Toyota Chairman Tells Der Spiegel EVs Are Not Ready For Mass Production Yet, Too Expensive & Too Slow To Charge

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In keeping with earlier comments from Toyota execs about electric vehicles, Toyota Chairman Takeshi Uchiyamada was recently quoted by the noted German publication Der Spiegel as saying that plug-in electric vehicles are not yet ready for mass production and sale.

“Battery-powered cars with a long range are very expensive and it takes a long time to charge them,” Uchiyamada stated. “Such cars do not fit in our program.”

The Toyota Chairman also noted that his company didn’t view Tesla as an enemy or as a role model, but rather perhaps as a problem for the German auto manufacturers.

“Tesla is not our enemy and not our role model,” Uchiyamada continued. “I think it’s the German manufacturers that rather see Tesla as a competitor.”

That’s seemingly a true statement in that the market share that Tesla has been stealing in recent years has largely been that of luxury German auto manufacturers, but it has also been taking away Toyota Prius buyers — a lot of them. The Tesla Model 3 will do so to an even greater degree.

Until Tesla begins selling models that are cheap enough that they can compete with Toyota’s mainstays, however, then Uchiyamada seems to have somewhat of a point.

Reuters provides more: “Toyota in September established a venture to develop electric vehicle technology with partner Mazda Motor Corp, seeking to catch up with rivals in an increasingly frenetic race to produce more battery-powered cars. … Uchiyamada said that Toyota was working on a new type of solid-state battery that is able to store more power and can be recharged much more quickly than current types.”

“This technology will be a big development step. But that will still take time. We expect mass production in four to five years,” he stated.

In related news, Toyota and Suzuki have come to agreement that will see the two firms cooperate on the development and sale of plug-in electric vehicles in the fast growing market in India from 2020 onwards, and Toyota is considering a strategy in China of producing its electric products locally with a joint venture. In other words, rather than take bold steps to try to become a major battery electric car player globally, it is looking at piecemeal plans for specific locations where governmental policies basically require it.

In other recent stories, Toyota expressed that it is still hopeful about hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. Seriously.

Related: “The Toyota Prius Prime Hints At The Electric Future Of Toyota (CleanTechnica Exclusive).”

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James Ayre

James Ayre'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.

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