cancel
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
Hagerty
Hagerty Employee

Unlikely Skeptic: Japan Inc. expresses doubts about the all-electric future

Skeptics of the autonomous, battery-electric, carbon-free future heavily hawked by the auto industry have found an unlikely ally in the nation of Japan. Or, at least, in Akio Toyoda, the president of Toyota Motor Corp.
https://www.hagerty.com/media/magazine-features/unlikely-skeptic-japan-inc-expresses-doubts-about-th...
165 REPLIES 165
limoguy
Detailer

Exactly so. This is top down government mandate.
Oldroad1
Technician

Carbon neutrality is physically impossible on planet Earth, which produces more carbon green house emissions every single day naturally than man's mechanized history on earth.
dcx
Pit Crew

All battery is in our future, but long for a LONG time. You will need a next generation battery, lithium ion isn't it. You will need longer range and much faster charging time. It needs to be less dangerous, recyclable and replaceable, characteristics lead-acid batteries have. I am not as concerned about the electric grid... if such auto batteries are available, cost effective local/home energy battery storage for solar/wind should also be feasible.

In the short term plug-in hybrids give the best of current worlds. Battery power for commuting trips, gasoline engine for road trips and winter driving. Charge at 110V at home. I would get one in a heartbeat if it were available next time I need to buy a new car.
hyperv6
Racer

Present battery tech in the Chevy truck can go 400 miles and charge 100 more in Ten min. The next gen is Solid State that should in time be cheaper and faster charging and less affected by cold. That is coming in the next ten years. 

 

Remember EV is not going to take over in a year or two. Like HD TV it took time for everyone to adapt and then the change to Digital TV the same. 

limoguy
Detailer

Electric vehicles have been five years away from being the future since 1975, by my reckoning.
hyperv6
Racer

They are not five years away. Look around I see over a dozen a day even here in the mid west. 

This is a slow but steady transition. 

Oldroad1
Technician

400 miles under optimum factory controlled conditions. Let me test one for a month that would be a good indicator of truth in data.
limoguy
Detailer

Evolution, not revolution.
hyperv6
Racer

Slow transition. 

Zebo
New Driver

"... carbon is our enemy, not the internal combustion engine." Oh really. That is like, "killers are our enemy, not guns." Or how about "obesity is our enemy, not sugary drinks and fast food." Or maybe "cancer is the enemy, not chemicals in the air and water." Corporate guys always want to shift the focus to something other than that for which they are culpable.

The reality is, companies like auto manufactures always resist change that has short term costs (see the history of seat belts or airbags, for example, or the EV1) even though these concepts could save lives or even the planet. Someone has to make them do the right thing.
Oldroad1
Technician

Man, even with all of his conceded arrogance, cannot change the weather and surely not save the planet. Earth is a carbon producing planet. Earth by herself produces more green house gas emissions everyday than every ICE vehicle, locomotive, gas or coal heated powerplant and every airplane ever produced combined. These politicians and there laughable lies to bring the earth to carbon neutrality is physically impossible and why their claims of climate change are such an abusive hoax on all of us. These and others are the claims for an avenue to socialism.
hyperv6
Racer

The whole car emissions thing is way over blown accept for select areas where the smog is contained. 

The earths weather has varied for millions of years and the wobble of its rotation has much to do with it. 

Those predicting doom and gloom are mostly globalist with a even bigger agenda. 

But right now that point is mute as automakers have their own agenda not to reset the industry in a way to give them a leg up. Once out of this the order of the automakers will be resorted and there will be winners and losers. New partnerships and new failures. We will even see new names that are not yet in the automotive market. 

Do not discount that auto mfgs may change and companies like GM and VW may not assemble cars and just engineer new design them. Much the way cell phones and computers are produced today by secondary companies. 

There is so many things in play here and many things we can not even imagine that may come of this. 

Much of all of this is about power and money. It leads back to the globalist and that is another political argument for another forum. 

PRScott
Instructor

Pure electric is the future for the masses particularly in the cities. We have a plug in hybrid which is great when used as an electric car. We have solar arrays so no impact on electric consumption. On gas it's a dog so it's only used for local trips. We use a diesel for longer trips or an Austin Healey for the pure joy of driving. At least while it's still allowed.
limoguy
Detailer

The apartment building is the future of the cities. How will apartment dwellers charge their cars?

The net effect will be less private ownership of vehicles.
TheModelCitizen
Intermediate Driver

In the new world order, less ownership of private vehicles is a feature, not a bug.
CitationMan
Gearhead

Cities are full of poor people who can't afford EVs, but can afford ICE vehicles. Their freedom of mobility is as important as any other citizen's.

MATTMERICA
Technician

Oh, and one other item that I forgot to post in my rant - stop pointing at Japan's declining birthrate as some harbinger of doom. That birthrate economics crap is 1950s BS. There is a thing known as productivity and it dovetails nicely with technology. In case you haven't noticed, birthrates around the world FOR DEVELOPED COUNTRIES have been declining for years now.
JAG
Detailer

I see some harsh notes back to Hagerty. There is a lot to this story, and it has changes several times over the past six months so back off wokers! I have never owned a Toyota, nor planned to buy one... until I heard Mr. Toyoda comment on the unrealistic drive to 100% EV. He hit on all the topics starting with the real problem, Carbon, so attack that. Hybrids are a proven technology, and can be a bridge. EV improves maintenance cost in the short run but will radically change the industry, cost thousands of jobs, drives UP the price of vehicles and reduce the utilization. Hydrogen keeps the automotive structure in place, so he was pushing that.
That all changes in December when he buckled under the pressure to go all EV when the woke crowd was even slamming the Prius, the car that proved EV can be part of the solution. So I am back to not wanted to buy a Toyota.
mfp4073
Advanced Driver

Is the term "woke" being applied in its correct context here? Anymore it has taken on countless meanings and an omnipresent foothold in practically every different ideology.
avanti5010
Intermediate Driver

Remember when it was said the automobile would never replace the horse?? DOH!
Studenorton
Instructor

And so far it has not. There are about half as many horses in the US now as there were when Studebaker converted their wagonworks. The real estate crash of 2008 had a bigger impact on horse ownership than the automobile did. They'd better get moving.
limoguy
Detailer

They didn't replace the horse because the government said you could no longer breed horses. The government has a piss poor record of mandating technologies.
BobV
Intermediate Driver

The Amish might have something to say about that.
JimDandy83
Intermediate Driver

Missing from every pro-EV story is a discussion about a problem I worried about 5 years ago or so. Discussions about EV promotions by the government to counterbalance the high sticker prices seemed weird as the main selling points for EVs included the substantial yearly fuel and maintenance costs. (more about the latter later) One could supposedly save enough to recoup the initial cost in as little as 5 years. The financial incentive was already there, the rebates were just vote -getters. Now, 5 years ago, battery life and replacement costs would be enough to forget about any EV. Up to 33% of the value of the car to replace the batteries which, at that time, a life expectancy of 5-8 years. Never talked about by EV manufacturers, retailers, or government. To-day this is likely a smaller concern but one that should be a part of every EV purchase calculation.
It's is understandable and unfortunate that Japan is unlikely to turn to Nuclear but any calculation of the power requirements to charge a solely EV community is well in excess of any country's present capacity. Canada is close because we already rely mainly on Hydro (I live in Niagara Falls) and Nuclear, but even we may need to double or more the number and size of our Nuclear capability.
DanC
Intermediate Driver

If we were mining Nickel and Lithium in the US, and the Greenies were witness to the scorched earth mining necessary, their tune might change. Once we have the power grid drubbed in LA once the sun goes down and it can't recharge their cars without killing their evening Air Conditioning and mood lighting; we will have irrevocably learned that we over reacted.
Once we stop using Oil to power cars, we will learn that it has enabled the plastics revolution that made cheap and lightweight components for EVERYTHING else. Try buying cheap plastic packaging once we stop burning gasoline. Through ICE efficiency, we are dragging massive horsepower and incredible fuel economy out of microscopic cubic inches. THIS is the answer to global warming (if it exists)...do what we do...only better. The US becoming an EV haven is not the answer.
CitationMan
Gearhead

Germany and some other EU countries already throttle overnight charging speeds due to lack of sufficient available electricity.

hyperv6
Racer

That is because Germany put in Al, those windmills that are not doing the job.

Snowman53
Pit Crew

I really appreciate it when corporate leaders like Mr. Toyoda have the courage to take a stand that isn't necessarily in line with the current politically correct positions prevailing in current politics. We leased a Nissan Leaf for three years in MN. We live in a community of about 125,000 located about an hour or so from a major metro area. Leaf wasn't, and still isn't, the answer. Not enough range, not enough public chargers, and not suited for cold weather. The fully charged range routinely dropped 40% or more to under 50 miles when the temperatures were single digits or lower. Maybe a very spendy Tesla with a longer range is an answer? Don't know.

I do know that Chevy Volt, a PHEV that operates on electric power for 50 miles when fully charged with a small gasoline powered range extending motor just might be the answer for folks like us. We have to to do some longer highway driving at times and don't want to spend $100k or more on an electric car. Ignoring the power generation sources, most carbon is eliminated by the Volt running on electric most of the time. The carbon is emitted by the range extending motor is minimal in most driving situations. The Volt PHEV is not the perfect answer for eliminating carbon emissions, but it is much better than all gasoline power. Maybe it is time for Toyota to update the Volt technology, since GM has set it aside. We might add such a vehicle to our garage alongside my wife's Highlander Hybrid. We shouldn't be afraid to let perfect get in the way of a very good and affordable answer to minimizing carbon emissions.

As for self-driving, in my view there is a role for a system like Super Cruise that adds a powerful supplement to the human factor but does not replace it. Just drove my Escalade over 4,000 miles from MN to CA and back. There were stretches where letting the car guide us for a spell would have worked well on those long highway stretches. My next Escalade will most likely have Super Cruise and I will appreciate it. Fully autonomous? Not so much.
Gary_Bechtold
Specialist

Toyota is right to be skeptical. Problem is governments around the world are blindly pushing hard on this nonsense. Why they can't be allowed to co-exist and let the market decide I don't know. Oh that's right, customers might not make the decisions they want so they are forcing it down our throats. Naturally the ruling classes will not be inconvenienced as they board their private jets and gas guzzling SUV's.

limoguy
Detailer

We see the same idea today, 'leaders' jetting around the world on private jets, telling us all to use less fuel.
CitationMan
Gearhead

Per Glenn Reynolds:

"I'll believe it's a problem, when the people who say it's a problem, start acting like it's a problem".

Tinkerah
Engineer

Now I need to learn about Glenn Reynolds.
avanti5010
Intermediate Driver

Toyoda is Toyota's versions of Bob Lutz and Johan DeNysschen.
Oldimpala
Detailer

He's right.

And he's not even into electricity generation, distribution, mining of the rare earth magnets and lithium, disruption to the supply chain/consumer from limited ranges, extreme cold and hot weather range reduction, aging in battery packs reducing range, all that stuff.

EVs are a decent second car if you live in a relatively dense urban area. The guy who lives in the Dakotas, in the middle of nowhere, doing his 60mi each way run for groceries/supplies? Nope.
Can I swap both our daily drivers, considering we take roadtrips frequently? Nope. Can I use an EV effectively, living in a 4-season climate (It's 9F here now)? Nope.

We can convert existing ICE engines to a hybrid fuel/H2, or straight H2. Why scrap the existing fleet of vehicles on the road? That'll reduce emissions by not having to build new cars, or stripmine existing resources.

We have no plan for electric generation, or for grids to transmit the electric needed. I have a 200A service to my house. Larger suburban home. Pool. Central Air. Hot tub. If I plug in two rapid charging cars overnight, they want a 80A 220v line, each (actual draw peaking around 60, sustained between 30 and 40A.) Who's gonna do a service upgrade? The rest of my home isn't gonna cut it, and it's not going to pass code. I live in the Northeast, where tons of homes are 100+ years old, and equipped with 60A *total* service, many with cloth wiring and fuses. How will they charge a car?

He's spot on. The rest of the world doesn't want to hear it. I'm not against reducing carbon; we *absolutely* need to do it, but shifting environmental damage to stripmines and lithium landfills isn't the way.

Let's work through it together, and focus on large corporate polluters in tandem with reduction in vehicular emissions. Until we come up with better batteries, and better ways to build them, hybrids and H2 will be where we end up (and I'm OK with that.)
mfp4073
Advanced Driver

I think there is a lot of applied practical common sense in his thinking. Its a dream world to think a total switch over is possible world wide. Our brains always think in ways having it one way or the other. On or off. All in or not. Etc. A partial switch is the reality like it or not. Yes, Toyota is back in the race because there "is a race" , and no one wants to be left standing. Also, There had better be a giant leap in carbon capture technology, like tomorrow, that's affordable at the production source (power plant) or its all for not.
Wrenchman
New Driver

Finally a voice of reason in the auto industry
CJinSD
Instructor

I find it discouraging that so many people have been brainwashed to fear the fundamental building block of life on this planet.
johnorm
New Driver

I'm in agreement that we need an interim step, like a hybrid, to start the movement to full electric or hydrogen. IMO NA buyers have a perceived bias against full electric. It doesn't matter whether it is the cost, the time to recharge or the fear of running out of electric power. A hybrid would be an excellent transition that would materially impact carbon emissions today without over taxing our electrical grid. In the next 10 years we can substantially reduce emissions and truly gauge the impact of a full EV conversion or will hydrogen be a better solution.
JGeske
Instructor

I look at Jay Leno's 1916 Owen Magnetic, and think that it represents a great solution to today's conundrum. Use electric motors for propulsion, but have an on-board generator (and a small battery pack) to produce the needed electricity (and short range battery-only operation). Still allows for quick refueling, an you can run the generator motor (likely a diesel or kerosene powered unit, possibly a turbine) at its peak efficiency as it is only tasked with generating the electricity. Furthermore, the cooling system for the power unit would allow for a traditional heater in the car, rather than using battery life to heat the car as seen in modern EVs. I believe Mazda is looking at this right now using a rotary (go figure, Mazda) for the generation unit.
Lexusman
Pit Crew

It would be interesting to hear from the electric car drivers that were in the recent I-95 cold weather event.
Zephyr
Instructor

History may record that there was a rush to EVs before all the other options were fully explored. They will never be practical until the car itself is capable of generating most of the power it needs, and solar cells won't be at that level for decades. A small nuclear reactor built into the EV would solve the problem, but good luck getting the government to approve that, or the public to accept it. Hybrids are more flexible but combine the worst of two worlds; you need one mechanic to maintain the gas engine and another for the electric motor. Hydrogen seemed like a good idea but seems to have dropped off the map. There was talk at one time of having every house equipped with a hydrogen cell electrical generator, but that idea seems to have disappeared also. What is needed is an as yet undiscovered power source, preferably one that is cheap and nearly inexhaustible. All of the present technology is stopgap at best.
JGeske
Instructor

Growing up in the 80's, TV told me on good authority that the Autobots ran on Energon. Clearly we just need to invent Transformers for our daily driver options.
miata93
Advanced Driver

"hydrogen holds more appeal there because of constraints on electricity production"...
Hydrogen is only made available in large quantities from the process of electrolysis. The only advantage of using hydrogen as a fuel is that the only products of its combustion are heat and water vapor. It eliminates the hydrocarbons and CO2 from being the problems that they are in other internal combustion engines that use gasoline or oil for fuel.
There is no advantage otherwise. Electrical energy is just being stored as hydrogen. The electricity still has to be produced first.
JGeske
Instructor

There is one thing, you can refill a tank of hydrogen on your car a heck of a lot faster than it takes to charge the battery on a BEV to an equivalent amount of range.
acooper529
Advanced Driver

Here is the elephant in the room.
I would assume that most automotive people are pragmatic and have (some) common sense.
Most people in or around this business understand what is going on. Even to those of us that support looking at (and trying out) real alternatives, there are some basic realities on the street.
1. The sky is NOT falling, and the world is not ending in (fill in the blank) years!
2. The cold truth is that we have little or no say in many things that are happening on this planet.
3. Reasonable people who have actual facts to present will generally win the debate... any day.
In a world where people spew lies and hyperbole EVERY SINGLE DAY, who even cares anymore?
There is a limit to what sensible people will listen to or care about. We have temporarily exceeded that limit. We will only return to solution-based conversation after the idiots are back in their cages.
Meporsche
Pit Crew

67% of all the electricity in this country is produced by fossil fuels. It is much higher in many Euro and Asian countries. There is zero possibility of achieving/building the necessary infrastructure for 100% electric vehicles in this century, ie: transmission and grid capability. It is physically impossible to replace fuel station with charging stations on major highways without clearing/demolishing existing infrastructure to have the tens of thousands of acres to park elec vehicles while re-charging (.5-5 hrs). Do the math. Lithium batteries are poisonous, toxic waste that will never be cost effective to replace after useful life. Lithium mining and processing is highly dependent on huge amounts of fossil fuels as are the plastics in the cars themselves. Why use electric cars? Anything that requires a government/taxpayer subsidy to be produced is worthless as a product. We already have ICE vehicles so efficient they actually clean the air the take in. Electric cars are a ridiculous, useless virtue signalling solution in search of a problem. The only thing that shocks me is that Toyota is the only maker with enough balls to point out that the Emperor has no clothes.
964c4
Detailer

Cost is only one aspect of this problem. The state of California can't even plug in air conditioners let alone re-charge thousands of electric vehicles without rolling blackouts. Our electrical infrastructure nationwide is terribly outdated.
JBBearcat
Detailer

Finally, some courageous talk.

Right now it's politically expedient to hop on the EV bandwagon.
After all, automakers won't have to pay for the improvement of the electric grid or worry where the batteries come from...or how to dispose of them.
Some politicians are talking about doubling electric rates...then refunding PART of the increases to lower income families. Basically financial redistribution in the guise of environmental protection.
That has appeal for their lower income constitutes...but won't play well with the middle class who inevitably are always just above the subsidy cutoff line.

Don't look for outside the box thinking from GM...they are basically government lackeys now. Ford and Fiat a bit less si.
And don't go looking thoughtful analysis from most automotive media outlets, they blow with the wind...questioning the vision of thermoelectric future ...the current conventional wisdom...wil! draw the ire from the environmental lobby who seem to have forgotten how to ask tough questions or app!t basic scientific principals (where facts have to be actually proved, not assumed).
Stepping out of line will result in you being called names....or their forums like this will have you comments deleted...(like Hemmings).

jaycypraea
Pit Crew

There is certainly a place for electric cars. For them to totally replace all fossil fueled vehicles is a pie in the sky dream. It may even be a dangerous dream. The only way to charge millions and millions of electric vehicles is to use nuclear power. Conventional generation of electricity will never do the job. If however the government decides to use nuclear power, my hope is the plants will be built mostly in California with a few in Washington DC and the suburbs of New York City.
Gregoryga7
New Driver

I've forever been highly skeptical of anything that the government is pushing down our throats. Does anyone really believe any politician gives a rat's tailside about climate change? What they care about is pandering to their voters in order to retain power & lining their pockets with other people's money. So, that's where you find the answers to this government based EV push. The lefties are 100% pandering to their voting base with this nonsense & I can guarantee that if you follow the money, they're getting some of that as well for simply espousing the idea that the bulk of the population will be forced to give up their liberties & be legislated into driving a soulless, overpriced, non-sustainable, econobox because they know "what's best for us" & we're "too stupid to make our own decisions". I wish my grandchildren could enjoy the ride to work since that's all they'll be doing, driving to work, to pay for all of these idiotic government mandates. They can bury me in my Ram SRT10, preferably with it running so I can soak in that incredible sound while I lie in peace & they can drill my grave deep enough so that beast can soak up all the dead dinosaurs it'll require to run for eternity. Amen.