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Toyota Finally Has the Power in Electric Cars (bloomberg.com)
54 points by clouddrover 22 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 101 comments



I've been waiting for one of the big Japanese automaker to make a reputable electric car. I'm hopeful for 2020 especially after Toyota announced that they're joining NVIDIA's DRIVE. An electric car that has Level 2 self driving capabilities and 200 mile range under $30000 would be awesome.


The biggest selling electric car is from Japan. The Nissan leaf.

Yes, you used the weasel word "reputable" - but what better reputation is there than having the most sales? Nissan from Japan sells the most electric cars.

Apart from sales, the Nissan Leaf scores 7-8/10 and 4/5 from the critics. Which is around the same as the Tesla model 3.

If the critics think they are ok, and they sell the most of all electric cars... then they can be considered reputable.


He also mentioned a 200 mile range, which the Leaf is still working towards; Nissan's website clearly states the latest Leaf has a 150 mile range [1]. I've been lusting after all electric cars for a while including the Leaf but range is definitely a concern.

Kudos to Tesla for breaking open the market and creating all electric cars with 200+ mile range. But I'm with the original poster in that I want 200+ miles and a quality product with no fit and finish issues or supply-chain problems when there's a breakdown. Tesla has one of three right now and eventually the majors will catch up.

[1] https://www.nissanusa.com/vehicles/electric-cars/leaf/range-...


For anyone interetsed, the Leaf E-Plus is coming within the next couple months with a 200 mile range: https://insideevs.com/leaf-e-plus-nissan-joins-200-mile-club...

There's still no active battery cooling though, which is a disappointment.


Particularly in hot climates there's concern both around battery performance and actual range. Practically speaking you need to factor in climate control use when driving, which lowers range.


The Leaf Plus goes on sale in the US in spring, with a range of 224 miles.

https://www.automobilemag.com/news/2019-nissan-leaf-plus-ev-...


Yeah, my ICE wagon has 450-550 miles rated range depending on city/highway rated mileage. Even if you assume that's somewhat optimistic (and it isn't that optimistic — my 15 year older, same model wagon got nearly the same mileage), it's still a lot more than 150. And it cost a lot less than $30k.


I’d kinda prefer the low range:

It would encourage me to rent a car for road trips and put the damage on someone else’s vehicle.

Most of my road trips are the 1000km in 2-3 day variety anyway.


If I was going to rent for any drive longer than 150 miles, I wouldn't own a car in the first place. Renting is a big hassle and multiplied by N trips sounds unpleasant. My trips are shorter and probably more frequent than your 620 mile multi-day affairs, though.


I guess my questions are:

What percentage of cars go on more than 2x 150 mile+ trips in a year? (Or 300 mile round trips that can be charged at turnaround point).

And the same question for 100/200 miles. I’m guessing 90%+ for personal cars.

And many of the exceptions are multicar households that could shift their long-drives to the other car.


To answer your question, I could only guess :-).

I don't know how common it is, but we're a single-car household that goes hiking (i.e., no charging at the turn around point).


FYI, the information for the US can probably be derived from the raw data available here: https://nhts.ornl.gov/ . The high level web summary buckets all trips of 31+ miles into a single bucket, which isn't helpful for your question, but if you want to do the analysis on the data, it's available. Cheers.


GP probably was referring to legendary Toyota quality, as opposed to (good but not known in popular culture as remarkable) Nissan quality.


Toyota have traditionally built their reputation of quality by conservativly adopting new technology, especially when it comes to drivetrains.

I'm not aware of any Toyota vehicles sold in the U.K that have a turbocharger, except the Supra which shares the drivetrain, suspension, platform and some interior with the BMW Z4.

Heck, their Yaris GRMN uses the 1.8 supercharged engine that Toyota have been selling to Lotus for years.

I wonder how Toyota plan to transfer this to electric vehicles given how new the technology still is.


Prius drivetrain is quite complicated.

> that have a turbocharger,

It's not only Toyota. I think this is an instance of you get what you measure. European car automakers jump into turbocharged engines, because it was easy to meet NDEC. Now WLTP makes it a way harder, hence mild hybridization.


I am bit thinking out loud, drive train becomes important if its a plug-in hybrid when you have to change from electric to gas (and vice-versa), but in electric it is meant to be simple, is drive train even an issue of innovation in Electric cars, after all there is only Drive and Reverse.


I would presume electric drive trains are quite complex.

You'd have independent electric motors on at least 2, perhaps all 4 wheels. You have to redesign entire platforms to fit batteries, ensure the batteries and the drivetrain have adequate cooling, ensure that the electric motors have a certain amount of longevity, and so on.


With the exception of a few niche vehicles, most EVs have only 1 (FWD/RWD) or 2 (AWD) motors. Though it's a new platform, electric motors aren't exactly a new technology and overall it's significantly fewer moving parts to fail. There's also the fact that many manufacturers come up with a single "skateboard" platform for multiple vehicles, which reduces the overall complexity of manufacturing EVs.


As far as I understand the current state of EVs, EVs have eliminated the engine and it's ancillaries.

However, EVs still have CV joints, differentials (dependent on the car, Tesla runs an open differential), independent suspension - all of which must be much stronger since electric motors produce far more torque than ICEs and also have the added weight penalty.


The power-train is everything from wheels to engine. Where as drive-train is the power-train minus the engine.

The transmission is the most complicated part of the drive-train and arguably more complicated than all of the other drive-train components combined. In current EVs there is no transmission, just a single reduction gearbox.

In an EV the engine is dramatically simplified compared to an ICE and there are significantly fewer parts and almost no moving parts in comparison.

Another thing to consider is that all internal combustion engines have multiple supplementary systems that are required to function such as cooling, fuel delivery, and ignition. At most an EV motor might require supplementary cooling but no commercial vehicle has one that I'm aware of.


Of course, ICE powertrains have lots of moving parts, but the comparison that EV cars are simple is just not an accurate representation of EV cars.

There are fewer moving parts, I agree. The architecture itself is simpler too, I agree. But the individual components are still massively complex and expensive. High density Lithion-ion is very complex, and also requires a number of supplementary systems to manage power, heat, cooling and monitor the array.


You could make the same argument about the exotic metallurgy used in ICE components. Just like with an ICE subsystem, most of those subsystems you mentioned aren't trade secrets and have far greater operating tolerances than in an ICE.


That's all very old and simple tech. The quality is only limited by the bean counters keeping costs down.


> I would presume electric drive trains are quite complex.

They're significantly less complicated than an ICE power-train and drive-train.

The Nissan Leaf has a single electric motor and a fixed reduction gear box. The only fluids to maintain are the wiper fluid and reduction gear box fluid, which is similar to automatic transmission fluid but requires less maintenance. The battery pack is air cooled and the only servicing is an annual inspection to maintain warranty.

The Tesla vehicles are all direct drive with no gearbox. They come in single or dual motor options. The batteries are cooled and the fluid is changed at 4 year intervals.

The maintenance schedule for an EV is annually changing the cabin filter, wiper blades, and doing a multi-point inspection.


>The Tesla vehicles are all direct drive with no gearbox.

This is wrong. They have a single electric motor (except the dual-motor ones) and a fixed reduction gear box, just like the Leaf. No one does direct-drive electric motors because it's a lot easier to make a faster-spinning motor and then use a reduction gear to get usable torque from it; a direct-drive motor would have to have a huge diameter.

>The maintenance schedule for an EV is annually changing the cabin filter, wiper blades, and doing a multi-point inspection.

You're forgetting the brakes. EVs still have regular hydraulic brake systems that need new pads and fluid, though not as much because they can use regenerative braking much of the time, avoiding use of the friction brakes, which are really for emergency stops and full stops.


> This is wrong.

You're right. I was mistaken, I thought I had read that the Roadster was the only Tesla with a gearbox but that it was eliminated with a free upgrade. There's still a gearbox but it's a fixed single reduction gear.

> You're forgetting the brakes.

I wasn't, I was touching on the differences between an EV and an ICE with regards to maintenance. Brakes are a consumable that are inspected and changed as needed rather than at regular interval like the belts or fluids in an ICE vehicle.

Brakes and brake fluid are part of the multi-point inspection that's done on all vehicles when they're serviced. As you pointed out, EVs use their brakes significantly less than ICE vehicles and so any maintenance of the brake system will be less frequent than an equivalent ICE vehicle.

Overall EVs require significantly less maintenance to their drive/power-train AND to some of their traditional systems (e.g. brakes).


I'd like to refute the point about brakes. A lot of it is based on the driver, not just the vehicle.

I've driven a manual all my life. I don't really enjoy automatics, and I've got to the point now where I've pretty much perfected rev matching and heel and toe so I can engine brake most of the time with minimal wear on my clutch and shock to my drive train.

To be perfectly honest, I don't think I wear my brakes any faster than if I drove an electric car. I'd love to do an experiment to see if this was the case, it sounds like as lot of fun!

However, I concede that most drivers are nowhere near as interested in the technicalities of driving and teaching learner drivers to rev match and heel and toe is probably too complex at that stage in their driving careers.


> However, I concede that most drivers are nowhere near as interested in the technicalities of driving and teaching learner drivers to rev match and heel and toe is probably too complex at that stage in their driving careers.

For every ICE driver like you, there are an equal number of EV drivers trying to optimize their driving habits as well. The difference between ICE and EV when it comes to brake wear is that it's an active effort for an ICE driver and passive for an EV driver.

The regenerative braking in an EV varies by make/model but the 1st gen. Nissan Leaf has by far the least aggressive system. With the Leaf, the brake engagement is based on a number of factors from how fast you're going to how hard you press on the brake. The Leaf will almost come to a complete halt simply by taking your foot off the accelerator and allowing the regen system to drag the car to a stop without ever depressing the brake. In stop-and-go traffic you rarely have to take your foot off the gas.

In the Leaf when you depress the brake pedal the regenerative system ramps up quickly and only after it has peaked do the mechanical brakes engage. When stopping it's not uncommon to hear the mechanical brakes engage just as the car comes to a rest to hold the car at a stand still, it's an audible thunk.

The Tesla Model 3's regenerative braking is quite aggressive compared to the Leaf and if you take your foot completely off the accelerator pedal you will lurch forward in your seat as the car quickly decelerates.

I personally find the Leaf to be a much easier, and a lot less fun, to drive than the Model 3 because of how the brake regen systems work. In my 2015 Leaf I can engage hill mode (aggressive regen) and eco mode (gummy pedal) and then only have to touch the brakes to come to a complete halt. I've yet to find a setting in the Model 3 that compares.

You should go test drive something like the Model 3 as it's a very different driving experience to an ICE in terms of braking.


>You should go test drive something like the Model 3 as it's a very different driving experience to an ICE in terms of braking.

You sound like you took one test drive of the Model 3 at one setting and have no idea that there are multiple settings. If you go through the menus, the aggressiveness of the regen braking is settable. You can make the car "creep" as if it has an automatic transmission, or you can make it not "creep", like cars with manual transmissions and clutches. You can set it for aggressive regen like a real EV, or you can set it for non-aggressive regen so it feels like driving a regular car with an auto trans.

The proper setting, IMO, is the full-EV mode with very aggressive regen. You're not supposed to use the accelerator as an accelerator, you're supposed to use it as a speed control pedal. So you don't take your foot off the pedal at all, unless you need to brake hard. The rest of the time, you keep your foot on the pedal and modulate it to control your speed. If that's a problem for you, it's because you learned bad driving habits with non-EV vehicles, and you need to learn better driving habits now.


Was this just an opportunity for you to insult me twice? Because you confirmed my claim that it's different by pointing out that it has settings to make it feel less different.


You made a claim about the car and how its regen braking works, implying that that was the only way it could work. You then said a different car had settings to change this, but you said nothing about the Model 3's settings, which in fact, let you change this thing that you're complaining about.


You make it very hard to discuss anything because you're aggressively looking for flaws in people's comments that you can object to (i.e. you like to argue) which intern means people are less likely to invest effort in responding because we're hear to have friendly discussions.

> implying that that was the only way it could work.

You're interpreting it how you want to and not taking what's being said in the context it's given.

The comment I was responding to remarked that they used engine braking as a means of reducing brake wear. They acknowledged to have never driven an EV and I was pointing out that by default an EV exhibits a behavior (i.e. regenerative braking) that is similar and, unlike engine braking, is not something you consciously have to perform. It's on by default.

You swoop in to tell me how I'm wrong (which I'm not) and that I'm complaining (which I wasn't).

> the Model 3's settings, which in fact, let you change this thing that you're complaining about.

First, I wasn't complaining about it at all, go back and reread what I said.

> I personally find the Leaf to be ... a lot less fun, to drive...

With both cars you have to keep constant pressure on the accelerator to coast, however the Model 3 requires you to maintain greater pressure which leads to fatigue faster (i.e. less fun). In the Leaf you can set Regenerative Braking to Normal and disable Eco Mode, which increases throttle response and reduces pedal weight, which allows you to coast at highway speeds with minimal pedal pressure. The Model 3's equivalent settings (i.e. Acceleration = Standard, Regenerative Braking = Low) require much more pedal pressure to coast at highway speeds.

Second, even when you set Regenerative Braking to Low in the Tesla, it is still not like driving an ICE vehicle. The Model 3's least aggressive Regenerative Braking setting is so aggressive that if you completely remove your foot from the accelerator it automatically illuminates your brake lights. Unless you're driving in a manual transmission vehicle and you downshift, you will never experience that kind of tug.

So no, in fact, you cannot change the settings in the Model 3 to be comparable to a conventional ICE vehicle. At best you can get a behavior that's akin to driving a manual transmission vehicle aggressively.

Again, I'm not complaining about the Model 3 or any EV.

With regards to my "one test drive" experience with EVs: https://i.imgur.com/KUnPluM.jpg


I would love to, I'm not sure we will have the Model 3 in the U.K for quite some time still. I'll give it a go when they're available and hopefully report back on a future article!

magduf 22 days ago [flagged]

>Brakes are a consumable that are inspected and changed as needed rather than at regular interval like the belts or fluids in an ICE vehicle.

Wrong again. Brake pads and rotors, yes, but brake fluid needs to be bled and changed at regular intervals regardless of usage.


> Wrong again.

Am I? I said annual maintenance, is brake fluid changed annually? The requirements vary by manufacturer (e.g. Chevy every 45k, Honda every 3 years).

Pedantry aside...

The brake system on an Electric Vehicle will require the same or less maintenance than an equivalent Internal Combustion Engine vehicle.

And Electric Vehicle will require less maintenance overall compared to the equivalent Internal Combustion Engine vehicle.

magduf 19 days ago [flagged]

Yes, you're wrong. Go back and read the line you wrote (I quoted it for you in the previous post). You said brakes are a consumable, and you kinda implied that EV brakes don't even have fluid(!). Now you're admitting that it does need to be changed, which is exactly what I pointed out you were wrong about. This isn't "pedantry", it's a pretty major operation that has to be done regularly (as you said, roughly every 3 years for most cars I think; brake systems are all about the same these days and use the same fluids. My Mazda has a very similar requirement as those you mentioned.) It's not a hard job, but it does take some time and shop labor is expensive so it's not an especially cheap job.

>The brake system on an Electric Vehicle will require the same or less maintenance than an equivalent Internal Combustion Engine vehicle.

This is correct. You don't need to change the pads/rotors nearly as often, but the fluid still needs maintenance.

>And Electric Vehicle will require less maintenance overall compared to the equivalent Internal Combustion Engine vehicle.

Yes, of course, I never said otherwise. But it's important to remember that "less maintenance" doesn't equal "no maintenance". A lot of the systems on an EV are the same as current cars, and maintenance/repair will be little different: wheels/tires/bearings, suspension/ball joints/struts, wipers/washers, brakes, HVAC.


So I'm wrong because you say so even though you agree with what I said? Got it.


I've seen claims by Tesla that their brakes never need service due to the fact they're barely used. Not sure how accurate that is, but it's sort of logical.


Sounds like BS. Even if you almost never use them, brake fluid has a finite life and needs to be replaced every few years. Brake systems are never perfectly hermetically sealed and brake fluid is hygroscopic.


Plus: What about rust?


Rust is usually rubbed off when the brakes are engaged. Buildup on any vehicle is only really an issue when the vehicle sits undriven for long periods of time.

In EVs the brakes are engaged, just less frequently and with less force. For example in a normal car when you depress the brake pedal gently to slow to a normal stop the brakes engage immediately. In an EV the regenerative braking force increases when you depress the brake pedal and only after it has hit 100% do the brakes engage.

So with an ICE vehicle the brakes are the primary stopping force most of the time where as with an EV they're the secondary stopping force most of the time.


I think he may be referring to rust inside the brake lines. I've seen it before on an older vehicle that probably never had its brake fluid changed. Over time, moisture gets into the system and corrodes the steel brake lines, causing rust to get into the fluid. It's why you have to change the fluid every so often: it's impossible to keep moisture out, and the fluid is hygroscopic.


Please stop getting involved in flamewars about brakes or otherwise. Tedious back and forths like https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19001513 are something we're trying to avoid here.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


[flagged]


Please don't engage in nasty spats on HN. If you think someone's behaving abusively, let us know at hn@ycombinator.com, and avoid breaking the site guidelines yourself.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


Electric drivetrains are just so simple compared to ICE that it seems hard to fuck up. I mean, I'm sure Toyota will think about it more than I have, but that's one of the major benefits of this shift towards battery vehicles.


>Electric drivetrains are just so simple compared to ICE that it seems hard to fuck up.

You would think so, but Tesla had a lot of problems with their electric motors and had to replace lots of them.


Tesla is in an interesting position where they have a lot of apologists for various kinds of problems that no other automaker gets. I don't think their experience is necessarily indicative of how an entranched, reliable automaker's EV experience will shake out.


Perhaps, but it's not like there's a lot of other examples of battery EVs out there to compare with, just the Leaf and the Bolt really. There's also the motors in the Volt and Prius (which are both capable of running motor-only, and for the Volt the motor provides all the propulsion). But you have a point, none of those others have had any motor problems I've heard of. Thought to be fair, the Tesla motors are a lot more powerful than those in any of those other cars.


EVs are dramatically simplified in comparison to ICE vehicles and thus the power-train is much more reliable. For any automaker this increased reliability is only going to help their reputation.

This poses a problem for Toyota and others (e.g. Honda) who are known for having very reliable power-trains, not because their reliability will suffer but rather because other automaker's power-trains will get significantly better. That is assuming those other automakers don't find a way to screw up, I have no doubt some will.


I'm concerned like this a quite a blanket statement. Are all EVs that much simpler? There are simple EV drivetrains and there are complex EV drivetrains. Not all EV drivetrains are the same.

This also applies to ICE. Most ICE drivetrains that do not have forced induction tend to be quite simple. Forced induction makes the drivetrain much more complex and puts a lot more strain on the drivetrain, and is one of the reasons why Toyota has stayed away from forced induction.

Is the drive train in a Tesla Model X P100d much simpler than that in a 1.5 NA Yaris? I'm not sure, and would love to be proved incorrect on this.


> Are all EVs that much simpler?

Yes.

Internal Combustion Engines have at a minimum a Combustion System, Ignition System, Fuel Delivery System, Exhaust System, and a Cooling System. These can vary in complexity but, apart from air cooling, any one of those systems will be more complex than an EV's electric power-train. On top of that, most of the parts of an ICE are mechanical moving parts where as most of the parts of an electric motor are stationary non-moving parts.

ICE vehicles almost universally have a transmission gear box that contains a configurable gear system to alter the gear ratio of the vehicle. All EVs on the market use a fixed gear box with a single reduction gear set.

> Is the drive train in a Tesla Model X P100d much simpler than that in a 1.5 NA Yaris?

Yes, dramatically.


Where are the complex EV drivetrains? It isn't remotely the same thing as ICE. Even the most reliable ICE drivetrains are extremely complex. Toyota just uses conservative and overbuilt ICE technology to achieve remarkable reliability. That's fine, but still has tons of moving parts compared to electric drivetrains.


Kudos as well to Nissan for giving the Leaf a more conventional body in the 2017 model year. I think the weirdo bug eyes and strange rear end were a barrier to some people— the current look blends in much better.


I had the 2013 and the 2015 models. The edgy design was on purpose, as the car appealled to a segment which is ready to try out something new and live with the rough edges. Branding actually reflects that even though it's subconscient to the user.

Their move to a conventional body is in line with the signal that this is no longer just for the early adopter market but now for the mainstream.


I wanted to buy one in 2017 for the 2016 model when they had this sale for a brand new Leaf for 18K take home (12K with incentives). But the 107 miles range was pretty disappointing hence why I didn't buy it. I'm sure it's a great car but range and battery life on them so far leaves a lot to be desired. I still rather own a Toyota over a Nissan though due to longevity of the cars And yes, I owned all the three major Japanese brands before and drives (probably my last) Honda right now.


AFAIK, the first Leaf with >200 mile range is the Leaf Plus. It isn't shipping yet, at least in the US. I suspect this is what he meant, rather than pointing to Nissan as being not reputable.

Although, the early Leaf vehicles had issues with battery degradation that could have been a factor as well.


The Nissan Leaf is a fairly well regarded all-electric car. I've been very happy with mine.


I loved mine for a while, but the range was a problem for me. I traded it in for a Chevy Volt (2017), and don't regret it.

The Leaf is fantastic, and will qualify that I had a 2011 model, so my range was ~45 miles due to degradation. Sadly I didn't make it in the recall range, so no replacement for me. I've heard that people with the 2013+ have better range and reliability (and less or unnoticeable degradation).

I wish more manufacturers would consider plug-in hybrids with more range. 40mi electric seems like a perfect compromise between electric range and reduced weight.


My wife has a conventional car, so we use hers for anything requiring an especially long drive, which only really happens maybe four times a year. I never hit the ~72 mile range of my 2015 in the course of my normal day.

I feel like having access to a gas vehicle for rare occasions is the missing ingredient that makes fully electric cars viable for a large portion of the population. Maybe there's a market opportunity there.


Agreed! My average day left me with about 10mi range out of about 45mi, which caused some amount of stress if I had to deviate from my normal day to run an errand or something similar. If I had to stop for groceries on the way home, I'd end up limping home in turtle mode, which was nerve wracking.

My wife was driving an 08 prius at the time, which served as our long range car, but her work commute was about 40mi round trip, so if she had to run AC/Heat, she wouldn't make the round trip on the Leaf if I had to swap cars for the day.

Now she drives the Volt, and the 53mi range seems perfect. She usually gets home with 10-15mi range, and the ICE eliminates range anxiety.

Rental is always an option, and was something we considered if we were to get another BEV, but we routinely take 300mi round trips, so it would't economical.


Yikes! Only 45 miles? I have a 2015 Leaf and it gets anywhere from 75-92 miles depending on who is driving.


Yeah, and 45 was the high side. It often seemed closer to 38-40. I live in a hot climate, so the car was an oven without AC, which meant the range was reduced. But yeah, the early models had much worse degradation, on top of their lower range (expected on an early model, since it was new tech).


My 2014 with 41,000 miles is about 87% capacity according to leafspy. This puts it at around 73 miles which handles about 80% of our driving.


I don't understand why you're being downvoted, this sounds a like perfectly reasonable comment.


I just assume it's people not agreeing. The Leaf gets a bad rap, and a lot of hate. Nissan put a lot of great work into that car, and it doesn't get much recognition thanks to other developments in the recent years. They've been steadily increasing range (I think they're in the ~70mi range now), and have a much higher charging rate than others (Volt included, sadly).

If it wasn't for the guess-o-meter (range gauge) being so unreliable, and the degradation, I would have held on to my Leaf. But my range vehicle (an '08 Prius) was starting to need some more maintenance, and the Leaf became problematic if I needed to run any errands after work.


For City driving or as a second car. A used Nissan Leaf is an incredible value, I'm saving about 200~250 a month in what I would have used in gas.


Why wouldn't you buy plugin hybrid Prius then? It cost 30k, range is not an issue and I wouldn't be surprised if your total Co2 would be similar to Tesla model 3 (it varies by location and how much you drive, but creating the battery produces a lot of Co2)


The PHEV Prii have such a paltry range. Even the newest models have ~30mi IIRC. If you happen to have a very short commute, or very little traffic, they might be a good fit, but I feel like you really need to be in the 50-60mi electric range to make much sense.


I just bought a 2013 PiP and knew the EV range was < 10 miles.

What I like about it is:

- on my 65 mile round trip commute I get a +10mpg increase if I leave home with a full charge and without charging at work.

- I get the lovely EV driving experience for the 4 miles in and out of the city I work in.

- I'm not contributing to poor urban air quality.

- Its fully charged with 10 miles in 90 minutes. At weekends I frequently find that I make more than 30 miles of all-EV journeys around my home town.


Personally, I don't commute by car, so really a majority of the miles I drive would probably be all-gasoline given the plug-in's meager 12 miles of electric range. So a used Prius is far cheaper and also more efficient for me.


A Prius isn't very efficient for about the first 5 minutes of a trip. I believe this has to do with the engine warming up. I live in a small town so most of my trips are under 5 minutes. I get much better fuel economy on the highway.


You can do 30 miles all electric in a new Prius (with a solar panel on roof). If you drive very little renting a car could make more sense.


Toyota has squandered its huge lead in hybrids and is now quite late to EVs. I'm glad to see them make these moves, but this should've happened over 10 years ago. These things take time.


> Toyota has squandered its huge lead in hybrids and is now quite late to EVs.

Toyota is somewhat late to battery powered pure EVs (ignoring the limited RAV4 EV contemporary to the GM EV1 and Honda EV+), because they were heavily invested both hybrids, including PHEVs, and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. OTOH, other than advanced battery tech, they aren't late to anything involved in battery-powered pure EVs (PHEVs have a superset of the needs of pure EVs, and fuel cell vehicles are pure EVs), but that's just a matter of making a deal with Panasonic, which they've done now, per the story—their competitors don't have exclusive special sauce here.


They made a deal with Panasonic for quite a small % of their production (Chinese brands only)


EVs still make up only a fraction of a percent of the global or domestic auto markets. Toyota has plenty of time to catch up, especially given Tesla's inability to properly execute.


>especially given Tesla's inability to properly execute.

Why established manufacturer proved to be better at producing EV than Tesla?

Tesla is producing more than 50% of all battery capacity in the world (China included) and this % keeps growing. It's been a decade since we started hearing "competition is coming", "these are the Tesla killer" and yet none made a dent in Tesla's sales (which are doubling every two years and should grow faster with Model Y).


they didn't simply ignore it. they tried EVs before, there simply wasn't much demand for it at the time. Now that batteries are cheaper, things are starting to look different.


AFAIK, the Panasonic deal is only to Chinese Toyota subsidiaries. Toyota still does not intend to manufacture battery electric vehicles and still pretend the auto market will fully switch to hydrogen first (as crazy as it sounds).


Last year there were reports that the Tesla/Panasonic batteries in the Tesla Model 3 contained much less cobalt and that this was a significant competitive advantage for Tesla. Does anyone know if the enabling technology is Tesla's (or exclusive to Tesla through their agreement with Panasonic)? If not, will this be available to Toyota for use in their cars?


It will not be a competitive advantage for Tesla and the low-cobalt cells will be available to Toyota.

Panasonic makes and designs the cells (the part with the cobalt), Tesla just arranges those cells into a battery (adds control systems, cooling, framing etc.)


> It will not be a competitive advantage for Tesla and the low-cobalt cells will be available to Toyota.

source?


Strange that Toyota were so early with the hybrid cars, the Prius came out over 20 years ago. But they are now behind with full BEV's. Hydrogen just hasn't got the momentum at the moment.


>Strange that Toyota were so early with the hybrid cars, the Prius came out over 20 years ago.

https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/compliance_car


I used to think the Hybrid Synergy Drive in the Prius and other Toyota hybrids was a fancy name for an electric motor bolted onto the gearbox of a regular ICE car. I’ve owned several Prii over many years.

For those interested here’s a great video explaining how it really works. It blew my mind...

https://youtu.be/E_xCssR8qQI


Really glad we're shedding our dependence on Tesla to shoulder the future of the electric car industry. This is probably the single most important anti-climate-change measure the world is taking right now, and it'd be a shame if it lost steam because of Elon's breakdown. But I think Tesla managed to get the snowball rolling just in time.


Bill's stat on how many gas powered cars would need to be taken off the road (exchanged for electric) to equal the emissions of a single coal plant blew my mind.

https://mobile.twitter.com/billgates/status/1052914693042450...


That is eye-opening, although:

> even if clean energy supplied all the power, over 1.5 million people would still have to switch

So it does factor in the current state of electricity-generation, which makes a big difference. I guess the way I've always looked at it is, the energy industry has a big head start (and much more flexibility) in moving to clean sources than cars do. It's really hard to:

1) Create a cultural change for billions of individual people

2) Replace the infrastructure of fueling stations

3) Create the technologies to make electric motors and storage feasible on a moving platform, where space and weight are at a premium

Each of those things has its own powerful network-effect holding it in place. While not easy per say, I think the energy sector has much more opportunity to branch out. If you want to try out clean nuclear energy, you just decide to make your next plant a nuclear one.

I honestly think one of Tesla's greatest contributions to the world - on par with its battery innovations - was making electric cars "cool". I think this was the core genius behind Musk's business plan. Much as we'd like to think otherwise, car culture in America has always been one of the greatest barriers to adoption of non-fossil-fuel vehicles; in the past, hybrids and electrics have always been boxy nerd-wagons. Elon said, "let's start with an exotic sports car". He broke that most entrenched of barriers and I think that's what really got the ball rolling.


Assuming drivers have access to plug-in charging, I doubt the large-scale need for 150 mile+ ranges, or even 100.

There will be a market for short-duration exchanges between ICE and short-range electric car owners for long trips.

Or just rentals of long-range vehicles (or trunk-battery-packs) for those with short-range vehicles that meet 99% of their needs.


Or an increased demand for long-range travel systems such as airplanes, buses, railroads, and/or zeppelins. America has fetishized the long distance road trip for a long time, but it's not the only way to travel.


How big of a deal is this? How will battery technology be impacted? What did Tesla's open-sharing of their patents do to the landscape?


Call me when there's an affordable Tesla alternative with RWD/AWD. Torque steer is bad enough with ICEs.


range isn't even a concern, make them charge in 10 mins please! I'd be fine having a car that can go ~100mi but can charge in a short time and have a battery that will hold those specs for at least 7 years


Generally the speed you can charge a battery pack falls off as you reach higher charge percentages. It's why a lot of manufacturers quote their fast charging times as charging to 60% or 80% not to 100%.

That means that a great way to have a car that can charge quickly to ~100 miles is to give it a ~200mi battery pack.

A Tesla Model 3 with the long range pack (310 miles rated range) can charge to 100 miles of range in under 20 minutes at a Tesla Supercharger:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VABvS9zfuiI

Edit: Here's another example of someone getting ~100 miles in 10 minutes:

https://teslamotorsclub.com/tmc/threads/supercharger-speed-1...


Good news! You can get a Tesla Model 3 LR, pretend it is a 100 mile car (by never charging to more than ~40%), and charge to 100 miles in 10 minutes whenever it is depleted!

This is a little tongue in cheek, of course, but my intent is to make the point that rate of charge and capacity are really related with current lithium ion technologies. This relationship is unlikely to change much over the next 10 years.


In practice, I found charge time to be irrelevant as long as I can get it fully charged overnight. I didn't even bother installing a fast charger in my garage since the trickle charge was good enough for my needs.

A longer range means you can forget to plug it in one evening and be fine. Or you can go on a longer day trip.

For some reason many of us think we absolutely need to handle driving across the country; I'm sure some do but most of us don't. As a suburbanite who only occasionally travels long distance, this has not been an issue.


> range isn't even a concern, make them charge in 10 mins please!

Range absolutely is a concern. I've pretty much no use for a car which only goes 100mi but don't mind overnight charging in the slightest. I'm waiting for EVs to do 600 miles on a charge at highway speed, with heating and/or AC.


You're going to be waiting a long time. EVs do not perform well at highways speeds so your ask is ridiculous. A 600 mile range use-case is a boundary condition at best as there are few ICE vehicles that can even achieve that. EV aren't going to eliminate the need for ICE vehicles but they should easily be able to accommodate 90-95% of the market.

The biggest barrier to EV adoption currently is people incorrectly thinking they need a 200-300 mile range since that's what their ICE vehicle currently gets.

We're a two car family and when we got the Leaf it was initially my commuter car (~25 miles one way) but quickly became our primary vehicle. We still had an ICE vehicle that was also used as a commuter but we ceased using it almost entirely beyond that. Last fall we sold our ICE vehicle and bought another EV and our lives have been so much better for it. Our biggest concerns now are how to transport lumber home from the home center as we no longer have a junker.


> You're going to be waiting a long time. EVs do not perform well at highways speeds so your ask is ridiculous.

That means they don't perform period, ICE don't magically avoid aerodynamic drag.

> A 600 mile range use-case is a boundary condition at best as there are few ICE vehicles that can even achieve that.

Every ICE I've driven was able to achieve around that level. A 200~300mi range is what's ridiculous(ly low). The best car I've had could exceed 850 at 60~65mph.


> That means they don't perform period, ICE don't magically avoid aerodynamic drag.

It has more to do with the transmission. Most EVs are more aerodynamic than ICEVs but still suffer at high speeds because they lack a transmission and thus require more power to maintain high engine RPMs. An ICE in comparison has a transmission to reduce the RPMs at high speeds.

> Every ICE I've driven was able to achieve around that level.

That's fine but not everyone needs that range. On a daily basis most people do not travel more than 100 miles. Even the slowest L1 charger can put 60 miles of range on an EV overnight plugged into a regular outlet. An L2 charger using a 30a outlet, found in most laundry rooms, can do ~20 miles an hour.

Every two car family where one person has a commute of less than 100 miles round trip would be just fine with an EV equivalent to a Nissan Leaf.


> It has more to do with the transmission. Most EVs are more aerodynamic than ICEVs but still suffer at high speeds because they lack a transmission and thus require more power to maintain high engine RPMs. An ICE in comparison has a transmission to reduce the RPMs at high speeds.

Still a distinction without a difference.

> That's fine but not everyone needs that range.

Of course not, I quite specifically mentioned that it was my specific requirement in the original comment.

> Every two car family where one person has a commute of less than 100 miles round trip would be just fine with an EV equivalent to a Nissan Leaf.

Good for you. A leaf still is of little use to me. Even if the infrastructure were in place, which it is not.




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