Toyota pulls the plug on widespread EV sales

Toyota pulls the plug on widespread EV sales
Toyota has announced that it is to reduce availability of its Scion iQ EV microcar to less than a 100 units in the U.S. and will instead expand its hybrid vehicle family
Toyota has announced that it is to reduce availability of its Scion iQ EV microcar to less than a 100 units in the U.S. and will instead expand its hybrid vehicle family
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Toyota has announced that it is to reduce availability of its Scion iQ EV microcar to less than a 100 units in the U.S. and will instead expand its hybrid vehicle family
Toyota has announced that it is to reduce availability of its Scion iQ EV microcar to less than a 100 units in the U.S. and will instead expand its hybrid vehicle family

A quick look at currently and shortly-to-be available electric vehicle production models from major automotive players like Nissan, BMW, Chevy, Renault and Ford would appear to be proof positive that the move toward an EV future has well and truly started. Even the Pope is going electric. Yet despite EVs clocking up significant speed, range and endurance records this year, one major auto maker has announced that it's pulling back on EV production to concentrate on its expanding family of hybrid vehicles. Toyota is still planning a full roll out of its RAV4 EV but will severely limit the availability of the Scion iQ EV microcar.

In a status summary of the company's environmental technology development progress and its deployment of vehicles plans for the next few years, the Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) revealed that it is putting the brakes on mass production of its new front-wheel-drive Scion iQ EV (eQ in Japan). Instead of several thousand electric versions of its iQ compact being made available, Toyota told us that "fewer than 100 of these vehicles will be brought into the U.S. for testing purposes."

According to Reuters, Toyota's VC Takeshi Uchiyamada said that "the current capabilities of electric vehicles do not meet society's needs, whether it may be the distance the cars can run, or the costs, or how it takes a long time to charge."

The Scion iQ EV sports a 12 kWh Li-ion battery that's claimed to offer a range of 100 km (62 miles) and a full charge in about three hours from a 200-volt AC outlet. It has an electric power consumption rate of 104 Wh/km, and a permanent magnet electric motor delivers maximum torque of 163 Nm and a top speed of 125 km/h (77 mph). Toyota will begin offering the vehicle to local governments and a few select users in Japan and the U.S. from December 2012.

Toyota says that the company "continues to position EVs as cars suitable for short-distance travel, use as second cars, and for fleet use, and it is necessary to verity the positioning of EVs, their methods of use and effects among other electric-powered vehicles and gain an accurate understanding of customer use circumstances and focus on acceptance in the market and customer evaluations. Research and development will continue as in the past. That said, TMC will be ready to serve customers wherever the market may lead us. We are the only manufacturer pursuing two different paths to EVs, including the new RAV4 EV that will come to market later this year."

"Toyota is not halting battery research," the company said. "We announced progress on solid state battery technology as well as joint Lithium-ion battery research with BMW." TMC has also developed new battery cells with improved output density and is currently working on wireless charging methods, which will begin performance testing in Toyota City next year.

Building on the success of its existing hybrid vehicles (sales of which are expected to exceed 1 million units by the end of 2012), TMC has announced plans to deliver 21 new hybrid vehicles (14 brand new and seven model refreshes) by the end of 2015. Hybrids equipped with a new 2.5-liter gasoline engine that's said to achieve the world's highest maximum thermal efficiency of 38.5 percent and deliver both high fuel efficiency and high output will launch next year, and an accessory outlet designed to use the hybrid system as an emergency power supply will also be offered.

A sedan-type hydrogen fuel cell vehicle is also being readied for launch "around 2015" and Toyota is currently working with its subsidiary Hino Motors on the development of a fuel cell bus, which has been penciled in for an appearance in 2016.

Source: Toyota

One more example of Toyota falling further behind! Combined with declining quality a sure sign of failure of vision.
I'd have to agree with Toyota on this. EVs really don't hit the mark in the mass market for private cars. 100km range sounds good and would cover much of my driving needs but at the same or higher price as a high efficiency diesel I have to ask why? Why get stuck with 100km range and a battery pack with questionable longevity? The diesel will keep running for years upon years without problem but a battery pack won't. If I could get an EV that ran 100km for $5,000 or less I'd see the point but the price to utility equation isn't there yet. Hybrid makes a better argument.
It is about time that a major manufacturer figured out that EVs are over priced toys. Now if they just figure out that waste heat recycling and mechanical energy recovery are a lot less expensive than electromotive energy recovery and drive they'll really be on to something.
Jerry Peavy
Toyota could be caught with is pants down on this, with companies like Jonway jumping in with products like Aptera. IC engine cars are only competitive while the government subsidizes the price of gas, when the price of gas jumps up to $8:00 to $10:00 per gallon things may change rapidly.
Charles Bosse
The thing is, the new plug-in hybrid prius essentially is an EV for the kind of range they are talking about. Why would Toyota shoot themselves out on an established brand with a long anticipated improvement by offering a questionable product, especially when they are having to make production choices?
re; Jerry Peavy
Which countries subsidizes gas prices. In Europe gas is highly taxed and $.41 per gallon of what I pay for gas is direct tax and then there is the tax expenses that corporations pass on to the consumer.
Until the energy density, life and capacity of batteries approaches usability expectations (something similar to petroleum), true EV's will be an environmentalists dream rather than reality. Given the poor performance of battery technology and the automobile industry's silence on their lifetime and replacement cost, the market for pure EV's has not been stellar. Until some sort of guarantees along with a recharging/replacement infrastructure exists, EV's will blunder along as interesting to a few, but not mainstream technology. Guarantees, performance, and standard infrastructures are absolutely necessary for mass market acceptance. We are a long way off this set of requirements today.
Given track record of laptops and cell phones loosing peak charge capacity with-in a year or two it is hard to trust pure EVs . The last thing I want to see is already-short-range of EVs dropping to half with-in few years. To that, I believe, Toyota is doing the right thing, getting back to the lab and drawing board. Will it be more prudent to focus on fuel-cell technology and hydrogen distribution infrastructure? Advancements around power train, super capacitor, etc. can only help better performance of fuel-cell powered electric vehicles.
Robert Weekley
It's all very interesting - but at EV Fest 2012 - my man from Toyota Canada convinced the company to let him bring the RAV4 EV to the show - along with their preferred Canadian offering - the Prius Plugin Vehicle (PHV) and the RAV4 EV got so much interest, that now he is thinking - since he can't sell it here, and so many people expressed interest in buying it - even at the higher price - that maybe he won't bring it next year!
Obviously - even in my short show of just 1 day, and small crowd of under 500 - the important thing is - that those who want EV's are willing to pay, and want them now!
If Toyota Canada - brought the RAV4 EV to Canada - on a Trial limited basis for public purchase - and they only marketed it to Guests of EV Fest - they would probably have sales, but then they would have to train a couple dealerships in the Toronto, Ontario Zone for Servicing the Vehicle! I bet they could sell at least 2% of my own show attendees the vehicle just from an email to them - saying - would they pay X 10% (California price Plus 10%)
But hey - who am I to question the Wisdom of the wise?! (Just the creator of a new EV Show that for each of the past 3 years has had more Electric Vehicles at the show each year than the major Toronto Auto Show!)
Stewart Mitchell
The internal combustion engine will have a quick death. Nanoparticle emissions will kill it and us. The industry ignores this at our peril. Nanoparticle can kill....that is why the government ignores it.
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