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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.
165 REPLIES 165
Pit Crew

Not the only one. BMW announced a continuing allegiance to the internal combustion engine the other day, saying it will be far longer than expected that the ICE is abandoned.

But no one has asserted that the future of the automobile will be "all" electric. They have said that the EVs will become a major sector in overall vehicle manufacturing and use. Which process is already well along.
Intermediate Driver

I can see and support hybrids but its NO for me on owning an EV. I like to travel the less traveled highways and county roads. Very few if any charging stations. Plus we enjoy driving from Peoria,IL to SEMA and drive straight thru in under 27 hours. Try that with an EV.
Intermediate Driver

Wow, either we have too much time on our hands or this IS a hot topic for us. My concern is obvious.
Recharging those electrics. The Ontario government, with its short sighted, or corporate influenced wisdom, sold Ontario hydro to private enterprise. This means that as more and more electric cars are used, the cost of electricity will rise and ALL of us will be paying more, not just those with EV's.
Also, to produce electricity to charge all these additional cars we will be increasing our carbon footprint there by defeating the reason for the switch. IE., the Hydro One, and Enercare increases which saw people unable to afford the increases will witness increases the likes of which capitalism will determine. Thank-you to the idiot, with the short minded goals , who SOLD Ontario's hydro, which was given to us. YES, given to the residence of Ontario. Some one made money on that deal. We still will pay in dollars and emissions for electricity for EV's.

Look here is the real issue with this whole deal. It has become a very emotional deal for many parties. Be it if you are a tree hugger or a gear head.  


This has led to a lot of lies on both sides and a lot of non truths being pushed on the web also on both sides. 


This has proven to make it difficult to educate people properly about the aspects in play here. Too many agendas and things that people don't want to be know and they try to set their own agenda on this deal. 


I was very anti EV. I still am not going to go out and buy an EV soon. I make my living with working on and dealing with Racing parts for ICE engines. But I have become pragmatic to the point to try to learn as much as I can on the EV programs and where this is all going. It is going to be a major part of my future as it will affect my work as we already are building EV cars to set speed records. We are learning what it will take to improve the EV cars in performance and handling. 


This is something none of us should get emotional about it. It is coming and there is not one single person here on this web site that is going to change the path this is going. With multiple billions spent automakers are not going back. They see a path for them that is an advantage to many of them and they stopped fighting once they saw many of the issues will be over come with time and continued development. 


It is kid of like having one of those neighbors. You can make em move so you best stop getting mad and learn how to to adapt. 


Much of what is on the web is old info that no longer applies as things are developing that fast. Some of it is just down right lies and that get repeated so it has to be true to some.  Many people only choose the info that fits their narrative. That is no better than some of the previous. 


No election is going to change this. While yes will will lose some cool aspects like engine sound and the smell and feel we will still have very good vehicles to drive.  At first there may be some things we may have to adapt to but many will vanish with development and some will just become the norm. 


I have more at stake here than most of you and I get it change is not fun but it sure beats being jobless or walking.  


Just keep in mind that this is a slow change and will not happen over night. It will take decades and even then there will still be some ICE vehicles unless some laws force them off  the roads.  


By the time many of you make the change if you are still here  will end up with a vehicle that will charge in a time to fill a tank of fuel. You will have more range than you have on gas. The grid by then will be supporting as there is money to make so they will so what is needed. Chargers will be everywhere but most will charge at home. This is the light at the end of the tunnel the MFGs see and why they are confident with the change.


MFGs are also going to be able to keep prices down but make more money in the long run. They hope to be seen as tech companies as they are now to retain higher stock prices vs below $10 a share like Ford was seeing. Yes the auto industry was till in trouble and this is their way out. 


Recycling of batteries will be a big profit deal due to the materials involved. The mining is already starting around the world so no one will have to be reliant on China or once source. 

Even I will find a future with the new products. Yes I will have a lot to learn and keep up with but there is going to be a future even in my line of work. 


Will there be issues yes. Will their be some unpopular things yes but most things will be worked out. 


It is time to step back seek good info and keep informed. Stop being emotional on this topic and just deal with it.


All your efforts need to be focused on protecting the ICE collector vehicles and the fuels and oils we need to safely drive them. This is one area that is still not secure and there is a good chance you could lose your ability to enjoy your collector car. If you want to get emotional this is where you need to get mad real mad and do what it takes to protect your rights to enjoy your hobby and pursuit of happiness. The EPA is already trying to kill some racing with preventing car modification now. 



Intermediate Driver

How much of this carbon foot print is produced by the use of automobile and similar transportation modes?
I don't see Boeing or Airbus building electric planes anytime soon. The manufacturing process of the world isn't going to become electric either.
In the 60's and 70's when pollution standards on automobiles started Brock Yates pointed out that the reason cars were being picked on was, "because cars can't vote". If you ever read his diatribes or books you will remember him as a man who raised more questions than he answered, but we need people like him back. Cannonball!
Pit Crew

Mr Toyoda is indeed a smart man and understands the reality of this issue. To put this in perspective, one of the largest US Lithium mine & processing plants is near Bessemer City, North Carolina. The ore is spodumene (Lithium Aluminum Silicate). During processing, the ore is dug out of the ground, ground up, pulverized and then conveyor ed up to the mouth of a rotary kiln and then dropped in. From there the rotating kiln heats the stuff up to ~1075 to 1100 C to change it to a state (it remains Lithium Aluminum Silicate but is more highly reactive) that is then acid roasted & heated in the presence of Sulfuric Acid to become Lithium Sulfate. That slurry is neutralized with ground limestone and is then ready for purification, carefully mixing in calcium hydroxide and sodium carbonate. Soda Ash is added to precipitate Lithium Carbonate using another chemical process. In this state, the lithium containing slurry is cooled to 35 F to precipitate out hydrated sodium silicate. Lithium ions remain in solution that is then sent to an electrolysis cell (Steel container heated to 460 C) where the pure Lithium collects onto a graphite anode. Finally, the Lithium can be removed from the anode (under inert gas shield), heated to molten state and then poured into ingots (of course all of this must be done via robotic processes that must be kept away from any oxidizing chemistry; or they have to build another electrolysis cell !). Note, I have summarized some of the steps as it gets too wordy otherwise.

Okay, why did I go through all of that? My main point here is that tremendous amounts of energy are required to convert lithium ore into a state that can readily become a battery. Most of the heat (kilns) is from Natural Gas and the electrolysis cells consume a lot of electricity.

For Lithium batteries to really make sense, from a CO2 reduction perspective, all of the energy should come from a Nuclear Power Plant (Thorium, but that's another discussion). Using the more common Natural Gas heat source produces 9 tons of CO2 per ton of Lithium Aluminum Silicate. And when I say all of the energy, I mean all for heating, for pulverizing and ideally from "accruing" the ore from the ground.

Currently, lithium batteries are extremely expensive to recycle. They are tiny cells that are isolated from the environment using sheet stainless steel and silicone rubber compounds to seal them using a swagging process. Yes, they must be safe, but they must be designed so that they are more easily recycled (add a lip on one side of the cell; the cell could be put in a die and then pressed apart, again while in an inert shield?). Tesla gets a big FAIL in this!!! Batteries and processes need to be worked out to make them recyclable. The reason they must be recyclable is that Lithium is not that abundantly available world wide and represents an environmental disaster to mine which is as bad if not worse that oil drilling.
As for the electric grid, I live in the SF bay area and PG&E is in shambles due to corporate greed and corruption. Citys in the bay area which now have a high concentration of BEVs such as Sunnyvale and Mountain View have experienced their first rounds of controlled black outs in the summer when PG&E couldn't keep up with both AC demand and BEV charging. In Tesla's backyard, the grid is now being exposed for just how fragile it really is.
I should also not that the California legislature is quietly working to ban all natural has hookups across the state, both new and existing. Unfortunately, our politicians have been ill advised by so-called energy experts. Currently the sweet spot according to SAE is hybrids. We are about 8-12 years out at the earliest before we see a safe affordable battery design.
Intermediate Driver

Seems to me I remember the CEO of Digital Equipment Company stating that there was no future in the personal computing field.

EV vehicles are designed to limit the range of mobility of people. Limiting the ability of people to live farther from the city so they can keep them under their control. The current masks used don't block Covid any more than they do Ebola. It's all about control folks! Limited range is about control.
Intermediate Driver

The table is still tilted in favor of fossil fueled cars for the forseeable future, as just the mining of the huge amounts of Lithium for the number of batteries required for EV's, will cause a CO2 cloud half the size of Texas. Also, in order to generate enough power to charge all the EV"s would require the re-activating of all the now decommissioned coal fired generating plants, plus building more. There is no way that wind and solar could even begin to generate enough power for a lot of EV's.


questions about the "electric evolution"
New Driver

While commenters here all seem to be pointing fingers at infrastructure - or lack thereof - I simply pull into my driveway and plug in my EV, like I've been doing for 10+ years...
Intermediate Driver

He's right on the money. Forcing all-electric on everyone is the dumbest thing I've ever heard of come out of those who are supposed to be bright people. When you jam something down everyone's throat, it NEVER works well. They'll bankrupt entire nations with this mindset.
New Driver

The latter notion that we "must" embrace an all electric future is not sound. Where will that electricity f=come from? It's one thing to have a niche maker like Tesla to offer charging stations wholly dedicated to their vehicles. Fossil fuels still remain the absolute best way to continue mass transportation feasible for at least another 50 years. Mr. Toyoda is prescient in this regard. If our silly government under our illustrious president had not disassembled the Keystone XL, we would not be in the predicament of buying Russian oil at greatly inflated prices that we are all suffering from.
Advanced Driver

Here we go--Sewing Doubt--Not unlike the Tobacco companies did for Decades--

What makes everyone Think electric Cars are the only solution for the Future like so many things that happened in History might there possibly an Energy source in our future that we haven"t even thought of remember 50 odd years before we discovered oil no one would have thought what would happen in the then Future so what about the now Future ?