Toyota scoffed at electric cars.Now it is trying to slow their rise


Toyota executives When the company first developed the Prius, there was a moment of inspiration. At that moment, obviously it has already passed.

The Prius is the world’s first mass-produced hybrid car, which is years ahead of any competitor.The first model, a small car, is a classic Toyota— Reliable vehicles tailored for commuting. After a major redesign in 2004, sales began to take off. The Prius’s Kammback profile was immediately recognized, and the car’s combination of fuel economy and practicality was unparalleled. People snapped them up. Even celebrities who seek to increase their environmental sincerity are fascinated by this car. Leonardo DiCaprio (Leonardo DiCaprio) joined the two at the 2008 Oscars.

As the Prius hybrid technology has continued to improve over the years, it has begun to appear in other models, from the small Prius c to the three-row Highlander. Even the company’s luxury brands, Lexus, A mixture of several of its cars and SUVs.

For many years, Toyota has been a leader in environmentally friendly vehicles. Its efficient cars and crossovers offset the emissions of its large trucks and SUVs, giving the company a fuel efficiency advantage in certain competitions.By May 2012, Toyota has sold 4 million cars In the global Prius family.

The next month, Tesla introduced Model, Which makes Toyota’s hybrid vehicles a leader in the field of green transportation.The new car proved remote electric car, Although expensive, it is both practical and desirable. The advancement of batteries is expected to lower prices, and eventually make the price of electric vehicles equal to that of fossil fuel vehicles.

But what did Toyota misunderstand Tesla represent. Although Toyota invested in Tesla, it believes that this startup is not a threat, but a small role that can help Toyota meet its electric vehicle requirements. In some respects, this view makes sense. In most cases, the two do not compete in the same market segment, and Toyota’s global sales dwarf the sales of this small American manufacturer. In addition, until Toyota’s hydrogen fuel cell is ready, hybrid vehicles are just a stopgap measure. At that time, the company believed that the long-distance and fast refueling of hydrogen-fueled vehicles would make electric vehicles obsolete.

Obviously, Toyota has not noticed the subtle changes that are taking place. Indeed, hybrid vehicles are a bridge to cleaner fuels, but Toyota overestimates the length of this bridge. Just as BlackBerry dismissed the iPhone, Toyota dismissed Tesla and electric cars. BlackBerry believes that the world needs a physical keyboard for many years. Toyota believes that the world needs decades of gasoline. Both are wrong.

When tethering itself to hybrid vehicles and betting its future on hydrogen energy, Toyota now finds itself in an uncomfortable position. Governments around the world are taking actions to ban fossil fuel vehicles of any kind, and their actions are much earlier than Toyota expected. With the decline in the price of electric vehicles and the expansion of charging infrastructure, fuel cell vehicles are unlikely to be ready in time.

In order to protect its investment, Toyota has been vigorously lobbying against battery-powered electric vehicles. But is it too late?

Hydrogen dead end

Having ignored or neglected electric vehicles for the past decade, Toyota now finds itself behind in an industry that is rapidly preparing for the transition to electric — not just electrification —.

Toyota’s fuel cell vehicle sales have not set the world on fire– future Even if bundled with thousands of dollars worth of hydrogen, it is still a slow-selling product, and it is unclear whether its attractive but slow redesign will help. Toyota’s attempts in the field of electric vehicles have been timid.The initial efforts focused on Solid state battery Although lighter and safer than existing lithium-ion batteries, it has proven to be cost-effective to manufacture, just like fuel cells.Last month, the company announced that it would release more traditional electric vehicle models in the next few years, but First It will not be available until the end of 2022.

In the face of losing hands, Toyota is doing what most big companies do when they find out that they are playing the wrong game-trying to change the rules of the game.

According to a report, Toyota has been lobbying the government to lower emission standards or oppose the elimination of fossil fuel vehicles. New York Times Report.In the past four years, Toyota has made significant contributions to the political contributions of American politicians and the Political Action Committee. More than doubled. These contributions also put the company in trouble.By donating to members of Congress who oppose the tightening of emissions limits, the company Funded legislators Who is opposed to proving the results of the 2020 presidential election. Although Toyota promised to stop doing so in January, just last month it was found to be donating money to controversial legislators.


Source link