Tesla Will Have A Million Mile Battery, When Will The Toyota Prius?
Tesla is, in my mind, considered a car company. They have produced over 1,000,000 electric cars. That number is more than any other electric car maker start-up company or automaker.
Tesla has done remarkably well, considering all they have gone through in the past ten years. I want to talk about what Tesla is doing that will hold the number 1 spot for the choice of electric vehicle and what Toyota needs to wake up and figure out.
The Million Mile Battery
The year was 1996, and the craze of the century was on. Saturn had released a car called the EV-1, a lease only electric car. I was a quick two-seater that people love. Then GM crushed it along with the hopes and dreams of having a sustainable future. If you want the whole story, ask Chelsea Sexton, who is an advocate for EV cars today. She was there during this entire crisis.
Electric cars, for many, never seemed feasible after that. Things like range anxiety and long charge times made it the electric vehicle look like a pipe dream. That was until Tesla came into the picture, and that is when everything we thought we ever knew about electric cars changed.
Elon Musk has been one of the hardest hitting players in the EV game since the first Tesla Roadster. He has built (and continues to grow) an empire that is the current "gold standard" for electric vehicles.
So how does the King of EV plan to stay on top and ensure the success of Tesla? Battery technology. You have to get rid of the worry consumers feel if they are to buy your product, and that is what Musk aims to do.
Recently Tesla's battery partner CATL has announced that a "million-mile" battery will be coming forth to help Tesla reposition the company. The battery, according to CATL, should last 16 years or one million miles.
A battery like this would have a massive environmental impact on the used car market. As our regular gas and hybrid vehicles age, they require more money in repairs. This aging leaves a larger carbon footprint on our planet. Used cars are part of a multi-billion dollar aftermarket parts and service industry.
With batteries that can last a million miles, we could help lessen the impact of mining, refining, and driving our cars.
What This Could Mean For The Toyota Prius
The Toyota Prius has been one of the most influential "green" cars of all time. The little fuel-sipping hybrid has proven that we can go further on every drop of fuel.
But even Toyota has seen the light that hybrids are great but not the complete answer to a sustainable future. As Toyota motor corporation continues to "hybridize" their vehicle line up, they are also doing something else. Toyota has several "prime" vehicles that are plug-in options that allow for a specified range of electric use only.
Toyota knows that hybrid cars have helped them gain a significant market share, but one they are losing to is the EV market. I believe that one reason the "prime" segment is available to Toyota consumers is to help attract them to the idea the EV is part of the future.
But what does this mean for Prius, which built the hybrid segment? My personal belief is that Prius will get a better battery system and eventually be sold as a plug-in-only option.
I cannot tell the future if this would happen or when it is just a hunch I have. However, with new battery technology coming out now, it would be silly for Toyota not to consider it.
What we see in the automotive industry is nothing more than evolution. We saw this same pattern over and over again for decades starting with the Model T. We eventually went to fuel injection, hybrids, and now EV.
I have no doubt that electric vehicles are the future, but how much of the market will be EV only is tough to say. Congrats to Telsa for making such great strides in battery tech. I hope that we never lose Prius, but that it evolves to give us a better plug-in hybrid.
Thank you all for reading have a great day. I look forward to seeing you in the next story. Economic Uncertainty May Cause A Rise In Used Prius Sales
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Peter Neilson is an automotive consultant specializing in electric cars and hybrid battery technologies. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Automotive Service Technology from Weber State University. Peter is also an Instructor of Automotive Technology at Columbia Basin College. Peter can be reached on Linkedin and you can tweet him at The_hybrid_guy on Twitter. Find his page on Facebook at Certified Auto Consulting. Read more of Peter's stories at Toyota news coverage on Torque News. Search Toyota Prius Torque News for more in depth Prius coverage from our reporters.