Toyota Sees No Market For Pure Electric Vehicles

12 months ago by Eric Loveday 43

Toyota's Hybrids Gather for a Reunion of Sorts -No Pure EVs There

Toyota’s Hybrids Gather for a Reunion of Sorts -No Pure EVs There

Oh Toyota…Toyota…Toyota.  When will you join the EV revolution?

We See Pure EVs Here

We See Pure EVs Here

Apparently not in the foreseeable future.

Toyota once again made it known to the public that mass-produced electric vehicles have no place in the automaker’s lineup.

Toyota Chairman Takeshi Uchiyamada stated this a few days ago:

“The reason why Toyota doesn’t introduce any major [pure electric vehicle] is because we do not believe there is a market to accept it.”

That statement was made following a speech given by Uchiyamada at the Economic Club of Washington, D.C.

Uchiyamada further says that at least “two breakthroughs” are required before battery electric vehicles are ready for the market.

Those “two breakthroughs” actually translate to two generational steps in battery technology, meaning Uchiyamada doesn’t see a market for pure electric vehicles for at least the next decade or so.

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43 responses to "Toyota Sees No Market For Pure Electric Vehicles"

  1. offib says:

    While everyone says that Toyota will soon have to worry about VW and GM with its status of “World’s largest auto manufacturer”, it’ll soon add Nissan to that list.
    Honestly, Toyota thrived on the Prius’ success, it has been dominant of the hybrid market share for years and left almost if not all other manufacturers still playing catch up. I can get that Toyota likes to leapfrog over competitors, which is why they’re betting on Hydrogen. I know I’ll sound hypocritical but how would Hydrogen be a safer bet or would create a more successful market than EVs?
    I don’t want to see Toyota stumble, but it’s becoming irritable. Yet, I’ll forget all of that when then new Prius arrives, given if the Pip is far better and competitive on both the field and on paper.

    1. scott moore says:

      Yep, isn’t it great how these corporate pronouncements go in lockstep with their losing their market position. Didn’t American car makers like to say there was no market for small cars?

    2. Lad says:

      Does anyone believe Toyota would continue to build Hybrids if there was a mass produced low-cost, high-energy battery available to power BEVs? Do you really believe this large car company doesn’t have a BEV design in the incubator? Get Real and realize what’s going on here. Why would Toyota sell the Fremont plant to Tesla then let a contract to them to build their compliance drive line? Then even invest in the company. Ever notice Toyota doesn’t compete with Tesla on the high end cars? Lots of tie ins here and a history that indicates whole lot of smart sandbagging by Toyota. Rest assured Toyota will exit the BEV closet when the timing is right.

      1. Surya says:

        Toyota does indeed not compete with Tesla. Neither does anyone else at the moment.

      2. J Bass says:

        Let’s not forget that Toyota had Tesla supply the batteries for their EV RAV 4.

  2. David says:

    So who would want to buy a RAV4 EV with this level of commitment from Toyota? Likewise a Honda Fit EV, or Fiat 500e, or Chevy Spark, or any of the compliance cars.

    1. offib says:

      No soul, no sale. I wouldn’t like to buy their product if they hate it, yet should we let them confirm their argument by no one buying them, or should they sell them all, call ‘em back, shut the lights and say job done.
      They are treating their compliant cars as chores. The scheme was supposed to entice and involve manufacturers into EVs. They’re all pretty much opening the door before them for GM, Nissan, BMW, Daimler, Ford and Mitsubishi to some extent. I hope Kia doesn’t do the same.

      1. Rick Danger says:

        I think the only way to send a message is to *not* buy compliance cars. Let them continue to whine, while we reward those companies who take EVs seriously with our purchase dollars.

        PS: Toyota, you can take your FCVs and put ‘em where the sun don’t “rise”.

        1. Assaf says:

          Absolutely. A compliance car boycott is in order.

          1. Alex says:

            Maybe instead of complaining about the compliance cars, we should look at this unworkable law and fix it?

            1. Nick says:

              I agree! Let’s give the law some real teeth!

              Why aren’t auto manufacturers on the hook for the pollution from the products they sell?

              That’d get them serious about ZEVs.

              1. Alex says:

                I meant drop the law altogether and rethink the approach, but whatevs.

                1. Rick says:

                  EV has a market the prove is the appliance style prius, people bought that car bc was nothing else to buy. Now we have nice EVs and plug-in

  3. David Murray says:

    I guess Tesla better close up shop.

    Oh wait.. Maybe they mean there is no market for a Toyota pure electric? That I can believe. If they’d try a little harder on a better PHEV, they might find there is a market for that too.

  4. KenZ says:

    As much as I don’t like or agree with Toyota’s outlook, they are, in fact, Toyota. And thus, they are not idiots, seeing as they spend millions researching trends and consumer desires and whatnot. I’m pretty sure that if Toyota thought that THEY needed to produce electric cars for other than compliance, they would. So while we may not like it, it’s a data point driven home by one of the smarter, more admirable car companies on the planet. Dismissing that out of hand just because we don’t like it is folly.

    1. Rick says:

      Yes GM was the same back in the 70′s in fact was bigger and smarter.

      1. wmv says:

        Sorry Rick GM was a Lot bigger than Toyota in the 70′s but near as smart.

  5. Spec says:

    This story is kinda old.

    Toyota is merely trying to milk their lead in hybrid vehicles for everything they can. Why would they want to move onto less-profitable plug-in cars when they are the king of hybrids?

    1. zilm says:

      ++ they play their own game

    2. Assaf says:

      Spec,

      Saying

      “it’s not profitable for us right now” is very different from saying

      “there’s no market tor it, and there won’t be one until magic happens”.

      Toyota’s public EV-dissing is both infuriating and laughable at the same time.

      Infuriating, because as the world’s consumer-car market leader their CEO’s words have a direct impact on the market, and his words are thoughtless and unsubstantiated. See the commenter above who automatically attaches gravitas to what is pure spin.

      Laughable, because even now both Nissan and Tesla cannot make enough BEVs to meet rising demand, despite quickly closing in on 100,000/year worldwide units combined. Way ahead of the Prius in its early days.

      1. Spec says:

        Well what do you expect them to say? Of course they are trying to dissuade people from buying their competitors products and saying their own products are better.

  6. scott moore says:

    There’s a real point here. A lot of car makers have decided that the future is a plug in hybrid, and are betting big on that, including Toyota here. Look at Ford with the C-MAX, and they have all but abandoned their EV. I would argue that GM has similar thoughts.

    The problem with this thinking is that EVs tend to take away the same buyers as would be interested in PHEVs. Thus, whatever market share they both have, they are fundamentally in conflict.

    1. Mint says:

      I would agree with Toyota if they actually built some freaking plugin hybrids.

      The PiP is a joke. $8000 extra for just 3.1kWh of extra battery? It’s really annoying seeing automakers price their plugins as a high margin luxury model as opposed to the same margin as the base model.

      1. Spec says:

        Yeah, the PiP is a big rip-off and we all know that Toyota can do better. They just don’t want to because they make more profits on the convention hybrids.

        1. Mint says:

          It’s not even that. They’re taking advantage of brand recognition to create a new most-expensive model. Ford is doing the same thing with the Fusion.

          If they just wanted to match profits, then the PIP would cost way less. Again, it’s a mere 3 kWh extra battery. Even using expensive batteries, that couldn’t cost more than $2k. Charging electronics don’t cost much either. IMO it’s pretty clear that they want *extra* profits from the PiP.

      2. Sevie says:

        The same approach was made years ago by companies such as Honda with regards to early “mainstream” hybrids such as the Accord hybrid. Their price structure put the hybrid above their previous top of the line EX V6.

  7. kickincanada says:

    This is funny as few predicted the market for iphones. Toyota reminds me a bit like Blackberry

    Here is a quote from a bbry insider ““The problem wasn’t that we stopped listening to customers,” said one former RIM insider. “We believed we knew better what customers needed long term than they did. Consumers would say, ‘I want a faster browser.’ We might say, ‘You might think you want a faster browser, but you don’t want to pay overage on your bill.’ ‘Well, I want a super big very responsive touchscreen.’ ‘Well, you might think you want that, but you don’t want your phone to die at 2 p.m.’ “We would say, ‘We know better, and they’ll eventually figure it out.’ Sounds a lot like Toyota these days…..

    1. Assaf says:

      haha, good one.

    2. Nick says:

      That’s a good analogy.
      Fits in well with the “no one wants small cars” mindset in the seventies.

      I think the real issue is that Toyota doesn’t seem to know how to make a profitable EV.

  8. Bloggin says:

    It was over 10 years ago that Toyota invested in hybrid technology, and is still running with the same technology today. Ford used it and dumped it, Nissan used it and dumped it.

    Ford was to work with Toyota on a hybrid drivetrain for trucks and SUVs, but found Toyota really had nothing to offer, so Ford is spending over $500 Million and is building the system on their own. Toyota will continue to roll with their current 10+ year old system as sales decline.

    Just think about it, toyota is still using nickel batteries in their hybrids and the smallest lithium battery in their plug-in possible. The 4 speed auto transmission in the 2014 Corolla is from the 1980s. The platform and most body components, electronics, for most of their lineup, including Camry and Corolla is over 10 years old. Which is why their recalls can stretch from 2012 back to 2005, and why both the ‘new’ 2014 Camry and Corolla rate very low as ‘marginal’ with the latest crash tests…just like the old model.

    Toyota can talk about hydrogen until the cows come home, but convincing the public to drive around in a hydrogen bomb is a different story. Unlike EVs after an accident, the fire department won’t be putting out the fire, Search and Rescue will be looking for the body parts.

    By 2016 we should see a MKC Energi, MKZ Energi, Edge Energi, MKX Energi and Taurus Energi and new Focus Electric and new C-Max Energi. At the same time Toyota is planning to launch the ‘refreshed’ Prius lift back, that might have a lithium battery this time.

    1. wmv says:

      Bloggin> Toyota is using the same Hybrid system because it is a Proven system, and the Battery is cheaper to replace, The Battery in the Kia,Hyundia, Chevy Volt are very expensive to replace and have a higher up front cost, The 2014 Corolla has a CTV Transmission,only The Base L model still has a 4 speed Transmission or a 6 Speed Manual Transmission.

  9. Ocean Railroader says:

    This is reminds me of how the owners of the James River and Kanawha Canal acted in the 1840′s with railroads running all around them. Toyota should at least offer one or two battery electric models to stay in the game in that they where talking about hydrogen cars in the early 2000′s coming out in two to three years. They even made a lot of programs about the hydrogen economy. But then Tesla came out with the 250 mile plus EV and things changed in that you don’t need a muti million dollar refilling station to us for hydrogen and you can plug in at home.

    As for the Prius I think they have done all they can for it in that 50 miles seems max for about as much energy you can get out of a gallon of gas unless they built a 70 mile pure gallon none plug in Prius. While with EV’s the tech has only had some serous thought in the last few years.

  10. Lou Grinzo says:

    Toyota is blowing smoke and trying to maximize sales from what they have in showrooms now while they wait for the BBB (big battery breakthrough) with the rest of us.

    I guarantee that as soon as one of the many potential BBBs pans out, we’ll see the currently hesitant companies like Toyota carpet bombing TV and radio with ads for their EVs.

    I’m convinced that some companies are terrified of making the transition from current battery prices to those we’ll see post-BBB. They don’t want to sell a $30K car and have it drop $10K in one model year, and then have to deal with angry customers or seriously devalued vehicles coming off lease. I think this is a classic example of being penny wise and pound foolish; Toyota needs to jump into this market or give away a piece of their future market to Nissan and others.

  11. Classic case of a big company with something that is working, wanting to maintain the status quo. Disappointing, considering the urgency of air quality and climate change issues.

    1. Dan Frederiksen says:

      I would agree with that assessment but it continually amazes me that such huge companies don’t make sure they have a handful of wizards on staff so they avoid such classic mistakes as these famous last words.

  12. Angelo says:

    Guys and Gals, all of you fail to see the real reason for Toyota’s stance against electric cars. It is said that the real money to be made in the automotive business, is what you spend on the car, AFTER the purchase. Think tune ups, oil changes, transmissions, un regenerative braking systems, parts failures and their replacements, etc, etc. None of the above is relevant to electric cars. Notice how this is NEVER mentioned? When electric cars really come into being, the dealers and their shop mechanics will suffer financially the most, to say nothing of the kajillion independent auto repair shops presently in existence.

  13. Martin T says:

    Toyota, may do about face, yet if they continue to build soulless cars (except the 86 built by Subaru) they may not have a big of a business that they wished for.
    In the 80′s & 90′s a lot of their product was well built, but now they really need some car guys that are passionate – including EV types.
    Otherwise their Prius Hybrid technology will always be prior / before and not the future.
    Competition is a good thing, who knows, maybe the Toyota accountants that run the whole operation might see the EV light one day!

  14. Just_Chris says:

    Don’t Toyota own a big share of Tesla? I can’t believe these statements are anything other than a delaying tactic to allow them to catch up or a result of them turning up to the party without a big Li-battery supplier.

    Someone told me that it takes 5 years for a new drive train to enter mass production. I can believe it looking at all the difficulty that manufacturers are having trying to build a few thousand EV’s a month, perhaps Toyota just need time. I think the US automakers statements around small cars is probably a good parallel to draw, they all said that there was no demand, they were all developing a small car though. I suppose if you get it wrong you are hardly going to come clean and say “look our competitors have made a really good car that everyone wants and we have nothing that can compete”

  15. Suprise Cat says:

    When a Japanese talks to foreign press, don’t expect he would reveal anything.

  16. Tesla Fan says:

    toyota is a big investor in tesla so….

    1. Bloggin says:

      There is a bit of confusion about Toyotas ‘investment’ in Tesla.

      Daimler AG invested $50 million for a 10 percent stake in 2009, while Toyota purchased the $50 million worth of stock when the electric car company went public in July 2010.

      Daimler has a seat on the Tesla board. Toyota is just an investor like anyone else who buys Tesla stock across the counter with no other attachments.

      The one time RAV4 EV collaboration seems to be part of the agreement tied to Toyota’s stock purchase. Something like…..”You help us get a compliance EV ready for CA, and we will invest $50 Million in your company”.

      1. Bloggin says:

        Later in 2012 after shifting 40%(3.5 Million shares) of the tesla stock, Daimler now holds just 4.7% of Tesla.

  17. Prius Owner says:

    The statement was mostly represented in Japanese market.