While Tesla’s Secret Master Plan, Part Duex, makes incredible sense, Toyota could have the ultimate laugh with its future modus operandi
It is said that Tesla has a secret plan up its sleeves that would allow it to become the manufacturer of every car sold on the face of the Earth within 20 years from now. This comes in as a bit of a surprise, if you consider that the volumes that this carmaker garners are negligible in comparison to what the giants like Volkswagen and Toyota enjoy. However, while the former is yet to fully emerge out of its Dieselgate fiasco, a report that recently surfaced internet states that the latter could be planning to gain one upmanship over the electric carmaker that would allow it to rule the world of cars.
As per Steve Hanley, the author of the aforementioned report, if you look carefully, in spite of being the largest car company on the planet and having highest corporate profits, Toyota doesn’t have much of a presence in the electric car market. The writer has opined that this could be a deliberate ploy to dismiss EVs and instead focus on hybrid and hydrogen fuel cell powertrains. He has pointed out that recently, Larry Hutchinson, President and CEO, Toyota Canada, acknowledged that the entire world suffers from an excess carbon footprint and he even added that the popularity of battery-powered electric cars is on a downward slope owing to the expiration of the incentives provided by the Government of Canada.
So, here’s the crux. No matter how green electric vehicles are, the consumer shies away from putting its hard-earned money on it the moment the incentives are withdrawn. It’s true that in order to support the growth of electric vehicles, the Canadian government had to offer high incentives and subsidies to the buyers, which, in the long run, isn’t a sustainable plan. A similar model can be seen in the local car market, where the buyers of EVs have been benefitting from the FAME schemes rolled out by the Government of India. The bottom-line is right in front of us – Any aggressive push for earlier adoption of ‘green’ vehicles will hurt the pockets of public exchequer. And as the incentives would reduce, we would start missing out on targets for carbon footprint reduction. This is exactly what Toyota could be planning to capitalize upon. The solution to the entire issue lies in hybrid powertrains, which is something that the Japanese automotive giant has pioneered.
Hanley then goes on to point out that if you look carefully, the average battery capacity in a Toyota hybrid is 1.4 kWh, while that of an electric vehicle is approximately 60 kWh. This means one can build roughly 42 hybrid powertrains instead of one battery-powered electric vehicle. The impact of using 42 hybrid powertrains will be nearly equivalent to the benefit produced by usage of 12 zero emission vehicles. Hence, for the same number of battery cells, one can have an equal, or even higher, advantage without any sort of incentives from the Government.
In short, if done properly, near zero emission vehicles can have an ever larger effect on curbing the menace of fast-growing carbon footprint without the need of any sort of subsidies. That said, Toyota should now focus on making its hybrid vehicles as quite and powerful as the EVs. Once the company starts producing hybrid vehicles that would be as smooth and silent as their electric counterparts, and even have similar performance figures, we can finally have alternatives that would stand at par with EVs on most counts.