The folks at Toyota in Japan can be pretty blunt about electric-vehicle technology prospects as a viable transportation alternative to the internal combustion engine. Here in the states? Slightly more sanguine.

Toyota global head of research and development Mitsuhisa Kato, according to Automotive News, discounts the potential of substantial EV sales in the near future because the appropriate technology that provides comparable driving distances and fill-up times relative to conventional vehicles doesn't yet exist. While Toyota has been conducting testing programs with shorter-commute-distance EVs in countries such as Japan and France, its only production EV in the US is the RAV4 EV, and Toyota sold just 546 of those in the States during the first half of the year. Toyota is much more excited about the debut of its first hydrogen fuel-cell production vehicle, in both Japan and the US, next year.

Toyota Motor North America spokeswoman Jana Hartline was a little more charitable when discussing the EV's prospects in an interview with AutoblogGreen. "For shorter range, EVs serve a really great purpose, but as far as having equal mile range to an internal combustion engine, there's going to need to be some serious breakthroughs," Hartline said. "And that where the fuel cell comes in."

Last month, Toyota said its fuel-cell sedan that will debut in Japan next April will be priced at about $69,000, though the company emphasized that it shouldn't be assumed it will be priced similarly in the US and Europe. Toyota hasn't released many performance details, though the sedan is expected to have a full (hydrogen) tank range of about 435 miles, or about five times that of a Nissan Leaf. Read here for Autoblog's First Drive of Toyota's fuel-cell sedan.


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  • 30 Comments
      bluepongo1
      • 3 Months Ago
      Good luck with your Rube Goldberg vehicles Toyota / Japan !!!
      jeff
      • 3 Months Ago
      I will defend Toyota here.... The have the right to be 100% wrong....
      paulwesterberg
      • 3 Months Ago
      Appropriate technology that provides comparable driving distances and fill-up times relative to conventional vehicles has been demonstrated to work in the real world. Toyota just doesn't want to pay for access to Tesla's supercharging network.
        scraejtp
        • 3 Months Ago
        @paulwesterberg
        The supercharger network is very useful, and I believe makes the Model S fully capable of long distance travel. But I would still not consider them nearly comparable to ICE driving distances and fill-up times. Most ICE cars have a range of 300+ miles, and some have a range of 500-600 miles. The Model S 85 kwh will have under 250 miles useful range at highway/interstate speeds. More importantly, an ICE car can stop at a gas station, pay, fill-up, and leave in less than 5 minutes. The Model S takes 30-40 minutes to reach 80% full.
        jeff
        • 3 Months Ago
        @paulwesterberg
        Like most people, I drive more that 200 miles in a day about two to four times a year.... Adding an hour to a 500 mile trip a few times a year is just not the big deal people are desperately trying to make it out to be...
      Joeviocoe
      • 3 Months Ago
      @ danfred311 --"You could suspect conspiracy" Not "conspiracy".... I just said there is a lot more going on. Like, yes, misjudging the demand of consumers and perhaps trying to play government incentives for compliance credits.
      brotherkenny4
      • 3 Months Ago
      This is why old guys should retire. They simply lose a grasp on reality. They are out of touch and incapable of change. Somewhat like GM, Ford and Chrysler (Fiat). Just a bunch of old fools who care not one bit for any other person on the planet. Good job there you old selfish creeps.
      paulwesterberg
      • 3 Months Ago
      Unless you catheterize yourself for bring a tub full of water & foot along most people need to stop for more than 5 minutes every 200-300 miles. Here is a good description of a long distance trip in a Model S using superchargers: http://imgur.com/a/2Ac28
      scraejtp
      • 3 Months Ago
      It seems many people are too close to the issue can't admit some of the shortcomings of EV's. They aren't perfect, and even the most extravagant ones haven't overcome the shortfalls, yet. I often make the drive between Dallas and San Antonio without stopping. (5-6 hours) Something my father can't do in his Model S. @Electric-car-insider, you should turn your Model S back in to Tesla for an award. Even documents they publish say you are getting 25+ miles further than the vehicle is capable of when essentially hypermiling at those speeds. (http://www.teslamotors.com/forum/forums/range-vs-speed-graph) I stick with my statement that a Model S will not reach 250 miles at proper interstate speeds, especially in Texas. (75-85 MPH speed limits) This isn't to say that EV's can't be used for longer road trips, but currently I would only say the Model S is capable. It is just to say that there are limitations, and likely always will be due to the energy required. The raw current that would be needed regardless of the batter technology is too high for a ~5 minute refill. While the Model S long road trip capability is hindered compared to it's ICE brethren, the daily use is much preferred. Filling up at home is much more convenient. My statement wasn't to discourage EV adoption. I have a Chevrolet Volt and love it. But statements such as paulwesterberg's are misleading at best. The fill-up times and range of EV's do not match ICE vehicles, but I don't think they need to match to be excellent alternatives.
      elctrNmbliT
      • 3 Months Ago
      After driving an EV for 2 years I no longer consider ICEs comparable to EVs in fill-up times. I might reconsider and buy and ICE someday if they can figure out how I can legally and safely pump gas in my garage. Oh and the gas needs to come from an on-site oil well and refinery that I will personally own to replace any PV panels that I own that provide electricity for my EV. Otherwise it's just a hassle to go out of my way and drive to a gas station. People will never want to do that because they are lazy.
      kinasi
      • 3 Months Ago
      Only idiots still believe in EV, hydrogen has 8 times the fuel density of the best EV battery.
        cobraphx
        • 3 Months Ago
        @kinasi
        Only idiots believe that hydrogen is a practical way to fuel a vehicle. Hydrogen as it is produced now is a Fossil fuel. No better than the Natural Gas it is generated from. It is also much harder to store and transport that the Natural Gas it is made from. It would be better for the environment to just burn the natural gas in an ICE car than to introduce all the conversion inefficiencies necessary to create, compress, transport, store dispense hydrogen and then to turn it into electricity to drive a car. "Currently, the majority of hydrogen (∼95%) is produced from fossil fuels by steam reforming or partial oxidation of methane and coal gasification with only a small quantity by other routes such as biomass gasification or electrolysis of water."
      purrpullberra
      • 3 Months Ago
      Well, if this isn't Toyota ADMITTING DEFEAT at the hands of Tesla they must be insane. Tesla has the technology that is plenty good enough to sell tens of thousands of cars, billions in sales (by paid deposits; maybe 100k and they've been able to sell them for 2 years now). Toyota has no ability to build a Supercharger network. Toyota has no ability to do extremely fast battery swaps. Toyota can't build a large, quality battery. Toyota can't build a efficient, powerful, dense electric motor. Toyota was gladly eating Tesla's EV crumbs to build their single most capable EV. Toyota's experience with Prius hasn't been leveraged ONE BIT to help them electrify cars as well as Tesla does. Tesla is light-years ahead of Toyota and they have more customers than they can handle! This sad admission is nothing more than a self fulfilling prophecy from people who can't even be honest with consumers. Saying one thing in Japan and another, opposite thing here. Yuck! Just like they ignored the quality issues that turned Toyota execs into criminals who just barely escaped prosecution. But pretending Tesla isn't enjoying unprecedented success by selling awesome EV's around the world makes this entire company, especially it's executives, demented liars. Maybe they should work at TEPCO, they seem to be equally terrible people/corporate robots.
        kinasi
        • 3 Months Ago
        @purrpullberra
        Are you drunk? Tesla sells 2000 cars per month. Toyota sells that amount in a day.
      BipDBo
      • 3 Months Ago
      Toyota is just convinced that people don't want to plug-in but rather keep filling up at a station.
      JakeY
      • 3 Months Ago
      "Toyota hasn't released many performance details, though the sedan is expected to have a full (hydrogen) tank range of about 435 miles, or about five times that of a Nissan Leaf." This exactly shows the problem with comparing numbers with different ratings. The 435 miles is on the Japanese JC08 cycle, which the 2014 Leaf gets 141 miles (228km) on, so about 3.09x. Translated to the EPA cycle it'll be 260 miles vs 84 miles for the Leaf. So once again the Toyota execs are living in a world where the Model S doesn't exist when talking about how EVs don't have enough range with current technology.
        Joeviocoe
        • 3 Months Ago
        @JakeY
        Assuming that any Plug In "absolutely needs to be comparable to ICE range and refuel time" is another example. Why don't most passenger have a 30 gallons or more tank? It doesn't cost much more... and if they trade the spare tire for an Inflator, they could fit it without sacrificing cargo. Why??? Because there is not much of a benefit from extra range. Once a driver doesn't have to stop to refuel more than once every week or two... And can drive a long enough highway distance that a break is needed anyway... So 15-18 gallons is plenty for any consumer. Since plug in vehicles take about 5 seconds to plug/unplug, and 10 seconds every day (for about 70 seconds total per week... there is no inconvenience of a weekly stop at the station. And with proper fast charging infrastructure... the road trips are manageable too Ergo... a Plug In DOES NOT need equivalent range of an ICEV.
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