Toyota's EV Strategy and Eco Reputation
Toyota is damaging it's eco-reputation in pushing back on EV technology. As opposed to many battery-only zealots, I think that Toyota is right to continue building hybrids and plug-in hybrids. I think that the transition from gas-only cars is still only beginning, and it is vital to have many transition vehicles available for the millions of people whose needs demand the flexibility of gas engines, as a backup to the main EV drivetrain.
But Toyota has been vocal about the fact that they are not committing to support BEVs in the same ways that they support hybrid or even fuel cell technology. For fuel cell vehicles, their Mirai is impressive, but you can't get around the fact that across the U.S. there are virtually no hydrogen refueling stations currently, with only a handful located in two areas of California. Green hydrogen fuel is still VERY expensive, which is hidden by new buyer subsidies.
I think that after getting H2 stations everywhere, and lowering the cost of H2, automakers need to look at increasing the size of the internal batteries in their FCEVs and making them plug-ins, to increase their competitive value and adoption. And of course in the meantime, nearly ALL other of the competing automakers are moving forward with their new BEV vehicles, and Toyota is being seen as less and less like an ecological leader and innovator, and is now lagging behind the times.
Armen Hareyan is the founder and the Editor in Chief of Torque News. He founded TorqueNews.com in 2010, which since then has been publishing expert news and analysis about the automotive industry. He can be reached at Torque News Twitter, Facebok, Linkedin and Youtube.