Cars

Published on October 30th, 2014 | by James Ayre

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Toyota Claims That No One Wants A Toyota BEV, Pushing Ahead With Hydrogen…

October 30th, 2014 by  

A prominent Toyota representative recently made the comment that the main reason that Toyota isn’t developing any wide-release battery-electric vehicles is that no one wants one. And that’s why the company is pushing ahead with its hydrogen fuel cell technology.

Wait, what?

So, no one is asking for a Toyota BEV? And are there really that many people asking for a hydrogen fuel cell sedan? Lmao. Don’t know that I believe that.

image

There must be more to this than what’s being put out there publicly by the company’s reps, but here are the exact comments (via the Los Angeles Times) from Toyota’s national manager of advanced technologies, Craig Scott (make of them what you will):

“Toyota actually favors fuel cells over other zero-emission vehicles, like pure battery electric vehicles. We would like to be still selling cars when there’s no more gas. And no one is coming to our door asking us to build a new electric car.”

I’m note even sure what to say to that. I have a hard time believing that there are many people calling Toyota up and asking the company to develop hydrogen cars. Ignoring that, the technology requires a great deal of expensive infrastructure, amongst other things — it seems a strange bet for the prominent automaker to make. Perhaps there are simply prominent members/financiers at Toyota who have a vested interest in seeing hydrogen cars make it to the market?

But it’s well known that hydrogen cars are far behind electric cars in their development and growth, and are absurdly expensive while electric cars are now often competitive with gasoline cars. Also, some of us are now well aware that hydrogen cars aren’t actually green at all.

Toyota’s was a clear leader in the conventional hybrid car market. Logic has it that leaders in one technological generation tend to be laggards in the next, as they try to hold onto their advantage in the industry they are thriving in. Could that be the case with Toyota?

Image Credit: Toyota





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About the Author

's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy. You can follow his work on Google+.



  • Perttu Lehtinen

    This is like Nokia switching to Windows Phone, but with cars.

  • Jim Lawrence

    Nobody asked Steve Jobs to create the iPhone or iPad either. What a dumb dude. Must have been a bad translation. Meanwhile, I’m just so sure people are beating down Toyota’s doors crying for a hydrogen car. “Oh, the humanity…!”

  • Imawhiz

    I see Nissan’s star rising rapidly and Toyota slowly sinking

    • Bob_Wallace

      Toyota has made some excellent vehicles over the years. They gave us quality and efficiency in attractive packages. I wonder if their success allowed them to become complacent and too sure of themselves.

      Nissan, I’m not sure. They did great bringing out the Leaf, but they haven’t done much development with it along the way. One big mistake, IMHO, was to not bring a visually appealing version for the American market. (I assume the Leaf appeals to Japanese buyers.)

      Nissan should have learned from watching Tesla. They should have found ways to get people to pay attention to their EV and created more excitement. Nissan has a big head start in the “affordable” EV niche but they are risking their lead by not bringing more fire.

  • asyouaskforit

    You’re all correct until you forget to charge your electric car and you are running late for a meeting.

    • Offgridman

      Then you stop at the Supercharger station for five to ten minutes and add the 25-50 miles of range to get to your destination and back to the charger. Then you are delayed no more than if you had forgotten to put gasoline in your car the day before and had to stop and get some to make your destination.
      Your concern is irrelevant to electric powered cars, the ones that will forget to plug in are the same ones that forget to get gasoline and end up running out on the side of the highway. There’s no cure for human absent mindedness or stupidity no matter what powers their car.
      Some of the manufacturers are starting to compensate for this though by designing chargers that work automatically. Either by wireless when you park in the right place, or with robotic arms that plug the car in automatically after being pulled into the garage. Yet I admit that in some way human stupidity will find a way to even foul up these automated systems, and we will see people stuck on the side of the road with dead batteries. But it won’t be any more so than allow themselves to run out of gas.

      • asyouaskforit

        One would not have 10 minutes to spare and why would anyone not find a gas station?

        • Offgridman

          If you are really having that much of a problem understanding my comment then it is quite obvious that you are one of those that does forget to fill their car with gas the day before, and would forget to plug in your electric car when you get home.
          So I am not going to waste my time trying to answer the same question twice.
          So for your own sake, and to prevent the hazard to the other drivers on the roads, please put a big note on your dashboard to remember to stop and get gas on the way home, or to plug in your car when you get there. We don’t want you to be late for that important appointment tomorrow.
          Have a great day and wonderful life.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Your EV will call you up on your phone and give you a dope slap if you need it.

  • Is that why the PRIUS PHEV (Plug In Hybrid) is selling so fast, outdoing any Toyota predictions, and without any fanfare or advertising? Seriously Toyota. No one buys these kind of empty sentences. No one’s forcing you, but people demand a PHEV from you and buys it faster than you can fuel cell 🙂

  • Same here. At this rate, I will buy a Nissan EV for my next car purchase. It is a pity because I really like the Prius.

  • Fix the power grid

    To be honest, with the amount of carbon emissions coming out of coal and oil plants, an electric car isn’t better emission wise than a small oil powered car. Just because you drive a BEV doesn’t make you reduce emissions, you might feel good about yourself, but where do you think the electricity comes from?

    • studi30

      No, the carbon emissions are coming out of coal fired plants in China and India. We have had scrubbers on the stacks for decades. The emission passes through water vapor which removes the CO2 and sulfur. The slurry is made into what is called wallboard or sheetrock depending what part of the country you are from.

      • Bob_Wallace

        Scrubbers do not remove CO2.

      • Joseph Dubeau

        Koch detergent with Scrubbing Bubbles removes those CO2 gases from Public view.

    • djr417

      your argument has been torn to shreds a million times. Even if all the electricity comes from coal- the coal plant is way more effecient than an ICE. and coal is dying off, the grid gets greener by the day. Personally the majority of my electricity comes from hydropower.

    • Bob_Wallace

      The studies I have seen found that an efficient ICEV is a bit better than an EV using 100% coal-produced electricity in terms of CO2 emissions.

      Since none of our grids are 100% coal and only a very few states are even in the 90% coal range I think we can put away our “concerns” about EVs.

  • bathbun

    The small production run of the compliance Toyota RAV 4 shows they can make half decent EV when it suits them. At the moment, there is too much money to be made with conventionally powered cars for them to bother with EVs. If you think the costs of EVs is too high, try shrinking the costs on a fuel cell. Toyota will be making EVs but only when others have blazed the trial.

  • Mark Benjamin David

    I have to say one more thing here. Whatever they are doing today, Toyota has the tech, ability, know-how to make BEVs. They are holding back as long as they can. Also, for some reason, Japan is pushing hydrogen power. After hydrogen efforts fail (at least in the US & other countries), and Tesla comes out with the Model 3, and continues it’s success with BEVs, Toyota will suddenly pull a competitive BEV out of their hat.

    The only difference between a hydrogen fuel cell car (FCEV) and a battery electric car (BEV) is the source/storage of electricity. Both use electric motors to power the vehicle. This is the one and only positive thing I can say about carmakers making FCEVs, at least they are making cars that work with electric motors and no ICE, so, it’s mainly a matter of changing the fuel source, once no one wants the FCEVs and BEV adoption keeps growing in the new few years.

  • CaptD

    More Anti-Electric talk from Toyota!

    Why because Toyota is “bowing” to the Big Nuclear Utilities in Japan that do not want to lose marketshare (think control) of their ratepayers that could easily go electric and even stop buying gas and/or diesel fuel from Big Fuel.

    Solar offers people a path toward free energy (once the initial investment is paid off) and that is unacceptable to all those that profit from the sale of energy!

    • Shane 2

      What the??? Why would Big Nuclear Utilities be against battery EVs but be for fuel cell EVs? They would sell power for battery EVs, but fuel cell EVs are powered by H2 from natural gas. Where did you read your ridiculous conspiracy theory? Was it The Onion?

      • CaptD

        Big Utilities are against that would allow their “customers” be able to stop being their customers and both electric vehicles and storage batteries would do that since customers could use their own solar panels to generate most if not all their energy.

  • Toyota isn’t yet registering that many Prius owners are jumping ship to go to Nissan and Tesla. once it finally does, will probably be too late.

  • David F. Taggart

    It is mentioned frequently that fuel cell cars are not “green.” This question can yield a different answer when the increasing success of solar power generation is taken into consideration. At some point, clean solar power generation will enable clean production of hydrogen power from water, which in turn enables transportation without combustion, whether that be with BEV or FCEV. At that point, water becomes the energy storage medium, which is a truly elegant solution. Lets consider that there is room for both technologies, and encourage the continued adoption of solar power so we can have that choice.

    • Eric Gerber

      When making hydrogen from water by solar or wind you have to first make electricity to split the water. So you have a choice at the point to send that electricity down a wire to a car or send that electricity into a bucket of water to make hydrogen transport the hydrogen and then burn it in a car. Wires are significantly more efficient in moving energy from one place to another. Generating hydrogen throws away the majority of the green power that was just created with no demonstrated benefit.

    • Read the story linked in the article. The author clearly makes the point that that method fundamentally doesn’t compete with hydrogen from natural gas. I talked to a hydrogen expert in Germany and he agreed that was the case.

    • Bob_Wallace

      You need to realize that H2 FCEVs won’t become green until natural gas becomes expensive. People aren’t going to pay a large premium for renewable electricity created H2 as long as they can get cheaper steam reformed NG H2.

      And the cost of renewable electricity created H2 will be so high that it will cost more than 2x as much per mile to drive a FCEV.

      There are some very basic economic problems that will make it hard for FCEVs go get established and survive.

  • Kerry Carter

    Except the Chinese. There building a Battery Electric in China under a joint venture.

  • Good article, James. Thanks. I appreciated your frankness.

  • Per Hassel Sørensen

    In Norway, where I live, BEVs are very popular and has taken between 10 and 15 percent of the car market every month the last 12 months.
    Toyota has deceided to sell no BEVs in Norway and they are certain to loose market share due to their negative attitude towards BEV but it is their own choice.

    • Walter White

      There is a reason why BEVs are popular in Norway. There is no tax and no registration fee. On a car such as the TESLA that amounts to 200+ thousand Norwegian crownes that the buyer saves. But the subsidy stops at either a total of 50,000 sold cars or 2017 whichever comes first. This will not last forever.

      Also it is not negativa attitude. It is business and Toyota doesn’t think BEVs will work on large scale. Just because there are a total of 35000 BEVs in Norway they will change their minds of that. They produce 10 Million cars per year and selling a few thousand BEVs on top of that might not be worth the effort.

      • A few thousand?

        The July 2014 sales statistics say that only in the US there were 6117 fully electric cars sold in one month (an increase of 56% over the previous year). That should result in 73.4K units in a year (I know, it varies by month but lets take this for the sake of argument).

        Toyota used to command 2/3 of the market, that is 48K a year. That is way more than a few thousand.

        This is only the US, and EVs are picking up in Europe and other parts of the world as well.

        Moreover, let’s not forget about the expansion rate of the market (that 56% increase compared to last year) which is WAY WAY faster than the expansion of the hybrid market at the same time point from the introduction of the first model.

        The visible potential is much bigger in the EV market than in the FCV market which has no viable sales opportunities outside of Japan and already has strong opposition in the potential customer base (green-minded people) due to its dirty-sourced nature (natgas).

      • newnodm

        The only inexpensive items in Norway are BEV’s and dairy products.

    • Yeah, we’ve written about Norway’s BEV leadership a lot: http://cleantechnica.com/tag/norway/

      but didn’t realize Toyota didn’t have the PiP there.

      • Per Hassel Sørensen

        I assume by PiP you mean the Prius PHEV. That is not a battery vehicle (BEV) which is the technology that Toyota says they do not have a market for.
        That said, the Prius PHEV sells in very low quantities in Norway due partly to short range on battery, but mainly due to lack of the Norwegian EV benefits being much better for BEVs than for PHEVs and HEVs.

  • Mats Lundberg

    Well, considering that Toyota, Hyundai, Honda, GM, BMW, VW, Audi, Mercedes etc have or are soon to release a fuel cell car there just may be a reason for it. The technology is mature enough and refuelling stations are being built. Car manufacturers don’t do things on a whim. They do it because they think they will make money. In Japan alone there will be 1000 HRS by 2025 and 2 million FCVs on the streets. The government in Japan and Germany have already declared that they will become a hydrogen society. Like it or not FCVs are coming.

    • It is way too early for this statement. Nothing indicates that the HUGE problems around the so called “hydrogen economy” are being addressed sufficiently in the near future:

      – No economical, proven, industrialized way to produce hydrogen efficiently from renewable sources. E.g.: the seemingly best method, power-to-h2/gas is horribly inefficient compared to storing electricity in batteries

      – No way to properly distribute H2 without building completely new infrastructure at immense costs. Installing fast chargers is peanuts compared to H2 refueling stations and the electricity distribution network is already fully developed.

      – Fuel cell stacks are still very expensive and still need fairly big supporting batteries since their output cannot be varied to the wide extents a car needs. For the current price of a fuel-stack, Tesla-sized batteries can be installed in cars.

      …and these are just the biggest problems.

  • Mike Shurtleff

    You’re another one, like me. It’s a common tune. Toyota doesn’t seem to be able to hear it. Too bad for them.

    • Mint

      People like are probably the reason Toyota is putting out EV attack ads 😛

  • Erocker

    To bad Toyota walked away from Battery power vehicles. They probably would have help accelerate the development of battery powered vehicles. According to the EPA they had the most efficient electric vehicle available with their Scion EV

    • Mike Shurtleff

      Yes, disappointing. Stupid. Oh well. There are many others in the PHEV/EV game.

  • Eric Gerber

    It is likely (but not certain) that the people who run Toyota are intelligent and logical. To that end, I’d love to see some deeper reporting on the real reason Toyota is taking this illogical stance. What is going on behind the talk?

    • Ronald Brakels

      Toyota used to be the queen of green as far as cars were concerned with the Toyota Prius. But that crown was stolen by Nissan and Tesla with their all electric vehicles. Toyota is developing electric vehicles, after all that’s what fuel cell cars are, but they don’t want to say, “Electric cars are the way of the future,” as their competitors are ahead of them in that area. So they instead say, “Nah, electric cars aren’t the way of the future, fuel cell cars are.” As soon as they are in a position to sell battery electric cars they will change their tune. They appear to be desperate to avoid Norway style incentives for electric car purchases in Japan, at least for now. They may instead be thinking that a captive Japanese market for hydrogen fuel cell cars could be very profitable, if they can get their politicans to provide large and stupid subsidies for it. So far their politicans have been both large and stupid. Or so they seem to be. But they have a saying in Japan. “You may think you are playing a politician, but actually the politician is playing you.” Or at least they will have that saying once I email it to them.

      • Mike Shurtleff

        No it’s simpler than that. They own the HEV market and have become blinded by greed. Intelligence is not necessarily a cure for that problem, since man is a rationalizing animal.

        • It is actually a pattern in technology markets. Innovators in one generation fall behind in the next. At least… i read that somewhere.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Intelligent and logical people can surround themselves with similar thinking/talking people. If the current CEO of Toyota is a control freak he might have selected out a group of close associates who think like he does. Within the group them may be telling themselves that EVs will never work out and H2 is the only future.

      It wouldn’t be the first time closed-minded thinking damaged a major corporation. Remember Bethlehem Steel, Wang, Kodak?

      • At GM, Lutz said that all his people were telling him EVs weren’t ready. When the Roadster came out, Lutz told them, (paraphrased) “hey, what the hell, you guys said this wasn’t possible and some little Silicon Valley company is doing it!”

    • Mike Shurtleff

      Oh please. It walks like a duck. It quacks like a duck. It’s a duck. Toyota management is just being stupid. Maybe highly rationalized stupid based on a foolish desire to try and keep the HEV market they have, but stupid none the less.

      It’s an evolution toward pure EVs. The day for HEVs like the Prius has come and gone. Watch.

      • Bob_Wallace

        It does look like hybrids and PHEVs will get pushed out by lower battery prices. As will ICEVs. Here’s how it may play out. I’ve added a red oval based on the report that Tesla is currently paying $180/kWh and US gas prices.

        • CaptD

          Great chart.

          • Mint

            I don’t think it’s accurate, but the general gist is there.

            I’m guessing they thought 80-mile BEVs would sell if cheap, but the LEAF and tax credit show that it’s not compelling enough.

            I think $100/kWh is where PHEV becomes niche. At $200/kWh, compare a 20kWh PHEV (60 mile) plus a $3k range extender vs a 50kWh BEV (200 mile). The former is much cheaper and still does 85%+ mileage on electricity.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Do you think a range extending engine and all its support systems can be installed for only $3k?

          • Mint

            Definitely. Tata motors sells a whole 38hp car for $2500, BMW prices its REx as a $4k option (and we all know how overpriced BMW options are), and off-the-shelf generators are <$1k retail for 10kW. $3k is generous.

            I see range extenders getting commoditized. Nobody will care about its details like they do for regular engines as long as it works and lasts maybe 500 operating hours (at 30kW output, that'll drive a car 50k miles, and the battery will do the rest).

        • djr417

          At some point, (soon hopefully) you’ll be able to purchase a$20-25k EV that seats 4 and gets 200-250km range or an ICE version that gets 800km range…but uses expensive fuel, oil, alot more moving parts/maintenance,pollutes etc. when a shorter range is the only negative vs all the negatives of an ICE, then you will have mainstream acceptance of EV’s.

  • Matt

    If I think back to the pre oil scare in the early 70s. I think I recall a GM rep saying. Customers don’t want a small high MPG cars, we are providing them what they want in all the colors they ask.

  • SecularAnimist

    Hydrogen fuel cells produce electricity, so fuel cell cars ARE electric cars. They just use hydrogen fuel cells instead of batteries as the electricity source.

    Somebody should design an electric car that has a bay that accepts different kinds of electric power modules using a standard form-factor and power & control interfaces. Available power modules would include a battery module, a hydrogen fuel cell module, and a liquid-fueled generator module (with integrated fuel tank). The power modules would be swappable and thus easily upgraded.

    • Philip W

      Not a bad idea, but most likely not very efficient. If you have to design a car for two completely differnt types of energy storage you´re gonna lose potential e.g. range. That´s at least my opinion.

    • RobS

      Except they don’t use the fuel cells instead of batteries because fuel cells are very poor at varying their output to match power demand and so a decent sized battery bank is still needed to buffer the energy and accept regeneration. Most have at least 10-20kwh of battery. So really a fuel cell vehicle IS basically a Volt with the $5,000 ICE range extender removed and a $50-100,000 fuel cell replacing it.

      • Mike Shurtleff

        …and very few places to fuel up with that H2 mostly derived from NG.

        • lee colleton

          Given the sparse H2 fueling, a plug-in option for hydrogen cars would make sense. However, it would make clear how the FCEV actually works.

      • Mint

        It acts more like a hybrid battery than a plugin battery. AFAIK, Toyota’s FCV uses the Prius battery.

  • Wilibald Oplatek

    Toyota just went full retard.

  • Larmion

    More likely than any evil conspiracies or conservative managers this is just a business decision.

    The simple reality is that electric vehicles still account for a neglible share of the market. More importantly, Tesla is the only company selling profitable electric vehicles and they’re in a market segment that Toyota isn’t involved in (except via Lexus perhaps). In the mainstream market, only Nissan begins to inch closer to break-even with the Leaf.

    The company also is in a luxury position: because it peddles lots of small cars and hybrid vehicles, it already meets emissions standards in most parts of the world – unlike some other brands that sell EV’s at a massive loss just to get their fleetwide average emissions down to the required level.

    Toyota is a company that has always been known for fast development cycles, in part due to intense collaboration with lifelong suppliers. More than any other large car maker, they can afford to start producing a particular type of car only when the market is truly ready for it – most European and American car makers easily take twice as long to go from drawing board to retail, and they have the marketing clout to make up for a few month’s worth of delay.

    If you’re a large company with a strong engineering team and a tidy profit, it’s not a bad idea to err on the side of conservatism. Leave the hard and costly pioneering work to upstarts and struggling rivals – you have the cash and expertise to switch when you want to. Look at a company like Apple: it never actually introduced a truly new product. It waited until the likes of Nokia or IBM had proven a particular market was viable and then jumped on the bandwagon with a more refined, better marketed product. If your marketing machine works really well, you can even present yourself as an innovator rather than a refiner (as Apple managed).

    • Mike333

      They’ve been kind of slow to respond to the Volt, or the Leaf. The Volt and the Leaf have gotten more updates then the Prius at least in the last 3 years.

    • Dragon

      Why on earth would the invest money into fuel cell vehicles but not EVs as a “business decision”? EVs are already here, nearing profitability, while fuel cell is stuck in concept mode with no realistic way to rebuild our whole refueling infrastructure to produce and pump hydrogen and make the cars profitable and useful. Plus fuel cell has most of the same drawbacks as EVs do as far as being low maintenance and low complexity, leading to lower auto maker profits.

      But you are right, it is a “business decision”. It’s an attempt to slow down the conversion to EV and keep up their profits selling cars with a combustion engine. Fuel cell press releases help that tactic by leading people to think if they just wait awhile longer, this awesome new fuel cell tech vehicle will appear and beat EVs in some way.

    • Steve Grinwis

      The leaf is profitable now…

    • addicted4444

      your explanation is a non-explanation. You aren’t even tackling the situation being described in the article. The question is not why Toyota is not developing EVs. It’s too small a market is indeed a good enough answer to that. The question is why Toyota is dismissing the EV market in favor of Hydrogen cars. The latter is an even smaller market, and has no equivalent for the Leaf, which is doing pretty well, or the Model S, which is selling amazingly for a premium car from a rookie automaker.

      If it’s just the size of the market at issue, then even discussing Fuel Cell cars should have been off the table for Toyota because that market is smaller than the EV market by orders of magnitude.

      • Larmion

        For that, the explanation is even simpler: Toyota is Japanese. The Japanese government strongly believes in a hydrogen economy and that includes hydrogen fuel cells.

        Even companies like Toyota or Sony that generate most of their sales abroad still design their products with Japan in mind and the export market as an afterthought – something that’s often said to be responsible for the horrible losses Japanese consumer electronics companies are making.

        But do note that Toyota is not dismissing the EV in favor of hydrogen. So far, its response to both has been decidely lukewarm – there’s been a prototype hydrogen fuel cell powered Prius-ish thingy, but no mention of an actual release date and no plans for mass production.

    • Mike Shurtleff

      Jump in early, own the market. Like Toyota did with the Prius. Jump in late and maybe never catch up. Nissan, Tesla, GM, Ford, are all doing better and better. Very bad idea for Toyota to stay conservative. This is nothing less than a transition to electric transport and Toyota is falling behind.

  • Mark Benjamin David

    “A prominent Toyota representative recently made the comment that the main reason that Toyota isn’t developing any wide-release battery-electric vehicles is that no one wants one.”

    This is TOTAL B.S. They barely made 2500 Rav4 EVs over a 2 year period, that was ONLY AVAILABLE IN CALIFORNIA. They didn’t even try to sell them. In fact, it would appear they tried to keep the general public from knowing it even exists.

    The truth is: TOYOTA DOESN’T WANT TO SELL YOU BEVs while they can make more money off non-plug-in hybrids.

    One of the biggest downsides to the Rav4 EV is the lack of level 3 charging ability.

    This was a compliance effort.

    So is the hydrogen effort, compliance cars. Sell just enough to make their ZEV credits. Well, let’s hope they don’t sell enough of them and are forced to make a real effort at BEVs.

    Thing is, Toyota has the tech, and the ability. They are just holding their cards, milking the market, slowing the adoption rate as much as they can.

    BOTTOM LINE: Today’s big carmakers don’t want to make cars that don’t need service. (The less customers are tied to dealerships, the less likely they can keep trying to get them to buy a new vehicle.)

    • Mark Benjamin David

      It comes down to momentum. The public has been used to ICE cars for 100 years, and they are more reliable than they used to be, don’t smell as bad, etc. This is what we are used to. People are fickle.

      Anyone notice how the price of gasoline is down? This is because Nissan and Tesla are selling every electric car they can make, electric vehicles are becoming successful, and when gas prices are down, people don’t care so much about saving $ with better MPG, or going to Electric. People’s minds are more at ease when they feel they are saving money on gas, and they just go on with their daily lives. Gas prices have nothing to do with anything other than the best interest of those who choose to control the market. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, it’s B.S.

      • Jenny Sommer

        Gas price is not down die to some EVs.

        • Mark Benjamin David

          no, it is true that when gas prices go up, people who have been putting off getting a new car then decide it’s time to get a new (meaning new to you (new or used)) car that gets better MPG, or consider a hybrid or alternative fueled vehicle (EV). It’s not in people’s minds when gas prices are low and they don’t have to consider cutting back on something else so they can fill the gas tank.

          It is a well known fact that Toyota sells more hybrids when gas prices are at their highest.

          This is most definitely a factor. (Not the factor, just one factor).

          • Eseell

            I think you have the causal relationship backwards. Gas prices affect car buying decisions, but car buying decisions don’t materially affect gas prices. The market for oil and gasoline is too large for the relatively small number of BEVs and hybrids to have had a significant effect.

      • Mike Shurtleff

        They are not going to go down far enough. Batteries and EVs are continuing to improve in performance and drop in cost. The scale has tipped. ICEVs and HEVs will be sliding off more and more as the years go by.

        • Kyle Field

          As much as it pains me to say it, that’s a decade long trend. Here in cali, we have lots of EVs on the road (not sure how the density numbers compare to other states/countries) and it’s still not uber common to see them around. I wish gas prices were going up…then up some more…then up again, personally.

  • Jim Smith

    if no one wants a BEV, why are Leafs selling? Why are teslas selling? why are BEVs from other manufacturers selling?

  • It is Toyotas’ loss. I have a Prius at the moment but I will only switch for a BEV. H2 cars are a joke at the moment when comparing environmentally to EVs.

    • Mike Shurtleff

      Ditto. EREV or straight EV for me. ICEVs and HEVs are dead to me. What H2 vehicle? At what cost?

    • djr417

      I have a Camry hybrid, when i bought it in 2007, i wouldve thought that Toyota wouldve offered a few more vehicles as hybrids (particularily the Rav4 and Matrix). They mustve really hated the Rav4 EV they put out a decade ago, which IIRC are worth more now than when they came out. Really disappointed in Toyota the last few years.

  • Mike333

    Secondly, where the home energy market is going: Solar with Battery Backup, off the grid. The issue is powering 2 cars on your own solar system, gives you a far faster breakeven on that investment, where hydrogen cannot compete.

    No one with the money for a hydrogen vehicle is going to buy hydrogen, and give up the savings of having 2 plugin vehicles in the garage making him slowly get RICH.

  • Kyle Field

    It’s an Apple thing. Car makers do not get asked by customers for this or that feature. The car maker looks into their own crystal ball and dreams up new features, drivetrains, solutions and builds from there. Depending on how the market receives them, they then adjust accordingly. Based on how the Prius Plug in was done (pretty poorly), maybe that was their cue (though I don’t think so). They started investing in hydro much earlier so that path had been established for quite some time. They were the primary brand in eco in the US with the prius having the image of “the green car” for years now. It’s terribly unfortunate they didnt seize the opportunity and build on that…instead handing the reins over to Nissan whole hog.

    • Mike333

      If the CEO can’t look at a 4 wheel drive Tesla, and not see the future, that CEO should RETIRE.

      • Haha, so true. Or, more realistically, be fired.

      • Mike Shurtleff

        Amen.

      • Kyle Field

        When I first saw the 4 wheel drive Tesla, I thought “yeah, hydro baby!”. Oh wait, no 🙂 I agree man 🙂

        • cawmentor

          Maybe they saw the pictures of the Teslas catching on fire when the battery was punctured and said time for something else! Ya baby!

          • Eseell

            I’m sure filling the car with high pressure explosive gas will work out much better for Toyota.

          • djr417

            I feel dumber just reading your post.

          • Kyle Field

            Do your research. Teslas statistically catch on fire at a MUCH lower rate than gasmobiles. I don’t think There are enough fcevs to make any statistically significant analysis on the subject .

    • Well said. Regarding the Toyota PiP: it has actually seen pretty good sales, which is surprising based on how it compares to the competition, but am guessing that’s just from the Prius brand and Toyota’s willingness to make it available to most markets.

      • Kyle Field

        In my experience, people view it as a “Greener” Prius which I suppose is true to some extent. It feels good to be able to plug in (it’s the new cool thing, right?) and gets better mileage than the regular prius.

      • Mint

        Not surpring at all. It’s a Prius with a HOV sticker.

        I wish CA would raise the bar for which plugins get the sticker and the $2500 rebate. It should be 25 miles EV range minimum.

    • Mike Shurtleff

      Maybe the PIP might have done better with more than a 13 mile all-electric range, i.e. if it had been more of an EV, not less of one.

  • Marion Meads

    We could not force or mandate Toyota to produce BEV in the free market. It will be their loss or gain, who knows what the future really holds? But by all indications, if they continue to be stubborn, they will have a lot of catching to do, and one of them is patching up tarnished reputation.

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