics away from consideration.  It's who we need to appeal to... hence bring up "know your audience" so often.  They are it... which is why I get so confrontational with those attempting to undermine that reach out to those still uncertain.  Anywho, it was worth the volley this time.  I saw there are some who still hope for a miracle, rather than doing what needs to be done.  Identifying who & what is key to moving beyond this stage.

2-16-2020 Spinning Toyota's Stance.  There certainly is a lot of that lately.  It's a good sign when the constructive nature of discussions vanishes.  That's how you know they have nothing to argue with, that they're previous line of reasoning has fallen apart.  In other words, it broke their pattern.  This was the statement the antagonists have been struggling to overcome recently: "Carbon reduction can only be achieved by consumers deciding to spend their own money in ways that deliver a practical return for themselves."  It came from a Toyota executive in Canada... which seemed a great quote to attack.  But lacking substances, the antagonists have been struggling to keep focus in their favor.  I find that incredibly telling.  Their spin isn't working.  This is what I had to say to that:

After a decade of watching failed incentives from government efforts, it makes sense to stop beating that dead horse.  We can obviously still invest in infrastructure, but focus on the vehicle itself simply wastes time & money toward reaching the masses.  Have you ever considered how when each state that decides to adopt ZEV requirements must face a mountain of litigation?  Those fighting the advance forward expend an enormous amount of resources to prevent that progress.  Toyota recognizes this and has the balls to acknowledge it. Too bad if you don't agree with that.  Facts are not subject to debate.

We must find a way to deal with that reality.  Again, this is why "know your audience" is so important.  With 17,000,000 new vehicle purchases annually here alone, its up to the automaker to find a means of delivering.  Dealers will supply focus on what they can sell with minimal effort and maximum profit.  That's a cold, hard reality.  Our contribution is to make that process easier.  Infrastructure is the monetary investment to encourage.  We can make things happen with regard to charging.  We can also provide the knowledge transfer to others. That will help the process along.

Watching consumer behavior, we have witnessed obsession with the SUV become normalized to the extreme of it now being an expectation.  Sedan production is ending for Ford & GM.  That blatant abandonment on their part is a response to the self-deprecating message they have been spreading for 25 years.  Toyota found a way to adopt, adapt, and improve.  RAV4 Prime is an undeniable solution to the problem, one that focuses on consumer decision.


Video:  Prius Prime - Sub-Zero Commute.  That -8°F speaks for itself.  Watch how engine cycles on & off to use as much electricity as possible.  Not much else needs to be said.  In great detail, I captured my morning commute on one of the coldest this season.  Although it came out fairly well, it wasn't without challenges.  I tried the day before, on both the commute to work and the drive back.  Both failed with technical issues.  Camera setup is challenging.  I ever forget to reset a configuration, causing a quality reduction on the dashboard feed.  But it wasn't enough to prevent keeping the footage as with the previous attempts.  That's video of this nature works though.  You keep trying to get it all right.  Sometimes it works.  Other times, you write it off as a good effort... maybe next time.  It's part of the refinement process.  You learn from both success & error.  Today, it was success.  Phew!  Watch how well Prius Prime copes with the dead of Winter here in Minnesota...  Prius Prime - Sub-Zero Commute

2-14-2020 Choice.  I liked this, which came from another troll: "Tell that to Toyota."  He is another who thrives on the trouble he stirs.  It's all about keeping the status quo, doing whatever it takes to prevent progress.  I'm always amazed at how much effort is expended to defend nothing.  He really doesn't have a position.  There is only spin to prevent change, another pattern easy to notice if you watch posts.  Anywho, I saw that as an invitation to climb up onto the soapbox.  So, I did:

Tell what to Toyota?  I'm calling you out for being vague too.

Toyota continues to refuse to play the game, forcing other legacy automakers to recognize they have no actual plan to convert their fleet.

GM is by far the biggest offender.  Volt exploited the tax-credits, seeking praise from conquest sales rather than actually doing anything to change what happens with dealer inventory.  It was a colossal waste of opportunity... one that Toyota has been working hard take advantage of, the very opposite of GM.

We see Toyota striving to phaseout their entire product-line of passenger vehicles in favor of hybrids.  That establishes a culture of change at dealerships, where they learn to address showroom shoppers curious about the technology.  It builds upon itself, once the shift away from traditional becomes obvious... which is exactly what we are witnessing now.

Toyota's next step in that master plan is to stir interest across the board with PHEV offerings, showing all audiences how adding a plug and more battery to their wide array of hybrids is a practical & affordable option.  That pushes a paradigm-shift of choice. Rather than loyal customers simply replacing their old Toyota vehicle with a new Toyota vehicle, they see variety.  That no-pressure approach is priceless.

You need to support whatever your vague claim is with substance.  How are the other legacy automakers going to move their offerings forward?


The Point.  That same indigenous troll keeps at it.  Post after post, all vague.  He still doesn't quote or capitalize either.  Comments are always of an ambiguous nature.  He thrives on the chaos that creates.  It's quite intentional, an undeniable pattern.  That activity is for the sake of entertainment, attempting to retain rewarding elements of the past.  In other words, his point is to fight change.  I felt it was time to let him have it... not for the sake of expecting any type of change... but for those lurkers reading with curiosity wanting to learn why such an exchange was taking place.  That's why this short & sweet response was so appropriate for the circumstances:  The point is to rise above the rhetoric, not to contribute to it.


Accountability.  He made it worse, replying with: "government should be incentivizing plug ins of all types, with an emphasis on bevs, charging stations and renewable energy"  That's so horribly vague, it tells us nothing.  This is what we call an enabler response.  This are indigenous trolls.  Every forum has them.  They stir & provoke to keep discussions alive, doing whatever it takes to prevent conclusions from being drawn.  Why is obvious.  They thrive on those posts.  Allowing them to come to an end is the last thing they'd want.  So, you see the behavior of undermining for the sake of endless debate.  I find that incredibly frustrating, but often choose to ignore it.  Don't feed the trolls.  Sometimes you have to, especially after he repeats attempts so often to provoke.  I took that action with:  That's not a target or even anything quantifiable.  In fact, that was just another vague response.  You're contributing to the lack of accountability problem.


Good Business.  I had to fire back.  Right away, the attacks began.  It's the same player every time too.  This is what I selected to respond to: "Nothing wrong with good business, I just don't agree with the premise."  Annoyed at such a vague response, a posted complaint without a suggestion just wastes everyone's time.  What do suggest for a 2030 target with regard to a majority of each automaker's production?  What premise?  Notice how everyone, except Toyota, is only focusing on the low-hanging fruit?  The absence of anything for the bulk of the business should be a red flag... in other words NOT good business.


Master Plan.  A repeating theme is to now misrepresent Toyota's mission.  I find it quite eye-opening how Toyota gets relentlessly attacked with those misrepresentations, yet other legacy automakers are allowed a free-pass with no plan at all.  Not having anything at all is somehow more acceptable than having something you don't agree with.  In what world is evading a problem the better choice?  Ugh.  I jumped into a new thread on the topic, knowing it will quickly become confrontational:  Toyota has a master plan for transitioning their product-line away from traditional vehicle.  They are already well underway with architecture change necessary to enabler.  Few are paying attention to that though; instead, we're getting short-sighted rhetoric.  That comes from an audience obsessed with top-down approaches.  Toyota's business doesn't operate that way.  They work bottom-up.  In other words, we will also be getting plug-in hybrids and electric-only choices, but the industry spinners focus on the rest of the fleet for Toyota and disregard that as important for the other automakers.  It's so hypocritical, I'm really surprised so many people get suckered into the propaganda. It's an effort playing out right before our eyes with enablers more than willing to feed the narrative.  To that, my response is "Ugh!"


Wow!  I was beside myself with this comment, unsure how to respond: "When EV's are ready for the masses, every convenience-store will put in charging stations at no cost to the taxpayers."  It makes no sense.  A convenience-store is somewhere you only spend a few minutes stopped at.  To make that viable, the owner would have to spend an obscene amount of money to deliver power that faster.  Those super-high-speed DC chargers are extremely expensive; most plug-in vehicles cannot take advantage of those rates either.  And why must the electricity be free?  It's impractical attitudes like that we always have to deal with.  Every step of the way, someone will draw an arbitrary line stating they would be supportive if.  It's really just a rouse to get you to not push them to be more practical.  Finding a balance is not for those who favor want though.  And sadly, our society has become so negligent of need they simply don't care anymore.  So, the sentiment expressed is to be expected.  We have grown complacent.  Ugh.


Priorities.  Spin of priorities is as simple as disregarding facts.  You just portray a situation in a manner you want the activity to be perceived.  That's the basis of a narrative.  Hope is it will get passed along without question, just assumed to be true.  The claim today was that Prius Prime couldn't deliver power without the engine running.  That's false.  But with such a statement repeating over and over and over again, it ends up a belief.  That's why I try to capture so much detailed video.  It's very difficult to deny content of that nature; though, antagonists certainly try.  Anywho, I fired back on the power claim with:  What difference?  You drop the pedal to the floor in Prius Prime and it sucks up the battery-capacity.  That full EV acceleration is what?  No gas used for typical daily commute is a running cost of $0 that some Prius Prime owners already enjoy.  With RAV4 Prime bumping the EV range to 39 miles, focus will turn to time-of-use discounts to recharge.  Understanding that will bring about a paradigm shift.  In other words, Toyota priorities were to strike a balance to make their plug-in hybrid technology capable of directly competing with traditional vehicles.  GM's priority with Volt was to exploit it as a halo.


Disadvantaged.  Every time GM is brought up in a discussion, someone complains with a "disadvantaged" complaint.  With complete disregard for what actually happened, they cry foul.  It's really annoying how lack of critical thinking has become so common.  I posted:  200,000 vehicles is not that many.  It's just enough to help get momentum built up so sales can continue strong on their own.  Tesla saw that intent with the tax-credits and did exactly that. GM turned its back on that same opportunity.  Toyota will follow the Tesla approach, taking advantage of the tax-credits to build demand, then exploit the unlimited aspect of the phaseout period.  That proved very effective for Tesla. It will propel the "Prime" offerings into the mainstream.  GM now desperately needs something to move forward with.  They literally have nothing for showroom shoppers to consider.  When a loyal customer comes to the dealer looking for a SUV, they'll have nothing but a vast array of traditional guzzlers to choose from.  That's a very real problem.


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