Toyota President Says Electric Cars Farther Out Than “The Media Would Like Us To Believe”

Morningdumptopev

Good morning! Today we’re talking about electric cars, bikes, and buses (oh my!). All this and more in today’s issue of The Morning Dump.

Welcome to The Morning Dump, bite-sized stories corralled into a single article for your morning perusal. If your morning coffee’s working a little too well, pull up a throne and have a gander at the best of the rest of yesterday.

Akio Toyoda Throws Cold Water On EV Dreams

AkiosupraToyota President Akio Toyoda was in Las Vegas this week, but not to gamble or even catch Aerosmith’s residency (Toyoda is a known “Honkin’ on Bobo” fan). It’s the annual dealer meeting and our man in Aichi had some feels about this whole electrification thing going on. Per Automotive News:

Electric vehicles “are just going to take longer than the media would like us to believe,” Toyoda told the dealers during their meeting. He pledged to offer the “widest possible” array of powertrains to propel cars cleanly. “That’s our strategy and we’re sticking to it.”

“Some are racing to a finish line of all-electric,” he said in the prepared remarks released prior to his meeting with journalists. Toyoda is working in all markets and segments to reduce carbon emissions as rapidly as possible and “does not see a finish line until Toyota gets to carbon neutrality.”

Toyota is still long on hydrogen and is absolutely correct that tossing EVs into developing markets, as we’ve discussed, ain’t gonna work yet. If you love Toyotas and want an EV, no worries, they’re still going to make plenty of those.

That’s Not Gonna Stop New York From Joining California

California has decided to ban non-electrified car sales starting in 2035 which, it’s worth remembering, is about 13 years away. New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced yesterday that New York is following suit. In her statement:

“New York is a national climate leader and an economic powerhouse, and we’re using our strength to help spur innovation and implementation of zero-emission vehicles on a grand scale,” Governor Hochul said. “With sustained state and federal investments, our actions are incentivizing New Yorkers, local governments, and businesses to make the transition to electric vehicles. We’re driving New York’s transition to clean transportation forward, and today’s announcement will benefit our climate and the health of our communities for generations to come.”

If this makes Ford build the plug-in hybrid Maverick then I’m here for it, frankly.

Harley LiveWire SPAC Raises Less Money Than Expected

EvlivewireSPAC, which stands for “So Much Money, Probably, ActuallyCrap…” was one of those weird pandemic-era ideas wherein a company could skip the normal, difficult IPO process and go public real quick. It worked for a few companies, but has also failed for many others.

Harley Davidson’s EV brand, LiveWire, was supposed to use a SPAC to bring in a ton of money for the company’s electrification ambitions. Did it work? Here’s Bloomberg on Tuesday:

The company, which went public through a combination with a blank-check firm, brought in $295 million in net proceeds through the listing, a spokesperson said Tuesday. That’s far short of the $545 million anticipated when the deal was announced in December.

After an initial surge, the shares fell 7.1% at 2:27 p.m. in New York, valuing the company at about $2 billion. LiveWire originally expected an equity value of $2.3 billion at close.

It’s Friday, let’s see how they closed yesterday… You know what. Maybe don’t look.

But It’s A Good Time For EV Buses

EvbluebirdCiting a huge amount of demand, the EPA is going to basically double the amount of money given to local school districts to increase their electric bus fleets. From Cleveland.com:

The funding is being increased to $965 million, nearly doubling the $500 million that was made available in May. The EPA says in a news release there has been “overwhelming demand” for electric school buses, with about 2,000 applications requesting nearly $4 billion for more than 12,000 buses.

[…]

“America’s school districts delivered this message loud and clear – we must replace older, dirty diesel school buses,” EPA Director Michael Regan said in a statement. “Together, we can reduce climate pollution, improve air quality, and reduce the risk of health impacts like asthma for as many as 25 million children who ride the bus every day.”

Absolutely. School buses, which park for long periods of time and run mostly identical and compact routes every day, are the ideal use case for electrification. Also, no one expects them to be light, so tossing some batteries under the floor doesn’t seriously impact performance of a vehicle you don’t want to be fast.

The Flush

Whelp, time to drop the lid on today’s edition of The Morning Dump. It’s Friday and I’m curious how you feel about electrification. Is it coming soon? A million years away? Is your current or next car going to be electric? I sincerely want a PHEV Maverick and would put down a deposit as soon as they offered one.

 

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95 Responses

  1. Will also add these market and political goals 75% electric by 2030, 100% EV by 2035, seem kind of silly to me, you can’t just flip a switch, we will need to build infrastructure to make it work, not just electrical grid, charging stations. Say you get charging time down to 20 minutes, you can fill up an ICE vehicle in five. Now imagine the mega gas stations and truck stops with twenty-four or more pumping stations. So 80 charging station or more energy stops? Where did I park my car? I am not anti electric, but if everybody is driving them a lot of things have to change beyond a few charging stations in parking garages.

  2. The electric bus and local delivery trucks, etc., make the most sense for EV right now. This has been beat in to the ground, but I agree these make the most sense for sooner EV adoption. This will also help EV technology and infrastructure roll out.

    1. Torch did a really good article at the old site about how school buses are also a great way to wring the life out of battery packs after they’ve lost enough capacity to not really work in the original vehicle. Kind of how I have a box of AA batteries that don’t work for my kid’s toys anymore but will still work for a TV remote.
      The TL;DR summary of the article is that buses have a ton of space for flat batteries, they generally don’t have terribly long range requirements, they have a lot of stop and go driving, and would be able to charge for about 6 hours between uses. One other benefit is their charging time would be during peak solar generation time for sunbelt schools bus parking awnings. It really has potential to be a win-win-win scenario.

    2. This is the way I see it too. And thankfully, since most of those types of vehicles are diesel, or beat up old carbureted petrol powered machines, going EV on those should have outsized impacts on air quality in cities. If I were King of the World, I’d mandate those first, and then think about what we can do for apartment dwellers and the rural poor next.

      Consider this my campaign announcement. D9 for Emissions King Of Planet Earth in 2023!!!!

  3. I wish I were more eloquent. Electrification of cars should take as long as it needs to so it’s done correctly. Artificial time schedules will lead to compromise solutions and financial burdens on the average consumer. Concentrate on electricity and infrastructure and let this self driving fantasy go. The goal is better environment, not lazy drivers. Don’t be like these awful car shows with a lot of sparks and screaming about time constraints. We know it’s fake drama. Mass transit and delivery vehicles are absolutely the best test beds.
    I admit I’m not excited about electric cars because in twenty years, I probably won’t be here. I’m interested in my grandchildren’s future but I can’t shell out a ton of money to be a beta test. The younger generation will be forced to make the ICE vs electric decision. I honestly feel sorry for them.

  4. >>> If you love Toyotas and want an EV, no worries, they’re still going to make plenty of those.

    What Battery EV can I buy now from Toyota in the state where the majority of all EVs are sold (California)?

    This is an old man who either:
    1. Sees Toyota’s future in developing markets not yet ready for electrification,
    2. Doesn’t see the writing on the wall or
    3. Is in denial about the future.

    Failing to have EVs now will mean that when more buyers go looking for EVs, they simply won’t look at Toyota.

    1. You can order a Toyota Busy Forks, but it looks like it may be a few more weeks before the recall’s taken care of and they’re back on streets.

      Very much agree though. Electric cars are here today. As of the last couple of years there’s viable options across multiple segments and brands. There’s big gaps, but they’re shrinking by the year.

  5. Honestly BEVs do not make sense for high speed long distance travel, that’s where very efficient hybrids make the most sense.

    In order to make BEVs travel long distances at high speeds you have compromise durability, ground clearance, practical storage space, curb weight, etc.

    To make the most of the relatively low energy density of BEV batteries you need to make the cars very aerodynamic, make the drivetrains very efficient, and even then you still have to stuff an obscenely heavy amount of batteries in there for it to have a decently long range at highway speeds.

    In order to improve aerodynamics the automakers lower the cars lower than their ICE and ICE hybrid counterparts, and they make their cars more teardrop shaped which is the opposite of what you want for hauling stuff, just look at Subaru’s new (Toyota) BEV, it’s the ANTI-Subaru, with that stupid slanted hatch unless you’re hauling a lot of triangular shaped stuff that storage space is near useless.

    In order to improve drivetrain efficiency the drivetrains are lightened obscenely compromising on the durability of said drivetrain and more often than not low profile tires are used which compromises the durability of the tires, wheels, and drivetrain components.

    Even with all of these measures the automakers still have to stuff a ton or more of batteries into the vehicle to get to have decent range.

    The Aptera is promising but considering how the laws are currently there better be room for helmets in the cabin, because some states require you to wear helmets even in enclosed “motorcycles”.

    I think fun second cars should be BEVs, not main cars (for most people). How many people would have it worse if their Miata or their Wrangler was a BEV? They can drive it around town whenever they want for pennies on the dollar, no oil changes needed, no emission’s testing, likely much lower insurance rates, etc. Trying to make what should be boring commuter cars into fun electric cars is just a waste of batteries and money. If everyone drove boring Prius like non plug in hybrids for commuters but had fun and unique BEVs for their fun rides do you think the world would be worse off? By going that route we’d use our limited supplies of batteries most efficiently, with people’s in town vehicles being BEVs and their long distance high speed commuters being hybrids.

    It would make BEVs cheaper with less compromises for certain.

    1. “In order to make BEVs travel long distances at high speeds you have compromise durability, ground clearance, practical storage space, curb weight, etc.”
      Is any of that true though? Something like a Model Y has up to 76 cubic feet of storage with 2 passengers but can optionally seats up to 7 people. Compare to a similar Rav4 which has 70 cubic feet. Pop up to a Model X and you’ve got 92 cubic feet of cargo. I would say EVs have even more practical storage space, because your center console can be mega deep since there isn’t a transmission tunnel. Also the frunk!

      Current-gen EVs both charge quickly and have pretty respectable range. Model Y has 318 miles, Model S has 405 miles. Lucid Air GT has 410 and Lucid Air upcoming Dream trim should be 520. That is more than a lot of gas cars!

      And with charging speed of many modern EVs, not just Tesla but like the Hyundai Ioniq 5, to charge up to 80% in 20 minute or less, means they are perfectly capable of long distance highway driving too.

      1. How much of the Model Y’s storage is usable? How much of the Model X’s storage is usable?

        Considering our preferred storage container is the box curvy cars are not well suited for holding boxes, that’s why basically all semi truck trailers and all vans have rectangular shaped storage compartments. Stuff like Bjorn Nyland’s banana box test make a lot more sense that cubic ft of storage in a car like the Model Y.

        Honestly the frunk and the center console are rarely practical storage space. The F-150 lightning is a great example of having a usable frunk but that’s because they’re building it off an existing ICE platform that has a hood that is too long anywho. Center consoles can be useful but I’ve never heard anyone talk about how they need a deeper center console.

        Yes the advertised range of those vehicles is alright. But that’s brand new in optimal conditions going at very low speeds for highways nowadays, testing range at 80 MPH makes much more sense. So lets subtract a quarter of the advertised range. In winter they can lose half or more of their range. So halve that range. Now your Model Y has an ~119.25 mile range at highway speeds in the winter, and that’s without factoring in battery degradation with age and use.

        And the Model Y is no slouch in the BEV market.

        You can get a Rav4 Hybrid with AWD-e That gets 41 MPG HWY and 38 City for $30K. That’s less than half the price of the cheapest new Model Y with AWD. And I bet they’ll both last about the same amount of time on the road. That same Rav4 Hybrid uses a fraction of the batteries than the Model Y needs.

        Honestly I quite like the Model Y, though it’s a bit too cookie cutter for me. That being said the cost in batteries and the cost in pollution it takes to make those batteries is too great per car. I think the Batteries would be much more efficiently used in smaller cheaper BEV city cars to reduce pollution in the cities and more cheap fuel efficient hybrids to reduce pollution in general everywhere until better batteries can be made for cheaper out of materials that do not require tons of pollution to extract and refine.

  6. Already have one – have had my ’17 Volt for 5.5 years now. Best of both worlds at this point – meaningful electric range that gets me basically anywhere I might need to go in a regular day fully on battery, and a small gas tank/range extender should I need to take a longer trip.

    And it is a hatchback so it has the cargo capacity of approximately half a house.

  7. I would buy an EV if prices matched similar ICE vehicles. If they did then I would feel like I was saving money buying it, not breaking even 5 years I to ownership.

    The target market for EVs should be people like me, multiple car owners, have a house and a garage, live in small cities or suburbs (where houses and garage space is relatively cheap). I would not want an electric as my only car, but would be fine with one as a commuter. I would be fine with 200 mile range, even a little less, more concerned with price equity with ICE and a little style.

    If course I have been shopping for a good condition first generation Honda Insight too (I love the single purpose design of the car, and like small cars), so I am probably kind of weird.

    1. Is the price that different as it stands right now? Tesla Model 3 is comparable to a BMW 3 series. The BMW is in the $42k-$65k range where Model 3 is in the $48k-70k range. Actually bringing up the BMW 3 series just by itself is a good comparison, because the 330i gas is $42k and the 330e electric is $43k, and the 330i xDrive gas is $44k and the 330e xDrive electric is $45k, literally a $1k difference in both cases to electrify!

      If you really want an inexpensive EV, they’re out there. 2023 Chevy Bolt is $25,600 but when the tax credit gets renewed 1/1/23, it will start at $18,100. Compare that against a similarly sized gas hachback, like VW GTI which starts at $30k+, or even something like the Subaru Impreza or Toyota Corolla or Mazda3 which all start at $20k, or the Honda Civic which starts at $23k. Chevy Spark, Kia Rio, and Mitsubishi Mirage are the only other hatchbacks in the sub $20k area but they are all well-known penalty boxes.

  8. I think the EV ‘revolution’ is going to be a long drawn out affair that may never reach everybody owning one. I think a transition to more working from home and minimizing unnecessary travel is more likely and more feasible. Emissions and global warming are such a multi-faceted problem, just saying everyone needs an EV won’t fix it.

    Personally, I will resist owning an EV as long as I am able. I see the appeal and practical applications for some people.. but for me, personally, I’m just not interested.

    1. “Emissions and global warming are such a multi-faceted problem, just saying everyone needs an EV won’t fix it.”
      That has been the single most frustrating thing about the discussion. Everyone wants there to be a silver bullet and decries anything that isn’t the end-all be-all answer, but global warming is going to be solved by eliminating 5% here, 10% there, etc… But those kind of things aren’t sexy and don’t make headlines.

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