Personal Log  #992

February 27, 2020  -  March 4, 2020

Last Updated:  Weds. 3/25/2020

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Complete Opposite.  We're fighting the good battle now: "The self-charging moniker makes it clear from the start where the electricity is coming from.  Hybrid already implies the presence of an ICE, the power source.  It's the complete opposite of misleading."  As time goes on, you notice the pattern of rhetoric.  They try bringing up the same weakness over and over.  Each time, shortcomings of the argue tend to stand out.  Confirming the pattern becomes easier.  In this case, it was the observation that the self-charging attacks never have any follow up.  Lack of any substantive reply provides an invitation to post a comeback with attitude.  I didn't even have to say anything this time.  Someone else felt comfortable with that offensive.  It was nice to watch.  Expecting the same scenario to work endless is madness.  We learn from watching the mistakes they make.  After so many failed attempts, there is eventually some type of reveal that weakens them even more.  In other words, the enthusiasts accidently reveals their hand.  That's what I watch for, patiently.  They wonder why I would persist to such an extreme, only coming to find their answer when they realize what they had done.  Too late.  This is a good example.  The ability to survive a chaotic situation, one with so many factors of influence as we see in the automotive industry, is to observe, prepare, and wait.  It may seem misleading, until...


Moving Forward.  Some never let up.  They continue trying to push a perspective that doesn't take into account all the elements at play.  That's how you know.  Being constructive means not omitting what you don't like.  In days long ago, they would "spin" stories.  Now, it is called pushing a narrative.  The intent is the same.  Both are attempts to undermine.  Neither tries to usher in a spirit of cooperation.  That's the tell.  When focus becomes some specific technology rather than a goal to move forward, you know they don't have advancing the masses forward in mind.  It's the trap enthusiast fall into.  They become so focused on a niche, they have a very difficult time accepting anything else.  That's how we end up with that narrow-mindedness.  I punched back at today's nonsense in that regard with:  You are pushing the narrative that Toyota is not moving forward, that their emphasis on hybrids is not to phaseout traditional vehicles but rather an excuse to not have to offer plug-in choices.  That's a load of crap, since the reader must turn a blind-eye to how PHEV delivery was achieved.  The fundamental design is shared.  To make their already very appealing RAV4 hybrid a RAV4 plug-in hybrid, it was basically just a matter of adding a one-way clutch and larger battery-pack.  That's an approach proven very effective for Prius.  It's a solid business approach.  In other words, attempt to downplay the rise of Prime models all you want.  Perhaps this audience may embrace the claim, but it will be meaningless to ordinary shoppers doing their purchase exploration at the dealer.  Seeing hybrids become a common choice makes consideration of a plug-in hybrid much easier for everyone... dealer... salesperson... customer.

3-03-2020 Shame.  The attacks on Toyota are telling.  It's the only middle-market legacy automaker that actually delivered.  VW has bold plans, but nothing at all to leverage.  GM supposedly has plans, but seriously lacks credibility.  Nothing else in volume for the masses is expected.  So, much of the effort to divert attention is based on hope, not anything of merit.  The result is to attempt shaming them.  Supposedly, convincing supporters to recognize shame will somehow get them to abandon their hope based on actual successes.  Ugh.  This is how I dealt with that episode today:

It is quite telling to read posts which so blatantly turn a blind-eye to other automakers and the market as a whole, then claim progress can only be measured in terms of BEV offerings.  That defies business logic to such an extreme, it's almost absurd to have to address.

Toyota has been able to deliver a profitable means of EV propulsion on platforms able to reach a wide array of customers.  Both the PHEV and FCV being produced offers a clear road to the future.  There's no arguing the power, efficiency, and reliability set the stage for high-volume sales.  The variety of hatchback, sedan, and SUV demonstrate the potential.

So what if battery-capacity is small still?  The durability & chemistry is proving itself as the technology continues to advance.  Toyota was able to deliver all those components necessary to build a BEV without using up their tax-credits, or worse squander them on conquest as GM had done.  That patience has positioned them to take advantage of the phaseout stage on a grand scale.

Attempts to shame Toyota won't change any of that.

3-02-2020 Loads More.  There was a random tweet from some random Toyota executive.  An antagonist took advantage of it by only posting the first sentence.  Such a blatant effort to mislead is not something I will just let go.  That's an invitation to go on the offensive.  So, I did:

Pointing out the omission of the rest of the quote is tells us the real story.  This is what you intentionally excluded: "We're introducing the RAV4 Plug-In Hybrid this year, with loads more coming.  Thanks."  Spinning the situation to make it appear they were being disingenuous required leaving out that important part.

Toyota took the time to create a flexible platform, one that could be profitable by offering a variety of choices.  We already see Prius Prime and Corolla PHEV.  In a few months, RAV4 Prime will join the mix.  It's only a matter of time before the "self-charging" hybrids gain the attention of the masses to the extent that traditional production can be phased out.  What helps that process along is consumers seeing the endorsement of "plug-in" hybrids also playing out.

It's the step forward we haven't seen from other legacy automakers.  In fact, all this attention toward Toyota could really be an effort to take attention off the other them.  They have only presented niche solutions, nothing to replace their business-sustaining vehicles yet... quite the opposite of what Toyota is doing.

Watch what happens with RAV4 Prime.  Then think about what comes next... the loads more coming.

3-02-2020 Clear.  Everything they can do to shut us up: "There is already a distinction.  Hybrid.  And plug-in hybrid.  It's pretty clear."  That downplay is amusing.  Their behavior pattern is quite predictable.  That's a telling response to watch for.  It's a sign of growing panic.  They see change coming.  The idea of hybrids becoming the norm from Toyota means an unstoppable paradigm-shift.  That's unwanted.  They want to skip over steps entirely, jumped straight to BEV.  That doesn't work.  Skipping steps rarely ever does.  With that knowledge, you do the best to minimize... making that step a quick & easy one instead.  Here's I put it... well aware of how 20 years equates to "quick" in an industry well over a century old:

The word "hybrid" has been so diluted over the past 20 years, it really doesn't tell us anything anymore.  Toyota is well aware of history and remembers how effective it was when "full" was coined to differentiate its hybrid from "assist" and "mild".  It was a simple means of conveying the message... and worked remarkably.  Taking the chance is what leadership is all about.  Toyota sees the need and has very effectively drawn attention by coining another.  That's what good marketing is all about.  Think about how many times Microsoft took advantage of similar opportunities with technology advances.

Just imagine how upset people would be here if all vehicles with a plug were given an "EV" label. That is what you are attempting by lumping all types of non-plug hybrid into a single category.  Have you ever considered how many different "EV" configurations there actually are?  At some point, someone will coin a new term to describe DC fast-charging above a certain threshold to differentiate it from others with slower kW rates.  It's a dangerous precedent to set by claiming "already" in such a vague manner.

Lastly, how can anyone possibly claim "clear" in a market so rapidly evolving.  Even some here struggle to keep up with all the changes and the wide variety of approaches.  Expecting an ordinary consumer to be up on all that is crazy.  How could they possibly recognize if their own information is still up to date?  It most definitely is not clear.  All you have to do to confirm it is ask how efficiency is actually measured. How many here really understand what "MPGe" or "kWh/100mi" tells us?

In short, those making a big deal about "self-charging" don't recognize the challenges of marketing.  They are focusing on the wrong thing.


Rant.  You pay attention to names, learning from previous exchanges.  And sure enough, there's a payoff.  Another Toyota topic was starting and right away the attack was launched.  They tend to be in the form of climbing up on the soapbox and preaching.  They push a narrative, reinforced by repetition... hence watching names.  They watch too, fighting back with canned responses.  I'm always looking to be constructive.  That means addressing change, something their perspective has a difficult time defending.  They can't handle offensive moves that don't follow their script.  This is where Toyota shines.  Volt enthusiasts absolutely hated Camry hybrid, even more so than Prius.  You could tell every time I brought it up.  Being larger and more powerful, as well as being diverse, there was nothing to compare with.  GM was clearly struggling with their hybrid technology and the electric-only effort didn't offer any encouragement.  I saw that coming and knew RAV4 would become a serious issue for them.  Ignoring Camry was easy.  Ignoring RAV4 wasn't possible.  Some are still trying though.  I asked:  Who are you trying to appeal to?  An ordinary mainstream consumer couldn't care less about that enthusiast perspective; it just sounds to them like a niche rant.  They have grown to recognize Prius as a +50 MPG green choice that was affordable & reliable.  Toyota's leadership of pushing the masses forward has been carried over to RAV4 hybrid, which is taking the SUV market by storm... even before rollout of the plug-in model.  RAV4 Prime... 0-60 in 5.8 seconds... 302 horsepower... AWD... towing... 39 miles EV.


Let It Go.  They won't, hence the previous ugh.  When you find the antagonist just plain doesn't care, you just consider them a troll an move on.  That means conclude in some brief & concise manner.  This is what I posted in response to the self-charging arguments they obviously will continue to refuse to compromise on under any circumstance:  Even novice consumers know "hybrid" means it is a gas vehicle that somehow uses electricity to be cleaner and more efficient.  After 20 years of being available, arguing that is somehow not the case isn't constructive.


Analogies.  Sometimes, they just plain don't work.  He certainly tried.  It was a constructive poster who sees the value in exchanges that make an effort to reach beyond the rhetoric.  That's rare... and in this case, ineffective.  I'm not sure what he saw connecting the dots for the analogy presented.  Lack of a concise message is how the nonsense thrives.  So, I jumped in to help:  That analogy doesn't work, since it has nothing to do with what people expect from the product.  Because "charging" is an aspect of design that is implicitly recognized, Toyota is explicitly pointing out their "self-charging" hybrids are not the same as their "plug-in" hybrids.  In other words, this is an effort to differentiate offerings.  Notice how no one complaining bothers to acknowledge the necessity to provide such a distinction? Ironically, those complaints are helping to establish a standout marketing term.  They are their own worst enemy.  Fast-Forward a few years from now when traditional inventory is dropping off and there's a mix of hybrid and plug-in hybrids on the lot.  Remember the disastrous "EREV" campaign?  The use of "self-charging" avoids an abbreviation and briefly informs of design, something quite useful to those shopping at the dealer.


Ugh.  There is a small number of individuals dead set on preventing anything else from getting attention.  Only "BEV" matters to them.  If it isn't a "Battery Electric Vehicle", it doesn't matter.  So naturally, Toyota's effort to phaseout traditional vehicles by drawing attention to their regular hybrids is still causing quite a stir for them.  It is quite remarkable to see such narrow-mindedness.  They have no clue how to get to that majority of vehicles becoming a plug-in.  Just like those Volt enthusiasts, hope is upon a miracle battery breakthru.  Ironically, we now know that even that isn't enough.  People will still fight a viable solution.  It's the natural resistance to change.  Toyota is well aware of that, hence their marketing.  They understand who & how... something enthusiasts tend to be clueless about.  It's the classic problem of being so focused on engineering, they neglect the business aspect of the vehicle.  We've seen this many, many times in the past.  I've learned an effective means of dealing with it too:  Self-Charging = ordinary hybrid.  Plug-In Hybrid = hybrid with a plug.  It's bizarre how some are so determined to twist that into being misleading or deceptive.  The battery-pack in an ordinary hybrid doesn't offer a plug, so the only means possible of charging is to use its own engine from within.  The difference is obvious, not anything to make such a big deal about.  Know your audience.  Mainstream consumers recognize the benefits adding a plug provides.


Divide & Conquer.  It continued: "This is the second Japanese company to come out with a "self-charging hybrid"."  I just kept right on going on that:  This second entirely different offering from a different automaker makes it clear why a "self-charging" hybrid identifier is informative.  It's another way of stating it doesn't have a plug, but still takes advantage of motor & battery.  Anyone who portrays a narrative that people will someone believe that approach is superior to offering a plug is not taking the situation seriously... or is poorly informed about how the market actually works.  Know your audience.  Even the most out-of-touch hoppers will recognize the benefit of having a plug.  The green aspect goes without saying.  Rhetoric from the oil industry falls apart when you see the vehicle presented on a dealer's showroom floor.  Misconceptions of power & reliability have been fading away.  It's a matter of selling them on cost & practicality now.  In other words, worry about "self-charging" is what those hoping to undermine the advancement of plug-in vehicles hope you will waste your time on.  Don't take the bait! It's a divide & conquer trap. Instead, devote efforts toward spreading the word about how plug-in hybrids offer more.


Marketing Labels.  Rollout of the SERIES hybrid from Nissan called e-Power beyond just Japan is about to begin.  You can imagine the stir that is causing.  For example: "The shocking part is the misinformation happens in the EV community... Imagine how much worse it is in the general public."  Strong emotion to certain labeling comes from limited foresight.  When you focus entirely on a single offering, it's easy to fall into the trap of marketing.  Labels are an especially problematic aspect of that.  The topic from yesterday made that obvious.  I jumped in hoping to provide a bit more perspective on the situation:  The self-inflicted problem started a decade ago when Volt enthusiasts attempted to coin "EREV" as a type of battery/engine vehicle.  Problem was, they kept changing the definition as PHEV offerings advanced.  Those new plug-in hybrids would fulfill their criteria, negating the claimed uniqueness of their preferred technology.  In the end, they had to succumb to the reality that it was just another way of configuring a PHEV.  It's really unfortunate they didn't just adopt the "No Plug, No Sale" motto right from the start.  The simplicity of that overcomes any type of marketing label.


Videos.  I want to film more driving video.  I am looking forward to that.  I don't see a good outlook for anything Winter related though.  The snow is vanishing and predictions are for dry weather above freezing.  Arrival of an Spring already was quite unexpected.  That's not the normal way we experience March.  In fact, even April can be quite inhospitable with regard to what most people expect as the end of the cold season.  I do actually look forward to those warm snow storms that pile up lots of the fresh white stuff which melts away quickly... several weeks from now.  It looks like that won't happen this year.  Oh well.


Huh?  A fairly new owner of a Prius Prime posted 2 photos.  He was confused.  How could the MPG be so different on those 2 different meters if the distance was the same?  He had no idea.  I did though.  That's not big mystery, if you know enough about what the system has to offer.  I pointed out what he was likely completely unaware of:  The car could have been run in place for awhile.  Was it delivered with a full charge?  If so, it's entirely possible the dealer used Charge-Mode because a level-2 charger wasn't available.  After all, that is by far the fastest way to recharge.  You get 7.2 kW from the engine, which is twice as fast as the usual rate from level-2 and more than 3 times faster than the factory charger.


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