Why Toyota Is Not Investing in Wireless Recharging EVs

The biggest problem with all-electric vehicles today is their limited range and the lack of charging points. Adding the fact that drivers forget to plug their EV after reaching destination, driving errors resulting in damaging the recharging booth and random acts of vandalism, makes using them a bit difficult.
Toyota FCV-R Fuel Cell 1 photo
Photo: Toyota
However, recharging will be easier in the near future if HEVO Power (Hybrid & Electric Vehicle Optimization) manages to introduce their wireless charging stations. They resemble with a plain manhole cover and will be placed on the EV reserved parking spaces to facilitate recharging. And many automakers seem to like the idea.

But not all automakers think pure-electric vehicles are the answer for the future of transportation.

As chairman Takehsi Uchiyamada said this week, Toyota strongly believes that fuel cell vehicles are a much better option. And you can see that in their EV lineup - the RAV4 EV, Scion iQ EV and the i-Road single seater - all being isolated cases produced in a limited number.

Toyota doesn’t believe in solely battery-powered vehicles for the near future customers. Why? One of the main reasons is their range and recharging time. While EVs seem a good choice for the daily commute, having sufficient time to recharge while you are at work, the thing changes critically when you want to make a trip to grandma, two states away, for example.

An average EV today offers a range of about 130 km (80 miles). Judging that grandma lives at 520 km (323 miles) away for some reason, you will need to make 4 stops. Imagining that every gas station will have a supercharging outlet that can fill-up your battery in about 30 minutes, you will still have to wait with your whole family for 2 hours in various diners eating fries and doughnuts. Keep that number in mind because we still need to calculate the actual trip time.

As the average highway speed limit in the US is 75 mph (120 km/h), you will make 520 km (323 miles) in just a bit more than 4 hours if you drive legally. Adding the “ideal” recharging time for the trip, you will reach grandma’s house in over 6 hours.

Six hours spent with the kids constantly asking “Are we there yet?” and saying “Daddy, I’m full of fries, I wanna see grandma! These truckers are scary...” And you will also upset grandma because the kids are already stuffed and no one will dig in all those goodies she made in six hours... EVs are bad!

That’s probably why Toyota thinks fuel cell cars are better for our society. Unlike the standard EV which needs constant stops for recharging, the fuel cell vehicles make their own electricity from hydrogen stored in a pressurized tank onboard. And the automaker said that their technology is able to offer a range of about 700 km (435 miles) on a single tank. So, your trip will be over in maximum 4 hours and everyone will happily join the big dining table, grandma will be happy and she won’t need to take anti-depressive medicines after you leave.

You may have to pay a bit more for hydrogen in the future than for electricity, but it surely has its advantages. Especially the privilege of not constantly worrying that you may get stranded in the middle of nowhere if you keep your AC and radio on.
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