Exclusive Toyota Explains Its Position on Electric Cars HybridCars com

13 Апр 2014 | Author: | Комментарии к записи Exclusive Toyota Explains Its Position on Electric Cars HybridCars com отключены
Toyota Electric Cars

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It appears that automaker in the world has caught car fever, save one: the one best known for green

While General Motors and will both introduce cars next year, and will follow in 2011, does not plan to bring an car to market until 2012. The New York Times declared. has fallen behind in the race for the car.” San Francisco Mayor Newsom, an electric car advocate, earlier this year Prius-style hybrids are “yesterday’s And Toyota competitors are touting cars they claim get the equivalent of 200 or 300 miles to the gallon the Prius’s 50 mpg to shame.

One might this criticism to spark to accelerate its plans for electric or a plug-in hybrid. But Toyota’s are showing more steely than a Buckingham Palace taunted by tourists.

“Our is never on fire. We’re not around at the latest PR articles, and oh my gosh, we have to change our because somebody said or that,” explained Doug US-based Prius product at Toyota. “We’re pacing in a way that we think that we can be in a few years time for a market makes sense for both us and the Jana Hartline, Toyota’s communication manager, added, outlook has never been to be the to market. We want to be the best to

While GM, Ford, and Nissan—and like Tesla, Fisker, and generate buzz for their vehicles, Toyota has been silent about electric In an exclusive interview with we asked Coleman and Hartline to Toyota’s position on plug-in and electric cars.

Turn the Noise

To understand Toyota’s to plug-in cars, imagine Toyota’s product planners are to three radio broadcasts at the time. The first program a frenzied chorus of voices the automotive press, political electric car and clean energy groups, and the blogosphere—clamoring for electric NOW. This broadcast is the but Toyota mutters and hits (much like you and I would we listening to Terry Jacks “Seasons in the Sun,” circa

“It’s very easy to a story that says is falling behind by looking for who are advocates for a certain technology,” Coleman. “We’re listening to all but we’re making our own judgments upon our own data and our own forecasts.” on your view, Toyota is turning a deaf ear to early or putting the pressure of an unrepresentative in proper perspective. “In terms of the population—300 million people in the a very small portion of the that wants to leapfrog [to cars] and says hybrid is technology,” said Coleman.

Cautious About the Technology

The radio broadcast features of the competition, engineers, and battery of whom are saying the critical technology for plug-in hybrids and cars is completely ready for time. Toyota planners mute this channel, but dropped down to a hush.

of the key challenges with electric is obviously battery cost,” said. “That is, bringing a to market that provides the that people need, durability and range, at a price that will work for the Automotive News recently that costs for the battery and specialized components for the Chevy plug-in hybrid are running higher than anticipated—forcing the price from the high range to beyond $40,000. Motors is betting the farm at some uncertain point in the it will be able to reduce costs as it ramps up production.

Toyota is not yet ready to make the bet on plug-ins. “If we had a technology that was today—if we had the battery at a performance and and durability and price point we could put into a car and mass it for some market and both our business and provide value to the do it,” said Coleman. trying to get to that point in the

Some might argue Toyota already proved readiness with the hundreds of EVs it produced a decade ago. But the would argue that had difficulty selling that even in EV-friendly California, and it be even more challenging to a vehicle with RAV4’s specs a success throughout the Popular media coverage at the talks about how Toyota was unawares by demand for the product, and the last demanded Rav4 EVs spare parts.

All About Customers

The final carries the voice of customers. cranks this one up to 11. “Too the conversation gets caught up in the technology trajectory, and people to ask ‘what’s the human trajectory?’” Coleman. “What does the really want? How big are the markets for products?

Toyota Electric Cars

How big are the sub-markets, because you to start parsing it into—some midsize vehicles, some minivans, etc.—and even and preferences and style.” Toyota it doesn’t subscribe to a one-size-fits-all when it comes to electric “It’s not one plug-in, the first to that’s going to satisfy 100 of the plug-in market demand,” said.

Hartline emphasized the of Toyota’s demonstration project will place 500 plug-in in fleets globally later year. About 150 of those will be evaluated in the United “We really want to understand people expect from Are they going to be charging or four times during the or are they only going to at night?

How are they going to be that vehicle? How are they to be maximizing, or maybe not maximizing, electric miles on the plug-in?” she “That’s going to help us who the proper customer is for that Because honestly, it might not be the car for every person.”

As the brand manager for Prius, also has spent a lot of time to Prius owners, because he the same demographic will be the to buy a plug-in car. “They’re not with money. Even the who are most passionate look for Or at least want to be able to see they can get all their needs he said. “It’s not just the technology.” Coleman said he be “shocked” if Prius owners all at plug-in hybrids.

Some are to love plugging in and others never ever want to in.

Risk Adverse

For Toyota and all the car considering electric cars, it down to a judgment call on a few key Is the technology ready for mass What’s the potential size of the Can plug-in cars meet expectations?

As the clear leader in the space—and with a ton of profit to be made from current gas-electric technology—it will be for Toyota to answer those without some bias.


Coleman believes one of two things is on. “Either competitors’ technology is better and more proven to companies. And they’re able to [plug-in cars] earlier us. Or the technologies are roughly comparable, and companies are willing to take risks with potential issues.”

He’s not sure one is correct. “They may be ahead of us. But progressing at a rate with as urgency as we can without compromising

Toyota Electric Cars

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