Tesla VS Toyota has become the new ideological rivalry in cars. Tesla, and by default Elon Musk, say that full-scale EV adoption is undoubtedly the future of the automotive industry. Elon Musk dismisses hybrids as an unnecessary fuel-dependent stepping stone. Basically the argument is – when you try to be both, you end up not being that good at either. There are plenty of examples throughout history & hobby where that holds weight. Typically, things ‘hybrid related’ end up being a compromise. But…
Toyota points out…
They can build MANY hybrids, with the same amount of battery resources that it takes to move just ONE fully electric vehicle. In other words, it’s less strain on rare earth minerals, less dependency on a potential hostile nation, and more of a wise, careful, and adaptable approach. One where you wade into new & potentially problematic technology, rather than rush into it. Plus, it’s not like little charging-fairies charge your EV with pixie dust.
Hybrids also lower the cost for consumers. In other words, more people in more hybrids is better from an emissions-standpoint, than a few affluent people in EVs, and the rest of everybody in gas-guzzling vehicles. Hybrids also give more freedom to travel, without charging delays or concerns about lacking infrastructure. And these days, hybrids are delivering more performance, rather than robbing performance (which has historically been the case). Additionally – most harmful tailpipe emissions occur during stop-&-go city/traffic situations, where hybrid-electric power takes up the slack.
So who wins the Tesla vs Toyota rivalry??
Well, time will tell. But it’s certainly worth noting, that for the past couple years, Toyota had been heavily criticized for speaking their mind (aka: their truth). The powers that be, even tried to kick Akio Toyoda off the board of his family’s company, because he did not conform appropriately to EV pressure. Shouldn’t we be open to the voices of leaders with tenure & wisdom in this industry? Is it concerning that they attempted to silence & cancel him?
Toyota has a generational history of smart, durable, & extremely well-built vehicles that serve their customers well. Whereas frankly, Elon Musk has a history of hyping things that are in favor of Elon Musk. And making authoritative claims about the future… that are within a tweet’s character-length without any real substance behind it. I’m not saying that he’s not brilliant. But I am adding… that he knows how to work a crowd to his benefit.
There’s just not enough history on full BEVs yet. And perhaps that’s why Toyota cautions for a careful, patient, and sensible approach before rushing into full-scale anything. At the end of the day, Tesla is a disruptor, and Toyota is firmly rooted. Also, if this sort of thing matters to you, Elon Musk envisions a future of autonomy & disconnection to driving. Whereas Akio Toyoda & Koji Sato (of Toyota) are keeping ‘the driving experience’ alive & strong – with divisions like Gazoo Racing (GR) and Toyota Racing Development (TRD).
Just reading the trends here…
‘The trend’ is that the legacy carmakers with the worst reputation for internal-combustion reliability… seem the most eager to switch to full EV & never look back. That’s kind of transparent – yeah? It also seems a bit transparent that EVs might pan out to be better for the pockets & purses of the carmakers… than for the consumers. EVs could very well force a shift to leasing & subscribing… over true vehicle ownership. It also likely removes a large part of self-maintenance & serviceability… thereby giving full-control to the manufacturer even well after the sale. In my opinion, that’s not in the best interest of the customer & our future, and it gives just a little too much leverage to the potential greed of carmakers and especially… their investors. My opinion: The best answer lies where simplicity & efficiency meet. Keep it simple, keep it affordable, keep it serviceable, and keep it durable. After all, if ‘sustainability’ is really the motive in all this (and not just the face of the lie)… then longevity equals sustainability. An EV that is obsolete, bricked, and/or traded-in every few years… has failed at anything environmentally related. And that certainly includes being totaled-out due to a minor yet somehow $40,000 fender-bender.