Toyota’s Cautious Approach vs Detroit’s EV Adoption

As part of its “zero-zero-zero” strategy, General Motors Co. is promising a zero-emission electric-vehicle future as well as an autonomous vehicle-driven promise of zero crashes and zero congestion. Ford Motor Co. is making a Mustang-styled Tesla-fighter while also pouring $500 million into EV truck-maker Rivian Automotive of Plymouth. And Volkswagen AG is ending development of gas-engine powered vehicles by 2026.

Despite the headwinds facing EVs, automakers are betting on an uncertain future for a variety of reasons: fear of Tesla dominating “Generation App” millennials, activism of green CEOs, and the perfect marriage of batteries and autonomous cars. But the most immediate reason is government — not consumer — driven.

I’ve experienced the hesitation of potential EV buyers myself. The owner of a Tesla Model 3, I have been swarmed by friends who want to experience the car’s unique abilities. But when they learn of the compromises an EV owner must endure — garage charging upgrades, long waits at charging stations, range anxiety — their enthusiasm for ownership cools.

Detroit is utilizing their 2035 promise to only make EVs by then to kill all sedans & entry level models. Not much profit in entry level vehicles and the sedan market is dying. Te next decade is EVs & gas guzzling large SUVs & pick ups that have high profit margins. I assume Detroit calculates that the US government will kill all ICs by 2035…so make hay while you can.

Toyota Motor Corp. President Akio Toyoda said he represented a silent majority of auto-industry people who are questioning whether electric vehicles should be pursued exclusively as the future of cars.

Toyota is not a Luddite corporation. They just haven’t bought into a completely EV future. They make some EVS & have plans for future EV models. And they are researching vehicles powered by fuel cells while continuing to make IC & hybrid models. A cautious approach.


Could someone explain why autonomous vehicles are any better with EVs than ICE vehicles? They seem to be two different issues.



No can do. Anyway at age 72, I doubt I will live to see truly autonomous vehicles.

1 Like

Control of an EV is likely simpler because there is a more direct and proportional response.

Either red herring or ignorance, take your pick.

The Captain


I remember being told a few years ago by one resident Tesla enthusiast that they would not have autonomous ICE vehicles because it would be “too hard” and “too expensive”. Meanwhile, just a couple years later several ICE vehicles have most of the attributes (lane following, emergency braking, etc.) except for true autonomy, which (I guess I have to point out) doesn’t exist in any EVs either.

It can’t be because “electricity”, because ICE vehicles can produce as much electricity as they want for as long as they want until the tank runs dry. Which is not substantially different than an EV, except you can refill at nearly any corner store in America.


Autonomy and EV are two different things. However, vertical integration is required (camera’s, sensors and ML software) is required for autonomy.

ICE vehicles and the oil economy are getting rapidly obsolete. Their driving characteristics (pickup, comfort, vibrations) are worse compared to EVs.

It is like comparing a non-smart phone with a smart-phone and claiming that a non-smart phone can do the phone feature just as well.


To that point, actual autonomy is several orders of magnitude more complex than “advanced cruise control”, which is all those other things. Tesla wants to be the first at it, but they’ve been at it for 7+ years already and it’s still plagued by situational edge cases requiring instantaneous decision making with imperfect information - humans can do it (mostly), but it’s still a ways off from being “legally acceptable”. So all of these marketing executive promises about autonomy are bovine excrement.

There’s no reason other than cost and competence that advanced cc an’t be accomplished in all new ICEs right now. In many recent models, it already is, just lacking a couple of more cameras.

As far as Toyota not producing EVs, the answer is obvious, isn’t it? They already have hybrids and have been milking that tech & production process for 15 years. If fast charging were ACTUALLY available reliably - it’s not even close unless Tesla opens up their SCs - they would start producing them en masse, and I believe they will when charging opens up.


There are surely advantages to EVs. But then there are significant disadvantages, too, so your analogy fails. Nobody is saying a smart phone and a non-smart phone are almost the same.

The disadvantages of EVs have been well documented; the lack of availability of remote charging is just one of the most notable. (To frame it in your example, suppose you could only use the smartphone for 30 minutes before finding an outlet providing 67 volts at 83 hertz. Or you could use a non-smart phone for 24 hours and charge it anywhere.)

I am looking at EVs to purchase, I have test driven 3. I am not anti-EV. I am also not so silly that I will accept any lame argument just because they are new and trendy.

Personally, I think Toyota is perusing the wisest course of all by hedging their bets; predicting what kind of cars your company will be producing to the exclusion of all others in 2035 strikes me as the height of idiocy.


It’s not that obvious. Sure, they’ve got a well-developed line of hybrids that they’re already invested in. But it’s also the result of Japan’s industrial policy towards new automobile technology. Most other major auto markets went heavy on electrification - but Japan’s industrial policy is pushing heavily towards hydrogen. We’ve talked about that before, on other threads:

"It’s also worth noting, as was discussed in one of the other threads, that the Japanese government is strongly supporting hydrogen vehicles:…

It’s not all that surprising that Toyota - a global manufacturer but still a Japanese firm - would respond to the incentives of its home government."

It’s worth noting that EV sales in Japan are close to non-existent. Not just Toyota or the other Japanese majors, but no one is selling large numbers of EV’s in Japan. Even Nissan, who’s sold a million Leafs. Leaves? Leafs. That strongly suggests that this isn’t a firm-specific phenomenon, but a response to the national policy of Japan - since all their firms and global manufacturers like Tesla lack domestic EV sales there.


Lucid just announced a $1.5B investment from the Saudi Wealth Fund. That tells me that oil rich Saudi Arabia sees this as the future as well. (coupled with their attempts to create more sustainable cities in general). When SA is trying to pivot away from oil maybe that needs to tell people something…

We are still watching, looking, no test drives yet, just observations of friends, family who have gone to EVs or Hybrids…

Thought is to replace our (DW’s) Honda Civic… I’m not all that comfy driving it, my big 6-2 size finds it restrictive, and I’m not liking setting that low. Worse at night with oncoming traffic, rather be up higher in my F150… But the Toyota Hybrids, maybe others in an SUV could be the next move… No rush, nothing is broke, just would like to get DW into the newer tech since the '07 Civic came home… Maybe even lightly used if they are around…

I don’t like that full EVs don’t have a backup, or that I know of, maybe a 10 mile backup to get to a charge station? Or are there Low Battery warnings?

Pretty simply, no company can currently produce a “full self driving” car–of any type. The current processors (i.e. like your computer CPU) can not process the data fast enough to keep up with the requirements of actual driving. Probably 15-25 years for an appropriately FAST processor to be available (maybe longer).

Sort of. That represents about 1% of Saudi oil exports.



fwiw, I think it was NBC “news” this evening, that had a piece on a real world experiment, with a Chevy Bolt. The reporter drove from LA to San Diego, some 120 miles. Over 2900 chargers within a couple miles of his route. No worries jamming juice into the Bolt. Made the trip easily.

Tried same experiment in Texas, from (somewhere) to Austin, same distance. Only about 500 chargers along the route. Tried to charge up at a Dunk’n Doughnuts. None of the six chargers worked. Down to his last few coulombs, he pulled into a fleamarket of some sort, that had one charger, which was in working condition. A half hour on the charger jammed enough juice to go another 15 miles. He barely made it to Austin.

The story could have been staged managed, at the behest of the oil industry, but there is a certain truthiness to the “woke people’s republic of California” supporting EVs better than “rugged individualistical” Texas.

The places I make long drives to: northern Indiana and western Michigan, think and act more like Texas than California. I’ll stick to IC cars for a while yet.



Kind of my point. There is nothing inherent saying “Oh, EVs must have cameras and sensors.” Sure, they can, (and some do) but then so do ICE vehicles. Some have cameras all around even with a processed “top down” view. My 2005 Toyota Van has proximity sensors in the bumper; a few years earlier they didn’t exist, now they do. It’s just wires, actuators and whatever you choose to hook them too. Oh, and real time processing.

As you point out it’s “a couple more cameras”, - and more, of course. Processing power as does not yet exist, for one thing, so I can confidently say that both EVs and ICE cars are tied at this point. It’s sort of a pass/fail test, and nobody’s got a Pass yet.

I suspect the other part is that much of LA to SD is built up and there’s plenty of traffic on the route to support the kind of businesses that exist around chargers. And Anywhere, TX to Austin, TX is likely to be mostly barren along the way.


A lot of outstate Michigan and Indiana is pretty sparsely populated too. Lots of farms, sprinkling of dying small towns.

That being said, infrastructure could be expected to build out along the major highways. Maybe tonight’s “news” will be available on their web site tomorrow, so you can inspect the exact route he took.


I charge my Tesla at home daily and have solar panels. Works very well.
I rarely travel more than 300 miles in one trip.

After 2030, you will not be able to buy an ICE car even if you want it. All automakers are moving on and more states and countries are implementing ICE bans.


True! Unless you are on I-35 there just isn’t much of anything. (Oh, and along all the major highways are chargers!)