Toyota CEO Comments On RAV4 EV, Scion iQ EV

JUL 17 2014 BY ERIC LOVEDAY 93

2013 Toyota Scion iQ - Even Fully Charged, This EV Won't Go Far

2013 Toyota Scion iQ – Even Fully Charged, This EV Won’t Go Far

Toyota RAV4 EV

Toyota RAV4 EV

Toyota North America CEO Jim Lentz doesn’t often discuss electric vehicles, but when he does, the conversation always turns to fuel cells:

“I would rather invest my dollars in fuel cell development than in another 2,500 EVs.”

It’s 2,600 actually, but who’s keeping track.

Technically, Toyota offers two pure electric vehicles in the US.  One is the RAV4 EV, which will exit the market just as soon as Toyota’s 2,600-unit deal with Tesla is fulfilled.  The other, the Scion iQ EV, is lease-only and not available to the general public.

Worldwide production of the iQ EV is 91 units, 90 of which will eventually end up in some West Coast lease programs and 1 that went to the municipal government of Toyota City in Japan.  Toyota says 70 of the iQ EVs have been delivered.  The remaining 21 will be distributed in the coming months.

After the 21 are distributed and the remaining 800-ish RAV4 EVs are sold, Toyota effectively will exit the BEV market and begin it fuel-cell vehicle chapter.

It may be a long time before Toyota returns to the pure electric segment, but we believe Toyota’s return is inevitable.

Source: Automotive News

Categories: Toyota

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93 Comments on "Toyota CEO Comments On RAV4 EV, Scion iQ EV"

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DaveMart

A fuel cell car is a pure electric car with the electricity generated on board, just as a BEV is a pure electric car with the electricity generated off-board.

Confused terminology is a sign of confused thinking.

Big Solar

just less efficient in most cases.

DaveMart

Even if true, which is dubious, that has precisely nothing to do with their classification.

Mark Hovis

True enough, but with an offboard fuel source that kinda kills that point, and “currently” requires a fossil fuel source to produce.

DaveMart, thanks for your regular post for you certainly are more open minded about the FCV possibilities than I.

I know you regularly like to point to solar users buying their fuel at night from the utilities. Most solar adopters are banking on better storage options by the close of this decade.

Without worrying about a time table, do you see realistic methods of producing fossil free hydrogen?

You had a recent post where you posted your pros and cons of batteries and fuel cells that was pretty good. You should consider polishing that up and submitting it as an Op Ed.

DaveMart

If the definition of what is an electric car depended on the ultimate source of the power, then The Tesla and the Lead stop being electric cars pretty well every time the are plugged in in most areas.

That idea does not really work too well.

In fact of course people are muddling the definition because they don’t fancy fuel cell cars, and so try to avoid calling them electric cars, which confusion of advocacy with classification gives some insight into the clarity of their thinking, or lack thereof.

Hydrogen for transport in California is mandated to come a third from non-fossil fuel sources, currently methane from water treatment.
That and similar resources such as sewage can provide enough hydrogen on their own for around 10% of California’s light transport, before having to worry about electrolysis and so forth.

Comparable proportions or alternatively the use of hydrogen already produced by industrial processes as a by product are envisaged for Europe and the Far East.

The proportion of fossil fuels in hydrogen generation is similar to the percentage of fossil fuels in the US grid, although of course a large part of that is from much more carbon intensive coal.

pjwood

Methane from water treatment is more efficiently used to operate that energy intensive process, right there on site. Inefficiently taking it someplace else may feel good, but I don’t think its optimal.

Deer Island, in Boston, gets ~4MW from its several anaerobic digestion tanks. Its massive, and that figure barely scales to the thousands of MW’s the city is using day, and night. They need it. Landfill gas is basically the same. ~5MW outputs that aren’t close to the common 250-1,000+MW installations of combustion turbines. Worth doing? Yes. Making a dent? Not really.

DaveMart

All of which again has nothing to do with the claim that fuel cell cars are not electric cars.

Actually of course, most of the supposed superiority of battery cars is achieved by simply ignoring the problem of energy storage.

Sure, using power with the least transformation possible is more efficient.
That tells us nothing if it isn’t available when needed.

That means storage which is always lossy.

So comparing renewable electricity without considering storage to hydrogen use which solves that is not an equal comparison.

Of course if you were an advocate of getting the power from nuclear the storage problem largely goes away, but I somehow doubt that that is the case.

Muchski

I would disagree that Hydrogen has solved a storage problem. It has a lot of safety concerns being highly pressurized and extremely flammable, then there’s being the smallest atom you can not contain all of it without some eventual loss.

Hydrogen for vehicles makes no sense as building trillions of dollars of new infrastructure for a fossil fuel derived fuel with a bigger total carbon footprint or terribly inefficient production from electrlolysis just doesn’t make sense!

Who cares if it can fuel in under 10 mins for 300 miles when you can only get your fuel from a handful of stations when you can buy one in 2015. I’d way rather take 30-40 mins Supercharger and go almost anywhere in the next 1 year for free, and have my own fueling station in the garage.

Hydrogen FCV development is a waste of billions of dollars and years of R&D that could have gone towards making batteries better even faster!

Mint

I think a lot of people here are nuclear advocates.

I don’t think FCVs are fundamentally flawed, but they need costs to come down by an order of magnitude before they can compete with PHEV.

The reason I am skeptical of their ability to do so is that $0.50/W – still way too expensive for cars – would make for a fantastic peaker plant or home backup generator. Currently, people going off-grid are using gasoline generators alongside a battery bank.

offib

But Hydrogen is superior!!! Battery power haz nothing!!1 WHY?!? It only produces water from the exhaust!!! Lolol, winn.

Micke Larsson

The fuel cell cars are EV’s. But not pure EV’s, they are hybrids.

Just like the Volt and the i3 REx when you have dual fuels it becomes a hybrid. The only difference between the hybrids if they are parallell hybrids or series hybrids and what the secondary fuel besides electricity is.

JakeY

The “source” of power always depends on what’s used to fill it at the pump. It’s clear that’s how colloquial usage is and I think what you are suggesting is actually the confusing terminology, not how it has been used by others.

When people say this:
gasoline car – they mean filled with gasoline
diesel car – filled with diesel
electric car – filled with electricity
hydrogen car – filled with hydrogen
CNG car – filled with CNG

They aren’t referring to what is used to make that fuel at the extreme end of the pipeline, only what is interfacing with the car.

The only type of FCV that might get away with being called an “electric car” is one with a plug.

DaveMart

Jake:

Somehow I had missed your comment.

I think you are in thee right of it.

Withdrawn.

DaveMart

There are scads of possible ways of producing very low carbon hydrogen, and the field is advancing rapidly, much more rapidly than battery specific energy densities.

Here is one, one of numerous possible ways off producing hydrogen directly from sunlight:

http://www.evworld.com/news.cfm?newsid=32356

So they have over the last couple of years gone from 1.0V, to 1.1V, to 1.2V, and need to hit 1.5V for commercial viability.

Can they do it?
I haven’t got a clue, and neither has anyone else, including the sainted Elon Musk.

If there was just this one possibility, I would not bet on it coming off, but there are a host of them, many progressing nearly as rapidly.

DaveMart
I did type out a long analysis of the German effort to combine fuel cells in the home with solar power and wind, and transport and storage of hydrogen in the natural gas grid and salt caverns, but I lost it and ain’t gonna type it again, Suffice to say that it is reasonably competitive with the round trip efficiency of using a battery at home to store the sunshine to charge your EV, which gets around 0.8*0.8 = 64% efficiency. They plan on doing that by capturing process heat when producing hydrogen to heat the house’s hot water. Losses down the line in fuelling the hydrogen car make that part of it more lossy than batteries, but you would be able to run the car in the winter as well as the summer, which ain’t possible with honest to God solar powered battery cars unless you live in the tropics or massively overbuild solar. It ain’t the way I would do it, as I would simply build a lot of nuclear reactors and they are more efficient with battery cars, but the answer to ‘why fuel cells and hydrogen’ is that without them a mainly renewables grid is impossible… Read more »
pjwood

Also “scads” of economic considerations. Just because you can get hydrogen from water, doesn’t mean you have a single way of doing it cheaply.

DaveMart

I look forward to reading your analysis of providing solar power at most places in the US during the winter without using hydrogen for storage and without an overbuild of solar of AT LEAST three times.

You would then of course have the problem of what to do with the excess in the summer.

Of course you could always turn it into hydrogen, and then you would not need such a large overbuild of solar anyway, but you don’t fancy that.

protomech

It’ll be a neat technical achievement if they can pull it off.

It doesn’t say anything about efficiencies though – how much mass of H2 is produced per unit of electrical energy. That’s what kills electrolysis currently – charging a battery directly gives 3x the range as using the same electrical energy to electrolyze water into H2 and compress it for a FCEV.

If conventional silicon PV cells are 0.7 volts, why don’t they just use two PV cells in series?

Scramjett

The efficiency of electrolysis is roughly 60%. That is, for every 10 kWhs of electricity, you get about 6 kWhs worth of hydrogen. But that doesn’t include the efficiency of the fuel cell stack itself, which, at most, is also about 60%. After all is said and done, with 10 kWhs of electricity, about 2.5 kWhs is used by the electric motor of a FCV.

I’m curious what the efficiency of using artificial photosynthesis could potentially be. It would need to be better than PVs current 20% efficiency for hydrogen from photosynthesis to pencil out.

DaveMart

The comparison is invalid if you are assuming renewables for the source of the electricity as it simply does not happen when it is needed, and so called solar powered cars are nothing of the sort, but fossil fuel or hydro where available cars.

You can’t compare the efficiency of two things which are different.

If you were wanting to get the electricity from nuclear,fair enough, but not renewables.

Electrolysis with reclaimed process heat can reach around 80% efficiency counting the used heat.

DaveMart

BTW the efficiency of producing hydrogen from solar does not have to be better than for PV, but can get away with around 5% or so, as against PVs 15%.

The reason for that is that it solves that boring old question pv advocates continually ignore, storage.

Although hydrogen is trickier to transport than room temperature liquids, it is still far easier than electrons, and at some cost in energy loss can also be turned into DME, methanol, artificial gasoline etc.

What that means is that you can generate the hydrogen anywhere in the world, at the most favourable sites, and transport it.

Mainly it means that for places outside of the tropics winters and their low solar incidence can be delt with though.

That is not to say that there are any particular reasons why they should be limited to such a low efficiency, just that it can be lower than pv, not higher, and still be viable.

DaveMart

Re-reading my sources, it looks as though they are hoping for 10%, not the 5% I stated.
Just as much effort is going into making sure that the materials used are cheap though as in increasing efficiency.

Spec9

“The reason for that is that it solves that boring old question pv advocates continually ignore, storage.”

It is ignored because it is not a question. It is handled by the grid.

Spec9

“I know you regularly like to point to solar users buying their fuel at night from the utilities. Most solar adopters are banking on better storage options by the close of this decade.”

No, most solar adopters don’t care about storage. Let the grid deal with that through source diversity, geographic diversity, demand-response, peaker plants, some grid storage, etc.

Rodrigo Henriques Negreiros Magalhaes

The metal-air battery technology looks like very promising:

kdawg

“A fuel cell car is a pure electric car”
——-
Not if you have to put hydrogen in it.
Do you consider the BMWi3 REx a pure electric car then? What about the Fisker Karma?

DaveMart

See above.

kdawg

“If the definition of what is an electric car depended on the ultimate source of the power”
———-
I don’t agree w/this premise. My definition would be the source of the power only contained within the car. The line is drawn at the “fuel” port. This leaves the ability/option/responsibility of the car owner to decide how to procure the electrical energy. If it’s a HFC car, then the owner has no choice but to buy hydrogen, which is another link down the food-chain vs. “pure” electricity.

DaveMart

Ha ha!
Well, at least your self-serving and arbitrary definition adds to the gaiety of the nations, if not to the quality of the debate.
So you manage by Jesuitical processes to exclude from the definition of an electric car cars which have an electric motor and no combustion engine whatsoever!

Where does the name: ‘electric car’ imply that the source of electricity has to be something that you approve of?

Clearly an electric car can run on electricity from any source at all, and any discrimination between sources takes place at a lower level off types of electric car.

Don’t believe me?
Draw a flow diagram, if you have the training.

Whatever you do, don’t take up programming.

kdawg

1. Chill

2. You used the term “pure”. I called you out on it. Now you have dropped the “pure”.

DaveMart

Nope.
Nothing powers the wheels but electrons through an electric motor
Claiming that FCEVs are not pure electric cars is an abuse of language.

kdawg

So a Fisker Karma is a “pure” EV then?

DaveMart

You really don’t like simply looking at words and accepting what they say, do you?
Not surprising since your are trying to switch definitions for polemical purposes.

An electric car is one which runs on electricity..

It really is that simple.

Clearly though there are also cars where part of the drive is directly from an engine by mechanical means and so that is part electric.

So you can have part electric and fully electric cars.

The question of where the electricity is generated is another one, so that you can have on board and off board generation,

There are several distinctions possible within the category of electric cars, but clearly a car which mediates all of its power, not part of it or less than 50% of its motive force or whatever is a fully electric car,

Your disapprobation of where the electricity is generated does not alter the fact that it is plainly an all electric car.

Spec9

Why can’t you answer a yes or no question?

kdawg
I don’t like it when people use words incorrectly, like “pure”. You are all over the place now, and again are backing away from your original assertion of “pure”. By your definition, a Fisker would be a “pure” EV, since it is 100% (or now you are saying more than 50%) powered by electricity. This is besides the fact its range extender is fueled with gasoline, and it carries gallons of gasoline around with it. There’s a significant difference between onboard generation and offboard generation. With onboard generation, you are stuck w/whatever generator you purchased for the life of that vehicle, and whatever non-electric *fuel* it uses. With a large battery and offboard power, your electricity can be generated from the sources of your choosing. There are also additional fueling & storage issues w/onboard generators. Basically, a FCEV is different than a BEV, and I don’t know why you are pushing so much to try and call it one, or to lump them both in some pseudo “pure EV” category. Just call it a FCEV and leave it at that. Everyone (at least here) knows what a FCEV is. Also regarding the “fool cell” bashing that happens, I get it.… Read more »
protomech

I can see two possible definitions for “pure EV”.

1. All traction motors are electric-only. Battery EVs fit this definition, but so do range-extended serial hybrids: BMW i3 REX, Fisker Karma, FCEVs, diesel-electric trains and other heavy equipment, nuke subs, etc. Hybrids that have both serial and parallel modes of operation (Chevy Volt, latest Accord Hybrid) would not be considered pure.

2. No fuel inputs other than electricity. Battery EVs fit this definition by using the electricity to reverse a chemical reaction in a battery. A FCEV with onboard electrolysis gear could perhaps also fit this definition, but it would be somewhat pointless.

The first definition is honestly not very meaningful, as it discriminates (for example) between serial and parallel hybrids, which are mostly distinguished by their transmission.

The second definition is quite significant, as it requires a huge rethinking of existing infrastructure. FCEVs are just a shift from gas stations to hydrogen stations.

JakeY

Dave not sure why you are so adamant in getting people to call a FCV a “pure electric car” (which I have never seen used for anything but a BEV, whether in technical or colloquial usage).

By SAE’s definition, every FCV out there is a hybrid (see below):
“A vehicle with two or more energy storage systems both of which must provide propulsion power – either together or independently.”

The FCV has two ESS: the hydrogen tank and the battery, both of which provide propulsion, thus it is a hybrid (as is the Volt, Karma, Prius, etc). To be a “pure electric car” it has to have only electricity as a “fuel” for propulsion and currently only the BEV meets that criteria. Note how the “propulsion” definition excludes the battery used for accessories (and also would exclude ethanol heaters used in some Volvo BEVs).

An extreme example is if you would consider a diesel hybrid train a “pure electric train”. The drivetrain part uses electricity exclusively, but the ESS is diesel.

DaveMart

I am pretty sure why there is the insistence that FCEVs are not electric cars when they clearly run on electricity.
It is in order to muddy the waters and falsely identify them with fossil fuel usage.

JakeY

No, the insistence is to not confuse people. No one calls a Prius an “electric car” even though it runs on on-board electricity. You might get away with calling the Prius PHV and “electric car”, but at least it has a plug.

People tend to think in terms of what they fill up the ESS with when using the “electric” modifier in front. That’s just how the colloquial usage is and I don’t see anyone confused when calling a HFCV a “hydrogen car” either.

And if you insist on caring more about the drive-train rather than the fuel source, the correct unambiguous term to use would be “electric drive car”. This is the umbrella term that would encompass anything that uses an electric drive-train:
http://www.electricdrive.org/

See Through

It’s FCEV actually, if someone has to be technically correct, for Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle.
BEV : Battery EV
PHEV

krona2k

A fuel cell vehicle doesn’t count as an electric car unless it plugs in. End of story.

DaveMart

s/be: ‘End of your powers of understanding what words say’.

krona2k

No I understand perfectly, thanks.

yuba

This sound to me as another very sad compliance car story. When he states that “I would rather invest my dollars in fuel cell development than in another 2,500 EVs.” He probably means something like: We are looking for the lowest cost way to meet our zero emission targets without becoming serious about it. We had already allocated some internal funds in our research budget for fuel cells so it is a much cheaper way out for us than to do another EV with an external supplier (Tesla)

Anyway, Toyota has a problem now that their whole hybrid portfolio is not so “green’ anymore, if they would introduce an EV they would simply speed up the end of the hybrid….

So they have decided to confuse the market with Fuel cells. As Elon stated : Fuel cells = Fool cells

DaveMart

Well, if your dad or other idolised infallible figure said so, no analysis is needed.

Personally I don’t think it is too bright to parrot sales slogans, but there you go.

No doubt your shirts are really, really white.

yuba

Hey You’re right I am wearing a white shirt today 🙂

My point is that it’s a pity that a company like Toyota who used to be at the innovators forefront is now focussing on compliance.

I hope they change their mind soon and develop a really good series produced BEV.

DaveMart

Maybe, just maybe the Toyota engineers are continuing their tradition of innovation, just not in ways that you happen to approve of.

There is even the possibility, remote to the point of absurdity, that they may know better than their critics.

Doug B

I do think its a shame that Toyota are not investing in the BEV market, as Dave points out, they both use electric motors, and electronic control systems.
I would think (though not know) that much of the research would be applicable to FCEV. Its mostly the storage system that’s different.
We now have electric motors powered by Gas, Hydrogen and Batteries. Cleaning up the power that goes into that storage is the issue.

DaveMart

Perhaps 80% of the parts are common.

Increased sales and mass production of one drives down costs of the other.

The supposed conflict is a product more of ideology than absolute technical or commercial opposition.

shawn Marshall

have been reading some of the comments vis-a-vis your electric car nomenclature for fuel cell cars. Astounding that people are so close minded but a lot of that attitude was obvious for years at gm-volt.com. Self appointed know-it-alls think they can determine the future and they “believe” in solar cells and batteries as in a religion. You are patient to confront them with their illogical and determinist points of view but why make the effort. Toyota is “free” to employ their capital in R&D as they see fit and do not require the great wisdom of the gainsayers. Good fortune to them I say.

vdiv

Good riddance I’d say. Unfortunately my disdain for Toyota is spilling over their customers, many are good friends, as I make a point to them every time to ditch the crappy guzzler and get a serious plugin.

See Through

Can’t blame Toyota alone. The RAV4 drive units have been failing frequently just like Model S’s drive units. Could have brought bad publicity for Toyota if they let that continue.
BTW, how did they make the Scion iQ without hiring Elon? Did he gift them the invention on electric cars?

David Murray

Toyota has made their stance on pure (battery) electrics very well known. However, I have yet to hear their stance on PHEVs. Obviously they are selling more PHEVs in a month than they sell BEVs in a whole year. Despite having the crappiest PHEV on the market, they are selling well. And yet their commitment is obviously in question because they refuse to sell the PHEV in all 50 states.

liberty

This article is from june 22.

In the mean time toyota has delayed their prius phv update to the end of 2016. Perhaps after their fcv fails miserably to inspire, they will make a good blended phev. As for now they have a tiny battery phev that only sells in japan and compliance states. They at least have dropped the price enough for it to sell in compliance states.

We have also learned that the fuel cell vehicle does not comply with US safety laws. In their application for a 2 year waiver, toyota stated they would not sell over 2500 in any year.

Thomas J. Thias
Dave, Had to stop and think a second when you used Toyota and PHEV In the same sentence. The State of California has given AT-PZEV status to the Toyota Prius Pug-In however, with its pathetic electric only range, 0- 6 miles as certified by the EPA, I doubt that many Prius owners are bothering to plug in after the novelty wares off. Some drivers, using hypermileing techniques have achieved greater range including this recent Toyota promotional stunt. The 12 mile run of Nürburgring that took 20 minutes and 59 seconds! Link Goes To Jalopnic Story- http://jalopnik.com/the-toyota-prius-plug-in-just-set-a-terrible-nuburgring-1605200369 “[…] 11 miles Elec + Gas All Elec: 0-6 mi […] I am especially troubled by the footnotes that appear on the Toyota Prius PI website. I quote them below: “[…]Disclosures # 5 2014 EPA-estimated combined miles per gasoline gallon equivalent. Estimate includes consumption of electricity and gasoline energy during EV Mode operation. Actual results will vary for many reasons including driving conditions and how you drive and maintain your vehicle. # 20 Prius Plug-in EV Mode is a blended operation of electricity and gas and can work under certain conditions up to 11 miles on a full charge. Quick acceleration and braking, road… Read more »
DaveMart

Clearly the only acceptable criteria for buying a car is the one you use, and all the people who buy the Toyota PIP are know nothings which you are fully entitled to look down on.

Clearly you also know better not only how to build a car than the chairman of Toyota, but what he meant to say.

There really is no point in trying to use logic in the face of such delusions of grandeur.

David Murray

Wow.. what a long rant.

First of all, I’m not even sure who you think you are preaching to. I’m pretty sure most everyone here is well aware of the Prius PHV’s capabilities and limitations. I myself, drive a Chevy Volt.

It doesn’t change the fact they are out-selling the Volt now (for whatever reason) and should be taken seriously. I welcome any car with a plug on it, regardless of it’s capabilities. Any car with a plug is a step in the right direction towards getting away from gasoline.

DaveMart

Because you disapprove of the choice they have made between EV range and cost does not make them crappy, as sales shows.

Your designation simply shows that you are unable to accept others preferences.

Spec9

What sales?

Francis L

For fuel cells :

Best case scenario : fuel cell become popular for those how needs a lot of range and fast refulling. BEVs and Fuel cell coexist, because BEVs will always be cheaper on the long run.

Worst case scenario : people just don’t see any advantage for trading their ICE for a fuel cell car.

So in any case, Toyota will eventually came back to BEVs.

Lou Grinzo

Bingo! This is the point I’ve been hammering for some time: Barring some sort of miraculous set (as in multiple) technological breakthroughs, FCEVs simply won’t displace BEVs. BEVs will improve over the next 5, 10, or 15 years in the most important measure, cost performance, and will be even better than they are now for anything less than long-distance driving. FCEVs have to not only catch up to current BEVs, but do better at hitting a moving target.

For a long time in the US motor vehicle transportation was pretty simple: Almost exclusively medium and heavy duty trucks were diesel, cars and light trucks were gasoline ICEs. Now that model is fragmenting with various flavors of hybrids plus BEVs, and it will become effectively more fragmented as the market share of BEVs continues to grow.

It’s certainly possible that we’re headed for a future where cars that need to be driven long distance are a mix of FCEVs and BEVs; I wouldn’t rule out an all-BEV scenario, though, unless someone can make a strong case for tech. advances in batteries suddenly grinding to a halt.

The (near-)death of oil burners can happen soon enough.

yuba

I Agree, the BEV will win, as battery costdown will go so fast, a BEV will simply be better than any car soon.

A good illustration of the speed of progess on batteries is the new roadster pack which will have 400 Mile range. In 2008 the 265 mile range was the state-of-the art and 6 years later it is 400 miles. I think in the next 5 years we will see full size high-end sedans like model S which will have 400 mile range too. in the 5 years after that this tech will go into midsize and lower cost cars, and no need for an ICE anymore

kdawg

Currently the only barrier to BEVs is the battery cost. If the Gigafactory happens and is successful, and more Gigafactories follow, then this will no longer be a barrier.

DaveMart

Actually fuel cells are improving in performance far faster than batteries, but don’t let the facts get in your way when you are prophesying the future.

Rick Danger

Blah, blah, blahhhhhhhhh.

DaveMart

What does the biggest car company in the world know abut building cars, technology or what people will buy?
Nothing, it seems, compared to the many universal genius’s on this site, who can predict exactly how all the technologies will develop with perfect foresight.

Stunning! – in one way or another.

Rick Danger

Maybe they think they’re too big to fail, like GM did.

IDK

If Toyota is such a big believer in FC. Maybe they should convert their prized Prius over to FC and see how well they sell.

Answer from Toyota:

SeattleTeslaGuy

In other news, Akio Morita rose from the grave and pronounced “Beta Max is a superior technology and will eventually win”.

Dan Gallagher

I admire DaveMart for being a minority supporter of FC technology. He certainly is taking it on the chin ;).

But sorry, here’s another blow. I think the FCEV supporters are hoping to abate mass produced and adopted electric cars, I don’t think they can seriously think it will be a commercial success. All the parts of it are just too complex and expensive. Not to mention the cost and trouble dealing with Hydrogen. Maybe it will be a very small micro-niche in the future … but for most everyday uses it will be far inferior to a BEV or an occasional bio-diesel powered rental. Heck, even today, I can make a 200 mile trip in my 60 mile range bottom of the line BEV iMiev with just a few 20 minute stops … imagine what the new Leaf could do and of course a Tesla for a few more bucks (or years of price reductions). FCEVs can never catch up on cost nor the pace of charging infrastructure coming on line quickly now. Toyota is jut trying to delay the inevitable.

NeilBlanchard

Exactly right Dan! An FCEV needs to have 2X the range for any given drive – because you have to circle around the nearest hydrogen fueling station. In effect, a 240 mile range FCEV can only be drive 120 miles away from the fueling station.

DaveMart

Yep.
Clearly another bloke on a blog with qualifications in all the relevant disciplines who knows far more about how much car parts cost and what is possible then the 500 engineers that Toyota have working on this, with many of the same guys who built the Prius to the fore.

The amount of knowledge, real or fancied on this site, is breathtaking.

Spec9

Dave . . . like it or not, we are the people who are interested in and buy non gasoline vehicles. We sit around read specs, evaluate technology, look at sales, etc. And that actually makes us more import than the Toyota engineers . . . we are the customers! And if Toyota can’t convince us that they are onto a good thing . . . then they may not be on the best path. Go back and read the various stories on Better Place and Coda and see how few EV fans like those . . . and to no surprise, the failed. Unless there is some major break-through, I don’t see FCVs doing very well in the near future.

RichardC

@Spec9 +1

Rick Danger

Exactly! +1

Aaron

It is a simple business decision: Toyota gets many more CAFE credits for the FCVs than the do for EVs. The return on investment is much better.

If put under duress, I believe that Jim Lentz would agree that EVs are the future. For this public company, however, FCVs have a better return, so he will continue to spin it that way.

NeilBlanchard

Until they are required to have more credits, that they need to higher number of sales from an EV – which can be driven in any part of the country – they will miss the forest for the trees.

Tesla and other EV builders will eat their lunches.

JakeY

Plug-ins are already eating Toyota’s hybrid lunch: Prius sales are dropping (even with the introduction of a bunch of new models to spur demand) and a large part is due to plug-ins.

The competitors were never able to come up with a strong enough hybrid alternative (the Insight was the closest), but they don’t have to anymore given the move to plug-ins. All they have to do is come up with a viable plug-in while Toyota is still weak in this regard.

Mike I

If Honda ever gets off their butt and produces enough batteries to properly ramp up the Accord Hybrid, Toyota will be in even deeper trouble. I know Honda doesn’t want to sell the Accord Plug-In, but the standard Hybrid is a real Prius beater.

MTN Ranger

Plugins are also getting buyers who would have never bought a Prius (or other hybrid), like me.

NeilBlanchard

I am very sad that Toyota gave up on the iQ EV so easily. If it could go 75 miles, they would have been better than the Smart ED, if only for the 3rd adult seat.

Mike I

Give up? They never gave it a serious attempt. It gets 38 miles EPA range. Nobody in their right mind thinks that is a marketable range for anything but a golf cart (NEV).

Fabian

OMG, the IQ only has a 38 mile range? That screams ‘compliance vehicle’ if there ever was one.

Ford did this years ago when they came out with a little EV golf-cart car without doors. My local Ford dealership has one and it is ridiculous.

Spec9

Yeah, it is a bit of a joke. And perhaps it is part of the reason why Toyota doesn’t understand the EV market.

James

Toyota, GM, Ford and the rest will “get off their butts and build BEVs” when and if the Gigafactory materializes – and, when and if Model S continues to avoid mass media destruction.

It’s so tenuous when THE ENTIRE FUTURE OF EVs rests on one man, one company – and so on. God-forbid, if something happened to Musk, I’d say Nissan’s Ghosn isn’t going to sway the world toward and electric future.

The hydrogen fool cell PR Toyota, Hyundai, Honda and others postulate will just vanish when and if the $30,000 300 mile EV with Supercharging and battery swap gets built and sold in 100,000+ numbers.

Spec9

Naw . . . EVs are not solely reliant on Elon Musk. He’s already done the big thing of proving that there is a viable profitable market for EVs with the Model S. And now with BMW, VW, and Nissan making pure EVs, there is no stopping this train.

Spec9

Anyone know what the going price is for the RAV4 right now? Not the high MSRP that almost no one is paying.

Mike I

Still the same lease deal that has been going for many months. It’s basically 0% interest and Toyota contributing $16,500 of capital reduction. Typically about $500/mo $0 down 36 months and Unlimited Mileage. Actual payment depends on Sales Tax jurisdiction. You still get the $2,500 California rebate too.

Spec9

I find this split among the Japanese companies interesting. Panasonic is supposedly about to sign a deal with Tesla on the gigafactory such that a Japanese company may become the biggest automotive battery company on the planet (actually, they probably are already).

But Toyota and Honda seem to have a fuel cell fixation.

And Nissan is building its own batteries.

Rodrigo Henriques Negreiros Magalhaes

I wouldn’t bet for the future of fuel cell vehicles. Is expensive to produce hydrogen and the only reason we are seeing a push on it is because the oil companies are the major producers. The production process of hydrogen is high pollutant. Hydrogen is high flammable. And will be expensive as gasoline. I would bet in metal-air batteries. The Phinergy Israeli start-up looks like recently was purchased/received and investment from ALCOA. And water is much more environmentally friend than hydrogen:

Francis L

You not only need water in this battery, but you also need to change plates of aluminum. So I don’t think it is much more greener. But at least, it seems to be a simpler and cheaper solution for a REx than a fuel cell.

jmac

Yes, the hydrogen will be made from natural gas.

The hydrogen fuel cell is just another 50 years of addiction to fossil fuels.

The oil companies love it and are behind the big hydrogen push.

I saw a picture once of an experimental hydrogen station in Iceland. The sign said SHELL HYDROGEN.

It’s not too difficult to figure out who wants to run and rule and benefit from the so called hydrogen economy.

JakeY

More on topic: if Toyota came up with a Prius EV, I’m sure a lot of people would buy it. But Toyota’s EV-naysaying strategy is really eroding people’s trust and loyalty for the brand.