Toyota: We’ve Tamed Lithium-Ion Batteries And Are Ready To Enter BEV Segment

11 months ago by Eric Loveday 135

Toyota Prius Prime

Toyota Prius Prime

CU-ICAR / Toyota uBox concept

CU-ICAR / Toyota uBox concept

A team of battery engineers over at Toyota say that they’ve made a breakthrough in battery tech that will allow the automaker to safely pursue rivals in the long-range battery-electric segment.

Quoting Reuters:

“Engineers at Toyota Motor Corp say they have tamed volatile lithium-ion battery technology, and can now safely pack more power at no significant extra cost, giving the Japanese automaker the option to enter the growing all-electric car market.”

“While rivals including Tesla Motors and Nissan Motor Co began adopting lithium-ion battery technology nearly a decade ago, Toyota has largely held back due to concerns over cost, size and safety.”

In our eyes, batteries from rivals have long been safe, but apparently Toyota is taking it a step further on the safety front.

Koji Toyoshima, chief engineer for the Prius, stated:

“It’s a tall order to develop a lithium-ion car battery which can perform reliably and safely for 10 years, or over hundreds of thousands of kilometers.”

“We have double braced and triple braced our battery pack to make sure they’re fail-safe … It’s all about safety, safety, safety.”

Hiroaki Takeuchi, senior Toyota development engineer, adds:

“Our control system can identify even slight signs of a potential short-circuit in individual cells, and will either prevent it from spreading or shut down the entire battery.”

Toyota is actively working with Panasonic to develop batteries for a yet-unknown long-range electric car from the Japanese automaker. Apparently, the cells under development are unique to Toyota though.

Quoting Reuters:

“Toyota has also been able to shrink the size of each cell, for example, closing the distance between the anode and cathode, where active ions travel when charging and discharging.”

“This has doubled battery capacity to around 8.8 kilowatt hours, while only increasing the battery pack size by around two-thirds and its weight by a half.”

Toyota still sees the fuel-cell vehicle as part of the future, but that future hasn’t come to fruition yet and, as such, the automaker will continue down the hybrid, plug-in hybrid and now all-electric path in the near future. As Prius chief engineer Toyoshima states:

“Developing lithium-ion batteries for both hybrids and plug-ins will enable us to also produce all-electric cars in the future.  It makes sense to have a range of batteries to suit different powertrains.”

Source: Reuters

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135 responses to "Toyota: We’ve Tamed Lithium-Ion Batteries And Are Ready To Enter BEV Segment"

  1. Aaron says:

    Wow. What a VW-esque press release. It said nothing; it delivers nothing. “Taming” lithium-ion batteries? These are not animals. Why has Tesla, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Mercedes, and others already “tamed” the batteries and you could not?

    1. jimijonjack says:

      HOLD THAT TIGER!

      1. SJC says:

        Toyota single handedly did this where others have failed…wow /s

        1. none says:

          Wait, you totally missed it! Toyota has made a breakthrough here. They will have the FIRST BEV to have an 8.8 kW/hr battery pack!

          Imagine that….an EPA range of 35 miles (i’m being nice….wait for it…..)

          Instead of a Prius plug in with 0-6 miles.

          0-6 to 35 in just a couple years. That is a SERIOUS BREAKTHROUGH.

          At this rate, they could have a 200 mile BEV by 2075.

          LOL, really? WTF? Toyota….ugh

    2. Toyota is saying the equivalent of “the grapes are no longer sour” – because they have figured out how to add sugar.

      Toyota needs to start building BEV’s! Yesterday.

      1. jimijonjack says:

        Yesterday ,or maybe even the day before Yesterday. Because now they’re playing catch Up.I hope they move fast!

  2. Kdawg says:

    Translation, “Everyone else is making BEVs and we don’t want to get left any further behind”.

    More the merrier.. even if they are late.

    1. jimijonjack says:

      I’d bet Toyota/Lexus could Build a Compelling “EV” without all the bells & Whistles, if they’d put their nose to the Grind stone and Mind to it..

      1. zzzzzzzzzz says:

        They built RAV4 EV. The sales numbers and price tag were not so great when compared with mainstream car market.

        1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          That’s pretty irrelevant, innit?

          The RAV4 EV was a “test market” car, aka a compliance car. It wasn’t intended to be made in large numbers, or was it intended to be sold at a price which would make Toyota a profit. In fact, Toyota limited their investment in the car by contracting Tesla to build the EV powertrain, including battery pack.

          1. zzzzzzzzzz says:

            “It wasn’t intended to be made in large numbers, or was it intended to be sold at a price which would make Toyota a profit”. Yes, exactly, because it was impossible to produce it at ICE or hybrid competitive price at whatever production level. Tesla just proved it over these years, their average sale price is closer to $100k, but even with all the subsidies they receive, they were unable to get out of losses. That is even before investment into expansion. Just don’t point to the last window dressing quarter with delayed payments and slashed CapEx to get artificial “profit” and cash flow as one-time show before capital raise.

            It may change in the near future as battery cell prices are going down, but it wasn’t so in the past or even right now.

            1. Get Real says:

              LMAO!
              Typical trolling by zzzzzzz as he/she echos right-wing fossil fool astro-turfing propaganda/lies against Elon Musk/Tesla:

              http://www.ecowatch.com/elon-musk-citizens-for-republic-2110459285.html

              https://electrek.co/2016/11/22/elon-musk-right-wing-trump-propaganda-campaign-against-tesla-spacex/

              1. zzzzzzzzzz says:

                What are you trying to claim here, that Tesla proved that pure battery cars can be profitable right now? The numbers in their official financial disclosures say otherwise. All this emotional rambling on fanboy and cheerleader blog sites is just another evidence of it – when you can’t explain reality to your followers, you need to pump conspiracy theories, conspiracy can never be proved wrong, it is just conspiracy.

                1. Get Real says:

                  Read the link about the “Citizens for the Republic” right-wing astroturfing trolls like yourself zzzzzz.

                  Oh, and troll harder and be sure to turn out the lights if your the last fool cell out of the room here!

                2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

                  “All this emotional rambling on fanboy and cheerleader blog sites is just another evidence of it – when you can’t explain reality to your followers, you need to pump conspiracy theories, conspiracy can never be proved wrong, it is just conspiracy.”

                  Presumably you’re talking about your own fool cell fanboy posts here, denying the reality of physics, the Laws of Thermodynamics, and even basic economics.

                  Not to mention your serial Tesla bashing, making repeated claims sharply contrary to reality that Tesla is “not profitable” and is “losing money on every car”.

                  What, no? The level of hypocrisy here is getting so deep we need scuba gear.

                3. Nix says:

                  I wonder if InsideEV’s will ever see themselves as playing a role in festering and ultimately promoting the false news / right wing astroturfing that is being used to bash the very EV’s that they are reporting on?

            2. floydboy says:

              Really zzzzzzzzzz?! You know better than that AM radio nonsense on this site! Particularly since it’s been DEBUNKED so many times, sheesh!

            3. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

              Dude… you’re still getting spittle on my screen. Must be a very bad day for a serial Tesla basher and “fool cell” fanboy like you!

              Ah, schadenfreude…

          2. Markp1950 says:

            The ERAV4 was a Cali Only car. When were still trying to sell them I did a search and that said Cali only/

        2. Bill Howland says:

          “Safety, safety, SAFETY!”.

          They must have been so ‘concerned’ that they came out with the RAV4EV that had a melted type 1 connector on it. Yeah the plug may have been contracted out – but they should have hired an ‘application engineer’ to see if the thing would actually work.

          Most any 12 year old would do.

    2. Exactly right, you are! [/Yoda voice]

    3. Lou Grinzo says:

      Agree 100%.

      I’ve been saying for some time that when Toyota finally got into the BEV game they would do everything possible to make it sound like they invented batteries, EVs, cars, tires, roads, and electricity.

      It’s the same CYA move we’ve seen many times from companies like IBM and Microsoft that delay getting into a market and then play PR games and scramble to catch up.

      Toyota: Words are cheap. Impress us with a solid, affordable product we can actually buy anywhere in the US. Until then, you’re just another late-to-the-game poser.

      1. Nix says:

        Yup. You and me both. Dating all the way back to a decade ago when aftermarket companies were making PHEV conversion kits for the Prius, and everybody was wondering why Toyota wouldn’t just do it from the factory.

        The answer then, all the way up to now, was that Toyota wasn’t going to be the ones to kill their own Prius cash cow. They were going to milk that cow all the way to the bitter end.

        Now in October 2016, the Prius saw a 44% drop in sales compared to Oct. 2015. Sales have been down the last 2 years, now down to where they were 5 years ago.

        Their response seems to finally be that their cash cow is dying, so they have finally announced that EV’s are great, and they will be the best at EV’ing. Their EV’s will do so much winning that it will be huuuuge!

  3. Chris says:

    It sounds like they are trying to cover their asses for backing the wrong technology by using “safety concerns” as a scapegoat.

    1. jimijonjack says:

      I am certain that there is, “Method to their Madness”!

    2. ffbj says:

      It’s a saving face mechanism.

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        Since Toyota is a Japanese company, that’s even more important than it would be for an American manufacturer.

      2. floydboy says:

        Well face-saving now is better than face-palms later!

        1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          Oh, I think this PR from Toyota is absolutely worthy of several face-palms.

    3. Yup!

      Better late than never!

  4. bro1999 says:

    Toyota’s (back)spin machine is working even harder that Trump’s was during the election!

    1. Vexar says:

      Agreed. This whole article is in response to the market’s question “where’s your BEV plan?”
      I’d love it if auto executives were as open and honest as Elon Musk is. “Why’s the Model X so late?” “Hubris, we put too much new stuff into a single vehicle.” “Why aren’t you selling through traditional dealerships?” “they are not motivated to sell nor focused on selling EVs.”

      If only Renault, Opel, and VW Group were honest about diesel. “We can’t meet these standards and provide a performant vehicle, it’s either or.” “You think Diesel is clean? Have you smelled it? There’s no magic going on, we burn nasty stuff in a metal box, but it produces exhaust, like it or not.”

  5. Alan says:

    It’s taken until now to get all that egg of their faces, it’s must have been really hard !

    How long before Sergio Marchionne comes out with some kind of similar BS and declares an EV Ferrari in the pipeline !

    1. Kdawg says:

      Only if it came w/fake Ferrari noises.

    2. John Norris says:

      Maserati are promising an EV for 2019. Sergio Marchionne is chairman of Maserati which is owned by FCA.

  6. Joe says:

    “Panasonic”. Don’t tell me that ‘breakthrough’ is called 2070 😉

    1. Alan says:

      Wasn’t 2070 the year they were going to enter the Battery EV market ?

      1. georgeS says:

        @Joe,
        I thought it was a 2170. Darn, I can never keep it straight.

        1. Jake Brake says:

          Its 2170 or 21700 depending on how accurate you are 🙂

    2. TM says:

      To clarify for those not familiar to the reference, 2070 is referring to the dimensions of the battery (20 mm in diameter and 70 mm in height). 18-650 (why they call it 650 and not just 65 is unknown to me) was pretty close to optimum. Tesla’s 2nd round of battery improvements tweaks that to 20-700 or simply 2070.

      https://www.quora.com/Why-does-Tesla-use-cylindrical-batteries-and-not-prismatic-batteries-like-the-Chevy-Bolt

      1. MikeM says:

        I read somewhere on line (sorry – I have no reference) that the final digit indicated the form factor, with 0 meaning “cylindrical”.

        I guarantee this info. is worth what you’re paying for it!

        1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          I always wondered what the final “0” in the “18650” form factor meant.

          Anyway, interesting that Tesla is eschewing the standard nomenclature for cylindrical cells by describing the new Gigafactory cells as “21-70” form factor (and not 20-70, despite the joke above).

          1. Bone says:

            The nomenclature originates from button cells. Since height of a button cell is low, it makes sense to include tenths of a millimeter in the type designation. Eg. Popular CR2032 button cell is 20 mm diameter and 3.2 mm height. 18650 means 18 mm diameter and 65.0 mm length. 2170 would be 21 mm diameter and 7.0 mm height.

            1. Nix says:

              That’s how I’ve always understood it too, although I don’t know where I picked up that understanding, or if it is accurate.

              1. All-Purpose Guru says:

                You are correct, and it is a standard.

                The size nomenclature is part of IEC 61960; however, the final “0” is not the indicator of “round” it is the “R” at the beginning– CR2032 is a Lithium (C ) Round (R ) 20mm diameter 3.2 mm thick cell. The CR or other prefix is typically left off when only talking about the dimensions.

                That said, 18650 translates to 18mm diameter x 65.0mm length.

  7. Bob says:

    Remarkable work from the four engineers they hired last month 🙂

    1. Alan says:

      3 to stand and watch and 1 to sign the Panasonic Battery Contract !

      1. Airton Azevedo says:

        LOL

      2. floydboy says:

        DOUBLE LOL!

      3. Nix says:

        Hopefully the other 3 had shovels to lean against…

        *grin*

    2. leafowner says:

      The Fantastic Four??? LOL

  8. Ambulator says:

    “This has doubled battery capacity to around 8.8 kilowatt hours, while only increasing the battery pack size by around two-thirds and its weight by a half.”

    Comparisons to existing batteries is nearly meaningless. Current batteries vary too much. Give me figures (Wh/L, Wh/kg, cycles) or shut up.

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      I read this as merely describing the advancements which have been made in energy density in li-ion batteries since Nissan first started making the Leaf.

      In other words, Toyota is apparently trying to take credit for what the li-ion battery manufacturing industry as a whole has accomplished over the last 5 years, and trying to “spin” that as if the batteries they’ll be buying from one of those manufacturers has some secret technological improvement not available to makers of current PEVs (Plug-in EVs).

      Toyota deserves the Golden Scoop Shovel award, for all the B.S. they’re shoveling out!

      1. floydboy says:

        That will go great with the platinum fuel cell wading boots!

  9. John Hollenberg says:

    What happened to the almighty fool cell vehicles?

  10. HVACman says:

    “Engineers at Toyota Motor Corp say they have tamed volatile lithium-ion battery technology, and can now safely pack more power at no significant extra cost, giving the Japanese automaker the option to enter the growing all-electric car market.”

    So Toyota engineers were OK with 10,000 psi hydrogen cylinders and high temperature fuel-cells in the Mirai, along with all the cost, bulk and weight that entailed, but they had a problem with “volatile” LiON? LOL!

    1. ItsNotAboutTheMoney says:

      Snigger.

    2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      😆

      Oh, snap.

    3. speculawyer says:

      LOL indeed!

      EVERY energy storage system in a car, whether it is gasoline, diesel, compressed natural gas, Li-Ions, hydrogen, compressed air, etc. is dangerous because . . . well, it is a lot of stored energy that can accidentally be quickly released.

      But, yeah, thinking batteries are so much less safe than high pressure hydrogen is a complete joke. Did they not see the videos of what hydrogen did at the Fukushima nuclear plant?

      1. Nix says:

        Yup, even hay to fuel your horse drawn carriage can burn your barn down when the energy is released. If a hydroelectric dam bursts, homes downstream may be washed away. If you store energy, there is always a chance of catastrophic release of that energy.

        It all comes down to failure mode. And hydrogen gas has 2 failure modes.

        The first failure mode isn’t bad. Flaring. That’s when a tank ruptures with an ignition source nearby, and the hydrogen burns off as fast as it comes out of the tank. It produces essentially a hydrogen gas blowtorch which will burn itself out. That’s the failure mode that H2 fans like to show everybody.

        It is the second failure mode that is the scary one. That is a major gas release into a contained or semi-contained space, followed by an ignition source later. That’s when everything becomes explosive. Literally. As in level your garage and your entire home in an instant kind of explosive.

        H2 fans like to pretend this failure mode will never happen. Like this liquid hydrogen explosion:


        http://www.newsmaritime.com/2015/chemical-tank-with-liquid-hydrogen-exploded-in-port-of-rizhao/

        Granted, this is bigger than what a single car would hold. But at some point there will have to be large storage locations if millions of cars run on the stuff daily. Accidents WILL eventually happen.

  11. CT200h says:

    Kind of hard to spin this one……

    basic read is : they were wrong about ev’s

    I always wondered if maybe they were quietly developing ev tech, maybe not.

  12. Jake Brake says:

    The big news here is toyota is working with panasonic on batteries. Panasonic has been so focused on Tesla theyve broke relations with almost all their other customers. If toyota gets the same or similar cells as tesla, they might actually make a good bev out of the gate.

    1. Hugh says:

      How can Panasonic improve Li-Ion tech for Toyota and then not use that technology for Tesla?

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        Shhhh! You’re not supposed to point out that the Emperor has no clothes.

      2. Jake Brake says:

        Exactly… Ready for another plot twist? Rumors are that the gigafactory is only doing final cell assembly, Panasonic is keeping all the electrode coating in house to protect their core IP. Which makes me wonder what massive advantage a gigafactory is if your still shipping 90% of cell mass around the world before you make a battery pack.

    2. BenG says:

      Toyota has always worked with Panasonic, who has supplied NiMH batteries for all the millions of Priuses on the road. Toyota invested in a joint venture with Panasonic to develop a lithium ion upgrade.

      So, no surprise that Panasonic continues to work with Toyota as they move toward greater electrification.

  13. doctoxics says:

    LOL. Toyota spends 5 billion to develop fuel cell cars to meet regulatory standards. They knew these cars would not sell. They also convinced California to spend millions to build hydrogen stations that are dangerous and likely to end up useless. Now Tesla car sales (Models S and X) and reservations (Model 3)are cutting into Toyota/Lexus sales.
    So, suddenly Toyota has a breakthrough in lithium ion batteries that make them acceptable? Trying to save face after the scam didn’t work?

    PS Toyota internal combustion cars are the best (I have owned two), but this behavior to meet regulations is embarrassing

    1. zzzzzzzzzz says:

      You obviously didn’t follow events during last decade. If you read Toyota strategic plans from last decade and papers from their engineers and scientists funded by them, they were investing a lot of money into battery research to, and in particular Lithium Sulfur batteries. The plan didn’t changed over the last decade. I.e. produce hybrids, produce plugins WHEN battery technology is ready for that, produce pure battery cars for short range travel WHEN battery technology is ready for that both by safety and cost, and energy density. All this was planned and worked on since last decade and new technology car models don’t appear over few months as some fanboys may imagine.

      http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/11/toyota%E2%80%99s-prius-chief-engineer-reveals-the-future-of-the-automobile-part-one/

      They are commercial company, not some battery cult putting all eggs in one basket, and they will produce all kinds of drivetrains as long as there is demand. Fuel cells are still viewed as long term goal for long distance travel applications. Nobody planned to sell these cars in tens of thousands in 2016 or 2017. 2019 or 2020 is closest and the plan is tens of thousands only.

      1. ItsNotAboutTheMoney says:

        While Toyota has been researching other battery technologies it’s been pushing hybrids and HFCV.

        Every recent in-house BEV from Toyota has been a minicompact or some weird, tiny concept.

        Gas prices have dropped, hybrid sales have dropped, and now, breakthrough!, they think they can release a long-range BEV _four years_ after the arrival of the Bolt.

        Riiiiigggghhhhttt.

        1. zzzzzzzzzz says:

          Where did Toyota talk about *long* range battery cars? It is just Tesla’s “conquer the world” obsession to push battery cars to the edge where they are worst. They make much more sense both economically and environmentally when used as commuter vehicle.
          Adding 1000 pounds of toxic batteries produced in dirty industrial process to increase car weight and cost beyond mass market level, and do not use them most of the time makes no sense whatsoever.

          1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

            As usual, nothing whatsoever you write when bashing Tesla is true.

            Tesla battery packs have such low toxicity that they can be legally dumped into a landfill, even if you ignore the growing aftermarket for used EV battery packs.

            1. zzzzzzzzzz says:

              Check Guardian, really leftist media:
              https://www.theguardian.com/vital-signs/2015/jun/10/tesla-batteries-environment-lithium-elon-musk-powerwall
              “In a 2013 report, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Design for the Environment program concluded that batteries using nickel and cobalt, like lithium-ion batteries, have the “highest potential for environmental impacts”. It cited negative consequences like mining, global warming, environmental pollution and human health impacts.”
              You may rejoice Trump the president, he promised to dismantle EPA and you may be able just dump lithium batteries in landfills!

              So far recycling of Tesla batteries is yet another giga-vaporware, they just store them for the future. It certainly can be done technically, but it is not what is done so far as it is not economical. Anyway I certainly would not want to work in Congo cobalt mine or spend any time near cell producing or recyling line.
              “THOUSANDS OF MINERS IN CONGO DIG BY HAND. CHILDREN, TOO.”
              https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/business/batteries/congo-cobalt-mining-for-lithium-ion-battery/

              1. floydboy says:

                OK! That’s it! The right wing bubble simply does NOT have the needed oxygen to support normal brain function! The paranoid dilerium and incoherent babbling, are dead giveaways you’ve been in too long!

                Step outside for a while, get some fresh air! That’s an order!!

              2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

                Please do explain to us how much better burning gas in a gasmobile every day is for the environment than disposing of low-toxicity batteries just once. /snark

                “Lithium-ion is also benign — the battery contains little toxic material.”

                http://batteryuniversity.com/learn/article/health_concerns

              3. Priusmaniac says:

                What you point to is not related to a specific product but general to whatever can be produced by a sub supplier at lower cost to a front supplier by using lower wage, bad work conditions, child work or even slavery. It can be for part of the black market of minerals but also for sweatshop T-shirts, for shoes, for leather products, for prawns, for fish, for cotton, for bananas, for coffee even for software and computer parts. Whenever sub suppliers are possible, whenever it provides a lower price, you will have that kind of effect. The only solution to that is a ban on black market goods and sub suppliers, thereby imposing vertical integration from mine to i-phone. Since that is hard to realize the next best thing is using supply certification chains but that can have his own problems like what has been shown by the falsified FSC wood certificate scandals.

                Now on the other side of the chain, it also poses problems because when your family’s only means of subsistence is the black market supply to sub suppliers, if that is somehow stopped it means you are left without anything and literally starving. The ideal would be that those people could find jobs at official mines but those use heavy machinery operated by just a reduced number of people, in a sense monopolizing the means of extraction, so it is impossible for them to employ all those, by hand, workers.

                This is not an easy problem and minerals extraction is only an example of the problem.

                I think at one moment global robotisation will make the problem global for almost everybody. That is the threshold when something new will have to be implemented.

                Fast forward on Mars, when a few generations of colonists will have passed, the same problems will occur but this time with an even more stressing situation where people will be left not only with food problems but with breathing air problems. It will come to the point that perhaps the main discovery of the new Mars colony will be that some sort of basic needs revenue is indeed necessary to implement if a civilization is to be called advanced at all. A limited form of communism may be a necessary burden of advanced civilization

          2. Get Real says:

            More “toxic” FUD by Big Oil/Fool Cell propagandist zzzzzzz as he/she endlessly re-tells the anti-EV propaganda by the Koch Heads and other fossil fool industries.

            Zzzzzz perpetuating the right wing myth of toxic batteries wreaking havoc:

            http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1044372_who-knew-a-car-battery-is-the-worlds-most-recycled-product

            https://cleantechnica.com/2016/05/12/lithium-mining-vs-oil-sands-meme-thorough-response/

            1. G2 says:

              Thanks for that Cleantechnica article.

      2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        Let us take a moment to sympathize for hardcore “fool cell” fanboy zzzzzzzzzz, and consider just how much harder it’s going to be for him to pretend to believe the absolute nonsense he posts in bashing EVs and promoting “fool cell” cars.

        …or not. BWA HA HA HA HA!!
        😀 😀 😀

        1. zzzzzzzzzz says:

          Pu-pu, you are really good zealot!
          St. Elon loves you just like all his cult members. He told load and clear that “your faith will be rewared”!!! Just continue to believe and ignore everything that contradicts your great faith!

          p.s. You can mortgage your house and buy more Tesla shares now.

          1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

            I suppose it’s understandable that you want to believe lots of people make Internet posts only for selfish reasons, and routinely post things they know aren’t true.

            You want to believe that because you don’t want to admit to yourself that — fortunately — you’re in the very tiny minority of hardcore FUDsters.

            What would we do without you posting FUD here on a daily or even hourly basis? I dunno, but I’d sure like to find out!

      3. Doctoxics says:

        How do you defend the fact that hundreds of thousands of 100% battery electric cars are on the road and Toyota has not made one. Toyota couldn’t see that fuel cell cars were not going to work? Toyota has top engineers. Did they just make a mistake, or were they trying to protect their ICE sales, hoping that everyone else would do the same. Like VW after the scandal, Toyota needs to explain their deception and get on with making a compelling battery electric car. We all know they can do it.

    2. ItsNotAboutTheMoney says:

      Trying to save face in time for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, perhaps.

      The Japanese government wants there to be a big splash with HFCV there, but:
      – multiple manufacturers, mainstream and premium, are expected to have long-range BEVs hitting the market well before then
      – cheaper BEVs are going to push over 100 miles of range
      – more and better PHEVs are hitting the market
      – annual plug-in sales are already over 500k.
      – there’s a very good prospect of annual PEV sales being in the millions by the time of the Tokyo opening ceremony.
      – battery prices are falling rapidly, reaching the point where usage for static storage is growing

      Making a big show of HFCV only could be very embarrassing.

      1. zzzzzzzzzz says:

        “more and better PHEVs are hitting the market”

        Plugin hybrids can be either ICE or fuel cell. Are you going to advocate for ICE superiority here?
        “Over 100” or “over 200 miles” range is not enough for long distance travel even if you’ll manage to make these “over 200” cars to reach mainstream price level by 2020.

        1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          An ICE vehicle engineered for high fuel efficiency is superior to a hydrogen-powered fool cell car in every possible way, including being less polluting on a well-to-wheel basis.

          That’s just one of many reasons why fool cell cars will never become commonplace. Everyone who’s not a diehard fool cell fanboy should be capable of understanding that.

          https://cleantechnica.com/2014/06/04/hydrogen-fuel-cell-vehicles-about-not-clean/

          1. zzzzzzzzzz says:

            Big Oil conspirators express gratitude and sense of thankfulness, and appreciation for life to the famous Musk zealot Pu-pu. The say
            “Yes, you are absolutely right Pu-pu, ICE is here and it must stay forever.”

            1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

              If the only choices were gasmobiles and fool cell cars, then of course it would be better for the environment, and therefore for every person — even you, altho you’ll never admit it — if fool cell cars were all to disappear tomorrow.

              Fortunately, long-range plug-in EVs are rapidly becoming a real choice for more and more car owners. So is using rooftop solar power to power them.

            2. Priusmaniac says:

              Fool cells means energy waste but also high Platinum demand. Is Platinum mining clean? So you are back to what you claimed against Cobalt mining. EV may not be perfect but it is the best we have found so far.

  14. Sublime says:

    Wait I’ve been driving WILD li-ion LEAFs for the past 4 years?!?! I’m lucky to be alive!

    1. Lou Grinzo says:

      After reading this article I had to dash out to my garage and verify that the Leaf I thought I’d been driving since 3/2013 was real.

      It is. Nobody panic. Except for, you know, companies that are painfully behind on EV development and marketing.

      1. John Hollenberg says:

        5 1/2 years in my Leaf, 56,000 miles haven’t seen any of the battery evaporate or explode. The future was here a long time ago, it is just becoming more obvious.

        PS to zzzzzzzzzzzzzz (AKA FUDster): yes, I do dust off my ICE vehicle for longer trips 4 times a year, otherwise it just stays on the battery tender so it is ready to go on the rare occasions I need it.

  15. pjwood1 says:

    I’m sure all of us have noticed the advertisers attaching everything from gruesome pictures of illness, to the Elio. I used to get TUV SUD ad banners, on how to “engineer out battery fires”. Can’t find the exact image, but here’s a slide from the petrol related company:

    Toyota, you’re making milk come out of my nose.

  16. gary grommon says:

    This a full of BS press release trying to act like 100 of thousands of cars on the road are somehow lacking. This is just downright dishonest.

  17. Taser54 says:

    Once again, EV “proponents” attack a company for entering the BEV market.

    Job well done.

    1. zzzzzzzzzz says:

      These are Musk culties, not EV proponents and certainly not greenies.

      1. ItsNotAboutTheMoney says:

        No, we’re all very happy at Toyota’s volte face

        It’s just that part of happiness is schadenfreude.

        1. zzzzzzzzzz says:

          Sorry to disappoint dear Tesla fans, but your schadenfreude is about imaginary alternate reality thing. Last time I have checked, Toyota was still most profitable automaker in the world, producing most cars/trucks/SUVs. Neither do they changed their plans, they are doing exactly what they had planned to do few years ago or last decade.

          1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

            Dude! Your sputtering is getting spittle all over my computer screen. 😉

            Speaking of schadenfreude — that’s what I’m experiencing right now. In spades! Thanks for making my day… heck, my week!

            1. zzzzzzzzzz says:

              You are welcome!
              But I would still suggest to take your meds to avoid getting completely loose.

              1. Mel4EV says:

                Can we please block posters who are obviously on Koch brothers payroll?

          2. ItsNotAboutTheMoney says:

            Wait, you wrote above that …

            “In 2020, hybrid will be mainstream. If you can have two cars, then by 2020, you will likely have one tiny city commuter car that is pure electric. Your regular car will be a hybrid.”

            So that long-range BEV that Toyota’s going to develop will be a tiny city car?

      2. speculawyer says:

        Oh pfffft. We are LEAF owners, Volt owner, Tesla owners, and owners of all sorts of other plug-in cars.

    2. speculawyer says:

      Attack? No, not at all. Just having a hearty laugh at a company that screwed up badly.

  18. Tim says:

    I’ve always thought the hydrogen cars were their way of continuing to bet on their capital expenditures on Prius technology until such time that that hedge bet no longer worked and that time by as now come announced by their 4 engineers.

    1. zzzzzzzzzz says:

      “In 2020, hybrid will be mainstream. If you can have two cars, then by 2020, you will likely have one tiny city commuter car that is pure electric. Your regular car will be a hybrid.

      The pure hybrid will be the majority, next volume down will be the plug-in hybrid. Plug-ins can use pure electricity without people worrying about the range. Eventually, city commuter EVs will become popular. And of course, the conventional car will still remain on the market – especially in the developing countries, but even in Japan.”

      This was said by Toyota Chief Engineer Satoshi Ogiso with Japan in context. Do you think this year? No, in 2011.

      1. Kdawg says:

        It seems like the cost of batteries + electronics has come down enough, and will continue to go down, that at some point, it doesn’t make sense to make a hybrid that *doesn’t* have a plug.

        Look at the Prius Prime vs. the regular Prius. There’s not a whole lot of cost difference there. And if you get the tax credit it’s actually cheaper for the plug-in. I don’t think Toyota will be making a profit on the PP for a while, but it’s just a matter of time, and that time is getting shorter & shorter.

        A big game changer for PHEVs would be a lower cost range extender that was designed from a blank sheet of paper to be a range extender. So far we’ve only seen modified ICEs.

  19. Steve says:

    It doesn’t really matter in the long run what they say. They’re getting into BEVs, somewhat near the back of the pack… but all packs always have someone at the front and someone at the back and someone has to be at the back of this one… in this case it’s Toyota.

    No-one will remember the Mirai or FCEVs because frankly, hardly anyone is exposed to it. It’ll just be a footnote for nerdy car geek discussions. The only thing the majority of people will know about is the transition from gasoline/diesel to BEV.

    Toyota still has huge industrial resources and hopefully can make a genuine contribution to the transition.

    1. Priusmaniac says:

      Not really. The fool cell car effectively served its purpose of retarding ev advance by diverting financial resources and focus away from ev. Precious transition period years were lost as a consequence. So, it cannot just be forgotten. Toyota will pay the price in the form of customers loss and a certain probation period. Trust was spoiled, it doesn’t spontaneously come back.

  20. JP DeCaen says:

    STOP LAUGHiNG! They might launch a surprise Kamikaze attack on the Tesla plants with thousands of self driving Corollas. Oh wait, they don’t have self driving yet. Guess they have to tame that lion too.

  21. Another Euro point of view says:

    A Californian start awash with venture capital cash making EV’s is one thing but for Toyota to decide to invest their very hard-won Yen’s in EV’s, that is history.

    1. ffbj says:

      It will be some day, but first they have make something.

  22. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

    “While rivals including Tesla Motors and Nissan Motor Co began adopting lithium-ion battery technology nearly a decade ago, Toyota has largely held back due to concerns over cost, size and safety.”

    Or maybe it’s that the executives in charge of Toyota obstinately refused to see the handwriting on the wall, and stupidly pursued “fool cell” technology while repeatedly and loudly insisting that there wasn’t a market for BEVs.

    Good to see that the groupthink in Toyota management has come to at least one of its senses. 🙄

    But hey, it’s nice that Toyota officially recognized Tesla Motors as a “rival”. There are a few very loud Tesla bashers who keep trying to tell it’s not! 😉

  23. speculawyer says:

    LOL! What a farce.

    They made up a silly story to have a face-saving excuse for being SO LATE to the EV market.

    Sadly, in this post-truth world that BS story will work because most people are clueless.

  24. HVACman says:

    The two largest auto manufacturers in the world are Toyota and GM. They fear each other far more than they fear Tesla or Nissan. GM just gave Toyota (and Ford, FCA, BMW, Hyundai, Nissan, etc.) a schooling on EV technology by conceptualizing, engineering and bringing to retail production the world’s first everyman-priced EV with 200+ miles of range, as if it were “business as usual”. Talk about a shot fired across Toyota’s bow!

    With this news, though, I wonder if Mary Barra is thinking, “We may have awoke a sleeping giant”.

    As Toyota now enters the fray, the EV wars have really begun. This will be fun to watch.

    1. Kdawg says:

      I hope Toyota makes something like a BEV Camry. I think we have enough compact BEVs. There’s definitely a hole in the *affordable* midsize area. Even better would be to bring back the BEV Rav4, but give it a 200+ mile range.

  25. Ct200h says:

    I have to admit the Bolt may have pushed Toyota along the ev path a little faster.

  26. AlphaEdge says:

    Wow, you think that a car manufacturer as big as Toyota, people would be happy around here, but just the same old, back clapping, Tesla cultists spouting their insecurities and ridicule.

    Personally, I welcome this news.

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      Wut?

      Dude, nobody needs to be a “cultist” to know that Toyota has famously and repeatedly been claiming that there is no future in BEVs. Every EV advocate should be happy to see Toyota finally quit denying reality.

      So why are you here?

      If there is a “cult” here, it’s the cult of those who find it necessary to make unprovoked attacks on anyone who says anything positive about Tesla Motors.

      Next time you’re tempted to write “spouting their insecurities and ridicule,” try looking in a mirror first.

  27. Brett says:

    Either that or Lithium Batteries tamed Toyota, and now they’re ready to enter. You just have to re-arrange the words to see what they mean to say.

  28. agzand says:

    Toyota is all about making money. Their margins are huge for a mass market auto company. They won’t make BEVs unless they can make money on them. This press release only means they can now make money on BEVs soon, so they will start making them.

    1. Kdawg says:

      I think this is more about staying relevant. They make the Mirai and lose $50K (if not more) on every one.

      1. agzand says:

        That doesn’t contradict what I said. They lose $50k now, but they will make money in the future. They lost money on the first Prius, but now they have sold 9 million hybrid cars.

        1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          Nobody is ever going to make a real profit on building and selling an absurdly unworkable technology like cars powered by compressed hydrogen gas. There might be fuel cell cars in the future, but they certainly won’t be powered by compressed H2. You might as well claim steam-engine cars will make a comeback!

          If Toyota makes any money off the Mirai, it’s mostly from subsidies from the Japanese government.

          A quote:

          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
          Subsidies for the Mirai ($63,000 in Japan) will amount to $25,500 in some regions of the country, Bloomberg reported. Reuters said the total government subsidies could “top $400 million.”
          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

          full article here:
          http://www.fuelcellcars.com/toyotas-1500-mirai-orders-backed-by-government-commitment/

  29. Bill Howland says:

    ‘Groupthink at Toyota Management’.

    I remember a few years ago they said the “MIRAI is going to be much, much bigger to GREEN customers than even the Prius has been”.

    I remember my impression at the time.

    “WHAT!!!!??? How could the Mirai possibly be a winner for Toyota if there are only a few very expensive places in the world where you can ‘refuel’, – yet you can refuel an EV with electricity almost anywhere – even if u have to throw an extension cord out of a window’.

    I’m not a “CULTIST”, but I do think its obvious that EV’s are here to stay, and Its not because I own them – I’m seeing more and more PHEV’s (almost all VOLTS because they WERE the value leader here in pretty poor Buffalo).

    This new Prius PHEV seems to be the NEW Value Leader – and while I’m not personally interested in the car – many prius fans certainly will be, and it should sell in huge numbers.

    All these companies seem to feel the need to self-congratulate.

    Technology will improve due to the efforts of many companies and hundreds of suppliers, all making many tiny incremental improvements – most won’t get any applause.

    SO Just get on with it Toyota, and start putting some of your “safe improved batteries” in some bigger cars as well – and come out with a few models with 88 kwh batteries, not just 8.8. But so far, so good.

  30. Terawatt says:

    Toyota, enemy of the public, is forced to admit electric cars are coming? Lovely news. I know it’s not yet the tipping point, but it no longer seems especially optimistic to say that might be as soon as 2020. At the start of this year it seemed like the consensus was 2025.

    I doubt they’ll make one of any interest to me though. Most of their cars are reliable but soulless boxes for people who have given up and don’t mind advertising the fact. (GT86 is an honourable exception.)

    1. Sublime says:

      The GT86 is a subaru product. Don’t let Toyota fool you. They did little more than supply the parts bin.

  31. Lou Grinzo says:

    This is all so, so reminiscent of the things said inside IBM (where I worked) in the early days of the PC. The overwhelming majority of people I interacted with were positive that big, centralized computing power (i.e. mainframes) would never be replaced by desktop or portable computers. And no one predicted the model we have now (distributed computing with a lot of centralized storage on the web and in the cloud).

    1. Kdawg says:

      Interesting w/the cloud becoming more popular every year, a lot of the processing has gone back to a central location again. At least until I can get something like IBM’s Watson in the size of a laptop 😀

  32. Doctoxics says:

    Great discussion. Let us not forget that Toyota stands to lose 70 % of their revenue and profits if they replace ICE cars with 100 % battery electric cars. When VW recently announced plans to go battery electric, they told their unions that there would be a loss of 20,000 jobs. Lost revenue and profits, lost jobs, stranded assets, etc. Easy to see why ICE manufacturers resist 100 % battery electric cars. However, they deny us compelling electric cars and block our efforts to slow the warming of the planet.

    1. whereismycoffee says:

      Yes. See the Bolt. Drivetrain built by LG. Much of the automobile companies’ expertise becomes obsolete with a switch to BEV. Then consider all of the electronics involved as well as software requirements and companies like LG are building more and more of the automobile.

  33. G2 says:

    Better late than never Toyota.
    Now get out there and ‘wow’ us (while parking the FCEV in the company museum).

    1. Ct200h says:

      +1 couldn’t agree more.

      They have plenty of museums and space within them.
      Put real EV’s on the road and leave the fuel cells in the history books for now.

  34. William says:

    Toyota is now a contender in the EV market. It will take them how many years to play catch up with the Chevy Bolt and The Tesla Model 3 after its launch in the next 12 months?