Friday, October 21, 2016

Toyota Sees an Electric Future

A recent conversation between Toyota chief engineer Satoshi Ogiso and the folks at Forbes magazine caught our attention. It says a lot about where Toyota is right now as a company, where they see their future, and what that means for what you're likely to see on the roads around Glendale and North Hollywood as well as the Keyes Toyota showroom.

The first key takeaway: it's now cheaper to build a hybrid like the Toyota Prius than it is to build its diesel equivalent. That's a pretty clear sign that the days of diesel are numbered, at least as far as Toyota is concerned. Given tighter emissions standards and the multiple hits diesel has taken in the press in recent years, there's a clear business case for moving away from diesel as it is. If Toyota already has an option in its arsenal that's better, and cheaper to boot, that business case becomes a no-brainer.

Cost concerns are also slowly receding for EVs (Electric Vehicles). It already costs roughly the same, or even a bit less, to build a short-range EV as it does to build a hybrid. As manufacturing, storage, and economies of scale are refined, longer-range EVs will also approach the cost of a hybrid, though Ogiso suggests this isn't likely 'til 2025.

By 2050, he continues, 90 percent of new vehicles will be EVs. There are hurdles to clear before we get to that point -- most of the country hasn't embraced electric vehicles and infrastructure like high-capacity charging stations that keeps them running -- and there are cultural concerns that would need to be overcome as well. In the States, we like big vehicles. And we like suburbia, even if we have a love-hate relationship with the long commutes it brings with it.

Some of us are already thinking ahead about the cars we'll be driving because we're thinking ahead to the kind of world we'll leave to future generations. That makes the rise of EVs (and their falling costs) a big deal, and we're glad that Toyota is leading the way. We invite you to your Glendale-area Toyota dealership to see what's new and what's next. Call Keyes Toyota at 800-296-3052, or visit our showroom at 5855 Van Nuys Blvd in Van Nuys, CA today.

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