Who killed the electric car this time? Apparently Toyota doesn’t see the markets as currently supporting an extensive electric vehicle [EV] fleet. The 2012 Toyota RAV4 EV was only recently released to the buying public, and announcements had just been made regarding a subcompact EV based off the Scion iQ [Scion iQ EV / Toyota eQ].
It seems an odd turn-around for Toyota, but Toyota Vice Chairman Takeshi Uchiyamada, also head of Toyota R&D, announced that the iQ EV / eQ is to be scrapped and will not be released as planned.
The reasons for the change seem simple enough, Uchiyamada citing EV range, recharging time, and initial costs not ‘meeting the needs of society.’ He has a point, and EV manufacturers have been working hard to get society used to the peculiarities of EVs as a new mode of transportation.
That being said, though, most of society still isn’t buying into the EV for these very reasons. Recently, Toyota launched a new marketing campaign for the Prius family, “a prius for everyone,” “and by extension,” Forbes remarks, “a right EV for just about no one.”
For now, Toyota plans to continue its tried-and-true method of vehicle electrification, including its eleven hybrid models on both Toyota and Lexus lines, planning to expand to over twenty models in the next three years. Toyota knows that Prius is synonymous with ‘hybrid,’ and is building that success into a number of new vehicle categories, including SUVs and mid-size sedans, as well as a number of variations in the Prius family.
Concerns about range and cost will have to wait for EV technology to improve and pricing to fall, while concerns about the environment are probably best answered by the wide range of hybrid electric vehicles already available and soon to be released. For now, it seems that Toyota, only third from the top market share in the US, is going to shelve their EV program until the market and society can bear it.