Toyota: Rethinking Their Position on Battery Electric Vehicles

Posted Saturday, Jan 07, 2017 by nhtwpprod

In recent years, Toyota has shied away from the idea of creating battery electric vehicles and instead focused their interest on other types of alternative fuel vehicles. After all, the automaker introduced the hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle, the Toyota Mirai, for sale at select Los Angeles Toyota dealers in 2016, which symbolized their dedication to a more environmentally-friendly way of driving without the limitations they felt battery powered vehicles imposed.

Speaking out repeatedly against the idea of trying to develop a better battery electric car left drivers with the impression that this type of car was one thing they would not see on the sales lot in the future. Now, it looks like Toyota has changed its mind.

Battery Electric Vehicles

Reasons for Toyota’s Original Resistance

The resistance to producing battery-only electric cars wasn’t a matter of personal taste. Instead, the idea was that a nickel-based battery, like that proposed for the 2010 Prius, could not be produced economically.

This led to the company reverting back to the nickel-metal-hydride packs it had already been using for over ten years. Then, the company engaged in a number of activities that allowed them to “tame” the lithium battery so that it met their needs and safety requirements. This year, the Prius fourth generation was launched, offering lithium-ion batteries.

According to Green Car Reports, a recent article in Reuters hinted that Toyota was beginning to warm up to lithium-ion battery cells. Rumor has it that they will launch a battery electric vehicle by the year 2020.

The Christian Science Monitor explains an additional decision by the car maker that many will find even more surprising. During an announcement of powertrain strategies, Toyota announced that they had made the decision to share their proprietary hybrid technology with other automakers, although, until now, this technology was largely guarded.

Plug in Hybrid Prius

What Does That Mean to Drivers?

One of the issues for drivers who buy fuel-efficient cars is the ability to drive them where they need to go with the necessary fuel/charge availability to make them practical. Toyota plans to work with suppliers earlier in the manufacturing process to standardize components. This will make it easier for drivers of all brands of cars to have better access to what they need to keep their cars on the road and get the best possible long-term use from their investment.

Drivers may also be surprised to find the 2017 Prius Prime, the latest plug-in hybrid Prius at the Los Angeles Toyota dealers, which runs solely in electric mode for as long as there is a battery charge. Although the idea of a battery electric vehicle is a deviation from Toyota’s original strategy for developing fuel-efficient cars, it does reflect their dedication to providing their customers with a variety of choices that will help them save at the pump and also protect the environment.

As it stands today, hybrids are a minority, with only an estimated 3% of all vehicles being driven in the U.S. being hybrids. Making the technology across different brands will hopefully increase the appeal and value of these vehicles on a much larger scale.

The fact that the technology for the battery electric vehicles will come from the carmaker that introduced the first mass-produced hybrid in this country, the Toyota Prius, will hopefully give more drivers the confidence that driving the most fuel-efficient type of vehicle on the road isn’t a sacrifice of the other features that matter to them.

Drivers looking for new or used cars in Los Angeles that are reliable and stylish, and which offer some of the best fuel-efficiency available today, should visit North Hollywood Toyota of downtown Los Angeles, California. Browse our selection of new and used vehicles, including the 2017 Toyota Prius Prime. Call us at 800-800-6730 with any of your questions.

Sources

  1. http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1106980_now-toyota-can-make-electric-cars-its-tamed-lithium-ion-batteries-it-says
  2. http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/In-Gear/2016/1221/Toyota-changes-course-offers-to-share-hybrid-technology-with-rivals