Toyota to Start Producing Battery-Powered EVs by 2020, Kill Fuel Cell?

Toyota Mirai 1 photo
Photo: Toyota
Toyota is one of the two brands most dedicated to popularizing the hydrogen fuel cell propulsion system alongside Honda, but it looks like the world's largest automaker is about to go through a redefining process.
The Japanese brand has long proclaimed that the best way to reduce emissions is to use hybrid propulsion or a hydrogen fuel cell as a mobile source of power for electric-only vehicles. Its credo was that range over weight ratio in the case of batteries just didn't make them a viable option to power EVs.

It's uncertain whether the advancements in the battery technology or the fact that a lot of its competitors have gone down this way is what made Toyota reconsider, but Nikkei says the Japanese giant will enter the EV market as soon as 2020. One other reason might be the appalling reception the Mirai has had, with just 782 sold so far in the US (a lot of which were bought by government agencies).

According to the same source, the initial numbers don't sound too impressive. Toyota wants to kick off its EV production with a car capable of driving over 300 kilometers (186 miles) on a single charge, which might have sounded a lot better two or three years ago, but it will definitely be less than overwhelming come 2020, considering most EVs have already gone past the 200 miles milestone.

Be that as it may, Toyota can't afford to stand back anymore. Volkswagen may be wounded following the dieselgate scandal from over a year ago, but it can still fight back. Its intentions are very clear, and they are built around making a lot of battery-powered electric vehicles. The Germans showed the I.D. concept in Paris and supported its presentation with a lot of bold claims.

Besides that, a lot of markets are now either offering incentives for EV buyers or forcing manufacturers to throw a few electric cars in the mix as well. And we're talking about important countries such as the USA or China, places where Toyota sells most of its cars.

After Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz, Toyota looks to be the next big carmaker that is forced to give in and adopt the electrification trend, and they don't come bigger than this. And if it does decide to invest in EVs, it's going to have to do it properly, so expect the competition to heighten. Which is great news for us, the potential buyers.
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About the author: Vlad Mitrache
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"Boy meets car, boy loves car, boy gets journalism degree and starts job writing and editing at a car magazine" - 5/5. (Vlad Mitrache if he was a movie)
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