By on July 26, 2021

Toyota

In case you missed it over the weekend, The New York Times had a report suggesting that Toyota is quietly working to slow the automotive industry’s shift to electric vehicles.

Yes, that Toyota. The same one that has been praised for its development of gas-electric hybrids. The same one that uses one particular hybrid — the Prius — as an avatar for its green cred.

The Times reports that Chris Reynolds, a top executive in charge of the company’s government affairs, traveled to Washington, D.C. last month to meet with congressional staffers and argue that an aggressive approach towards shifting the market towards EVs would be something that Toyota would be opposed to.

Instead, he argued that gas-electric hybrids and hydrogen-fueled vehicles need to play a bigger role in any market shift towards “greener” cars.

That pretty much answers the question of “why” — Toyota is arguing for hybrids and hydrogen because the company has placed big bets on those technologies.

As the Times notes, Toyota has invested in hydrogen fuel cells, and that technology costs more and is far behind electric batteries when it comes to development. Hydrogen is also not easily available, at least not as a fuel source for passenger vehicles.

Toyota has also bet on hybrids to be a near-term bridge technology — a sort of placeholder until hydrogen tech is ready for prime time.

This means a fast shift from internal-combustion engines to battery-electric vehicles could catch Toyota flat-footed and cost the company a lot of money and opportunity. After all, it’s not easy for an automaker that has bet on the wrong technology to quickly pivot, thanks to the long lead times required to develop new products/technology.

If an automaker bets wrong on a given technology, it has few options. One is to try to make its chosen tech the tech of choice for the rest of the market. Another is to buy time while it tries to do that — or to buy time until it can pivot to using a different technology.

According to the Times, Toyota has been opposing stricter emissions standards and/or EV mandates in the U.S., U.K., Europe, and Australia. Oh, and India, too — the automaker said India’s goal of 100 percent EV adoption by 2030 was impractical.

You’ll also remember that Toyota was one of the automakers that took the Trump administration’s side in the fight with California over the Clean Air Act. It has also sued Mexico over fuel-efficiency regulations and fought against carbon taxes in its home country of Japan.

More from the Times:

“Toyota has gone from a leading position to an industry laggard” in clean-car policy even as other automakers push ahead with ambitious electric vehicle plans, said Danny Magill, an analyst at InfluenceMap, a London-based think tank that tracks corporate climate lobbying. InfluenceMap gives Toyota a “D-” grade, the worst among automakers, saying it exerts policy influence to undermine public climate goals.

Furthermore, the Alliance for Automotive Innovation pushed back on the Biden administration, which is rumored to be using the compromise between the Trump administration and California over the Clean Air Act as a model for its proposed standards, saying that the standards wouldn’t be feasible for all its members. Toyota is a member, and Reynolds is the Alliance’s chairman.

The Biden administration is hoping that stricter fuel-economy standards will accelerate the shift to EV sales, and Congress could approve billions of dollars for charging infrastructure and tax incentives related to EVs.

An Alliance spokesman claimed to be unaware that any of its members claimed the California compromise wasn’t feasible. The Alliance is pushing for standards that meet somewhere in the approximate middle between the Trump-era standards and the standards that were in place during the Obama administration.

Toyota also recently caught flak, including from us, for donating to politicians that pushed the Big Lie that the 2020 election was stolen. Some of those same politicians have denied the scientific consensus regarding human-driven climate change, according to the Times.

Toyota of course disputed that it has pushed back on EV adoption. “We agree and embrace the fact that all-electric vehicles are the future,” Eric Booth, a Toyota spokesman, told the Times. He also said “too little attention is being paid to what happens between today, when 98 percent of the cars and trucks sold are powered at least in part by gasoline, and that fully electrified future,” however.

We reached out to Toyota for comment and a PR rep sent us the below statement that echoes what Booth told the Times.

“Toyota believes climate change is real and we are acting in earnest to reduce greenhouse gas in our vehicles and operations with the ultimate goal of achieving carbon neutrality. We also agree and embrace the fact that all-electric vehicles are the future, and there are multiple possibilities to achieve this, including battery and hydrogen-powered fuel cell electric vehicles. Back in 2015, we announced our plans to reduce our global average CO2 emissions from new vehicles by 90 percent by 2050 (compared to Toyota’s 2010 levels). To help accomplish that goal, in the short-term we are taking the opportunity to reduce carbon by leveraging our existing hybrid and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles that are available today to consumers with minimal impact to their lifestyle with our expanding line-up. In parallel, we continue to develop technologies, supply chains, and products to make the future of mobility affordable, safe, and reliable in order to meet the demands of our customers. This includes a significant investment in battery electric vehicles.”

[Image: Toyota]

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72 Comments on “Report: Toyota Working Against EV Shift...”


  • avatar
    thornmark

    Toyota knows what Musk knows – mass adoption of EV’s aren’t happening anytime soon

    why?

    the electricity won’t be there and the battery tech isn’t there either

    Musk said a mass adoption of EVs would require the building of a new power plant every month for the next 30 years

    yet power plants are closing

    • 0 avatar
      probert

      Here’s what Toyota knows: They are late to the game and will lose big time. Also if you’re posing as a Musk spokesperson, please know he doesn’t have one. FFS Oh and Tesla solar tripled this quarter – wonder what they’re using that energy for?

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        “Here’s what Toyota knows: They are late to the game and will lose big time”

        Underestimating Toyota has historically always gone well for other automakers.

        • 0 avatar
          jalop1991

          oh, snap!

        • 0 avatar
          ToolGuy

          This is a weak write-up by Tim Healey.

          The best writers at TTAC have observed consistently and repeatedly that the transition from ICE to EV is not going to happen overnight. (There are some challenges to solve along the way.)

          I am neither shocked nor offended by the fact that Toyota has a lobbying arm [and uses it].

          Of course the New York Times is going to jump all over the InfluenceMap report or grade or whatever.

          Now all of a sudden Tim Healey is a greenie and sides with the NYT against the evils of internal combustion? Weak. (Exceptionally so.)

          • 0 avatar
            airfidget

            ToolGuy, agreed.
            I think this is taking this issue way out of context.
            Toyota has battery in unibody technology, and multi-motor-hub wheel technology. Much of the automotive industry is ready to put this stuff on the road.
            The problem is Toyota doesn’t want to be Chevrolet and have a report of a Bolt burning down a Representative’s garage.
            Toyota is conservative with technology, all of TTAC’s reporters have criticized Toyota’s lack of connectivity/touch screens/etc, but all of TTAC’s reporters will talk about how reliable Toyota/Lexus products are.
            Maybe we should consider that Toyota is trying to build safe/reliable cars first, and then meet the 2050 deadlines. Maybe we should consider that Toyota doesn’t want to dive headlong into a solution searching for a problem.

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        “They are late to the game and will lose big time”

        Being late off a cliff is only a detriment, to the extent some government forces the less compulsively suicidal to bend over and serve as sacrificial cushions for dumbeffs as they come crashing down.

        Toyota benefits from the reality-anchor that is selling in markets where cost/benefit, and even just basic utility, still trumps childish grandstanding with other people’s money. I’m sure they’ll be all over BEVs as well, as soon as those are sufficiently superior to what Toyota already makes, in an uncoerced market, to cause The Taliban to want to trade their current Hiluxes for some.

        No matter how loudly dumb people can be indoctrinated into mindlessly and uncritically screeching that BEVs are some magical “future”: For most people, in most places, if left to their own devices instead of being forced to serve as oppressed pawns in some moron’s vision of a self serving Utopia; they don’t provide nearly the expected lifetime cost/benefit of what Toyota already have been selling for decades. Not even close.

        Doesn’t mean BEVs have NO uses nor niches where they are superior. Just that for most potential buyers, they’re not.

        The only “car makers” who cheer for a world where selling ultimately inferior products for higher prices becomes the artificially enforced name of the game, are those too incompetent to compete in the real world. Something Toyota neither is, nor has any particular reason to want to be. Which is very much the opposite of the the clueless and incompetent-at-anything-but-self-promotion coquetry of central bank enabled halfwits making up the “electric vehicle” rackets. None of whom could hope to match even the least focused Toyota, as far as basic cost/benefit to free-to-choose consumers is concerned. They’re simply too incompetent.

    • 0 avatar
      ollicat

      Right on

    • 0 avatar
      mattsoca

      Battery tech is easily at the 75%-90% mark. What I mean by that is this: 75%-90% of all of our personal daily driving can be easily fulfilled by present-day batteries and at-home charging. Most EV’s battery capacity fall in the 200+ mile range. I’d argue that most Americans in their day-to-day regular driving fall well less than 200+ miles per day. When a road trip presents itself: rent a car – or (if married), use your spouses car. You are dismissing a technology because it doesn’t fit 100% of your needs 100% of the time- which is ridiculous. Battery EV’s can easily handle the bulk of our day-to-day driving.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        “You are dismissing a technology because it doesn’t fit 100% of your needs 100% of the time- which is ridiculous.”

        I disagree. That seems very reasonable to me. I wouldn’t “dismiss” BEVs but if they need to be 100% of the new vehicle fleet then they will need some advancements.

        “Battery EV’s can easily handle the bulk of our day-to-day driving.”

        So can a Mirage.

      • 0 avatar
        jack4x

        “You are dismissing a technology because it doesn’t fit 100% of your needs 100% of the time- which is ridiculous.”

        On the contrary, this is exactly what I expect from anything I spend a lot of money on.

        “Just rent whatever you need right when you need it” is a great sentiment for internet message boards, but not practical for lots of families in the real world who value their time and sanity.

      • 0 avatar
        ollicat

        Which is why PHEV are wonderful

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        “Battery EV’s can easily handle the bulk of our day-to-day driving.”

        As can motorcycles in most climates.

        Problem is, that also requires a real car for the remainder 10%-25%. And once you have one of those, that one also fulfills the remaining 75%-90%. 99% as well as an EV; if good bit less well than motorcycles for those among us able to walk and drive on two but there aren’t many of those. And an ICE car does so at very low additional cost, space use and complexity, once it’s already purchased for those 10%-25%.

        BEVs can well be superior to ICEVs as a second car for (sub)urbanites. But while many households do have two or more cars, many others do not.

        A being 5% better than B for even 90% of uses, don’t really make up for A being darned near 100% worse, for the remaining 10%. Not in any real world, where people are free to make their own decisions uncoerced.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      “Musk said a mass adoption of EVs would require the building of a new power plant every month for the next 30 years”

      that needs to be done even without EV’s.

    • 0 avatar
      MoDo

      Here’s what they know. Its very easy to make an extremely reliable electric car and in 10+ years Toyota will lose their reliability crown. Nobody buys Toyotas for styling or features. EV’s means far less sales for Toyota, enough that they are standing against them.

  • avatar
    J_Vandal

    Even a cursory critique of the path we’re on to an ICE-free future: Big EV, little else, brings to light that we’re not really headed to a greener future, just one where we pollute in different ways. Maybe less widespread CO2 emissions, but more concentrated in far-away power generation, mining, and manufacturing sectors that the consumer can feel good about it. Of course the environmental impact outside of CO2 emissions might just be considered less important to the governing class, I just wouldn’t want to be downstream/downwind of anyplace that’s chosen as a pillar of the EV industry. Toyota’s reluctance/heel dragging in hopes of propping up hydrogen fuel cell vehicles isn’t uncalled for if the world really wants to go green in the name of personal conveyances. Hydrogen fuel cell power has the potential to be a better option in both overall carbon footprint reduction, and convenience to those of us that live in rural areas, and generally travel off the beaten path.

  • avatar
    ajla

    “He also said ‘too little attention is being paid to what happens between today, when 98 percent of the cars and trucks sold are powered at least in part by gasoline, and that fully electrified future,’ however.”

    Is he wrong?

    • 0 avatar
      probert

      He is wrong to lobby the US government in order to shift policy to something more favorable to Toyota. Oh – and he is also just wrong. I wonder what would happen if a US company privately lobbied Japanese parliament members?

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        “Oh – and he is also just wrong.”

        Well, I’m convinced.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Musk is wrong to lobby the US government in order to shift policy to something more favorable to Tesla.

        CARB is wrong to lobby the US government in order to shift policy to something more favorable to California.

        [ANYONE] is wrong to lobby the US government in order to shift policy to something more favorable to [THEMSELVES].

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    “Some of those same politicians have denied the scientific consensus regarding human-driven climate change, according to the Times.”

    “Consensus”? Lol.

  • avatar
    mcs

    I’ll tell what’s really going on. What Tim left out is that Toyota is aggressively developing both EV and solid-state battery technology. Toyota is probably the largest holder of solid-state battery patents. They have a solid-state battery ready to go. They’re in the process of sorting out how to mass-produce it. It’s currently hand-assembled in these super-dry booths. It’s taking them time to figure out how to mass-produce it in large quantities. I suspect they want to stall EV adoption to give them time to get their battery into production.

    https://techwireasia.com/2021/06/can-japans-toyota-champion-the-solid-state-battery-race/

    https://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Business-Spotlight/Can-Japan-and-Toyota-win-the-solid-state-battery-race

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      “Toyota is aggressively developing both EV and solid-state battery technology. Toyota is probably the largest holder of solid-state battery patents. They have a solid-state battery ready to go.”

      So what do you think the deal is with this organization giving Toyota a D-?

      • 0 avatar
        mcs

        “So what do you think the deal is with this organization giving Toyota a D-?”

        I haven’t had time to dig into it. From my experience in investing, especially in private equity, I learned not to trust what any company says and to dig into patent filings, job postings, and other information to find out what’s really going on. I do that with my competition now. Toyota has over 1,000 battery patents. They completed the battery and they are figuring out the mass production part of the battery. They’re dead serious about BEVs. 1,000 patents – that’s serious.

        Here’s another article about their collaboration with Panasonic on solid-state:

        https://www.industryweek.com/technology-and-iiot/article/22024737/toyota-deepens-panasonic-battery-ties-in-electric-car-rush

    • 0 avatar
      Peter Gazis

      mcs
      And Toyota said they will be unveiling new vehicles and all these new technologies to coincide with the 2020 Olympics.

      Where are they?

  • avatar
    ollicat

    I’ll state the unpopular view on this site. Global warming/man made macro climate change is a hoax designed to restrict freedom and shift dollars to governments. It is a self-serving lie that anyone with any long-term perspective would see through. We are being duped into spending untold trillions of dollars for no reason other than to transfer wealth from private pocket books to government. Does anyone ever walk outside who lived in the 1970’s? Our air is cleaner than anytime in the last 50 years. Global warming stopped in the 1990’s and was a product of solar flares, not our SUV’s. But none of that matters to anyone. We just need to believe the Al Gore hockey stick that never happened and that AOC says we have 9 more years before life as we know it ends.

    Oh yeah, and Trump did win, hand down.
    :)

    • 0 avatar
      Imagefont

      You forgot to say something about vaccines and the gubment gettin all up in my business! I don’t need no experimental poison in my body! I have rights AND an immune system!!!!

    • 0 avatar
      ras815

      Whoa there, Tucker Carlson. Don’t worry, if you were around in the 70s, chances are you won’t even be around long enough to be disproven. So don’t get too worked up.

      It’s your kids and grandkids that will have to do deal with it.

      As for your maligned “hockey stick” chart, you might be surprised to learn it actually has held up remarkably well:

      “Climate deniers threw everything they had at the hockey stick. They focused immense resources on what they thought was the Achilles Heel of global warming research–and even then, they couldn’t hobble it.”

      https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2013/05/the-hockey-stick-the-most-controversial-chart-in-science-explained/275753/

      • 0 avatar
        ollicat

        I have been around since the 1970’s when the “Proven science” was global cooling. Incidentally, that was the fault of western civilization as well. I remember the media working up folks in to a frenzy like today. It is all bull crap. Every bit of it. The “science” of today is nothing more than organized mass hysteria paid for by people and organizations who want the US and other western societies to crumble. Make fun of my comments all you want but mark my words, they are true.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          “I have been around since the 1970’s when the “Proven science” was global cooling.”

          I’ve been around since the 70’s too and no. The MEDIA hyped a cooling trend. SCIENCE has been talking about warming since the 70’s.

          Lay blame where it needs to be accurately laid.

          I won’t make fun of your comments because too many people believe the same thing. Ironically those beliefs tend to be along political lines. That makes it more difficult to have a discussion based upon facts.

    • 0 avatar

      One question: Which would you personally rather do: spend billions of dollars to lower the average temp of the planet .1 of a degree OR spend that same amount of money to clothe, feed and house those in the world that lack those things?

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        @THX1136 – Do you spend 100’s of billions lowering global temperatures or spend trillions rebuilding and relocating billions of people once shore lines change and arable land turns to dust? Add to that wars on a global scale because of migration or invasion?

        • 0 avatar

          @LouBC – Good question. I recall that back in the early years of the 20th Century that there was much concern about the ice caps melting resulting in what you mention in the 2nd part of your question. That didn’t happen.

          To answer you query: I’d rather feed, clothe and house those in need now. Ignoring the immediate needs of people on this planet is more important to me than lowering the temp of the planet. Thanks for your response, sir.

      • 0 avatar
        PJmacgee

        The question I always ask my imaginary co-debater: Would you rather the USA had: Starting in the 60s/70s, began heavily investing untold trillions of USD in renewable electricity generation, *storage*, and distribution technology – or, waste it on pointless oil conflicts for the next century.

        Paraphrasing a Chinese proverb (ironically?): “The best time to [begin pivoting away from petroleum-based civilization] was [50] years ago. The second best time is now.”

      • 0 avatar
        Alex Mackinnon

        You’re basically saying that you’d rather treat the symptoms that the cause.

        Considering that global GDP is about $90,000 Billion dollars ($90 Trillion), that shit is chump change. Spend a few trillion and it would still be a good deal.

  • avatar
    Morea

    InfluenceMap claims to be an “independent” but it’s own web site lists donors including The Cilmate Change Collaboration, the European Climate Foundation, ClimateKIC, the Quadrature Climate Foundation.

    Question everything. Believe no one.

  • avatar

    Tim I followed you until the “Big Lie” statement. Free speech is called “Big Lie” now? I applaud Toyota for not kneeling before the left wing mob and staying away from poisonous internal politics in USA. I am EV supporter and against ICE but not at the expense of our liberties.

    • 0 avatar
      YaMoBeThere

      I don’t see the issue, Toyota was free to give money to politicians that decided to perpetuate a falsehood to the detriment of the general public and the public is free to criticize Toyota. Freedom of speech is completely intact…

  • avatar

    Toyota has become the world’s largest carmaker because it usually makes the right decisions. GM has dropped to fifth place due to its decision to leave key markets like Europe. GM is actually taking the reactionary position with EVs. They are simply jumping on the EV bandwagon at the behest of the shareholders. The slow and disciplined approach of Toyota will win in the long run.

    Fast Fact:
    In 2013 GM sold nearly 9.7 million vehicles. Today that number is only 6.8 million and dropping. Toyota now sells close to 9.5 million cars a year. For the first time, GM fell behind Toyota in first-quarter domestic sales in 2021.
    GM has cut just about everything to concentrate on EVs. As a result, GM has become the world’s fifth-largest car company. Was it worth it?

    • 0 avatar
      yeetus

      couldn’t agree more

    • 0 avatar
      watersketch

      Agree wholeheartedly. If you are the world’s largest (or 2nd largest) carmaker you need the flexibility to make what the market wants.

      If you are Tesla or Volvo you can serve the EV niche and be successful.

      And companies that go all in on gas when the president is an R and go for EVs when the president is a D well their words are obviously just PR crap.

    • 0 avatar
      Peter Gazis

      akear

      But GM is the G.O.A.T. The Greatest of all time. To this day Cadillac still means the best of the best.
      Lexus on its best days was nothing more than a Mercedes knockoff.

      • 0 avatar
        el scotto

        Perhaps Cadillac means the best of the best if you’re using some odd admixture of Brylcreem and Grecian formula. With Lexus, Toyota found a way to build luxury vehicles with full-size pickup maintenance expenses. GM mechanically built the same car from 1949 to 1979. Their efforts in the 80 were laughable and sent droves to the imports. Toyota didn’t have to do any heavy lifting to gain market share and Soichiro Honda bitch-slapped Chevy by sending back an Impala with a Honda CVCC system. If the LS was a Mercedes knock off, why did Mercedes change?

        • 0 avatar
          Peter Gazis

          Hey Spanky,
          The year is 2021, New Escalades are flying out of dealerships at Corvette speed.
          Honda is paying billions to use GM’s EV and self driving tech.
          A flood of EVs is just now coming to market. Toyota is totally screwed. No one is going to want it’s outdated Hybrid tech.

        • 0 avatar
          Peter Gazis

          Hey Spanky,
          The year is 2021, New Escalades are flying out of dealerships at Corvette speed.
          Honda is paying billions to use GM’s EV and self driving tech.
          A flood of EVs is just now coming to market. Toyota is totally screwed. No one is going to want it’s outdated Hybrid tech.

  • avatar
    Crosley

    Its another example of how government distorts markets. You can thank the Japanese government for the hydrogen subsidies for why Toyota went down this dumb boondoggle.

    Most hydrogen is manufactured from natural gas. Just make cars powered by natural gas instead. Way easier, but its easy to fool people that hydrogen is cleaner because you don’t see how it’s made.

  • avatar
    Imagefont

    Toyota is right about BEV’s, they are not ready for prime time, they cost too much, the infrastructure is not there yet and won’t be for a very long time, and they are not really getting better, or cheaper. Range is not increasing, battery degradation is on average 2% annually and at some point it will fall off a cliff at end of useful life. Recycling is not practical, mining for raw materials I a horribly messy and the opposite of environmental friendliness.
    Hybrids, however, make a great deal of sense. So does taxing the Shamoo out of large vehicles and trucks- pay to play.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      “Hybrids, however, make a great deal of sense.”

      Precisely, yet its as if the proven technology doesn’t even exist. Cui bono?

      “So does taxing the Shamoo out of large vehicles and trucks- pay to play.”

      Says the statist.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      ” they are not ready for prime time, they cost too much,”
      One company, Tesla, moved 200,000 during the last quarter and they still have a waiting list. Most of those are 2 Models 3s/and Ys. In comparison, GM sold 240,226 combined Silverados and Sierras. Does this mean pickups are not ready for primetime or does the extra 40k put them over the threshold of being ready for primetime?

      “Range is not increasing”
      Actually, it is. Used to be 200 to 300 was good. Now we have 400 and might be seeing 500 soon.

      “the infrastructure is not there yet ”
      If they’re moving 200k in a quarter, apparently the infrastructure is in fact there.

      “battery degradation is on average 2% annually and at some point it will fall off a cliff at end of useful life”

      There are different manufacturers, different formulas, and there are improving. You can’t put a single number on all batteries. Battery life is rated by the number of full cycles, and that’s been going up. Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries used in some Teslas have 1000+ cycles life. That’s 200,000 miles in a 200 mile range EV. Now, what percentage does an ICE car degrade each year and don’t they kind of fall off of a cliff at some point?

      • 0 avatar

        To be fair that’s global numbers for Tesla vs GM US sales. GM sold a total of 700k vehicles worldwide in the 2nd quarter. But the point still stands. I think that volume put Tesla on about the same playing field as Mazda on the global level.

  • avatar
    SharkDiver

    Thanks Tim…That’s 5 minutes wasted that I’ll never get back.

  • avatar
    Wheatridger

    I’ve never cared for anything about Toyota- the bland cars, the ugly Priuses, their ubiquity and even their boring reliability. So it hurts to say that they’re right on this issue.

    The EVs’ benefits are being oversold, or prematurely claimed, at least. We’re somewhere in between gas and electric car infrastructures now, so the wisest choice is a vehicle with both capabilities, i.e. a plug-in hybrid. A car that works as an EV locally and an efficient hybrid regionally can have a global impact. My Ford Energi has averaged 65 mpg over its four-year lifetime. In 50K miles, that has saved 770 gallons of gas vs. a 32mpg car that I might have owned instead. I’ll take those savings in fuel, cost and carbon now, please- not later, as if I’d waited for a perfected EV.

    Not to mention, I can drive 600 miles on a tank and refill that tank anywhere. The perfect EV that would have that capability is years into the future. No current EV can have that range, because the battery alone would weigh a ton and a half. And many days I’d drive that only a dozen miles or so, around town. Lithium Ion batteries degrade just sitting parked in the cold and heat, unused. For most non-fleet applications, a long-range EV is a waste of battery materials.

    So most of us, I’d say, would be better served with a high-MPG gas hybrid until a more efficient generation of batteries arrive and make EVs more attractive. Too bad that’s hard to condense into a bumper sticker, meme or political slogan!

  • avatar
    danms6

    I’ve been a long time reader but decided it was worth logging in to let TTAC know persistent content like this is the reason I’m out. The reporting was fine until the author could not help himself from inserting “Big Lie” content, deriding those who question his Reality. We’ve seen what ostracization awaits those who question other Realities and it’s all just become so tiring.
    Feel free to continue this climate of denigration, by all means, but I’m voting with my digital feet.

    Speaking as someone with industry experience in carbon reduction development, I would suggest an alternative title of “Toyota Publicly Acknowledges Techno-Economic and Geopolitical Realities All Other OEMs Only Recognize in Private”.

  • avatar
    NutellaBC

    Toyota conveniently forgot that Diesel cars > Hybrid cars. But wait, Toyota was never able to build a good diesel and VW did its best to help Toyota kill Diesels.

  • avatar
    AVT

    From a financial standpoint this makes sense for Toyota. The cost to keep upgrading and changing battery layout/design/density and makeup to stay competitive is not worth what Toyota thinks it customers are willing to pay. Its far more pragmatic to shift everything to hybrids initially (I.E: New Toyota sienna) and PHEV’s on smaller platforms (I.E: Rav4) as the next evolution of that phase, and then move into EV’s as the development cycle of batteries start flatlining, reducing the variable costs many automakers struggle with right now who are trying to compete in the segment while also leveraging increased reliability as manufactures really start to understand what works best in the long term (with regards to battery layout/design/density and makeup). This also allows them to keep their fleet average MPG extremely high and not resort to buying high amounts of credits to off-set below average MPG costs. For the North American markets, I really expect PHEV’s to become the common vehicle for most buyers in the next 20-30 years. As a result of COVID, we saw an exodus of population from urban centers and into the suburbs, reducing the amount of city only drivers seen (Which is where EV’s perform the best). Looking at EV’s from a highway/higher speed perspective, their advantages over gas powered vehicles greatly diminishes as speed increases (even more so as vehicle size increases). While I do expect EV range increases to help with adoption, longer range PHEV’s seem to be the main answer for a lot of drivers (especially those who are exposed to colder climates or seasonal weather patterns which can impact EV performance and longevity, especially long term). I think the other items most forget it the raw resources required to build batteries is not unlimited. Supply chains are already constrained and there is no reality in which their is sufficient raw materials to support such a transition over night, especially at a cost we the consumers could afford. The other issue is infrastructure. Parts of California already has semi-annual blackouts and owning a vehicle where you don’t have the capacity to “fill it up” goes against the mindset of pretty much everyone in North America (its probably even worse in MN where we get extreme climate temps on both ends. Having a vehicle with no range or heating ability in the cold is a no go for me personally). While not all parts of the country have this issue, a higher rate of EV adoption and thus increased infrastructure use will force the cost of electricity up. The scale of economics will always favor electricity but we still would need to build up to that point which will take time.

  • avatar
    Socrates77

    Tesla is putting the fear on everybody. At least Toyota is not hypocritical like GM who sided with trump and then change their vote when Biden won.

  • avatar
    ttacgreg

    Alex on autos just did a review yesterday of the AWD Prius. He puts together a pretty convincing case in that video, and it’s not the first time he’s done this, if we put all the limited battery resources used in BEV’s into far higher numbers of hybrid’s instead, it would result in far less gasoline use and CO2 emissions for the the entire fleet of vehicles on the planet.

    • 0 avatar
      NJRide

      Yes I really don’t understand why hybrids aren’t the go to and more commonplace already. I drove the Venza and only did not buy it because they didn’t offer a sunroof. But it is a very impressive car and would love to be getting that kind of MPG. The point is we could be focusing on a hybrid majority of new cars shortly vs. likely limited BEV sales for some time.

  • avatar
    notapreppie

    It’s like the opposite of Phillip Morris advocating for the banning of cigarettes but for similar reason category.

    Toyota aren’t ready to pivot yet so of course they’re trying to keep things as profitable as possible until they are.

    PM have are close to finishing their pivot to vapes and cannabis so they’re hoping cigarettes will be banned and cannabis will be legalized at national levels in the US/UK.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    So, Mr. Healy, you think it’s bad that Toyota remains customer-focused rather than government-focused? Toyota is concerned about building vehicles that people want to buy. So, far, the votes have it by a huge margin that EVs are not the vehicles that people want to buy. If they were, there would be no need for this epidemic of government coercion.

    Personally, I think Toyota is to be commended for building a 7-passenger vehicle (the Sienna minivan) that manages to get 35 miles per gallon on the highway. Imagine the environmental benefits if all the owners of Suburbans, Armadas, Land Cruisers, etc. replaced those vehicles with Siennas?

    The problem with your article is that it doesn’t stay on point. The “tell” is the gratuitous detour into a few cheap swipes at Donald Trump, “climate deniers” and so on.

    Today’s New York Times has no credibility — just think of the Russia hoax — so they probably are not an outfit to emulate if you’re a small Internet web site, devoted to a primarily non-political subject.

  • avatar
    Roger

    Below from ttacgreg is the most objective comment and it’s worth repeating.
    Yes Toyota has a lot of Hybrid technology that they will bring out.
    Ford copied their system, as have others.
    Alex on Autos made Toyota’s case: many hybrid autos will have more and a quicker positive environmental effect than fewer BEVs which will trickle into the transportaion system.

    ttacgreg
    July 27th, 2021 at 10:44 am
    Alex on autos just did a review yesterday of the AWD Prius. He puts together a pretty convincing case in that video, and it’s not the first time he’s done this, if we put all the limited battery resources used in BEV’s into far higher numbers of hybrid’s instead, it would result in far less gasoline use and CO2 emissions for the the entire fleet of vehicles on the planet.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Ford initially licensed Toyota’s technology, though at some point the product development may have diverged.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2004/03/10/business/ford-to-use-toyota-s-hybrid-technology.html

    “March 10, 2004

    The Ford Motor Company will license hybrid technology from the Toyota Motor Corporation in a deal that could help establish Toyota’s system as a standard for the industry.

    Toyota has been trying to sell its hybrid system to a variety of automakers to help offset its high development cost. Ford will incorporate the Toyota technology into a hybrid system it plans to introduce late this year in a gasoline-electric version of its Escape sport utility vehicle, the two companies said yesterday in a statement.”

    TTACGreg’s point is excellent and one I have also made in the past… yet EVEVEVEVEV.

    Cui bono?

    • 0 avatar
      Old_WRX

      “Cui bono,”

      The best bet on that is the people hyping the need to switch to all EV’s pronto.

    • 0 avatar

      That’s not true. From the Wikipedia:
      “Ford engineers realized their technology may conflict with patents held by Toyota, which led to a 2004 patent-sharing accord between the companies, licensing Ford’s use of some of Toyota’s hybrid technology[24] in exchange for Toyota’s use of some of Ford’s diesel and direct-injection engine technology.[25] Ford maintains that Ford received no technical assistance from Toyota in developing the hybrid powertrain, but that some hybrid engine technologies developed by Ford independently were found to be similar to technologies previously patented by Toyota, so licenses were obtained.[25]”

  • avatar

    The Bolt is GM’s slowest-selling passenger car. In California, people are already trading in their EV’s due to the shortage of charging stations.

    Toyota is now twice the size of GM. Due to the economy of scale, it is GM that is “screwed”.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    If you do a search into the bowels of TTAC into the early days, there is a story pre-great recession where Toyota senior leadership took a big dump on electric cars. They saw them as a dead-end and that the path forward was hybrids and eventually hydrogen fuel cell.

    The Tesla mashup was short lived but almost 15 years later hydrogen appears to be the real dead-end and electrification is the way this is going to go (I for one will not welcome our electric car overlords, but I accept that’s where it will go in my lifetime).

    So I’m not shocked now that they want to slow the train down, because they are behind many other makers now in their own R&D, infrastructure and development.

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