cars: Toyota fumbles the future

Old-line car companies mangle the English language and engage in doublespeak when they talk about how they are leaders in “electrification” and that soon all their cars will be “electrified.” All “electrified” means is their cars will have something more than the 100-year-old 12-Volt battery.

Let’s look at Toyota. All its “electrified” cars all have gas engines! It does not sell a single car without an engine. Its upcoming true Battery Electric Vehicle is for Japan only; it is a laughable kei car (mini car) with a top speed of 37 miles per hour. And it’s tragic when you remember how Toyota earlier made two generations of fine RAV4 EVs, the second in conjunction with Tesla. Toyota squandered that expertise and instead made a massively stupid bet on hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, despite hydrogen’s cost, inefficiency, and lack of infrastructure. It’s the only car company left pushing HFCVs over BEVs, so no country other than Japan will install the thousands of hydrogen refueling stations required. Honda and Mazda have balked at the dumb industrial policy of The Hydrogen Economy™ and are releasing good BEVs, so we’ll see how much longer Toyota and the Japanese government waltz together into this abyss. Toyota does make a decent plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, the Prius Prime. But consumers aren’t excited by half-measures with a tailpipe. VW is gearing up to sell BEVs in large volumes; Toyota is talking up the weasel-word “electrification” and clearly hoping BEVs will be a small slice, environment and livable planet be damned. Hence its mind-blowingly stupid decision to side with the Trump animation in opposing California’s fuel/emissions regulations. That was a great way to tattoo “We are no longer the leader in environmentally responsible cars” on your forehead.

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